First, let me head off some objections. I will grant that...

a) there have been some stupid mistakes made in choosing sites for the plants

b) there have been shortcuts in the designs of some plants in terms of inadequate backup systems

c) politics has interfered in the design, construction, and choosing of sites for plants

That said, we MUST get away from fossil fuels for several reasons.

a) they are unsustainable because they are a finite resource which become more and more expensive to extract, and then of course we'll ultimately run out of them

b) through pollution of the atmosphere, they damage the environment and are playing a key role in damaging the ozone layer and causing climate change

c) their by products are unhealthy for humans

d) we need them for a lot more than just fuel; they play key roles in many non-fuel products and they are essential for the production of most plastics, and we can't have a modern world without plastics

e) solar power on a large scale takes up a lot of space and itself uses up finite resources

f) scaling up solar, wind, and water power hugely to replace fossil fuels will do environmental damage of their own

Renewable energy is either dirty or unreliable. The wind doesn't always blow, rivers can run low, and burning wood is about as dirty as burning coal, perhaps more so.

Problems need to be solved, such as what to do with spent fuel; finding safe locations for plants (far away from coastlines, rivers, and fault lines, but with a reliable supply of water for cooling. 

No alternative (or combination of alternatives) can offer nearly as much power.

Finally, I anticipate one objection which I'll handle before someone offers it, and that is pointing out the danger of accidents. Back to the beginning of my piece. Eliminate those problems I listed, and we may never have another accident.

But let's suppose accidents continue one every decade or two as in the past. Despite the damage these accidents do, they do less harm than continuing to use fossil fuels will do over time. Fossil fuels kill slowly but constantly whereas when a nuclear plant has a problem, it's front page news for weeks, which seems to have convinced the public that nuclear plants are more dangerous over time than they actually are. It is the burning of fossil fuels which are the bigger health danger.

My parting thought is that the biggest danger in amping up nuclear power is politics, not the practicalities of science and engineering. How can we keep the politics of "not in my back yard" or "bring it here to my coastal community because we need the jobs" out of it?

So, what are your thoughts?

Tags: alternative, energy, nuclear, power

Views: 277

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Well, when using a rather odd and contrary to expectation usage of a term, you need to define it up front.Or, better, just not talk that way. Imagine, "When I say nigger, I don't really mean..., rather I mean.... See how it makes you look?

I don't really care. Speech is free, energy is not. Let's focus on that problem.

Pulling an Anthony Weiner on us, eh?

Wiener was ashamed of what he did and for good reason. I'm not ashamed because I have identified what I beleive to be the mindset that is preventing progress. I'm not denegrating a single race or group, but anyone who is content with our destructive tendencies. Nuclear power has too many risks for it to be morally viable. Blaming looks or noise, or anything else that can be fixed through the evolution of the design is, from my point of view, ridiculous and morrally bankrupt.

And it can't get flat as glass so near the shore. Not unless there's a major storm surge rising, which is hardly a daily occurrence.

I'm not sure why that's impossible, but certainly waves can become to small to generate much energy.

Do you honestly think that would happen long enough to make an effect on the entire power grid, especially when it's bolstered by wind, solar, geothermal, and even the sewage thing that I posted earlier? . The point is making a network, not a centralized system.

Did I say I thought that? I, too, was talking about a grid, but based on absolutely dependable energy, the tides. If you want to throw in some wind, solar, etc., I wouldn't complain. Heck, even solar is limited by cloudy days, but nothing stops the tides. 

Before anything else how about considering agressively tackling energy consumpton. Look at the amount of waste in street lighting, shops and office lit and heated when they need not be, wastingful industrial manufacturing process, throw away cheap-as-shit goods that for their entire short lives are nothing but a tragic drain on the planet. Then there is waste through poor construction, poor insulation, poor urban planning. Compared to these issues generating more power is an easy one, the really difficult job to tackle is this root cause but if we do take it on seriously then it has the ability to reap many more benefits.

good point. It doesn't matter how easily renewable our energy is, it doesn't do any good if we wast the majority of it on stupid designs and habits.

For practical reasons, those steps should probably be the last considerations because they will inconvenience a public that clearly does not want inconvenience. And where it doesn't inconvenience, it will raise costs which will raise prices. 

If you want all of those things to happen, what you need is a dictatorship, which is what I think a lot of "greens" want anyway, to force the public to do the right thing whether they want it or not.

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