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Former Anti-Nuclear Activist Does A 180

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the need-just-a-bit-of-radiation dept.

Hardware Hacking 912

palegray.net writes "Wired is running a story on how Gwyneth Cravens, a former nuclear power protester has changed her views on nuclear power as a viable solution to the world's energy needs. Said Cravens: 'I used to think we surely could do better. We could have more wind farms and solar. But I then learned about base-load energy, and that there are three forms of it: fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear. In the United States, we're maxed out on hydro. That leaves fossil fuels and nuclear power, and most of the fossil fuel burned is coal.'"

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Unfortunately... (-1, Troll)

Hangly Man (994587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637191)

World supply of Uranium 235 has about peaked as well. It's not exactly a long-term solution.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637201)

Who told you that?

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637203)

Can you point towards a reputable source? I have never heard about this and want to learn more.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637263)

Can you point towards a reputable source? I have never heard about this and want to learn more.
Trying to find some stuff online turned up nothing but I did find this article interesting about the topic...
PDF WARNING! [geologinenseura.fi]
Conversion to html from google [64.233.167.104]

Re:Unfortunately... (5, Informative)

Synonymous Bosch (957964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637503)

The CSIRO (google them) will be able to tell you that Australia has the bulk of the worlds known Uranium deposits, however Canada is the worlds largest producer.

This is because the vast majority of Australia's Uranium is, as yet, untapped. This limit is not due to technology or environmental concerns preventing the rights holders from extracting the material from the ground. It's because they are waiting on the market prices to rise.

There is no shortage of Uranium, it's just that the raw materials are, mostly, in the hands of a very small number of companies who are colluding to exploit high demand while controlling supply.

You know, just like the Oil companies have done for decades, with great success.

At this point in time, Uranium demand hasn't even BEGUN to peak. Once everyone starts rushing towards nuclear power and away from fossil fuels, expect to see production ramp up.

Re:Unfortunately... (4, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637215)

1. World production at current prices has peaked I'm assuming you meant to say, there is plenty of it around but just not at current costs of extraction. The cost of the uranium is a small part of the total cost of nuclear power plants so even a substantial raise in the costs of extraction can be dealt with.
2. Uranium 235 is not the only fuel that can be used in nuclear power plants.

Re:Unfortunately... (5, Informative)

kelv (305876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637247)

Try looking up the Olympic Dam mine in Australia owned by BHP Billiton. Every few years they send the geologists out a few more hundred meters and add another 50 years to the life of the mine when they need to boost reserve numbers for financial reasons. No one knowns how big the deposit is but it is HUGE - I've heard figures sugesting it might supply 30% of world uranium demand for the next century or more.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637607)

And Olympic Dam is officially a copper mine, or is it nickel. It just happens to have a bit of Uranium mixed in.

Re:Unfortunately... (3, Informative)

Cygfrydd (957180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637253)

It's not nearly as dire as that, unless we keep using light-water reactors... take a look at a brief summary [stanford.edu] of the situation that jibes with what I've heard from various sources. Can't seem to find anything peer-reviewed at the moment, but I'm sure it's out there.

Cyg

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637267)

I was gonna say that! oh well lol. But also don't forget how much energy it takes to find, ship, and refine uranium. I think Hydrogen (tritium) is way easier to get and there's way more of it. Too bad we're apparently not so good at fusion. All I can say though is I hope we can easily convert fission nuke plants to fusion when we perfect it cuz fission isn't going to last much longer.

Um, that's a bit off. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637275)

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf75.html [world-nuclear.org]

"From time to time concerns are raised that the known resources might be insufficient when judged as a multiple of present rate of use. But this is the Limits to Growth fallacy, a major intellectual blunder recycled from the 1970s, which takes no account of the very limited nature of the knowledge we have at any time of what is actually in the Earth's crust. Our knowledge of geology is such that we can be confident that identified resources of metal minerals are a small fraction of what is there. Factors affecting the supply of resources are discussed further and illustrated in the Appendix."

good reading for anyone interested. Of course, verify the info for yourself, no one source should be trusted stand alone.

Re:Um, that's a bit off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637365)

good reading for anyone interested. Of course, verify the info for yourself, no one source should be trusted stand alone.

From that quote alone it looks like it is a rhetorical (as opposed to a scientific) analysis (ie. "the Limits to Growth fallacy", recycled intellectual blunders and all). Smells too much like spin, I wouldn't bother reading it at all. I found the analysis of Cohen, linked to above [slashdot.org] , which gives some real figures and math, far more pursasive.

Re:Unfortunately... (5, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637305)

World supply of Uranium 235 has about peaked as well. It's not exactly a long-term solution.
1: Doesn't matter. U-235 can be found on other planets

2: No, it hasn't.

3: Doesn't matter. There are other radioactive materials that can be used for fission.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

ArwynH (883499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637317)

Oh good! An excuse to get NASA to send a mining expedition to the asteroid belt. Bound to be plenty out there.

fortunetely millenia of nuclear fuel (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637343)

U-235 can be created, even from just natural uranium in a heavy water reactor. And thorium can be bred into U-233, and the planet has thorium for thousands of years even at present growth rates.

doh! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637375)

oops, meant Pu-239 created from U-238 in heavy water reactor, neutrons from small amount of U-235 in natural or even depleted uranium can then do their thing!

Re:fortunetely millenia of nuclear fuel (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637611)

Uhm, IIRC, you can not easily produce U235. From U238, you can produce Pu239 and Pu240. I briefly saw somewhere that Pu240 might also eventually decay to U235 (starting with emitting an alpha particle?), but I'm not sure about it now, and it probably would not be economically viable anyway. You might be better off with fissioning it in a fast reactor directly, as far as I remember, this should work. Hmm, the last time I checked on this was really a long time ago... Correct me somebody if I am wrong. :-)

Re:Unfortunately... (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637347)

Well, there is always Uranium 238 that you can convert to fissible fuel...unless you have a crazy society where you have to fear about the possible abuse of Plutonium to threaten your neigbours. And there is Thorium, that you can convert to Uranium 233 that is also fissible. Anyway, I doubt that it will run out as soon as the fossil fuel, and it is also quite hard to create plastic from sunlight and uranium, so we shouldn't burn organic fuel anyway. ;-) Oh, and don't forget CO2, even if we stopped producing it right now, the nature won't recover anytime soon. Stop burning fossile fuel right now and build those damned reactors, I'd say...

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637501)

I just want to know how she stopped being a nuclear power protien.

Now we a pack of homer simpsons to work at the pla (-1, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637211)

Now we a pack of homer simpsons to work at the plants.

Re:Now we a pack of homer simpsons to work at the (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637299)

If something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can't speak English.

Re:Now we a pack of homer simpsons to work at the (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637481)

But Grimey speaks English fine.

Re:Now we a pack of homer simpsons to work at the (2, Insightful)

loconet (415875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637453)

Joking aside, I recently learned in a history class the clever theme that is Homer working there. It makes fun of and illustrates one of the main things that went wrong with the nuclear program - The technology was developed by geniuses but run by idiots. It was rushed out of labs after WWII by governments and industries who promised the public endless energy.

And there is still the unsolved issue of... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637223)

...who is going to pay to take care of the waste for the next 100,000 years? No human institution has ever lasted that long and yet we build reactors that can only work for 40 years or so but have this waste that is hot and nasty for at least 100,000.

Insanity.

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637325)

...who is going to pay to take care of the waste for the next 100,000 years? No human institution has ever lasted that long and yet we build reactors that can only work for 40 years or so but have this waste that is hot and nasty for at least 100,000.

Insanity.
Who cares? It's very likely that humans won't exist 100 years from now, hell, I'd say we'd be lucky if humans make it another 20.

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637333)

The stuff is safe, as long as its contained there's no reason why anybody needs to gain access to it. There's only one reason to guard the waste, and that's to ensure that it doesn't end up in the hands of terrorists.

From the point of view of disposal, the main thing is keeping it out of the water supply and away from people. Not really that hard, until you start getting alarmists crying about the problems. The reality is that the harm done by fossil fuels on a daily basis to people and wildlife is far greater than what nuclear is going to do.

Even in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, probably the worst esposures ever to radioactive waste, the number of radiation related deaths was only a small fraction of the number that were killed as a direct result of the blasts.

The main issue I have with the way its handled here, is that we in WA get all of the waste from, I think, 11 states, and we have the feds refusing to give us any assistance to clean up the mess we have. That being said the treat is more of a long term thyroid cancer risk than anything else, and potassium iodide does a pretty good job of keeping that at manageable levels.

In the US, any reactor that loses power to the control rods will also cut power to the fuel rods, resulting in the control rods falling into the core, and the fuel rods falling out of the core into a huge slab, stopping the reaction. I wish TFA had properly indicated that as the reason why we won't ever have a chernobyl, along with our compliance with basic safety regulations.

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637423)

You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe current policy is to store waste on-site in temporary containers until Yucca gets sorted out. If so, I'm not following the reason to send waste to WA. Is there some sort of processing facility there?

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (-1, Flamebait)

ddoctor (977173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637509)

Spell it with me people: S-O-L-A-R It comes down to this: - a roof has a large surface area - sun ain't going to burn out any time soon - solar panels can't be made into bombs I don't understand why we are still arguing about this. Fuck nuclear. Oh, yeah, great "all we have to worry about is this extremely toxic waste... but that's not a problem because all we have to do is store it safely! it'll never get into the water supply! we'll always have room to store it! people will never make bombs out of it. there'll never be another hiroshima/nagasaki/chernobyl" Seriously, has the world gone stupid or something? Ok, MORE stupid. How on earth can you people convince yourself that nuclear waste is acceptable? What is wrong with you? Waste arguments aside... why the hell are we, as a civilization, pursuing nuclear technology, given nuclear annihilation is probably the #1 most likely reason we will become extinct?

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637583)

Solar...very inefficient. Not base load (read: on 100%).

If you want solar power at night, you'll need batteries, which are pretty much at peak efficiency. THEN you have to worry about acid leaks and corrosion.

Solar is a fine suppliment, but it isn't anywhere near a primary source yet.

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637601)

Before you speak of benefits of solar answer one question: how big panel would you need to power one PC?

Let me give you a hint: it is not small

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637577)

In the US, any reactor that loses power to the control rods will also cut power to the fuel rods, resulting in the control rods falling into the core, and the fuel rods falling out of the core into a huge slab, stopping the reaction. I wish TFA had properly indicated that as the reason why we won't ever have a chernobyl, along with our compliance with basic safety regulations.

Pick up a copy of "The Design of Everyday Things" - written by someone who reviewed the causes of the Three Mile Island accident. Accidents can happen. I'm definitely pro-nuclear-power at the moment, but we still need to take the safety extremely seriously. Keep the pressure on that industry; we can't afford any accidents.

Re:And there is still the unsolved issue of... (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637361)

If/when civilization collapses, tribes would quickly learn that certain grounds are sacred to the gods and should never be visited.

Dutch boy? (2, Interesting)

Jonesy69 (904924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637237)

Fingers? Dikes?

Eh, its not all bad. I guess after a few hundred (thousand?) years of an irradiated water supply perhaps he *could* plug all those holes!

Go nuc-u-lar!

Renewable (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637243)

Either way, we're screwed as long as we depend on something that will eventually run out. Switching energy sources only postpones the inevitable.

Re:Renewable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637303)

Ah, so what should we pick that lasts forever? Wind, hydro, geothermal, and of course solar are all powered by the sun, which will burn out of fuel one day. Entropy says that one day *all* energy sources will run out. And so we just have to pick a lifespan. Uranium fusion doesn't have a terribly long lifespan, but it's better then oil. Solar, wind, and hydro don't have enough density to meet all our demands. Fusion power isn't ready yet, though it eliminates the short-term fuel issues, pollution issues, radioactive waste issues, and power density issues if we can get it to work and start mining He-3.

So what do we do in the mean time? Nuclear fusion. It's the only choice.

Re:Renewable (4, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637309)

Oh, for fuck's sake. Everything will eventually run out. At some point, the sun will go dark, and even your "renewable" sources like wind and solar will be useless. Hell, hydroelectric power isn't renewable either - it's slowly sapping energy from the moon.

Nuclear fusion, which we will figure out sometime in the next few decades, will provide enough energy for millenia. That's fine for me.

Re:Renewable (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637467)

Which is why I'm investing in Proton Decay Reactors right now, at the ground floor. I mean, protons practically grow on trees!

Re:Renewable (4, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637553)

Oh, for fuck's sake. Everything will eventually run out. At some point, the sun will go dark, and even your "renewable" sources like wind and solar will be useless. Hell, hydroelectric power isn't renewable either - it's slowly sapping energy from the moon.
Hydroelectric is essentially concentrated solar power already converted to physical energy for us.

  1. Sun heats ocean
  2. Water evaporates
  3. Water condenses forming clouds
  4. Rain falls producing rivers
  5. Dam stops river
  6. Water is forced through turbines
  7. Turbines power generators which produce electricity

The moon has nothing to do with hydroelectric, maybe you meant tidal energy? :P

There is no such thing as renewable energy. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637341)

Either way, we're screwed as long as we depend on something that will eventually run out. Switching energy sources only postpones the inevitable.

There's no such thing as renewable energy. All conceivable forms of energy will eventually run out. Even if we could turn our sun into the earth's generator, it too, will eventually run out. At the end of the line, for humanity, is a lonely death, frozen to death in a cold universe. Just imagine, a few billion years from now, we won't even be able to see very many stars.

SO, there's no planet to save, no universe to save... its all going to end. Whether we like it or not, humanity is ultimately doomed. Of course, all that work you do protecting all of the species on earth will be thrown away when the sun expands to the size of mar's orbit, and incinerates the earth in the process. And that assumes that nothing happens with the sun, like a minor nova or something. Or, there's no local gamma ray burst, or no local supernovae, or even something terrestrially unpreventable like a yellow stone eruption or a re-emergence of the siberian traps, or, a comet smacking into the earth.

Re:There is no such thing as renewable energy. (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637435)

Of course, that's assuming that our view of physics, which has changed drastically over the last century, remains constant for the next several billion years.

"Activitist?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637259)

Seriously.

"Activitist?"

Can we replace "editors" with "those guys who post shit?"

It's just embarrassing.

How many pro-nukes have 180'd? (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637261)

People change their minds. So what?

I used to be pro-nuke, worked for a nuclear company etc, but am no longer so. For me, the biggest issues with nuke are handling long-term bulk waste and the costs: nuke is far more expensive than anything else even though the promises of the 50s and 60s were energy that would be so cheap that it was not worth metering.

I respect that you changed your mind, one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637359)

"nuke is far more expensive than anything else even though the promises of the 50s and 60s were energy that would be so cheap that it was not worth metering."

So the long term operating costs of those reactors built back then have been higher than comparable non-nuclear power plants? I'm asking because I've been looking for this info and have not been able to find anything definitive regarding it. Would you be able to refer me somewhere?

Re:How many pro-nukes have 180'd? (2, Informative)

Brietech (668850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637389)

I would wager not that many. It's more expensive than coal and gas, certainly, but the reason for using nuclear now would be so that we DON'T have to use coal and gas. Nuclear power is certainly cheaper (and more reliable!) than wind and solar, both of which are not suitable for providing base-load power either (as the summary mentions). That, and genuine high-level radioactive waste output is only 12,000 tons/year for the entire planet right now. THE ENTIRE PLANET. If we realistically just picked a geologically-stable area, away from most ground-water sources, and built a huge hole, it would likely take care of storage problems in the US for the forseeable future. The way I see it, people like you that say "nah, engineering problems with nuclear power are a hassle," are really just saying "I would prefer everyone live in caves, but instead I'm going to do nothing and we're going to keep using coal for power." Few people have realistic ideas of the scale of power generation methods, nor how demand in the US typically works. Without some deus-ex-machina type power storage/generation, coal and gas are the only realistic alternatives to nuclear.

Re:How many pro-nukes have 180'd? (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637581)

Nuclear power is certainly cheaper (and more reliable!) than wind and solar, both of which are not suitable for providing base-load power either (as the summary mentions).

I noticed this concept of "base-load power" was thrown out rather briefly in the article, without really explaining what's special about it and why solar and wind can't provide it. Can you give more details or offer some other sources that explain why solar and wind are specifically unsuitable for "base-load power"?

Re:How many pro-nukes have 180'd? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637523)

The only reasons nukes turned out to be so expensive is that the enviro-wackos sued them every time a worker took a piss.

Lawyers and enviro-wackos, a sure recipe for stagnation and lack of progress.

Re:How many pro-nukes have 180'd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637571)

I've always wondered, why don't we just pack the waste on a rocket and send it to the Sun?

Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (-1, Troll)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637289)

She realized there are problems with the other options, great!

...but...

There are a lot of problems with nuclear power as well - mainly radiation.

So to reiterate, our choices are:
1. Crazy Deformed Retarded Babies (with a small dollop of cancer)
2. Malnutrition-Deformed Retarded Babies (but, without the cancer)

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (3, Interesting)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637311)

how many ppm U235 is most coal burned in the united states again?

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

mandos (8379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637541)

About 8. Thorium is about 24. Non-radioactive badness in coal includes mercury and other heavy metals.

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

Brietech (668850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637547)

Concentration of uranium and thorium in coal in the USA is about 1-4 ppm. How much coal do we use?

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637613)

we use about a billion tons.

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637357)

Nuclear power has always been safe, and the technological developments of the past twenty years have made it even safer still.

The worst nuclear accident in the Western world harmed no one. The Chernobyl accident happened because the Soviet engineers who designed and ran the plant were idiots.

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637545)

What makes you so sure American plants are designed any better, or will be designed better in the future?

Just because we have safety regulations doesn't mean that safety regulations are followed.

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637579)

Or lets take a look at what happend this year in one swedish reactor(Forsmark), both primary and secondary security system malfunctioned on a test and when they did a surprise alcohol-check they found like 20 persons was intoxicated.

and remember this things are run by companies with the only goal of max profit for shareholders

they also did find a small leak, because they had not replaced a part when it was supposed to be replaced

Re:Best of the Best, of the Best of the Worst? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637433)

you realize their is more danger from exposure to radiation from coal than their is nuclear, and humans have been burning it for hundreds of years constantly.

Good to see. (5, Interesting)

Vorghagen (1154761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637293)

I'm always pleased to hear about an activist (doesn't matter what kind) publicly admit they were wrong after learning more about the subject. Firstly because they took the initiative to actually research something instead of taking as gospel anything those around them say. Secondly because they're big enough to admit they were wrong. I just wish more activists would do the same.

Agreed. Civil rights amendment was a failure. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637405)

I wish people who wanted the civil right amendment passed in 1964 would admit they were wrong as well, its obviously been a failure.

Vanadium Redox (1, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637295)

You don't need nuclear. You just need solar and wind power coupled with vanadium redox batteries. Vanadium is VERY common - almost as common as carbon. You set up huge warehouse sized batteries and charge 'em up. At night or when the wind is low or both, you let the batteries run.

That'll work for a good long while. But in Total Reality we are simply going to have to make OTHER PLANS. We live in a high energy society thanks to fossil fuels. This level of energy consumption is not sustainable, and I would argue, not desirable. We need to adjust our direction of civilisation away from more toys and gadgets to higher quality human interactions and more meaningful labour.

Sorry all you PR saps and admin assistants at hedge funds and nail salon operators. I would recommend you learn something useful, like FARMING. Or dismantling Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Until we slide down that far, though, I would recommend Vanadium redox/solar/wind combo. And DO IT NOW. WHILE WE HAVE THE ENERGY TO SPARE.

RS

Re:Vanadium Redox (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637457)

"That'll work for a good long while. But in Total Reality we are simply going to have to make OTHER PLANS. We live in a high energy society thanks to fossil fuels. This level of energy consumption is not sustainable, and I would argue, not desirable. We need to adjust our direction of civilisation away from more toys and gadgets to higher quality human interactions and more meaningful labour."

It is perfectly sustainable. Nuclear power, first through fusion and then through fission, is perfectly capable of sustaining our energy consumption for millenia, if we can just get over our stupid, misinformed objections to it.

Whether the society that results from this energy consumption is desirable is another question. Personally, I'm quite enjoying it, but you are certainly free to go live on a farm in Botswana without electricity, medicine, or machinery, and enjoy your higher-quality human interaction. Or was that not what you meant?

Re:Vanadium Redox (2, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637465)

Look: giving up our way of life is not an option. And I don't care about your agrarian fantasies, and neither does anyone else. All these people crying "conserve, conserve, conserve!" are wasting their breath.

If you truly care more about the environment than dismantling modern civilization because you just don't like it, then advocate solutions that the average person can live with. Like renewables, and yes, Virginia, like nuclear power.

Re:Vanadium Redox (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637549)

Oh, and by the way - solar power gets energy from the sun. And you know what the sun runs on? Nuclear fusion! Why not skip the inefficient solar panels and just go right to the source?

Mutant Powah! (4, Funny)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637301)

Hands up all those who read the headline as 'Former Anti-Nuclear Activist Dies at 180'..

if protesting against nuclear power will give me a lifespan like that, i'll look for a placard right now ;)

Re:Mutant Powah! (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637395)

*Hand raised*

In other words... (1)

quibbler (175041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637313)

Interview goes like this: Hi, I'm a StupidPerson(tm). I protested something I didn't understand to puke FUD to the masses. Now I learned a couple facts (wow! facts are cool!) and now I'm going to make money and sell a book about me not being (as) stupid anymore. Buy lots of copies guys!

(and re: nuclear waste, they're called breeder reactors guys learn some before thinking about being anti-nuke)

Re:In other words... (1)

viscus (1178513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637391)

You still end up with radioactive waste even with the breeder reactors.

Re:In other words... (0, Flamebait)

theglassishalf (216497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637421)

Freakin' ridiculous. She claims that about 60 people died from Chernobyl. She does not mention the dead city, and the thousands of people who died from cancers in surrounding areas. She has exactly zero credibility.
She also doesn't mention the huge cost per MWh of nuke, and ignores methods (that do really exist!) for "green" replacement of baseload.
You're right though, she is a StupidPerson. "Stupid person changes sides, now ignorantly advocates for something she does not understand" would be a better headline.

-Daniel

Form Letter (0)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637335)

Your solution advocates a (*) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante approach to solving a looming energy problem. Your idea will not work as the current situation stands. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state or country to country before a bad federal or international law was passed.) ( ) It will be fought by entrenched fishing interests (*) It will be fought by entrenched energy corporations (*) It will succumb to NIMBY Syndrome ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once ( ) Technology doesn't work that way (*) NIMBY Syndrome will prevent mass deployment Specifically, your plan fails to account for: (*) Extreme misunderstanding of the technology by the public (*) A sensationalist press won't let mistakes die ( ) Idiots with boats ( ) International reluctance to engage in sweeping change (*) Technically illiterate politicians (*) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who vote ( ) A lack of support from famous Musicians and Actors (*) Conflicting environmental interests and the following philosophical objections may also apply: (*) Meltdowns Suck! (*) People have been trying for years to implement your solution and haven't succeeded ( ) The money could be better spent curing cancer ( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem (*) Your solution is expensive (*) Your solution may be politically infeasible ( ) The money could be better spent implementing [other] solution ( ) It makes life harder, not easier Furthermore, this is what I think about you: (*) We're really close, but still no cigar. I agree with you're idea in general, so maybe one day in the distant future... ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work. ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it. ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

My First Time So Sorry (5, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637363)

Your solution advocates a

(*) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to solving a looming energy problem. Your idea will not work as the current situation stands. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state or country to country before a bad federal or international law was passed.)

( ) It will be fought by entrenched fishing interests
(*) It will be fought by entrenched energy corporations
(*) It will succumb to NIMBY Syndrome
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Technology doesn't work that way
(*) NIMBY Syndrome will prevent mass deployment
Specifically, your plan fails to account for:

(*) Extreme misunderstanding of the technology by the public
(*) A sensationalist press won't let mistakes die
( ) Idiots with boats
( ) International reluctance to engage in sweeping change
(*) Technically illiterate politicians
(*) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who vote
( ) A lack of support from famous Musicians and Actors
(*) Conflicting environmental interests
and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(*) Meltdowns Suck!
(*) People have been trying for years to implement your solution and haven't succeeded
( ) The money could be better spent curing cancer
( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(*) Your solution is expensive
(*) Your solution may be politically infeasible
( ) The money could be better spent implementing [other] solution
( ) It makes life harder, not easier
Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(*) We're really close, but still no cigar. I agree with you're idea in general, so maybe one day in the distant future...
( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:Form Letter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637537)

Smug twat.

Unfortunate (4, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637337)

It is unfortunate that the damage is done. People are convinced that nuclear is a dangerous, dirty, and impossible to maintain power source. Building one is next to impossible due to the misinformation. It will take another 30 years to convince people that they are ok.

Good interim solution (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637339)

I don't see any real down side as long as nuclear is being used as an interim solution until we solve the problem of finding a renewable, ecological friendly energy source. Waste storage is a necessary evil with nuke power but it sure as hell beats oil or coal. CO2 as a byproduct of our energy production has the potential to kill our planet and in my opinion is already doing so. At least nuke plants don't generate CO2.

call scotty (1)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637345)

hell, we just need more dilithium crystals

Re:call scotty (1)

passion (84900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637471)

but someday we'll need to reverse the polarity - who's going to help with that?

Re:call scotty (1)

Frank Grimes (211860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637519)

yes, but where will you get the antimatter?

No Shit Sherlock (-1, Flamebait)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637355)

What pollutes more, a continuous train of burning coal or a hundred pounds of isotopes? Now before you all start bitching about disposal of nuclear material why not just load it into a rocket and point it towards the sun?

Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637499)

One word:

Challenger

Re:No Shit Sherlock (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637567)

Now before you all start bitching about disposal of nuclear material why not just load it into a rocket and point it towards the sun?

Hey, now there's an idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Cellulosic biofuels - Nuclear energy from the sun (1)

GAATTC (870216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637371)

Nuclear might be better than fossile fuels from a greenhouse gas perspective, but we'd have to build a new nuclear plant every two days to supply the world this way. And we would still have the issues of nuclear waste to deal with on an even larger scale than the one we can't seem to solve today. Nuclear energy from the sun provides us with over 10,000 times the energy that humans use every day! Harvesting a small amount of this energy using photosynthesis is probably the most sustainable long term solution for the world's energy problems. To hear these issues explained very clearly and logically watch the argument for biofuels [ascb.org] . This is a lecture by Dr. Chris Somerville for the American Society of Cell Biology. Dr. Somerville is the head of the new $500 million biofuels institute at UC Berkeley and is a true visionary in the field.

What's a prote? (2, Interesting)

Iftekhar25 (802052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637377)

No, really... what's a prote? Dictionary.com says [reference.com] it's a short form of proteo, which is from proteins. I really don't think that's it.

The closest possible word it could be is "project."

That's a really bad typo.

Re:What's a prote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637461)

Project doesn't make sense. My guess is "protester" which means someone chopped off a full four letters and left something that isn't a real word.

Wind Turbines are the Easy Way (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637379)

Actually, the most obvious way to get past petroleum is not dirty, insecure, expensive nukes, but clean, safe, cheap wind turbines [dailykos.com] . Solar has a lot of promise, geothermal probably the best longterm prospects (though space-based solar is probably the most exciting), and lots of niches for biofuel.

But just keep in mind that US oil wells average about 10.5 barrels of crude per day (down from a peak about 18.5 in the early 1970s) at 3510Mj:bbl, burned at about 40% efficiency for about 171KW per US oil well (from a peak of 300KW). Which is enough to power about 35 US homes.

300KW is the about the smallest wind turbine in use commercially. Already. And the US is a leader in the wind turbine tech and industry, despite doing it without any real leadership, and competing with the vast subsidies to petrofuels and nukes.

But I guess when you're an expert in nukes, even though there's no money or fame left in opposing them, why not just flip sides - especially when there's so much bribe money, and you're so old now that you can hope that the waste won't hit the fan until after you're dead from something else.

Re:Wind Turbines are the Easy Way (1)

GAATTC (870216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637403)

Nowhere near enough wind energy to power the world. It's a nice idea though. Have a look at this biofuel lecture [ascb.org] to have the technical details clearly explained.

Re:Wind Turbines are the Easy Way (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637595)

There certainly is enough wind energy to power the world. Just the Mid-Atlantic US coast [typepad.com] has up to 330GW of power. And that's not even counting the onshore, or the Great Lakes. And besides, I'm just talking about replacing filthy nukes, not every energy source - I even named some more. But eventually harnessing the power of cyclones could probably deliver enough power for the whole world, and reduce the cyclone damage that all that petrofuel pollution has created.

Re:Wind Turbines are the Easy Way (2, Informative)

Brietech (668850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637489)

First of all, this is about replacing coal/gas power plants, not oil wells, so your argument is silly. Almost no one burns oil for electricity, and the nuclear plant near where I live would need 3,666 wind turbines running full-tilt 24/7 to replace it. But to address your argument:

What do you do when the wind stops blowing?

1. Wind actually STOPS, as in the turbine ceases to spin and generates 0 watts of power.

2. Demand does NOT stop. It is in fact extremely predictable throughout the year and throughout a given day.

3. Consequently, for every kw of generating capacity provided by wind, it is necessary to have a reliable (read: fossil fuel) power plant that can kick on nearly instantly. This is usually provided by gas-fired "peakers," and is what we're trying to avoid using in the future.

4. Additionally, wind power DOES get a huge amount of subsidies at the moment, is not really economical without them, and is only suitable in certain parts of the country (think of it as unreliable hydro-electric).

Wind has its places, but it is not as the backbone of our power-generating infrastructure.

Re:Wind Turbines are the Easy Way (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637559)

The rain stops too - but not everywhere at once. Neither does the wind. That's got to be one of the silliest arguments against wind. Oh, and the wind charges batteries, too.

More silliness - so what if little oil is burned for electricity? What does that have to do with wind vs nukes, or wind vs coal/gas? Nothing. OK, so that's probably lthe silliest argument.

Why don't you read the article to which I linked, before lying about wind's economy? It's written by an economist, with facts instead of pure silliness.

It's Amazing... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637415)

What a little education will do for ya.

Facts in the article is wrong (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637419)

the facts about Chernobyl are wrong, she does not know shit about what the cost from that "little accident" was. both here in sweden and finland. maybe not so much cancer, but we could not eat reindeer for many years, many families livehood depended on that.

and only 60 cases in Russia that sound like old soviet propaganda. if you look at Chernobyl now days you will see very "funny" things happened to nature around. and take a little look at birth-records after the accident and you will start to see it's not only nature but also humans that are affected and it's is not so local you might think.

arrg articles like this makes me mad.

What's a prote? (4, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637441)

Noticed the question in the tagging section... apparently, "prote" is short for "protester"... news to me :).

Shenanigans (3, Interesting)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637451)

The article was interesting until Gwyneth claimed that only 69 people died from Chernobyl.

So far about 60 people have died, most of them -- almost all of them -- from immediate exposure when they were fighting the fire in the reactor, and the emergency workers. Nine children, unfortunately, developed thyroid cancer that was not treated
While it is difficult to prove causation, consider these trends: a paper published by the Chernobyl Ministry in the Ukraine, a multiplication of the cases of disease was registered
  • of the endocrine system ( 25 times higher from 1987 to 1992),
  • the nervous system (6 times higher),
  • the circulation system (44 times higher),
  • the digestive organs (60 times higher),
  • the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue (50 times higher),
  • the muscolo-skeletal system and psychological dysfunctions (53 times higher).

Among those evaluated, the number of healthy people sank from 1987 to 1996 from 59 % to 18%. Among inhabitants of the contaminated areas from 52% to 21% and among the children of affected parent from 81% to 30%.

Nuclear power can be safe, and Chernobyl was poorly designed, but to claim only 69 people died from that event is wrong

propaganda versus realism (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637475)

propaganda poses all the negatives of a scenario in a vacuum, and assumes deductions that can be made from those negatives looked at by themselves have any real world value

true intelligence, not just on nuclear power, but any contentious issue, is gotten at by looking at the negatives of many competing solutions, and trying to pick that which is the least negative

this is very difficult. you are asking people to pick from between varying shades of gray, whose shade of gray is gotten at via a complicated value assessment of various goals and potential pitfalls. choosing thew right energy source to invest in is hard, even without all of the ignorant and propagandized yelling their very loud and shrill opinions, arrived at by looking at the negatives of only one solution, and expecting their opinion to mean anything

a REALISTIC environmentalist champions nuclear, as from an environmental point of view, it is the least hazardous to the environment. there is however, a very loud and shrill arm of the environmental movement which poses "solutions" which equate to nothing more than an agrarian utopianism, who want us all to become amish somehow

but the real tipping point towards nuclear in the west nowadays is anyone worried about energy security. anyone worried about energy security chooses nuclear as it is the power source least held hostage by autocrats in russia and venezuela, and religious fundamentalists in the middle east. the use of oil in the west does nothing more than hand money to its enemies. chavez's grip on power, and putin's grip on power owe themselves to petrodollars. wahabbi fundamentalism, funded by the saudis and influential in the creation of islamic fascists, is in turn funded by petrodollars

meanwhile, going nuclear starves our enemies. in the current world climate, the west is basically funding those who are out to destroy the west. it is a no-brainer that we have to go as 100% nuclear as possible, and drive nothing but electric cars. extremely difficult task. as if sending our children, husbands/ wives, or parents to iraq every 10 years is supposed to be easier. if japan and france can embrace nuclear for as long as they have, without horrible pitfalls, then the west can begin a new foray into nuclear, with all of the modern technological improvements that have taken place since the 1960s, making things a lot safer than the cold war era technology that a lot of anti-nuclear western opinions concerned with safety are based on

really, it is energy security which is causing the recent turn towards nuclear in today's world. the environmental benefits of nuclear are just pure gravy on top of that

Pebble Bed Reactors are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637485)

I am all for nuclear power, if anyone googles "Pebble Bed Reactor" you'll find out about an extremely simple and safe reactor design that would change everything.

However, this lady is completely clueless on the number of people dead from Chernobyl -- she states the figure as 60... 60! Watch HBO's "Chernobyl Heart" documentary (http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/chernobylheart/) and you'll be shocked at how many of just Russian military were killed in the cleanup.

science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637529)

from the article :"12-ton railroad cars"

Where, the planet of the little people? A regular big dumptruck can hold 12 tons, railroad cars hold a lot more.

Solar PV can hold its own, day time and night time, fairly easily, there are right now hundreds of thousands of installations out there right now doing it, and I know several just normal middle class people who use it. It just works, and eventually it is paid off. And hydro isn't maxed out, in the US they have been tearing out smaller hydro dams all over for the last decade or so to save the three horned minnow or whatever, and tidal and wave power installations are just now being test trialed and are looking good.. And they have just begun to scratch the surface with geothermal potential as well.

Nuclear power just means the same old energy monopolists that exist today and are screwing you over will still be sending you the perpetual monthly bill which will rise in price all the time. The rich keep getting richer because the poor allow themselves to be put into economic bondage to them.. It's not "your" nuclear power, it is theirs, and they will still screw you over if you remain dependent, and it doesn't matter how it is generated. Keep harping and lobbying to have your wallet picked, and they'll be happy to oblige. It's like the sheep begging to be sheared then made into lunch. Just like when I hear bleating over "drill the arctic!". Even though it is public land, it will still be one or more of the huge oil companies barrels of oil, and you'll still pay top dollar for it, forever, as long as you stay tied to fossil fuels for your transportation needs.

Nuclear power does nothing to address the twin issues of ultimate ownership, and energy decentralization, all it does is perpetuate some fatcats owning the power, and keeps you and your home tied to their rental service, with zero guarantees on prices, ever. At least with a mortgage after getting reamed for 20 years you might get to actually mostly own it outside of maintenance and property taxes, with your electric bill and piped in natural gas and so on-never, you'll never be rid of them, economic thralldom to the cartels. And you get to pass that on to your children like a valued inheritance or something.

Base Load (1)

PBPanther (47660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637543)

GC said

But I then learned about base-load energy, and that there are three forms of it: fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear.

The implication that renewables such as wind, geothermal, solar etc cannot form base-load power is not proven. With enough diversification of sources there can be base-load power from renewables.

Nuclear is a good solution, waste not a big issue (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637587)

Everyone keeps claiming that nuclear waste is a huge long-term problem or that we'll run out of U235. This is a political problem and not a technological problem. Technologically, the problems have been solved, but due to a federal mandate from President Carter we are stuck with the current mess.

It is well known how to convert U238 into plutonium as a usable fuel, and the isotope of Pu is not suitable for bombs either. Thorium is also readily available as a fuel as well with a much larger supply than Uranium.

The other problem that always comes up is nuclear waste. When a fuel rod is removed from a reactor, it still contains a lot of usable fuel, which can be extracted and reused. If we use breeder reactors, the long term nuclear waste can be burned up so the only remainder is stuff that has a half life in the hundreds of years instead of thousands or tens of thousands of years, and it would be a fraction of the amount of waste. France already does this. It's expensive, but cost can probably be greatly reduced as the process is improved and the scale grows.

Granted, we do need to have very strong safety standards, but modern designs for nuclear reactors are a lot safer than the old designs. And the cost could also be drastically reduced if we stopped making each reactor a complete custom one-of and had a bunch with the same basic design.

The other form of energy I'd like to see tapped is geothermal, since that's almost free.

I consider myself green and am looking into installing Solar when the price drops a bit more.

Fooled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21637597)

Just because one former nuclear power opponent has been hoodwinked doesn't make it a fact that nuclear power is a viable and worthwhile option. Nuclear is more expensive, it's harder to deal with the waste, it creates a lot of risks beyond the usual fears of meltdowns, and it just creates more material for terrorists to use. The article seems to be of the opinion that since wind and solar don't provide steady power 24/7, then nuclear is the only option. It's not the only option. It's a false dichotomy, and it's sad that Wired has sunk that low.

There are plenty of ways of storing energy from wind and solar, including water storage and hydrogen generation. Aside from that, wind and solar aren't our only options. There is tidal power, biomass, algae-produced biodiesel, switchgrass grown ethanol, and so on. What a completely transparent piece of nuclear power propoganda.

I'll tell Gwyneth about base load (3, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21637617)

Solar irradiation at the Earth's surface is approximately 150,000 TW.

Mankind's projected peak power needs by 2020 or so amount to about 22 TW. Yeah. 22, not 22,000.

So throw stupid statements like "three forms of base-load energy, fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear" in the rubbish bin of irrelevancy, and tap what is effectively an infinite supply (and if that's not enough, place solar arrays into LEO).

There are hundreds of times more permanently irradiated deserts in the world than would be needed to supply Mankind's power needs for the forseeable future. What's more, they're spread around the world, so base load is as easy to supply as peak, without storage. All that's lacking is the will to do so --- especially the will to act against the greed of those who are currently making megabucks off fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear.

So dear Gwyneth, think again. You've just been sold the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a costly mistake.
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