Nuclear Power: Bring It On

I was on my friend Vincent’s blog and he linked to a post on another blog that I found quite interesting and worth passing along. The topic? Nuclear power, and the blog post author has a cheeky exchange with himself about the “evils” of nuclear power. Turns out that from 1970 to 1992 there were 32 total deaths related to nuclear power. Deaths related to coal? 6400. Hydroelectric? 4000. Natural gas? 1200 deaths. Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? Nuclear power has a perception problem, and changing people’s perceptions about something is a long and difficult task. Someone has to start doing it though, because nuclear power is the future of electricity generation. Yeah, solar and wind power are nice and all, but they can’t scale properly because they need space (wind) and have high distributed costs (solar panels on every house would be expensive). I’m no environmental expert, but when I look at rising food costs that (apparently) are partially due to farmers selling their crops to be used in bio-fuel, I see a big red flag: it makes no sense to save money on fuel but pay more for food. As a planet we need to rely even more on electricity, and we need to use nuclear power to generate that electricity cheaply and cleanly. Read the article for lots of great reasons why.

  • Vinny

    People are worried about something go wrong nuke plant go boom.

    The problem with that, really, is that nuke plants don’t go boom. They go sizzle. And even then, they’re mostly contained. Chernobyl did more damage to people’s perceptions of nuclear power than it did to the Ukraine. Okay, maybe not, but you know what I mean.

  • I agree and have been telling people for years that nuclear power is the way to go. It is clean, cheap, and extremely safe. Do you know how stringent the safety and security guidelines are? They are contained in volumes and volumes and are actually enforced at the plants. There were a couple of major errors a long time ago, but the industry is much different today than it was back in the 70s. Doesn’t France successfully use nuclear power for their major power needs?

    Why can’t we get it going here in North America?

  • T-Will

    That was a great article/”interview”! I especially like this quote “We use radiation to heat Hot Pockets.”

    Here’s an interesting article regarding Chernobyl: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

    Chernobyl happened because of a bad reactor design and an inexperienced crew performing an experiment.

    I’m guessing reactor technology should have gotten better in the past 22 years and would definitely support the construction of more nuclear reactors. I didn’t realize that France generates 80% of its electricity from nuclear power.

    Why aren’t the environmentalists pushing for this?

  • Why don’t we see more nuclear power? I have this sad feeling that it’s because the generation that were adults back in the ’70s for scares/problems, and indeed the same generation that lived through the worst of the cold war and nuclear fears with Russia, are still the generation alive now that has lingering fear over nuclear power. No matter how safe you make it, the people of that generation still have a strong negative reaction to the word “nuclear power”, and they’ll vote it down whenever communities have to vote on getting a nuclear power plant in their area (even if it’s far away). It happened here in Alberta – they were going to build a plant in the northern part of the province and, if I recall correctly, it got voted against by the closest community, even though it was far away. Everyone is worried about being down-wind when that meltdown “happens”.

    There are a lot of things that will change when my parent’s generation passes away and I’m the “old” generation – the pace of world-wide change is going to acclerate rapidly about 30 to 40 years from now. But until then, it’s going to be pretty much the same old, same old.

  • Cold Flame

    I agree 100% with you Jason. It is most certainly our parents that are preventing this from happening. Our generations are much more receptive to nuclear energy and I definitely agree that there needs to be some major changes. Perception is that it’s so unsafe and so dirty. It is very safe, and yes, its bi-product is very dirty, but it can be dealt with. The more nuclear plants that exist, the more companies/people will be working on the problem of nuclear waste. Eventually there will be a surefire solution to treating it.

    Slightly off-topic, but you all may want to check out this link. In particular the pieces pertaining to Chernobyl. I read it over a year ago and have it bookmarked. It’s about a girl who takes her Kawasaki Ninja and rides out to near the Chernobyl site, etc… through all the rubble, etc… It is very interesting and sort of sobering as to what happened there. Also really neat to see how nature has taken over and rebounded. Radiation levels are still extremely high, but in time that will start to dissipate.

    Go here to read it: http://www.kiddofspeed.com/default.htm

    The site is laid out quite poorly and is a little confusing to navigate. I believe someone from Bootnetworks has taken over the site just because she couldn’t afford the bandwidth costs, and since then I’m not sure it’s really been udpated. Let me know what you think!

  • T-Will

    Cold Flame, yeah I remember reading through her log and looking at the pictures a few years back, it’s a pretty interesting read.

  • buzzard

    I am one of those 70’s adults and also lived through the entire cold war and I have no idea why nuclear power isn’t used more because it should be. I don’t agree that it’s a generational reason. People picture a coal mine collapse as a local disaster but they think a mushroom cloud or “China Syndrome” meltdown is an enormous disaster. I believe that if people don’t want a cell phone tower erected near their house aren’t going to want a nuclear power plant down the street either. (By the way I live about 20 miles from a nuclear plant and work about 8 miles from it).

  • chrisgohlke

    Solar is actually a great long term solution, but the up front costs are kind of prohibitive. I priced it out and a system will pay for itself, but it will take close to 20 years. If you are doing new construction and roll it into your mortgage, it can actually generate positive cash flow from day one. I’d hoped to install solar panels this year but decided to put it off a year since it looks like there might be some developments in the pipeline that could really reduce the costs. If advances continue, in 10 or 20 years I can see solar being fairly common on new construction.

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  • nim

    hey!
    I have no idea who you are and I found you because of the tattoos ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm not into them either, I was just surfing, as most people do.

    Anyway, the bit about the dog is horrible. It was probably an act related to the retard, who filmed the drowning of a baby cat. I signed the facebook petition for the dog – I also hope Guillermo is the subject in the next exhibit.

    About nuclear power – you are right, it is safer when it comes to using it, the problem comes with long-term effects. Once the uranium is too depleted to boil water (nuc. stations are glorified tea kettles/steam engines), then they have to get rid of it. Some plans include burying it in the Canadian shield – for the most part we don't know where it goes. But when you get rid of it, that's when the problems start. The local areas will definitely be radioactive for a long time.

    Your ideas about wind and solar are partly correct – they do take space. One thing people also don't consider is that wind power, if done on a large scale, takes away enough energy from wind, we can change the weather!! (we basically convert wind to electricity, but energy is conserved – if you make electricity, then the wind slows down). Personally I don't know the long-term affects of this, but I can tell you that they will be improving wind/solar very shortly. I'm working with some of the companies who are taking serious steps to improving these renewable sources. So, keep an eye out ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good blog – short, but good topics!
    Ciao!
    Nim

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