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The Nuclear debate rages on...

By Benevolence ·
George Ou recently opened up a particularly large can of worms recently when he wrote an article discussing the myths surrounding Windows XP and power consumption. Much of the debate has turned into a discussion on how to best produce power whilst reducing pollution.

One thing many people seem to agree on is that whether or not humans are contributing to global warming, it is in our best interests to reduce the effect and protect our environment.

Some of us believe we need to move toward nuclear energy production, and some of us believe this is a bad idea.

With so many new developments in energy production, and so many differing arguments, what do you think is the direction we should head in?

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Thanks for you previous repsonse on nuclear waste

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to Don't kid yourself on the ...

It had some very intersting points I had not considered.

But I am not convicend yet. First, you talk about recycling, but the Wired article discusses concerns about doing this, and thusly creating weapons grade material. This seems to suggest that you must choose between more waste, or more weapons grade material (thusly increasing the likelyhood of some going missing).

Secondly -

This guy seems to be taking your side, but the number he gives for waste, which he calls small (84k tons annually to supply 75% of France's power needs) sounds like an awful lot of stuff to have to store safely for 100+ years.

Now if you could demonstrate that converting to nuclear would reduce total hazardous waste (ie, a substantial reduction in chemical hazardous waste could certainly offset the increase in nuclear hazardous waste) , you might convince me.

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Look at the waste from Coal

by georgeou In reply to Thanks for you previous r ...

When we talk about coal, we're talking magnitudes of order more Uranium and Thorium produced AND released in to the atmosphere than Nuclear. There is not even any pretense of keeping the thousands of tons of Uranium and Thorium sealed, it's just dumped in to the air by Coal fire power plants. Furthermore, those who scream about CO2 emissions miss the fact that Europe produces less CO2 per capita because they rely MOSTLY on nuclear energy while the USA relies mostly on coal.

People like Tony in this thread admit Nuclear power is the least bad but tell us that we don't need it. They tell us we shouldn't need all this energy and that we are bad people for wanting energy. Then they do anything in their power to shout down, protest, sue and lock up Nuclear power by making it impossible to safely transport, recycle, and store Nuclear waste so that we can't have Nuclear power.

Pragmatists like Patrick Moore (founder of Greenpeace) and James Lovelock (author of the Gaia theory) who are two of the most vocal environmentalists realize that there are 6 billion people on the planet that need to be fed, need jobs, and need energy. They realize that the only clean form of energy that doesn't emit any CO2 or nuclear waste in to the atmosphere is nuclear power which has proven save time and time again. They're begging their environmentalist colleagues to wake up and rethink nuclear power to stop forcing us to use coal to supply our energy needs. They're begging their colleagues to realize that people won't stop using energy and that we must use the least polluting form of energy.

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Regardless of source, we will need lots more energy

by DelbertPGH In reply to Look at the waste from Co ...

The U.S. and Western Europe use a lot of power today, and produce byproducts like exhaust gasses and nuclear waste, because we live well. Maybe with substantial waste, but we live well. And that's not enough; we want to live richer. The consumption of energy (barring conservation breakthroughs) is proportionate to the standard of living, so I guess you could say I want to burn more calories before I die.

Who wants to live poor? I sure don't. The rest of the world doesn't, either. The 90% of the world that isn't North America and Western Europe is sooner or later going to learn how to get over its problems, and get rich, and consume lots of energy. So, we'll be using ten or twenty times as much in the future as now.

We've got to get cleaner and smarter about how we produce and consume, or we'll all choke on fumes while drowning in rising seas. That, unfortunately from a project management view, means raising consumption drastically and cutting pollution drastically, at the same time.

Not many answers at hand, except to go nuclear. However, it's got to be done well, and solutions that are comprehensive across the whole energy economy, or we shaft ourselves.

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Living rich...

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Regardless of source, we ...

Fun example chipboard.

Originally invented to make use of the waste from making things out of solid wood. The latter a time consuming and skilled process not amenable to mass production.

So now waste is redefined as the wood left over after the rich people who can afford solid wood have got theirs.

Raising consumption and reducing pollution is not viable. Even water is a green house gas.

We've got to redirect our consumption into longer lasting results.
It's making stuff designed to last short periods so we can make a buck out of the next sale that is really killing us.

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Fun with chipboard

by DelbertPGH In reply to Living rich...

Chipboard (particle board in the U.S.) is not such a hallmark of cheapened-down construction as you might think.

Solid wood usually wasn't satisfactory for finish quality, so they would glue veneer to it. So the "solid" part is just a substrate. Particle board, made of wood chips in multiple orientations in an epoxy matrix, is harder, denser, more homogeneous, and more stable. It is less prone to warp, and more suitable than real wood for automated handling and shaping. The best manufacturers use it, too.

Ah, this modern life. Sentimentalism is the first thing to go, unless there's money to be made in marketing it. But your cabinet is stronger... so long as you didn't settle for the cheaper price point, which is made possible by slapdash assembly, facilitated by the automated production.

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Not sure I followed you example...

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to Living rich...

But I think you last paragraph is spot on. The biggest problem is short-term (and selfish) thinking.

The 'everything disposable' and 'instant gratification' mindset needs to be changed.

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No. The quicker the gratification, the better.

by DelbertPGH In reply to Not sure I followed you e ...

Deferred gratification plus compound interest gets you rich after a couple of arid decades. However, if gratification is endlessly deferred, because it's better for the earth and for my soul if I do without, then I live poor forever and all that is satisfied is the nagging, controlling Puritan side of me. Which I got rid of a long time ago.

If I'm the only guy in the world picking more expensive solutions to the problems of daily life, then other guys are just going to gobble up the cheap opportunities I passed up. In terms of doing without carbon fuels, it means that me investing in (for example) a wind-powered economy before it becomes competitive will only take price pressure off of carbon. Others will use what I don't, because I've freed up more supply, and will pollute the air just as if I had done it myself. This is basic economics.

We'll succeed with non-carbon energy sources when we make them cheaper than carbon, or when the price of carbon just gets too high. I believe we need to get away from a carbon economy, but it just isn't going to do us any good to approach it from a do-without mentality. The virtuous choice has also got to be a rational economic choice (or be enforced at gunpoint); otherwise, it'll do us no good and the world no good.

Water doesn't roll uphill, and dollars don't run away from the cheaper alternatives.

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I think

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to Not sure I followed you e ...

We are mostly on the same page. When I refer to instant gratification, I am am not including deferred gratification as you call it. (nicely put BTW)

I define sacrifice as giving up something good for something better.

So are you suggesting we wait until Carbon Fuel becomes cost prohibitive? Or do you think there are things we can do now, to accelerate the adoption of 'friendlier energy sources'?

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If you want instant gratification there's little I can say

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Not sure I followed you e ...

Your grand children are going to punch you in the face, if you used the world up though by the time they could have had some pleasure.

You illustrate the entire problem with
"It has to be economically feasible.

Only if you want to keep the economy we have.

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Swimming against economic tides is more example than solution

by DelbertPGH In reply to Not sure I followed you e ...

If I clean up my CO2 act, at great expense, but the other countries who breathe the same atmosphere we share on this planet do not clean up, what have I accomplished?

Unless we can give developing nations like India, China, or Nigeria a cleaner energy alternative that is also superior for economic or other social reasons, then they won't have any reason to take it. Accepting a lower rate of development would be their reward for expensive conservation measures.

We need the whole human race to pull together on this, because if only 10% or 50% are doing something useful, it's the same as doing nothing. Doing real virtue in this world is not a simple task.

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