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Gore the visionary


john5746
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Gore called on Americans to completely abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within 10 years, and replace them with carbon-free renewables like solar, wind and geothermal.

 

There's this carbon-free approach to electricity generation called nuclear fission that seems to work incredibly well. Gore says he wants to "keep... nuclear in the mix" but why isn't that the first and foremost item on his agenda?

 

Also, why not build more coal plants based on processes which emit relatively little carbon like Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle?

 

I'm entirely for more solar / wind / geothermal power generation, but we need to leverage every technology available in order to do it.

 

Nearly 80% of France's electrical power comes from carbon-free nuclear fission. Imagine if America could claim the same thing, at least that 80% of our power production produces no GHG emissions whatsoever.

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I hope we finally start moving in this direction, but is this a realistic goal?
Like bascule, I wish at least one of these politicians would take it on himself to reconstruct the public's knowledge of nuclear power. No one is willing to risk being the guy in favor of radiation.

 

Unfortunately, how realistic Gore's goal is is in direct proportion to how quickly and how bad it gets. What the public wants is a bandaid that would keep us slaves to oil for the next decade. What we need is for things to get so bad so quickly that we have no choice but to focus on the problem worldwide. If things were desperate enough, we could bring *so much* global effort to bear that 10 years would be plenty of time to restructure, imo.

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Like bascule, I wish at least one of these politicians would take it on himself to reconstruct the public's knowledge of nuclear power. No one is willing to risk being the guy in favor of radiation.

 

To be fair, McCain is pushing nuclear power. I sort of get the impression he's just pushing that because Obama isn't (he's been pretty hostile to nuclear for most of his political career), but I guess it's better than nothing.

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To be fair, McCain is pushing nuclear power. I sort of get the impression he's just pushing that because Obama isn't (he's been pretty hostile to nuclear for most of his political career), but I guess it's better than nothing.

 

I've got to say, I'm really disappointed with Obama's position on nuclear power, and I don't think it's a terribly informed one. Obama has cited, among other things, concern over the transportation of nuclear waste as one of his primary reasons for opposing nuclear power.

 

I hope I'm not overly influenced by Penn & Teller's BULLS@!T here, but they have video footage of a DOE test where they crashed a ROCKET PROPELLED LOCOMOTIVE into one of the containers they use for the transportation of nuclear waste, then let it burn for a few hours in a fire. This was supposed to represent the sort of catastrophic accident where we'd expect nuclear waste to be spilled.

 

The container's integrity was uncompromised. Engineering actually works. I would have no qualms with big trucks full of nuclear waste driving by my house on a daily basis.

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I hope we finally start moving in this direction, but is this a realistic goal?

Absolutely it's realistic. It might be hard, but realistic? Yes, very much so. Defeatist attitudes are self-fulfilling. Profound statements and bold goals are sometimes very motivating to great numbers of people, and people in large groups can effect large changes.

 

Gore raised some very good points recently, and did so with a tone of raising people up together. Here's a clip of highlights:

 

 

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I hope we finally start moving in this direction, but is this a realistic goal?

 

I'm not sure I really care anymore. We're so negative and defeatist on everything now as it is, I'm ready for some big doses of inspiration and motivation. I don't really care if it doesn't really get done in 10 years, let's just go for it and get out of this negative funk we're in.

 

There's this carbon-free approach to electricity generation called nuclear fission that seems to work incredibly well. Gore says he wants to "keep... nuclear in the mix" but why isn't that the first and foremost item on his agenda?

 

Also' date=' why not build more coal plants based on processes which emit relatively little carbon like Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle?

 

I'm entirely for more solar / wind / geothermal power generation, but we need to leverage every technology available in order to do it.

 

Nearly 80% of France's electrical power comes from carbon-free nuclear fission. Imagine if America could claim the same thing, at least that 80% of our power production produces no GHG emissions whatsoever.[/quote']

 

All of that sounds so reasonable and rational.

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Nearly 80% of France's electrical power comes from carbon-free nuclear fission. Imagine if America could claim the same thing, at least that 80% of our power production produces no GHG emissions whatsoever.

 

True, but the 1st law of sociodynamics says; if the number of people killed by 'X' << number of people killed by 'Y', but 'X' involves big explosions; it will be considered by a majority to be significantly more dangerous.

 

Let's face it, cancer has caused much more harm than terrorism (but to be fair, pretty much anything has been more dangerous than terrorism), and air pollution is certainly more dangerous than nuclear plants.

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How many people have been killed in "big explosions" by French nuclear power? All we really have to do is promote the fact that Chernobyl was a flawed design, which I think most people already know anyway. Or perhaps more importantly, the media knows it.

 

All we REALLY have to do is get the whackier environmentalists (like Gore) to leave nuclear power alone.

Edited by Pangloss
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I think the bigger concern of opponents to nuclear is that we are making these energy use changes in an attempt to be cleaner and stop leaving such pollution behind us. Although the fears from events like Chernobyl are likely a factor in the opposition, I think the greater effect comes from peoples desire not to have to find a way to deal with radioactive waste.

 

When you remember the context of the alternative energy movement, you will see that it's primary motivator is to have little to no negative impact either now or later on the planet and ourselves. This seems to me to be a bigger reason for opposition to nuclear than fear of a meltdown, as IMO we still don't have very good waste disposal mechanisms for the byproducts of nuclear power generation.

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Well I don't really understand this stuff, but France, Britain, Japan and 60 Minutes seem to think that reprocessing is a form of recycling that eliminates spent nuclear fuel storage. I don't understand why that doesn't come into play into political nuclear energy discussions here at SFN. Are they just so wrong that it shouldn't even be considered, or is it just more expedient to pretend they haven't solved that problem?

 

This Wikipedia article quote seems to suggest that the costs of recycling are higher and that storage isn't as bad as it sounds (how come I've never heard from the news that 99.9% of the radiation is gone after only 40 years, not thousands of years? grrr).

 

The relative economics of reprocessing-waste disposal and interim storage-direct disposal has been the focus of much debate over the past ten years. Studies have modelled the total fuel cycle costs of a reprocessing-recycling system based on one-time recycling of plutonium in existing thermal reactors (as opposed to the proposed fast breeder reactor cycle) and compare this to the total costs of an open fuel cycle with direct disposal. The range of results produced by these studies is very wide, but all are agreed that under current (2005) economic conditions the reprocessing-recycle option is the more costly.

 

If reprocessing is undertaken only to reduce the radioactivity level of spent fuel it should be taken into account that spent nuclear fuel becomes less radioactive over time. After 40 years its radioactivity drops by 99.9%,[21] though it still takes over a thousand years for the level of radioactivity to approach that of natural uranium.[22] However the level of transuranic elements, including plutonium-239, remains high for over 100,000 years, so if not reused as nuclear fuel, then those elements need secure disposal because of nuclear proliferation reasons as well as radiation hazard.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing

 

I tell you what, less spin and more clarity is needed if we're going to move ahead on nuclear. More so than other energy types. Or so it seems to me.

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Well I don't really understand this stuff, but France, Britain, Japan and 60 Minutes seem to think that reprocessing is a form of recycling that eliminates spent nuclear fuel storage. I don't understand why that doesn't come into play into political nuclear energy discussions here at SFN. Are they just so wrong that it shouldn't even be considered, or is it just more expedient to pretend they haven't solved that problem?

 

Nuclear reprocessing results in the discharge of certain radioactive isotopes into the environment (in water), namely Technetium-99 and Krypton-85.

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How do France, Britain and Japan deal with that issue?

 

Britain's the main one I can speak of... under intense pressure from hippies like Kraftwerk and U2, they're closing their Sellafield II reprocessing facility.

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So Britain, France and Japan are unable to recycle nuclear waste? Is that the IPCC-like, debate-is-over concensus?

 

I believe Britain will soon be unable to reprocess nuclear waste, as they're shutting down the only reprocessing facility in the country.

 

I also believe France and Japan have much higher environmental standards as far as discharging nuclear isotopes into waste water from their reprocessing plants, and in that regard aren't criticized as much.

 

All that said, Japan particularly is producing large amounts of plutonium, and there's not much that can be done with plutonium short of using it to make bombs.

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Wups, I misread them, let me edit:

 

So Britain, France and Japan are unable to recycle nuclear waste? Is that the IPCC-like, debate-is-over concensus?

 

Actually, the Sellafield fuel reprocessing plant is not closing. Recycling nuclear waste is a major priority for both BNFL and the British government.

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Well, isn't that an interesting example of spin-doctoring the news. I don't know which of you to believe, and both could be technically correct thanks to careful phrasing and avoidanace of issues.

 

How utterly useless and uninformative.

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Well, isn't that an interesting example of spin-doctoring the news. I don't know which of you to believe, and both could be technically correct thanks to careful phrasing and avoidanace of issues.

 

How utterly useless and uninformative.

 

Just do a Google search for 'Thorp Sellafield'.

 

It's a major investment with orders already signed years in advance for waste reprocessing. It has had to temporarily close more than once, but it is not planned for permanent closure, it is a major part of BNFLs business plan and supported as such by the British government.

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