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Europe weighs nuclear risk

Gavin Hewitt | 15:51 UK time, Monday, 14 March 2011

The public came to accept nuclear power stations because the risks were thought to be small. Voters accepted reassurances. Experts were believed. The fail-safe systems were thought to be in place.

After the accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986 the world was haunted by a China syndrome. Meltdown was the stuff of horror movies.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel giving a speech about nuclear power

Time soothed away the fear. Long-standing opponents of nuclear power were won over. The world needed low-carbon energy sources and nuclear equalled clean energy. Longstanding sceptic-nations like Sweden recently overturned a 30-year-old ban on building nuclear plants. Across Europe and Asia, nuclear power stations were being built.

But in a deadly shudder that has overwhelmed many of the safety mechanisms at Fukushima, the nuclear debate has changed. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was a "decisive moment" for the world.

An old truth re-emerged. Accidents happen. The risk equation has altered.

So Switzerland today has suspended plans to build new nuclear plants and replace others. Three new sites had been approved. The government wants new safety measures in place that focus on seismic activity and the cooling systems. Switzerland's five reactors produce 40% of the country's energy.

Nuclear power has never been popular in Germany. There were demonstrations again at the weekend over a decision to extend the life of 10 atomic power stations. Controversially, Angela Merkel had decided to delay closing them for 12 years beyond their original shut-down date.


Protesters in Germany hold hands in a demonstration against nuclear power

That plan has now been suspended and Germany may be on its way to being nuclear free after 2020. The swiftness of today's decision reflects the fact that elections are due shortly in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The German chancellor sensed, with the events in Japan, that her policy was no longer sustainable.

The Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich has called for a series of stress tests to see if Europe's 143 nuclear power stations can withstand earthquakes. There is likely to be a safety review across Europe.

The French are being more cautious. After the United States, they are the second biggest nuclear power generators. Italy, which is prone to earthquakes, was considering new reactors. Almost certainly any plans there will stall.

The Russians, however, seem undaunted. Their plan is to increase electricity generation from nuclear plants from 16% now to 25% by 2030. That will involve building 40 new reactors.

But the Japanese earthquake has changed the risk equation. Low carbon economies almost certainly will have to turn more towards solar, wind and gas. The problem was always that relying on them alone would never enable Europe to meet its ambitious carbon-reducing targets.

Now nuclear will no longer be seen as the automatic way forward.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:41pm on 14 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    I'm reminded of a saying by my University tutor who was ultra-sceptical of all-things post-1959:

    'Nuclear Energy, the way to warm anyone's heart via their flesh & bones!'

    PS: No idea why 'post-1959'.

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  • 2. At 4:50pm on 14 Mar 2011, john wrote:

    The positive message from the tragedy in Japan is as follow:
    The only suitable place for nuclear power is the dustbin.
    All European government should put all their effort to create a clean energy source.
    John

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  • 3. At 5:13pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    On the contrary, let me quote Lewis Page from The Register

    "Japan's nuclear powerplants have performed magnificently in the face of a disaster hugely greater than they were designed to withstand, remaining entirely safe throughout and sustaining only minor damage. The unfolding Fukushima story has enormously strengthened the case for advanced nations – including Japan – to build more nuclear powerplants, in the knowledge that no imaginable disaster can result in serious problems."
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/14/fukushiima_analysis/

    And let me remind you that fossil fuels, coal and oil, do cause both serious safety and health issues both now and in the future. For example in China 20000 coal miners die each year, not to mention how many will die due to the climate change.

    Please, lets look at the facts and act rationally.

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  • 4. At 5:18pm on 14 Mar 2011, Dietrich wrote:

    Just another hype.

    In Germany it is connected with several elections in the states this year.
    The item is very welcomed by those who want to avoid to talk about much more important matters.

    In Japan it was the special combination of an earthquake with tsunami-waves (both in their connection could have been expected before) which led to that catastrophe over there.

    In Germany all nuclear plants are going to be closed until the next decade.
    There is no reason to be even faster than that.


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  • 5. At 5:43pm on 14 Mar 2011, Benefactor wrote:

    3. At 5:13pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    "Please, lets look at the facts and act rationally."

    Nah...

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  • 6. At 5:55pm on 14 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #3. At 5:13pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila,

    "Please, lets look at the facts and act rationally."

    For once with you I could not agree more, all the eco terrorists, greens will be twisting all and everything coming out of Japan, and the vested interests in oil, coal will be rubbing their hands with glee.

    Lets hope that the countries like Germany,et al do not be so stupid as they seem to be so far with their reactions. Japan is virtually the most active country there is and if an 8.9 quake can only put the facilities at a slight risk then they were very clever. If Europe EU politicians were not so clever with their vested interests lets hear it now, and if so bye bye EU, bye bye crap politicians.

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  • 7. At 5:58pm on 14 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @Dietrich, "the special combination of an earthquake with tsunami-waves" there was nothing "special" about that combination, the two events were closely related, and predictably so.

    Nuclear Energy maybe very safe in terms of how many it's killed vs other energy forms, but no other single accident has (as with Chernobyl) killed an entire ecosystem and made it uninhabitable for many lifetimes.

    Accidents can and do happen, all the best engineering in the world with unlimited amounts of money cannot prevent the unforeseen accident from happing. How many Chernobyl's do we think are worth the benefits? And if you reach your chosen level of worth while devastation, how do you ensure no more happens?

    Many have compared Nuclear Energy to Hydro in recent days saying Hydro kills many more, because when a dam bursts it kills lots of people. Sure, but communities recover, rebuilt and move on from such accidents. They don't from comparable nuclear accident, because you cannot.

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  • 8. At 6:08pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #6 Buzet 23

    -- they are rusting, were built before Cyber attacks were dreamt off and even at time of construction -- an answer whether a terrorist plane landing on one (if I remember correctly) --remains unanswered. (in Germany).

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  • 9. At 6:21pm on 14 Mar 2011, phillipwest wrote:

    NosaDraw,
    Well fine, so just how do you propose we generate power? Coal?, Oil from shale?, natural gas? There really isn't any alternative yet, as far as I know, and I can testify from personal experience, the winters here in Poland are cold, as they are in Germany. Germany seems now in a headlong rush to complete energy dependence ... good luck with that one. Chernoble is predicted to be habitable in about 600 years and the way things are going with the environment globally, may be the ONLY place habitable by then.

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  • 10. At 6:22pm on 14 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #8. At 6:08pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree,

    Your comment (in Germany) sums it up totally, yes these were it seems old sites and yes they were imminent for decommissioning but is that in any way a justifiable excuse for brain dead eco terrorists and greens to claim using nuclear energy is bad. You should consider whether you prefer total reliance on coal, gas and oil at the control of unreliable third party countries or an energy source that these cretins can't control.

    All that needs to be checked is that pay-offs were not made so that politicians approved corner cutting, the technology is safe, but politicians are not.

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  • 11. At 6:53pm on 14 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @PhilipWest - I don't know where extra power is to come from, I don't even rule out nuclear energy and maybe we have to make some unpalatable choices, really unpalatable ones.

    But why I made my comment was because I don't like the attempts to whitewash this incident as success of the nuclear industry, get real, it's a failure, and a huge one.

    The pro nuclear lobby need to stop telling us its safe (as they always have done despite many accidents), and instead get real and tell us what could happen, what's likely to happen and let us compare that to the alternatives.

    The nuclear industry has for many years been like a car manufacturer claiming it's 100% safe to drive their cars. It's not, it never will be, and to say so is a lie. But we still drive cars despite the dangers, if the nuclear industry wants people to trust it, then it needs to stop lying to us about how safe it is, its not, its a risk, but get real about the risks and the public might actually make an informed decision, because right now all we have is "its safe" being shown to be a lie by accidents. The public will never trust an industry shown to be lying all the time, even in the face of an ongoing disaster.

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  • 12. At 6:54pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #10 Buzet 23

    -at the time of Chernobyl I worked with radioactive isotopes C14, P32 and H3 our safety rules were very strict and it could cost us our jobs if we disregarded them.

    We took our Geiger counters outside --and they were very active-- anywhere we measured--our laboratories were much safer.

    The decision should probably be made by parents with children --as any wrong decisions are unlikely to affect Geriatrics like us !

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  • 13. At 7:12pm on 14 Mar 2011, Dietrich wrote:

    # 7 NosajDraw

    That combination is very special indeed.

    Or do you know some further examples of nuclear power plants who can be hit after an earthquake by tsunami-waves?

    Moreover: That's a scenario of the pacific area combined with a latent danger of earthquakes since ever and a very large nuclar power plant with 4(!) stations on the shore(!) of a highly industrialized country where this amount of energy is needed.

    It is very special Japan.

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  • 14. At 7:19pm on 14 Mar 2011, phillipwest wrote:

    #11 Nosadraw
    Have to agree with your comment here for the most part. The one advantage nuclear has over other foreign sources is that the nuclear industry can be supervised and controlled by the nations within which they operate. If as apparently is the case in Japan, the government fails in that effort they should be held accountable. If nuclear power plants are built on geologically active coastlines frequently visited by tsunamis such disasters are inevitable. I would hope some measures could be taken to make such plants safer but if not at least keep them out of the most hazardous venues. The alternatives of solar and wind seem just grand, wishful thinking and hydrocarbons a poison pill for our great grandchildren and beyond.

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  • 15. At 7:25pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To NosajDraw (11):

    Have you considered that this "whitewash" happens because the opposing side blackwashes the whole industry. If you listen to the argumentation from the other side, every nuclear plant in the world is another Chernobyl waiting to happen. No amount of technical or scientific information or studies that have been made, has made any impact to them. Safety systems build to the western power plants are just bypassed or deemed unreliable, because Chernobyl had safety systems and they had an worst case accident: no real comparison is made between western plans and safety systems to the Chernobyl.

    Actually, most opposition to nuclear power isn't actual opposition against nuclear power, it is opposition against our scientific high tech industrial society. For example I once was talking about a group of people about nuclear power, one young woman then commented that "nuclear power is nothing, those crazies are building a plant to France that can destroy whole western Europe, it has the same power as sun". What she was meaning was the ITER. How can you have a serious discussion when the other side is completely irrational and uneducated?

    I'm just waiting when the anti-technology/industrial establishment is going to go after the IT industry... "Those computers can become sentient and try to kill the humankind"... "You have to restrict the size of computer centers, you can't know for 100% certain that there is no risk that they wouldn't become sentient"... "If we reach singularity, it will be all over, we won't know even what hit us!!! We must stop computer science now!!!"

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  • 16. At 7:27pm on 14 Mar 2011, Seraphim wrote:

    Germany is one of the biggest exporters for energy in Europe (2nd to France). So shutting the plants down will only mean that there is less to export not that we will have to import energy and by that become dependant.

    The plants that are being discussed to be immediately shut now are by the way way older than the oldest one in Fukushima, which was supposed to be shut down this month. For our older plants the energy lobbies made a deal that contained many secret passages with the actual government. They haven't even asked the Bundesrat (which according to the laws they were supposed to have) because they knew that funny smelling law never would have passed there. That law however includes that even the most rusty plants would get another 8 years no matter the shape they were in.

    I am neither in favour of shutting down all plants immediately nor even against building new and modern plants, but those 40 years old plants that we run and that are supposed to be in service for another decade need to be shut down very soon.

    And I doubt this will get as bad as chernobyl simply because the plant in Japan was moderated by water which burns a whole lot worse than the graphite used in Chrernobyl.

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  • 17. At 7:40pm on 14 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    15. At 7:25pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:


    Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly with Your points about the 'ignorance' of some & the fear factor about the newly emerging techno-science World I think You underestimate a serious basic factor contributing to those doubts.

    The stock-piling of Nuclear Fissile material continues unabated with no method of disposing of it: Many anti-Nuclear/'greens' are very well aware these last 6 decades the Nations utilising Nuclear Energy have been simply storing an immense problem for future generations.
    When the issue of what to do with Nuclear Waste has been addressed and proven to be solvable then Nuclear Energy facilities will be much more welcome.

    Until then You are entitled to be one of those prepared to put Your children, grandchildren & future generations entirely at the mercy of a Science that is far from satisfactory, but there are many, including myself who would rather not do so.

    Afterall, as You rightly point out the massive dangers created by Fossil Fuels is now an ever present threat & GW perhaps its biggest example (though illness & injury in Human terms are the most noticeable cost) and why the World would add to future generations' already massive problems with Nuclear Power is something I have yet to be convinced is a good idea.

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  • 18. At 7:44pm on 14 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #12. At 6:54pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    "The decision should probably be made by parents with children --as any wrong decisions are unlikely to affect Geriatrics like us ! "

    And turkeys will vote for Christmas, sure!

    The next time oil supplies and gas supplies are disrupted just who will be blamed, the nuclear objectors or the politicians who closed the nuclear centres. The whole point of nuclear power plants is that safety must never be compromised by politicians, and along with that business must never be allowed to receive blank cheques.

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  • 19. At 7:55pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To cool_brush_work (17):

    We have good enough solutions already today. The problem isn't that we don't have solutions, the problem is that people are too afraid to make decisions.

    For example in my home town, they are preparing to start the Phase 3 of the Onkalo waste repository in 2015 that will house all the nuclear waste produced in Finland, to be completed in 2020.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkalo_waste_repository#Onkalo_waste_repository

    There is also an movie about the place called Into Eternity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoyKe-HxmFk (Movie trailer)

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  • 20. At 7:56pm on 14 Mar 2011, Mathiasen wrote:

    What the change in German energy planning will be, it is too early to say. The existing plans are now on hold through a moratorium of three months. At the moment it is just save to say that German energy planning will have a new form, when the moratorium has ended. I expect the shutting down of nuclear energy plants will be accelerated.

    There are plants in neighbouring countries, which are just as problematic as the oldest plants in Germany. It is therefore evident and it has been evident for decades that the whole matter as a border crossing problem of the continent, should be discussed within the framework of the EU.

    These European discussions after the disaster in Japan will start very soon.

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  • 21. At 8:31pm on 14 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Good to see & read You, Mathiasen.

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  • 22. At 8:46pm on 14 Mar 2011, DaveC wrote:

    So let's go for Wind and Solar Power, but what will we do in the middle of Winter when it's cloudy and the wind isn't blowing

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  • 23. At 8:48pm on 14 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    19. At 7:55pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    "For example in my home town, they are preparing to start the Phase 3 of the Onkalo waste repository in 2015 that will house all the nuclear waste produced in Finland, to be completed in 2020."


    Know Onkalo well, J_R: My, my, how pleased are future generations in Your 'hometown' going to be with You & the others who 'dared to boldly go where no man has been before'...
    As in, "..the Onkalo waste repository in 2015 that will house all the nuclear waste produced in Finland..."

    Precisely J_R!

    Only trouble is, and it is an enormous trouble, as You carelessly relate to us all, it is a "..waste repository..".

    Nothing clever about storing Radiation waste with multiple hundreds of life-years J_R!
    On the contrary, Onkalo & all its residents' future is being wagered aganist a future answer to the radiation repository facilities outlasting the radiation.
    Your 'repository' is not a solution: It is a technical hostage to fortune.

    The sort of once-in-a-lifetime bet I'm sure extremely clever Japanese Nuclear Physcisists and extremely clever Nuclear Station designers made that no Tsunami could ever be that powerful!




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  • 24. At 8:53pm on 14 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @Dietrich - If you meant "special" as in unique, then OK, but the way you phrased it seemed you were saying that no one could have predicted it. But lets get real, place a nuclear plant right on the coast of earthquake prone country, and given we know that Tsunami can often happened earthquakes and even I would have predicted the plant would have been hit by an earthquake followed by a Tsunami. In terms of predictability it was a racing certainty, nothing special about that.

    @Jukka Rohila

    Professionally I am an IT person and I have met and tried to talk to the people you describe, it is indeed frustrating, and I'm often left wishing for them to win a Darwin award soon.

    However, I also think about the Amish and other cultures that have deliberately opted out of the modern life. It's not for me, and most of the time I just think it's naive. But I'm also aware that I don't have the ultimate right to judge them and their choices.

    So how does this relate to the nuclear question? Well, my choice (that of all of us) will make the choice for them, and they've already they want no part of it, yet if I choose nuclear, I will be imposing my will on them, and my (our) choice may be irreversible and possibly tragic.

    That doesn't mean I abdicate from making a choice, but it leaves me certain I need to be informed, and frankly I anti nuclear lobby seems to inform me more than the pro. The anti ask questions like "what about the waste?" and "what happens when there is an accident?" the pro's say "it's safe".

    Until the pro's can answers those questions (and I don't mean by guaranteeing its safe, I mean, real answers, whatever they maybe) then I'm always going to distrust the pro lobby.

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  • 25. At 8:58pm on 14 Mar 2011, vassilis wrote:

    Nuclear energy entails a too high price to pay in case of an accident (longterm contamination and consequences for populations beyond the vicinity of the stations). And accidents do happen one way or the other. Physical catastrophies do happen and people can make mistakes. This of course applies to any activity but in case of nuclear the consequences are too severe. I do not think that it can pass any serious risk assessment. It has been mainly a political decision so far. Hopefully politicians will take the proper decisions not due to ignorance but to knowledge (Merkel carries a PhD in physical chemistry).

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  • 26. At 9:13pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #18 Buzet 23

    --- I don´t see you saving energy --if your number of contributions are a valid statistic.

    "And turkeys will vote for Christmas, sure!"

    -- Geriatric turkeys or future generations was exactly my point.

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  • 27. At 9:28pm on 14 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    8. At 6:08pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    AND,

    12. At 6:54pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:


    OMG!

    QOT actually making sense with sensible points!

    The World has surely toppled from its axis!

    Please do try for more of the same reasoned approach: It's much better.

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  • 28. At 9:40pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To cool_brush_work (23) and NosajDraw (24):

    There are two options: to go nuclear, or not to go nuclear. Both of these choices have consequences. We have discussed about nuclear, now let me remind you about what will happen if we don't.

    Without nuclear energy, we will use more fossil fuels, we will accelerate the global warming to a point of no return. The point of no return is the point where we have warmed up our globe so much that undersea methane starts to leak in quantities that will accelerate global warming regardless of any human actions. At that point it is game over for humanity and for most of the living things in the planet. There will be no one left to question the choices that were made.

    The thing is, the options are bad and the conditions were we are making decisions are uncertain. Now, not making a choice is not a choice, as not making a choice is a choice. The only real choice we have is to trust our scientific knowledge and trust our technical capabilities, and make the best effort that we can do solve the problem at hand.

    Yes, nuclear produces waste, but it doesn't accelerate the climatic doomsday. So if nothing else, we have more time by having less carbons emitted into the air.

    Yes, storing nuclear waste into an underground repository isn't very clever, but it is much better than keeping the waste on the ground level where it can leak out into the environment. If nothing else, we have just minimised the danger on the ground.

    Deciding to do something and then doing it, is better than on not deciding and not doing anything. We don't have the luxury on not doing anything.

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  • 29. At 9:46pm on 14 Mar 2011, Dietrich wrote:

    # 24 NosajDraw

    I meant "special" in view of all the other nuclear power stations around the world in comparison. And I meant it, because the plant was exposed to two big risks at once. One alone would have been enough. I think that's not too difficult to understand.

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  • 30. At 9:53pm on 14 Mar 2011, Mathiasen wrote:

    - Thank you, Cool Brush

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  • 31. At 9:54pm on 14 Mar 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    As there is no real safe way to dispose of spent nuclear fuel it is good that some re-thinking is on the table. Of course, because of elections rather than prudent policy things are under consideration. The political tell their patrons that they must survive to do their bidding. The problem remains with big oil and coal having ownership of many governments and this thwarts efforts to seek viable alternative fuels. Once again, human arrogance has received a well deserved slap in the face.

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  • 32. At 10:02pm on 14 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @Dietrich then I feel you twist words, because a Tsunami after a bad quake is entirely predictable, indeed even normal. Given the predictability of those two events following right after each other, there is nothing special about them. Any nuclear plant built on the coast of Japan should have been design and built to withstand both, even if only separated by minutes.

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  • 33. At 10:07pm on 14 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @Jukka Rohila sorry, but they are not the only choices, in that going without nuclear means either we must get power from elsewhere, which might mean we have to cover every part of the land in wind turbines however much it destroys our views or places of special scientific interest, or that we must cut back on our power usage.

    So now your 2 options have become 4 options and I'm sure given thought and research other options can be thought of too.

    I'm not convinced that nuclear is the best way, and telling me the only alternative is certain death for me and everyone will help you convince me.

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  • 34. At 10:16pm on 14 Mar 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    Seems as though we are having the usual round of hysterics whereby common sense and good science are thrown out of the window. How many places sit on a major earthquake zone and are that close to the sea? Maybe not such a good place to build nuclear power plants but even then so far these plants seem to be doing what they were designed to do which is contain the radiation danger.
    Maybe we should wait for a week or two before all leaping to conclusions.

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  • 35. At 11:15pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet 23

    --- Our building had air cleaning filters. A few weeks after Chernobyl the filters were to be changed, it was thought that most of the radioactivity on the dust would have decayed -- at 3 meters from the filters --the Geiger counter went crazy.

    -- our first remarks were -- `What the hell are those substances with such radioactive energy and 1/2 life´????

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  • 36. At 00:40am on 15 Mar 2011, Reiser wrote:

    Someone remind me when the last time Europe was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, which led to a Tsunami hitting a coastline to the magnitude of the one in Japan, or actually anything close to it?

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  • 37. At 05:43am on 15 Mar 2011, splendidhashbrowns wrote:

    Morning Gavin,
    very brave of you to introduce a blog about the dangers/benefits of power generation from nuclear reactors!
    Doesn't this debate pose the larger question of energy policy in general across Europe/ the developing Countries?
    To reduce the argument in absurdia, let's have all countries generate all of their electricity via nuclear power. Is that the world that we want to live in? I think not.
    The problem with nuclear power generation is that it is highly technical and it is very emotive. Many arguments can be made, both for and against and the layman is never given the full facts by the "know it all" politicians. Nuclear power generation can never be made safe, just as drilling for oil cannot be made safe. We therefore need some other measure of desirability, and that method is to assign a mathematical probability of human death rate and assign a cost to prevent even one death.
    The facts produced can then be looked at objectively and decisions made as to which way to go for our energy future, looking at the system as a whole.
    This has not been done in the past (or has been kept hidden) because of the over-riding desire to produce nuclear weapons at any cost.
    China are currently building 27 reactors in the next 5 years. Who are we to tell them that they are wrong/misguided? What about India who also need large amounts of additional electricity?
    The main reason that these plants are built on the coast is the large water supply which incidently from an engineering point of view CANNOT be guaranteed to be supplied to the plants (which is what happened in Japan).
    No, I think this is a much wider question, and one which our current politicians are getting seriously wrong (wind power, solar power, bio fuels).

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  • 38. At 07:42am on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    28. At 9:40pm on 14 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:
    To cool_brush_work (23) and NosajDraw (24):

    There are two options: to go nuclear, or not to go nuclear. Both of these choices have consequences. We have discussed about nuclear, now let me remind you about what will happen if we don't."


    J_R Your attempted reminder is appreciated, but not really needed.
    What You proclaim as, "..game over for humanity and for most of the living things in the planet.." is merely a scenario. The Science is far from proven and the "..planet.." is not yet "..warmed up..", and nor is it approaching anything like it.
    There are alternatives to Nuclear Energy: The Techno-Science is available but at immense cost (greater even than Nuclear Power). More & better 'education' of People is required to make those choices the preference for a safer Earth.

    Your scenario of 2 choices is scare-mongering on the same scale as those 'greens'/'eco-warriors' etc. who denounce every aspect of modern lifestyle as 'killing the planet'.


    You say, "..Yes, nuclear produces waste, but it doesn't accelerate the climatic doomsday. So if nothing else, we have more time by having less carbons emitted into the air."

    Oh really, and on what do You base that claim? Surely not the 'science' of Nuclear Physics wherein only each succeeding accident over decades has enabled Nuclear Scientists to build-up greater knowledge of the 'doomsday' energy system they promote as cleaner & safer & the only altewrnative to Fossil Fuels for Humans & the Planet?


    Then You come up with this amazing assertion, "..Yes, storing nuclear waste into an underground repository isn't very clever, but it is much better than keeping the waste on the ground level where it can leak out into the environment. If nothing else, we have just minimised the danger on the ground..."

    One of the most incredible explanations of the decision to create centuries of Nuclear Waste I've ever read!
    Let us put it in the simplest terms: By choosing to develop Nuclear Power Stations a Nation has chosen to create an Energy system whose basic 'fuel' is so dangerous to Humanity & Earth that, (1) no one can be sure how long its 'waste' will last, and (2) more importantly just what happens within that 'waste' over decades!


    "..Deciding to do something and then doing it, is better than on not deciding and not doing anything. We don't have the luxury on not doing anything.."


    Is Your opinion on the matter: It is typical of Your decisive attitude to all matters and IMO is no bad thing.
    However, I would respond the future does not have the "..luxury.." of taking back those decisive "..decisions.." made by such as You in the present. The 'future' is being asked to solve problems we are knowingly, deliberately creating for it.

    This 'decisiveness' disrespecting & ignoring future generations despite all that we have learned about the exploitation of Fossil Fuels etc. in past decisive decisions & the consequent degrading of the 'life' of the Planet.

    J_R, I can't agree with Your view: I believe we should be much more responsible about what we bequeath to the future - - Nuclear Waste is a disaster ahead - - and all our experience of the reasons for GW etc. suggests to me that a Nuclear Waste Repository is just another term for another form of GW.



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  • 39. At 08:47am on 15 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    My prediction and many will mourn its truth--

    Is that economics will determine whether we end up with nuclear power or not.

    When we see nations prospering we will copy that nation--whether it uses "good or bad" energy.

    I just hope its France and nations opting for averting climate change with nuclear power that we follow in the meantime..

    until better economically and environmentally sound ways of using power arise.

    :))

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  • 40. At 08:50am on 15 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    In the meantime I'll hope for Japan and its very very precarious position

    Who knows what is going to happen there...I just hope neighboring nations whom hate the Japanese don't make matters worse..

    bunches of the Pacific Rim nations.

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  • 41. At 09:00am on 15 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    And just because there are a bunch of oldies but goodies (im 53 and many are older) here is no reason to brush off global warming

    as not a priority...

    our grandchildren will put us all into nursing homes--with Little regret--and throw away the keys...

    if we are not careful (if we do not prioritize our "issues" WELL ENOUGH)

    Apocolyptic futures are not an option...

    for the young.

    Oh well thats me preaching and alienating again..sigh

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  • 42. At 09:04am on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #35. At 11:15pm on 14 Mar 2011, quietoaktree,

    I have listened to nuclear 'experts' on the tv for many days now and the one common thing they say is that this is not similar to Chernobyl in a number of important ways. These 'experts' are in the industry, university professors etc and to date I have not heard one disagreement amongst them. Unless evidence appears to the contrary it is being disingenuous to refer to Chernobyl as that is emotive and likely to cloud rather than help the issues.

    For sure there are alternatives to nuclear energy, carbon fuels are a no no, wind farms and tidal barriers are a possibility but have visibility and environmental damage problems attached, or that we cut back on power usage as NosajDraw suggests. However having just had two severe winters, using recycling bins, energy saving bulbs, etc just how can most households reduce consumption, a Green would say spend money you don't have to install ground source heat pumps, but again that means environmental damage, solar panels are another option but they have a short life and you need sun for them to work. There is no panacea, I think.

    Basically Nuclear energy is the best option, albeit with its disposal and decommissioning problems. A nuclear scientist I know who worked in a nuclear centre in Belgium tells me there is a lot of research into the transmutation of heavy metals with the objective being nuclear waste could be transformed into something much less harmful. Lets all hope that somewhere a scientist makes a breakthrough, or that nuclear fusion can be made to work so that nuclear fission can be replaced.

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  • 43. At 09:06am on 15 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    Hi

    A brief discourse on the dangers of nuclear radiation. The initial quantification of the risks posed by increased radiation levels was based upon US studies on the Japanese populations subjected to the after effects of the two nuclear devices detonated above Japan. The scientists responsible drew their graphs in such a way that only at zero radiation levels was there zero risk. It was assumed that any radiation at all was harmfull.

    About ten years ago scientists stuying the flaura and fauna around Chernobyll noticed something interesting. Even though the organisms were subject to high doses of radiation they were perfectly healthy. DNA studies showed no damage to their DNA but instead showed something utterly fascinating. Regions of DNA which had been classified as junk were active. This supposedly junk DNA actually had an active role to play at high radiation levels. Studying the health of the people living in the vicinity of Chernobyll the scientists noted that cancer rates were no higher than among other stressed human populations; by inference people were getting cancer because justifiably concerned authorities were making them stressed and not by the raised radiation levels.

    Humans have a degree of protection against levels of radiation which are considerably higher than that which we now denote as background levels.

    This is the good news for those who are pro nuclear. The risks posed by nuclear incidents such as Chernobyll have been wildly over exaggerated.

    Now the bad news. Mining the Uranium for nuclear power stations poses a significant health risk to communities living in the vicinity of the mine. Inreased Radon levels which really are associated with serious health risks.

    And another thing..... Has anyone here heard of EROEI? This is an acronym used by economists it stands for energy return on energy invested. For example oil: one barrel of oil invested in Saudi Arabia yields 15-20 barrels of oil, so the yield is 15-20:1. No non-fossil fuel source of power other than hydro-electricity has done better than a 3:1 return. Energy is going to be expensive in the future and green energy isn't anywhere near effective enough to replace oil.

    Nuclear power isn't risk free but as an energy source it is far more practical than any green alternative. If we want to maintain our standard of living it looks as though we will have to live with the risks.

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  • 44. At 09:09am on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    36. At 00:40am on 15 Mar 2011, Reiser wrote:
    Someone remind me when the last time Europe was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, which led to a Tsunami hitting a coastline to the magnitude of the one in Japan, or actually anything close to it?"


    Possibly the Biblical-mythical 'Great Flood'?

    Possibly the 'sea' inundations that separated the British Isles from the Continent?

    Possibly the 'sea' invasion that tunred the fresh-water Black lake into the Black Sea?

    All a very long time ago: Then again, the last Tsunami of this magnitude to strike Japan is mythically recorded in ancient scrolls - - afterall, 'Tsunami' is taken from the Asiatic terminology for 'Great Waves of Sea'.

    As for Earthquakes: Most nations with northern Mediterranean coastlines have suffered from them (e.g. Italy) & flooding on immense scale (e.g. Polder Lands of Netherlands & East Anglia & south west of G.B.) has disrupted places right across the Continent & British Isles.

    Never bet against 'nature'.

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  • 45. At 09:19am on 15 Mar 2011, john wrote:

    The solution is solar power on grand scale back up by wind power wen possible.
    We need a international solution as follow:
    The UN will become the owner of all desert area in the world and construct in the same gigantic solar power plant and distribute the energy to world.
    Until we think as single nations and profit the only achievement will be the destruction of our Planet by one mean or other.
    John

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  • 46. At 09:26am on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #44. At 09:09am on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work

    Talking about Tsunami's and Northern France, Flanders, Holland and South East England, is there not a threat from a mountain in the Canary Isles that may fall into the sea and create a giant wave. I seem to recall a BBC program on this a couple of years back and if such an event did hit then there are certainly some nuclear centres in the target areas of low lying land.

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  • 47. At 09:30am on 15 Mar 2011, nautonier wrote:

    The question is ... with the benefit of hindsight ... should the problems of being able to withstand a tsunami/cooling the Japanese reactors have been foreseen ... not whether the entire new nuclear industry should be scrapped?

    Those who take the risks ...like Russia will come out on top economically ... Rusia can do this more easily because of its vast land area and isolation of its reactors from populated areas.

    One would have thought that being able to cool something in Switzerland would not be a problem?

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  • 48. At 09:36am on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    43. At 09:06am on 15 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    "..About ten years ago scientists stuying the flaura and fauna around Chernobyll noticed something interesting. Even though the organisms were subject to high doses of radiation they were perfectly healthy. DNA studies showed no damage to their DNA but instead showed something utterly fascinating. Regions of DNA which had been classified as junk were active. This supposedly junk DNA actually had an active role to play at high radiation levels..."


    Here's an even briefer discourse:

    You and the Scientists take Yourselves & Your families and go live in the vicinity of Chernobyl.
    I'd settle for a 3 generation experiment, i.e. You, then your children & then their children live out their lives at downtown Chernobyl.

    When the DNA is shown to be radio-actively within the limits of those of us who don't live in the Chernobyl region then I'm sure we'll all go with Nuclear Energy (though the problem of 'Nuclear Waste' remains).

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  • 49. At 09:56am on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @6 Buzet23 "...eco terrorists, greens...."

    If you want to contribute to rational debate, don't smear those with a different opinion!

    The problem with all big energy lobbys, including the nuclear one, is that they buy up politicians one way or another. They also don't tell the truth.

    At the beginning of this crisis, Ian Hore-Lacy, of the World Nuclear Association was being interviewed by the BBC as an "expert". Whereas his true role is as a lobbyist. Before the first explosion he was telling us that these plants were well designed and there was nothing to worry about.

    Now we've had hundreds of thousands of people evacuated.

    We have to get used the the idea, in all walks of life, that "experts" are usually not impartial. Sometimes it's because of financial interest; others its because people invest so much emotional capital in a point of view that it becomes part of their personal religion.

    With important issues like nuclear power, we need watchdogs which are designed to play devil's advocate and rock the boat. This is the only way that society will get enough facts to make informed decisions.

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  • 50. At 10:07am on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    LA PALMA MEGA-TSUNAMI THEORY

    http://www.iberianature.com/material/megatsunami.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/aug/10/science.spain

    http://www.iberianature.com/material/megatsunami.html

    You pays your money.....

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  • 51. At 10:31am on 15 Mar 2011, Bluegrasskie wrote:

    Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have proven that it does not take an earthquake and a flood to produce a meltdown. Chernobyl resulted in making some 40000 square kilometers of the surface of the earth unhabitable. If a technology is capable of virtually destroying the planet it cannot be taken responsibility for.

    As for the sanitary outcome of Chernobyl: Thyroid cancer in the area has risen by 5000 percent for instance. Anyone may google about the incident and it's successions.

    Setting the agenda on nuclear power back in the 60s was based on the conviction the plants could be run fail safe. That is evidently wrong.

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  • 52. At 10:58am on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #49. At 09:56am on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @6 Buzet23 "...eco terrorists, greens...."

    "If you want to contribute to rational debate, don't smear those with a different opinion!"

    There is a big difference between those who have a different opinion and those who represent the Greens and Eco-Terrorists. Having a rational difference of opinion should lead to rational debate, whereas the Green/Eco-Terrorist lobby, and it is a lobby, have only one agenda and it's rarely rational. The rest of your post states for instance "We have to get used the the idea, in all walks of life, that "experts" are usually not impartial.", this is very true as there are always vested interests, but then so are 'committed' experts like Greens whose very existence lies in there being 'crimes against nature' to be exposed. Impartiality is different to find from both 'experts' or Greens.

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  • 53. At 11:15am on 15 Mar 2011, SnoddersB wrote:

    Isn't it great that the least poluting power generation, Nuclear, is now in doubt becaust of an earthquake. Seems to me that the Greenies will be pushing for the world to return to the 1600's when there was no thchnology andf people died of starvation.

    Nuclear is perfectly safe, especially here where there are no earthquakes, however nodoubt there will now be another delay in building these essential power statiions and the much loved greenie windmills will nodoubt be unable to fill the void.

    Oh! I know! How about building coal fired power stations and use some of the 500 years of the stuff we have under this country.

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  • 54. At 11:18am on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    49. At 09:56am on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    @6 Buzet23 "...eco terrorists, greens...."

    "The problem with all big energy lobbys, including the nuclear one, is that they buy up politicians one way or another. They also don't tell the truth..."

    "We have to get used the the idea, in all walks of life, that "experts" are usually not impartial..."

    "With important issues like nuclear power, we need watchdogs which are designed to play devil's advocate and rock the boat. This is the only way that society will get enough facts to make informed decisions..."


    Apart from pointing out Your 'watchdogs... playing devil's advocate.." will also inevitably have some partiality as it there is no such thing as no bias I do agree wholeheartedly with Your views.

    My primary view for all Nuclear Energy programmes is that when Contracts worth Billions upon Billions of money is at stake Governments/Politicians & Businessmen/Experts within the system should be the very last people whose word is to be trusted on such matters.






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  • 55. At 11:19am on 15 Mar 2011, DorsetJane wrote:

    I agree with those who call for some cool-minded reflection. We do not yet know the full consequences of the problems in Japan so we need to let them play out. After all it takes years and years to build a new reactor so there will be plenty of time to respond as events develop.

    Those of us in the UK will be grateful for our location and lack of wild natural events....

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  • 56. At 11:38am on 15 Mar 2011, Justin150 wrote:

    There are of course some parts of Europe which are geologically pretty active. It would for example be particularly mad to site a nuclear reactor on the side of Mount Etna.

    However, most of Europe is not a geological time bomb. Admittedly in the UK we do get small earthquakes on a regular basis but the key word is small.

    It therefore seems particularly pointless stress testing UK reactors for earthquake proofing.

    That does leave other forms of natural disaster - flooding being the one the UK should be concerned with most. here the issue is the design of the cooling system. The problem in Japan was the cooling system relied on pumps. That is an old system, there is no need for it, passive or convection cooling systems should be used in which event even flooding on an almost biblical scale would not cause a problem

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  • 57. At 12:05pm on 15 Mar 2011, Llareggub_2 wrote:

    Many would say that these Japanese reactors have been accidents waiting to happen. That does not mean that the planning for them was unsafe, or that nuclear reactors are unsafe. Don't forget that a force 9.0 earthquake and a 10 metre sunami, although they were possibly most likely to happen in Japan, had a very small likelyhood. The reactor designs and failsafe mechanisms were drawn up to protect from something a bit more likely.
    The lesson we'll learn from this is probably that the sea shore in an area that can be devastated by a sunami is maybe not the best place for a reactor.
    Japan will obviously learn from these events. The rest of the world should now take note that nuclear reactors can (almost) withstand the worst the world can throw at them (short of nuclear weapons).
    Angela Merkel is probably right in her electoral stance to ditch trying to keep Germany's reactors going 12 years beyond their expiry date, because she needs the electorate, but we need more nuclear power. There are many places in the world where a 9.0 earthquake and 10 metre sunami are not just unlikely, but are never going to happen.
    Trawsfynedd is one such site. It has the cooling lake, the connection to the grid, the pumped storage capacity and everything is going for it, but the old reactor that was scrapped some years ago is just going to by buried. Why can't we have a new one there as well.
    It's probably much safer than Anglesey (it's not by the sea) and the aluminium plant that Wylfa fed has now gone anyway!

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  • 58. At 12:06pm on 15 Mar 2011, jace41 wrote:

    36. At 00:40am on 15 Mar 2011, Reiser wrote:
    Someone remind me when the last time Europe was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, which led to a Tsunami hitting a coastline to the magnitude of the one in Japan, or actually anything close to it?


    The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755.

    9 in the Richter scale, with a 20 meter Tsunami. One of the most destructive quakes in human history that led to destruction of Lisbon (Portugal).

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  • 59. At 12:07pm on 15 Mar 2011, James75 wrote:

    @36

    The last time an earthquake hit Europe of similar magnitude and tsunami effect as the Sendai earthquake was in 1755, which I believe destroyed most of Lisbon.

    Still though it's safe to say that in Europe you have to worry more about human error (or intent!) causing problems for a nuclear power plant than being hit by or an 9.0 Moment Magnitude earthquake or any other natural disaster.

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  • 60. At 12:15pm on 15 Mar 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 61. At 12:25pm on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @52 For example, is the MP for Brighton a terrorist? Provide evidence if you say yes, as the BBC doesn't allow libel.

    Your argument is fundamentally dishonest, as you use emotionally loaded language which implicitly smears all Greens as terrorists. Ask yourself: have you invested too much emotion in this point of view? I would recommend this book which is about to be reprinted.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Straight-Crooked-Thinking-Robert-Thouless/dp/1444117181/

    Come back when you have learned to distinguish between an argument and an insult.

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  • 62. At 12:38pm on 15 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    The last Tsunami to hit England was probably 1607. http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/1607-flood.shtml I know the jury is still out on whether it was a Tsunami or not, but the evidence for it being a Tsunami continues to mount, and the last time I saw a TV program about it, it seemed that most who have opinion now agree it was a Tsunami.

    I know, 1607 seems like a long time ago, but when it comes to talking about nuclear waste in particular, it really isn't that long at all, and to say we in the UK don't need nuclear facilities that can withstand these events would be a fallacy, they've happened in the past, they will happen again.

    None nuclear disasters, tragic though they are, are recoverable from, often within a few short years, indeed the 1607 event was totally forgotten about until geologists started to see evidence and then did more research both geological and in archives. But a nuclear disaster (which Japan is not yet, and may never be) had it happened in 1607 in the UK is still something we would have to live with today, some 400 years later.

    So whilst the risk of a nuclear disaster maybe very low, if and when it does happens the price will be extreme. It is this extreme price that must be weighed against the benefits of nuclear energy.

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  • 63. At 12:41pm on 15 Mar 2011, jag002 wrote:

    Maybe we should consider a world-wide ban on any buildings within 20 miles of a coastline, just in case a tsunami hits.

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  • 64. At 12:54pm on 15 Mar 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    As we all know nuclear energy is produced from a nuclear reaction (fission) in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts often producing free neutrons and photons (in the form of gamma rays). Nuclear fission produces energy because certain substances called nuclear fuels undergo fission when struck by free neutrons and in turn generate neutrons when they break apart. This makes possible a self-sustaining chain reaction that releases energy at a controlled rate in a nuclear reactor or at a very rapid uncontrolled rate in a nuclear weapon...

    ...But some of you may not know that there are alternatives to nuclear fission. The so called nuclear fusion reactions.

    Nuclear Fusion has many potential attractions:

    1) The fuels that could be used are relatively inexpensive and readily available. (Abundant deuterium fuel - one of the hydrogen isotopes used. Possible ability to make tritium fuel - the other hydrogen isotope needed - with neutrons produced in fusion and Abundant Lithium)
    2)The products of a fusion reaction are not radioactive, thus there are no nuclear waste problems.("Clean nuclear stove" producing relatively short-lived waste. No production of CO2 or atmospheric pollutants)
    3)Fusion is not a chain reaction, therefore it can be stopped at anytime and there is no threat of a meltdown.
    4)Fusion would be a virtually inexhaustible energy supply that could eliminate most of the world's dependence on other fuels.
    5)fairly expensive to create but virtualy inexpensive energy

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  • 65. At 1:06pm on 15 Mar 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    Nuclear fusion reactions combine light atomic nuclei such as hydrogen to form heavier ones such as helium. The Sun shines because of the process of fusion since in the core, hydrogen fuses to form helium through a process known as the proton-proton chain.

    The basic concept behind any fusion reaction is to bring two or more nuclei close enough together so that the residual strong force (nuclear force) in their nuclei will pull them together into one larger nucleus. If two light nuclei fuse, they will generally form a single nucleus with a slightly smaller mass than the sum of their original masses (though this is not always the case). The difference in mass is released as energy.

    Nuclei are positively charged, and thus repel each other due to the electrostatic force but generally less energy will be needed to cause lighter nuclei to fuse, as they have less charge and thus a lower barrier energy (Coulomb barrier or fusion barrier), and when they do fuse, more energy will be released.

    Reactions take place at such high temperatures that the atoms have been ionized, their electrons stripped off by the heat; thus, fusion is typically described in terms of "nuclei" instead of "atoms". In order to overcome the electrostatic repulsion between them, the nuclei must have a temperature of several tens of millions of degrees, under which conditions they no longer form neutral atoms but exist in the plasma state.

    So the biggest challenge is the confinement methods used to obtain such plasma state at temperatures of several tens of millions of degrees. Two major confinement methods are used today:

    1) Inertial laser confinement fusion (U.S. technique): process where nuclear fusion reactions are initiated by heating and compressing a fuel target, typically in the form of a pellet (about the size of a pinhead and contain around 10 milligrams of fuel) that most often contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium. To compress and heat the fuel, energy is delivered to the outer layer of the target using high-energy beams of laser light. The heated outer layer explodes outward, producing a reaction force against the remainder of the target, accelerating it inwards, and sending shock waves into the center. A sufficiently powerful set of shock waves can compress and heat the fuel at the center so much that fusion reactions occur. The energy released by these reactions will then heat the surrounding fuel, which may also begin to undergo fusion. The aim is to produce a condition known as "ignition", where this heating process causes a chain reaction that burns a significant portion of the fuel (10 milligrams release the energy equivalent to burning a barrel of oil).

    2) Magnetic confinement fusion (E.U. & international technique): uses magnetic fields to confine the hot fusion fuel in the form of a plasma and attempts to create the conditions needed for fusion energy production by using the electrical conductivity of the plasma to contain it with magnetic fields. The basic concept can be thought of in a fluid picture as a balance between magnetic pressure and plasma pressure, or in terms of individual particles spiraling along magnetic field lines. The Russian Toroidal machines called tokamak is the next international future project:

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  • 66. At 1:17pm on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    53. At 11:15am on 15 Mar 2011, SnoddersB wrote:

    "..Nuclear is perfectly safe, especially here where there are no earthquakes,.."

    Factually inaccurate on both counts: Demonstrably Nuclear Fission is unsafe - - plus the risks of human error make it likely an accident will occur & with Nuclear Energy that's centuries of recovery. As for no 'earthquakes' in British Isles! Where have You been the last 2 decades or come that just last year!?

    55. At 11:19am on 15 Mar 2011, DorsetJane wrote:

    "After all it takes years and years to build a new reactor so there will be plenty of time to respond as events develop."

    Fundamental misunderstanding of the Nuclear technology: The Nuclear Reactor has to be housed before everything else is out in place - - they can't bring the fuel-rods along afterwards - - though true enough to date this placement technology has an unblemished record.

    56. At 11:38am on 15 Mar 2011, Justin150 wrote:

    "..However, most of Europe is not a geological time bomb. Admittedly in the UK we do get small earthquakes on a regular basis but the key word is small..."


    There is nothing to indicate dormant volcanos or tectonic plate beneath British Isles & Continental Europe may not become active again. On the contrary there is evidence of increased activity beneath the earth's crust in this geographical region.
    You may rely on the key word 'small' if You wish however You are also placing Your trust in Human Records of events from at best the last 150 to 2,000 years which in terms of the age of the planet and of this European portion is but a micro-second in time. Therefore as with Nuclear Energy we are dealing with Fissile material that has life-spans greater than the last 1,000 years Your trust in 'nature' is decidedly questionable!



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  • 67. At 1:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    "Europe weighs nuclear risk" is the title of Gavin Hewitt's blog.

    A complete over-reaction by a few two-faced European Leaders.

    France will continue with it's independent nuclear energy production - furthermore, will continue to export it's nuclear energy expertise across North Africa and the Middle East, (including Iran) as it has done so for decades.

    If I had a choice of a Japanese built nuclear power station, or French nuclear power station in the UK ... I would choose a Japanese designed and built nuclear power station in the UK.

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  • 68. At 1:31pm on 15 Mar 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    In these reactors, electrical power is produced from the fraction of the fusion power contained in neutrons. The neutrons are not contained by the magnetic fields (in magnetic confinement fusion) nor the dense plasma (in inertial confinement fusion) but are absorbed in a surrounding walls. The neutron power would be used to heat a working medium such as helium gas or liquid lithium to a high temperature, and the working medium is then used to produce electricity at some efficiency. Part of the electrical power produced is recirculated to run the reactor systems.

    Now the purpose of the two techniques described in my #65 post is only one thing: the fusion energy gain factor (Q) i.e. the ratio of fusion power produced in a nuclear fusion reactor to the power required to maintain the plasma in steady state.

    The condition of Q = 1 is referred to as break-even. It is somewhat arbitrary, but it does mean that a significant fraction (20%) of the heating power comes from fusion, so that fusion heating can be studied. Above Q = 5 the fusion heating power is greater than the external heating power so a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction would need a value of Q that is greater than 5 and a practical commercial reactor Q = 22. Of course, Q = 15 might be enough and Q = 30 might be achievable

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  • 69. At 1:39pm on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #61. At 12:25pm on 15 Mar 2011, Sasha Clarkson

    You need to read what I actually said in my post #52, I used the words Greens AND Eco-Terrorists, now just where did I say a Green was a terrorist, absolutely nowhere. It is you that have jumped to an incorrect assertion.

    There is also a big difference to a terrorist, and an Eco-Terrorist who talks endlessly about scientific theories, ecological disasters etc without much proof and often quotes scientists whose vested interests lie with the Green lobby. Global warming is a case in point as the wikileaks showed all too well, you may not like it but you can no more trust a Green MP than an MP paid by businesses.

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  • 70. At 1:48pm on 15 Mar 2011, Justin150 wrote:

    #66 this is the sort of scare mongering that results in bad policy.

    The geological records of the UK (not just human records) do not indicate any significant geological disaster for tens of thousands of years - we are more at risk of being engulfed in the next ice age (although at least then you will not have to worry about cooling the reactors)

    You are also assuming that over the next 1000 years human kind makes no scientific developments of substance in relation to dealing with fissile materials. Based on the last 1000 years I would suggest such an assumption is implausible to say the least.

    Of course the uber-greens would have us

    (a) not use nuclear because it is dangerous
    (b) not use oil, coal because it damages the environment
    (c) not use gas (see a+b and it comes from nasty countries)
    (d) offshore wind is out because it messes up the whales sonar
    (e) hydro-electric involves destroying natural habitats
    (f) solar probably involves nasty manufacturing process and in any case we do not get enough sunshine (particularly at night)
    (g) wave power probably comes under d+e (and the sea keeps breaking the generators)

    So just out of interest what exactly are we supposed to use to generate power - all I am left with is geo-thermal (might work in cornwall) and undersoil heat exchangers

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  • 71. At 1:52pm on 15 Mar 2011, PickledPete wrote:

    Even if the planned new nuclear facilities are constructed in the UK without any more delay, and are commissioned on time, we can still expect to have disruptions to supply before then. We need more generating capacity to keep pace with a growing population, and constant introduction of new technologies reliant upon a power supply to work. What we have instead is a reduction in supply planned as old power stations are decommissioned to comply with carbon emission targets. Thanks, Tony Blair, for not having the courage to sort this out for a lost decade for fear of upsetting the ever-growing Green lobby and your rebellious backbenchers.

    Wind power is never going to provide sufficient generating capacity; it is totally unreliable however many ugly (and dangerous to wild-life) giant turbines we build. The wind has a nasty habit of not blowing during a high pressure system sitting over the UK in winter - the very time you need extra power! We need to build new capacity now, and those who argue against the only proven and reliable method to deliver it without massive carbon emissions will be the first to complain when they can't charge their mobile 'phones and MP5 players because there is no power - wood burners won't solve that problem.

    Japan is in a major earthquake zone. The UK is not. There hasn't been a tsunami on the shores of Kent for a few millennia either. Using this tragic event in Japan as an argument not to achieve a secure source of power for the UK is unworthy. By all means carry on research to find a viable alternative, and I hope we find it, but in the meantime start building those nuclear power stations now.

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  • 72. At 1:53pm on 15 Mar 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    ITER's mission (Construction of the facility began in 2008 and first plasma is expected in 2018) is to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power, and prove that it can work (designed to produce 500 MW of output power for 50 MW of input power i.e. a Q value of 10) without negative impact:

    International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor under construction in France

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  • 73. At 2:47pm on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 3:44pm on 15 Mar 2011, lacplesis37 wrote:

    In the UK, we don't have natural resources to provide the energy the UK needs, without either great expense or massive opposition. Do you want a huge wind farm in your neighbourhood? Thought not. Most of the other things like wave power are inordinately expensive & won't met our rising demands. Clearly we can continue to research & develop more efficient & less intrusive forms of clean energy & make our electrical equipment more efficient. But there's no guarantee that will work on its own. So we have 3 choices.
    1. cut back our use of electricity, probably denying people the use of equipment they currently regard as important to their wellbeing
    2. continue to use oil/gas/coal - causing global warming & potentially catastrophes as bad as Japan's all over the world
    3. Go nuclear - but ensuring high safety requirements; not building or stroing spent fuel in obviously risky places. There is a risk of a major catastrophe. (Though one might argue that whether or not the UK maintains nuclear power stations, we remain at risk of those in virtually any country where the winds flow in our direction).
    The biggest problem with nuclear has been the one that bedevils the UK and many other countries - secretive Governments, secretive nuclear industry, with a history of covering up incidents (even when minor), so that there is a large scale lack of trust. If we do decide to build new nuclear power stations, we need to do so & establish governance arrangements that are open, transparent & a good deal more democratic.

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  • 75. At 3:52pm on 15 Mar 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Nuclear power stations have a small risk, but
    - earthquakes,
    - tsunamis,
    - a bomb dropped by an enemy country
    - a sudden lack of water
    - and more disturbances that I fail to list, can make them the ultimate radioactive killing machines.
    If there isn't, there ought to be a protocol that delineates all factors that must exist before a nuclear power station at a particular site may be built.
    Personally, I believe there are better choices, such as wind or solar power, but none is carbon-cleaner while generating as much consistent powerful as the nuclear plant.
    Japan's Fukushima has delivered a reminder, a warning:
    WATCH WHERE YOU BUILD THESE THINGS!
    This is especially true for countries that experience earthquakes, normally followed by tsumanis. There is a nuclear plant in California (The plant's name elides me.) that is very dangerously located on a fault-line and of course near the (tsunami) coastline.
    I think countries that are slowing down, rethinking, re-evaliating are wise. e.g. Switzerland where the government wants new safety measures in place that
    - focus on seismic activity and
    - the cooling systems.
    Countries whose systems are older, ought to carefully re-examine the building site, the seismic activity and the cooling system. In fact, it may be wise to have them independently assessed. I don't believe its necessary to eliminate this sourse of power, but it is necessary to recognize it's not always the best option.
    Also, tell me how countries that are desperate for consistent power can possibly consider nuclear power energy when they are under consistent "attack" e.g. Iraq or Afghanistan.
    I realize that the Austrian Environment Minister, Nikolaus Berlakovich has called for a series of stress tests (Europe's 143 nuclear power stations), but I'm not sure how he will do this. How can you take a nuclear power plant and shake it to the equivalency of an 8.9 earthquake with unlimited aftershocks? I'm sure that the Japanese were constantly stress-testing their nuclear plants.
    The Russian plan is to increase electricity generation from nuclear plants from 16% now to 25% by 2030. That will involve building 40 new reactors. Somehow, I trust the Russians to do this and do it exceptionally well...What makes me nervous is the potential intervention and sabatage by rebels. So, Russia's problem will be security not technology.
    Nuclear can be the best way forward IF all conditions for building are met. Perhaps we need a United Nations' Panel whose sole job is to review requests for potential plants and grant or withhold permission; after all, the world's safety is at stake.

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  • 76. At 4:42pm on 15 Mar 2011, Benefactor wrote:

    I think the Germans should have a referendum on nuclear power, plenty of mudslinging; very few facts. It's perfect. O_o

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  • 77. At 4:47pm on 15 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re Justin150 & Your #70 plus my censored #73

    Basically Justin150 I categorically denied Your 'scare-mongering' allegation. I used portions of a Report by the British Geological Society to back-up my contention You & other 'pro-Nuclear' are being too complacent about the geological/climate hazards in the British Isles & Continental Europe.

    The Report is titled: 'Seismicity and Earthquake Hazard in the UK'.

    I also stated whilst I'm not claiming any imminent threat there is longterm projections which must be taken into account with Nuclear Energy as it is also such a longterm 'hazard'.

    Cheers.

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  • 78. At 5:08pm on 15 Mar 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #67 corum-populo-2010

    Why? You say that the French have the experience then you say you would choose a Japanese reactor. Very odd or did you leave something out of your comment?

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  • 79. At 5:08pm on 15 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    There is no future in squabbling? Unless you can reduce the population in the UK and it's increasing energy demand = what is the solution?

    Tony Blair, while Prime Minister, made an agreement with the French Government to build French Nuclear Power Stations in the UK. Yes he did.

    The dependence and back up fuel supplies for the UK population, as a whole, amounts to around 90 days.

    The prevarication of narrow-minded individuals whose only focus is 'green' power production, with no other options, have their place, but have no answers to the bigger picture on demand on energy in the UK.
    Perhaps the Green Party, in the UK, have a view on whether vehicles can run on alcohol instead of petrol? No, they have nothing to say on that?

    Personally, we all know that the the Green Party could not survive without electricity from non-green sources - including at the over-heated and wasteful place called the House of Commons.

    Tragically, I would prefer a combination of new nuclear power stations in the UK, built by Japanese companies; wind and water energy production - plus alternatives to petrol for cars which are more viable than electric cars.

    Yes, how mad am I? No, but as I write; I kind of know how pointless any of my comments on this issue will make. Always worth a try. Apologies.

    Thank you for reading my ramble. Regards.

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  • 80. At 5:46pm on 15 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Russia is not scared of nuclear power stations because people here come cheap. State won't pay nothing in case of anything, and won't feel obliged to cure the ill.
    (That's why we are so many :o)))))))), as many as Japanese on their speck of a ? volcano tops' row.)

    They didn't even pay Chernobyl closing reactor team, that is added them, like, 10 roubles extra to the salaries and pensions ;o)))))), and thought it is enough. Only after 20 year log legal battles that resque team association was able to obtain from the state some bonuses, in terms of accommodation or extra medical service, for their work.

    To say nothing that the first total heroes - working with bare hands in the burning reactor, shutting it up urgently, the first resque teams, simply all died within months, thus costing the state conveniently nil.

    Nuclear waste storage is a huge issue in Russia, that we accept it for money from who only not in the world, for decades. Only good Germany recently, some greens, lay on the rails and didn't let one such train number one thousand with nuclear waste into Russia from Germany (thanks a million).
    With current powers the practice will no doubt continue, but if/when - that'll be the first new law taken on paramount total population support. So think where you will dump that disaster in future, Europeans.

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  • 81. At 5:57pm on 15 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Perhaps we need a United Nations' Panel whose sole job is to review requests for potential plants"

    Yes, and introduce, finally, some rules of int'l safety re these plants' construction.
    To decide, finally, whether this cased model is the best and then it must be THE ONLY option. The planet behaves weird lately, we all agree.

    We are seeing how cased structures contain emissions still, well, more or less, in that cased Japanese version.

    Chernobyl flew around because it wasn't cased, no outer covers or below it.


    eh, PS. It was doing a maximum capacity test :o)

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  • 82. At 6:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #79. At 5:08pm on 15 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010,

    No prob, for once a new poster who suggested something that makes sense, the only thing the green lobby have achieved is to give politicians the excuse to first increase taxes to cover their incompetence, and secondly to deny and rubbish any truly realistic alternative.

    The one thing I have never heard from an eco 'friendly' (rofl) supporter is that instead of spending billions on new power plants the government GIVES solar panels, ground source pumps etc free to the people, now that would be sensible.

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  • 83. At 6:38pm on 15 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @WebAliceinwonderland

    "To decide, finally, whether this cased model is the best and then it must be THE ONLY option."

    A mono culture, and a monopoly supplier is NOT the way to make any industry safe.

    1 Supplier
    1 Regulator
    1 Design

    Is a recipe for disaster.

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  • 84. At 6:54pm on 15 Mar 2011, Justin150 wrote:

    #77 Did you manage to work out how you broke house rules. I have had posts similarly censored and could never work out what was wrong.


    As with all reports it is always worth reading to the end to work out what the risk is.

    Bearing in mind that the Nuclear reactor in Japan survived a catagory 9.0 earthquake, it was the tsunami that the killed the pumps.

    Even if you are based in an area of the UK which has a higher than average risk of some earthquake the report you quote states "the probability of damage for a single house in 50 years is therefore less than 0.5%."

    That is damage not destruction. Common sense would be that you would site a nuclear reactor in an area with a lower than normal risk of earthquakes (north east england or eastern side of Scotland)

    In the last 400 years the largest earthquake in the UK registered 4.6 magnitude - in the last thousand years it is not much more. To be that into context it means most people will feel it, doors and windows will rattle and small objects will fall over.

    So yes I do think that worrying about earthquakes in the UK is unnecessary, of course they may happen and it may be big enough to be a problem, but there is also a chance of a nuclear reactor being hit by a large meteorite - I doubt many people would tke that risk into account.

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  • 85. At 7:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To NosajDraw (33):

    There are unfortunately only two solutions in the near future, next 30 - 50 years. Let me first open why these are not real options...

    A) Cutting back on energy usage...
    People won't cut energy usage as for individuals and states, the short term gains far outweigh long term risks, or risks aren't even acknowledged. We can see clear evidence from this, developing countries just don't care, the USA denies in actions, and the Europe largely tries to buy good conscience while not delivering any results.

    B) Wind power...
    Lets take UK as an example. Analysis has shown that wind power suffers from large, rapid and frequent variation of power output. In addition there are many times in the year when it just doesn't blow. Connecting UK to a continental super grid wouldn't help as if UK doesn't have wind, there is big probability on neighbouring on having the same wind conditions.

    The problem in essence is, wind power needs back up power and that can only be arranged with usage of fossil fuels. Furthermore construction of wind power plants need lots of steel and concrete, that again add carbon emissions.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/03/wind_power_needs_dirty_pricey_gas_backup_report/

    We also have to understand that cutting back carbon emissions don't happen just like that. Building power plants and adequate infrastructure takes decades. If we don't build up nuclear and we can't build wind power due to its restrictions, then we are staying up in the same position. How much longer can we afford it? If we wait another 20 years to do something, then it will be 40 years before we are going to start seeing results from our actions. And if we haven't been able to make any change by now, what guarantee is there after 20 years there would be any development in this front?

    Again, it is better to act now, it still doesn't prevent on using new wonder technology if and when it becomes available. There are only two choices, no silver bullets, and as long we are trying to find the silver bullet, we are going to take the worst choice there is: continuing to do what we do, burn up more fossil fuels.

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  • 86. At 7:27pm on 15 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #83. At 6:38pm on 15 Mar 2011, NosajDraw

    If there is one doubt in my mind it is that cost counts to the exclusion of the best option, the USA designed water cooled system has become the norm whilst the more expensive fast breeder system has been sidelined for lack of perfection, it is claimed, whilst many scientists claim it is safer. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate and forget the cost or better still, effectively control the excesses of the building companies who see such projects as manna from heaven. Plus the politicians who get pay-backs from such projects.

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  • 87. At 7:40pm on 15 Mar 2011, Seraphim wrote:

    @ Ellinas:

    I don't think that the majority here is against ITER. But getting it to run appears close to be an heruclean task, not to even mention the costs.

    Actually the fusion power constant seems to be connected to the exhaustible oil constant. Fusion power always needs around 50 more years to produce energy big scale (at least in the 1990 it was also 50 years) samewise it seems to be always to take only around 30 more years till we have used all the oil on this planet.

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  • 88. At 9:22pm on 15 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Nosajdraw,
    yes, regulation can kill anything.
    I don't know how nuclear stations compete. Those who regularly "issue" them, do it at home, being fond of some prevalent design.

    Must be, different designs compete only outside, in third countries, who choose, of external suppliers, what kind of a station the suppliers offer and which one to prefer, which maker to take.

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  • 89. At 9:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I am just personally concerned, as we have in St. Petersburg the same design as was in Chernobyl, all the rest of this style were taken out of operation in Russia, and St. Petersburg's old one stays....

    may be there is one more of this kind, in Voronezh town, but I am not sure. I heard there were 4 alike, minus one, minus 1 or 2 more, one definitely stays - just 30 km away from the city. Which is plain criminal location, from the very beginning, because happen anything - how will we run? It won't be Chernobyl north of Ukraine population density, some villages and small towns. It's 5 million people at stake at once. One narrow road to Moscow out. Only every 5th has a car. To Jukka in Finland there is no point to run to :o), they won't accept radioactive Russians :o))))) All the trains combined out of all railway stations will take just thousands in one day. It is really literally life of 3-4 million people at stake. It is not cased, if anything - all will fly away.

    Now, I asked a question whether they are damn going to close the station finally or not, and will they build a new make, instead, to our Minister of Energetics (at an internet site, where he is due to answer questions of worried Russians tomorrow). So will see but honestly hope little. For an answer cheering me up, I mean.

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  • 90. At 11:05pm on 15 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    88. At 9:22pm on 15 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland

    It's not the regulation part of your proposal that bothers me, its the mono culture that bothers me.

    With a mono culture dangerous blind spots are likely to develop, and a single fatal flaw in the design would be replicated into all devices, it also means that you continue to use old, outdated and perhaps now understood to be dangerous technology just because the mono culture demands it.

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  • 91. At 00:31am on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Nosa aj,:o)

    you must be an engineer.
    I don't know. I react as population :o)), that is, I like nuclear power stations in general, but not by my home :o)))

    especially that in case of Russia it is plain silly - as if there isn't enough place! to keep them away from absolutely all.

    Why didn't they build it up right in the Hermitage museum I wonder :o)))
    As if in Russia there are plenty of cities of this art value how to say architectural heritage, that they had to put it nearly right in the city.
    That won't be that desolate Ukrainian river abandoned for 600 years, in case of anything, but St. Petersburg.

    I'm glad I heard this EU initiative to check nuclear stations around includes all European stations, the ones located in Russia included, and we seem like said OK.

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  • 92. At 02:08am on 16 Mar 2011, MaudDib wrote:

    Yo Alice

    You can always find the answer....you just have to ask the right question. :o)))

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  • 93. At 06:45am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    WebAlice,

    Thank you for your well written ...nicely distinct..and personal perspective driven comments..

    and Yo MaudDib

    how are ya?

    David

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  • 94. At 06:47am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Yo Alice

    here "God Bless the Child"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZSjttK9hCI

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  • 95. At 06:51am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Oh, yeah, I'm watching Night Watch, now, WebAlice,

    next Day Watch..scary (enjoy that feeling-escapism)

    :)))

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  • 96. At 06:58am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    shes singing in Paris

    Bonjour Paris

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KecfMJ_W1fg

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  • 97. At 07:13am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    For CBW..a Royal Variety Performance

    Bette

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlpvDoaXn1c

    Oh yeah Nuclear Power...is...um...ok..just not on fault lines :)))

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  • 98. At 07:41am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    The above are just nice songs..sung before Queen Elizabeth the 2nd!

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  • 99. At 07:54am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    Hi Cool-Brush Work #48

    Sadly there don't seem to be any suitable vacancies for me in the environmental monitoring teams that work around Chernobyll.

    On the other hand my father worked in the nuclear industries and handled uranium, plutonium and other radioactive materials. I have done lab work with Uranium, and by the way it has a really interesting colour chemistry. Some of my siblings work in laboratories in the nuclear industry where they also regularly handle radioactive material. Give us another 20 years for the next generation to come through and it is highly probable that three generations of my family will have worked in environments where the radiation level is raised above background levels.

    Please do not doubt the sincerity of the scientists who claim that the current radiation levels around Chernobyll are safe. The results of the environmental studies were unexpected and suggest that a rethink of our attitude to radiation is appropriate in response to a new understanding gained from the aftermath of the Chernobyll disaster.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/07/andy-lees/

    Try the link for a book where EROEI is explained.

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  • 100. At 08:21am on 16 Mar 2011, ynda20 wrote:

    I'm fed up with the BBC trotting out experts saying how "The Public" is "miscalculating" the risk of nuclear power stations post the Japanese Tsunami.

    It is obvious that after a tragedy of this scale, (the Tsunami, remember), instead of worrying about the 10,000 lost soles, the 1 million, displaced people, we seem to be more worried about a particular type of electricity generation!?

    Clearly nuclear power can never be made to be safe. The accidents come along frequently enough to show that any business case for their use is completely flawed if you do not consider: cost of rectification after an accident and/or cost of decommissioning. (Let alone the cost of building in adequate safety measures!)

    You'd never get a story which says "World waits in fear after a Wind Mill farm accident"!

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  • 101. At 09:04am on 16 Mar 2011, Evaliz wrote:

    Its about time, it wouldn't take a tsunami or earthquake to cause havoc all you need is a particularly good and persistent terrorist team. Add to that the fact that the waste from these monstrosities lasts how many millions of years and I can't understand how people were persuaded that this was the way forward. Oh wait, Greed, yes that's probably it. If we had started going down the renewable energies route 20 years ago this World would be a significantly safer and better place.

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  • 102. At 09:22am on 16 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #100. At 08:21am on 16 Mar 2011, ynda20

    So you think there are no reported problems with the large wind turbines, like I have a couple of kilometers from where I live in Belgium, but read these two 'cons' that I have pasted from a web site as I have heard these raised locally.

    * People living near windmill farms have made complaints about a syndrome which causes people to have headaches and other illnesses caused by vibration and low-frequency noise generated by large wind turbines through evolution of technology and new design solutions, this problem will eventually be eradicated.
    * Rumour says that windmills have an impact on the wild life stock of birds and bats. Extensive research is done on this but more information needs to be obtained on the effects on animals in the long term. Until this myth is scientifically proven, it remains a fact that cats kill more birds than windmills.

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  • 103. At 09:33am on 16 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    99. At 07:54am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:
    Hi Cool-Brush Work #48

    Sadly there don't seem to be any suitable vacancies for me in the environmental monitoring teams that work around Chernobyll."



    Well Ulkomaalainen, don't be too disappointed, at least You'll get to grow old with just the normal number of fingers & toes!

    I'm afraid You have some way to go to convince anyone that residing in the Chernobyl district would be a safe option for them & their family.
    Just as an illustration of that point: Why do You suppose they've evacuated 10 of thousands from the region around the Japanese reactors? Surely, You're not proposing they've all got it wrong & Fukishama is really a safe environment!?

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  • 104. At 09:35am on 16 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    97. At 07:13am on 16 Mar 2011, Stevenson wrote:
    For CBW..a Royal Variety Performance

    Bette"


    Thank You.

    Yes the divine Bette Midler can almost upstage Her Majesty!

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  • 105. At 10:15am on 16 Mar 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    Man's clever technology destroyed by Nature! How many times will you people advocating nuclear power need to see this happen! It is neither clean or safe and the waste from nuclear plants is being buried underground in many countries. A nice hidden surprise for future generations!
    We have the resources available now to do away with nuclear fuel!
    Wind power in the present form is useless! Less than 30% efficient at best. The wind doesn't always blow and power companies don't always need it when it is working.
    Wave and tide power is still in development.
    Water current turbines are working and are much more efficient at 70%.
    So, instead of producing steam from boiling water by burning coal, oil, gas or nuclear fuel rods. You have solar cells, wind, current and eventually wave turbines constantly using sea water to produce hydrogen through electrolysis! This is totally clean, powerful and can be used in existing power plants with little modification. Best of all, the waste product is pure water!
    Why has it not happened? You know the answer....big business!

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  • 106. At 10:56am on 16 Mar 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #105. At 10:15am on 16 Mar 2011, Crystal Ball

    Wind turbines, solar cells, tidal barriers are all fixed installations, I'm curious to know firstly if Japan used any of these and secondly how many survived the earthquake and tsunami. If reliance for energy is to be placed on this sort of technology lets see how it reacted to the stress of an earthquake and tsunami. My guess is that the placing of wind farms offshore would mean their total destruction, and as for a tidal barrier I'd be surprised if it could survive a ten metre wave without significant damage. OK, thousands of tons of smashed concrete are less dangerous than nuclear fuel rods, but they will still be a pollution and danger to many things.

    At the moment there is far too much emotive over-reaction about the whole nuclear industry, the questions should be about safety safeguards and ensuring old technology is decommissioned so that new safer technology can be used. Above all else it is safety that should decide the technology for new plants and not what business wants politicians to buy e.g why water cooled rather than fast breeder, ah yes, it is US big business that pushes water cooled I think.

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  • 107. At 11:12am on 16 Mar 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Oh yeah Nuclear Power...is...um...ok..just not on fault lines :)))"





    OK, Stevenson,

    So if Japan had had a coal-based power industry and had a couple of dozens of coal mines (which would have flooded/sealed as a result of a 9.0 tremor) do you realize what would have happened to dozens of thousands of miners trapped below the ground?



    And can you imagine, if Japan had oil and therefore oil-based powerplants, what would have happened if all those oil-rigs off Honshu's E. shore were toppled by 10 meter high waves?

    And what would have happened if huge fires had erupted in oil-refineries as a result of 9.0 quake?

    If not - think about it.


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  • 108. At 11:14am on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Yo, MaudDib.
    and david. and thank you for the link.

    re the earthquakes, old Russian makes seem to manage OK at 6.5 and 7.
    Even, 7 and a little bit. In Armenia when a city collapsed around it entirely (Spitak), the station in it didn't wink. And in Bulgaria, in Kozloduy, it stood 7 and a little bit and 6 ones several times.
    Without any need of fixing, not a wink; but how about the 9 magnitude?! Nobody knows because where we built so far - nobody thankfully had 9!

    As we see American makes now in Japan are surviving even the 9 one somehow, plus a whole serie of 7 and 6, but are all wreck and ruin - but are holding on still!

    So, in terms of anti-earth quake designs, the world has proceeded well, I mean, engineers know how to build quake-proof stations. The Bulgarian one, for example, was built for 8 magnitude ones initially, so it is full of reserve diesel pumping water back-ups, and triple back-ups, and reserve back ups in case the previous back ups would fail :o)))
    But then again, Bulgaria haven't had 8.

    What I understood, these 5-6-7-8-9 magnitudes are not eh? in normal relation that seems to normal people, but the difference btw 8 and 9 is 900 times more energy release!!!! so every little bit more in magnitude makes a huge difference on that scale.

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  • 109. At 11:35am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    Hi cool-brush-work #103

    "I'm afraid You have some way to go to convince anyone that residing in the Chernobyl district would be a safe option for them & their family.
    Just as an illustration of that point: Why do You suppose they've evacuated 10 of thousands from the region around the Japanese reactors? Surely, You're not proposing they've all got it wrong & Fukishama is really a safe environment!?"

    No. I'm suggesting that a 25 fold increase in background radiation levels is not cause for undue concern. Typical background levels are 2mS/year. The nuclear industries used to permit their employees an exposure of 50mS/year as this is the extreme high end natural exposure in naturally radioactive regions. The first evidence for increased cancer risk is associated with 100mS/year; 50 times the nominal background level. These are the figures I have in mind when I assess the risk from exposure to radiation. Although a ten fold increase in background radiation makes a good scare story for the radical enviromentalists it does not actually signify cause for concern.

    I was trying to find some links to the research I mentioned earlier. I've not found a direct link yet; but I did find this...

    http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/chornobyl/wildlifepreserve.htm

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  • 110. At 11:44am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    Hi

    Another good link covering the cancer risk from Chernobyl.

    http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html#Exposures

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  • 111. At 12:17pm on 16 Mar 2011, WolfiePeters wrote:

    According to some sources, the problems at Fukushima started from the failure of the stand-in cooling that comes into action when the turbines are shut down.

    So what's happened in Germany? The nuclear plant are shut down. Presumably that means the reactors are now cooled by stand-in systems. I feel so much safer.

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  • 112. At 12:20pm on 16 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    So Germany will be nuclear power free by 2020?

    A Nation that is a major manufacturing economy with strong exports on those same products that has enabled the German economy to survive the global economic crisis.

    Perhaps Germany can enlighten the rest of us, globally, and share their secrets of power sources without any nuclear alternatives?

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  • 113. At 12:34pm on 16 Mar 2011, NosajDraw wrote:

    @112 - It's an election pledge, and we all know how many of them are kept later on.

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  • 114. At 12:46pm on 16 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    Angela Merkel ordering shut down of nuclear power stations built before 1980 for safety checks. Fair enough. Were not these safety checks in place already?

    As for the geography of Germany ... when was the last earthquake or tsunami in Germany?

    The Japanese nuclear issues are very different. In particular, that the one current nuclear power station in trouble, was built on a known and highly vulnerable side/area of Japan?

    Nevertheless, the rest of Japans nuclear power stations appear to have withstood the ravages of nature?

    There are no excuses - but over-reaction by green extremists, or green parties are not the answer either - until they put money and long-term solutions where their mouth is?

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  • 115. At 1:35pm on 16 Mar 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    99. At 07:54am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:
    Hi Cool-Brush Work #48

    Sadly there don't seem to be any suitable vacancies for me in the environmental monitoring teams that work around Chernobyll."

    AND,

    109. At 11:35am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:
    Hi cool-brush-work #103
    No. I'm suggesting that a 25 fold increase in background radiation levels is not cause for undue concern. Typical background levels are 2mS/year. The nuclear industries used to permit their employees an exposure of 50mS/year as this is the extreme high end natural exposure in naturally radioactive regions. The first evidence for increased cancer risk is associated with 100mS/year; 50 times the nominal background level."

    PLUS,

    110. At 11:44am on 16 Mar 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:
    Hi

    Another good link covering the cancer risk from Chernobyl."


    There's an expression concerning making a point that simply has no chance of acceptance and with a life-span beyond measure:
    'Flogging a dead horse'.

    In this case I would alter it to: 'Flogging radio-activity as safe means nothing but dead horses!'

    Ulkomaalainen, I appreciate Your considered contribution, but in all honesty the idea Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste are safe products for Humans to live around is a non-starter.





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  • 116. At 2:21pm on 16 Mar 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    @106. Buzet23:

    At the moment there is far too much emotive over-reaction about the whole nuclear industry
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Please tell me your joking Buzet! You compare the debris of wind farms, tidal barriers and other alternative energy sources with nuclear catastrophes? Yes, I agree they are likely to be destroyed under the same conditions as we have just seen in Japan but it just remains a possible hazard to localized shipping, etc. It can be dealt with!
    Try cleaning long life radiation from whole cities or the bodies of those unfortunate enough to have been around at the time!
    I was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to meet the kids from Chernobyl when they volunteered to be taken on a fund raising trip around Eastern Europe. Do know what it feels like to talk to a 10 y/o bald skeleton child who tells you the horrendous details of his short life expectancy.
    All of them knew they were dying and this was their way of helping those with a higher chance of survival. Heroes, every last one of them! They "STOOD" as a testament to mans folly and his belief in his technical supremacy!
    As far as I understand now, the Japanese power plant is fully evacuated and left to its own devices as it is considered to be too dangerous for human life forms! Emotive over-reaction! Do you live next to one?

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  • 117. At 2:23pm on 16 Mar 2011, starofthesouth wrote:

    Decentralized energy suply or production, house by house, small community by small community, is technically possible today. Ons would have to organize a net structure similar to the internet, say kind of a p2p network for electric energy. Small private units complemented by state owned medium size units, woven in an european network that can, for example, use hydroelectric plants in Scandinavia or the Alps as buffer.

    It's not a question of feasibility, it's a question of political will and costs.

    Centralized energy supply in the hand of private corporations is a big money printing machine that delivers not only electric power, but political too. See, imo, there is a cartell between energy suppliers and big industry. Only because the electric energy is in the hand of a private oligopol, in Germany it'S 4 companies that split the country among them. it is possible to give discounts to the industry and therefore charge the small household.

    They would lose their monopol, money and their political power, if the private household organized in small neighbouhood units would produce their electricity by themselves.

    Japan, independent of the nuclear energy question, shows that centralized big power plants are a big risk for the3 people and the economy in case of natural disasters or wars.

    One hit at the wrong place and whole areas are out of energy.

    Energy production without nuclear energy is possible, decentralisation is possible and both make sense.

    The only problem is the cost factor, which is always unfair accounted in favour of the nuclear industry as nobody accounts the annuity of the nuclear waste and the risk.

    Ever wondered why no insurance in the world covers a nuclear plant?

    We have countries with atomic energy and countries without. As the long-term consequences and the risk is not propperly accounted, big industry in atomic energy countries has an advantage at their energy costs.

    The ecological and ethic question is not difficult to answer, but we have to work on the economical lie first.

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  • 118. At 2:53pm on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Ulkomaalinen,
    basically, we have eaten all vegetable and beef and pork and fish, and berries and mushrooms and pickled cucumbers from Chernobyl :o))))))))))

    It was empty shelves in USSR pre-perestroyka, one would mostly shop in markets, to which Ukrainian farmers and Belorussian ones have brought all the produce from the whole intense fallout area ;o))))))
    Before someone noticed. And even when they did, and markets began to be checked by sanitary inspectors by Geiger counters, there were still improvised un-official markets, or selling simply from one's truck back doors flung open. Potatoes and carrots and what not.

    I remember many friends had bought Geiger devices basically without them you wouldn't go shopping in Russia for several years after Chernobyl. Then all relaxed and forgot. And yes, those berries were very well plumpy looking strawberries :o)))))) and exceptionally fat marinated eels :o)))))) and very fat fish how to say snorkeling in that Pripyat' river. We even had a parameter that if something looks suspisiously too well - must be from the radiation area :o)))))

    Most of all it seems reacted un-well cows - those calfs were born two-headed and with assortment of legs :o( and what not. Of the rest of fauna not much was noticed by looks except by "suspiciously thriving looks".

    We know there is one girl born in Chernobyl, right within the top radiation zone, she is 16 years old now, so far alright. Her irresponsible mum quarelled with relatives, lost where to live, wandered here and there, fund dish-washing work in the staff canteen in Chernobyl campus those who look after it, for workers, became pregnant while working and living right there, doctors demanded an abortion in horror, she refused, said will leave work and go away, secretly returned back, rented some shed, and continued dish-washing un-officially. Gave birth to a daughter, hid the child in her shed until 6 years old! from everyone! Then began bringing her by bus to a school like 50 km away, and told her to tell in class she lives inthat other town. the child courageously kept the secret (continuing to live by the reactor :o)
    then all got known, journalists jumped at her, she is a good-looking blond girl very timid and shy (got used to hiding), and whle country bombarded her with presents, various dolls and clothes and what not they live awful poor with that still dish-washing there mum! then all forgot about it as it happenes. Bt she is our "Chernobyl child". But only one. And doctors of course predicted horrors and disasters to her in future anyway.

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  • 119. At 3:32pm on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    read a physicist interview who said time works for Japanese, as, as it goes those things there slow down. Like, originally, when all reactors were switched off, only 10% of left-over some? on-going reaction is left. So, all the concerns are about how this 10% left-over trace on-going reaction behaves. Plus about those stocked and piled ? eh? partly used reactor ? pooles? stocked in water. those are lacking water supply. Plus that un-controllable reaction may sparkle off, in any non eh? homogenious place in those reactors. Because they can be switched off not evenly all across them.

    Basically they don't know because one needs to go have a look and there aren't many volunteers :o). But overall he is optimistic.

    by the way we've got a couple willing to check up things, Japan requested int'l assistance of reactor specialists, but they flew from moscow only as far as khabarovsk, and sit there in the airport for 2 days already! Japan can't issue them final OK or something,may be they changed their mind, re to go evalutae the situation by foreigners.

    Well, as I understood.

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  • 120. At 3:39pm on 16 Mar 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Nuclear energy is the invisible friend/enemy. It is all a question of weighing up the positive and negative aspects, nuclear energy verses alternative energy. If the 'Oil Age' is dripping to a close and oil shale extraction is the last desperate attempt to suck the black stuff from the earth, what will replace that cheap abundance?
    Oil shale production comes with a massive environmental price tag. Is that price tag greater or less than the Nuclear option? Nuclear energy takes such a long time to establish. Planning and production of parts has to start immediately if that is the eventual choice.
    Consider the alternative. No regular supplies of energy. Energy rationing. Deaths due to hypothermia when the energy resources do not meet the demand in mid winter. The rights that we take for granted would be severely curtailed. Black outs after 'n' time in the evening. Energy rationing to carry out the most basic of domestic tasks.
    Public refusal to accept a particular energy form in their locality will only hasten the zero choices that will become the normality when there is insufficient energy production. Choices now and no choice in the future or limited choice now and at least limited choice in the future. The decision is ours right now.


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  • 121. At 4:43pm on 16 Mar 2011, GH1618 wrote:

    corum-populo-2010 (67) wrote: "I would choose a Japanese-designed and built nuclear power station in the UK."

    The nuclear power industry is international. The US designers of nuclear power plants, GE and Westinghouse, are both partnered with Japanese compa ies.

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  • 122. At 4:59pm on 16 Mar 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    Post 119 - 'Webaliceinwonderland'.

    Spare us the drama. The danger of Russian pickled fish in Romanian supermarkets was not discussed when our family worked in Romania for a year after their revolution. There were no specific food shortages, but Romanian open air markets all charged the same price for strawberries and tomatoes - no discussion.

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  • 123. At 5:37pm on 16 Mar 2011, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @105 CrystalBall

    "Man's clever technology destroyed by Nature! How many times will you people advocating nuclear power need to see this happen! It is neither clean or safe and the waste from nuclear plants is being buried underground in many countries. A nice hidden surprise for future generations!
    We have the resources available now to do away with nuclear fuel!"

    No, we don`t.
    As for nuclear energy, we have to accept some truths:

    aside from any discussion about the safety of nuclear fission, one has to accept that as of now, a solution to atomic waste still has yet to be found. If we cannot store the waste safely, nuclear fission has no future on the long run.

    On the other hand, science hasn`t found a working replacement so far.
    ITER will be the first fusion reactor going on the net in around one decade time. First commercial power plants cannot be expected before the 2050s.

    We have to bridge this timeframe as solar and wind energy are not developed enough either and cannot power major economies in a world with quickly exhausting fossile fuels.


    The luxury of shutting down all nuclear power plants and abandoning fission altogether is simply not in our reach. Also, the technology is still in an early stage and one cannot know whether scientific breakthroughts might solve the problem of atomic waste in the future.
    It would be unwise to abandon it completely.

    What is needed is safety as the main priority, anchored in international agreements, standards and regulations. Nuclear meldowns and the the subsequent radiation don`t respect borders and therefore are an international problem to be handled carefully.

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  • 124. At 6:04pm on 16 Mar 2011, GH1618 wrote:

    ". . . It is US big business that pushes water cooled I think." (from Buzet23 at 106)

    A simplistic thought. It is economics. No business, whether big or small, whether based in the US or elsewhere, can ignore economics and be successful. Fast breeder reactors, typically cooled with liquid sodium, are expensive. Their development everywhere has been supported by government subsidies.

    Here is a link to an interesting report on fast breeder reactors: Fast Breeder Reactor Programs -- History and Status

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  • 125. At 7:00pm on 16 Mar 2011, The_Black_Knight_Strikes_Again wrote:

    @ #124

    Awesome link. I think the operational safety concerns shown in the report are as much of an issue, if not more, than the costs associated with building and running them. Sodium fires, month+ long shutdowns just to prepare the reactor for maintainance... The system needs more R&D to overcome these issues before they are feasable on a large, dare I say... commercial, scale.

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  • 126. At 7:46pm on 16 Mar 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    123. At 5:37pm on 16 Mar 2011, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @105 CrystalBall

    "Man's clever technology destroyed by Nature! How many times will you people advocating nuclear power need to see this happen! It is neither clean or safe and the waste from nuclear plants is being buried underground in many countries. A nice hidden surprise for future generations!
    We have the resources available now to do away with nuclear fuel!"

    No, we don`t.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well now you have explained that in depth, I'm sure we believe you and accept we must all risk a good nuclear frying to keep advertising lights burning in Times Square, and all the other centers of wasteful glitz!
    It's not just about electricity generation, it's about the demand and more efficient use of it! If I can reduce my power demands by almost half, per annum, anyone can! Don't keep swallowing the clap trap big business spins you!

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  • 127. At 8:19pm on 16 Mar 2011, The_Black_Knight_Strikes_Again wrote:

    @ #105
    "We have the resources available now to do away with nuclear fuel!"
    @ #123
    "No, we don`t."
    @ #123
    "Well now you have explained that in depth"
    Considering that you have not explained your point in depth either...

    The both are invited so submit thier papers by the end of class. Please show all calculations. Pay special attention to energy production rates and efficiency by method and the potential results from changes in consumption.
    ;D

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  • 128. At 8:46pm on 16 Mar 2011, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @126 Crystal Ball

    "Well now you have explained that in depth, I'm sure we believe you and accept we must all risk a good nuclear frying to keep advertising lights burning in Times Square, and all the other centers of wasteful glitz!
    It's not just about electricity generation, it's about the demand and more efficient use of it! If I can reduce my power demands by almost half, per annum, anyone can! Don't keep swallowing the clap trap big business spins you!"

    The debth of my explanation is sufficient.
    If we are not willing to pay more for electricity, which could severely hit our economies and wealth, there is no viable alternative right now. In 10-20 years time, this might be a different story.

    In Germany you could find a majority against nuclear power, an increase in high-voltage power lines (needed for decentralised power generation), coal power plants, even wind turbines. If you look in the region which is affected that is. Someone from Bavaria might like wind turbines, while people from North Germany literally hate them already, because there are so many.
    There is no energy source without a drawback.


    And who are you to tell anyone to save electricity? Do you really think that a forced limit would work?
    Would you still think that way after being layed off, because your employer doesn`t need that many people anymore with such a limited in place?

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  • 129. At 9:48pm on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    corum-populo-2010

    I don't quite understand what you mean. You are all for nuclear energy for the future and therefore think Russians should not remember Chernobyl "as a drama"?
    And should remind others about it as fun and holidays?

    Do you think Chernobyl could have happened only in Russia because of, eh, say, specifics of the organisation of the place? :o))))))

    Who is "we"? ("spare us").

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  • 130. At 9:55pm on 16 Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Romania has never been USSR. I don't know any thing about their menu-s.
    Would think it's a Southern, agricultural place, able to provide itself, or buy things near, from other Southern countries nearby.
    Of pickled fish know only salted herrings. but they are not pickled.

    What is a crime of Russians, (you sound accusative) that Romanians ate "pickled Russian fish" "after their revolution". That it was radioactive? Our fish on the counters has always been oceanic, sea types.
    I don't think Chernobyl trace affected them much.

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  • 131. At 10:01pm on 16 Mar 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    128. At 8:46pm on 16 Mar 2011, DurstigerMann wrote:

    And who are you to tell anyone to save electricity? Do you really think that a forced limit would work?
    Would you still think that way after being layed off, because your employer doesn`t need that many people anymore with such a limited in place?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You are really not reading my posts DurstigerMann.

    I didn't suggest a forced cap on energy usage! I voluntarily spent my own money, by missing a couple of years holidays, to upgrade everything possible to low energy consumption units and fitting a solar panel system to my roof which is returning huge cost savings, even on overcast days.
    It's called doing whatever I can to limit my personal impact on my fellow man, wherever he may dwell. Perhaps if more people tried it we would all benefit from smaller power bills and save our kids from one more risk!
    As for, would I still feel that way had I been laid off from work?
    Hell, yes I would. With a reduced income I would appreciate lower power bills. I think you might just find though that technology, such as computers and industrial robots, are far more responsible for lay offs in the workplace. That's not to mention unemployment from financial meltdowns created by financial wizz-kids devoid of all moral scruples!
    I suppose to put it into perspective, the difference between you and I at this moment is that I am sitting at my computer writing this in a room that has the equivalent of 200 watts of lighting whilst actually using only 27 watts of power, and none of it connected to the power grid!
    How about you?

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