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Gayle in MD
03-28-2011, 08:24 AM
Do We Really Need Nuclear Power?
After Japan, everyone’s asking the question—and the answer is more complicated than you think.
Bradford Plumer

Bradford Plumer
Anxiety
Do We Really Need Nuclear Power?
March 16, 2011 |

Just how necessary is nuclear power? Lately, politicians around the globe have been asking themselves that question as they watch a small handful Japanese technicians race to prevent three reactors from spewing out radiation at the quake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi plant. In recent years, a consensus had taken hold that the world needed many, many more nuclear plants to meet its low-carbon energy needs and avoid drastic global warming. (All told, 220 reactors are currently being built or planned worldwide, with another 324 on the drawing board.) Suddenly, though, those plants don't seem like such no-brainers.

Germany, for one, has just suspended a decision to extend the life of its 17 nuclear power plants while it conducts safety checks. “During the moratorium, we will examine how we can accelerate the road to the age of renewable energy,” said Prime Minister Angela Merkel. Switzerland, too, is putting a hold on licensing new replacement plants. Here in the United States, there hasn’t been the same sort of about-face, at least not yet. Both parties still broadly agree that more nuclear plants are part of the answer to the country’s energy woes. (And, just in case, nuclear lobbyists have stormed Capitol Hill to make sure no one goes wobbly.) Jason Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center recently summed up the conventional wisdom for The New York Times: “It’s not possible to achieve a climate solution based on existing technology without a significant reliance on nuclear power.”

A number of liberals would agree with this statement. Yes, the argument goes, nuclear power carries some risks, but those aren’t nearly as great as the risks of burning coal, cooking the planet, and sending all sorts of deadly pollutants into the air. Air pollution kills two million people per year and much of that is due to fossil-fuel combustion. The right answer is to learn from Japan's mistakes and improve nuclear safety. (It’s also worth noting that the next generation of reactors are supposed to be even safer.) No energy source is risk-free, and nuclear is one of our best bets. Right?

It's still too early to tell how this debate will get resolved. But suppose society does decide, in the wake of Fukushima, that the risks of meltdowns and the hassles of storing radioactive waste are too much to bear. Do we have any other options? Is there really no way to cut our carbon emissions without nuclear power? It's not an easy question to answer. The United States certainly couldn’t just turn off its 104 nuclear reactors tomorrow, as they provide 20 percent of the country’s electricity (indeed, Germany could see carbon emissions spike due to its moratorium). But, in recent years, experts have been puzzling out just how we could curb pollution and keep the lights on without building new nuclear facilities. Is that actually doable?



For a long time, the argument that the world could wean itself off both fossil fuels and atomic energy was confined to earnest green groups. Last month, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a 250-page report on how to get there by 2050. The roadmap starts with wringing out the enormous amount of waste energy from our industrial processes, buildings, and transportation systems. (That means everything from better insulation for homes to boosting recycling in, say, the paper industry). After that, our power would come from a variety of renewable sources, from sustainably harvested biomass to concentrated solar plants (which, in theory, can store power even when the sun isn’t shining) to acres and acres of wind turbines. It would be costly and difficult, sure, but technically feasible if everything went right.

Unfortunately, that’s a huge “if.” To take one example, the WWF report assumes that the world can get 6,000 exajoules worth of energy from algae-based biofuels by 2050 (translation: a whole heap of energy). Now, it would be wonderful if engineers figure out how to extract oil from algae on a mass scale so that we can keep driving our cars without churning up carbon pollution. Maybe then we’d have no need for nuclear-powered electric cars or whatever else the future might otherwise bring. But algae fuels have a lot of kinks to work out, and analyses still differ on whether you can get more energy out of the process than you put in.

Plus, a report by environmentalists isn’t going to convince everyone we don’t need nuclear energy. So, late last year, Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford, and Mark Delucchi, an energy and environmental systems analyst at University of California Davis, published two papers in Energy Policy offering their own detailed analysis of how the world could get 100 percent of its electricity from existing renewables—mostly solar and wind—by 2050. The task would be staggering. We would need nearly four million five-megawatt wind turbines—i.e., turbines twice as big as those currently on the market. (China just built its first five-megawatter last year.) Plus 90,000 large-scale solar farms—for reference, there are only about three dozen in existence now. Plus 1.7 billion three-kilowatt rooftop solar systems—that is, one for every four people on the planet. But it’s doable. The main challenge, the authors found, would be mining enough rare-earth metals—like neodymium—for all those electric motors. So, again, mind-blowingly hard, but it’s at least possible to go carbon-free without nuclear (or algae). What’s more, the world wouldn’t have to pay that much more for energy than it does today.



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http://www.tnr.com/article/environment-energy/85289/nuclear-power-us-japan-melt-down

cushioncrawler
03-28-2011, 03:51 PM
Fission stinx.
Green solutions are/iz eezy to do.
But the main problem iz overpopulation.
The oight shoodnt hav more than say 1 billion pipple.
mac.

Sev
03-28-2011, 06:35 PM
500 million Mac.

cushioncrawler
03-29-2011, 02:47 AM
500M might be a good figure. This would take us back to praps 1700AD.
If we had a 1 baby rule the population would halve each generation.
6 000 000 000.
3 000 000 000.
1 500 000 000.
0 750 000 000.
0 400 000 000.
Five generations = 150 yrs = 2200AD say.
mac.

Gayle in MD
03-29-2011, 02:53 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">500M might be a good figure. This would take us back to praps 1700AD.
If we had a 1 baby rule the population would halve each generation.
6 000 000 000.
3 000 000 000.
1 500 000 000.
0 750 000 000.
0 400 000 000.
Five generations = 150 yrs = 2200AD say.
mac.
</div></div>

Over population is another dangerous threat, also promoted by religious fundamentalists....

Republicans have done everything they can do, to limit access to birth control.

The biggest obstacle to removing nuclear threats, the poisons of pollution, the continued destruction of the earth, and its inhabitants, is the RW fascist, activist Supreme Court, and the Republican bribe takers...


http://kochbrothersexposed.com/

cushioncrawler
03-29-2011, 03:13 AM
The biggest threat to population kontrol iz superstitious Godma.
The biggest dogma iz however krappynomix.
mac.

LWW
03-29-2011, 04:09 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Fission stinx.
Green solutions are/iz eezy to do.
But the main problem iz overpopulation.
The oight shoodnt hav more than say 1 billion pipple.
mac. </div></div>

What are they and how do you do them?

Gayle in MD
03-29-2011, 07:15 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The biggest threat to population kontrol iz superstitious Godma.
The biggest dogma iz however krappynomix.
mac. </div></div>

Nuclear is the most supreme example of poor decision making...

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 11pt'>Nuclear Waste Next Door: Japan Crisis Spotlights America's Radioactive Waste Dilemma [/size
By: Chris Kirkham

[size:11pt]
The images and stories beamed from Japan have revived a scientific and public safety debate over nuclear waste storage in the United States, which a number of scientists have warned could be a prime target for terrorist attacks.

The massive stockpiles of superheated metal rods that emit more radiation than nuclear reactors themselves are constantly growing in the United States -- at a rate of 4.4 million pounds per year. Two-thirds of U.S. reactors have already reached their maximum storage capacity for the waste. Nearly all reactors will be maxed out within 10 years.

On-site radioactive waste storage has always been described as a temporary solution to a disposal process that plays out over tens of thousands of years. But for the last four decades, the U.S. government, environmental advocates and the nuclear industry have not come up with a permanent solution for radioactive waste. And in reality, on-site radioactive pools are acting as a long-term solution for discarded nuclear fuel in the United States.

"You wouldn't do that in your own household," said Helen Petrin, who lives about 15 miles away from the New Jersey plant and was picking up the iodide pills given out by the county health department at the town hall. "You wouldn't buy something that you didn't know how to get rid of."


A GROWING PROBLEM

For decades, as the nuclear industry has touted the front-end benefits of nuclear energy production -- virtually no contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and highly efficient electricity production -- the back-end nuclear waste has piled up at plants across the country.

From a political standpoint, it has been a classic tale of pushback and procrastination over a thorny long-term dilemma. In the early days of nuclear power production in the United States, the industry thought spent nuclear fuel rods would be cooled for a short time and then recycled, or "reprocessed," for future use in reactors.

But in 1977, President Jimmy Carter banned the reprocessing of commercial spent nuclear fuel to limit the risk of plutonium, a key material of nuclear weapons, falling into the wrong hands.

Still, the waste needed to go somewhere. In the early 1980s, Congress passed a bill mandating the creation of a permanent waste storage site by 1998. The federal government later chose Yucca Mountain, a site in Nevada's Great Basin. A slew of lawsuits, political battles and environmental uncertainties held up that attempt at nuclear waste disposal for years.

Last year, the Obama administration decided to nix the project after intense opposition from the state of Nevada and many environmental groups. Several states have sued to reverse that decision, fearing that a future plan could saddle their state with the country's nuclear waste.

While the government has stalled over a permanent solution, most nuclear waste remains at the plants where it originated. Some fuel rods in "interim storage," as on-site waste storage is known, have not moved for decades.

"Originally it was not expected that spent fuel would stay at the reactor very long," said Charles Forsberg, executive director of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This is an anomaly of bad planning."




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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/29/japan-nuclear-waste-dilemma-america_n_841476.html

pooltchr
03-29-2011, 07:21 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Over population is another dangerous threat, also promoted by religious fundamentalists....


The biggest obstacle to removing nuclear threats, the poisons of pollution, the continued destruction of the earth, and its inhabitants, is the RW fascist, activist Supreme Court, and the Republican bribe takers...


http://kochbrothersexposed.com/ </div></div>

Gosh, Gayle. If you think there are too many people in the world, you should be in favor of building more nuclear plants! You could justify it as being just another way of thinning the human population, much like abortion!

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Steve

LWW
03-29-2011, 07:30 AM
Notice how Gee was against coal and natural gas when she was told she was against it ... now she embraces it.

Of course, she was for the wars in Iraq and Afghanland as long as she was told she was for them ... now she is told she opposes them, so she does.

She thought General "BETRAY-US" was a traitor when she was told to think he was a traitor, nor she thinks he's a hero because she's told to think he's a hero.

Ask her if we have always been at war with Eastasia?