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Nuclear energy for future citizens

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Nuclear reactors (Image: Fast Company)

Over the last two days I had a pleasant exchange with a 7th grader from California who wanted to know more about nuclear energy for a school project. He asked me about a dozen questions on nuclear power and I answered them. It was instructive to realize how I needed to formulate my own words to make sure my responses were simple, brief and intelligible to an intelligent middle schooler. Although a few big words have inevitably crept in I think I have kept the majority of answers simple and straightforward; it was certainly a fun thing to do.

One thing that struck me was how cogent and clear the questions are. They are certainly a testament to the thoughtful consideration which my correspondent and his parents have given to the topic. But it also struck me that they are exactly the kinds of questions which curious laymen who know little about nuclear power may ask (another one of those instances where an intelligent 7th grader is quite a match for an intelligent adult layman). So I added a few of my own and answered them too. I think cases like these where you are constrained to give short and simple answers to scientific questions are not only a good exercise in improving your own understanding of topics but are also a good resource for public education. As Niels Bohr used to say, whatever you want to explain you should be able to explain using plain language.

I do hope that more middle schoolers consider science and engineering careers in energy in general and nuclear energy in particular; responsible future citizens who tackle the energy crisis head on are crucial to this country’s development . Here are the questions and answers, in no particular order.

What are reasons that prove nuclear energy is not the best alternative to replace fossil fuel?

A: Nuclear energy is actually a pretty good replacement for fossil fuels. It emits very little CO2 and other pollutants and provides a lot of energy from a very small amount of fuel. It also generates a very small amount of waste. Compared to this, coal and oil produce a lot of air pollution and waste and you also need a lot of them to generate electricity.

Despite the low cost of running a nuclear power plant, will the expensive cost of making the nuclear power plants make people think about not funding for the nuclear power plants? Why?

A: The expensive cost of nuclear power plants comes from the very long time that is needed to build them; one reason they take so much time to build is because you want to ensure that they are safe, which is a good thing. However there are new power plant designs which promise to shorten this time and reduce the expense. There is especially a new and exciting reactor called the “small modular reactor” which is small and quickly built. In addition you have to balance the cost of power plants against the cost of electricity from them (which is quite low), the small amount of pollution that they cause and the other benefits which they provide over fossil fuels.

Are there any other alternatives of energy instead of nuclear energy?

A: Yes, some other alternatives to nuclear energy include geothermal energy (energy derived from heat inside the earth), solar and wind energy. All these sources are promising but since the sun does not shine all day long and the wind does not blow all the time, they cannot provide as reliable and powerful a source of electricity as nuclear energy. In addition the technology to use these alternatives on a large scale is still not highly developed. Also, natural gas is a somewhat better alternative than coal and oil since it releases fewer greenhouse gases.

Why might there be a risk of dangers when using nuclear energy?

A: The risk of using nuclear energy comes from the possibility that radioactive elements might be released into the environment. However nuclear power plants are very carefully built to prevent such releases. Nuclear energy has a very good safety record and hundreds of nuclear power plants all over the world have operated for more than fifty years without any serious accidents. Even the two worst nuclear accidents in history (Chernobyl and Fukushima) have harmed very few people compared to the pollution from fossil fuels. In fact there are people and animals living around Chernobyl who are in excellent health.

Can nuclear reactors in nuclear power plants have a harmful affect on humanity if ever any mistakes happen? Why? Does the radiation coming from the nuclear power plants be a major down side of using nuclear energy? Explain.

A: Yes, a release of radiation from a nuclear reaction can have some harmful effects on the health of human beings. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the radiation can affect cell division and can potentially lead to diseases like cancer. However nuclear reactors have been constructed to a very high safety standard. Only two nuclear reactors out of several hundred (Chernobyl and Fukushima) have had serious accidents, and all the research done until now tells us that the radiation released from them has harmed very few people compared to pollution from fossil fuel plants and other accidents such as mining and automobile accidents. Thus nuclear power has had very little harmful effects on humanity until now.

How can the unsolved problem of nuclear waste disposal affect the use of nuclear energy?

A: The problem of nuclear waste disposal is challenging but it is not unsolved. For starters, the total amount of nuclear waste from all reactors is extremely small and can be placed in a 3 meter pile on a single football field. In addition only a small part of that waste is long-lived. Thus we can separate that part from the short-lived waste which will disappear soon. We can also use some of the waste in generating more electricity from nuclear reactors.

Is nuclear energy the best replacement to fossil fuel? Why or why not?

A: Nuclear energy is certainly one of the best replacements for fossil fuels. It generates a lot of energy from a very small amount of fuel, emits very little CO2 and other harmful pollutants and has a very good safety record. In fact it has saved a lot of lives in the past which may have been lost had we built fossil fuel plants instead of nuclear reactors. The problem of radioactive waste is challenging but can be solved if we separate and re-use the waste.

Will the high amount of security needed at nuclear power plants play a role on the dangers of producing nuclear energy? Why?

A: Nuclear power plants don’t need as much security as you would imagine. The fuel used in nuclear reactors is not easily accessible if someone wants to steal it. In addition the fuel is highly radioactive so anyone who tries to steal it runs the risk of being greatly harmed by the radiation. Thus security at nuclear power plants by itself will not pose a problem in using nuclear energy.

Will there ever be a safe way to produce and use nuclear energy? Why or why not?

A: Yes. The nuclear energy that has been produced in the last fifty years has been very safely produced and used. There is also a lot of new research going on into reactors that are even more powerful, smaller and safer. We will always have to make sure that we don’t accidentally release radiation from a nuclear reactor, but until now we have been very successful in preventing a deadly radiation release so there is little reason to believe that things will be different in the future.

Why are some people afraid of nuclear power?

A: People are generally afraid of things they can’t see and touch, such as radiation. In addition you hear a lot about the rare nuclear accident in the papers compared to the more frequent car accident or shooting because of which many more people die. In addition many people are not very familiar with the advantages of nuclear power and thus are suspicious of it. Also, some folks think of nuclear bombs when they think of nuclear reactors although the two are completely different; a nuclear reactor can never explode like a bomb.

How does a nuclear reactor work?

A: A nuclear reactor is basically a machine for generating heat. The heat comes from the splitting of the nuclei of atoms in two elements: uranium or plutonium. The heat is carried away by a coolant like water which is used to drive a turbine that generates electricity.

How are nuclear reactors made safe?

A: Many factors contribute to a safety of a nuclear reactor. The nuclear material itself is very well shielded and the reactor is covered with a huge dome that will not allow radioactive material to escape. There are also many backup systems that prevent radiation release; if one fails another takes over. Nuclear power plants release very little radioactivity during their normal functioning; in fact you get more radioactivity from eating a banana than by living near a nuclear reactor! Many people in the US and all over the world live nuclear power plants without any problems.

Can the material from a nuclear reactor be stolen by a terrorist to make a bomb?

A: It would be highly unlikely for a terrorist to steal material from a nuclear reactor and make a bomb with it. The material is usually very well shielded, it is contaminated with other undesirable materials which have to be separated, and the amount of radioactivity is very high. A terrorist would risk his life when stealing such highly radioactive material, and the time it would take for him to do this would probably be more than enough for the police to get there and capture him.

Is all radiation bad?

A: No, all radiation is not bad, only high levels can sometimes cause harm. One important thing to remember is that radiation is not something only associated with nuclear power; we are surrounded by radiation at all times. We get radiation when we do an x-ray test, when we travel in airplanes and when we eat bananas. These low levels of radiation are all safe for you; so are those that you get from living around a nuclear power plant.

Ashutosh Jogalekar About the Author: Ashutosh (Ash) Jogalekar is a chemist interested in the history and philosophy of science. He considers science to be a seamless and all-encompassing part of the human experience. Follow on Twitter @curiouswavefn.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. dennisbaker 1:30 am 05/8/2013

    Promoting an Integrated Resource Management Solution to Climate Change

    http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/GHG-emitters-2010.jpg

    In my opinion

    We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

    At a scale required to accomplish this task :

    Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

    Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

    Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

    Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

    Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option

    All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/DennisearlBaker/2012-a-breakthrough-for-r_b_1263543_135881292.html

    The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

    Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

    Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

    Reducing illness / health care costs as well !

    Dennis Baker
    Penticton BC V2A1P9
    cell phone 250-462-3796
    Phone / Fax 250-492-0033

    Link to this
  2. 2. Dev Randhawa 7:51 am 05/8/2013

    Good article. There are a lot of myths about nuclear energy that still exist which makes plain speaking, fact-based posts like this one so important.

    Dev Randhawa
    http://www.devrandhawa.com

    Link to this
  3. 3. Carlyle 8:37 am 05/8/2013

    Excellent. Only by shining the light on ignorance will we hold back what really is akin to superstition.

    Link to this
  4. 4. OgreMk5 10:04 am 05/8/2013

    Well done!

    Link to this
  5. 5. Paxus 11:16 am 05/8/2013

    Sorry, but this feels a bit like two 7th graders talking to each other about nuclear power. Claiming that nuclear power takes a long time to build because of safety issues is denying the fact that the vast majority of reactors both worldwide and in the US took far longer than expected to complete, because the vendors lied about construction times and project cost to sell the project. This strategy has been working well for decades and is being employed in the US now for all the reactors which are under construction.

    Reactors are only good replacements for fossil fuels in a world which ignores real renewables, which are now faster and cheaper to install than reactors almost everywhere (Germany is using solar and wind power to replace closed reactors, despite having quite poor renewable resources in that country).

    Even the pro-business economist magazine has written off nuclear power (except in totalitarian states) as “too expensive to matter”. See http://funologist.org/2013/04/13/the-drift-away-from-nuclear-power/

    Link to this
  6. 6. David Ropeik 1:18 pm 05/8/2013

    Wonderfully done. Quite interesting to note the perspective behind your 7th grade correspondents questions; all fearful. Depressing too. Someone taught him/her those fears.

    Link to this
  7. 7. M Tucker 2:14 pm 05/8/2013

    I have some follow-up questions. Since I am not a nuclear chemist or nuclear physicist please treat my naive questions as you would a 7th graders.

    With regard to nuclear waste, do you regard spent fuel rods as nuclear waste? If not, why?

    Why do we always hear about overcrowded spend fuel rod pools? Why are they not cleared out before new rods are added?

    How dangerous is the radiation from spent fuel rods?

    If some of the waste can be used to generate more electricity why are we not using it?

    Do we currently have the type of reactors that can use this waste?

    How expensive will it be to separate this reusable waste, construct the needed reactors, and begin to use it?

    Will those modular reactors be able to use the waste?

    How many small modular reactors are needed to equal the electric output from a typical nuclear reactor?

    You said, “security at nuclear power plants by itself will not pose a problem in using nuclear energy.”

    But, what happened at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant? What happened at Oak Ridge recently? Doesn’t that indicate that current security is lacking and we need to spend more?

    What if a terrorist just wanted to blow-up a spent fuel pool? Wouldn’t that create panic and fear of a radiation leak? Even if the leak was minimal wouldn’t people still panic? Isn’t panic what terrorist want to create most?

    If solar is so problematic, so intermittent, so unreliable, how is Germany making it work?

    Link to this
  8. 8. curiouswavefunction 3:02 pm 05/8/2013

    M Tucker: Good questions. There’s a lot of them so I will have to be brief.

    With regard to nuclear waste, do you regard spent fuel rods as nuclear waste? If not, why? – Yes, spent fuel rods are regarded as waste. However there is unused uranium and plutonium which can be re-used.

    Why do we always hear about overcrowded spend fuel rod pools? Why are they not cleared out before new rods are added? – Some of them are cleared and put into dry casks. But due to complicated political reasons there is no reprocessing or burial of spent fuel in the US.

    How dangerous is the radiation from spent fuel rods? – It can be quite dangerous, especially if the fuel rods are fresh. However water does a good job of shielding the radiation.

    If some of the waste can be used to generate more electricity why are we not using it? – For complicated political reasons including an unrealistic danger of proliferation, the US stopped reprocessing waste. Japan and France have done it for a long time with no proliferation incidents.

    Do we currently have the type of reactors that can use this waste? – Not in its current form. But the separated uranium and plutonium could technically be used by any present reactor.

    How expensive will it be to separate this reusable waste, construct the needed reactors, and begin to use it? – Japan and France have facilities costing a few billion dollars. It’s a large upfront cost but it goes a long way.

    Will those modular reactors be able to use the waste? – Yes (again, as long as the fissile material is separated).

    How many small modular reactors are needed to equal the electric output from a typical nuclear reactor? – A small modular reactor can have a capacity that is anywhere between a third to a fifth of a “regular” 1000 MW reactor.

    You said, “security at nuclear power plants by itself will not pose a problem in using nuclear energy.”

    But, what happened at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant? What happened at Oak Ridge recently? Doesn’t that indicate that current security is lacking and we need to spend more? – I am not aware of these incidents. I cannot see however why security at nuclear plants would be need to be as much as security at seaports or airports.

    What if a terrorist just wanted to blow-up a spent fuel pool? Wouldn’t that create panic and fear of a radiation leak? Even if the leak was minimal wouldn’t people still panic? Isn’t panic what terrorist want to create most? – Possible but highly unlikely, very risky and too complicated. A terrorist is much more likely to use planes or blow up bombs near a marathon…

    If solar is so problematic, so intermittent, so unreliable, how is Germany making it work? – Germany is a good example of how solar energy can be potentially used. Solar in Germany benefits from massive subsidies. Also, intermittency of solar and wind power has caused blackouts. In addition Germany consumers are getting higher bills. Per capita energy consumption in Germany is also half of that in the US so demand is lower. I would wait fifty years before declaring that it has “worked”.

    Link to this
  9. 9. sault 3:41 pm 05/8/2013

    wave,

    Define “massive” subsidies that renewables benefit from in Germany. You do know that the feed-in tariff is basically a surcharge on a consumer’s electric bill and that it amounts to less that 5 eurocents per kWh, right? And please link to a source backing up your claim that intermittency has caused blackouts.

    You do know that over the past 10 years, the “Big 4″ electric utilities in Germany have increased their profit margins by 700% and that, while gas in North America has gotten a lot cheaper, Russian gas has continued to stay expensive, raising electricity prices in Europe? So, those higher bills are not entirely attributable to renewable energy programs. What Germany has showm is that a coherent and committed energy policy can affect profound change…and they aren’t even closed to finished yet!

    Link to this
  10. 10. CarefulReview 4:02 pm 05/8/2013

    @9. sault

    “Define “massive” subsidies that renewables benefit from in Germany”

    > $130 billion ( http://tinyurl.com/7cfuns9 )

    Link to this
  11. 11. M Tucker 4:38 pm 05/8/2013

    Ash, thank you for your answers. I learned more than I already knew from your post and I learned more from your answers to my questions. But, I still don’t know why spent rod cooling pools are overcrowded. They always seem to be. That troubles me.

    I am somewhat mollified by your answers to the waste issue but I wish we didn’t seem to have so much around, that it seems to be leaking and that we cannot find a secure and safe location to put it.

    I am troubled by this: “I cannot see however why security at nuclear plants would be need to be as much as security at seaports or airports.”

    So, we need to spend less on security at nuclear power plants than seaports and airports. That just sounds silly. Less? Seriously?

    I am troubled by this: “A terrorist is much more likely to use planes or blow up bombs near a marathon…”

    So having a coordinated group take lesions and hijack 4 planes is less complicated than infiltrating Oak Ridge with C4? Well a group of peace activists got into Oak Ridge and were only found when THEY went looking for a guard. I would have thought you could have googled Oak Ridge or Watts Bar.

    Since Sault got to the solar in Germany follow-up I will not go into it but the 50 year thing indictes contempt prior to investigation.

    Don’t wait on the news. Google for what you are interested in or concerned about. That’s how I get my information…I look for it. Waiting on the editors at USA Today or CNN is a complete waste of time. Keep in mind Woodward and Bernstein would not have looked into Nixon’s tapes if Ben Bradlee hadn’t told them to do so. The tapes are what brought Nixon down. Today’s editors pale in comparison to Bradlee and even he made mistakes.

    Link to this
  12. 12. sault 6:41 pm 05/8/2013

    Careful,

    Lomborg is an idiot that peddles misinformation wherever he goes:

    “In WSJ op-ed, Bjorn Lomborg urges delay with misleading stats.

    •In 2003, a Danish government committee found Lomborg guilty of scientific dishonesty.

    Lomborg’s statements on wildfires, drought, hurricanes, and economics are all extremely misleading.

    •On wildfires, Lomborg references only the number of global fires. Length of active wildfire season and total area burned are considered much more accurate metrics, and both have increased significantly along with global warming.
    •On drought, Lomborg is right that some areas across the globe have become more severely droughted, while some have become less so. This is consistent with climate predictions: dry areas get drier while wet areas get wetter. Lomborg implies that these changes simply cancel each other out, and can thus be ignored. In fact they are often devastating due to crop losses in the droughted areas and flooding in the wetter areas.
    •On hurricanes, Lomborg references Accumulated Cyclone Energy, which is still under debate as a way to measure overall hurricane activity. He also references a projected decline in damages as a percentage of GDP without stating that damages are increasing, just more slowly than GDP.

    Straight from the scientists:

    “Lomborg loves to play the nit-picky ‘I’m the honest statistician’ role and then use this stance to imply that doing much of anything except R&D is a waste, ignoring the huge body of evidence that pricing GHG emissions can have large net benefits. We need to be putting a substantial price on our GHG emissions either with a cap and trade program or with a tax. AND we should be investing heavily in R&D on reducing the carbon and energy intensity of the economy. I’m quite sure that most economists, Republican and Democrat, would agree with these statements.”

    – William Shobe, Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies and a Professor of Public Policy at the University of Virginia

    “Using number of global fires as a metric of climate-induced wildfire dynamics is wrong, in that most fires globally are human-caused for agricultural clearing. The better metrics are length of active wildfire season, which has increased by about 2 months in the western US in the last 40 years, and area burned, which has also doubled … Future projections indicate a dramatic increase in area burned.”

    – Steven Running, Regents Professor, Forest Ecology, College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana, and Director of the Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/25/1495691/bjorn-legacy-lomborg-urges-climate-inaction-with-misleading-stats-in-murdochs-wall-street-journal/

    Link to this
  13. 13. Quantumburrito 8:02 pm 05/8/2013

    sault: I find it interesting that you take this opportunity to call Lomborg an “idiot” but don’t objectively address Lomborg’s points in the piece that CarefulReview pointed to; instead you go off on a tangent about something totally different which he said. To me your comment looks like the very definition of “ad hominem”, attacking the person and smearing him instead of attacking the argument with facts.

    Link to this
  14. 14. brock2118 9:50 pm 05/8/2013

    Not to the honorable Harry Reid: Harry, can we start using the Yucca facility we spent billions on already?

    Link to this
  15. 15. SilverTusk 9:59 pm 05/8/2013

    Quantumburrito,

    “To me your comment looks like the very definition of “ad hominem”, attacking the person and smearing him instead of attacking the argument with facts.”

    I agree. Not once did sault address the facts, but instead chose to attack the person. Many extremists employ that form of logical fallacy.

    Link to this
  16. 16. sault 11:08 pm 05/8/2013

    Lomborg has a reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts. He’s a stealth climate denier, calling himself an environmentalist while peddling polluter propaganda in an effort to give it some legitimacy. He seems to love energy R&D while hating the deployment of clean technology, the perfect plan for coal, oil and gas companies.

    His hit-piece in Slate uses loaded words and is basically another concern-trolling screed the likes of which we hear on these boards constantly. Here’s the debunking of his silly claims I didn’t have time to post before:

    “Now, onto the matter of the day, Lomborg’s recent claims (read: myths and lies) about solar energy in the midst of Germany’s move to scale back its solar PV subsidy policy….

    Germany Solar Feed-in Tariff Cut

    There are a handful of reasons why Germany is cutting its solar feed-in tariff policy so quickly and dramatically. As Susan noted the other day, though, the big one is that it cuts into rich and influential utility companies’ bottom lines. It’s also related to the extremely fast and unpredicted drop in the cost of solar PV panels, but it’s really mostly because of the effect that is having on the utilities.

    “New solar installations of a record 7.5 GW in 2011, far outpacing the country’s 2.5 to 3.5 GW plans, have cut into the business model of German utilities,” as Susan notes.

    “Increasing the amount of solar power on the grid has actually lowered peak electricity prices (How the merit order effect works) but it has generated a backlash among German utilities, who are having their bottom line hurt by solar competition….

    Lomborg makes the claim that Germany’s increase in solar PV is going to result in a massive spike in electricity bills.

    First of all, we’ve written on the documented evidence that solar PV reduces electricity bills, since it produces the most electricity at peak demand when baseload power is already stretched and producing new electricity costs the most.

    Solar power is already cheaper than fossil fuels and nuclear. Solar’s levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) may not be, and if that’s the only thing that matters to Lomborg, his claim that solar is more expensive than coal, natural gas, or nuclear, might be right. However, if you look at a couple of important factors, solar is already cheaper.
    First, I know folks like Lomborg don’t like to do this, but if you take the true cost of all energy sources into account (including health costs not included in the LCOE), solar is already cost-competitive (and subsidies to support solar adjust for failures in the market that leave out those important externalities).”

    http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/02/solar-energy-myths-lomborg/#lkrXY9yI5SuSFv0k.99

    Lomborg also complains about solar not working at night. So what? This is a classic red herring fossil fuel apologists bring up constantly and it doesn’t matter. Energy demand rises in the day and solar is there to meet it. Lomborg also downplays the potential future damages of climate change to a ridiculously low level while doling out estimates for the costs of action on reducing climate change that are way too high.

    Nobody in the renewable energy field or environmental policy takes him seriously anyway. His main goal is to confuse people about the urgency of the climate situation and downplay any competitors that might reduce fossil fuel company profits. His strategy works when someone gets suckered by his nonsense and posts in on a discussion board like what happened here.

    Link to this
  17. 17. Carlyle 11:26 pm 05/8/2013

    12. sault 6:41 pm 05/8/2013
    You think that is an unbiased report? Without even reading it I see in the title a sneering reference to the Murdock press. By the way, Rupert Murdock believes in AGW. He does not however censure his reporters or commentators.

    Link to this
  18. 18. CarefulReview 5:53 am 05/9/2013

    @16. Sault,

    “His hit-piece in Slate uses loaded words and is basically another concern-trolling screed the likes of which we hear on these boards constantly. Here’s the debunking of his silly claims I didn’t have time to post before:”

    “loaded words”?

    Are you referring to terms such as “hit-piece”, “concern-trolling screed”, or “silly claims”, to select 3 from the same paragraph in which you accuse him of using them?

    If it were true that “Solar power is already cheaper than fossil fuels and nuclear”, then subsidies would not be needed to make it a competitive alternative.

    It is also customary when copying verbatim another’s publication to indicate that by using quotation marks ( “ “ ) around the words that you copied.

    Is this how you wish the world to see “environmentalists in action” – as pots calling the kettles black – in 570+ word copy-and-paste rants?

    Link to this
  19. 19. SilverTusk 8:59 am 05/9/2013

    sault,

    You followed your 400 plus word ad-hominem attack with a 500 plus word copy-and-paste rant.

    Your situation has not improved.

    Link to this
  20. 20. curiouswavefunction 10:30 am 05/9/2013

    M Tucker, if you are referring to the Catholic nun’s break in at Oak Ridge and the shooting of the guard at Watts Bar, from what I can tell they did not have any access to the nuclear material.

    Link to this
  21. 21. M Tucker 1:43 pm 05/9/2013

    Ash, my point is should we reduce our spending on nuclear security and wait until a terrorist is successful, keep our security spending the same or maybe increase our spending on security? I would come down on the side of increasing spending on security to make it much more difficult for anyone to penetrate into a facility and if a penetration is successful it is immediately noticed by security.

    Link to this
  22. 22. curiouswavefunction 4:10 pm 05/9/2013

    #21: I agree with you there.

    Link to this
  23. 23. GuestPosting 9:46 pm 05/10/2013

    (1) The U.S. doesn’t even need nuclear energy.

    According to this Lawrence Livermore chart, nuclear energy only provides 8.26% of U.S. energy.

    https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2012/Oct/NR-12-10-08.html

    (2) That 8.26% can easily be conserved and they could begin decommissioning every nuclear power plant.

    (3) The U.S. uses more Renewable Energy than nuclear energy, and Americans are using more higher-efficiency energy technologies which means they end up using less energy.

    (4) Over 50% of the energy created in the U. S. is WASTED due to inefficiencies (waste heat, etc.)

    http://phys.org/news/2011-04-energy_1.html

    To summarize…

    …with a little conservation, more efficient energy technologies, and more renewable energy…the U.S. could be a truly independent Energy country, slashing their reliance on fuels like oil, coal, or uranium (nuclear fuel), and easily shutting down their 100+ nuclear power plants.

    And this is what Americans want.

    Did you see the latest Gallup poll?

    Over 70% of Americans want more SOLAR and WIND energy. Next they like Natural gas, and coming in LAST is oil, nuclear and coal.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/161519/americans-emphasis-solar-wind-natural-gas.aspx

    Link to this
  24. 24. Carlyle 12:45 am 05/11/2013

    The Gallup poll did not ask them what they thought about German consumers paying twice as much for their power as US consumers & even then that they have the luxury of being able to buy extra power from neighbouring countries when they need it. Some of it nuclear generated. Where would the US buy back up power from? Mexico? So did the poll ask them how they felt about putting up with blackouts in severe winter or hot summer days? Just minor omissions I admit. Oh & did Gallup tell them that all the new wind capacity operates at less than 20% efficiency & even then not necessarily when it is most needed. It is easy to get favourable polls if those who are being polled are not first aware of the facts.

    Link to this

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