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Climatologist James Hansen Defends Nuclear Energy

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the give-it-a-chance dept.

Earth 345

First time accepted submitter prajendran writes "James Hansen, the former director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences, has been a strong defender of using nuclear energy to replace coal and renewable energy. He and three other researchers had written a letter, arguing just this. In this interview with rediff.com, an Indian news site, he was asked to address some concerns surrounding the issue, especially given the strong feelings generated by it. It may not be Hansen's best interview, but it did bring out his passionate side."

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345 comments

common sense (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 8 months ago | (#45634155)

of-course the only real we have today to cover our energy needs while destroying the environment the least is by using nuclear energy.

Of-course the governments of the world stand in the way of the free market experimenting with nuclear energy, AFAIC that's the reason I don't have a flying car yet, it's because we are not yet powering cars with tiny nuclear reactors and that will not change until we get gov't out of energy business (and if you want progress in any field that is useful, get government out of it).

Re:common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634195)

While I am pro-nuclear for several reasons, one being a stop-gap in the energy situation until something better can be found, I do not believe that a small nuclear reactor would be able to output enough energy to power cars all that well much less having enough energy to have them fly. Flying cars are science fiction. Possible? Sure, but not practical. Tubes from Futurama (heavily modified, but the same concept) or something like the automatic sidewalks would be the best replacement for a need for vehicles outright.

"MY NEARSIGHTEDNESS AND BIAS..." (-1, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 8 months ago | (#45634561)

"...Trumps YOUR nearsightedness and fears. I'm and EXPERT! On CLIMATE!"

So? FuckUshima!

Re: common sense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634299)

In fact nuclear and fossil fuel has the same issue. What to do with the waste. With coal and such, we push the waste into the air. This, to me, is like pissing in your neighbors lawn. It is frowned upon so we mandate indoor plumbing so your waste gets to a place it can be dealt with. While there is no reason why we could not mandate indoor plumbing for coal fired plants, it is deemed not economically viable to do so.
An issue with nuclear plants I'd they were in part developed as response to the pollution of fossil fuel, and had the advantage that the waste was contained. Indoor plumbing. But the politics was that we could not simply treat and dump, like human waste. So we are really at the an equivalent point. Without reprocessing, and including that cost in our electricity bills, nuclear is not a viable option. It is not enough to have clean energy, it must be cheap. Fossil fuel is cheap because we can just dump the waste in our neighbor's yard.

Re: common sense (4, Interesting)

VTBlue (600055) | about 8 months ago | (#45634657)

Science has solved the waste issue. Titanate nanofibers. One gram cleans a ton of waste water.

Re:common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634341)

Until we have electric trans-atlantic pasenger air transport in six hours, we'll need more than just nukes.

Re:common sense (5, Insightful)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 8 months ago | (#45634529)

Until we have electric trans-atlantic pasenger air transport in six hours, we'll need more than just nukes.

Transport fuel especially air and ocean needs to remain chemical, even nuclear advocates are pretty unanimous on this.

0. LFTR for electricity and process heat ASAP
1. use oil, while it lasts
2. use synfuel made from coal or natural gas, using Fischer-Tropsch [wikipedia.org] and LFTR heat source
3. use hydrogen separated from water by energy from LFTR stored as liquid, gas or (preferably) oxide pellets

With number 3 we have attained a state of complete, virtually limitless energy with extremely small footprint of Thorium mining, zero CO2 emissions and zero use of agriculture for energy production. Oh, and we can make limitless amounts of ammonia-based fertilizer with hydrogen separated from water and atmospheric nitrogen.

(Nothing but win. Think of me as the hyper 'Trix Rabbit' of Thorium [youtube.com] )

Re:common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634945)

"3." Would have to be oxide. Hydrogen doesn't store well as a gas or a liquid. It's just too atomically small. And if we don't burn it, we lose it. As an oxide, it will still be highly caustic.

Re:common sense (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634605)

I'm going to start with how the wealthy see you.

“Dead Peasant” insurance
Winn Dixie Stores bought life insurance policies on approximately 36,000 of its employees, without their knowledge or consent, and named itself as the policies’ beneficiary. The insurance brokerage firm that placed the policies prepared two memos describing the deceased employees as “Dead Peasants.”

The memos were evidence in a Supreme Court case. Corporations are the ones that gave the government power so they could yield it. You can't buy life insurance on a someone outside your family without their consent, why can corporations do it?

I really don't know how anyone can be anti-government and pro-corporations or vice versa really. They're the same system now. Those in power are those in power whether you want to call them President's or CEO's they're typically cut from the same class of people or are puppets controlled by the same class and it's quite obvious by now that both parties are controlled by the same set of people.

You seem intelligent but your constant anti-government posts seem to lack this fundamental understanding of power. For some reason it doesn't matter how much you tie government officials to corporate power, many people see them as at odds. Of course corporations have done a good job of conflating small business and international conglomeration so they play all the sides.

It's fairly obvious that Federal laws help big companies. They would much rather deal with one law, usually crafted with help from their lobbyist, than deal with 50 laws and lobbying 50 state governments. Small business are fine with 50 state laws because they normally only operate in one state. However, notice when the federal government does something that limits corporate power, all of a sudden it's government overreach and Wal-Mart will act like they're being pushed around like a mom and pop store, which is ridiculous.

Have you seen our laws? Do you really not see how corporate power has been crafting them for at least the last 100 years. They even act like royalty. Any big wealthy family is likely inbred and they will do anything to maintain their power. They hide their money in families so that it doesn't seem as extreme as it is. They have arranged marriages. And they are slowly taking all of the capital out of the system. Personally, I don't have kids and I'll probably be dead before things really get bad, but for those that have children, I'm baffled. With each generation, capital is condensed into smaller and smaller hands. And while it doesn't affect me that someone makes more than me, it does affect me when they take so much capital out of the system there's no way to get it back.

People think shareholders represent some kind of democratic capitalism, but the truth is, each companies stock is controlled by a few controlling parties. Often married or linked somehow. Maybe 10% of a company gets sold to what you could actually call the public, but that's just another means of taking money from the hands of the people. When you own the majority of a stock, it's quite easy to manipulate. Just like if you own the majority of land or the majority of anything.

The simple fact that money is flowing to the wealthy makes it really hard for me to believe that the government is holding corporations back. The wealthy families in the country control so much, it blows my mind that people still think the government even has power over the government. For crying out loud, our money is printed by a private organization and lent to our government. Evert dollar in our economy is lent into the system by a private entity. But sure, keep believing the government is the problem. We need to fix government, not destroy it and officially hand it over to the royalty of our day. Did our ancestors come to America to give the continent to 400 families.

Interestingly, becoming rich is good for the country. Staying rich, generation after generation through political maneuver, not so much. The only reason the government has the power it has is because the wealthy want them too. You can't take power away from the government without taking it away from the wealthy. You're playing the game, just like they want you to.

Re:common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634667)

Nuclear Industry failed to commoditize nuclear energy is the reason it failed! Throw more Solar Panels at the Solar Sever Farm!

TL;DR (-1, Flamebait)

spacefight (577141) | about 8 months ago | (#45634173)

Hey nuclear advocates, how about you fix the waste issue first, then we'll talk.

Sincerely, the kids from the future.

Re:TL;DR (1)

JavaBear (9872) | about 8 months ago | (#45634221)

If only we had the time.

Re:TL;DR (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634245)

Surely you're not saying that other means of generating energy don't have similarly massive pollution concerns? Or are you really that naive as to think that nuclear waste tech is still at the same state it was in in the 1950's? Or are you still hoping that we can solve all of our problems with solar?

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634265)

He never said such a thing.

And don't call him Shirley.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634351)

>He never said such a thing.
Refuting change defends the status quo.

PS, not 45634245.

Re:TL;DR (5, Funny)

TheSync (5291) | about 8 months ago | (#45634259)

Dear kids from the future,

Well, we went nuclear so we wouldn't cook the entire planet (and thus allowing you to live).

On the other hand, there is a one small cave in Nevada with some nasty stuff. Seems to me like you guys should be able to handle it with your quantum teleportation technology or whatever you come up with. Or just keep an eye on it.

Re:TL;DR (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634363)

>On the other hand, there is a one small cave in Nevada with some nasty stuff.

This is the dream solution so far, but this does NOT exist. Hanford - nasty waste tanks buried in the ground. Fukushima - fuel pool at reactor 4 dangerously tipping and leaking. Yucca Mountain plans closed.

At this point, a lot of nuclear waste sits in fuel pools because there is no long-term solution. We need to get on this and make a place like you describe, pronto. Nuclear can be clean and safe, but so far nobody is really running it clean and safe. Money and greed are too human.

Re:TL;DR (3, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#45634389)

At this point, a lot of nuclear waste sits in fuel pools because there is no long-term solution.

A lot? Practically all of it that was ever accumulated sits there, in the US at least.

Re:TL;DR (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#45634525)

At this point, a lot of nuclear waste sits in fuel pools because there is no long-term solution.

A lot? Practically all of it that was ever accumulated sits there, in the US at least.

So? The pools are a pretty good long term solution, if by "long term" you mean at least the next century or so, until future generations figure out a better place to store it, or more likely, an economic use for the "waste".

Re:TL;DR (4, Insightful)

ahodgson (74077) | about 8 months ago | (#45634837)

Talk to Harry Reid. The scientists figured it out decades ago, but some politicians refuse to act.

Re:TL;DR (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 8 months ago | (#45634387)

+5 insightful

Seriously, all of the people who freak out about the waste are just being ridiculous. So what if the stuff is dangerous for 10,000 years? We don't have to solve that problem, all we have to do is to keep it safe for a few centuries, and make sure that our descendants understand what it was that we did and what the potential issues are. They'll be better-equipped to deal with it than we are -- and it's a much easier problem for them to solve than a planetary climate that has been pushed to extremes.

Yeah, it'd be nice if solar, wind and wave energy could address all of our needs, but at present they can't provide the baseload coverage needed to eliminate coal and oil burning.

Re:TL;DR (0, Troll)

speckman (2511208) | about 8 months ago | (#45634493)

+5 insightful

Seriously, all of the people who freak out about the waste are just being ridiculous. So what if the stuff is dangerous for 10,000 years? We don't have to solve that problem, all we have to do is to keep it safe for a few centuries, and make sure that our descendants understand what it was that we did and what the potential issues are. They'll be better-equipped to deal with it than we are -- and it's a much easier problem for them to solve than a planetary climate that has been pushed to extremes.

Yeah, it'd be nice if solar, wind and wave energy could address all of our needs, but at present they can't provide the baseload coverage needed to eliminate coal and oil burning.

Yeah, keep it safe, tell all our descendants, stretching longer than from now to the birth of our civilizations, our history, to deal with potentially ecosphere-killing crap, an exponentially growing pool of waste. Shit, if we don't have a storage system *right now*, like, IDK, 80 years into this show, however many generations later, and we're just storing stuff on top of the stupid reactors, ready to lay waste to a heavily populated island should some natural disaster hit (and news flash: over the span of 10k years, there's going to be quite a few natural disasters), what the hell? How is this safe? How is this a better alternative? OK, sure, it doesn't warm the climate. Way to go. It just generates shit that is so amazingly toxic to nearly every lifeform on this planet, and we still keep the damn stuff laying around, behind barbed wire, on top of a roof, with an infrastructure of people designed to handle it. Should that infrastructure ever fail, like say, IDK, civil war, humongous calamity/disaster, some other random shit we can't predict, it's death, just waiting, waiting.

It's so amazingly shortsighted to go nuclear. Yeah, hell yeah, there's probably ways to do it right, but we sure aren't using those methods. I talked to a grad student in nuclear physics who claimed we could just reprocess all of our spent fuel, use that to fuel reactors for ever. for ever. Great, great idea, glad it's possible, but let's do it then. And what we're talking about when we talk about nuke plants is more of this incredible waste generating BS.

Coal? Oh, fuck coal. Those mountains could have stayed there, for sure. Natural gas? Fracking, OMG, this is going to be seriously bad. Give it more decades, you'll see. So *cough* how about all that green shit we keep researching and talking about and, oh, say, europe keeps implementing? Let's do that. Wow, does that ever make sense. Nuclear? Gawd.

Re:TL;DR (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634563)

"potentially ecosphere-killing crap"

The longer lived the radioactive byproduct, the _less_ harmful it is. I'll take waste with a 10,000 or 100,000 half-life over something that decays in 1 year any day. Heck, just put it in my back yard. I could use the steady income.

I'm no nuclear physicist, but I'm pretty sure that in substantially less than a few hundred years, the waste from your typical nuclear power plant will asymptotically approach background radioactivity levels. The tail that 10,000 year half-life begins almost immediately, and is exponentially less dangerous

What's dangerous about nuclear waste isn't the 10,000 or 100,000 half-lives. It's the fraction of byproducts mixed in it that decays in seconds, minutes, hours, days or a few years. Once those disappear, the rest is not that big of deal. Put it into a container, seal it, and put it someplace where kids won't climb all over it. Problem solved.

Re:TL;DR (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634677)

Is Nuclear Waste Really Waste? [youtube.com] It is an immense energy resource of which still contains roughly 99% of the original energy content. The actual waste remaining once the rest of the energy is released is very small, with lifetimes measured in decades, not millennia.

Re:TL;DR (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#45634539)

Right now no one knows how to solve the waste problem.
That is likely the reason why now country on the world has a long term waste deposite.
If you have ideas regarding that, publish them ;D

Re:TL;DR (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634663)

Right now no one knows how to solve the waste problem.
That is likely the reason why now country on the world has a long term waste deposite.
If you have ideas regarding that, publish them ;D

You are completely wrong about this. There are plenty of ideas how to deal with "waste". You simply use it as fuel in fast neutron reactors. For example,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor [wikipedia.org]

Then you have real waste that only lasts 300 years before it is less radioactive than the ore original uranium was extracted from.

But of course, why build a reactor that uses $120/lb fuel when you can just dig up new uranium for $50/lb and store the current waste for later?

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634569)

Giving the human history on the last 10000 years, there's virtually zero change that we can keep the political and economic stability needed to keep this safe.
And you're totally ignoring natural disasters as well. There will be many.

Re:TL;DR (3, Interesting)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634725)

OOTH, during the previous centuries, political bs has caused more death than nuclear waste will ever, so this would really be the last of my problem should a worldwide political crisis emerge. At worst, the storage site will turn out as a Tchernobyl-like exclusion zone, which is pretty OK.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634621)

The "waste" isn't a problem, it is an opportunity. Future generations would indeed be grateful if we preserved that vast energy resource for their use. It is silly to think otherwise, and akin to suggesting that we destroy all of those dirty fossil resources for their benefit. They will not be happy if we manage to dispose of either, and hydrocarbons are far more valuable as chemical feedstock in the long run.

Re:TL;DR (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | about 8 months ago | (#45634791)

What makes you so sure our descendants will be better equipped to deal with this? Peak power per capita was in the 1970, our civilization is on the decline, so that seems like wishful thinking to me...

Things that are dangerous for longer (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 8 months ago | (#45634825)

Mercury, cadmium, and other chemical poisons are poisonous forever. They are also harder to detect.

We've found tolerable solutions to our other toxic waste problems. Spent fuel adds the proliferation problem but is otherwise the same.

Re:TL;DR (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634263)

Hey nuclear advocates, how about you fix the waste issue first, then we'll talk.

Sincerely, the kids from the future.

Hey nuclear critics, how about you fix the masterbution issue first, then we'll talk.

Sincerely, the adults from the future.

Where do you think it came from in th first place? (3, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#45634271)

Underground. But I don't see any envirohippies making a big fuss about all the uranium ore in the ground and the massive fission reactor thats probably at the heart of the planet so why the big fuss when someone suggests burying the radioactive waste underground later?

There's so much knee jerking going on in the enviromental movement with regards to nuclear power that they could probably audience for starring roles in Lord of the Dance.

Re:Where do you think it came from in th first pla (3, Insightful)

tgibbs (83782) | about 8 months ago | (#45634451)

Agreed. Absolute safety with nuclear materials is unattainable. But we can certainly make it as safe as it was before we dug it up out of the ground.

Re:Where do you think it came from in th first pla (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about 8 months ago | (#45634453)

so why the big fuss when someone suggests burying the radioactive waste underground later?

Ummm, because it's a bit tricky to turn transuranic elements back into uranium before their reinterment?

Re:Where do you think it came from in th first pla (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634743)

FWIW, there is at least an uranium deposit in the world which as undergo nuclear fission naturally, but hipster are silents about it...

Re:TL;DR (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 8 months ago | (#45634283)

Well the problem is the best way to "fix" the waste problem is to reuse the waste from step N-1 in step N after N = >6? you have stuff that is very short term radioactive (but has a very bad temper in large enough amounts).

Keeping the number of Nations that have used Nukes in Acts of War to 1 is why this does not happen.

Re:TL;DR (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 8 months ago | (#45634931)

Right, the problem is solved but we need to get real about the proliferation issue.

I say the genie is out of the bottle at this. The policy might have made sense in the past but now our insistence on not having breeder reactors around is creating more risk then its preventing. Lots of people we did not want to get the bomb have the bomb now. China -check, North Korea -check, Pakistan -check, India -check, and Iran is so near it now that the Iranian nuclear issue is a political play thing. The President can send the Secretary of State out to strike a meaningless deal where the various parties don't even agree on what the language means just to distract from domestic issue, because it no longer matters they take the final steps anytime. All of these plays could without our ability to stop them spread it farther as well.

So it comes to the morals issues now. Firstly is clearly immoral to leave future generations piles of toxic waste for which the only solution for dealing with is one we have deemed unacceptable in our time.

Secondly though, what right do we have to deny another sovereign people nuclear power. We certainly under no obligation to give it to them but to deny them is wrong. Look what convulsions our own economy goes through whenever there is a oil price shock. It should be clear that cheap, abundant, reliable energy is critical to, if not the driver for success in the modern world economy. As a practical matter support for nonproliferation policies at this point is synonymous with support for poverty and inequality and war.

Re:TL;DR (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634315)

Sincerely, the kids from the future.

Would you prefer to inherit an industrial civilization or a pristine planet? Because you can't have both.

Re:TL;DR (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#45634395)

Would you prefer to inherit an industrial civilization or a pristine planet? Because you can't have both.

You can't have EITHER, at this point. Civilization is doomed by the whackos, and the planet is already far from pristine.

Re:TL;DR (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634761)

Give the earth a few millions years, and it will become "pristine" again. Life survived a meteor crash, it will survive mankind.

Re:TL;DR (5, Insightful)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 8 months ago | (#45634329)

Hey nuclear advocates, how about you fix the waste issue first, then we'll talk. Sincerely, the kids from the future.

Dear kids,

Extremely small volumes of waste needing safe storage for only ~300 years is probably the best we can do. Shall we do it -- or will you prefer to be sharpening sticks to hunt among the silent rusted remnants of wind turbines? [2112design.com]

Sincerely, LFTR [youtube.com]

Re:TL;DR (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 8 months ago | (#45634567)

So the small amount of waste (from a commercial reactor that doesn't exist yet) stored today needs to be stored until 2313 to be safe (for some definition of safe). What about the small but slightly larger amount of waste produced next year, and the year after, and the year after? The nuclear waste dump does not become safe until 300 years after the last thorium waste product is added to the pile and the pile has grown exponentially in the meantime. There's also the mounting pile of lower level nuclear waste that exists regardless of primary fuel type. Don't get me wrong, it's a better option than 10000 years and bigger piles, but "only ~300 years" is deliberately deceptive.

Re:TL;DR (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 8 months ago | (#45634735)

The fun thing about a nuclear waste pile is that it generates heat. You can use it to run a generator without needing criticality. RTGs use this principle.
So it's a low-output power plant, as well as a waste dump.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634937)

Actually, an RTG proves exactly why nuclear waste isn't that harmful on an ecological scale. Because radioactive decay is an exponential process, RTG generators become useless after only a few years. A chunk of plutonium that's glowing hot the first year can be put into your bare hands after [insert some math geek's handiwork] years.

Anti-nuclear activists can't distinguish concepts like exponential v. linear.

Nuclear energy is not a force so great that mankind cannot safely manipulate it. It's dangerous, but well within our technological and political capabilities.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634973)

If exponential growth counts as "some math geek's handiwork" then you really shouldn't be using the term.

Re:TL;DR (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45634343)

Hey nuclear advocates, how about you fix the waste issue first, then we'll talk.

Gee, 300 years of storage for a small segment of the waste. The rest of which can be reprocessed into fuel, unless of course you're in the US and have this boogyman fear of plutonium.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634357)

FTA:

According to the letter, 'We understand that today's nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently.'

The "waste issue" is political. Most can be recycled, the small amount remaining can be safely archived.

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634593)

Hey shortsighted dickhead, you dump it at the bottom of the ocean - where the pressure is so high the radiation barely makes it a few cms. And it can safely degrade happily and safely.

Or you know, put it in the middle of a desert. Safe to degrade with no one near it.

Or.....

Hey wait, there's plenty of ways to deal with nuclear waste! There is nothing we can do about you being dumb tho.

Re:TL;DR (4, Interesting)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634707)

There is plenty of option for fuel waste treatments. France has been the world pioneer and leader of reprocessing. Only the US have decided NOT to reprocess their spent fuel. This is a political problem, not an engineering one. After reprocessing, you are left with a small portion of the original spent fuel which can be vitrificated and buried. These waste have a really high density and do not occupy much space. Trash landfill is causing more harm on the long term than there waste, but you don't object to trash landfill...

Re:TL;DR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634781)

Dear future kids,

We have a plan. We will be around as a bureaucracy 5,000 years from now [google.com] to guard all the stuff that will still need to be guarded.

Sincerely,
The U.S. DOE

Already Solved (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#45634831)

Hey nuclear advocates, how about you fix the waste issue first, then we'll talk.

It is (was) called "Yucca Mountain".

Simply put, if you aren't for nuclear you aren't serious about helping the planet or climate change. You are just pushing some other far worse alternative to line someone's pockets.

Re:TL;DR (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about 8 months ago | (#45634859)

Hey coal/gas advocates,

The nuclear folks have a better handle on the waste than you do.

Sincerely,
Someone from the present

Re:TL;DR (2, Insightful)

duckintheface (710137) | about 8 months ago | (#45634899)

What Hansen is advocating are plutonium fast breeder reactors. Like the Clinch River plant that was cancelled in the 1980s. He wants to mass-produce them on an assembly line. He wants small distrubuted plants full of plutonium. This is one crazy dude.

He never defends his assertion that nuclear can ramp up faster than solar and wind. He ignores the fact that the government continues to massively subsidize nuclear via the Price-Anderson liability limitation and support for research. He ignores the fact that current plants take 10 years to build. And when he says the new plants would be cheaper than existing plants, I had to laugh. Cheaper than "outrageously overpriced" is still not all that cheap.

So yes, fix the waste problem, fix the terrorist problem, fix the fuel supply problem, fix the cost over-run problem, and fix the economically un-competitive problem And THEN we'll talk.

I like my letters better (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 8 months ago | (#45634189)

Yeah, I have a passionate side too. And I like to take long walks in the park. And it's not just about 'climate change', it's about survival.

Every little bit helps though.

___
My letters on energy:
To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate [scribd.com]
To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate [scribd.com]

Re:I like my letters better (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 8 months ago | (#45634873)

Every little bit helps though.

Sometimes it does, and sometimes it makes no difference whatsoever...

There are things in life that are all or nothing, this is one of them. Either we stop burning coal, oil, and gas, or we don't. Burn them in 20 years, 50 years, or 200 years, if we keep burning them, we'll burn them all.

It is like flying across the ocean in a plane, saying that a little bit of extra fuel helps only if it gets you to the land on the other side. If you run out of fuel 50 miles from shore, is that any better than running out 200 miles from shore?

You either do it right or you don't take off. Same thing here with burning stuff, either we stop, or we don't, there is no halfway.

Name them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634223)

We understand that today's nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently.

Name the advances and name the new technologies - like Pepple-Bed [wikipedia.org] ;which is the only one I know.

I have a anit-nuke in my family. For the exception of waste disposal, their arguments against nuke power is ALL based on 1960s technology. It would really help the pro-nukes who really know something about the latest nucluear tech to explain it to the public.

It's great to post here on Slashdot about the ignorance of the anti-nukes but information is pretty scarce. The only reason I even knew about the pepple-bed tech was that it was mentioned years ago in a Scientific American article and I hardly see articles on nuke power in SciAm; let alone in the general media.

Re:Name them. (3, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | about 8 months ago | (#45634407)

The truth is that there are no big advances in nuclear power plant technology. There are ideas from the 1960 and 1970, like thorium reactors, breeder reactors or the pepple-bed concept. They all have been tried out and failed for different reasons. Present reactor technology is still based on the same concepts from the 1960s. Improvements in safety have been made, but only in small steps issued after accidents in plants. This is the same principle as in aviation where every crash is analyzed and used to improve planes.

For the pebble-bed thing. Germany tried it and they failed (see wikipedia). The only one having one operational is China (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTR-10 [wikipedia.org] ). While it is stated that the design is saver than present western reactors, it uses graphite for moderation. It cannot burn as cooling is done by a non-burnable gas. However, a leak might introduce O2 and that can reproduce Chernobyl all over again. So I am not really convinced that this is a better solution. Furthermore, it is not a solution to the nuclear waste problem. And it is not a solution as a long-time energy source.

While after 50 years of nuclear energy, industry and research where not able to provide a complete solution, while the re-newable energy fraction have working machinery and also the energy storage problem is solvable, as we already have that technology even if it is not yet cheap, reliable or implementable everywhere. However, these issues are easier to fix than come up with totally new technology.

Re:Name them. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#45634555)

and also the energy storage problem is solvable

Why not do exactly that same as is already done for coal. The demand curve for a city is not flat like the output of a coal plant, during off-peak a coal plant is producing too much electricity and during peak it's not generating enough. They handle this by using the excess to pump water into a hydro dam, and using gas turbines to make up the shortfall during the peak.

Re:Name them. (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634775)

However, a leak might introduce O2 and that can reproduce Chernobyl all over again.

Please go back to your history books. Tchernobyl was an accident caused by the unsafe design of the reactor and human error during a system test...

Re:Name them. (3, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#45634463)

Name the advances and name the new technologies - like Pepple-Bed [wikipedia.org];which is the only one I know.

Liquid fluoride thorium [wikipedia.org] reactor.
Westinghouse AP1000 [wikipedia.org] reactor.
Something like the Argonne Experimental Breeder Reactor-II [anl.gov] .

Do I claim the ultimate in safety has been achieved and is sitting on a shelf next to the holy grail waiting to be used as-is for the Final Ultimate Answer? No, but large advances in safety have been made and need to be pursued further, along with undoubtedly other fresh ideas.

The thing I can't figure out (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 months ago | (#45634225)

is how to keep somebody from tricking the electorate into privatizing it with the promise if big, big savings from the more efficient 'Free Market' approach, and then cutting corners and/or not retiring plants when it's time. It was pretty well documented that the Fukushima plant had outlived it's safe operational time. My favorite argument was that these kind of disasters happen once a century, when the last record of such a disaster was about 100 years ago...

Basically, Nuclear power can be safe, but it's ever so much more profitable when it's not. And I don't know how to keep people from trading tax cuts for their safety :(...

Re:The thing I can't figure out (1)

loonycyborg (1262242) | about 8 months ago | (#45634889)

Blatant disregard [wikipedia.org] for people's health and safety isn't something new for Japan. Chernobyl accident happened due to human error too. You won't see accidents if nuclear plants are operated with a modicum of competency.

I am not convinced (2)

prefec2 (875483) | about 8 months ago | (#45634237)

In summary he states that present nuclear technology is too dangerous, but that it is possible to create systems without the flaws. Well in that case we need prove. In addition we need a plan to do when we run out of what ever the source is for such nuclear technology. However, I cannot see how they can build a device which is able to recycle all waste.

Renewable sources are much easier to build, they allow to produce energy in a distributed matter reducing the risk of blackouts by plant failure. The only open issue is cheap and reliable energy storage. Presently, there exist technology to fill this gap, but they are not convenient enough due to their cost or their requirement (like pumped-storage power stations). Still this is much closer to a solution than the save and clean nuclear technology.

Re:I am not convinced (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#45634305)

"Renewable sources are much easier to build,"

Easy to build is one thing - easy to build AND make them viable is another.

"reducing the risk of blackouts by plant failure"

Riiight. And how often do you hear of a power plant , regardless of its fuel , going completely unplanned offline? And even if it did there is usually enough resilience in the system to cover it. Whereas wind and wave power goes offline every time its a calm day and solar power is useless at night! I'll go with the minute risk off a whole power plant going down thanks.

Re:I am not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634337)

solar power is useless at night!

Well, I'm asleep then.

Re:I am not convinced (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45634789)

My machines are not, street's lights are not either.

Re:I am not convinced (2)

amorsen (7485) | about 8 months ago | (#45634383)

And how often do you hear of a power plant , regardless of its fuel , going completely unplanned offline?

http://umm.nordpoolspot.com/ [nordpoolspot.com]

It happens daily.

Re:I am not convinced (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#45634669)

Yes, and coal cannot match a cities demand curve any better than solar or wind, the "resilience" the GP speaks of doesn't just magically appear with coal plants, there are gas turbines and hydro dams involved to store/boost the energy when the plants flat output curve does not match the wavy demand curve. The idea that an individual generator must produce a consistent 'baseload' output is nonsense. Supply must match the demand curve, and no method of power generation does that by itself, including coal and nuclear..

Most designs in service today are only too risky (1)

Burz (138833) | about 8 months ago | (#45634495)

...because nuclear plants represent the closest thing to absolute power in our economy, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It becomes a confidence trickster game of convincing a community to commit their ratepayers to large projects where the costs can then be jacked up 900%.

Nuclear energy "works", but only certain cultures in certain eras have been able to manage it responsibly.

Let me also point out that the French are very lucky to have such a mild environment and geology; they too blew some tops immediately after the earthquake... but the quake was 1,000s of miles away and the tops were the kind that sport toupees and berets.

So the real question is whether society is mature enough to handle super concentrated power, without turning our economic and social life into a reflection of that concentrated power. In today's "privatize everything and let the god of greed sort out our problems" political and business climate, I'll answer that question with a resounding "No".

Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (0)

quixote9 (999874) | about 8 months ago | (#45634295)

It takes about five years, lots of concrete = lots of CO2 emissions, to build a 1GW reactor. You'd need to complete about one per week for the next 35 years to replace ONE-SEVENTH of the energy we now get from fossil fuels. (Pascala and Socolow, Science pdf [pppl.gov] 2004) (Stanford pdf [stanford.edu] on implementing sustainable energy.) Finish one reactor per week. Good luck with that.

And if you managed that, you'd run out of fuel for those reactors within a couple of decades. (Don't start with the but-but thorium!, or fusion, or god-knows-what-all. The testing and permitting on new tech would take us way past peak oil.)

You'd have to take care of the expected waste, plus the unexpected waste from accidents, for ever.

Meanwhile, Germany is implementing soloar and energy efficiency and is AHEAD of its targets.

The more time, effort, and money we waste chasing nukes, the less we have for a real solution.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45634399)

Meanwhile, Germany is implementing soloar and energy efficiency and is AHEAD of its targets.

And buying nuclear power from France, Poland, and the Czech Republic. All the while, that solar energy is driving millions to make the choice between roof over head, food on table, or electricity. As prices start climbing towards of 40c/kWh.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (5, Informative)

Xolotl (675282) | about 8 months ago | (#45634429)

Worse, they're buying coal power from Poland (Poland does not have any power-generating reactors ... yet). All because of shutting down their own nuclear reactors in the wake of the post-Fukushima nuclear-is-bad hysteria.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (3, Interesting)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#45634511)

And Poland is buying wind power from germany.
So what is your point?

Selling and buying beyond frontiers is exactly the point of an international continent spanning energy grid.

If we would only sell and never buy you would blame us, too. Won't you?

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (0)

BlueTemplar (992862) | about 8 months ago | (#45634921)

You say "post-Fukushima" like it's something in the past, while the disaster is ongoing.

When you consider that in some scenarios we might have to "evacuate" Japan and some of the West Coast of USA, then the hysteria is pretty understandable :
http://www.storyleak.com/top-scientist-another-fukushima-quake-mean-us-evacuation/ [storyleak.com]

So, don't you think that limiting our electricity consumption and not having to expect it to be available when we want to, but rather when it's available - is better than keeping old, dangerous nuclear reactors operating?

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (5, Informative)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#45634503)

Germany is not buying power in any significant amount from its neighbours.

We are still exporting roughly 30% of our energy production.

Prices for ordinary customers like me are about 17 - 18 c/kWh.

Don't get where from you have your crazy ideas.

not only buying "nuclear" electricity (2)

aepervius (535155) | about 8 months ago | (#45634547)

But also buying from coal central, or using a lot of coal electricity (think enorm open field, for which they even moved/destroyed whole town http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a6/Tagebau_Vereinigtes_Schleenhain_panorama_midi.jpg/1000px-Tagebau_Vereinigtes_Schleenhain_panorama_midi.jpg [wikimedia.org] here is anotehr one : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9a/Tagebau_Garzweiler_Panorama_2005.jpg/800px-Tagebau_Garzweiler_Panorama_2005.jpg [wikimedia.org] ) and I am not even touchign the thematic that biurning brown coal is terrible. Not sure what is the amount of heavy metal radioelement there is in brown coal, but in black coal it ain't rosy.

So yeah, it is the perfect example how nuclear irrational panics threaten a whole economy (heavy electricity prices) and make it worst for CO2 emission. I am pretty sure the german politician are fucking hyprocit and realize that nuclear could be made better, but would rather think "vote!" and bent to the folks panic.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634421)

Another person who hasn't read the article? Shocking.

The pressing advantage is that small-scale reactors can be mass produced, much like how solar and wind would need to be mass produced, except with far more bang for your buck.
As stated in the article, renewables today account for roughly, if not less, the annual growth in power consumption, ~2%. We choke on soot while we catch up, which we won't, or we go nuclear.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634445)

Solar can't solve all of our problems. Nuclear is a much better solution than most of the alternatives we presently have. No matter how you label it, it's an improvement that we don't have to use forever. Why can't we use both? Because you want to stick with even worse solutions until we're ready for some hypothetical future solution to present itself?

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (4, Interesting)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 8 months ago | (#45634521)

And how much CO2 and other environmental damage would there be from covering vast swaths of land with solar panels? The manufacturing process is filthy, the disposal process even worse, and it results in more human lives lost than nuclear.

Nuclear can scale up very easily and rapidly. It merely requires the balls to bring down the miles of red tape standing in the way of building new reactors and reprocessing their waste. It handles base load and we know that it works because we've been using it for decades. If you want to bet the farm on something, bet it on something we already know works. As for the fuel, CANDU plants can already breed fuel from thorium and it can use MOX fuel including the weapons-grade plutonium from all those decommissioned nuclear weapons we have laying around.

There's plenty of fuel, waste is ridiculously tiny and low risk if you reprocess the fuel, it scales very well, and we know it works for all kinds of load. Why you'd want to bet human civilization on something new that's more damaging to the environment, causes more human fatalities, and has many unknown risks associated with it is beyond me, but I can say that it won't scale to what we'd need without obscene amounts of environmental damage and unknown risks to the overall climate.

The real solution involves using proven safe, clean technology on a larger scale.

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (1)

russotto (537200) | about 8 months ago | (#45634685)

Meanwhile, Germany is implementing soloar and energy efficiency and is AHEAD of its targets.

And how long, and how much aluminum and concrete, does it take to build a 1GW solar plant?

Re:Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634861)

It takes about five years, lots of concrete = lots of CO2 emissions, to build a 1GW reactor. You'd need to complete about one per week for the next 35 years to replace ONE-SEVENTH of the energy we now get from fossil fuels. Finish one reactor per week. Good luck with that.

What a crock of shit. Two can play that game. Taking your argument, we'll just run the numbers: 35 years x 52 weeks x 1GW per week = 1820 GW of installed nuclear capacity. Considering the standard nuclear capacity factor of 0.95, this comes to 1729 GW of net installed capacity. Now let's try the same math using the largest wind turbines there are (Enercon E126 @ 7.5 MW) and the standard wind capacity factor of 0.35: 1729 / 0.35 / 0.0075 = 658666 wind turbines. Even if I grant you that you'll complete 10 of these monsters a day (just the tower is 135m tall and foundation plus tower weigh in excess of 5000t - a few of these will dwarf the requirements for concrete in a nuclear power plant), you'll need over 180 years to achieve what with nukes would take only 35.
Next time, think your arguments through before you makes yourself look like an idiot.
Oh and before you accuse me of strawmanning you by talking about wind instead of solar, if anything, I was being kind. Solar has an even lower capacity factor (0.2), wildly varying outputs throughout the year (easily 5-10x variation) and manufacturing has a horrible ecological impact. Even the vast majority of german newly installed renewable capacity is wind (even they know it's mostly a marketing gimmick).

passionate (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#45634353)

In case anyone is wondering what James Hansen's passionate side looks like, here a relevant quote:

It makes me wonder: Do you hate science? Did your mother beat you with a stick and say this stick is science? I'm just kidding, but it is bothersome that you seem to have swallowed a lot of anti-nuclear propaganda.

Re:passionate (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634747)

Nice, now if he stopped believing in this climate change fairy tale, he might have half a brain.

Re:passionate (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | about 8 months ago | (#45634959)

Yeah, it's a shame, he's losing all credibility here...
Overconfident nuclear apologists are much worse than clueless anti-nuclear activists.

it is all about context (4, Insightful)

Todd Palin (1402501) | about 8 months ago | (#45634365)

If you ask questions about our energy future from a nuclear context, you will get nuclear answers. If you think about it from en environmental viewpoint you get environmental answers. If you think about it from the economic perspective you get economic answers. If you think about it from the renewable context you get renewable answers.

Unfortunately, the solar industry looks at the issue from the context of huge solar power plants instead of dispersed solar installations. That is where the money is. If the solar energy issue is addressed from the dispersed solar context it looks way different. Imagine empowering businesses like WalMart to cover every store with solar panels. Imaging requiring every new home to have solar panels. Imagine retrofitting all the appropriate buildings in the country with solar panels. Imagine the hydroelectric power plants changing their generation schedules to generate at night when solar power goes away, instead of in the day like they do now when demand is highest.

This can be done much quicker and more cheaply than the nuclear path. It takes twenty years to get a nuke online. Dispersed solar can be online in a year or so. The cost of solar panels comes down almost every day. If you think dispersed solar, the equation changes on everything.

Re:it is all about context (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#45634579)

Imagine empowering businesses like WalMart to cover every store with solar panels.

Ok, so, what is stopping them now?

Re:it is all about context (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634639)

Why would WalMart install solar panels, for which they have to pay the full cost themselves, when they can burn fossil fuels and socialize the cost of fixing the resulting problems?

Re:it is all about context (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 8 months ago | (#45634961)

Actually, Walmart has solar panels on a number of their facilities, and has for 20 years. They do it for both green-washing and because it has a positive return on investment.

Distributed generation is an important concept for both efficiency and reliability.

The simplest way to push for rooftop solar is to change the structural design codes so they must add 5psf dead load for solar panels in every building.

Re:it is all about context (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634809)

Walmart has a lot of solar on its roof and is saving money!

Re:it is all about context (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#45634759)

Imagine a world full of solar tax subsidies. If you ask in a political context, you get a political answer.

Today, the price point of solar depends on those subsidies. take them away and one of two things will happen: Solar will fall flat on its face. Or the supply-demand curve will shift to a point where non-subsidized solar will make sense. Until that happens, the cost will stay high enough (and the payback low enough) that the only place solar will pay is in the magic fairy land of subsidy. And that is subject to manipulation in our present government system.

Re:it is all about context (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | about 8 months ago | (#45634987)

Sure, but to be fair, the fossil fuels would need to stop to be subsidized too. And you would need to apply the "you pollute, you pay" principle too, without forgetting the fossil fuel CO2 releases.

Dear great-grandkids: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634435)

Sorry we used up the planet.

Maybe if our economy wasn't based so totally on consumption, we would have left less waste around on land, in the water, and in the air.

Maybe we should have reconsidered when we bought that twentieth pair of cheap shoes shipped from China, or had those watermelons trucked in from Florida.

Maybe our house shouldn't have been so very big, we might have used less energy Of course, we didn't stay at home a lot anyway, because our three cars were really fuel efficient.

We did leave you a nice plastic island chain in the Pacific Sludge. That's what you call it now, right?

Anyway, we had a great time, and we wish you the best of luck.

Oh, we've enclosed paper copies of "A Canticle for Liebowitz" and "L.A. 2017" for you to read, because they might be relevant.

We love you,

Your great-grandparents

Re:Dear great-grandkids: (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#45634693)

My grandparents generation left Europe as a smouldering wasteland for their children to sort out.

LFTRs most intriguing nuclear option (3, Insightful)

wherley (42799) | about 8 months ago | (#45634473)

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

What makes them interesting is being able to "burn" up existing nuclear wastes. So use LFTRs to clean up existing long term nuclear waste and get power as a byproduct.

This explains a lot . . . (1)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#45634483)

I always thought Kermit was more of a "Cerenkov" green than a "frog" green. . .

Ultracrepidarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634649)

Dr. Hansen is out of his field, out of his depth, and is rapidly becoming an embarrassment to all.

If nuclear is so safe, why does the US still need the Price-Anderson nuclear industry indemnification act or whatever the correct name is? We should let the Invisible Hand of the Free Market set the proper insurance rates for nuclear plants. If they can't compete in the energy marketplace while paying their fair share of insurance then let them go out of business.

Right now there are nukes being shut down because they can't compete with the glut of natural gas from fracking, and they're essentially getting a free ride on insurance. Something isn't adding up.....

Nukes good theoretically; practically, not so much (0)

kevin lyda (4803) | about 8 months ago | (#45634829)

Nukes are theoretically safe and efficient. As I understand it, there's not enough known uranium sources on Earth to power the world, but in conjunction with solar, wind, hydro and bio-fuels (preferably from waste) there's enough.

Unfortunately, theories don't build nuke plants. Corporations do. And we can't manage to regulate large retail stores to make them behave in a socially responsible way, why do we think we can regulate a giant power company? Japan generally comes across as a competent, long-term thinking country. And yet even their political culture couldn't prevent fraud and corruption in the building of their nuke plants.

Until our political systems can effectively regulate large corporations, I'm opposed to nuclear power. The theory's great, but so far I don't see designs that can survive large-scale corruption.

Blame "Greenpeace Physics" (GP) for Global Warming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634887)

For the last several decades, there has been a hideous lie propagated on the world. With the best of intentions, Greenpeace started out to protest nuclear weapons and educate the world about the dangers. But they failed. Not in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Which they didn't. Not in preventing massive damage to the worlds ecology. Which they didn't. Not in protesting nuclear weapons. Which they did. No, Greenpeace failed the world by getting hijacked by environmentalists. They did, however, succeed in proving that environmentalists cannot do basic math or understand basic physics.

GP states that long half-life radioactive materials are more dangerous than short-half life materials because they are "radioactive for longer," while reality states that radioactivity is based on the number of radioactive sub-atomic particles released in a period of time. This period of time is defined as "half-life", and the amount of radiation released per "mole" of a compound over time "T" can loosely described as "amount*(time/half-life)" So, given 1 mole of Pu-239 (half-life of 24K years) or 1 mole of caesium-137 (half-life of 30.17 years) will both release 1/2 mole of radioactive sub-atomic particles over their half-lives. So, obviously, the caesium-137 is the more radioactive material.

GP states nuclear power is bad. If you think about it, this is an arguable point. Nuclear reactors don't release greenhouse gasses. They provide a huge amount of power with little waste that is easily contained.

One of the things that believers in "Greenpeace Physics" do not want you to know is that the sum total Curie count of all the radioactive material released in every single nuclear bomb blast, stored in every single nuclear reactor or cooling pond, and released in every nuclear accident in HISTORY is less than the Curie count released every 6 years by the world's coal fired power plants. Yes, fly-ash is radioactive. And burning coal generates huge amounts of green house gasses. And their waste goes everywhere.

If Greenpeace had - instead of blindly fighting atomic energy in all shapes and forms - fought to make every nuclear reactor as safe and efficient as possible, it is just possible that we would not have loonies on both sides of the cultural divide arguing over what is causing Global Warming.

U.S. Navy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45634971)

If the Navy is willing to put reactors in places that have a a high chance of being attacked then I don't see why we can't build more plants. So far we've had three meltdowns in the past 50 years and the world hasn't ended. It's time to take a 1950s technology and actually start using it.

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