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Science Forum

  1. Subscribersonhouse
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    31 Dec '18 15:34
    Thorium is a viable option but if it takes 30 years to get real plants, fusion will probably work out faster than that and that would put a stop to all the fission dangers.

    There are developments in fusion every year, new ways to control instability in the plasma and so forth.
    Also we can't rule out inertial confinement, powerful lasers to strike the fusion match.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
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    02 Jan '19 12:27
    @wildgrass said
    You brought up Fukushima, which killed 573 people, as an example of why nuclear is dangerous. That completely ignores tragedies caused by other sources of power. The one I brought up killed 25,000 people, which is a single disaster that caused more deaths than all nuclear accidents put together. But is hydroelectric considered dangerous?
    Are you forgetting the part where there IS a nuclear disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima has made thousands of acres uninhabitable? And will be that way for a long long time. That is not a trivial detail.
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    02 Jan '19 18:431 edit
    @sonhouse said
    Are you forgetting the part where there IS a nuclear disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima has made thousands of acres uninhabitable? And will be that way for a long long time. That is not a trivial detail.
    I'm trying to be realistic and compare energy sources rather than just point out obvious negatives. There's no perfect option. Of course disasters are not a trivial detail, but they do happen, and objectively speaking nuclear disasters represent a smaller negative than other sources. How much uninhabitable land will be made through climate change? How many people will inhabit land that contains 328,000 wind turbines and 46,480 utility-scale solar-PV power plants?

    Although a nuclear plant and a wind farm might have the same "nameplate capacity" of 1 gigawatt, you'd actually need three or four wind farms that size to produce the same number of MWh as the nuclear plant. (EIA info on US capacity factors here; nuclear is highest, producing around 90 percent of the time, while solar PV is lowest, at around 20 percent.)

    The upshot of this is that to meet most energy demand with wind and solar, you have to radically overbuild electrical generation capacity. To wit: the authors estimate that total US energy demand in 2050 will average 2.6 terawatts. To produce that much energy, they propose building power plants with a total of 6.5 TW of capacity. By way of comparison, the US currently has about 1.2 TW of installed electric generation capacity, so this plan would involve expanding generation capacity fivefold in 35 years.

    Here's what that would require:

    ... 328,000 new onshore 5 MW wind turbines (providing 30.9% of U.S. energy for all purposes), 156,200 off-shore 5 MW wind turbines (19.1), 46,480 50 MW new utility-scale solar-PV power plants (30.7), 2,273 100 MW utility-scale CSP power plants (7.3), 75.2 million 5 kW residential rooftop PV systems (3.98), 2.75 million 100 kW commercial/government rooftop systems (3.2), 208 100 MW geothermal plants (1.23), 36,050 0.75 MW wave devices (0.37), 8,800 1 MW tidal turbines (0.14), and 3 new hydroelectric power plants (all in Alaska).


    https://www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8748081/us-100-percent-renewable-energy
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    02 Jan '19 19:23
    This radiation issue is not confined to land. Do any of you eat ocean fish?

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/radioactivity_in_the_ocean_diluted_but_far_from_harmless
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    05 Jan '19 20:20
    @metal-brain said
    This radiation issue is not confined to land. Do any of you eat ocean fish?

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/radioactivity_in_the_ocean_diluted_but_far_from_harmless
    Certainly. There are environmental health impacts to all forms of power generation. Here is a more recent and long-term analysis of Fukushima impacts, that goes well beyond hypotheticals: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ez500019j

    If we are just issuing lists of the worst nuclear disasters of all time, of course it sounds bad. Fukushima disaster was terrible. But in comparison to other sources, nuclear is less bad.
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    06 Jan '19 20:58
    @wildgrass said
    Certainly. There are environmental health impacts to all forms of power generation. Here is a more recent and long-term analysis of Fukushima impacts, that goes well beyond hypotheticals: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ez500019j

    If we are just issuing lists of the worst nuclear disasters of all time, of course it sounds bad. Fukushima disaster was terrible. But in comparison to other sources, nuclear is less bad.
    Didn't you pick the worst dam disaster ever? Of course it sounds bad. You are still a supporter of hydro-electric, right?
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    06 Jan '19 22:20
    @metal-brain said
    Didn't you pick the worst dam disaster ever? Of course it sounds bad. You are still a supporter of hydro-electric, right?
    No I am not. The environmental damage caused by hydroelectric dams are far and away higher than nuclear.
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    07 Jan '19 08:39
    @wildgrass said
    No I am not. The environmental damage caused by hydroelectric dams are far and away higher than nuclear.
    That is debatable. The lingering radiation could cause cancer rates to increase higher in the long term. Would you eat a fish caught off the coast of Japan? I don't think you would.

    Hydroelectric is renewable. You are undercutting a favorite of the greens. Even leftists largely disagree with you.
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    07 Jan '19 16:52
    @metal-brain said
    That is debatable. The lingering radiation could cause cancer rates to increase higher in the long term. Would you eat a fish caught off the coast of Japan? I don't think you would.

    Hydroelectric is renewable. You are undercutting a favorite of the greens. Even leftists largely disagree with you.
    Again, the relative risk is extremely low. Bananas are more radioactive. Just a few days ago, the most expensive tuna ever sold for $3.1 million and was caught off Japan's coast. People who know are not afraid to eat Pacific fish. Here is an interesting perspective on the topic:
    The Fukushima leaks were miniscule compared to the vast scale of the Pacific... The disaster added just a fraction of a percent to the radiation that’s already in the ocean, 99 percent of which is naturally occurring.... the risks were greatly exaggerated. https://oceana.org/blog/worried-about-fukushima-radiation-seafood-turns-out-bananas-are-more-radioactive-fish

    With regard to hydroelectric, the environmental harm of river damming/flooding/pollution caused by it is not being ignored any more. It's not nearly as sustainable or renewable as public perception might indicate and many states don't even list it as renewable. I don't think it is a favorite, or a good option under any circumstance (compared with other sources), and I don't see the US building any new dams for hydroelectric. (in-stream turbine hydroelectric technology is a far more environmentally-friendly solution https://www.pnas.org/content/115/47/11891).
    Flooding land for a hydroelectric reservoir has an extreme environmental impact: it destroys forest, wildlife habitat, agricultural land, and scenic lands. In many instances, such as the Three Gorges Dam in China, entire communities have also had to be relocated to make way for reservoirs https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-hydroelectric-power.html
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    07 Jan '19 17:52
    @wildgrass said
    Again, the relative risk is extremely low. Bananas are more radioactive. Just a few days ago, the most expensive tuna ever sold for $3.1 million and was caught off Japan's coast. People who know are not afraid to eat Pacific fish. Here is an interesting perspective on the topic:
    The Fukushima leaks were miniscule compared to the vast scale of the Pacific... The disa ...[text shortened]... n_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-hydroelectric-power.html
    Burning fossil fuels is the best option. CO2 is a wonderful addition to our atmosphere. Our world is no longer CO2 starved and more of it will mean faster growth of plant life.

    If you really care about the environment you will bring awareness to the problems listed in the links below. Global warming rhetoric is taking attention away from the real reasons coral reefs are dying.

    https://www.realnatural.org/dying-of-coral-reefs-linked-to-conventional-fertilizers/

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160310-aquarium-saltwater-tropical-fish-cyanide-coral-reefs/
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    07 Jan '19 22:30
    @metal-brain said
    Burning fossil fuels is the best option. CO2 is a wonderful addition to our atmosphere. Our world is no longer CO2 starved and more of it will mean faster growth of plant life.

    If you really care about the environment you will bring awareness to the problems listed in the links below. Global warming rhetoric is taking attention away from the real reasons coral reefs ar ...[text shortened]... s://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160310-aquarium-saltwater-tropical-fish-cyanide-coral-reefs/
    Yes, there are lots of problems. CO2 emissions has pros and cons but of course is not the only pollutant produced by fossil fuel combustion. Why do you think burning fossil fuels is the best option? Please give evidence why fossil fuels are superior to other technologies, rather than just a list of problems and statements without citations.
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    08 Jan '19 10:551 edit
    @wildgrass said
    Yes, there are lots of problems. CO2 emissions has pros and cons but of course is not the only pollutant produced by fossil fuel combustion. Why do you think burning fossil fuels is the best option? Please give evidence why fossil fuels are superior to other technologies, rather than just a list of problems and statements without citations.
    CO2 is not a pollutant. See the name calling part on the science of propaganda thread I created. CO2 is essential to plant life and is no more a pollutant than oxygen.
    I don't need to give evidence of anything. You have no evidence that CO2 is harmful to the climate. It is just a made up BS theory made popular by Al Gore and has since been proven wrong. The ice core samples show that CO2 did not cause temps to rise in the past and there is no evidence CO2 is warming the earth much now.

    You continually ASSUME evidence exists where there is none. It is as if you are in denial that the ice core samples show the reverse cause and effect.

    Why are you in denial? I proved it with a peer reviewed article long ago. Why do you deny science?
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    08 Jan '19 17:46
    @metal-brain said
    CO2 is not a pollutant. See the name calling part on the science of propaganda thread I created. CO2 is essential to plant life and is no more a pollutant than oxygen.
    I don't need to give evidence of anything. You have no evidence that CO2 is harmful to the climate. It is just a made up BS theory made popular by Al Gore and has since been proven wrong. The ice core samp ...[text shortened]...
    Why are you in denial? I proved it with a peer reviewed article long ago. Why do you deny science?
    I'd like a logical cost-benefit analysis that led you to believe that fossil fuel burning is the best source of electricity for humanity. Otherwise I will just have to guess. I never said CO2 was a pollutant, I never brought up Al Gore or ice core samples or global warming. That logic is concerning. You love fossil fuels because Al Gore was wrong? What?

    Anthropogenic climate change is a real thing and you have admitted to that. Fossil fuel burning contributes to anthropogenic climate change. Climate change represents an extremely large potential cost to mankind, and lots and lots of evidence demonstrates that we can mitigate the anthropogenic contribution of climate change forcings by burning less. Of course the precise contribution and the precise effect of mitigation is debatable, but the overall premise is rock solid.

    Fukushima radiation in the Pacific Ocean is evidence that nuclear energy is bad. And yet, the evidence shows that bananas have more radiation than fish caught near the disaster site. The amount of radiation was miniscule compared to what was already there naturally. How can you still claim that as a serious source of concern? Especially in comparison to the lists of costs associated with other energy sources. It seems you're just making stuff up.

    It's not that hard.

    You think fossil fuels are better than nuclear because....
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    08 Jan '19 19:461 edit
    @wildgrass said
    I'd like a logical cost-benefit analysis that led you to believe that fossil fuel burning is the best source of electricity for humanity. Otherwise I will just have to guess. I never said CO2 was a pollutant, I never brought up Al Gore or ice core samples or global warming. That logic is concerning. You love fossil fuels because Al Gore was wrong? What?

    Anthropogenic cli ...[text shortened]... aking stuff up.

    It's not that hard.

    You think fossil fuels are better than nuclear because....
    "I'd like a logical cost-benefit analysis that led you to believe that fossil fuel burning is the best source of electricity for humanity."

    Coal is cheap. There is my logic. Unless you can show it is expensive in another way like pollution, there is no need for additional cost to be considered. Is the pollution costing us much money?

    AGW is negligible. If you want to prove it isn't do it on the sea level rise thread I created. I'm tired of you making claims you cannot prove. You are just repeating gossip.

    "the evidence shows that bananas have more radiation than fish caught near the disaster site"

    What is your source of info?
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    08 Jan '19 20:48
    @metal-brain said
    "I'd like a logical cost-benefit analysis that led you to believe that fossil fuel burning is the best source of electricity for humanity."

    Coal is cheap. There is my logic. Unless you can show it is expensive in another way like pollution, there is no need for additional cost to be considered. Is the pollution costing us much money?

    AGW is negligible. If you want t ...[text shortened]... bananas have more radiation than fish caught near the disaster site"

    What is your source of info?
    If you strip away the massive subsidies, nuclear energy is cheaper. People are irrationally afraid of it, so it doesn't benefit from subsidies like coal does:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/15/the-naked-cost-of-energy-stripping-away-financing-and-subsidies/#331516dc5b88

    From a strictly cost-centric standpoint, fossil fuels are not a logical solution.

    (the "radiation in a banana" study was posted above in reply to your earlier post).
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