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Melting Globe Graphic


Graph of Safety by Energy Source


A French Nuclear Power Success Story - 1950 to 2003


James Hansen -  

"Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power and Galileo"

"Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power"

James Hansen and Many other Climate Scientists are now supporting Nuclear Power:

Four top international climate scientists have published an open letter ahead of the Nov. 11-22 Warsaw confab, strongly encouraging environmentalists to back new forms of nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source that can help stave off the ravages of man-made global warming.

Many former anti-nuclear environmentalists have crossed over to the pro-nuclear camp; the letter makes an urgent appeal to those who have not.

"Continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change," it states, noting that:

    "Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power."

The letter was signed by Columbia University adjunct professor James Hansen, who is the recently retired head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies and who's known as the "grandfather" of the fight against global warming; by senior scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, who has been known for among other studies his assessments of high altitude wind power; by Kerry Emanuel, atmospheric scientist at MIT who has studied links between climate change and hurricanes - a notable specialty with Typhoon Haiyan raging through the Philippines as I write this; and by Tom Wigley, climate scientist at Australia's University of Adelaide.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Native American miners dying of cancer in (10+ / 0-)

      New Mexico don't count, neither.

      Even workers scalded alive at nuclear plants don't count.

      Only if they die due to radiation exposure at the plant itself (not through mining or waste removal/storage) , and then only if they die fairly quickly, do they get added to this particular mystical tally.

      •  But do you not understand the power of (8+ / 0-)

        ALL CAPS??

        We could run our entire economy on the POWER OF ALL CAPS.

      •  Yes this was well established 40 years ago but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tinfoil Hat

        no one wanted to listen or care. Low level industrial exposure at every step of the mine-to-refining-to-utilization-to-waste-storage (and exposure via mine tailings sold to construction companies that used it for house foundations in low-income residential developments) shortens lifespan by premature aging and geometrically increases rates of cancers and leukemias, also incidence of a range of 'non-lethal" degenerative diseases, developmental toxicity, non-viable births...  the fact that these damages manifest outside the nuclear workplace, and most often among families that have little or no access to healthcare or supportive care doesn't mean these effects should be considered insignificant or irrelevant to Americans who desire the benefits and don't have to suffer the effects personally.

        Furthermore, we Americans should know by now that no matter how safely or efficiently other societies may build and utilize hazardous technology, our industrial masters cut corners and scant the specs for the sake of profits to the share-holders, the majority shareholders being the boards of directors, notably CEOs and Chairpersons.

        Amory Lovins is a pretty well qualified speaker on the subject of how feasible nuclear energy is:

        nuclear power plants are intermittent in that they will sometimes fail unexpectedly, often for long periods of time.[13] For example, in the United States, 132 nuclear plants were built, and 21% were permanently and prematurely closed due to reliability or cost problems, while another 27% have at least once completely failed for a year or more. The remaining U.S. nuclear plants produce approximately 90% of their full-time full-load potential, but even they must shut down (on average) for 39 days every 17 months for scheduled refueling and maintenance.[13] To cope with such intermittence by nuclear (and centralized fossil-fuelled) power plants, utilities install a "reserve margin" of roughly 15% extra capacity spinning ready for instant use.[13]

        Nuclear plants have an additional disadvantage; for safety, they must instantly shut down in a power failure, but for nuclear-physics reasons, they can’t be restarted quickly. For example, during the Northeast Blackout of 2003, nine operating U.S. nuclear units had to shut down and were later restarted. During the first three days, while they were most needed, their output was less than 3% of normal. After twelve days of restart, their average capacity loss had exceeded 50 percent.[13]

        Lovins general assessment of nuclear power is that "Nuclear power is the only energy source where mishap or malice can kill so many people so far away; the only one whose ingredients can help make and hide nuclear bombs; the only climate solution that substitutes proliferation, accident, and high-level radioactive waste dangers. Indeed, nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection". With respect to the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents, Lovins has said: "An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors".[14]

        In terms of the UK, Amory Lovins commented in 2014 that:

            Britain's plan for a fleet of new nuclear power stations is … unbelievable ... It is economically daft. The guaranteed price [being offered to French state company EDF] is over seven times the unsubsidised price of new wind in the US, four or five times the unsubsidised price of new solar power in the US. Nuclear prices only go up. Renewable energy prices come down. There is absolutely no business case for nuclear. The British policy has nothing to do with economic or any other rational base for decision making.[15]

        Gordon Edwards 1972 :
        There is a "latency period" during which no increase in the incidence of cancer is observed -- and then comes a whopping big increase. For leukemia, the latency period is about 5 years, whereas for other types of cancer it can be much longer -- for thyroid cancer (as hinted above) the latency period is about 13-15 years. Studies of uranium miners as well as silver and cobalt miners (all of whom were exposed to radon gas in the mines) confirm these latency periods.

        Time-lag factors are something which physicists are just not used to taking into account, and -- quite frankly -- they have very little experience to draw on in their particular field of study. It may take twenty years or more before the biological effects of exposure to radiation become known. Studies of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that all kinds of cancer had a very much higher incidence among those who had been exposed to radiation, but that these cancers did not develop until 5, 10, 15, or 20 years after the event.

        Jack Lemmon, narrating a 1971 documentary on the subject:
        Nuclear power is not only dirty and's about as safe as a closet full of cobras.
  •  Gundersen: Fukushima will be bleeding into Pacific (9+ / 0-)
    Gundersen: Fukushima will be bleeding into Pacific for next 100 years — Such a worldwide catastrophe — Molten cores being released into groundwater and moving off site — ‘Radioactive lake’ developing beneath reactors — New Yorker: “Human disaster that may never end” (VIDEO)
    Arnie Gumdersen, Fairewinds chief engineer (at 0:45 in): Is most of the cleanup complete? Are the people of Japan, especially the children, OK? Are the Japanese evacuees returning home? And, are the oceans OK? Sadly the answers are no.
    Gundersen (at 5:15 in): The aftermath of this catastrophe remains as hazardous as ever. The power plant site itself, entire sections of the surrounding Fukushima Prefecture and the Pacific Ocean are contaminated in ways that humans never imagined, so no method of mitigation exists. The Fukushima catastrophe will continue to be life-threatening and continue to cause extreme hardship for Tepco employees and cleanup workers,the former Fukushima residents, who and the Pacific ocean — its habitats and its on the ecosystem […] The reactors continue to release the radioactive remnants from the molten cores into the surrounding groundwater that’s migrating off site. [...] Tokyo Electric appears to have little control over the deteriorating environment, and it behaves like the victim, rather than the perpetrator of the greatest industrial mishap of all time. What will the future bring? The Fukushima Daiichi site will continue to bleed radiation into the Pacific Ocean for 100 years. As contaminated water beneath the site slowly evolves into a radioactive lake. […] Most likely the cleanup of the entire site is at least a century away, if ever. How has this calamity evolved into such a worldwide catastrophe? It happened because the Japanese government chose to protect Tepco, its financial interest and the goals of the nuclear power industry.
  •  There is a story (5+ / 0-)

    that coastal France is seeing an increase in cancer because of waste dumping. Is this real and included in the death totals?
    There was also supposedly a study of cancer deaths downwind of nuke plants - has that been verified?
    Even so, a nuke plant blows up about once every twenty or thirty years. Sounds good, but look at how bad things are when it happens.
    A lot more people are killed each year by fireworks than by hand grenades; that does not mean that we should have 4th of July hand grenade parties.

    •  Supply links, or it's heresay. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:34:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought I was clear (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, patbahn

        I'm referring to headlines I remember from many years ago. Sorry, but I thought that by saying ,"is it real" and "has it been verified" I had given sufficient qualifiers.
        Since you asked, I wasn't able in three seconds to find the French story, but a google search of "cancer downwind of nuclear plants" gave me this:
        And just to point out the obvious - what is the ratio of people killed by handguns to nuclear bombs? It is a legitimate debate question - is a danger illegitimate just because it has been unrealized?
        I might also point out that we will not know how many people will die due to Fukoshima for at least twenty years - and we will never really know, because we will never be able to determine how many people will die of cancer from eating irradiated fish, just as we will never know how many people have died of cancer from breathing in the fallout from Chernobyl. The answer is probably "not many", but "not many" out of 7 billion people over twenty years could still be a large number.
        For the record, in the case of nuclear power I have held both positions.

    •  a nuke plant out of the fleet blows up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mettle fatigue

      about every 15 years.

      but there are only some 400 plants.

      increase the plants by 10X and we will
      blow one up ever 2 years.

      Plus much of the current fleet is old.
      Most of the inventory is 30 years old.

      that's real old for a nuke.

  •  Nuclear is an abomination and should never have (9+ / 0-)

    been invented. Every plant leaks, some more than others. The process of making nuclear fuel uses almost half of the energy that reactors make and provides a convenient cover for the real reason we have nuclear plants: weapons production.
    There is no plan for dealing with the waste and we have 50 years worth of it stashed in dangerous, underdesigned storage pools and casks all over the country, just waiting for some disaster like Fukushima.
    And we are about 30 years from complete depletion of Uranium and that includes stripmining the Grand Canyon. The largest reserve of Uranium is in Iran, second largest, in Russia, we can't buy it from either of them.
    Nukes cost insane amounts of money to build, take many years to build and are then poisonous and flaky. So dangerous and risky that the Insurance Industry won't even look at them, that's why the US government is on the hook if anything goes wrong.
    Yeah, France has a bunch of them and many of them are starting to age out. They will have a massive ecological problem dealing with that over the next couple of decades.
    Nukes are bad JuJu.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:28:21 PM PDT

  •  I'd prefer alternative nuclear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Carey

    For example, thorium power, using liquid thorium fluoride reactors. I'm on my smartphone right now, so I don’t have links handy, but Google Kirk Sorensen's TED talk on thorium power. Much safer than conventional nuclear power.

    •  The waste from thorium reactors is some extra (0+ / 0-)

      scary shit.

      •  Not from a LFTR . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Carey

        In a conventional reactor, maybe 1% of the mass of the fuel is consumed, leaving the rest as waste.

        In a LFTR, almost all of the thorium fuel is consumed, making the reactor far more efficient, and making the waste much less nasty.

        In fact, a LFTR can be used to "burn" Waste from conventional reactors, giving us a new option for dealing with the nuclear waste problem.

        •  Well... (4+ / 0-)

          As I posted below, demonstrate this, then it'd be a great topic.

          I'm sorry, but the nuclear industry has, over the years, covered itself with something that smells very much unlike glory. As a California PG&E customer my electricity is supposed to be "too cheap to meter" on account of a nuclear plant built near an earthquake fault (?!), but somehow there's still a meter on my house, and I keep getting bills based on that meter which include "decommissioning" costs for something that was supposed to be "too cheap to meter". I routinely rec MarineChemist's diaries because I prefer real data regarding Fukushima over hype (after all, I live on the West Coast, and hype is in no way actionable), but I don't think the reality-over-hype delta does anything to absolve the industry. And the entire decades-long "bury waste in Nevada next to fault lines" saga is difficult to excuse.

          The burden of proof has to lie with the industry itself.

          •  Kirk Sorensen can explain better than I can, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mike Carey

            so why don't I just post his TED talk?

            •  Notes while listening (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              offgrid, JesseCW

              1) @ 1.5 min.: See my comment below about a prior GOS diary on the renewables potential of the Western US grid. The moon may not be the best parallel to the requirements here, where we do have wind, hydro, geothermal, and a night which last somewhat less than two weeks.

              2) @ 4 min: he's done a great job so far of convincing me that the nuclear industry has spent decades fucking up. Which leads to my 'burden of proof' point - belongs with the industry.

              3) @ 7.5 min: he's making a good case against fossil fuels, which really isn't in dispute here.

              4) @ 9 min: "safe", but so far haven't heard any discussion of risks that would demonstrate the claim, have only heard discussions of the risks of conventional nuclear and fossil fuels.

              5) @ end: So, I'm gathering that nobody's actually demonstrated any of this, because while he did mention a URL he did nothing to mention actual results.

              •  Just to clarify... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                offgrid, Calamity Jean

                I'm not ruling out that someone could demonstrate results here, or that those results could pass reasonable balance-of-risks assessments. "Could", and "have", are two different things.

              •  Responding to point #5: (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LeftCoastTom, Mike Carey, JesseCW

                The DOE has built experimental thorium reactors back in the 1960's. The science of them is well understood, and the reactor worked.

                This isn't like nuclear fusion, where we don't know how to do it yet, thus a nuclear fusion power plant is always "20 years from being built." We know how thorium fission works, and the development of a working LFTR is a more pedestrian engineering problem.

                In my opinion, the biggest risk from using LFTRs is the potential for a spill. Sorensen's design calls for the reactor to be built inside of a "bathtub", so if the react leaks, the fuel goes to the drain tank. Of course, in the real world, nuclear reactors are built by the lowest bidder, so there's the potential for thorium salt, or various actinide salts, to escape from the reactor and its containment and end up in the water table. That would be Bad.

                •  Assuming... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  If you're arguing for restarting some of the experimental efforts and seeing where they go, then maybe we're in closer agreement than I thought. If we're discussing what can be done now, then that's where my "prove it first then come back" response came from.

                  •  Obviously, there needs to be some R&D. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mike Carey, JesseCW

                    Sorensen and his fellow thorium activists already have blueprints for LFTR reactors. There's still a ways to go before a live reactor can be built (especially since I would want to make sure they don't corrode and have leaks & spills, and if there are spills, they're ABSOLUTELY contained) but I think it can be done.

                    •  Biggest problem to overcome is materials selection (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW, ApostleOfCarlin, patbahn

                      An experimental reactor was built and the Chinese are spending money to develop this technology.  The current issue is finding reactor materials that could last for the service life of the plant.

                      A LFTR is much less technically risky solution than a fusion reactor, but wind and solar, combined with energy storage (batteries) are a cost-competitive solution now and can be scaled up faster than LFTRs, conventional nuclear, and fusion.

                    •  Which realistically means 20 years or (0+ / 0-)

                      more from today before we'd have commercial reactors on-lines.

                      •  I'd say if enough people really wanted it... (0+ / 0-)

               can be done in ten, and that's because the pieces of LFTR technology have already been built, back in the 60's and 70's. We've already built reactors that use thorium as fuel. We've already built molten salt reactors. The tricky parts are things like making the reactor out of corrosion-resistant materials that can deal with hot radioactive salt, but nuclear scientists seem to have been able to manage that problem back in the 70's. With 21st century materials science, I'm sure we can figure something out.

                        It's not like nuclear fusion where we haven't figured out how to do it yet. ITER's in a perpetual process of being under construction, and when that multi-billion-dollar beast is built, its purpose in life is simply to be a testbed that scientists can use to try to figure out how to build a fusion reactor that can make sustainable power.

                        But yes. Solar and wind are already being built today

              •  There are actual experimental data on thorium (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                thorium fuel cycles. MIT has a report comparing the viability of the various fuel cycles.

                The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Full Report). MIT. 2011.

                Thorium can function in fission reactors, but there is no experimental evidence that we can create an economically viable, low-hazard-waste thorium fuel cycle.

                Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                by Mokurai on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  No matter what form of fission you might (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Calamity Jean

          want to talk about, the fission products are a witch's brew of isotopes with different half-lives and different radiation characteristics, and different possibilities for leaking from any form of storage. You have to be able to get them all right in order for it to work. The best case for thorium is that the fission products will become less hazardous than uranium ore in a few hundred years. However, if there is any actinide poisoning, that goes up to tens of thousands of years, as with other fuels.

          It is very easy to say that thorium has an advantage on one point over other fuels. That gets us nowhere near designing a usable reactor that would be competitive with existing designs, including all of the processing to get started and all of the waste management afterwards.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 12:34:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  From the most unbiased site I can find (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean, patbahn

          (which leans a bit pro-nuke)

          Irradiated Thorium is more dangerously radioactive in the short term. The Th-U cycle invariably produces some U-232, which decays to Tl-208, which has a 2.6 MeV gamma ray decay mode. Bi-212 also causes problems. These gamma rays are very hard to shield, requiring more expensive spent fuel handling and/or reprocessing.

        •  can you list all the isotopes and byproducts? (0+ / 0-)


    •  more hype then reality. (0+ / 0-)

      fundamental problems are just that.

      Neutron irradiation, strange isotopes.

      just a big problem

  •  Where do you plan to store the waste? (4+ / 0-)

    What's your plan for the waste? How do you plan to keep it safe for as long as required (10,000 years, right)?

    Presumably you've figured out a better answer than "Nevada", right?

    (n.b.: Fusion might also be classified as 'nuclear', assuming we ever figure out how to make productive use of it, and at that time the risks can be separately discussed. But I assume our topic is 'nuclear' as it exists today.)

    •  Don't forget recycling spent fuel... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      ...there are still a lot useful fuel in those rods, but nobody is getting it out.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:36:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, JeffW, Calamity Jean

        Actually do so, in a safe manner, and we'll also have something to talk about. Instead, for decades, the conversation was that somehow burying it for 10,000 years in Nevada, a state filled with fault-block mountain ranges, was somehow a useful idea. It was especially humorous when the Landers earthquake triggered a quake at Yucca Mountain...

        •  This is one of the reasons I like thorium power. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike Carey

          The waste problem is far less, because thorium reactors burn almost all of their fuel, instead of <1% like a conventional reactor. In fact, you can mix nuclear waste into the fuel of a thorium reactor, and the atom-smashing from the neutrons in the reactor will break down the nasty isotopes into far more manageable stuff.

          •  Personally, I don't think that storing waste... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...for thousands of years is practical.

            Some of these wastes have to be kept entombed for a hundred thousand years. Considering that the Pyramids at Giza are only 6,000 years old, I'm not confident that we can find a waste disposal solution that prevents people from screwing with the waste for that long. Eventually, especially if there's the potential to make weapons from the stuff, somebody's going to go screw with the waste repository, even if it's 20,000 years in the future.

          •  They produce a lot less of it, but it's (0+ / 0-)

            lot harder to shield and reprocess.

            •  You don't reprocess waste from a thorium reactor. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mike Carey

              The reactor does it for you - that's why it can can consume 99% of its thorium fuel, instead of a conventional reactor which consumes less than 1% of its uranium. That's why spent fuel rods from a uranium reactor are so problematic - they're still radioactive, just not in a useful way, and if you want to make them useful again, you have to use the same technology used to make material for bombs - big security issue.

              As far as shielding goes, well, any time you're smashing atoms in a nuclear reactor, you need shielding.

      •  We know how well reprocessing went the first time. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        Let's not repeat what we still haven't cleaned up.

        And as to more nukes, no. Just. No.

        The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers.

        by cany on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:44:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Waste doesn't grow legs (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      and walk out of deep mountain reservoirs. Plus, reprocessing.

      Fusion is not nuclear. It's nowhere even remotely close to nuclear. The anti-science brigade strikes again.

      TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D). Senate ratings map (as of 3/10/14)

      by Le Champignon on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:12:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)

        1) Of course those mountains move, and are in fact stretching apart. Very slowly as we perceive it, but over time they move. And Yucca Mountain's proponents denied the earthquake issue right up to the Landers quake.

        2) You'll note that I was perfectly happy to revisit a 'safety' discussion if fusion actually produces results. From that view I think I'm the one asking for science - produce reproducible results, then lets talk. However, I'm pretty unclear why you call it "not nuclear". Google pretty trivially turns up a Nuclear Fusion page from what appears to be an industry lobbying group. It's certainly the opposite of fission, of course.

        3) Regarding reprocessing - again, as I said, demonstrate reproducible results then lets talk. I'm unclear how that's inconsistent with science.

    •  The theory is that a thorium reactor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would generate fission products that would decay within a few hundred years to the point where the waste would be no more radioactive than uranium ore. This has not been proven on an industrial scale, and in any case is not sufficient.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 12:43:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Illinois gets about 45% of its power from... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    ...nuclear fission, but those plants are old, and the utilities are handicapped by state and federal laws. Spent fuel stays onsite, not to be recycled, even at the site of what was the newest plant, Zion, that had many problems and was shut down, rather than the owners seeking to get special legislation to fix it.

    I had hoped that we would see more wind farms before the nukes were shut down, and it would have displaced coal-fired plants. Instead, we have natural gas plants online to replace lost coal and nuclear capacity. Gas may be cleaner than coal, but I doubt fracturing will keep it cheaply available, and I sure don't want any more fracturing done in Illinois.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:33:09 PM PDT

  •  Wind is cheaper. There's no longer any solid (5+ / 0-)

    argument for nuclear power.

    It's done.

  •  It beats fracking and global (3+ / 0-)

    warming. Yeah, maybe some people die from the radiation, and maybe once in a great while a lot of people die. But people die every day due to coal and gas (and even wind). There is no perfect source of energy/

    •  People die every day due to *wind power?* (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      But people die every day due to coal and gas (and even wind).
      What?  I'll concede that workers are occasionally killed during construction or maintenance of wind turbines but I doubt that it averages out to one a day.  A grand total of one death of a non-worker has been associated with wind turbines; a parachutist who got off-course and tangled with a turbine rotor.  

      Or are you saying that any electricity supply could have some wind-generated "juice" included in it, so therefore anyone ever electrocuted has been killed by wind power?  

      Or are you saying that anyone who dies in a wind storm has been killed by wind power?  

      Please clarify.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:25:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Carey
        In England, there were 163 wind turbine accidents that killed 14 people in 2011. Wind produced about 15 billion kWhrs that year, so using a capacity factor of 25%, that translates to about 1,000 deaths per trillion kWhrs produced (the world produces 15 trillion kWhrs per year from all sources).

        These are pretty low numbers. By contrast, in 2011 coal produced about 180 billion kWhrs in England with about 3,000 related deaths. Nuclear energy produced over 90 billion kWhrs in England with no deaths. In that same year, America produced about 800 billion kWhrs from nuclear with no deaths.

  •  I'm keeping an open mind about nuclear... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Carey

    ... because we may need every tool in the box to prevent widespread economic collapse. I'm all-in for renewables and conservation, but I'm just not sure that green energy can win the race with overpopulation and climate instability.

    I'd feel better knowing that nuclear is just down the hall in a cabinet marked "break glass in case of emergency".

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:19:37 PM PDT

    •  But it's not. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ...nuclear is just down the hall in a cabinet marked "break glass in case of emergency".
      It takes too long to build and costs too much.  In case of emergency, nuclear power might as well be on Mars.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:28:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, one does wait until one smells smoke to... (0+ / 0-) down the store and buy a fire extinguisher. In my analogy, we would start expanding our nuclear capacity now to supply the baseload power that wind and solar cannot. We cannot afford to continue with coal and natural gas obtained through fracking.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:43:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A: Wind *can* supply baseload, if (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          enough wind farms are built in enough locations so that wherever the wind happens to be blowing at a given moment, a wind farm is there to catch it.  Just two wind farms separated by about 300 miles can combine to supply "baseload" power over 80% of the time.  Adding more of them ups the percentage.  Solar by it's nature is best suited to cover the difference between "baseload" and the higher daytime demand.  

          I agree with you wholeheartedly about this:  

          We cannot afford to continue with coal and natural gas obtained through fracking.

          "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

          by Calamity Jean on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:29:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The US NAVY and NASA have proven you can use (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nuclear power safely. Each with 50-60 year track records.

    The Nuclear power industry has PROVEN beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Private Sector cannot ever operate nuclear power safely.

    Proven, 100%, without exception.

    So yes, I support US Government operation of nuclear power plants, and consider 10-20% of electricity production as nuclear a good target. Until FUSION becomes viable, which would eventually be responsible for 50%.

    At no point should we be anything but TOTALLY committed to Solar, Wind, Geothermal, and Tidal power production, taking advantage of these mechanisms where ever they are feasible.

    I also believe Coal power plants with total sequestration of GHG's will and should be a major portion of our power system, we have 500-1,000 years worth of Coal reserves and it would be silly not to take advantage of it .... in a safe NON-polluting manner.

    Moving to nearly 100% electric transportation will require 2-3-4 TIMES the amount of electrical production we have today. Heating our homes with non-fossil fuels will also require more electricity... if only to operate geothermal pumps where feasible.

    •  Sequestration... (3+ / 0-)

      Doesn't sequestration as a 'burn coal' answer require the same "prove it then lets talk" response as the nuclear claims? Setting aside, of course, the huge environmental costs of extracting the coal.

      •  And the environmental cost of dealing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (or not dealing) with coal ash.  

        Coal is best thought of as pre-sequestered carbon.  

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:30:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The navy's secret for safe nukes? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Unlimited budget. As long as nukes are run a s another crony-capitalist grab bag for privatizing profit and socializing risk, the systems will never be safe.

    •  Times they are a changing... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, The Jester

      We are in the middle of a century of transition from a time of incredibly cheap to incredibly expensive energy.
      "Too cheap to meter" commercial nuclear power was born of scientific guilt about the bomb and became a socialist answer to a problem that would have been best addressed by private enterprise.
      But we elect people who promise to keep us in a cheap energy fantasyland.
      What would the pump price be if the total cost of the three wars we've fought for oil since 1991 was now reflected on the pump?
      Even Adm. Rickover admitted at the end of his career that commercial nuclear could never be managed by private enterprise. When a reactor blows, you not only lose a billion-dollar asset, at the same time you acquire a multi-billion liability. No wonder the private insurance industry refused coverage back in the 1950s, so now I have fine print in my homeowner's policy exempting radiological damage.
      The killer app right now is energy efficiency -- the conservation that should be in the mind of anyone who calls themselves conservative -- and that technology is here now.
      No fair, objective, cost comparison can be done until the nuclear waste issue is resolved. My view is that some future society will have to get it off the planet.

  •  this is barely a diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandino, jan4insight

    you don't make your case with blockquotes. try again.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:01:08 PM PDT

  •  Which physicist is it that said "Nuclear Power (6+ / 0-)

    Plants are a very expensive technique for finding and marking seismic faults"? It is unexplainable that most of these plants are located where they should not have been built.

    Thank goodness my new country is too poor to join the nuclear parade.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:59:36 PM PDT

  •  How are the French disposing of nuclear waste? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 07:22:04 AM PDT

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