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View Diary: The Irrational Fear of Nukes - A German Perspective (262 comments)

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  •  hilarious comment (16+ / 0-)

    I agree, panic is not an option anyway. Nuclear plants aren't going to go away any time soon, but I believe it's also important to think a few generations ahead.

    •  In the long run public acceptance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JekyllnHyde, Lucy2009

      will be critical. In the short run, however, we don't always get it right. If technological factors were all that mattered, Beta would have easily eclipsed VHS, and Apple would have swamped Microsoft. Nuclear fission will someday seem no more reasonable than the one-time dominance of VHS or Windows.

      There are just 10 kinds of people; those who know binary and those who don't.

      by RudiB on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:46:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure. But how about just not building any new (15+ / 0-)


      I don't for a second believe that there aren't other solutions. Problem is that richie rich who owns the nuclear plants doesn't want other options promoted, developed and sure as shit not implemented.

      So while I agree that his comment was funny, particularly about voting for Republicans!!  Gawd...the horror of it.....  I don't think it's panic to want a safer form of energy, do you?

      I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

      by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:50:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not at all, Lucy (5+ / 0-)

        I absolutely agree with you that we have to really push ourselves out of our conventional thinking minds. But I think in order to make that kind of a transformation we all have to work together as well, and sometimes I find humor to be a good way to meet each other on a human level.

        •   :) Sorry I'm prickly pear on this! (4+ / 0-)

          I got rather brutally trashed for expressing my opinions on Fukushima last week, so I'm cautious now.    lol

          I agree, humor is WONDERFUL!!!!      :)     :)

          I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

          by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:20:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it can get pretty heated (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lucy2009, mamamedusa, Terranova0

            I've definitely gotten my ass kicked on this issue. But it's also been a great lesson to listen to and try to learn from many different people and opinions. I actually feel like the nuclear debate has become much more civil and constructive around here since I first waded into one a couple of years ago, and it's a tribute to all sides. In some ways, Fukushima is bringing out the best in everyone, as we can agree that nuclear — just like most others – not a 100% black and white issue.

            •  Good points. The more info you have on a (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              topic the easier it is to come to accurate conclusions about the choices to be made surrounding it.

              I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

              by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:15:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Coal and natural gas are the enemies of nuclear (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Recall, Lucy2009, Klaus, ebohlman, mamamedusa

        They are also the enemies of renewables. They have the most to lose if the status quo changes or carbon limits are introduced. If we're going to discuss how the powers that be behind the curtain move, you might wonder if nuclear and renewables are the true allies against fossil fuels, since they have so many overlapping interests.

        •  Hummm...... not sure about all of that..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mamamedusa, Earth Ling

          I'm not really a fan of coal, nuclear, oil.....    lol    so what does that leave!!  

          I would need to do some serious homework on the issue, to give a emphatic reply as to what I think would be the best way to go on energy production.

          However, I sure would love to see GREEN alternatives explored heavily....and invested in and researched heavily. The Greener/safer the better in my book. With that said... I could see that Green might not handle the heavy load that we as consumers demand. I should think that there will someday (if we don't kill ourselves off as a species first!) be a very high tech/safe/secure mode of energy generation. Maybe that will be nuclear????  

          I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

          by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:21:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fossil fuels don't need your fandom. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Klaus, mamamedusa

            All they want is for you to focus your efforts on killing off something else. That's all they need to succeed.

            •  I'd like to see all three killed-off as much as (4+ / 0-)


              But like I just said above.....I don't know about the feasability of that considering our love of energy consumption for just about everything these days.

              I have to maintain, that I would like to see investment and serious research into other forms of energy generation aside from the big 3.

              I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

              by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:35:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, you can answer the easy question. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Do you have an answer for the tricky one? Fossil fuels or nuclear, which do we get rid of first?

                •  How about both simultaneously? (10+ / 0-)

                  Start by not building any more coal-fired OR nuclear power plants.  Reduce the number of natural-gas-fired plants planned for construction.  Work to develop Negawatts and Micropower.  Establish a new Civilian Conservation Corps dedicated to energy conservation on a local level.  Divert maybe just a tiny bit of money from funding the War in Libya and the War on Afghanistan to green energy R&D.

                  Have policymakers read the very credible and thoroughly researched recent report which persuasively argues that humanity could convert to solar/wind/biofuels within 25 years; work to elect politicians who understand this AND see it as a priority; pursue those policies necessary to achieve this; and simultaneously work toward decommissioning existing carbonfuel AND nuclear power plants.

                  •  I haven't seen a convincing case for micropower (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    it seems the most efficient way to generate heat or spin a generator is to GO BIG. Has this changed? I'm not trying to be snarky, I just don't see the appeal.

                    Although, do you take nuclear and fossil plants offline at a 1:1 ratio? If the entire goal of the enterprise is to minimize GHG emissions, this seems dangerously silly. You do have to make a choice. There is simply no way around it.

                    •  Here's a Nuclear Information Research Service (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      paper on the topic of micro power and negawatts vs. nuclear:


                      •  I don't consider nirs credible (0+ / 0-)

                        I'll look into the topic later..

                        •  Here's a link to a FERC ruling (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mamamedusa, kafkananda

                          which appears to determine that "negawatts" can demand the same market prices as megawatts of generated electricity.  


                          So, FERC is clearly interested.

                          And, as to NIRS, I guess we will have to disagree, as I find them much more credible than industry-sponsored groups.

                          •  Lovins is pushing this idea of distributed (0+ / 0-)

                            micropower. I just don't understand why it's a good idea. It's not more efficient than larger plants at generating electricity, and it doesn't solve the issue of intermittent renewables (it exacerbates the problem.) His idea appears to be that if you couple micropower and cogeneration (e.g. a thermal power source -- he tries to hide it, but he is implying a natural gas turbine) it makes more sense than a grid, because you get process heating. This isn't new, a few places use district heating with waste heat from their power plants, but I think the applications are extremely limited (otherwise it would already be routine.)

                            But the writing in the article you linked is just terrible, so maybe I just don't understand what he's trying to say. No sources, either, just assertions.

                            (Note: I didn't say anything about conservation. Efficiency is by definition good! It has nothing to do with what source you're using to generate power. But efficiency isn't going to replace the coal power plants in China.)

                          •  In some ways, I'd like to see a "pure" market, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Earth Ling

                            without any subsidies, in the energy realm.  I do NOT pretend to know what that would favor, but it would be interesting to see fossil fuels and nuclear power and solar and wind and "negawatts" competing head-to-head.  Of course, a "pure" market might not be suited to factor in externalities, but...

                            I think Lovins also pushes the micropower concept because he leans libertarian in some ways, and favors decentralization in general.  I've seen it argued that the localization of power generation facilitates greater local economic development, as well.  I like the idea of technological diversity in generating energy, and I think the micropower concept would facilitate such diversity.  I would also be interested to find out whether micropower would provide a security benefit through the decentralization of power generation sources.

                          •  I generally lean libertarian as well (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mamamedusa, citisven

                            I also happen to live near the coast in an area prone to Hurricanes and flooding. Ground zero for climate change in the USA! So I have a particular interest in pricing the external cost of CO2 into the coal and natural gas plants that generate 80% of the electricity that flows into my house (even though I use a "100% wind" plan, that's the wholesale market...) But it's not something that is possible in a free market, because the majority of the costs fall on people outside of the market (see how much success people in South America have suing our oil companies for environmental damage.) The Government will have to set a price, and that means they are picking the winners and the losers in the market. It may be justified, but it means there is lots of ink spilled arguing about it.

                            Anyway, I have to head out for the night. It was nice talking to you.

                          •  Likewise! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            You definitely provided me with some food for thought.

                  •  You're evading the question. (0+ / 0-)

                    Which do we get rid of first?

                  •  Care to share? (0+ / 0-)

                    What "very credible and thoroughly researched recent report"?

                    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

                    by NoMoJoe on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 02:19:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You bet (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      pvmuse, kafkananda

                      The study was commissioned by the Institute for Policy Research and Development.  The summary is at this link:


                      At the bottom of that article, there is a link to the full study in pdf format.

                    •  Here's another, by Jacobson and Delucchi (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mamamedusa, kafkananda, Earth Ling, splashy, IM


                      I find this quote from the study particularly interesting:

                      Further, nuclear energy results in up to 25 times more carbon
                      emissions than wind energy, in part due to the emissions from uranium refining and transport and
                      reactor construction and in part due to the longer time required to permit and construct a nuclear
                      plant compared with a wind farm , resulting in greater emissions from the fossil-fuel electricity
                      sector during this period (Koomey and Hultman, 2007; Sovacool, 2008; Jacobson, 2009).
                      •  debatable (0+ / 0-)

                        You have to build models to come up with those numbers, and the sources and assumptions you use are open to debate. I've read the papers he cites and self-cites, which includes things like hypothetical nuclear war in the cost of commercial nuclear power and the cities burning in the CO2 calculation.

                        •  Show me a nice, neutral study (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mamamedusa, Earth Ling, citisven, IM

                          (if such thing even exists) that makes a conclusive case against the possibility of powering the world with renewables by, say, 2050.  Every study in the area of future energy policy is (a) going to make assumptions and use models and (b) is debatable.

                          Pro-nuclear studies don't take into account the artificial methods used to reduce the cost of producing electricity via nuclear, and heavily discount the clear and potential externalities associated with nuclear power; AND make completely unproven assumptions concerning storage of waste.

                          •  I don't think it's impossible (0+ / 0-)

                            But likewise I'm tired of handwaving about HVDC transmission, smart grids, and storage. I'm 100% for renewables as much as I'm for the nuclear status quo and possible expansion. My concern is carbon in the atmosphere, I am technology neutral. Some systems have been already been proven to work on the scale necessary, others show promise but are having difficulty with scalability. Both renewables and nuclear have problems with speed of scale up, and availability of certain metals. Whatever gets us there. Alot of people working in this field have particular ideological axes to grind and pet technologies, and I too would like to see everyone acknowledge the huge amounts of uncertainty involved in all of their projections (you don't see this in press releases.) It points to a "try everything" approach, not trying to come up with new metrics to depress the statistics of things you don't like.

                  •  My thoughts exactly....... (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    drnononono, kafkananda, citisven, IM

                    There should be a sane, sensible, safe solution to this situation.

                    I don't think it has to be an either or.

                    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

                    by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 02:53:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  If it were to be feasible, I'd like to (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mamamedusa, citisven

                  see a gradual decline in the useage of both.  Concurrent with the development of safer/cleaner/greener replacement energy sources. That would be ideal.

                  I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

                  by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 02:45:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  If we can ever figure out practical (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lucy2009, IM

            fusion (as opposed to fission) reactors, we could be in good shape, but that has been 50 years off for the past 50 years...

            •  I think that money makers of the big 3 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              have two problems with changes and alternatives.....  

              Firstly, they don't want to invest in change because that's expensive and they have something they can make BIG money with NOW!!

              Secondly, they don't want Green alternatives to be found and wildly successful because then they'll be out of the loop on the money.

              I don't know about this fusion business, but if they can make it SAFE, SAFE, SAFE, I would be open to the idea.  

              I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

              by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:39:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think this line of thinking is productive (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Recall, Geek of all trades, Klaus, citisven, IM

                If renewables become wildly profitable, or the regulatory environment shifts dramatically, you'll simply see the big traditional energy companies buying up renewable power companies, and making their money that way. There's no need to ascribe evil motivations -- they are trying to make money, and if the way to make money changes, they will eventually follow the green. How do we show them a path they'll be willing to take?

                •  I want Green energy. (0+ / 0-)

                  I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

                  by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 03:02:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, and people are going to make alot of money (0+ / 0-)

                    providing you with green energy. Is there something wrong with that? In 100 years, if we are getting 100% of our energy from companies selling renewable electricity, will there be a renewable energy mafia conspiracy keeping new technologies under thumb?

                    •  You are probably right. Including the last (0+ / 0-)

                      two sentences!  

                      However, I would rather have them getting rich off of energy sources that were kinder to the environment and human bodies. Wouldn't you?

                      One can hope that eventually we will also have fair taxation policies with big energy companies, to even the field a bit.

                      Do you not believe that big companies buy up promising new sources of producing energy and/or other products and then shelf those ideas so they can keep their monopolies going? Do you honestly believe that we have capitalism at it's finest in the U.S.?

                      I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

                      by Lucy2009 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 03:43:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Not if any home or business owner (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Lucy2009, citisven

                      owns his own solar panels equipment generating energy for themselves and selling the surplus energy generated back into the grid.

                      Solar and wind could become the only form of energy that actually can be owned by individuals and compete well against corporate ownership of larger solar energy plants.

                      You need to decentralize and make sure individual owners generate and sell their own energy. We all own the sun and the wind. We can own the energy generating equipment, and we could be independent from corporcrats.

              •  GE is the second largest wind power company (6+ / 0-)

                in the world. If big corporations hate alternatives, they have a odd way of showing it.

              •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                the power companies are longer sighted then many other industries. Nuclear power is spending money over a decade for 5 decades of future profits. Other power plants are years to construct too, and there is a lot of money spent in oil prospecting to find sites to drill in years from now.

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