Why do people fear nuclear power?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Stokes Pennwalt, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Tell that to the French: cheapest electric build, a zero lethality nuclear safety record and has done nothing for inhibit wind power development in electric client state like Germany and the Netherlands.

    Efficiency improvement can be done SIMULTANEOUSLY while we build alternatives like nuclear power.

    And when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining we start burning candles?

    So France does not exist even?

    So?
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The French government owned (socialist) setup is not that cheap. It is currently being subsidized by the French taxpayer, riding on low cost inputs from decommissioned nuclear weapons and other scrap, postponing various obligations, dumping its excess capacity at low prices in Europe and still not filling capacity, etc; as with all nuclear power setups the waste remains a future project not properly included in the books - as do the decommissioning costs, the political and security costs, and such features as complicity in entanglements with the Somalian coastal dumping and various suspect governments.
    With unlimited funds, sure.

    With limited funds, you want more bang for your buck than nuclear power - also something less centralized would be nice, and with a shorter lead time.
    Please. This is an adult forum.
    So make sure you are making an honest accounting of the costs of nuclear power - the Iran mess is into the many billions now, directly accountable to nuclear power development by US government and corporations.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Kaboom-boom

    I won't say anything about resurrecting a six year-old thread, but I will note this, in answering the general question: Why do people fear nuclear power?

    I would go so far as to say it's probably a combination of Cold War fears about nuclear explosions, and poor maintenance of nuclear energy facilities:

    One of the most lethal patches of ground in North America is located in the backwoods of North Carolina, where Shearon Harris nuclear plant is housed and owned by Progress Energy. The plant contains the largest radioactive waste storage pools in the country. It is not just a nuclear-power-generating station, but also a repository for highly radioactive spent fuel rods from two other nuclear plants. The spent fuel rods are transported by rail and stored in four densely packed pools filled with circulating cold water to keep the waste from heating. The Department of Homeland Security has marked Shearon Harris as one of the most vulnerable terrorist targets in the nation.

    The threat exists, however, without the speculation of terrorist attack. Should the cooling system malfunction, the resulting fire would be virtually unquenchable and could trigger a nuclear meltdown, putting more than two hundred million residents of this rapidly growing section of North Carolina in extreme peril. A recent study by Brookhaven Labs estimates that a pool fire could cause 140,000 cancers, contaminate thousands of square miles of land, and cause over $500 billion in off-site property damage.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has estimated that there is a 1:100 chance of pool fire happening under the best of scenarios. And the dossier on the Shearon Harris plant is far from the best.

    In 1999 the plant experienced four emergency shutdowns. A few months later, in April 2000, the plant’s safety monitoring system, designed to provide early warning of a serious emergency, failed. And it wasn’t the first time. Indeed, the emergency warning system at Shearon Harris has failed fifteen times since the plant opened in 1987 ....


    (Project Censored)

    Twelve shutdowns in four yers at the site seem appalling compared to the expected one shutdown every eighteen months.

    The industry doesn't do much to win people's confidence.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Project Censored. "Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina". Censored 2010: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-09. Ed. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff. New York: Seven Stories, 2009. ProjectCensored.org. April 7, 2010. http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/4-nuclear-waste-pools-in-north-carolina/
     
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    vague generalized counter arguments, do specific!

    Grid efficiency enhancement don't cost much, they can in fact be done with developing alternatives at the same time.

    All possible with nuclear power, small turn key reactors have been proposed for decades but someone refuses to make investments in them.

    No you be realistic! how do we get power out of intermittents like wind and solar when they aren't producing, we would need grid- energy storage on a massive scale with combined price tags that would make these alternatives no very economically attractive.

    So?
     
  8. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

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    In the US it's mostly due to a film called 'The China Syndrome'. A childishly ridiculous fantasy film that happened to be released when an incident called 'Three Mile Island' happened, where no one died. People were exposed to about as much radiation as they receive in a normal xray exam.

    But the film and the news converged to convince Americans 'The China Syndrome' was practically a documentary. The two things seemed to confirm the legitimacy of ridiculous claims by 'anti nuclear' activists. That settled it.

    Now we've slowly poisoned our nation with lead, mercury, and many other poisons from burning coal. The mercury and lead are in every river, lake, and stream. In the food we eat, the seafood we catch, the fish we catch, etc. The state of Texas produces more pollution and so-called 'greenhouse gases' than the whole of Europe.

    Brilliant moves by 'environmentalists'.
     
  9. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Why are people so afraid of using less energy?

    I doubt many people under 40 have seen The China Syndrome.
     
  10. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

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    714
    Um... come on... think a little.

    You do realize that something that shapes mass perception in a country is carried on by social conditioning right?

    Well obviously you don't, silly question, but now you know.
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    France is getting over 80 percent of their power from Atomic Reactors and none have ever had any major problems for over 50 years.
     
  12. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    And they ship much of their nuclear waste to Russia, where we all know nuclear products are dealt with with great care.
     
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    France reprocesses most of it nuclear waste, in fact it has been a net importer of nuclear "waste".
    http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0411.shtml

    More so France is using russia to extend its reprocessing capability by having russia do some of its reprocessing, whats sent to Russia is not necessarily waste but is "recyclable uranium"

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/french-nuclear-waste-sent-to-russia-20091013-gvqp.html

    EDF responded by saying that the material it handed over to the nuclear group Areva to send to Russia could not be considered waste as it was reprocessed and sent back.

    ''No nuclear waste [is sent] to Russia,'' said a spokesman. ''Only recyclable uranium, reprocessed from EDF's nuclear reactors, is sent to Russia to be enriched.''
     
  14. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    It's amazing how EDF finds its own policies immaculate. Many large organizations find it very hard to be objective about their own behavior.

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=31466


     
  15. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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  16. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    The French public, the little humans on the ground, is none to happy with nuclear waste as it currently is handled in France either.

     
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Depleted uranium is not technically nuclear/radioactive waste and can be/is used for many industrial applications free of radiation considerations. Consider a 20mm depleted uranium bullet release less radiation then your body does at any one moment, the radioactively of depleted uranium is so low even used as radiation shielding in some cases as it a more capable x-ray/gamma absorber then lead! Like lead though uranium is a toxic heavy metal only 1/1,000,000 of the harm from ingestion and exposure from depleted uranium is caused by its radioactivity, the rest is cause by its chemical toxicity.

    Of course Greenpeace and other left wingnuts don't whine about lead like they do uranium because uranium has the "R" and "N" words often associated with it, which cause irrational fear in the liberal wingnut mind.
     
  18. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    4,100
    Just like in the US waste sites tend to end up near poor people.

    Further some of this waste is dangerous for thousands of years.

    If we go back to say 10,000 B.C. and imagine people then used an energy source whose waste products we today had to spend very, very large sums of money to
    1) create the security for - so terrorists cannot get at it
    2) maintain the sites
    3) deal with earthquakes or wars that damage the sites or any other natural or human created events that damage the integrity of one of these sites


    people now would not be happy to have their tax dollars support the hysterical, primarily useless energy consumption of people long since dead.

    And yet we expect future humans to bear the burdens of our energy consumption and the profits of certain executives in this short sighted industry.

    And 12,000 years is still short term compared to how long some nuclear waste products take to break down.
     
  19. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    An argument that cannot be either supported or rebutted because it is simply ad hom.
     
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    That not an argument, that part is merely my opinion.
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    That the US nuclear industry for you, a negative feedback loop since the 70's because of lack of financing and upkeep because of all the anti-nuclear impediments over the decades. Again look at France's safety record for what can be done when a nation puts actually effort and approval into something.
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    But cheaper than nukes.
    The concept is "marginal rate of return" - basically, every dollar spent on nukes that could have been spent on various efficiency improvements and so forth is fifty cents less energy demand met. Make the high-payoff conservation investments first, the cheaper power investments second, and nukes if you have a few hundred billion left over.
    We can't even get socialist medicine in this country - socializing the entire electrical power system would require a new Congress.
     
  23. in answer to the topic's question I would say because of how reative it is. If I was in a car that was nuclear powered I'd be afraid of it blowing up on me at any given second.
     

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