Nuclear power is best alternative to ...

Nuclear power is best alternative to fossil fuels -- themorning...

There are 16 comments on the The Morning Call story from Oct 12, 2007, titled Nuclear power is best alternative to fossil fuels -- themorning.... In it, The Morning Call reports that:

In September, the cooling towers at the world's oldest industrial-scale nuclear power plant were reduced to a pile of rubble.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

kent beuchert

Washington, DC

#1 Oct 12, 2007
Nuclear poweer is by far the best carbon source of energy. Wind is 5 times more expensive to build in terms of actual lifetime kilowatts produced and can't replace any controllable, reliable energy sources. Wind accounts for less than 1/2 of 1% of U.S. electrucity. 32 new nuclear plants are being built in the U.S. Nuclear is now the lowest cost source of power and over 300 new plants are being built or are in the planning stages around the world.
The Asians will gain yet another economic advantage over the braindead West with hundreds of nuclear plants. Anti-nuclear efforts in the past have caused more global warming that all other activities combined. If nuclear had been allowed to continue its growth, over 50% of US electricity would be carbon free and we would already meet the Kyoto emission levels. I note that Vermont is 75% nuclear powered and has by far the lowest carbon emissions : 5 pounds per megawatt of electricity produced. The next closest states produce over 670 pounds, the average is 950 pounds and many states produce 1400 pounds of carbon per megawatt.
MSimon

Louisville, KY

#2 Oct 12, 2007
If the devices described in the following articles work out, fusion power may only be a few years away:
<br/>
<br/>
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/m...
Bussard Fusion Reactor
<br/>
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/e...
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
Observer

Johnson City, TN

#3 Oct 12, 2007
The old joke among resarchers about when Fusion would be viable.

"In about 30 years."

That is what they said in the '50's, hte '60's ...

it alwas seems like it is 30 years in the future.

Don't hold your breath.
MSimon wrote:
If the devices described in the following articles work out, fusion power may only be a few years away:
<br/>
<br/>
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/m...
Bussard Fusion Reactor
<br/>
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/e...
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
Dave

Mountain Top, PA

#4 Oct 12, 2007
Nuclear Shmooclear.

"economic growth" requires energy growth. Economic growth is all of the new debt written every year. Overhaul the banking system(Fed) and you won't have to keep generating more and more power to power all the new cars, planes, Mcmansions, etc.But the rich will never let you do it.

The disposal costs and cleanup cost of nuclear is never added to the arguments like the pro nuclear guy above. Add them and its the most expensive.

The USA has the best wind power conditions in the entire world so lets use it. Uranium will run out too.

“Virent Ova, Viret Perna”

Since: Mar 07

Easton, PA

#5 Oct 13, 2007
Dave wrote:
Nuclear Shmooclear.
"economic growth" requires energy growth. Economic growth is all of the new debt written every year. Overhaul the banking system(Fed) and you won't have to keep generating more and more power to power all the new cars, planes, Mcmansions, etc.But the rich will never let you do it.
The disposal costs and cleanup cost of nuclear is never added to the arguments like the pro nuclear guy above. Add them and its the most expensive.
The USA has the best wind power conditions in the entire world so lets use it. Uranium will run out too.
Absolutely. Add to that a grid-tied solar array on every freestanding house and business, and you'll have a robust decentralized energy PRODUCTION grid that will be inexhaustible and ultimately cheaper.
Jerry

Hazleton, PA

#6 Oct 16, 2007
I worked in the design and construction of nuclear power plants for many years. I agree with the assessment of the problems and benefits of Nuclear Power by Mr. Dawson. I agree there are problems to solve with Nuclear Power but believe they are surmountable, and could have a very possitive impact on our energy situation. It could significantly reduce our dependence on oil and therefore reduce the necessity for international conflict in search of new oil.

Nuclear is the way to go for the near future. It is safe and energy efficient has minimal impact on the environment compared to others and could significantly reduce our dependence for oil.

“Virent Ova, Viret Perna”

Since: Mar 07

Easton, PA

#7 Oct 17, 2007
Jerry, have you ever worked on the other end of the nuclear energy cycle, the collection, transport, and storage of nuclear waste? I'm interested to hear about your take on that.

I have not seen a comprehensive breakdown of the cost of this, but recent news has reported that the Yucca Mountain repository could cost as much as 77 billion, and that by the time it opens, the amount of nuclear waste material that will be produced by the time it opens will exceed the capacity of the facility.
There is also a certain amount of concern about the seismic activity around that site:
http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/yucca/seismo0...

Another issue with nuclear energy is that a considerable amount of the technology that is used for production, could be adapted to use in developing nuclear weapons. This is a big part of the issue we have with Iran. They are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which expressly allows them to develop nuclear energy. They claim that that is all they are doing - and if that is true, they are completely within their rights - but other states claim that they are secretly planning to take the few extra steps to create weapons.
According to Mohamed ElBaradei, as many as 40 states that currently use nuclear energy have the capability of making nuclear bombs.
Given the political changes we have seen in the last 50 years, can we always be sure that these states will be stable and their nuclear programs will be controlled by benificent governments?

Nuclear energy has a lot of distinct advantages, but will always have the serious problems of waste material and dual-use technology. It will be a part of the solution, but shouldn't be the only solution.
Jerry

White Haven, PA

#8 Oct 18, 2007
Dear Ana.,

I have not worked on the storage side of Nuclear fuel. So, I am not privy to some of the latest techniques. To be honest I have not really kept up with this lately. But some of the things that are important to remember is that we do have much experience with spent fuel storage already.

Don't forget that all the spent fuel for over 20 years or more has been kept "temporarily" at nuclear facilities. There are no accidents in this area that I am aware of.

Spent fuel is I say, nothing more, than fuel that is in decay. It cannot get to greater levels than when it first is put in storage. There are three things that are a deterent to spent fuel. Time, distance and shielding. As time goes on the spent fuel becomes more stable, which means the dangerous levels get lower.

So, there are very safe methods now for temporarily storing spent fuel. I would expect that there are even safer technical methods for storing spent fuel now on a permanent basis.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a nuclear reactor is in no way designed as a bomb. The fuel is much different than is required for a nuclear bomb. That much I remember. But if you want the exact equations and theory for that, I am sorry I don't have it. But I am sure it could be made available thru the NRC.(Nuclear Regulatory Commission). I have never worked on designing atomic fuel for bombs so I really can't compare, except to say they are not equal. The fuel required for both is completely different.

So, some of your questions to me are understandable from most who do not have a background in Nuclear Reactors and how they operate.

But from my experience and the experience of Operating Nuclear Plants in the US. they are indeed safe, reliable, easy on the environment and do not use fossil fuel, especially oil.

The worst even that occured in the US was of course TMI. But after all this time if you look at the record, there was not major release of radioactivity. I remember reading NRC reports on this accicent, and the safety systems for the reactor worked. If they did not people would have been killed. As far as I know no one was killed, workers or civilians.

So, if you compare the US Nuclear safety record to any ohter industry, even non-nuclear you will see it is the safest.

We need to consider all that we know about the industry before we can continue into the future. We have a huge base of information to work on. To those in the industry this is not rocket science. But to others it may be. You need to go to the right source.

If you really are serious you need to go to the source. Do not rely on what others say about the industry. You must learn the industry yourself if you really want to know what is going on. This indeed is technical. and that makes it very difficult for other. But if you find a good technical source you can rely on, then go.
Mandapants

West Chester, PA

#9 Oct 19, 2007
Dave wrote:
The USA has the best wind power conditions in the entire world so lets use it.
What do you have against birds? What'd they ever do to you?

“Virent Ova, Viret Perna”

Since: Mar 07

Easton, PA

#10 Oct 19, 2007
Mandapants wrote:
<quoted text>
What do you have against birds? What'd they ever do to you?
The threat to wild raptor birds is overblown (excuse the pun), as reported in this article on TREEHUGGER.COM :
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/commo...

More planning to avoid high bird-traffic areas, and the improved designs cited in this article, will reduce the incidence even further.

And, as one commenter to that article said:
"Here is the best rebuttal to this argument I have heard. I believe it is from wind expert, author, Paul Gipe.
The 3,000+ wind turbines operating near Altamont Pass (CA) would have to operate for more than 500 years to be responsible for the same number of birds the Exxon Valdez killed in less than one week.
So, which energy source do you prefer?"

Here's a link to another article discussing this issue:
http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

I understand that Robert Kennedy has led the charge to perpetuate this misinformation, which I find quite disappointing.
Jerry

Hunlock Creek, PA

#11 Oct 20, 2007
The increased use of Nuclear Power can actually lesson the hold on America that the Middle East has on us.

It can make use energy independent which could actually reduce our chances for war over oil and other fossil fuels.

It could even make war outdated.

Nuclear Power is safe, reliable, friendly to the environment and can be cost effective. It is even more freindly to the environment than solar, where large plots of land would be needed. And more friendly than wind, again where much land is required and more chance of reducing the bird population.

“Virent Ova, Viret Perna”

Since: Mar 07

Easton, PA

#12 Oct 21, 2007
Jerry wrote:
The increased use of Nuclear Power can actually lesson the hold on America that the Middle East has on us.
It can make use energy independent which could actually reduce our chances for war over oil and other fossil fuels.
It could even make war outdated.
Nah, I disagree.
Currently, nuclear energy technology is designed for centralized generation of electricity.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelelectric.html
About half of the electrical power generated is from coal, and about 1/5 is from nuclear.
Another 1/5 is from natural gas.
Only 3% is from petroleum products.
Most of our use of Mideast Oil as an energy source goes to cars, trucks, buses, and home heating.
We will never see small mobile nuclear power engines put into these, since that would remove all controls over the dangerous fuels and wastes.

Increasing the % of energy generation could reduce our dependence on coal and NG, which would have great environmental benefits:
It would reduce greenhouse gases
It would decrease the extremely destructive mining techniques for coal, that include destroying whole mountain-tops
It would decrease the use of precious water in the west that is used in the extraction of natural gas

I'm still concerned about the problems of nuclear waste and dual-use technology, though. If we do increase the nuclear generation, we should not use this as an excuse to abandon the search for greener, renewable energy sources. And we should resist the temptation to waste energy simply because we have it.

“Virent Ova, Viret Perna”

Since: Mar 07

Easton, PA

#13 Oct 21, 2007
And, J, war existed long before the use of Mideast oil.

People don't go to war just for oil, there are a large number of factors involved.

Our invasion of Iraq did have a lot to do with oil, but our government was not forced into war by it - it wasn't forced into war with Iraq at all. Our country invaded Iraq as a conscious choice, based on a house-of-cards argument that was specifically constructed as an excuse for invasion.

All wars have justifications, some valid, many not.
War and violence as a last resort are fought by the downtrodden, who have neither the power, the money, nor the influence to change their plight in other ways.
War and violence as a choice for gaining money, land, political dominance, or out of paranoia are started by those already in power once they have built up enough military power to quash any objections from other states.
Wars are fought over silly religious differences:
- Catholic vs. Protestant
- The crusades
- Sunni vs. Shiite
Wars are fought over cultural, or language differences.
Wars are fought over differing economic strategies.

The answer to ending war is not a simple one.
Kenneth

Silver Spring, MD

#14 Oct 24, 2007
I enjoyed reading your article "Nuclear power is best alternative to fossil fuels" and the historical significance and connection to your family. I too have a small connection.

I find myself very much in agreement that looking ahead, we must be realistic and that present technology seems to offer no ideal options. I do, however, fundamentally disagree with your assertion that the prospects for fusion power are dim in the near term.

When I was quite young, space travel and the concept of human exploration of the moon were not much more than science fiction. Then, in an explosion of enthusiasm, public popularity and funding, we reached the moon and beyond, in one brief decade.

Given an inspirational vision of what may be, the needed paradigm shift in priorities toward a cleaner, healthier planet and the required public support and funding, I believe that we could achieve productive results from cleaner, safer, fusion power that would benefit the entire world, both environmentally and economically. I am not alone in this perhaps optimistic view of what would be possible with fusion power and what the world would be – and is – without it.

Perhaps fusion power's promise is not lost, only delayed?

“Why?”

Since: Oct 07

USA

#15 Oct 24, 2007
Yeah, I can see it now, Chernoybl 2.
Roadkill

United States

#16 Oct 24, 2007
LUV MY CORSO wrote:
Yeah, I can see it now, Chernoybl 2.
As long as union labor is not used to build the plants, we should be fine.

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