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I absolutely agree that nuclear is our best option as long as the reactor and the waste is located in your backyard.



I'd be happy for it all to be in my backyard.

I don't know how small those Toshiba[1] mini reactors are, but I'd happily have one of those in my garden if it fits.

Or any modern design right next door to me.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba_4S


Was curious how long the reactor is designed to last, seems the answer is 30 years:

https://www.fastcompany.com/1594671/bill-gates-goes-nuclear-...


Yep, I think I'd still have one. I think the UK learnt a few lessons from the mess of Sellafield. The clean up associated with that is pretty harsh.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-26124803

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-21298117

etc etc.


Please build one in my backyard. Jobs, cheap power, no guilt over CO2 when I crank my AC. I'm all in.


I would live next to a warehouse full of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synroc


It frustrates me as an Australian, that our government scientists invented Synroc, and we have vast amounts of uranium, and probably the most geologically stable continent on earth, but no energy creating reactors.


They aren't nearly as dangerous as the popular opinion would have you believe.

There has been only a single incident that I'm aware of (Chernobyl), all others were near incidents (Three Mile Island, Japan, etc...).

In fact, the technology and safety has come a long way since the 60's. Most US Navy ships are nuclear powered, and have not had incidents (and these are designed to go to war and survive). Japan was hit by multiple severe earthquakes and tsunamis (even at the same time!) and managed to keep the reactors from having an incident (this has got to be close to the worst possible case).


> all others were near incidents (Three Mile Island, Japan, etc...).

I would hardly call Fukushima [0] a "near incident." It's considered on the same scale as Chernobyl [1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disa...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Nuclear_Event_Sc...


> I would hardly call Fukushima [0] a "near incident."

I called it a "near incident" because there was no meltdown, and the issue was resolved without having to permanently evacuate any area around the plant.

Essentially they got it under control, and given the circumstances it took to get the plant into that situation in the first place, I'd say it's a flagship example of how far Nuclear safety has come.

Today Japan is activating even more Nuclear power plants.


> there was no meltdown

Except that there totally was a meltdown.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disa...

* http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/201706-muon-scans-confirm...

* http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/09/29/fukushima-watc...

> the issue was resolved without having to permanently evacuate any area around the plant.

Except for the 20 mile exclusion zone that is still in place.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_reaction_to_Fukushima...

* http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/1...

I'm not an anti-nuclear person by any means, but let's not sugarcoat this disaster. It was bad.


permanently evacuate any area around the plant

This is simply false; there is an area which remains evacuated. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3263714/Destroyed-ma...


There are still areas that are evacuated with no plan for humans to return in the near future:

http://fukushimaontheglobe.com/the-earthquake-and-the-nuclea...


> It's considered on the same scale as Chernobyl [1].

Which is a fucking scandal and really pisses anybody who knows anything about radiation off.


The Fukushima exclusion zone is still dozens of square miles where upwards of 100,000 people have had to abandon their homes and businesses.. That's a decent approximation to what happened in Chernobyl. Clearly there was much more radiation released in Ukraine but that doesn't mean the area around Fukushima is safe..

Here's a map; http://i.imgur.com/EBEnCUa.jpg


Nor does the existence of an exclusion zone mean it isn't.


That's pretty much exactly what it means.. They have actual measurements of environmental radiation.. In anything orange or red, you're looking at a minimum of 20mSv/year which is about 1/2 of the annual dose limit for US nuclear workers.. In the deep red areas, you're looking at more than 50mSv/year which is approaching the level of increased cancer incidence. Nobody is going to live in those areas for a very long time.


Nobody is going to be allowed to live in those areas for a very long time. That doesn't mean it isn't safe to live there. It means an overcautious government won't let people live there. You even said yourself the highest levels outside the plant grounds are only approaching the levels of increased cancer incidence. So, what other than abundance of caution and paranoia about radiation is keeping people from returning?


Are you honestly arguing that dozens of mSv of radiation annually are safe? That big bad government is preventing people from doing what they want?

50mSv is approaching the level of guaranteed higher incidence of cancer -- If you lived in the exclusion zone, you'd be receiving that every single year for the rest of your, and your childrens' lives.

Canada did a survey a few years ago of all their nuclear workers, at much lower levels of lifetime radiation (<7mSv), there were significantly higher levels of nearly every type of cancer.[1] Now imagine receiving multiples of that dosage every single year in perpetuity.

The relative lack of cancer deaths in Ukraine wasn't due to 'safe' fallout, but due to the fact that they just closed entire cities and forced everyone within a thousand square miles to leave.

[1] - http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/153/4/309.long


> Canada did a survey a few years ago of all their nuclear workers, at much lower levels of lifetime radiation (<7mSv), there were significantly higher levels of nearly every type of cancer.

However, this holds for practically every worker near industrial equipment. Steelworker cancer rates used to be off the charts--the old saw at Bethlehem Steel was "nobody ever retires from the car shop"--you wound up dead before retirement. (car shop being a place where they made railroad cars).

IBM used to remove (probably still does) pregnant women from their semiconductor fabrication jobs because IBM had data about birth defects. Remember, most fabrication line tools are completely sealed, and the air is some of the most filtered stuff on earth. So, is it the presence of something causing the problem or the absence of something causing the problem? Nobody knows, and the company is sure not going to take any risk to find out.

So, you not only have to show higher rates but also show that it was due to the radiation and not something else. That's a very tall order.


> http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/153/4/309.long

And yet you leave out an important point directly in the abstract:

> The following significant results were found for males and females combined: a deficit in the standardized incidence ratio for all cancers combined

This makes me suspicious as it probably means we have too little statistical power so that an increased elevance in one or two rare cancers skews the numbers.

It also includes the 1950's in its analysis. And, let's face it, we weren't that far from people playing with plutonium spheres. It was in the 50's when people started to get serious about nuclear safety.


> Are you honestly arguing that dozens of mSv of radiation annually are safe?

Yes, I am (despite the downvotes). The average background dose at sea level is 4mSv/year. A chest CT scan is 7mSv. The EPA has declared that 50mSv/year is perfectly safe exposure for nuclear, and any other, workers.

> That big bad government is preventing people from doing what they want?

I shouldn't address this, but I feel the need to. Your snide "big bad government" crack implies you think I'm putting a political spin on my arguments. I'm not.

> 50mSv is approaching the level of guaranteed higher incidence of cancer

No, 50mSv is approaching the 100mSv threshold for conclusive evidence of increased cancer risk.

> If you lived in the exclusion zone, you'd be receiving that every single year for the rest of your, and your childrens' lives.

Please stop the vapid appeals to emotion. This is totally unscientific and the root cause of why the general public freaks out unnecessarily over radiation.

> Canada did a survey a few years ago of all their nuclear workers, at much lower levels of lifetime radiation (<7mSv), there were significantly higher levels of nearly every type of cancer.[1] Now imagine receiving multiples of that dosage every single year in perpetuity.

I will have to look at that paper in detail when I get home. My quick skim though shows you many have misread it. The dosages presented are annualized numbers, not "lifetime".[1]

> The relative lack of cancer deaths in Ukraine wasn't due to 'safe' fallout, but due to the fact that they just closed entire cities and forced everyone within a thousand square miles to leave.

And the relative lack of terrorist attacks in the past 14 years wasn't due to terrorist attacks being hard, but due to the TSA and full-body scanners. You can't prove causality for a lack of events based only on a correlation.

[1] "Doses from the individual workers' various types of exposures have been combined into 'annual doses,' which are the basis of calculations in this study."


> The EPA has declared that 50mSv/year is perfectly safe exposure for nuclear, and any other, workers.

So when a government agency declares a radiation dose safe, the measurement is immediately to be trusted, yet when it declares them unsafe and creates exclusion zones it is "overcautious"?


And even today there are areas even in Germany where you can’t eat mushrooms or eat boars because they are still having residue radiation from chernobyl!


I still stand by my statement that I think a lot of the public reaction to Fukushima was overblown (as a resident of Germany and a supporter of NPPs, I am biased ;) ). Have to admit I falsely remembered the radiation levels being lower by a factor of ~5 (additional radiation).


The same scale as Chernobyl? Chernobyl irradiated whole countries and caused thousands of deaths. Fukushima isn't even within a couple of magnitudes of irradiation.


They are both considered Level 7 events by the IAEA [0], the highest level. I imagine it's a bit like the difference between category 5 hurricanes. Some are bigger and more destructive than others, but that's where the scale tops out.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Nuclear_Event_Sc...


There were only 31 direct deaths, and it did not "irradiate" whole countries except in the most technical sense of the word.


Are you kidding? Even if you completely ignore the radiation, the amount of disruption caused by the disaster caused a huge amount of pain, suffering and death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_the_Chernobyl_disas...


I live in souther Germany. Because of the Chernobyl incident almost 30 years ago, it is still not completely safe to eat mushrooms and wild boar from the local forests. Nor is this going to change in my lifetime. This makes me very sad and quit a bit averse to the prospect that this might happen in Europe again.


> They aren't nearly as dangerous as the popular opinion would have you believe.

Great! I'm glad that you are volunteering your backyard as the storage facility :)


> Great! I'm glad that you are volunteering your backyard as the storage facility :)

(I see you're new to HN, so your sarcasm can be excused. Just note it won't get you great responses from most HN'ers...)

You might be surprised... most major cities have a nuclear plant nearby (in the US they are mostly shut down at the moment, but are in ready state to re-activate if needed).

I live near one -- even when it was active. I've swam and canoed in the cooling water reservoir (a man-made lake), and I'm not glowing green...

They don't explode or anything... the worst case scenario would be a Chernobyl-like incident where a radius would have to be evacuated... however that scenario is very unlikely to play out in modern times (Chernobyl occurred mostly because the Soviet government was far more interested in containing the story rather than containing the meltdown, leading to a series of wrong choices being made).


I'd much rather have a nuclear plant in my back yard than a coal plant, or even a natural gas plant, much less some uber-noisy bird-killing wind farm of an equivalent capacity.




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