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foo_bar_foo 02-15-2006 12:05 AM

nuclear energy
 
premise: oil has reached peak production and is now it's production is in its falling phase down to all recoverable oil is eventually recovered. This is based on the work of many prominent geologists and oil people and an obvious fact so no debate on that issue. Like evolution its just a fact of nature.
Pump all the junk out and use it -- junk gone.

second idea: the only proposed solutions are bunk like oil shale, tar sands, ethinol from biomass, hydrogen, all that junk flatly uses more energy to produce than it creates.

given the peak of world oil production and now begining declines as time goes by we are quickly in deep crap.

so it might be posible to develope alternatives that work -- for instance use the remaining oil to make zillions of solar panels but no one is even trying and thats not a short term fix but a long term fix.

also since releasing of all the stored atmospheric carbon from the carboniferous era trapped in the carbon sink we call fuel oil is obviously trashing the planet.

only solution is nuclear energy. (nuclear energy can only solve part of the problem)
of course like everything else energy we have dropped the ball on this one big time as well. not developed and implemented new good clean idiot proof systems.
(they have already been invented) and not explored the obvious benefits of hybrid fusion fision reactor technology.
fear of nuc energy is sometimes cited as an excuse but is it really. The only valid fear of course is the fear that goes with all buisness adventures. profit first, product second, people- life and safety always last. This is true of all things. Check out US new organic laws. what a joke. take away peoples ability to identify product purity by farting around with the labeling laws you harm people. i digress. anyway can be fixed with government regulation (yea right).

why is nuclear technology so ignored when it is the only possible solution or certainly a large component in the only possible solution? short of going back to the stone age. and why is the US always trying to stop everybody from advancing in this field while playing on peoples somewhat misplaced fear ?
all i hear on the news now is Iran centrifuge this and centrifuge that like Iraq alluminum tubes.
OK so we will have more oil wars. Middle east ,poor souls, just happen so be sitting on huge oil reservers but war might even make much of the recoverable oil unrecoverable.(ie. warmakers are realy realy stupid) (like shoot your hunting buddy stupid) And of course no one knows better than Iran that the pump will stop dripping someday.
so whats the deal about all the nuclear crap. just scare tacticts to anex Iran and Iraq and have them join Saudi Arabia as a part of US ? or is there something more to it?
centrifuge extracts U235 the active ingredient in fueling an energy reactor.
bombs on the other hand can be made out of lots of junk including hydrogen.
what gives as motive for all the not moving forward with implementation of nuclear energy? any ideas. wild conspiracies welcome. Will the sith leaders destoy us all even as they claim to make us safe?

primo 02-15-2006 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by foo_bar_foo
fear of nuc energy is sometimes cited as an excuse but is it really. The only valid fear of course is the fear that goes with all buisness adventures. profit first, product second, people- life and safety always last.

Where do you leave Chernobyl ? How can *all* the nuclear reactors be safe from accidents, terrorists attacks, earthquakes ?

Then the next big one will inevitably come: how to safely dispose the waste ?

What do you use on civilian cars ?

The only true conspiracy theory is that oil companies are doing everything they can to make sure they'll make a profit until the last drop.

Fireball7 02-15-2006 03:41 AM

Interesting post, foo_bar_foo. I agree with much of what you said, and you too primo. My only problem is:

Quote:

This is based on the work of many prominent geologists and oil people and an obvious fact so no debate on that issue. Like evolution its just a fact of nature.
Where's the proof? We may run out of oil next month or next century (though I don't think it'll take that long ;)). The only thing we do know is that we ARE going to run out. On one hand, the economies will take huge hits, and we can imagine what will happen. On the other, we'll be forced to drive electric (or alternative fuel source) cars, thus (perhaps?) saving on not buying gas, and reducing emissions greatly.......Interesting world..

SaintsOfTheDiamond 02-15-2006 09:11 AM

I agree that we need to be finding viable alternatives right now, but I don't know if nuclear is the only option like you imply. Why can't we use renewable energy sources like ethanol? Not only is it cleaner, safer (than having millions of nuclear reactors driving around) and makes us no longer dependent on foreign nations, it (at least in the US) would buoy our economy twice over since the producers (the farmers) and consumers would be directly contributing to the same economy. I realize this may not have the same appeal in other places like Europe, but is apying $4-$5-$6 a gallon for gas really that appealing? Honestly I don't know as much about this stuff as I should, but that's my :twocents: FWIW.:cool:

baldy3105 02-15-2006 10:24 AM

I think maybe the radioactive by-products that remain fatal to human beings (and almost anything else) for hundreds of thousands of years is a bit of a negative in this argument.

HappyTux 02-15-2006 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by baldy3105
I think maybe the radioactive by-products that remain fatal to human beings (and almost anything else) for hundreds of thousands of years is a bit of a negative in this argument.

This one always makes me laugh you do know that a few coal fired power plants puts out about as much radiation straight into the atmosphere as all the nuclear plants in use today combined. At least with a nuclear plant you have the radiation contained in a confined space not spread across the countryside.

vharishankar 02-15-2006 11:30 AM

Quote:

This one always makes me laugh you do know that a few coal fired power plants puts out about as much radiation straight into the atmosphere as all the nuclear plants in use today combined. At least with a nuclear plant you have the radiation contained in a confined space not spread across the countryside.
The difference is that nuclear radiation is definitely different from other kinds of radiation. It is extremely high energy, high frequency radiation. Gamma rays can mutate cells and destroy life irreversibly. The effect is permanent. The damage is permanent.

Apart from that, most of the nuclear fuels used today are also *chemically* extremely toxic being very heavy metals ("heavy" in the strictly scientific sense, not the common usage).

With lower energy radiation, it doesn't have permanent effect. The pollution of carbon combustion is definitely not in the same league as the pollution of nuclear fuels. Burning carbon is only a chemical process of low intensity level. The nuclear fission process is extremely high energy and intensity.

You cannot compare the chemical process of combustion with the nuclear process of fission. One is at the molecular level and the other is at the atomic level.

I have read about the effects of nuclear radiation on human beings and it makes even the most strong-stomachs turn over. It's sickening just to read descriptions of radiation sickness.

johnson_steve 02-15-2006 12:20 PM

My $.02

1) We do in fact know how much oil is left and where it is. the worlds oil reserves have been mapped by satalite. we have enough to last a couple hundred years a the current rate of consumption.

2) Chernobyl is a bad example. Safety hasn't exactly always been the rusians top priority has it. We are talking about the country who regularly sent people into space without spacesuits of any kind.

3) A modern reactor has almost no emmisions the cooling water (the only thing that actually comes in contact with radioactive material) can be recycled indefinitely, and the fuel can be burned over and over again until all that's left is something so benign that you make sure to keep it near your children all the time: Do you own a smoke detector? guess whats in that. Am241 which is made from spent U235 from a nuclear reactor.

"This device contains .8 micro curies of Americium 241, a radioactive material and is distributed under US NRC NO. 32-23858-01E"

johnson_steve 02-15-2006 12:55 PM

[QUOTE=johnson_steve]My $.02

1) We do in fact know how much oil is left and where it is. the worlds oil reserves have been mapped by satalite. we have enough to last a couple hundred years a the current rate of consumption.

2) Chernobyl is a bad example. Safety hasn't exactly always been the rusians top priority has it. We are talking about the country who regularly sent people into space without spacesuits of any kind.

3) A modern reactor can have almost no emmisions the cooling water (the only thing that actually comes in contact with radioactive material) can be recycled indefinitely, and the fuel can be burned over and over again until all that's left is something so benign that you make sure to keep it near your children all the time: Do you own a smoke detector? guess whats in that. Am241 which is made from spent U235 from a nuclear reactor.

Off the one in my 2yo. son's room "This device contains .8 micro curies of Americium 241, a radioactive material and is distributed under US NRC NO. 32-23858-01E"

vharishankar 02-15-2006 11:19 PM

Quote:

Off the one in my 2yo. son's room "This device contains .8 micro curies of Americium 241, a radioactive material and is distributed under US NRC NO. 32-23858-01E"
Johnson-steve, the single example of a by-product of nuclear reaction does not cover the whole story.

As a matter of fact, not being radioactive alone is not the sole criterion for judging the by-product of a nuclear reaction. Also the chemical toxicity of some of these elements play a role in their disposal. Keep in mind that some of these byproducts are artificial heavy metals and have no place in nature. They are extremely toxic chemically and cannot be disposed of safely.

The fact is that nuclear fission reactions are inherently "dirty" because they involve very heavy metals which are artificially created by the fission process and the mere fact that they aren't radioactive doesn't mean they are safe to dispose without a problem.

Apart from that the by-products of a nuclear power plant vary tremendously depending on the kind of reactor used, the kind of fuel and also the process of the reaction itself. There are just too many variables out there to pronounce all of them "safe".

The only "clean" nuclear energy might be fusion involving light elements like hydrogen or carbon, but unfortunately the technology to create and sustain a fusion reaction is still in its infancy and also it requires a fission reaction in the first place to produce enough heat to start the fusion process in the first place. Also controlling a fusion reaction is a mystery that scientists are still working on.

Quote:

Chernobyl is a bad example. Safety hasn't exactly always been the rusians top priority has it. We are talking about the country who regularly sent people into space without spacesuits of any kind.
Chernobyl might be a bad example but its always better to assume the worst-case scenario as far as nuclear technology is concerned, because Chernobyl actually happened and showed us a glimpse of the real implications of a major nuclear accident. The hazards are very real and mind-boggling no matter how safe the reactor might be. I don't believe in the 100% safe theory. Every plant almost always has 0.1% chance of accident and that's enough for me as far as nuclear accidents go. The fuels used, the danger of radioactivity in case of a leak, the problem of waste disposal are all being swept under the carpet by governments which are too eager to use this technology without understanding the implications. As far as nuclear energy is concerned, I don't mind pessimism... it's far better than a dangerous optimism which might end up in a worse situation than Chernobyl.

Keep in mind that the very architects of nuclear technology had serious misgivings about the "gift" they had given to the world. These were all hard-headed and extremely intelligent scientists, not politicians.

Nuclear science is an extremely complex area of technology and our knowledge exceeds our understanding of its implications even today.

danimalz 02-16-2006 03:30 AM

Let's get one thing clear:


The most pressing issue about oil is not how long it will last.

The most pressing issue about oil is that demand for it is increasing faster than production. (this causes wars)

These are two facts. If anyone reading the above two sentences cannot (immediately..) see the problem, then they (you) should (immediately) get an education.

***

Nuclear energy:

It is safe.

It is cleaner than coal, oil, or any other significant source of reliably delivered energy.

You and your family are far safer living next to a modern-designed nuclear powerplant every single day than you are driving next to a truck filled with petrol, or ethanol, or hydrogen, for an hour in highway traffic.

The more 'radioactive' a substance is, the quicker it becomes less so, and therefore it can be managed. The nuclear waste issue is a non-issue. This is very, very old science by the way.

Growing crops to produce energy (ethanol, methanol) - on its own, and even with government subsidies, is a bad business plan. Don't believe in it, and don't invest in it.

Every other 'Green Scheme' to produce energy such as wind, geothermal, hydro, tides, ocean currents, used vegetable oil... ... fun, I will agree - but a bunch of crap.

***

My take:

1. The oil issue is bigger and more dangerous than you think. (you like to eat, right?)
2. There are no real alternatives to oil today, none.
3. Nuclear fission energy technology is a potential solution for
the short term (couple hundred years, maybe, and only if we embrace and advance it now).
4. Solar Energy technology can fill in some gaps, and seems to be improving.
5. The best, most promising Nuclear Fusion technologies are years (DECADES) away from being practical.
6. Conservation and improved efficiency of energy delivery and consumption are far more important today, now, than any imagined alternative to oil, or any media-hyped snake-oily, greeny, hydrogen-economy fantasy.

...but there is a lot of, (really), a huge bunch of coal.

So don't worry!
Cheers,
Danimalz

vharishankar 02-16-2006 04:42 AM

Quote:


Nuclear energy:

It is safe.
It is inherently unsafe because of the valid, scientific reasons I mentioned. I'm an Electrical Engineer and I naturally studied about Nuclear power plants. No matter how safe the reactor is, you're always handling potentially hazardous substances that could have serious, irreversible impact on humans and the environment and also the energy levels of the processes involved are mind-numbingly huge.

It sounds "cleaner" when we discuss it on an online forum, but believe me, these substances are not only radioactively dangerous, but also chemically highly toxic. Nothing like coal or oil.

Agrouf 02-16-2006 05:20 AM

The sun is radioactive and sun rays are radioactive.

JunctaJuvant 02-16-2006 06:41 AM

Quote:

The sun is radioactive and sun rays are radioactive.
Indeed, outer space is a safe place for nuclear reactions. So are you trying to suggest we build nuclear reactors in space? What a wonderfull idea! And then we collect the energy in huge batteries, which are then sent back down to earth in space capsules. Electrical bills are going to run a little high though. ;-)

vharishankar 02-16-2006 07:50 AM

Quote:

The sun is radioactive and sun rays are radioactive.
Ultraviolet rays have less energy and frequency than Gamma rays. But even we know what overexposure to UV rays can do to human beings.

Gamma rays are deadly though. Make no mistake about it. Extremely high frequency and high energy.

The sun's radiation is so diffused thanks to our protective atmosphere.


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