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Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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Your search does not say why it is not safe and exactly who these people are that are reporting it. Is it greenpeace or some other enviro group, which I lump EPA, that says everything is unsafe.

a little more research would yield more information to base sound judgement.

Processing spent fuel does not make it less radioactive. When fuel is processed,the enriched uranium or plutonium, that is generated by the neutron capture reaction, is removed. All the fission productuct, which is what is very radioactive, still excists. Also, when processing fuel other types of hazardous waste is produced,because you have to basically dissovle the fuel and extract the 'good' stuff. To dissovle the fuel, very bad solvents are used and sre in of them selves are a menace. Now you have a mixed waste.

It should also be remembered that radioisotopes decay exponentially. Spent fuel does not remain glowing green for ten thousand years. Throughout the millennia, it is continually decaying, becoming less and less radioactive, less and less hazardous, as time goes on. And because the decay is exponential, most of it happens in the early stages so that the majority of time period is spent at a significantly lower level of activity than at initial disposal and in fact a level that is not especially hazardous at all. Compare this to those mercury and arsenic solid wastes from coal burning, which will be just as hazardous in ten thousand years as they are today.

However, it is of course the case that regulatory agencies are never happy with that, particularly when nuclear power comes into the mix, which is why agencies like the EPA demand that any methods of spent fuel disposal be able to contain the material for at least 10,000 years, even though it will have stopped being a significant hazard long before this. It should be remembered that regulatory agencies are always over cautious about things and so their criteria do not define the limits of safety. Safety comes well before their criteria.



As for the safety Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain incorporates multiple barriers from the casks encasing the spent fuel to the geological stability of the area used. The case against the environmental security of Yucca Mountain is based on manufacturing an improbable set of circumstances over an excessive length of time.

First, it would require the climate to change making the now desert region turn into an area frequented by water and the geology would need to change to allow the water to permeate the currently impermeable rock so it comes into contact with the casks. The water would then need to erode down the concrete, which would take a great deal of time. Then it would have to eat its way through the stainless steel containers. Finally it would have to dissolve the spent fuel and whatever material is used to immobilise it. Then the material must be transported out of the repository to inhabited areas.

And the deadline for all this, climatic and geological shifts, erosion through multiple layers of hardened materials, and transportation over long distances, is 10,000 years. Normally, it takes many millions of years for something of this scale to happen and that is in circumstances where the barriers were not designed to be resistant to these things. There was no sophisticated containment for the Oklo reactor and yet no significant movement has happened even after billions of years.

Yet the originally planned opening date for Yucca Mountain has come and gone by 8 years and no sign of completion is on the horizon. It was not a subsidy that was supposed to pay for this. American nuclear utilities pay 0.1c/kWh towards a spent fuel disposal fund, which would be used by the government to provide the service. The utilities continue to have to store spent fuel on their plant sites at their own cost because of the delays (though it should be noted how remarkable it is that several decades worth of waste can still be stored in a relatively tiny space on site). The incompetence of the government at fulfilling their part of the business transaction has prompted the utilities to actually sue for damages, by wasting the money they have paid into the spent fuel fund while simultaneously forcing them to pay extra for continued interim storage.

That said, many people do not think Yucca Mountain is ideal, because it is seen as wasteful since it disposes of perfectly useful energy resources. Closing the cycle with fast reactors and reprocessing is the better solution for waste. The DoE policy of Yucca Mountain is based around these practises still being outlawed in the United States.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 13:07


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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Quote:

riz wrote:
Your search does not say why it is not safe and exactly who these people are that are reporting it. Is it greenpeace or some other enviro group, which I lump EPA, that says everything is unsafe.



Actually it comes from the Governor of the state of Nevada's Office.


I'm not sure what your point is any more..the rest of your post only supports what my post said...

Remember, I'm not against nuclear power, just the current methods for "storing" spent fuel. If you read the info on the link I provided in an earlier post, the WIPP site (if they'd ever use it), while still not ideal, is much better equipped to handle this waste...

Posted on: 2008/2/15 13:47


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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I'm suspect of any report from the governor's office. his, is the most active group opposing the site and would do anything to keep WIPP from happening. for this country to move foward toward energy relief, we must be able to use this site to store spent fuel. the current storage ares in the power plants are full and can not hold any more fuel rods. plus as was stated they are a hazard and risk to the local communities becasuse they can be targeted by terrorists and more easily breeched than a forified central location.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 15:37


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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Why would the governor of Nevada be opposed to a site in New Mexico if he's not happy with Yucca in NV?

I understand all the terrorist paranoia...true or not, this problem has existed long before 9/11.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 15:43


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/10/2 10:08
From Westmoreland County (near fairgrounds)
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Tom,

A statement like "Radiation from nuclear waste proposed for Yucca Mountain burial is so intense that anyone with direct contact would receive a fatal dose instantly.", just frosts me. It is so obviously false. The fatal dose of radiation is X number of rads. In order to receive X rads instantly the radiation source would have to spew radiation at the rate of infinity which just doesn't happen in the real world. The only purpose of a statement like this is to scare people, it certianly doesn't educate them as the statement is false and misleading.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 17:16
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Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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sorry tom i mis-spoke about the gov not wanting WIPP. i could not find that he made any refernce to WIPP.

alby - i believe the reference was to an unshielded spent fuel rod shippment. but as it's designed, there is no more inherant danger at Yucca as working in a nuke plant.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 17:25


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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Its getting a little over my head with the rems and rads thing.

I have no trouble believing that that statement was written with the intention you suggested. It was kind of my point about when you write that we can't increase corn production because the rivers will all die an irreversible death...its a scare tactic...

so anyway...I read that anything over 800 rems is a fatal dose of radiation...whats the diff between a rad and a rem...BTW I found some interesting stories about "radiation treatment gone wrong" along the way...

Posted on: 2008/2/15 17:32


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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Quote:

riz wrote:
but as it's designed, there is no more inherant danger at Yucca as working in a nuke plant.


Except for the fact that there would a heck of a lot more all at one place as oppose to amounts distributed between plant locations...

The big fear discussed about Yucca is the earthquake potential...what happens when they have one of those? Especially with the frequency of quakes in that part of the country...

Posted on: 2008/2/15 17:37


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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1st off, a rad is a specific amount of energy deposited in a given mass, 1 erg/gram. 1 rem is a measure of biological damage done by that eneregy. there are different types of radiation, alpg, betta, gamma, neutron etc, and they cause different amount of biological damage for the same amount of energy deposited tisssue. that's the short answer.

as for yucca mountain, i do not believe there are many and if there some they are small.
http://www.data.scec.org/recenteqs/

Posted on: 2008/2/17 1:10


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/9/10 21:53
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You realize that map shows only one weeks worth of movements...and yucca is just across the border from CA...thats pretty regular movements in my book...of course its better then if they built the place on the coast...geez...it showed a half dozen there in the last hour...

Posted on: 2008/2/17 13:02


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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yea i know. its the best map i could find without looking at 100000 hits. also they are small, 2 or 3 magnitude.

Posted on: 2008/2/18 1:05


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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Jack- what is your stance? Seeing how it was your poll.


I think we better have nuclear power in China and India or we might not be able to breath.

Did you know that China now imports coal to meet demand.
(and they have coal reserves)


America companies are benefitting greatly from this.

Consol
GE
Westinghouse

The rail companies have been on a multi-year tear as well shipping it. CSX,BNI,CNI

Posted on: 2008/2/18 8:26
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Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
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Quote:

acristickid wrote:
Jack- what is your stance? Seeing how it was your poll.


I think we better have nuclear power in China and India or we might not be able to breath.

Did you know that China now imports coal to meet demand.
(and they have coal reserves)


America companies are benefitting greatly from this.

Consol
GE
Westinghouse

The rail companies have been on a multi-year tear as well shipping it. CSX,BNI,CNI


Actually Jack created the poll for me after I couldn't seem to set it up. (Not that I mind Jack voicing an oinion.)

I think it's the only scaleable way create power without using a non-renewable source. I haven't researched the waste fuel problem as much as I have other aspects of alternative energy. I thought I'd let the discusion play out a bit before I added my comments. BTW my uncle was the general manager for the construction of and initial operation of a nuclear plant here in PA. He was also the Chief Engineer for the power company that owns it and has degrees in electrical and nuclear engineering. I have to give him a call and get his insights on the waste fuel solution.

Posted on: 2008/2/18 8:58


Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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tabasco joe- Ok, thanks for clearing that up.

Posted on: 2008/2/18 9:08
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Re: Do you support or oppose nuclear power generation?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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While there are problems, its the cleanest large source of energy we have.

Wind and solar are great to supplement the grid, but can never be large enough scale to take a significant bite out of coal. Geothermal is great too, but can be large scale for electricity in only a few areas. For houses (heating and cooling), it can be done pretty much everywhere, and the long-term economics are beneficial, so it should be pursued aggressively.

The only way to take a bite out of coal's influence on the large-scale electricity generation is nuclear. Its practically carbon free, if you believe in global warming (not trying to start debate). Even if you don't, it has no problems with acid rain, or mine acid, a huge factor for fishermen like us. Its inherently cheaper too. Though the cost of getting through the red tape and building a plant today make it so its not, even with those shortcomings its still competitive economically.

Regarding waste, we keep our old plants around, which make waste on an enormous scale compared to what modern plants would make if we built them. Yet we don't build them, why? Environmental concerns? It doesn't make sense. We also do not reprocess our waste, and the rest of the free world does. The vast majority of the waste we have around could be used as more fuel, and the stuff that comes out afterwards is much less radioactive (less dangerous and a half life on the order of 2-3 hundred years, as opposed to millions), elimintating or at least vastly reducing our storage problems. It seems counterintuitive, but a breeder reactor (which we don't use do to Jimmy Carter and proliferation concerns) actually winds up with more fuel than it started with. Consider, our aircraft carriers can stay at sea, under full power, for 50 years on a few pounds of fuel.

As far as safety. There are lots of safety problems. A properly running nuclear plant actually puts out less radioactivity than a properly running coal plant. Yes, there's been accidents. Chernobyl is most notable, but if you go through the list of design flaws and blatant disregard for safety, it truly baffles the mind that it could ever happen. TMI was big too, but the safety measures worked, and nothing all that bad actually happened. Accidents will occur, but modern reactors, which we could build today are immune to the "big one." And even with our poor reactors running, compare nuclear's safety record with that of coal, and its not even close. Now add all the deaths and injuries in mining accidents and its even more lopsided. Now consider the health effects of acid rain, AMD, siltation, etc, and its a no brainer.

The last part is hydrogen, probably the eventual winner to power our transportation. Right now, hydrogen can be made from oil, which has obvious limitations if we were to fuel our cars with it, we'd need a lot more oil per mile than gasoline needs. Or it can be made from water, by putting electricity through it to separate oxygen and hydrogen, and saving the hydrogen. The problem is, if it was 100% efficient (and it isn't), you'd get the same energy back as you put in via electricity. Essentially you'd be shifting the power from oil to coal, and I'm not sure thats an upgrade, certainly not with regard to emissions, carbon dioxide, and smog. Nuclear solves this. Because uranium is essentially free and endless, the cost of nuclear power is in building the plant and cutting red tape. It doesn't take any more money to run a plant at 100% capacity than it does at 30%. So at 4 a.m. when the demand on the grid is low, nuclear energy can be making hydrogen from water on a huge scale, and cars can be powered with no emissions at any point in the cycle.

Posted on: 2008/2/18 17:17



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