The US is resuming its nuclear power program. Thoughts? 40 replies

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emonkies

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17th July 2003

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#1 8 years ago

U.S. Approves Loan Guarantees to Build Reactors - NYTimes.com

The US has agreed to back financing for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia.

IMHO if France can get most of their power from reactors the US should be no less capable as long as proper safeguards and trainings and certifications are in place.

I say go for it.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 8 years ago

I think it's a stopgap measure at best; there aren't enough resources to use nuclear power for all your energy needs for a great deal of time. The money would be better invested in working with the existing projects on fusion




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#3 8 years ago

IMO, ABOUT FUCKING TIME! Fusion is not exactly close. I've heard of another form of fission material. I forgot what it's called, but Ill post it when I find out.




Relander

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8th April 2005

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#4 8 years ago

Nuclear power is safe, effective and CO2-neutral way of producing energy so I think it's a good idea. Wind and solar power are still highly ineffective in most conditions & expensive and the potential in hydro power is limited. However this doesn't say that nuclear power is a blessing: there are still open issues in how to deal with nuclear waste in the long run and uranium resources are limited as Nemmerle pointed out. Still, in my opinion, nuclear power is the best single energy source before wind, solar and certain types of biofuel are cost-effective enough to meet the energy demand in large scale by their own, not to mention fusion power and clean-coal/natural gas power.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#5 8 years ago

This should buy the Southeast some time. Hopefully this will also change how much coal that region uses. Hmm, I wonder if the hydroelectric dams in the area can be made significantly more efficient...




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#6 8 years ago

As Nemm says it is a stop-gap measure, since we have very limited supplies of reactive material. However it's an already developed system that could provide a great deal of power in the short run. I think it is absolutely necessary until we can fully develop other forms of power.

Fusion would be fantastic, but it's not exactly right around the corner.




Pethegreat VIP Member

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#7 8 years ago
Nemmerle;5243373I think it's a stopgap measure at best; there aren't enough resources to use nuclear power for all your energy needs for a great deal of time. The money would be better invested in working with the existing projects on fusion

Fuel reprocessing and breeder reactors would allow for the current stock of nuclear fuel to last for a long time. "spent" nuclear fuel is not actually spent, the concentration of U-235(the fissionable isotope) drops below a certain percentage. Nuclear fuel is %3.5 U-235 by mass, and spent fuel contains a mix of Pu-239 and U-235 which comprise %3 of the total mass. Both U-235 and Pu-239 are fissionable. What the US is doing with spent fuel is the same as a person buying a bottle of water, taking a few sips, then throwing the bottle away with the majority of the water still in it. Japan and France reprocess their nuclear fuel which cuts down on long-term highly radioactive nuclear waste by a large degree. Many of the real nasty radioisotopes that make nuclear waste so dangerous have short half-lives(1-100 years)

Breeder reactors take non-fissionable elements like Thorium into fissionable materials with the use of a small amount of U-235(about %1 of that which is used in a normal reactor). One of the fissionable materials is Pu-239 which is where the problems are. The technology was devloped in the 1950's to make a more fuel efficient reactor that made Pu-239 for nuclear weapons.

The US government is so distressed over terrorists getting their hands on enriched uranium or plutonium and using it to make a weapons that neither technology is used in the US today. The US does however have a crazy amount of security for both nuclear power plants, and the facilities that handle the fuel. The reactor's are built with crazy amounts of active and passive safety features that make a Chernobyl style meltdown impossible. For the near future, nuclear power will be the best option for large scale carbon-neutral power plants.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#8 8 years ago

In my opinion the important aspect of having a few nuclear powerplants around is to keep a certain level of expertise and high tech jobs and to improve existing powerplant designs and the reprocessing. The only powerplants I'm worried about are those located in former Soviet republics and the only way those are getting any safer is with money and expertise from western nations.

However, large scale use of such powerplants is not a great idea. There still isn't a good method for storing radioactive waste safely. Germany has tried for douzends of years now to find appropriate storage and failed. To make matters worse, most of these failures were covered up by the industry and the government officials who took part.




emonkies

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#9 8 years ago

All the RBMK type reactors have already been upgraded to repair the safety flaws.

Of the 17 built 11 are still operational. Only one ever exploded and that was due to operator error.

Chernobyl would have occurred in almost any circumstance because the test supervisor either had a death wish or was a certified idiot.

IIRC the biggest problem at Chernobyl was that there was no containment building around the reactor to contain any leaks or explosions.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#10 8 years ago

Anlushac11;5243368U.S. Approves Loan Guarantees to Build Reactors - NYTimes.com

The US has agreed to back financing for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia.

IMHO if France can get most of their power from reactors the US should be no less capable as long as proper safeguards and trainings and certifications are in place.

I say go for it.

You confused me there for a monent... I asked myself "why would the US pay for a reacot in Georgia? I didn't know they sponsored other countr.. oh wait, the state.. I guess.. must be the state". =p

But I will join in the line and agree that the safety ain't a real concern, but that we still have to find a final solution to the waste problem. For now a nuclear reactor is probably an acceptable if not wise solution untill we can can rely on efficient, sufficient and "clean" renewable energy sources. As it stands we sure can't rely on wind and solar power alone (though expanding in those areas, especially as technology progresses is a good thing).