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View Diary: Was Fukushima inevitable? (35 comments)

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  •  The nuclear fuel cycle is (7+ / 0-)

    absolutely NOT "carbon free." That's the first thing people need to understand about it. Second, there's a rather large water issue with these babies, that in a world with increasingly diminished fresh water supplies must be taken into honest account. There are also more than a handful of plants situated right where rising sea levels will be a serious issue in the near future, not to mention increasingly severe storms. Some are on flood plains that flood like clockwork. Some are in flood plains that are seriousy endangered by those "100-year floods" that happen every couple of years these days.

    Oh, and there's the little problem of lights going out. That happens quite regularly these days, and those much-touted EDGs [Emergency Diesel Generators] are notoriously unreliable. About half of 'em fail testing when they deign to actually do the testing. Our entire grid could go down for months at any time (why it needs replacing, btw). You think the industry is ready for that? Anybody think big diesels are "carbon free?"

    When the recent ex-chairman of the NRC says they should ALL be shut down, I tend to agree. Because the fact of the matter is that you can't turn them off once you've turned them on. Oh, yeah. Want to talk about waste that's deadly for a quarter million years?...

    •  At the time the nukes (1+ / 0-)
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      were initally built, the apt comparison was to coal fired power plants.  Nukes' water usage is comparable to coal power plants, tens of millions of gallons per day.

      I personally support dry cooling for all power plants, nukes, gas, and coal, which reduces water usage 90%.  I've seen dry cooling in operation on coal and gas.

      I'm uncertain why you don't consider nukes carbon free.  It's true they need back-up generators but those don't run very often (thank goodness).

      There are fossil fuel emissions during uranium mining, plant construction, and so on, but those are trivial compared to fossil fuel power plant emissions.

      Even solar and wind have "some" minor fossil fuel emissions associated, from the mining, metal parts manufacturing, and their own plant construction.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:08:54 PM PDT

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      •  You cannot "dry cool" (5+ / 0-)

        a nuclear reactor. You might be able to do a heat feedback of some sort for generating enough 'trons to keep the spent fuel pools from melting when the power's out, but that won't keep the core cool after a scram. Honest. I'm somewhat amazed anybody could think it might. Even worse, sometimes they don't even scram all the way.

        When you stop burning coal and gas, the fire goes O-U-T. That isn't what happens in a nuclear core when the rods drop. They simply are NOT "turned off," cannot BE turned off. They will reliably melt within 16 hours' time if there's no feedwater or circulation. Really, that's exactly what they do and anyone who still doubts need only look at Fukushima. Which also informs us they blow up too. BOOM. Big Badda BOOM.

        Why come to think of it, they've been lying with a straight face to us for at least 50 years about that very thing, haven't they? Didn't you ever wonder what else they're lying about? Might be worthwhile to find out...

        •  You are right (0+ / 0-)

          and in fact there are no operating nukes with dry cooling. Because of nukes' problems with keeping components cool after a unexpected shutdown,  nukes' cannot reduce their water use as much as coal or gas plants.

          However there are two current smaller modular reactor designs that use dry cooling or can do so, according to the World Nuclear Association

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:21:10 PM PDT

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          •  Those are not the 104 (1+ / 0-)
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            (minus several lately, and almost all the not-yet-builts) currently in operation. Not a single damned one of 'em. You guys talk so glowingly about "Someday." You've always talked glowingly about "Someday."

            It got to be "Someday" way back in March of 1979. It's way, way too late now.

          •  don't let Joieau confuse you... (0+ / 0-)

            What usage of the type they originally pointed to has little to do with 'cooling the reactors' after a SCRAM. 99% of the water usage...and by 'usage' I mean it is used then put back into it's source...its NOT for cooling the turbines which is where the heat from the reactor goes while producing energy.

            After a shutdown, or 99.9% of all unit shutdowns is done by a reactor cooling pump which only pumps about .4% of the water used during normal operations relative to the pumping of massive amounts of water (sea water or fresh) through the condensers to cool the turbine.

            So don't mix metaphors here.

            Of course on can use dry cooling...ESPECIALLY for keeping "components" cool. It's a helluv a lot less energy required to this than to cool the turbine!

            All thermal plants use water cooling during normal and do so with vast amounts of water. So what? This is a problem in, say, S. Carolina? Oh...yeah use cooling towers there that limits fresh water usage through the condensers.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:10:01 AM PDT

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      •  Think about it... (5+ / 0-)
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        S F Hippie, ornerydad, ozsea1, 6412093, Sandino

        If your local nuke melts down and blows up, dumps hundreds of millions of curies of cesium and strontium and every other nasty radioactive fission product ever invented all over your farmland, how does that help you survive Global Warming?

        Does it help you and your loved ones survive at all? It'll still be candles at your funeral, not electric light bulbs.

        •  If I get lung cancer or heart disease (0+ / 0-)

          from a coal fired power plant's air pollution, I'm just as dead.

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:41:59 PM PDT

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          •  So... (1+ / 0-)
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            you're perfectly willing to risk not just yourself and your neighbors, but the entire ecosystem's ability to produce edible food for the next 250,000 years or so, within 30 to 50 miles or more downwind.

            Sorry, I don't find that particularly laudable. For all I know, you'd be perfectly willing to risk the world economy on credit default swaps too. That didn't work out very well, neither did Fukushima.

            •  Joieau prefers coal to nuclear since she aims (0+ / 0-)

              it all at nuclear. How many coal plants shutdown with all the new solar and wind in the US? Zero. How many gas plants prevented from being built? Zero.

              So the "So" is that you're worried about a non-event occurring rather than jumping out of the way of climate change train running down the tracks at yourself.

              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:11:51 AM PDT

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              •  If-Then logic fail. (1+ / 0-)
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                You know very well that nuclear can never even begin to mitigate global climate change. That is because the world would need more than 4,000 nukes by 2050 to make even the slightest dent, and there's simply not enough money on this planet to build that many (or even to replace the ~300 antiques limping toward decommissioning today).

                Your industry's drive to claim all or most of the generous government subsidies dedicated to energy will - all by itself - prevent the phase-out coal and other fossil fuels. Even as your industry fails to provide a single new 'tron to anybody's grid. But you knew that too.

                Way to keep those big black smokers going, David! Plus extra credit for attempting - badly - to blame it on me.

                •  Joiaeu, "i know ever well" is a weazel comment (0+ / 0-)

                  of the first rank.

                  ONLY nuclear can mitigate climate change.

                  First, you don't need "4,000" nukes. You need enough to start phasing out coal and gas plants. You might need more. We don't really know. You need enough low-carbon generation to start lowering GHG content of the atmosphere. It remains, actually, what that minimum number is...and we don't know how long it will take. There are many variables involved from ocean absorption to co2 break down over a century that can occur. If the top 10 economies in the world...which includes India and China, made serious attempt over 40 years to replace all fossil fuel generation, that would go to greatly mitigating climate change.

                  I'm a pessimist. I think we are beyond the tipping point and at best all we can do is to slowly stop adding to the problem.

                  To do this I think we need to target certain forms of generation. First: COAL. Second: GAS. It would take nukes. Plants to get rid of all the coal in the US. If we had started building AP1000s in 2000 it would of cost LESS than the stupid war in Iraq. This could of been done but it wasn't. Thus pessimism. Building 4000 plants is doable and wouldn't even take up a double-digit part of any countries GNP. Hell that less 108 plants a year. EASILY this could be done world wide.

                  Subsidies. Back at you. Nuclear is less subsidized than either wind or solar (especially the latter). Eveywhere in the world. I'm against subsidies for profits. I'mr for nationalizing the entire grid and generation business and make it a federally owned project exactly the way most hydro was built nd still operated to this day.

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:18:10 AM PDT

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