400 ppm

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Aresen
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Aresen » 13 Jun 2017, 14:58

Warren wrote:Atomic Humanism as Radical Innovation: Michael Shellenberger's Keynote to American Nuclear Society, 2017

Given by an industry spokesman, with resulting myopic POV. But it's a good timeline of the anti-nuke movement over the decades. I don't share his optimism over the current political climate (npi), but he's not wrong when he says
Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment. Nothing else — not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering — can do that.
I'm just not sure there's a limit to how much evidence of wrongness a popular belief can persist in the face of.
The anti-nuke greenies are not concerned about the safety of nuclear power. They have already made up their minds on that: Nuclear energy is dangerous, now and forever. No amount of evidence will change that conviction. They will play constantly on people's fears and on nimbyism to block nuclear power at all costs.

I am convinced this will also be carried over to fusion power should the ITER project prove successful.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Highway » 13 Jun 2017, 18:27

Aresen wrote:
Warren wrote:Atomic Humanism as Radical Innovation: Michael Shellenberger's Keynote to American Nuclear Society, 2017

Given by an industry spokesman, with resulting myopic POV. But it's a good timeline of the anti-nuke movement over the decades. I don't share his optimism over the current political climate (npi), but he's not wrong when he says
Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment. Nothing else — not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering — can do that.
I'm just not sure there's a limit to how much evidence of wrongness a popular belief can persist in the face of.
The anti-nuke greenies are not concerned about the safety of nuclear power. They have already made up their minds on that: Nuclear energy is dangerous, now and forever. No amount of evidence will change that conviction. They will play constantly on people's fears and on nimbyism to block nuclear power at all costs.

I am convinced this will also be carried over to fusion power should the ITER project prove successful.
10 years away!

I'm nowhere near as high on nuclear power as, well, pretty much any of you. I think it takes a lot of willfully disregarding the accidents that have happened, handwaving them away with "Oh well, soandso screwed that up, that wouldn't happen at OUR nuke plant" to ignore major disasters that have left large areas unfit for human habitation. And with the idea that "we only need nuclear power to save the world", then you have to realize that it won't be just nuke plants in the US and western Europe and East Asia. It'll be central Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America. A lot of places where graft and corruption is a lot bigger deal. And not just a couple plants. Dozens or hundreds.

To me it starts to get like those statistics that say that people are more likely to die due to a meteorite strike than just about any other reason. If you increase the number of nuke plants, I don't see it as a minor increase in the the chance for an accident. It takes a lot of belief to think that they'll all be well run, and well constructed, and well-looked after, and I think that a lot of that belief would be misplaced.

Could more nukes be a welcomed part of transitioning away from burning dead things for energy? Yes, I think they could and should. But as "Hey, just replace everything with nukes and it'll be awesome!", no.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Kolohe » 13 Jun 2017, 22:37

I have six figures stashed away in various financial assets because of nuclear power, and that's basically the problem in a nutshell.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 13 Jun 2017, 22:48

I'd go so far as to say that we can't meet the Paris targets without a significant increase in nuclear power. But no, it similarly can't do it on its own, and it's not a long term (> 100 years) solution.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Mo » 13 Jun 2017, 23:17

Highway wrote:
Aresen wrote:
Warren wrote:Atomic Humanism as Radical Innovation: Michael Shellenberger's Keynote to American Nuclear Society, 2017

Given by an industry spokesman, with resulting myopic POV. But it's a good timeline of the anti-nuke movement over the decades. I don't share his optimism over the current political climate (npi), but he's not wrong when he says
Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment. Nothing else — not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering — can do that.
I'm just not sure there's a limit to how much evidence of wrongness a popular belief can persist in the face of.
The anti-nuke greenies are not concerned about the safety of nuclear power. They have already made up their minds on that: Nuclear energy is dangerous, now and forever. No amount of evidence will change that conviction. They will play constantly on people's fears and on nimbyism to block nuclear power at all costs.

I am convinced this will also be carried over to fusion power should the ITER project prove successful.
10 years away!

I'm nowhere near as high on nuclear power as, well, pretty much any of you. I think it takes a lot of willfully disregarding the accidents that have happened, handwaving them away with "Oh well, soandso screwed that up, that wouldn't happen at OUR nuke plant" to ignore major disasters that have left large areas unfit for human habitation. And with the idea that "we only need nuclear power to save the world", then you have to realize that it won't be just nuke plants in the US and western Europe and East Asia. It'll be central Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America. A lot of places where graft and corruption is a lot bigger deal. And not just a couple plants. Dozens or hundreds.

To me it starts to get like those statistics that say that people are more likely to die due to a meteorite strike than just about any other reason. If you increase the number of nuke plants, I don't see it as a minor increase in the the chance for an accident. It takes a lot of belief to think that they'll all be well run, and well constructed, and well-looked after, and I think that a lot of that belief would be misplaced.

Could more nukes be a welcomed part of transitioning away from burning dead things for energy? Yes, I think they could and should. But as "Hey, just replace everything with nukes and it'll be awesome!", no.
I'm pretty much here too. Also, the modeled risks are only as good as the model themselves and frequently underestimate small bore accidents, let alone big ones. IIRC, the calculated odds of the combined Fukushima failures was something on the order of 1 in 100,000 years.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Warren » 13 Jun 2017, 23:37

Highway wrote:I'm nowhere near as high on nuclear power as, well, pretty much any of you. I think it takes a lot of willfully disregarding the accidents that have happened, handwaving them away with "Oh well, soandso screwed that up, that wouldn't happen at OUR nuke plant" to ignore major disasters that have left large areas unfit for human habitation. And with the idea that "we only need nuclear power to save the world", then you have to realize that it won't be just nuke plants in the US and western Europe and East Asia. It'll be central Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America. A lot of places where graft and corruption is a lot bigger deal. And not just a couple plants. Dozens or hundreds.

To me it starts to get like those statistics that say that people are more likely to die due to a meteorite strike than just about any other reason. If you increase the number of nuke plants, I don't see it as a minor increase in the the chance for an accident. It takes a lot of belief to think that they'll all be well run, and well constructed, and well-looked after, and I think that a lot of that belief would be misplaced.

Could more nukes be a welcomed part of transitioning away from burning dead things for energy? Yes, I think they could and should. But as "Hey, just replace everything with nukes and it'll be awesome!", no.
I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident. And that was just stupid piled on stupid for generations to make that happen. With modern plant design there's no possibility of a meltdown. The worst you can have is a breach of containment. It's not hand waving to point to the way Japan was piling up waste that was so hot it cracked the cooling water as being something that won't happen ever again. Now, failing to take a tsunami into account when locating the main power in the basement is the kind of problem that can reoccur. Yes there will be problems but there will be problems no matter what you do. Please don't inflate the severity of the problems that are unique to nuclear power.

As for rolling out nukes to the third world. Well for one thing, they'll be able to leap frog good plant design and operation the way they did with telcom. For another there's no need to build out nukes in corrupt regimes that are on their way to being failed states. If you want to take the third world off the table, that's fine with me. But when a country does turn itself around and starts rapid economic growth resulting in urban construction and dramatic increase in demand for power. What kind of plant would you have them build?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Aresen » 13 Jun 2017, 23:51

Like Warren, I am strongly in the pro-nuke camp.

Highway's points are valid, but I think you have to look at the risks and environmental damage caused by other power generation methods as well. I am not looking just at CO2. Hydro-electric carries the risk of dam failure; fossil fuel risks include air pollution and fuel leakage; solar power has lots of chemical toxins in the manufacturing process as well as problems getting enough energy together to power manufacturing. There is no perfect solution, but I think that nukes are better than most.

WRT the safety issues, I think fission power is much like passenger aviation: You have to learn from your mistakes.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 14 Jun 2017, 03:06

Warren wrote:
I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident.
Did you forget the no-go zone around Chernobyl?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Highway » 14 Jun 2017, 08:16

Warren wrote: I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident. And that was just stupid piled on stupid for generations to make that happen. With modern plant design there's no possibility of a meltdown. The worst you can have is a breach of containment. It's not hand waving to point to the way Japan was piling up waste that was so hot it cracked the cooling water as being something that won't happen ever again. Now, failing to take a tsunami into account when locating the main power in the basement is the kind of problem that can reoccur. Yes there will be problems but there will be problems no matter what you do.
This is EXACTLY the kind of handwaving that I'm talking about. "Oh, yeah, what those guys were doing was obviously wrong, we'd never do that again!" But didn't they know that too? Didn't they STILL do it? What other "obvious by inspection" things shouldn't they do at nuke plants that still get done somewhere, and could cause a problem in the future? It's this blithe dismissal of past accidents, and facile assurances that those things won't happen again that loses the nuke side credibility with the public. Whether you like it or not, those accidents are a big deal, and the way they've been dealt with has not helped people feel more safe and secure.

Failure to acknowledge this and deal with it from a PR perspective is why I don't think there will be a significant increase in generation of electricity from nuke plants. And yeah, it's a high bar to clear, but the issue is that with nuclear power, even the most minor incident is a gigantic deal.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Warren » 14 Jun 2017, 10:00

Jennifer wrote:
Warren wrote:
I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident.
Did you forget the no-go zone around Chernobyl?
no
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Warren » 14 Jun 2017, 10:09

Highway wrote:
Warren wrote: I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident. And that was just stupid piled on stupid for generations to make that happen. With modern plant design there's no possibility of a meltdown. The worst you can have is a breach of containment. It's not hand waving to point to the way Japan was piling up waste that was so hot it cracked the cooling water as being something that won't happen ever again. Now, failing to take a tsunami into account when locating the main power in the basement is the kind of problem that can reoccur. Yes there will be problems but there will be problems no matter what you do.
This is EXACTLY the kind of handwaving that I'm talking about. "Oh, yeah, what those guys were doing was obviously wrong, we'd never do that again!" But didn't they know that too? Didn't they STILL do it? What other "obvious by inspection" things shouldn't they do at nuke plants that still get done somewhere, and could cause a problem in the future? It's this blithe dismissal of past accidents, and facile assurances that those things won't happen again that loses the nuke side credibility with the public. Whether you like it or not, those accidents are a big deal, and the way they've been dealt with has not helped people feel more safe and secure.

Failure to acknowledge this and deal with it from a PR perspective is why I don't think there will be a significant increase in generation of electricity from nuke plants. And yeah, it's a high bar to clear, but the issue is that with nuclear power, even the most minor incident is a gigantic deal.
This is EXACTLY the kind of hands on ears LA LA LA LA NUKES ARE BAD that's been hampering civilization for the last half century. Yes people do stupid things. Yes accidents happen. No one is dismissing the past. Like Aresen said, accidents happen with oil and gas too. And the accidents that have already happened are lessons learned. You don't "'feel safe'" because you choose not to.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Eric the .5b » 14 Jun 2017, 10:24

I'm interested in the pebble bed reactors. China's supposedly investing in them, so if they're really safer, we''ll see, considering the shit that happens in the PRC.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by fyodor » 14 Jun 2017, 11:22

Of course I agree that Greenies should be more open to nukes.

But seems I've heard at various junctures, generally from libertarian sources, that nukes generally aren't possible without guvment support cause no private insurance company would ever touch 'em.

But then, that kind of just brings us 'round to the whole paradoxical issue with nukes. They're generally much much cleaner and safer than the alternatives (though waste might be a big problem) until if and when they go boom (don't take me too literally on boom per se, work with me here). The problem is one of potential for a very big problem not (so much) ongoing issues. Seems it's hardly just Greenies who might find it hard to believe oh we have that all figured out now, it'll never happen (again).

That seems like an inherent problem to selling nukes, whoever underwrites them. And anyway, I do think supporters of nukes should specify if they're talking about free market support (allow them to be built) or government backed support (MAKE IT SO!). (I suppose one might wave away needing to make that distinction on the grounds government support exists for various forms of energy production, but A) we'd probably oppose it for say, um, green energy, right?, and B) I suspect state support for nukes may be much more necessary for nukes as it's likely necessary just for a nuke plant to even be built in the first place.)
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Aresen » 14 Jun 2017, 11:37

Fyodor makes a good point, though I think the risks could be insured against.

OTOH, every major hydro-electric project in Canada in the last 70 years has been built by the government or government owned entities.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by fyodor » 14 Jun 2017, 11:51

Aresen wrote:Fyodor makes a good point, though I think the risks could be insured against.
I think whether the risks could be insured against is kind of up to the insurers, not you or me. Anyway, I'm just saying that you should specify whether your support is predicated on that happening or on regardless of that happening.
OTOH, every major hydro-electric project in Canada in the last 70 years has been built by the government or government owned entities.
Two wrongs don't make a right! :mrgreen: Well, still what I said above plus what I said in my prior post, which kind of amounts to, well, if private insurers aren't willing to bet there won't be a catastrophic meltdown, why should John Q. Public (not to mention Jane Q. Greenie)?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jason » 14 Jun 2017, 11:58

fyodor wrote:(though waste might be a big problem)
According to an IEEE Spectrum article from a few years ago, if the US ran a nuclear waste recycling program like France's, we could go from Yucca Mountain being overflowing to over 90% empty.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by fyodor » 14 Jun 2017, 12:09

Jason wrote:
fyodor wrote:(though waste might be a big problem)
According to an IEEE Spectrum article from a few years ago, if the US ran a nuclear waste recycling program like France's, we could go from Yucca Mountain being overflowing to over 90% empty.
Huh. Any idea why we don't?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Mo » 14 Jun 2017, 12:12

Aresen wrote:OTOH, every major hydro-electric project in Canada in the last 70 years has been built by the government or government owned entities.
I suspect a big part of that has to do with water rights and flooding issues.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jason » 14 Jun 2017, 12:19

fyodor wrote:Huh. Any idea why we don't?
Jimmy Carter.
On April 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States would defer indefinitely the reprocessing of spent nuclear reactor fuel. He stated that after extensive examination of the issues, he had reached the conclusion that this action was necessary to reduce the serious threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, and that by setting this example, the U. S. would encourage other nations to follow its lead.
The reprocessing is expensive but probably not as expensive as securing the waste for a few million years.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Aresen » 14 Jun 2017, 12:28

Mo wrote:
Aresen wrote:OTOH, every major hydro-electric project in Canada in the last 70 years has been built by the government or government owned entities.
I suspect a big part of that has to do with water rights and flooding issues.
Very true, though the hydro companies are government monopolies in most provinces.

To answer Fyodor: I agree it should be up to the insurer. My thought was that insurers and re-insurers are now large enough to be able to manage the risk. (They don't even blink at multi-billion dollar hurricane bills anymore.)

I think that part of the problem with a nuke accident is that, should one occur, every case of cancer (and a host of other diseases) within a 1000 km of the accident for the next 100 years is going to be blamed on the accident. There was a huge outcry when an epidemiologist questioned the official 'expected cancer toll' from Chernobyl. He merely pointed out that every incidence of cancer in the Ukraine was being blamed on the accident while the actual increase in number of cancers over the what would be expected given the demographics and lifestyles was only a few percentage points.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 14 Jun 2017, 16:44

Warren wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Warren wrote:
I really expected better from you Highway. There's only one area unfit for human habitation because of a nuclear plant accident.
Did you forget the no-go zone around Chernobyl?
no
Then why didn't you mention it? That area is also unfit for human habitation. It's even fucking up the microbial lifeforms in the area -- the accident was long-enough ago to see that dead plant matter in the region isn't rotting and decaying as it should, presumably because the microorganisms responsible for decay can't thrive amongst that radioactivity.

I'm with Highway on this -- nukes aren't remotely as bad as the "No nukes, ever, for any reason" contingent would have us believe, and bringing the entire world up to modern American techno-electric standards will almost certainly require nukes as opposed to expansion of fossil fuels, but -- while nukes aren't as bad as the hardcore Greenies say, neither are they as safe as the "Just build more nuke plants and everything'll be fine and let's just handwave away any problems" brigade likes to claim.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by thoreau » 14 Jun 2017, 16:50

Regulation is part of why nukes are so expensive....but the insurance companies, which price risk in a competitive market, are another part of why nukes are so expensive.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 14 Jun 2017, 17:29

As Fyodor (IIRC) alluded to upthread, nukes are like the "little girl with the little curl" from the old nursery rhyme: when they are good they are very very good, but when they are bad they are horrid. Certainly oil and gas plants have dangers as well, but at least those dangers are "localized" in space and time: if you're in close proximity to such a place when it goes boom, you're fucked, but once the flames go out and the toxic smoke dissipates you can start repairs and rebuilds; it's not as though that entire area is hopelessly contaminated and unsafe for humans for the next several generations.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Eric the .5b » 14 Jun 2017, 21:22

Jennifer wrote:Certainly oil and gas plants have dangers as well, but at least those dangers are "localized" in space and time
*looks up at thread title*
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 14 Jun 2017, 21:26

Eric the .5b wrote:
Jennifer wrote:Certainly oil and gas plants have dangers as well, but at least those dangers are "localized" in space and time
*looks up at thread title*
Point taken. I meant in the specific context of "the plant goes boom."
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