Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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samseva
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Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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Found this via Bhikkhu Bodhi's Facebook page. Worth a read and a simple signature.

Stop the next Chernobyl - Avaaz.org
Nuclear experts are scared. Belgium just restarted two ancient power plants, despite the discovery of 16,000 cracks last year in two of the reactors, and a recent explosion at another. They threaten to spark another Chernobyl disaster right in the heart of Europe!
Border tensions rumble over ageing Belgian nuclear reactors - The Guardian
Belgium’s decision to restart two 40-year-old nuclear reactors is putting pressure on northern Europe’s political fault lines, with Germany announcing that it would send experts to inspect the plants.

Concerns have been stoked by the discovery of thousands of defects in the reactors’ pressure vessels, a fire, and one unresolved sabotage incident at the plants, which also border Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

[...]
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samseva
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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If anyone is living close to New York or New Jersey, signing this one might be a good idea as well.

Citizens Demand To Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant - MoveOn
SarathW
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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Nuclear power is a very important energy source if we use it in a responsible way.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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samseva
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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SarathW wrote:Nuclear power is a very important energy source if we use it in a responsible way.
No, if it doesn't blow up in our face, which is not the same thing at all.

The enormous possible disadvantages of nuclear power far outweigh the advantages. There are other forms of energy and if we actually decrease our overly liberal use of electricity (I bet most people know quite a few people who leave their computer running 24/7, for example), being nuclear-free is something that is possible.
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mikenz66
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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There is an unfortunate confusion not only between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, but also between problems inherent to a technology and those caused by poor design and management.

Countries that have had a sensible approach to design and implementation, such as France, have had few problems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Fukashima disaster https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima ... r_disaster" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; happened due to issues that were known, and could have been fixed:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima ... ing_system" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Of course, there are always going to be waste issues, but the health issues from well-run nuclear facilities are trivial compared to facilities burning coal and oil.

Furthermore, all countries rely on nuclear technology in the medical field. Since we have no reactors in my country, it's primarily in hospitals where you'll find most of the accelerators, x-ray sources, positron sources, radioactive tracer material, and so on.

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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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I wasn't expecting the thread to turn into pro-nuclear energy.

The situation with things such as nuclear energy is that it is always supposed to funtion perfectly, but something always eventually goes wrong. The meltdowns could have been prevented (which is a fallacy to validate its use), but unexpected things always happen.
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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It's not necessarily pro nuclear. I'm just pointing out that as far as I know, the number of deaths due to nuclear power are very small compared to coal, oil, etc, both death by pollution released and direct deaths of workers, miners, etc.

The only sure way to stop deaths due to energy production is to produce a lot less energy...

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samseva
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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mikenz66 wrote:It's not necessarily pro nuclear. I'm just pointing out that as far as I know, the number of deaths due to nuclear power are very small compared to coal, oil, etc, both death by pollution released and direct deaths of workers, miners, etc.
The thing with nuclear pollution, either from nuclear energy production or nuclear disasters like Chernobyl, Fukushima or the 15 or so partial or complete nuclear meltdowns that occurred in the past 60 years (yes, there have been that many nuclear meltdowns) is that the direct effects are not as easily seen as with other dangerous forms of energy production. If miners are in a mine while it collapses, it is easier to see the direct negative effect. With nuclear waste however, these effects take sometimes many decades (however, thyroid cancers due to the iodine-131 isotope are more easy to spot). They have an effect on many generations after the event, on innocent children stuck with crippling physical and mental disabilities throughout their life. Radioactive waste and debris also affect plants, animals and basically the whole ecosystem. What is even worse is that it isn't only birth defects in one child and the tragedy ends with this person, but radioactive debris affect the DNA of every living organism. It negatively affects the human race or any living being to the utmost core; it destroys the blueprint that is used to bring to life the next generation.

With radioactive materials, numbers are quite surprising:
  • Iodine-131, Half-life: 8 days, Lodges in your thyroid and gives thyroid cancer
  • Cesium-137, Half-life: 30 years, Most problematic, It easily spreads through nature being highly water-soluble, Gamma and alpha
  • Strontium-90, Half-life: of 28 years
  • Americium-241, Half-life: 432.2 years, Gamma and alpha emissions
  • Carbon-14, Half-life: 5730 years
  • Uranium-238, Half-life: 4.468 billion years, Alpha emissions
Out of this list, half of these are in medium to large quantities in Japan (though acceptable according to government standards) and in a portion of seafood chain sold worldwide. Significant amounts of cesium were found in Australia and the west coast of the US.

If you aren't too squeamish, look up 'chernobyl birth defects' or 'children of chernobyl'. Imagine being born like that and living all of your life with these disabilities.

It gets even worse when you take into consideration other things that can happen with nuclear energy production, of which there is nuclear power plant attacks, illegal nuclear waste dumping, nuclear material sent as scrap material and ending up as household items, nuclear waste being buried by the tens of thousands of barrels, the usual birth defects, health problems, cancers and so on.

Some media outlets usually mention how safe and green nuclear energy is. It is even more the case with pro-nuclear energy proponents. When you start making your own opinion by doing your own research, of the things that are known as well as the things that happen behind the curtains, things aren't black and white after all.
mikenz66 wrote:The only sure way to stop deaths due to energy production is to produce a lot less energy...

I agree. Our use of energy is overly liberal, wasteful being more accurate. It always puzzles me when I see whole companies and schools leaving all their computers open 24/7. You multiply that by a portion of the amount of schools and skyscrapers in the world and you end up with quite a lot of wasted electricity (which half was probably produced by burning coal and with nuclear energy).
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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Yes, there are problems. There are problems with all technologies. Have you made a careful study of the the deaths, and birth and defects and other problems from pollution, caused by other forms of energy production? And the deaths caused by agricultural chemicals, cars, planes, and other technology? There are serious health issues with all this technology, especially if it is used recklessly.

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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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Perhaps Buddha knew about the future energy crisis. :shrug:


But even if the Vinaya in its present form was taught by the Buddha, to continue to live in London or Los Angles in the 21 st century CE by rules drawn up in northern India in the 2nd or 1st centuries BCE is neither practical or appropriate. Take Pacittiya 56 which forbids a monk from lighting a fire unless he is sick. The origin story explains the reason of this peculiar rule. Apparently, one winter’s night some monks made a fire of an old log. There happened to be a cobra in the log and after a while it sprung out frightening the monks half to death. When the Buddha came to know of this he forbid monks from lighting a fire. Is it sensible for a monk living in Toronto in 2001 not to turn on the central heating (or more likely to use hints and insinuations to get a lay person to turn it on for him) just because some monks in northern India over two thousand years ago were frightened by a snake jumping out of a burning log? A Theravadin would inevitably argue that it is and to have another opinion on this matter would be seen as proof of insincerity and probably of immorality too. When you become a Theravadin monk the first and the most important thing you have to renounce is your reason.

http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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mikenz66 wrote:Yes, there are problems. There are problems with all technologies. Have you made a careful study of the the deaths, and birth and defects and other problems from pollution, caused by other forms of energy production? And the deaths caused by agricultural chemicals, cars, planes, and other technology? There are serious health issues with all this technology, especially if it is used recklessly.
True, but very little of those directly destroy our DNA and the DNA of any living entity, which affect future generations. You also don't get negative health effects simply from being close to chemicals and pollution. You might ingest them, but ingesting radioactive isotopes is 10 times worse. Some toxins will also progressively cause diseases and cancers, but radioactive isotopes will directly and quickly cause mutation of cells.

The quantities to cause problems are far less with radioactive materials. Read this:
Less than two grams of Cesium-137, a piece smaller than an American dime, if made into microparticles and evenly distributed as a radioactive gas over an area of one square mile, will turn that square mile into an uninhabitable radioactive exclusion zone. Central Park in New York City can be made uninhabitable by 2 grams of microparticles of Cesium-137.
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Re: Prevent the Next Chernobyl

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samseva wrote: You also don't get negative health effects simply from being close to chemicals and pollution. You might ingest them, but ingesting radioactive isotopes is 10 times worse. Some toxins will also progressively cause diseases and cancers, but radioactive isotopes will directly and quickly cause mutation of cells....
Umm, have you read about the effects of agent orange and other chemicals in producing genetic problems in the children of Vietnam veterans, etc?

Look, I agree all this stuff is dangerous. It all requires careful risk assessment and safety planning.

Most of us have no problem flying, it's statistically very safe, but if something goes wrong then hundreds of people are wiped out, which provokes a stronger reaction than the much higher death rate for automobile travel, presumably because it's a couple of hundred, rather than one or two, per incident.

When it comes to complex issues, the risk assessment is really hard. It's quite possible that global warming might kill more people than the nuclear, automobile, or airline industries ever could. Balancing that into the risk assessment is tricky.

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