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Nuclear power generation.

Post in 'The Green Room' started by babalu87, May 24, 2007.

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  1. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Why isnt it more popular?

    The US Navy (you know those military dummies according to Kerry) have over 75 nuclear powered vessels, how often do we hear of an incident?
    We all know why Chernobyl blew up, complacency. Besides the issue of radiation why hasnt this been explored more by the United States?

    France gets much of their energy from Nuclear power, why do we continue to use coal for most of ours?

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  2. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Especially when the costs are so similar... see the below chart.

    Now, Hyman Rickover's guys definitely inspire me to more confidence than your average nuke tech at Millstone, but there are now much more modern and safe nuke plant designs that take the human out of the system, and reduce risk. I look out my window and see a nuke plant on the horizon, and Electric Boat just past that, yet I still sleep at night.

    -- Mike

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  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm still skeptical about the total cost of the nuclear fuel cycle. Look at all the regular Superfund sites that are costing billions to partially clean up now. What is the real cost of the total fuel cycle of Nuclear Power? In other words, everything from digging the ore to storing the waste for tens of thousands of years?

    I think some of those economics are false because the government changed the law and allows the plants to store waste onsite until they figure something else out. Then we (as taxpayers) will be expected to foot the bill for the mountains in NV where they want to store waste. Oh, wait - NV is now developing and they don't want it there either. Maybe we can ship it to poor third world nations and pollute them to death!

    The safety argument may not be valid, but I think the waste one is. Throwing the responsibility on future generations just seems so "unsustainable".

    Another concern is the proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons. Personally, I think this is all water over the dam....but the sad fact is that the more reactors and nuclear materials and knowledge that are floating around...means more countries with the bomb. As I said, I think that is a done deal anyway. Once Pakistan was "allowed" to have bombs, the writing was on the wall. The Saudis are going for them now, and of course they not only have the money and means, but they have billions of dollars worth of US made military hardware to deliver 'em with.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    What? You are looking FORWARD to France. You....you....you.......Freedom Fries Forever, I say. Down with people who enjoy themselves! Down with good food, sex, mistresses, wine and general enjoyment of life. It is so anti-american that......that I have to get my nose back to the grindstone right now.

    Down with intellectuals, readers, oral sex, philosophy....good bread, even.

    How can we listed to folks who torture ducks? And who use unisex communal bathrooms? No way, Jose!
    :coolsmirk:
  5. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I have a nuke plant 2-1/2 miles from me. I ain't the most thrilled about it. But the last place I lived had one 40 miles away. At least this place its a quick painless death.
    As far as how safe they are, by percentages I am sure they are. But I remember 3 Mile Island growing up, also near where I lived. Chernobyl, and I bet there are a few other incidents we just don't know about. Its all good, until having to get rid of the spent fuel rods, then what?
    Why can't the plants be put in remote regions and the power lined to its places of need? My biggest fear is more terrorism against a plant than plant failure.
    Still all in all it beats coal. Have a coal burning generation plant nearby also, about 7 miles away, the mountains of spent coal slag looks as nasty as it truly is.
    Heavy rains and it runs off all over. BTW its right next to a main river. Tell me there ain't bad stuff happening from that. Just found out the cancer rate of this area is real high. Oh well I'm here for life, be it long or short.
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    France is turning things around, you did see who they elected right?
    Everyone is for a mistress until one leaves the spooge on that navy dress or their wife finds out.

    Wants a national language, tighter borders etc, etc, etc
    Hell I may move there once the crap hits the fan here :-S
  7. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Oh my... HearthNet has just taken a turn... however in which direction, I'm not exactly sure... :gulp:

    -- Mike
  8. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Actually I did my Master's Thesis on human factors and focused some on the Chernobyl accident. Chernobyl happened not because of complacency, but because the operators were operating the RBMK reactor in an unsafe manner (not to mention the design was flawed to begin with).

    The biggest problems with nuclear power:

    1) Long term storage of high and medium level radioactive waste.

    2) Capital cost, the capital costs associated with a nuke plant are enormous and the electricity cost out the back end is more expensive than oil or gas.

    3) Insurance. Nuclear plants cannot get private insurance and are usually insured by the government. I don't know about you but I want the government to stop subsidizing big business.

    4) Fuel. Uranium still has to be mined which creates all sorts of environmental problems on its own.

    5) Short life cycle. In terms of operating life, nuclear plants have a relatively short life cycle (40 years before a complete overhaul) because of radiation induced fatigue, especially around the components of the core.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    That all sounds correct, T.

    Isn't it strange that while we all understand we are not paying the REAL price for oil, we wish to replace it with something else that we don't want to pay the real price for? Except, in this case, we want to shift much of the load to the next 100 to 100,000 years, instead of the couple of generations we are used to throwing our debts upon.

    Speaking of French, I can't really find decent fries around here.....except maybe when the local fair comes to town. I got addicted to those Belgian Fries - the ones that they have on every street in Amsterdam. Fresh cut, double fried and delectable. I had some that claimed to be Belgian Fries at the Sierra Grill here in Noho last night, but sad to say they didn't make it - cut small and greasy.

    Glad to see the French are coming back into favor. I'm sure they missed us (NOT)...
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    All of those problems are dealt with every day in the navy ships. I worked as a naval architect in the shipyards in the Puget Sound at the scrapping of nuclear powered submarines. We pulled the rods, sent them away, and then welded the reactors shut and barged them off to Hanford for a long life of sitting in the desert until the radiation goes away. The reactors are cooled off within 100 years, the fuel rods take longer but they are small. Nuclear power is this big mysterious dangerous thing until you actually sit next to a reactor. The ships actually have two reactors and we send all of these things into wars to be shot at.

    It will happen, just not until the easy options are used up. Politics.

    Maybe just build the powerplant next to the pier and pipe the steam from a navy ship.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    So, tell me how long they take, and what is the combined and projected amount of spent fuel rods and other long lasting radioactive material which need stored?

    The answer is that we have:
    "In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states that there are "millions of gallons of radioactive waste" as well as "thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material" and also "huge quantities of contaminated soil and water"

    So concentrating on the really bad stuff, the spent fuel, it will need to be stored for about 10,000 years or more - more then double the time of the earliest records of mankind on the earth.

    Even that can be done, but what is the cost? We've all seen the way projects go above budget, and is it fair to saddle future generation with the invoice for a quick 50 years (life of nuclear plant) of "cheap" electric?

    Even solar cells and wind machines have a cost - the pollution and minerals used in mining the metals and creating the stuff - and then in getting rid of it, etc.

    How about insurance for Nuclear Plants? Turns out the plant operators can't get it! Too risky! Do insurance companies have it wrong? Instead, your Congress in 2005 reinstated and extended the Price-Anderson Act (covers the nuclear generation industry) for another 20 years—the longest extension Congress has ever granted.

    All I ask in the nuclear debate is that we take the same considerations in mind that we SHOULD be taking with other fuels.
  12. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Uranium comes from mines... so take the nuclear waste and put it back in the very same mines it came out of. Yeah, it wasn't as enriched as when we removed it, but you still wouldn't want to drink a nice tall glass of water from any hill with a uranium deposit in it. Either that, or dump it in France... same effect.

    -- Mike
  13. Oregon Fire

    Oregon Fire Member

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    I had the pleasure to have lunch with two nuclear engineers - they were working as electrical engineers doing design work... They told me a few things...

    1. Newer nuclear power plants create pressure in the containment chamber if they lose coolant supply and heat up - this shuts down the reaction. The chance of a chernobyl meltdown is very low with this design.
    2. Westinghouse has two very good designs on the shelf and are selling and installing them in foreign countries. Look at the ap1000 here...

    http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/AP1000/index.shtm

    3. Using newer reactors, the fuel is re-enriched and re-used so very little goes off to yucca mountain for a million years, etc.

    4. In the past, each nuclear site had to be licensed with the NRC - now the design is licensed and they can construct them without having to go to the NRC to approve every plant - they are all the same...

    -------
    If we want to have the U.S. continue to compete in the world marketplace - power must be competitively priced relative to the energy available to our global competitors.

    I can only hope that we get off our butts and build some nuclear powerplants pronto. I would love for stability in the middle east to not be "in our strategic interest". Alternatively, I would like to see a ton of nuclear power - generates no greenhouse gases - only steam. You can generate hydrogen using this power - and power electric vehicles. Have homes convert to electric heat after the new plants are on-line and prices are stabilized and reasonable.

    jeff
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike, certainly you know the the waste contains dozens of other elements that were not there in first place--isotopes generated during the reactions.

    So we are not dealing with just Uranium here -

    Oh, and those mine tailings? They have not even put those back in the ground...they are in giant piles releasing their radiation to the atmosphere.

    When the cost of all this is figured in, then someone can calculate how cheap the power is.

    From:http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0338.shtml

    "Spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste are materials from nuclear power plants and government defense programs. These materials contain highly radioactive elements, such as cesium, strontium, technetium, and neptunium.

    Some of these elements will remain radioactive for a few years, while others will be radioactive for millions of years."

    No, you cannot put uranium back in the mine any easier than you can put DDT or Dioxin back into the oil well or wherever they come from.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "The answer is that we have:
    “In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states that there are “millions of gallons of radioactive waste” as well as “thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material” and also “huge quantities of contaminated soil and water”

    So concentrating on the really bad stuff, the spent fuel, it will need to be stored for about 10,000 years or more - more then double the time of the earliest records of mankind on the earth. "

    Millions of gallons. No big deal. I have a 15 million gallon water tank just built near my home. It fit on a tiny lot. Yes, the containment of those millions of gallons must be in a vessel that is designed to last as long as the radiation but that was not a problem with the submarines. The steel hull will last longer than the radiation.

    Thousands of tons. Come on now, childs play. A thousand tons is 2,000,000 lbs and a regular old OTR tractor trailer weighs over 100,000.
    The solids are the longer lasting waste. The fuel rods last much longer but they don't leak fluid into groundwater. Dig a big hole, use any one of those monster strip mines or other huge holes. Or heck, put it in a mountain. The mountain has been around longer than 10,000 years and will be there 10,000 more.

    Huge amounts of contaminated soil and water. Ah yes, the propoganda starts. Sounds like they wanted shock value. I contaminated a large amount of soil in my backyard when I went potty back there. What the heck, a huge amount of soil and water was poisoned with urine.

    Jettison the nasty waste into space. Sink it to the bottom of the ocean. It is an extremely small volume of waste.

    And yes, I only know what I've been taught about the old style reactors and the hundreds of scrapped reactors, and rods that are setting in the middle of the desert in Hanford awaiting cool off. It is a small amount of waste, our earth is very very large.

    I suppose the nuclear debate is as much about emotion as it is about facts since nobody really knows what we will be able to do in 10,000 years or even whether we'll be alive. People fear things they don't know about and most people know about burning oil so it seems safe.
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    High,

    No emotion - just facts.
    How much does the entire fuel cycle cost - from start to finish (100 to 10,000 years)?

    That is a relatively simple question. I am not touching on radiation deaths, cancers and all those other emotional issues. I would feel very safe living within a relatively short distance of a plant...that is not my worry, money is!

    Just the plain facts. Never before in the history of the world have we had to calculate the cost of storing waste for 10,000 years. But I'm certain it is an issue that can be guessed at.

    According to your simplistic description, we should just go ahead blindly and let whatever happens, happen. THAT is what seems to be an emotional stance. Who in the world would start doing something without a budget?

    So far, you must admit the record is shaky. The industry never intended to store spent fuel rods in pools and casks onsite. They promised they would figure out scientifically how to safely store or remove them. Now they have shifted that to the government and the taxpayers...or are at least attempting to do so.

    So let's not say it's cheap power, clean power, dirty power or expensive power. Let's figure out the whole deal, and then....and only if it makes sense, think about using it. But if the equation is simply one of throwing the costs into the future for our children to clean up and pay - well, then (without emotion) I'm against it. Only by taking responsibility for our actions can we start to get off this treadmill.

    As far as the Earth being very large - just take one look at the % of the world which was affected by the incident in Russia - radiation in cows milk thousands of miles away. Then take a look at earth from 40,000, 100,000 FEET - and then from space. It is not big at all. In fact, it is very small.

    The enclosed pic shows the spread of the radiation cloud from Russia - all within 3 weeks! Although this was by no means a heavy dose for the affected areas (outside of Russia), it does show how small the world is.

    Attached Files:

  17. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    You guys are sooo behind the times. Nuke is the fuel of the past. There is a totally renewable and green alternative. Turkey S**t. Yes folks, you've hear of guano, you've hear of people in india cooking with cow poop, but there is a new power plant in Minn. that instead of using coal or gas, it will use tons of waste from thousands and thousands of turkeys and other birds. The nation's first poultry-litter-fired power plant begins operation next month. And it will produce enough power for fifty-thousand homes.

    (see NPR for the full story)

    BTW... NYC is putting a requirement that By the year 2012, every one of the thirteen thousand taxis in the nation's largest city will have to be a fuel-efficient hybrid. (toyota stock is goin north folks!!)
  18. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    Warren do you know if that plant could be converted to burn bullchit?If so,the Ash Can should power NYC from now 'til 2012. :p
  19. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Turkey, chicken. cow, pig, if we raise it, and it's organic, we have come up with ways to create power/fuel. There are several "experimental farms" around the country using waste to generate electric power, excess added to the grid, and a few making a liquid fuel to run machinery. Trouble is, it's not quite cost effective. There is a facility in Georgia, I think, that's using Tyson's waste from packing to fuel a whole town. I think the problem might be, you can't have any ability to smell and live in the town. I have a bad nose and I get within ten miles of a feedlot and I know it. Think what it is like if you are burning it???? Well, forget dinner.

    A treat for all of you who like sugar would be the catch ponds at a sugar beat processing plant, or a potatoe plant. I personally know if two people who claimed the had extreme asthma attacks, and ended up in the hospital just driving by one on a particularly bad/ripe day.

    There are lots of things to burn, but what are we willing to give up to burn it???

    BTW, I heard the NPR report and started laughing in the shop. Bloomberg cracks me up. Does anyone really think that any of the NY cabbies are going to understand how to use a hybrid? And who is going to turn over a machine like that to a hack? If you have cab company stock dump it tomorrow.

    Locally some of the cabs are switching to CNG (compressed natural gas) it's selling for about $.71 per gallon today in Salt Lake. Cheap and affordable, but the 300 lb tank gives you a range of about 150 miles. Can't take the trip to Yellowstone.

    I'm actually looking for a retrofit kit for my '84 van. That's cheaper than buying a sub compact. It'd only be used locally, and there is a fuel station less than a mile from the shop. Cost for the kit will be about the same as a new carb. It may take a few months, but they are out here, been used for 10-15 years.
  20. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Mike.....read the ending three times......LMFAO....ROTFF......
  21. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Better to send it over there..., over there...., over there. And the yanks are......

    Speaking for the source of much of the uranium mined in America, and the proposed resting place for all the waste (one of the better lit suburbs of Las Vegas0, sending that crap here is not a good idea. We already get the nations low level radioactive waste, and we are the only area where folks were exposed to above ground testing. Gee, thanks. Sorry TVA, you got the rads, but not the lights.

    One of my good customers is a general manager at "THE SITE", the Idaho National Nuclear Testing Site. They have several mothballed reactors that are small, effective, efficient, and totally out of date for use. They will be hazardous for 20,000 years. Sorry grandkids for the next 100,000 generations. At Hanford, Washington we have the potential to destroy the entire Columbia River Basin Water supply for the next 50,0000 years because we have been too cheap to do it right. Don't even get me started about other major screw ups. Think about our own nuclear pellets from TMI.

    Say you folks out in Oregon and Washington notice the glow from the cooling towers at Satsup? Glad I don't live near Diablo Canyon in California. If the earth quakes don't get you the nuclear toxic waste will, right?

    My first Commercial van was from Niagra-Mohawk Power. It was used as a test van at their power plants. After I had driven it for three years, a stop in Colorado woke me up. A friend's family had an Agricultural and Commercial junk yard. My van set their sniffer off. They had to monitor radioactivity because of Rocky Flats. It wasn't too hot, but it was not at the background level.

    Ya'll want nucs, bring it on.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, you can't really jet it into space - you could send it into the sun, but the cost of sending something into the sun is probably on the order of $20,000 a pound....maybe more.

    Once again, you must take the total cost into account. Once you spend $40 million per ton to get rid of the stuff, is it cheap fuel? Or even competitive fuel?

    Seems that the only way it becomes cheap is when you forget about the consequences.
  23. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    ;-P


    -- Mike
  24. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I would have figured that any place on the planet capable of replicating something that the French do would happen in Northampton, go figure ;-P

    Me loves some of that Northampton brewery beer though and Fitzwillys......... LOVE that place, had our rehearsal dinner there. Wife is from right next door and her brother lives in Northampton so I know you aint all bad out that way ;-P

    40 years is a long life for a powerplant, my father is a retired boilermaker and I know he was at L street a few times before I worked there for an overhaul in the early 90's.

    Theres got to be a way to figure the waste issue out.
    Space, the final frontier and dump.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    As to the nuke waste, that (we can figure it out) is exactly what they said when they started building plants 50 years ago. The best minds in the world still have to wipe their arses! And when it comes to the "bowels" of Nuclear Energy, the same applies. They can blow up the bombs, but they have not yet figured out how to put all the radiation back in the bottle!

    As Bob Marley says.."Have no fear of Atomic Energy, cause none of them can stop the time"....meaning we ain't quite as fancy as we sometimes think we are!
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