0
   

Why not hold off fission

 
 
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 12:11 pm
After many scary incidents including 3-Mile Island and Fukushima, plus many other nuclear events not much publicized, we have new potential in "Dispute over records at nuclear plant" in our excellent Friendly Local Fourth Estate, Victorville, Ca Daily Press Dec. 8; the present mystery, "...why the San Onofre plant's new steam generators caused excessive wear to hundreds of tubes...."

....while to make matters worse, we're not supposed to know much about "....dozens of pages of documents that were withheld.........denying the public a voice...." Apparently they don't want us to catch on.

So for instance given Germany's sheer abandonment of the curse of fission shouldn't we also quit building and nursing nuclear plants until safer means--such as fusion--become available?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 761 • Replies: 11
No top replies

 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 08:11 pm
@dalehileman,
Interesting point. Two issues;
1. Fusion is a very long way off and very little progress in containing the high temperatures, pressures and local radiation levels required to sustain a controlled Fusion process has been attained in the last three decades. What was once a very hopeful and energetic research & development process is now dispirited and relatively passive.
2. Secondly your assertion that fission reactors are unsafe is contrary to the facts. It is significantly safer than coal, petroleum or gas fired powerplants. That's a very reliable assertion based on lots of data over the past 45 years during which the western world had generated a large fraction of its electrical power from fission reactors (20% in this country & Canada, up to 50% until recently in the UK and Germany; almost 80% in France; etc.

The problem is that nuclear power and the risks attendant to it are poorly understood by the public (something like the morbid fear of snakes), and the long term effects are routinely wildly exaggerated by the media. Consider the following facts;
1. The Japanese Government reported over 18,000 deaths from the Tusnami that struck their eastern coast last year. None of them occurred as a result of the reactor accident that involved the partial or complete meltdown of three of the four reactor cores at the Fukushima site. One wouldn't know that from the reporting of the accident. Based on Japanese Government reports, only one plant worker was exposed to radiation above the level at which any increased incidence od disease is indicated by clinical and public health data.

The same was true with our Three Mile Island accident. The NIH has reported that there is no evidence of an increase in disease or mortality after now over thirty years since the accident. Even Chernobyl caused fewer deaths than occur each year in China's coal mines.

2. We live our lives bathed in natural radioactivity from the sun and radioactive particles in the earth, and that dose increases with altitude and proximity to granite rosk formations. A person moving from (say) Richmond VA to Denver Colorado experience an increase in his natural dose of radioactivity that is about equal to the maximum legally allowed industrial dose by a radiation worker. If he moves to Aspen at a higher altitude and surrounded by granite mountains the increase is about 50% greater. Despite all this there is no statistically detectable difference in the incidence or mortality associated with related diseases. Indeed a survey of all the high altitude cities in the country reveals no differences with those who live near sea level (though there is ample data suggesting that it is healthier to be a teatotalling Mormon in Salt Lake than a cigar smoking boozer in Las Vegas).
3. The public radiation dose from burning coal is ten times that we get from pur fission reactors. Why? because there is detectable natural uranium in coal and it goes up the stack at the plant, and we use millions of tons of coal each year.
4. Managing the long lived nuclear waste from power reactors is a relatively simple engineering problem. Opponents cite the long half lives of some of the materials involved, but it is worth remembering that the ubiquitous and wide spread sources of mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic and other like poisionous elements will be poisionous forever, and most are far morte damaging than external radiation sources..
5. There is a well established principle in biology that "the poision is in the dose". This means that most sources of biological damage become harmful only if a critical level of exposure is exceeded. We all have low levels of Arsenic in our bodies and there is evidence that without it we would suffer consequences. However a large dose is fatal. Similar situations arise with selenium, even calcium and many oteher minerals. There is ample evidence that such a threshold also exists with respect to external radiation.

Most of the scarte stories about radiation hazards come out of a miususe of a reliably conservative rule of thumb indicatin that the damage done by low levels of radioactivity varys linearly with the dose and can be estimated based on dats from measured exposures from Hiroshima. The problem is this violated the threshgold principle and also (iin the case of Chernobyl) forecasts incidences of disease higher many multiples of what was actually oserved.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 10:17 am
@georgeob1,
Thank you Geo for that report, very persuasive

But then you must believe the Germans to be irrational
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 01:21 pm
@dalehileman,
Angela Merkel's decision to accelerate the closure of several relatively older reactor plants in Germany, and to cancel the construction of replacements, was a very rational political decision, based on the presence of a well organized, but, from the point of view of physics and their emissions goals, a very irrational "Green" anti nuclear movement in the country,.

Germmany closed its reactors and now buys the lost electrical power from newly expanded coal-fired plants in Poland. The German Greens are very happy now. However, they are still irrational in their prejudices.

I ran a large (1,000 MW) reactor plant (in the Navy - a carrier) ) for four years, and have a great deal of experience with it. The Navy understands very well the irrational public reactions associated with things nuclear, and generally keeps very quiet about it.

Interestingly the public, in the counties where commercial reactiors are located, generally strongly favor the expansion of the plants there. The plant's property taxes pay the bill for their school systems; the employment helps their economies; the customary presence quiets the irrational fears; and the safe emission free operation helps their environment. It also helps that, apart from large dams, the electric power so generated is cheaper than any other source - even though nuclear plants pay special taxex to fund their eventual demolition and claeanup, and an additional tax for the construction of a waste disposal site - despite the fact that they have already paid for the construction of the Yucca Mountain site on the Nuclear Weapons test range in Nevada that Harry Reid refuses to open. No other industrial activity in the country is required to include such expenses in their curent operations cost and prices. Despite that, it's still cheaper.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 01:37 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Germmany closed its reactors and now buys the lost electrical power from newly expanded coal-fired plants in Poland.
That's totally wrong.

According to latest figures by the Association of the German Energy and Water Industries, Germany exported in 2012 14.7 billion kWh.
We export multi times more electricity TO Poland than we get FROM there (until yesterday, for this year: 575 GWh vs. 6 GWh, according to data from the european network of transmission system operators for electricity).
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 01:59 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

We export multi times more electricity TO Poland than we get FROM there (until yesterday, for this year: 575 GWh vs. 6 GWh, according to data from the european network of transmission system operators for electricity).
Sorry, got those figures wrong (the were just from October) Embarrassed

From 1/2012 until 10/2012 Germany exported 5.105 GWh to Poland.
Germany imported during that period from Poland 124 GWh.Source
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 02:49 pm
@georgeob1,
Thanks again Geo for that report

I'm continually stunned at the variety of participants represented here on a2k. When I asked about tire sealant an expert in the field Zarathustra popped up

http://able2know.org/topic/203373-1

Of German ancestry myself I am nevertheless whilst reading The Winds of War by Wouk buttressed in my general impression that they're a bunch of fanatics

Slightly OT but if the situation had been only very slightly different and I had been born there in 1930, would I have become a Hitler youth, heiling him (t hat's how my first syllable was spelled til changed by a grandpa) enthusiastically and hating the Jew
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 03:30 pm
Why not hold off fission

plan to hold off fission until spring, the winter's here the last few years haven't been cold enough for safe ice fission
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 05:04 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
My apologies Walt, clearly you're not all fanatical
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 05:40 pm
@dalehileman,
No he isn't. However he is an astute editor and catcher of facts. We don't always agree, but he is a nice guy despite that.

Happy Christmas to you and Ursula, walter !
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2012 02:01 am
@georgeob1,
Thanks ... though I will tell it "Ulla" Wink
dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2012 01:00 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walt is that her over to the left wearing the provocative shorts

http://onelook.com/?w=Ulla&ls=a
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

China Sanctions North Korea - Discussion by Robert Gentel
North Carolina nearly nuked. - Discussion by izzythepush
Nukes at the WTC on 911 - Discussion by Martin Timothy
A NUCLEAR ARMED IRAN OK? I DON't THINK SO. - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WHAT IS MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? - Question by Finn dAbuzz
The Modern Nuclear Threat - Discussion by Chumly
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Why not hold off fission
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/05/2019 at 04:44:35