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  1. #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    With all of the real tragedies to talk about, I wish the major news outlets would stop making overly dire predictions about nuclear disasters. I think it's making would-be volunteers hesitant to go and help out. Even if it was as bad as Chernobyl, the human toll will be dwarfed by the tragedies that are happening right now.
    We have local news media outlets trying to make comparisons from Japan to local nuclear power stations. Chicago media has been all over this asking if we should close our nuclear power centers down so we don't have the same problem. Um.. Helloooo... we don't live on a frakkin' (thank you Battlestar Galactica) fault line like Japan, and they built theirs to withstand over 7.5 quakes (and they've withstood 8.0 in the past). Now they get hit by a 9.0 and people here are saying we should close ours.

    How about we take all that energy and help save lives over there first. Such a horrendous thing to see those villages completely wiped out and families not knowing where members are now.
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    #22  
    Quote Originally Posted by HelloNNNewman View Post
    We have local news media outlets trying to make comparisons from Japan to local nuclear power stations. Chicago media has been all over this asking if we should close our nuclear power centers down so we don't have the same problem. Um.. Helloooo... we don't live on a frakkin' (thank you Battlestar Galactica) fault line like Japan, and they built theirs to withstand over 7.5 quakes (and they've withstood 8.0 in the past). Now they get hit by a 9.0 and people here are saying we should close ours.

    How about we take all that energy and help save lives over there first. Such a horrendous thing to see those villages completely wiped out and families not knowing where members are now.
    Yep, nobody is talking about the two reactors in the same region where emergency systems worked or the other 50-odd plants in Japan that had no problems whatsoever. Nobody is talking about the 40 years of service the Fukushima plant had before this incident. All we know is, if there's an earthquake registering 9.0 near a nuclear power plant, there could be problems. Umm... DUH? And if you have alcoholics commanding oil tankers, you could have problems.
  3. #23  
    my guess is that the good old USA will reassess the the building of any more nuke plants in any area that could be hit with a tsunami or even building one period lol
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    #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadavis08 View Post
    my guess is that the good old USA will reassess the the building of any more nuke plants in any area that could be hit with a tsunami or even building one period lol
    That would be very unfortunate.
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    #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromNam View Post
    Three guesses how much nuclear material would be 50 ft tsunami'd all the way over the North Pacific and completely devastate Asia. I apologize in advance if this is somewhat inaccurate, but these concerns are legitimate. We live on a relatively unstable planet, and the use of nuclear energy is not without risk. Questioning whether the risks are worth it, is not unfortunate, but intelligent.
    Nothing is without risk. Chernobyl is known as the disaster involving nuclear energy and, as bad as it was, it killed 57 people and contributed to cancer in as many as 4,000 people out of about 600,000 exposures. But a lot has been learned since then and I'm sure a lot will be learned from the Fukushima incident, as it should. I think its very appropriate to address safety and redundancy systems in light of these incidents, and based on what was learned from these incidents, but to put a hold on nuclear energy development is, I believe, learning the wrong lesson here.

    Notice the sign in this guy's hands. I don't know if the death toll for coal production is right but I know that a large number of people have died because of years of coal mining and mining related accidents.
    Last edited by groovy; 03/17/2011 at 03:56 PM.
  6. #26  
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromNam View Post
    Maps of Nuclear Power Reactors: UNITED STATES


    Map of the San Andreas Fault


    Three guesses how much nuclear material would be 50 ft tsunami'd all the way over the North Pacific and completely devastate Asia. I apologize in advance if this is somewhat inaccurate, but these concerns are legitimate. We live on a relatively unstable planet, and the use of nuclear energy is not without risk. Questioning whether the risks are worth it, is not unfortunate, but intelligent.
    I understand your point GFN. But I'm talking about the plants specific to the midwest (Illinois) area. We are not on a fault line like San Andreas, and yet the local media trying to make a local tie-in to a world story, are doing nothing but fear mongering in the name of local ratings.
    Last edited by groovy; 03/17/2011 at 04:06 PM. Reason: removed .gov domain image
  7. #27  
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromNam View Post
    I did not suggest or advise putting a hold on nuclear energy development, did I? I'm saying the concerns are legitimate.

    And a San Andreas nuclear catastrophe is not an idea from another world. It's as real as it is uncertain. I'm certainly no expert though, but it's not hard to imagine that part of the US not surviving another 100 years above sea level.
    That fault has EMC prediction written all over it. But that's just the fear talking
    Totally agree. It's sad to see the radiation leakage and those being exposed. The fact is that the leakage out of the plant in Fukoshima has caused it to be evacuated and many workers now cannot proceed on their mission to avert a meltdown. I think our zeal for nuclear energy cannot overshadow safety concerns. Japan is just as earthquake prepared and technologically advanced as we are in the US if not more so. As I drive by San Onofre, a large nuclear facility on the beach in earthquake prone southern cal I can't help but imagine what would happen if a major earthquake hit off the coast there. In light of what has happened in Japan, it's certainly not panicking or or over reacting for us to take this opportunity to carefully reassess the safety issues and disaster preparedness of our own nuclear plants here in the US.
    Last edited by cellmatrix; 03/16/2011 at 08:00 AM.
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    #28  
    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    Totally agree. It's sad to see the radiation leakage and those being exposed. The fact is that the leakage out of the plant in Fukoshima has caused it to be evacuated and many workers now cannot proceed on their mission to avert a meltdown. I think our zeal for nuclear energy cannot overshadow safety concerns. Japan is just as earthquake prepared and technologically advanced as we are in the US if not more so. As I drive by San Onofre, a large nuclear facility on the beach in earthquake prone southern cal I can't help but imagine what would happen if a major earthquake hit off the coast there. In light of what has happened in Japan, it's certainly not panicking or or over reacting for us to take this opportunity to carefully reassess the safety issues and disaster preparedness of our own nuclear plants here in the US.
    I think everyone will agree that we need to make sure we learn any possible lessons from the Fukushima incident that we can. On the other hand, we can't be driven by the poorly educated hysteria plaguing what tries to pass as news media these day. I'm sure the engineers overseeing these plants aren't being swayed by the reports but public pressure can lead to strange and less than desirable outcomes.
  9. #29  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    I think everyone will agree that we need to make sure we learn any possible lessons from the Fukushima incident that we can. On the other hand, we can't be driven by the poorly educated hysteria plaguing what tries to pass as news media these day. I'm sure the engineers overseeing these plants aren't being swayed by the reports but public pressure can lead to strange and less than desirable outcomes.
    You would think that evacuation of a radiation plant due to uncontrolled radiation leakage is serious enough without the need for the media to further their ratings thru hysteria generation, but I agree they do seem to be doing that.

    Underplaying the seriousness of the situation is not appropriate either. As you point out, its really the job of the experts to address and respond to this, both those in the energy industry as well as those federal authorities overseeing them.
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    #30  
    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    You would think that evacuation of a radiation plant due to uncontrolled radiation leakage is serious enough without the need for the media to further their ratings thru hysteria generation, but I agree they do seem to be doing that.

    Underplaying the seriousness of the situation is not appropriate either. As you point out, its really the job of the experts to address and respond to this, both those in the energy industry as well as those federal authorities overseeing them.
    So, just curious, what's your overall stance on nuclear energy?
  11. Micael's Avatar
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    #31  
    Gee... whatever happened to Libya? Media coverage fell off the cliff.

    Oh, and I've noticed that our CIC is on top of things.... at least, basketball things and partying. Good to know this all hasn't had a negative impact on his schedule.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  12. #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    That would be very unfortunate.
    Yes it would since it would also delay the replacement of old reactors with newer and safer designs.
  13. #33  
    There are faults and earthquakes in the midwest. Earthquakes there are not as common. there was a 7.7 in New Madrid, Missouri, in the 1800s. There were 7.3 earthquakes in Charleston, South Carolina and in Montana. There is a fault line in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Now where these are in relation to nuclear plants i don't know.

    That said it's not only about faults and tsunamis. If you look at the Japan Nuclear reactor problem it stemmed from a power loss to the plant and thus an inability to run the cooling tank and a failure of backup power intended as safeguards.

    I think when you look at nuclear power plants in the United States it's too simplistic to only look at can or can't an earthquake damage a plant or can or can't a Tsunami hit a plant and wreck it. That's hardly the only possible outcomes. A Tsunami of that size was not expected. They have sea walls they just weren't high enough. So i don't think you can even prepare for the expected. Clearly doing that isn't enough. The question isn't just tsunamis and earthquakes knocking out power. It's can ANYTHING or combination of things cause a power loss at a plant. I don't know what. A plane, a missile, a mudslide, a forest fire. What if the plant computers are hacked. What if a series of tornadoes hits them. Or accumulation of snow cause a power plant to go off line in a blizzard while freezing temps make a back up generator inoperable. Hell what if a grass fire prevented anyone from getting there for days should something go wrong. Not a tsunami but it's not like there's no floods in the midwest. We have half a dozen similar reactors with spent fuel rods sitting in water above the reactor but not in a containment vessels. What if somehow liquefaction topples the foundation and that wall is breached? Why would the government allow substandard spent fuel rods storage to be tolerated if they continue to be this threat? I just think the discussion on the news is as it always is in America. It's overly narrow and overly simplistic.
    Last edited by blackmagic01; 03/17/2011 at 02:59 AM.
  14. #34  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    So, just curious, what's your overall stance on nuclear energy?
    While nuclear energy is not worsening global warming like burning fossil fuel is, I don't think we need to pretend its as safe as mothers milk because its not, especially with the events in Japan, now that the plant has lost its cooling and the US and other countries are evacuating their citizens out of the area.

    If nuclear energy enabled us to burn less fossil fuel, then I would be more enthusiastic about it. However, I am not sure that it will. I think whether we have nuclear energy or not, people are going to continue to burn all the fossil fuels they need, and pretend global warming does not exist until a climate crisis occurs, or until oil becomes so scarce that it is too expensive to be practical anymore.

    So we should think long and hard about nuclear reactors like San Onofre which have many millions of people within its 50 mile radius. And since everyone knows we are going to have another big earthquake in the next ten-twenty years down there, its just a disaster waiting to happen. Diablo Canyon also is right on the San Andreas fault.

    Keep in mind, we've been through a situation of ineptitude when it comes to disaster response (remember Katrina?) and an energy policy consisting of back room deals with the energy companies in Cheney's back office has created a laxity in federal regulations and a lack of oversight that (IMO) has contributed to other massive energy disasters like the BP gulf spill. So while i am not in favor of shutting down existing nuclear plants, I want to see much more transparent and clear regulatory mechanisms that put the safety of the public and our environment at a higher priority than corporate profitability.

    Speaking of corporate profitability it seems to me that the energy companies don't think nuclear power is a good investment either. The only way they've been able to build the existing plants is with massive federal subsidization. And I agree with the conservative CATO institute in that if energy industries think its a good idea to invest in more nuclear plants, then they should get private investors to fund it, not add increased tax burdens on the US public.
    No Corporate Welfare for Nuclear Power | Navin Nayak and Jerry Taylor | Cato Institute: Daily Commentary

    Instead, I would rather see most of the massive subsidies we give out to energy companies for outdated technologies like oil drilling and nuclear fission, instead be put into federal funding for research on alternative energy research and more emphasis/ tax incentives on energy efficiency/conservation.
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    #35  
    Thanks for the detailed answer. I hope you don't mind if I make a few comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    While nuclear energy is not worsening global warming like burning fossil fuel is, I don't think we need to pretend its as safe as mothers milk because its not, especially with the events in Japan, now that the plant has lost its cooling and the US and other countries are evacuating their citizens out of the area.
    I don't think anyone is arguing that it's without a certain amount of risk--at least nobody credible. On the other hand, the track record of injury and fatalities compared to other forms of energy production has been pretty positive, don't you think? I'd liken it to comparing air travel with highway travel. Accidents involving commercial airliners have much more impact and a greater risk of mass fatalities than highway accidents on a per incident basis but on average highway travel carries a far greater risk. Likewise, both the production and use of fossil fuels has lead to far more injuries and fatalities than nuclear on average.

    If nuclear energy enabled us to burn less fossil fuel, then I would be more enthusiastic about it. However, I am not sure that it will. I think whether we have nuclear energy or not, people are going to continue to burn all the fossil fuels they need, and pretend global warming does not exist until a climate crisis occurs, or until oil becomes so scarce that it is too expensive to be practical anymore.
    Maybe I'm not getting the point but doesn't every watt of power derived from nuclear equate to a watt of energy spared from other sources of production? Or are you saying that we use more energy because we have nuclear?

    So we should think long and hard about nuclear reactors like San Onofre which have many millions of people within its 50 mile radius. And since everyone knows we are going to have another big earthquake in the next ten-twenty years down there, its just a disaster waiting to happen. Diablo Canyon also is right on the San Andreas fault.
    I think they have, and they've built in many contingencies, including thicker containment walls, taller seawalls (which were a major source of the problems in Fukushima) and, for what it's worth, mailing potassium iodide to local residents. On the other hand, more recent studies have shown that the original estimates of local faults may have underestimated their potential. Because the science is always advancing, I do think its appropriate to make periodic reassessments of plant safety. But a single 9.0 quake in Japan does not negate all of the study that's gone into our local plants.

    So while i am not in favor of shutting down existing nuclear plants, I want to see much more transparent and clear regulatory mechanisms that put the safety of the public and our environment at a higher priority than corporate profitability.
    I don't disagree that there should be transparency here. I'm not close enough to the situation to know how much or little transparency there is. I know San Onofre has gotten in trouble on the past and that needs to be worked on. As an aside, the problem of oversight is the same in virtually every field: qualified surveyors are hard to come by so you end up having a lot of the foxes guarding the hen house.

    Speaking of corporate profitability it seems to me that the energy companies don't think nuclear power is a good investment either. The only way they've been able to build the existing plants is with massive federal subsidization. And I agree with the conservative CATO institute in that if energy industries think its a good idea to invest in more nuclear plants, then they should get private investors to fund it, not add increased tax burdens on the US public.
    No Corporate Welfare for Nuclear Power | Navin Nayak and Jerry Taylor | Cato Institute: Daily Commentary

    Instead, I would rather see most of the massive subsidies we give out to energy companies for outdated technologies like oil drilling and nuclear fission, instead be put into federal funding for research on alternative energy research and more emphasis/ tax incentives on energy efficiency/conservation.
    Darn! I was all ready to end on a note of agreement with you but then I kept reading . Your "agreement" with CATO is a narrow intersection of agreement, indeed. You're not against corporate welfare, you just want to see it redirected to companies/projects you're more interested in.
  16. #36  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Thanks for the detailed answer.
    No problem, writing these responses also helps me to think and refine my own opinions on certain important areas, like this one.
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    I don't think anyone is arguing that it's without a certain amount of risk--at least nobody credible. On the other hand, the track record of injury and fatalities compared to other forms of energy production has been pretty positive, don't you think? I'd liken it to comparing air travel with highway travel. Accidents involving commercial airliners have much more impact and a greater risk of mass fatalities than highway accidents on a per incident basis but on average highway travel carries a far greater risk. Likewise, both the production and use of fossil fuels has lead to far more injuries and fatalities than nuclear on average.
    If you are telling me that fossil fuels are more dangerous than nuclear, I totally agree, for even more reasons than you list above.
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    IMaybe I'm not getting the point but doesn't every watt of power derived from nuclear equate to a watt of energy spared from other sources of production? Or are you saying that we use more energy because we have nuclear?
    Any fossil fuel use that get replaced by nuclear use, I agree that would be a good thing. And if we add a bunch of cheaply available nuclear energy into the mix, certainly some of that would happen.

    However its also the case that the more energy we have available, and the cheaper it is, the more we will use - there's no doubt about that. And while the accumulation of greenhouse gases seems more dangerous than the risk of radiation exposure, neither is desirable. But the idea of cheap freely available nuclear power is a bit of a deception if you ask me, and does not take into account the large amount of tax payer dollars (I suppose I should put burning mad emoticons in here at this point, ha ha) that go into building the plants in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    II think they have, and they've built in many contingencies, including thicker containment walls, taller seawalls (which were a major source of the problems in Fukushima) and, for what it's worth, mailing potassium iodide to local residents. On the other hand, more recent studies have shown that the original estimates of local faults may have underestimated their potential. Because the science is always advancing, I do think its appropriate to make periodic reassessments of plant safety. But a single 9.0 quake in Japan does not negate all of the study that's gone into our local plants. I don't disagree that there should be transparency here. I'm not close enough to the situation to know how much or little transparency there is. I know San Onofre has gotten in trouble on the past and that needs to be worked on. As an aside, the problem of oversight is the same in virtually every field:
    I know, good help is hard to find, of course its easy to be a monday morning quarterback. But it does not take a rocket scientist to realize building San Onofre where it is, in the middle of a high risk earthquake zone, within a 50 mile radius of many millions of people was not such a great plan, or Diablo Canyon, a plant right on top of the San Andreas fault wasn't such a great idea either.
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Darn! I was all ready to end on a note of agreement with you but then I kept reading . Your "agreement" with CATO is a narrow intersection of agreement, indeed. You're not against corporate welfare,
    Its not so much an opposition to providing funding to any companies, its just trying to make the best investment possible when we do. For example, many people in the CATO institute were up in arms with our investing to save the General Motors. Well it turned out that the 'bailout' paid off and now GM is generating profits for the first time in years and is actually paying its workers bonuses for this strong financial performance. So in this regard I disagree with CATO because irregardless of their views, I know this was a good investment.
    GM bonuses to average $4K per hourly worker | Chicago Breaking Business

    In contrast, I see both fossil fuel and nuclear fission as outdated technologies that are going nowhere, while alternative energy in contrast has the potential to open up new markets and bring the US back at the helm of technolgical leadership in the world, a position that has been slipping as of late.
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    you just want to see it redirected to companies/projects you're more interested in.
    When I talked about investing in alternative energy research, I wasn't talking about putting that money into the energy companies directly. Right now their profitability and survival revolves around helping us burn as much fossil fuel as possible. I suspect, maybe its just my bias, but I suspect that they spend more money on advertising about how they are working on alternative energy than they actually spend doing it.

    But its not their fault, the most ground breaking discoveries in alternative energy research are probably going to take a great deal of time and effort , and not be immediately profitable. In fact it may take many years and many highly risky investments until one pays off. And its an especially risky investment for competing commercial companies to undertake. If your company will be the one that secures that highly valuable discovery/patent that really helps to solve our energy problems thats all well and good. But if another company is the one making the discovery instead, then your company will be either run out of business, or have to pay extremely expensive licensing fees to use it. All of these problems discourages the commercial sectors from getting heavily into these types of risky but innovative basic research.

    Thats why most of the actual ground breaking basic science discoveries are usually produced in nonprofit academic environments, then as applications are found, these technologies are typically transferred to the research and development arm of companies. So what I am suggesting is not funding energy companies for alternative energy research directly. Rather I was suggesting massively beefing up federal grants for basic alternative energy research and letting the best university laboratories that have track records of high impact discoveries and publications compete for them.

    However, I would also like to see even more fluid ways for academics and industry to collaborate once these discoveries are made, so they can be translated as quickly (and as freely) as possible into useful applications.

    I hope this clarifies things, as usual, thanks for the interesting discussion.
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    #37  
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  18. #38  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    Thanks micael for bringing this thread back on track. We were getting on a tangent with the radiation talk. Its way beyond that and the japanese people at this time really deserve all theprayers, sympathies and assistance we can give them.
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    #39  
    Thank goodness. The recent actions in Libya appear to have help Japan avoid almost certain doom. At least, that's what I gather from the lack of media coverage.
  20. #40  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    Thank goodness. The recent actions in Libya appear to have help Japan avoid almost certain doom. At least, that's what I gather from the lack of media coverage.
    Its not certain doom but with leakage of radiation to surrounding areas, Fukushima nuclear disaster has been upgraded to a 7. That's the highest rating and the same rating given to Chernobyl. I sure would not want to live near Fukushima and feel sorry for those that do. I wish them the best.
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