Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:06 pm

Thanks Christopher::: that's a helpful chart. It's always useful to have an idea of the real data. It clearly explains why this is potentially more serious for the public than Three Mile Island and what the natural radiation exposures are (though of course, these vary a depending on what sort of soil/rock you live on, how your house is constructed, and so on, e.g. whether you have exposed bricks inside your house...).

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:11 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Christopher::: that's a helpful chart. It's always useful to have an idea of the real data. It clearly explains why this is potentially more serious for the public than Three Mile Island and what the natural radiation exposures are (though of course, these vary a depending on what sort of soil/rock you live on, how your house is constructed, and so on, e.g. whether you have exposed bricks inside your house...).

:anjali:
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Agreed - but the really simple way of looking at all the natural variations of background radiation is that we have co-evolved with all of them and they won't, therefore, hurt us much. We really don't need to worry about anything on the blue part of the chart, although it's great to have it so that we can see just how low some of the reported dosages have been.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby chownah » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:45 am

Probably everyone has seen this already since its from Yahoo news but here is a link to a story titled "AP IMPACT: US spent-fuel storage sites are packed"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110323/ap_ ... FjdHVzc3A-

For me the most interesting point in the article is that the US has been planning to open a "permanent" storage facility under Yucca Mountain (although there has been alot of public resistenct to its creation and perhaps it will not be built at all but who knows?) and that the AMOUNT OF WASTE ALREADY IN TEMPORARY STORAGE IS ENOUGH TO COMPLETELY FILL THE PROPOSED CAPACITY AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN.

There is no permanent storage presently and the attempts to create one have not even been able to keep up with the demand even when the US gets less than 20% of its electricity from nuclear...and when presently there are only a few decomissioned reactors....even if no knew reactors are built the amount of waste needing storage will increase alot in the near future since there will be more decomissionings in the future than there were in the past and the plants will on average be much bigger with alot more spent fuel......imagine how big the probelm would be if the US went hog wild into nuclear!!!!!!

Fearing the accumulation of nuclear waste is not paranoia as the danger is real and growing every day....

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:29 am

Annapurna wrote:Dear... :console:

We continued after Chernobyl.

Perhaps we'll find a way out of this too.

But then,- it has to stop.

Which will be hard, because some people still can't read the signs...

Yesterday, I watched on TV how the different nations are reacting to this....it seems in some parts of the Czech republic the 'message' hasn't arrived yet.

There are rather uneducated people working in nuclear plants, it feeds their bellies, work is all they want, and since their boss told them their reactor is safe they believe him....

They think the rest of the wolrd is being hysterical and has bad plants.

And that they have a good one, of course.

I have no doubt at all that nuclear energy will continue to feature in future European energy strategies.
What has happened/is happening in Japan will mean a new look at the technology...and that is the extent of the consequences..
The Daily Mail which is by far the biggest selling newspaper in the UK and a major opinion former is running articles saying that the post earthquake experience in Japan essentially proves that Nuclear energy is safe in normal circumstances...i.e. away from tectonic plates.
A poll in the UK showed a remarkable degree of pragmatism on the issue...this was compared in the Mail and other UK media outlets to the " hysteria " being demonstrated in France and Germany.
In the US Obama will of course continue his policy of total indecision while talking a good fight.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:31 pm

The French have had a very extensive investment in nuclear power for a long time, giving them a lot of experience with the known issues. Given that, I consider their attitude about nuclear power to have a little more weight.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby chownah » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:45 am

There have been many comments in this thread that claimed that renewables can not provide the bulk of the electric power for a country....below is a link to a Yahoo article that claims that in the month of March, 2011 in Spain MORE THAN 60% OF THE ELECTRIC POWER CAME FROM RENEWABLES NAMELY WIND, HYDRO, AND SOLAR......

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110331/sc ... 93ZXJpbnM-

PLease note that every year the cost of renewables goes down and the efficiency of renewables goes up.....while every year it seems the cost of nuclear goes up and I don't know about the efficiency of nuclear....
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:12 am

Some related articles...

Six times to hell and back in Chernobyl, says nuclear "jumper"

"Six times, Sergei Belyakov says, he has been through the doorway to hell and back. The Ukrainian-American was a volunteer "jumper" who helped clean up after the nuclear disaster in the town of Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in April, 1986. These are people who jump into a radioactive area to clear debris or mend pipes and run to safety before radiation reaches lethal levels.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is trying to get jumpers -- reportedly for $5,000 a day -- to bring its damaged nuclear power plant in northern Japan under control after it was severely damaged by last month's earthquake and tsunami, the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Six times during his 40-day tenure at Chernobyl, Belyakov was one of the hundreds crouching in the covered stairway leading to the roof of nuclear reactors 3 and 4. Outside, radioactivity was so high that it could kill within minutes.

"The guy (at the door) tells you, you go here, you do this, you go around this, this ladder is not good so don't go there because you may fall with it. You mentally imprint what you need to do, you follow that. Then you run." He would hack away at highly toxic asphalt on the roof and toss it down to be buried, but for a very limited time. The longest he spent on the roof was two minutes, the shortest between 30-40 seconds. "The guy yells (to) you or you have your own judgment (to come back). Once you are done, you go down. There were 700-900 people collected on that staircase. It was a moving, never-ending chain of people."


Germany's radioactive boars a legacy of Chernobyl
Associated Press – Fri Apr 1, 2011

BERLIN – "For a look at just how long radioactivity can hang around, consider Germany's wild boars. A quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union carried a cloud of radiation across Europe, these animals are radioactive enough that people are urged not to eat them. And the mushrooms the pigs dine on aren't fit for consumption either.
Germany's experience shows what could await Japan — if the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant get any worse.
The German boars roam in forests nearly 950 miles (1,500 kilometers ) from Chernobyl. Yet, the amount of radioactive cesium-137 within their tissue often registers dozens of times beyond the recommended limit for consumption and thousands of times above normal.

"We still feel the consequences of Chernobyl's fallout here," said Christian Kueppers, a radiation expert at Germany's Institute for Applied Ecology in Freiburg. "The contamination won't go away any time soon — with cesium's half-life being roughly 30 years, the radioactivity will only slightly decrease in the coming years." Cesium can build up in the body and high levels are thought to be a risk for various other cancers. Still, researchers who studied Chernobyl could not find an increase in cancers that might be linked to cesium."


Special Report: Fuel storage, safety issues vexed Japan plant

TOKYO (Reuters)- "When the massive tsunami smacked into Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power plant was stacked high with more uranium than it was originally designed to hold and had repeatedly missed mandatory safety checks over the past decade. The Fukushima plant that has spun into partial meltdown and spewed out plumes of radiation had become a growing depot for spent fuel in a way the American engineers who designed the reactors 50 years earlier had never envisioned, according to company documents and outside experts...

When the quake hit, almost 4,000 uranium fuel assemblies were stored in deep pools of circulating water built into the highest floor of the Fukushima reactor buildings, according to company records. Each assembly stands about 3.5 meters high and even a decade after use emits enough radiation to kill a person standing nearby. The spent radioactive fuel stored in the reactors represented more than three times the amount of radioactive material normally held in the active cores of the six reactors at the complex, according to Tokyo Electric briefings and its presentation to the IAEA.

The build-up of used fuel rods in the Fukushima reactor buildings has complicated the response to the continuing crisis at the complex and deepened its severity, officials and experts have said. That has been especially the case at the No. 4 reactor, which was out of service at the time of the quake and had some 548, still-hot fuel assemblies cooling in a pool of water on its upper floor. That reactor, which erupted into explosive flames twice last week, triggered a warning from U.S. officials last week about higher risks for radiation from the stricken plant than Japanese officials had disclosed.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said the spent fuel was vulnerable because it was protected only by the relatively "flimsy" outer shell of the reactors and reliant on a single, pump-driven cooling system. "It's a recipe for disaster and that disaster is now unfolding in Japan," Lochbaum said. The pile-up of used radioactive fuel stored at Fukushima underscores a dilemma that the nuclear power industry has faced in Japan and in the United States for decades: there is no easy answer to the question of where to store radioactive nuclear fuel after it has been used to produce power..."


Scientific American: China's Nuclear Tests
July, 2009

"A few hundred thousand people may have died as a result of radiation from at least 40 nuclear explosions carried out between 1964 and 1996 at the Lop Nur site in Xinjiang, which lies on the Silk Road. Almost 20 million people reside in Xinjiang, and Tohti believes that they offer unique insight into the long-term impact of radiation, including the relatively little studied genetic effects that may be handed down over generations. He is establishing the Lop Nur project at Sapporo Medical University in Japan with physicist Jun Takada to evaluate these consequences.

Takada has calculated that the peak radiation dose in Xinjiang exceeded that measured on the roof of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor after it melted down in 1986. Most damage to Xinjiang locals came from detonations during the 1960s and 1970s, which rained down a mixture of radioactive material and sand from the surrounding desert. Some were three-megaton explosions, 200 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, says Takada, who published his findings in a book, Chinese Nuclear Tests (Iryo ka gakusha, 2009)."


Idaho downwinders tell their story

Associate Press, Published: Sunday, Nov. 7, 2004

BOISE — For much of her childhood, Sheri Garman drank poisoned milk. Like many other children in eastern Idaho in the 1950s, Garman and her family drank locally produced raw milk. But the cows on Garman's family dairy and other regional dairies were ingesting radioactive fallout from Cold War nuclear testing in Nevada, and passing on the radiation to humans through their milk.

"Radiation fallout was like dew on the grass," Garman told researchers with National Academies Board on Radiation Effects Research during a hearing for downwinders — the Idaho residents believed to be suffering radiation-related health problems. "We are the poster children for the radiation that came to Idaho, yet we are not included in RECA," she said.

The National Academy of Sciences agreed to accept testimony in Idaho about the impact fallout had on residents' health in response to hundreds of letters. The hearing in Boise Saturday drew hundreds of downwinders. The compensation act provides a $50,000 payment to residents with certain kinds of cancers who lived in 21 counties in southern Utah, Nevada and Arizona during the testing. Not included under the act are the four Idaho counties — Blaine, Gem, Custer and Lemhi — which received some of the highest levels of iodine-131, one of the radioactive elements released by the tests, according to a 1997 National Cancer Institute Study.

Garman said the exposure left her with thyroid cancer, followed by breast cancer. When the breast cancer recently spread, doctors told her she could expect to live between 18 and 24 more months. "If I meet the statistics, I will die by this time next year," Garman told the scientists. "Cancer is knowing that it will take more than modern medicine for me to see my daughter's wedding. I'm fighting terminal cancer that could have been avoided."



Image

British Nuclear Tests at Maralinga

British nuclear tests at Maralinga occurred between 1955 and 1963 at the Maralinga site, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area, in South Australia. A total of seven major nuclear tests were performed, with approximate yields ranging from 1 to 27 kilotons of TNT equivalent. The site was also used for hundreds of minor trials, many of which were intended to investigate the effects of fire or non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons. The site was contaminated with radioactive materials and an initial cleanup was attempted in 1967. The McClelland Royal Commission, an examination of the effects of the tests, delivered its report in 1985, and found that significant radiation hazards still existed at many of the Maralinga test areas. It recommended another cleanup, which was completed in 2000 at a cost of $108 million. Debate continued over the safety of the site and the long-term health effects on the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land and former personnel.

Image

See also:

British Nuclear Testing in Australia

Maralinga: Australia’s Nuclear Waste Cover-up

"Federal science minister Peter McGauran was almost incontinent with joy in 2003 — the clean-up of the plutonium-contaminated British atomic bomb testing site at Maralinga in South Australia's remote north had "achieved its goals", exceeded "world's best practice" and was "something Australia can be proud of". Not so happy, however, was nuclear engineer Alan Parkinson, whose book Maralinga: Australia's Nuclear Waste Cover-up shows that the "clean-up" was more a "cover-up" of a cost-cutting dumping of hazardous radioactive waste in shallow holes in the ground.

Seven of the 12 British atomic bombs exploded on Australian territory 50 years ago were at Maralinga in 1956 and 1957. Even more so than the bomb tests, it was the hundreds of related trials, which continued until the mid-1960s, that contaminated 100 square kilometres of land with plutonium and other radioactive elements. Twenty-four kilograms of highly dangerous plutonium was used but only 0.9kgs was repatriated to Britain. The remainder was spread over a wide area, while thousands of tonnes of plutonium-contaminated debris (concrete, steel, cable, etc) lay in poorly covered bare earth pits following inadequate British clean-ups, the last in 1967."
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Annapurna » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:30 pm

chownah wrote:There have been many comments in this thread that claimed that renewables can not provide the bulk of the electric power for a country....below is a link to a Yahoo article that claims that in the month of March, 2011 in Spain MORE THAN 60% OF THE ELECTRIC POWER CAME FROM RENEWABLES NAMELY WIND, HYDRO, AND SOLAR......

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110331/sc ... 93ZXJpbnM-

PLease note that every year the cost of renewables goes down and the efficiency of renewables goes up.....while every year it seems the cost of nuclear goes up and I don't know about the efficiency of nuclear....
chownah


Thanks...

ther ius an atomlobby making us believe things that are good for their wallets.

Dig this:

After the accident, Angela Merkel and her party ordered our 7 or 8 oldest reactors be shut down for a 3 months moratorium.

Now, the operating company of Biblis, the reactor with the most hazardous incidents, is SUING the government!!!

"We owe this to our stockholders..."

Bla bla bla bla bla...

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:53 pm

At Yahoo news today it was reported that in Japan they are intentionally dumping radioactive water into the ocean to free up storage space for more radioactive water....this is disturbing...I do understand the need for this and I do understand that if they are actually dumping low level waste as they claim (how will anyone really know what level the waste is that gets dumped) then the danger is pretty minimal....but think of the precedent this is setting....this makes it just that much easier for other nuclear plants to just plan on dumping their waste in any conveniently located body of water...and what to me is particularly disturbing is this statement:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110404/ts ... N0YXJ0c2Q-

"...
Government spokesman Yukio Edano said it was the only available option.

"We have no choice but to release water tainted with radioactive materials into the ocean as a safety measure," Edano said.
......"

This is particularly disturbing in that they are trying to spin this as a "safety measure"....I think they actuallly want us to develop the mind set that dumping radioactive waste into the ocean is a safe thing to do....that it is a safety measure....that it is safe....perhaps it should be written into the books as a safe way to run nuclear power plants in the future....as standard operating procedures....

There are quite a few nuclear power plants within spitting distance of oceans and seas....is one of the reasons for this that the designers consider that waste can just be dumped into the ocean if some good rationale can be developed to justify that?....how long will it take before financial considerations are considered justification for wholesalel dumping of radioactive waste into convenient bodies of water?.....I am not paranoid about what is happening in Japan with this but it is a disturbing event when dumping untreated radioactive waste into the ocean is considered to be a "safety measure".....does Japan think that they have their very own private ocean??/????

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby christopher::: » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:18 pm

Yeah, i just saw another article on that. My jaw dropped open in disbelief, literally.

excerpts:

The plant operators also deliberately dumped 10,000 tons of tainted water — measuring about 500 times above the legal limit for radiactivity — into the ocean Monday to make space at a storage site for water that is even more highly radiactive.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"We must keep putting water into the reactors to cool to prevent further fuel damage, even though we know that there is a side effect, which is the leakage," Nishiyama said. "We want to get rid of the stagnant water and decontaminate the place so that we can return to our primary task to restore the sustainable cooling capacity as quickly as possible." To that end, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said it jettisoned the 10,000 tons of water Monday, clearing space in a waste-storage facility. The government decided to allow the step as "an unavoidable emergency measure," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.
An additional 1,500 tons will be dumped from a trench under the plant's units 5 and 6. That water is threatening to interfere with the workings at those units, whose reactors are under control.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean, and Edano said the dump should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.



I couldn't believe that last line. They already have radioactivity showing up in Tokyo's drinking water and in food from the region. Why's the situation going to be different for the ocean?

Anyway, a quick search revealed that this kinda radioactive waste dumping has been going on in various ways, for a long long time...

Thousands of radioactive waste barrels rusting

June, 2000
Greenpeace research unveils nuclear legacy

Paris, 19 June 2000 Greenpeace today released new images of the legacy of radioactive waste dumping at sea from ships. The shocking footage was taken in the Hurd Deep, in UK territorial waters just off the Channel Islands and some 15km north-west of Cap de La Hague (France).

It shows corroding, broken and disintegrated barrels of radioactive waste, remnants of some 28,500 barrels tipped into the sea by the UK between 1950 and 1963. Hurd Deep is one of many such dumpsites used until a global ban was agreed in 1993.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency's 1999 Global Inventory of Radioactive Wastes in the Marine Environment, the total radioactive inventory of the Hurd Deep is a staggering 57,942 GigaBequerels.

"Although dumping radioactive wastes at sea from ships is now banned, paradoxically the discharge of radioactive wastes into the sea via pipelines from land is not," said Mike Townsley of Greenpeace. "Such 'double standards' are not maintained for technical or scientific reasons, but only because the operators of the nuclear reprocessing facilities in La Hague (France) and Sellafield (UK) want to save money."

"It is cheaper for them to continue to use the sea as a radioactive garbage bin than to store this radioactive waste on land; for the nuclear industry, money comes first and the environment second", said Mike Townsley (2).

Each year, Europe's giant nuclear reprocessing facilities at Sellafield in the UK and La Hague in France, discharge hundreds of millions of litters of radioactive waste into the sea. The amount of radioactivity discharged from La Hague and Sellafield in only 9 months exceeds that dumped in the Hurd Deep.

"Hurd Deep and the other former ocean dump sites stand testament to the irreversibility of dumping radioactive wastes in the ocean -- regardless of whether from a ship or a land-based pipe", said Mike Townsley.

Carried by the ocean currents, radioactivity from La Hague and Sellafield has already been detected in sea life around the coasts of Scandinavia, Iceland and the Arctic, and will continue to build up in the food chain, threatening the health of millions of people, unless the discharges stop immediately.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:29 pm

christopher::: wrote:
Anyway, a quick search revealed that this kinda radioactive waste dumping has been going on in various ways, for a long long time...

Thousands of radioactive waste barrels rusting

June, 2000
Greenpeace research unveils nuclear legacy

Paris, 19 June 2000 Greenpeace today released new images

Worrying stuff, Christopher. Have you got anything more recent on the Sellafield and La Hague discharges?
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby octathlon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:02 am

The situation continues to go from bad to worse and at this point they're playing it by ear. Yeah, it's pretty bad when you deal with a nuclear accident by making it up as you go along. :evil: Have you read about their efforts to plug up the cracks by pouring different kinds of stuff in it, even trying the absorbent stuff used in baby diapers? didn't work of course. It reminds me of the BP spill last year. :roll:
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby christopher::: » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:06 am

octathlon wrote:The situation continues to go from bad to worse and at this point they're playing it by ear. Yeah, it's pretty bad when you deal with a nuclear accident by making it up as you go along. :evil: Have you read about their efforts to plug up the cracks by pouring different kinds of stuff in it, even trying the absorbent stuff used in baby diapers? didn't work of course. It reminds me of the BP spill last year. :roll:


Right. Very similar. They really have had absolutely no idea about how to deal with this. There were 3 backup cooling systems in place and it never entered anyone's mind that all three might fail, and for such a long amount of time as this. They also had not considered problems with the spent fuel rods and other radioactive materials stored nearby. I doubt also that anyone had realized initially that the last-ditch cooling of the rods with ocean water would lead to a buildup of hydrogen which would then explode, sending debris flying down and further damaging pipes, storage tanks and generators...

Like the BP spill and the Titanic they're dealing with situations no one had imagined or fully prepared for.

Kim O'Hara wrote:Worrying stuff, Christopher. Have you got anything more recent on the Sellafield and La Hague discharges?
:namaste:
Kim


Hi Kim. Haven't been able to find anything about the recent situation yet but here's something else from a few years back...



One of the problems with a lot of these toxins is the nuclear industries and militaries have done all they can to spread things out and bury/hide stuff. Many of the barrels of toxic radioactive waste sent to the bottom of the ocean in the 60s, 70s & 80s are rusting and leaking now. Some of the waste that gets "processed" becomes depleted uranium that is painted onto weapons used in many recent wars...



The rest is just stored in unsafe locations such as Fukushima, scattered all over the world. If you search for specific incidents of toxic nuclear radioactivity getting into the environment over the last 66 years the data is mind-boggling, its happened in so many different places, in many different ways.

Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island and Fukushima are just the visible tips of the Atomic Age's very large and highly radioactive nuclear legacy...

:toilet:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:21 am

I read an article at Yahoo which reminded me of this topic....remember this one?....lots of opinions about how the Japanese power plants certainly would not have major problems and the problems would be insignificant....and also some opinions about how alternative energy is totally inadequate etc. etc.........

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Solar-pow ... et=&ccode=

Title:
Solar power is beginning to go mainstream
The biggest cloud hanging over the solar industry, the high cost of panels, is finally lifting

Excerpt:
".........
Solar panels, which are priced based on the amount of power they can produce during full sunshine, sold for $1.34 per watt in mid-September, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That's down from $1.90 at the beginning of 2010. In 2008, they sold for $4 a watt. ...................
...........
General Electric Co., Samsung and other big companies are entering the market. This should increase supply and bring down costs even further. GE announced this month that it would build the largest panel factory in the U.S., near Denver.
................."

chownah
P.S. If battery powered vehicles become mainstream they will perform the second critical factor to put solar over the top which is storage......the first critical factor is of course cost which is addressed above.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:32 am

In a similar vein, on Joe Romm's highly regarded Climate Progress blog back in June [url]http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/09/241120/solar-is-ready-now-“ferocious-cost-reductions-make-solar-pv-competitive/[/url]:
There’s a joke in the solar industry about when “grid parity” – the time when solar becomes as cheap as fossil sources – will happen.

…The truth is, it will happen in phases – one market and one technology at a time. But according to two top solar executives – Tom Dinwoodie, CTO of SunPower and Dan Shugar, formerly of SunPower and current CEO of Solaria – “ferocious cost reductions,” are accelerating that crossover in a variety of markets today.

…Manufacturing costs have come down steadily, from $60 a watt in the mid-1970’s to $1.50 today. People often point to a “Moore’s Law” in solar – meaning that for every cumulative doubling of manufacturing capacity, costs fall 20%. In solar PV manufacturing, costs have fallen about 18% for every doubling of production. “It holds up very closely,” says Solaria’s Shugar.

…As SunPower’s Dinwoodie puts it: The 17 GW installed in 2010 is the equivalent of 17 nuclear power plants – manufactured, shipped and installed in one year. It can take decades just to install a nuclear plant. Think about that. I heard Bill Gates recently call solar “cute.” Well, that’s 17 GW of “cute” adding up at an astonishing pace.

…Here’s another important statistic: When SunPower built the 14-MW Nellis Air Force Base system in 2007, it cost $7 per watt. Today, commercial and utility systems are getting installed at around $3 per watt. In 2010 alone, the average installed cost of installing solar PV dropped 20%.

…So what does all this mean? It means that the notion that “solar is too expensive” doesn’t hold up anymore. When financing providers can offer a home or business owner solar electricity for less than the cost of their current services; when utilities start investing in solar themselves to reduce operating costs; and when the technology starts moving into the range of new nuclear and new coal, it’s impossible to ignore.

According to SunPower’s Tom Dinwoodie: “The cross-over has occurred.”

:smile:
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:41 am

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby octathlon » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:48 pm

Yes, we need to be sure not to just forget about this issue as "yesterday's news". From Kim's link:
What happens now?
In the short term, workers will continue to cool the reactors and clean up as much contamination as possible. But in the longer term they will have to actually remove the uranium from the reactor cores and transport it away from the coast, where it poses a major environmental and health risk.

This will create an unprecedented challenge. The radioactive fuel inside the reactors is believed to have melted down completely, and some or all of it has probably leaked from the stainless-steel pressure vessel in which it was housed into the concrete enclosure below the reactor. The radiation will remain powerful enough to kill for decades to come, so workers will have to find a way to clean up and remove the fuel remotely.

Given the current levels of radiation near the reactors, it may be years before workers are even able to take a first look at what has happened inside.


There is also a huge mass of debris that was swept out to sea by the tsunami, slowly floating across the ocean:
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/c ... ns-tsunami
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:17 pm

octathlon wrote:There is also a huge mass of debris that was swept out to sea by the tsunami, slowly floating across the ocean:
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/c ... ns-tsunami

From that link, in turn:
The tsunami's mess is expected to make a major local contribution to the worldwide problem of human refuse spreading across the world’s oceans. The items range from mile-long ghost nets that strangle marine life to tiny bits of plastic indistinguishable from plankton.
"Even before the tsunami, (oceans were) a dump for rubbish flowing in from rivers, washed off beaches, and jettisoned from oil and gas platforms and from fishing, tourist, and merchant vessels," the researchers said in this story posted last spring soon after the quake. "The massive, concentrated debris launched by the devastating tsunami is now magnifying the hazards."

...which reminded me of Bag It http://www.bagitmovie.com/, a very entertaining, as well as thought provoking, movie about the perils of plastic.
One section of the movie is about a huge amount of floating debris which has accumulated in a patch of the north Pacific - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch. It seems at least possible to me that a lot of the tsunami debris will get trapped there are well. The not-so-bad aspect is that the new debris is from all along the Japanese coast, not just Fukushima, i.e. no real radiation hazard.

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:28 pm

The official word on clean-up time:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-28/fukushima-nuclear-decommission/3605094 wrote:30 years needed to decommission Fukushima: experts

A draft report by Japan's nuclear agency says it will take more than 30 years to decommission the shattered Fukushima nuclear plant.
Authorities hope to have the stricken reactors in a state of cold shutdown by the end of the year.


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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:02 pm

They still don't have a plan for how to dispose of the radioactive waste:
http://news.yahoo.com/japans-crisis-rad ... 25z;_ylv=3

"Goshi Hosono, the country's nuclear crisis minister, said Friday that Japan has yet to come up with a comprehensive plan for how to dispose of the irradiated waste that has been accumulating since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami."

AND IT IS STILL LEAKING RADIATION:
"Officials say that — almost eight months later — the plant has been restored to a relatively stable condition and is leaking far less radiation than it did in the early days of crisis. They hope to achieve a "cold shutdown" — with each reactor's temperature below 212 Fahrenheit (100 C) — by the end of the year."

AND THE TECHNOLOGIES TO PROCESS THE WASTE HAVE NOT YET EVEN BEEN DEVELOPED:
""We still don't have a full picture of how to deal with the waste," he said. "It would require research and development that may take years. "

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