That is a rhetorical tactic that kind of misses the point - it's not that weapons reactors produce fundamentally leakier waste than civilian reactors, it's that the military has a long history of not disposing of dangerous chemicals the right way. It happens with non-radioactive toxic waste too and a lot of bases and the areas around them are contaminated.
If you want to use this as an argument for the safety of nuclear waste disposal, you would have to explain why the armed force's problems with waste disposal are specific to them and will never spread to regulated private industry. (P.S. the history of that is not great either and you might end up arguing that something which has already happened never will.)
No, it's a plain statement, not a "tactic". Power plant waste is different from weapons waste, and disposing of power plant waste has never been a real problem. She's talking about power plant waste because one major barrier to replacing climate changing coal fired power plants is the usual indoctrination people face regarding nuclear waste, with no distinction drawn between power plants and nuclear weapons waste.
Talking about weapons reactors or the military not disposing of chemicals properly is entirely irrelevant to the article and the discussion at hand.
Germany has been trying to find a location to safely dispose power plant waste for about 40 years or so. All the solutions so far didn't work out , they are still searching.
If you have a recommendation that actually works, I am sure they'd be happy to hear it...
Between 1988 and 2008 32 new entry points were recorded. In 1996, the BFS notified the Bundesumweltministerium that there was a risk of severe radioactive contamination if the mine ran full of water and that further investigation was urgently required.
Hardly a long term solution.
If power plant waste was handled as badly as weapons waste was historically, it would be a problem. That's all I am saying, really.
Same for e.g. plastic waste, food waste, or just about anything else. Military developing weapons tends to make a mess, which is why most countries are trying to change that.
This is conveniently forgotten whenever the subject of breeders is used to deflect from the lack of U235
My point being, usually when waste disposal is an issue in the military, its not necessarily because the military doesnt care. Its because the process to do things properly became to grueling for people to put up with (not right, but it happens). Sometimes that grueling process is from big Navy, sometimes it is because DC1 had a bad day and making your day a pain in the ass somehow makes him feel better.
The water is going to take all of the people who did it right, and all of the people who did it wrong, and average their actions together into a single number, the amount of contamination. On the other side, although an individual person can decide whether they're going to make disposing of those batteries easy or a bureaucratic power trip, when you are at the top and are going to fill 1,000 positions like that, you know in advance that some of them are going to be awful about it. So, from the top like from below, individual personal decisions become fixed quantities. Sending out 1,000 people and allowing 250 of them to make the independent personal decision to do it wrong is really the same thing as doing it wrong yourself, because it's guaranteed to happen.
That's essentially the story behind why you should think about accidents as an institutional problem even when they involve bad personal choices on the part of the people who did them. That One Guy is actually hundreds of people and although you can't tell in advance whether one person will do it you know that out of thousands, hundreds will.
I imagine that batteries, for one, would tend to sink to the bottom of the ocean (if not gulped up by a large animal), and would thus cause highly concentrated local contamination. It would really depend on exactly where the batteries were thrown overboard on how much damage each one caused.
Otherwise I agree with what you're saying.
Over here every municipality has a center where you can just hand in any domestic waste unsuitable for the trash can. It's a bit inconvenient because you have to go out of your way, but it is definitely quite doable.
And electronics can be handed in at any store which sells electronics, which includes stores like the equivalent of Walmart or Home Depot. You'll be going there anyways, so it's literally zero extra effort.
But I do know in my community, more awareness needs to be raised. Every year I get 3 fliers through out the year for garbage disposal, they really should send out 4. The 3 I get every year are, when we can burn lawn garbage, free dump day and when they do christmas tree pick-up. They should send out a 4th one once a year to just say, "hey these are the locations you can take your e-waste to."
Aren't food cans typically plastic lined?
So inconsistent. Literally trashy if true.
It tends to be a lot harder to detect too. With radioactive waste, we're fortunate to have very cheap and extremely sensitive instruments that can detect the tiniest leaks. This allows the nuclear industry to be held to a much higher standard than most other industries.
This is also the reason we can say with a high degree of confidence that first-world militaries have actually been very good at handling nuclear waste for a while now. The Manhattan Project era and a few years after that were very messy, but they have demonstrably cleaned up their act and figured out how to do things safely. Meanwhile the non-radioactive chemical pollution continues largely unabated. Never live near a military base if you value the well-being of any children you might have.
The military has no problems detecting the chemicals that get leaked around bases, taking soil samples might be more expensive than walking around with a Geiger counter but it's well within the budgets of even local municipalities. The problem is that they don't really care all that much. Even something as simple as "standing far away from the pit where you're burning plastic," a practice that even law-breaking rural trash burners can manage, was too much for them in Iraq, shows you something about their institutional culture.
Even they will be hard pressed to detect chemical polutants at the extremely low concentrations that radiation can be trivially detected. But also, they know what to look for. What about everybody else in the area who don't even know what they should be looking for in the first place? With radioactive leaks it's easy, but DOW's chemical catalogue is thicker than a phonebook; you've got to be looking for something in particular or looking for half a billion different things all at once.
*Edit: Except when they do.
Hence, chemical pollution very often goes unnoticed for decades until somebody starts to wonder why half the babies in town are born without brains.
There was even a case where alarms were sounded when a power plant worker was found to be radioactive due to radon in his home, which triggered detectors at work. The general chemical industry doesn't operate with anything even remotely close to this degree of care.
In addition to the requirement of a more active approach needed to detect ground/water contaminants there are also a larger variety of pollutants that are harmful. Many of these need specific tests, which can consume your samples. Of course we can do pretty good guesstimates for what we should look for, but we do need to recognize that the process is both more fuzzy and more involved. We can grow these projects by making them cheaper, but that's a tall order (it is happening though).
Edit: I do want to note that most radiation detection devices do not distinguish between types of radiation. These differences do matter in danger levels. This can add complications the above but there is a decent signal that is still useful. But as with everything, some expertise and domain knowledge is quite important.
Anything like that radioactive source from Australia would set of tons of alarms in a nuclear power plant. You wouldn't get it out the door. Incidents like that missing radioactive source in Australia happen where there are far fewer safeguards than at a nuclear power plant. Those sources generally go missing from abandoned medical equipment, food irradiation facilities, and that sort of thing. You'd be hard pressed to smuggle (let alone accidentally convey) something like a spent nuclear fuel pellet out of a power plant.
Not quite true. There are pretty big and active citizen based radiation detection projects [0,1,2,3]. The reason for this is that radiation monitors are quite cheap now and the same people who build weather systems often connect a geiger counter. They're cheap and sensitive since the gov spent so much money trying to detect radiation from space, across borders, and even the smallest traces on people (to detect spies, scientists, etc) all from the Cold War. There are also citizen based communities monitoring water and soil, but this does require more work from the participant. They have to go out and collect samples. Processing can be both expensive and quite a bit of work. This isn't the same as hooking up a $100 device to your weather station, which is a leave and forget type system.
We should note that both these communities are far more active in regions where there are greater dangers (history of nuclear sites/projects, oil facilities, military bases, etc). I'd also like to thank both these communities and others like them. They're all doing important work.
Why would you compare commercial nuclear energy production to the military scenarios, which have a completely different legal, supervisory, penalty and authority structure?
Because the article took away their usual talking points regarding "nuclear waste bad" and "dangerous for 10,000 years!".
They're moving the goalposts to "You can't argue that nuclear waste disposal from power plants wouldn't cause a problem because the military doesn't dispose of most things correctly and private companies are probably just as bad or worse than the military, therefore you're wrong."
Which doesn't make much sense.
As nearly everyone here has pointed out, it not only doesn't miss the point, it _is_ the point, and it's not rhetorical, it's a statement of fact.
Weapons waste is completely different to power-plant waste. That's the whole point of that sentence.
Fukushima Daiichi. In case those two words aren't enough to jog your memory:
> "leading to releases of radioactivity and triggering a 30 km (19 mi) evacuation zone surrounding the plant"
> "the Japanese government approved the dumping of radioactive water of this power plant into the Pacific Ocean over the course of 30 years."
I'm hopeful that when/if fusion reactors become prevalent that we will prioritize burning up the fusion waste radioactives. https://cns.utexas.edu/news/fusion-fission-hybrid
But, of course, that's an if: https://www.science.org/content/article/fusion-power-may-run...
A minuscule amount of tritium, dumped into an ocean that has billions of tons of uranium dissolved in it. This Fukushima water issue is a perfect example of people letting emotions overrule rational thought.
(And then marine life enters the room, accumulating this while ignoring that, and all those carefully raised math models, simulations and speeches fall like a house of cards).
Yes, I get that nuclear power scares people, which is why we should put aside our emotions on the subject and just deal with the facts. We've had decades of empirical evidence about nuclear safety at this point.
Zero radio-logical related deaths from Fukushima. And zero deaths in all history from all other civilian nuclear waste.
It sounds scary. "Radioactive water!" But it's not an issue. How many will die or have shortened lifespan from this? Let me know and we can add it to the zero above.
> And zero deaths in all history from all other civilian nuclear waste.
It's rare, but happens:
> September 30, 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
> Two of these workers died.
"Inadequately trained part-time workers prepared a uranyl nitrate solution containing about 16.6 kg (37 lb) of uranium, which exceeded the critical mass, into a precipitation tank at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokai-mura northeast of Tokyo, Japan. The tank was not designed to dissolve this type of solution and was not configured to prevent eventual criticality. Three workers were exposed to (neutron) radiation doses in excess of allowable limits. Two of these workers died. 116 other workers received lesser doses of 1 mSv or greater though not in excess of the allowable limit."
I said "stored well and safely without issue".
You find 2 dead workers from an industrial accident over a 70 year history that was not actually about nuclear waste but was a fuel processing and fabrication facility making fuel for experimental reactors. Not civilian power reactors. 
Even if you included it (which clearly it's not related to waste so shouldn't) it would still be the safest and best managed waste of anything we have!
The exclusion zone is not nuclear waste. It is interesting though because a lot of research after the event seems to show that the evacuation and such a large exclusion zone was a mistake and we should evacuate less in such events. But in the moment I get everyone was scared and didn't have a good idea of what to do.
This is fine, you can have your thread dedicated solely to waste. Though I do think that waste reprocessing should also be included in such a thread.
As to the more general matter, people aren't concerned so much with waste, as with everything about nuclear power. Including "accidental waste" such as that caused by the Chernobyl civilian reactor failure.
Yes, I'm glad we're designing and building meltdown-proof reactors.
The long-term waste, regardless of how it originates (whether from conventional waste, decommissionings, or what have you) needs to be processed such that people a hundred, thousand, ten thousand years from now don't have to do anything special about it.
I think this can be done. But without stringent, real-time regulations I am not confident industry, or even government, will do what's necessary.
Still a trillion dollar clean up.
I'm increasingly of the opinion that if we want effective recycling solutions for stuff like this, one of the biggest steps we could take is strong right-to-repair laws. There should be a push for designing things in such a way that they are easy to disassemble, part out, and replace pieces of. Not only does this make things easier to fix and extend their lifespan, but it also would make them easier to disassemble for recycling/waste purposes.
Requiring manufacturers to release documentation (design, components, most common failure modes, common repairs) on their products at some point after they no longer manufacture them is probably a harder sell but would be pretty nice - trawling old forums to figure out how to repair my 12-year-old subwoofer is a pain and unreliable, and having manufacturers responsible for hosting that information would make it more consistently available.
Make repairs attractive, and cheap enough and we might not need to bring up a wall of legislation that makes market access too hard for new entrants. This could quickly develop into a game where only companies with really deep pockets are even able to produce anything.
(I work for a startup. We occasionally have to make hardware. Enabling people to repair the stuff we make is something we're happy to do. But if we had to be accountable for the entire lifecycle, that would be another thing. What happens if we go tits up?)
In regards to undue burden on companies:
> I work for a startup. We occasionally have to make hardware.
> What happens if we go tits up?
I think if you go tits up, it's the same situation as when a business goes bankrupt and leaves behind a contaminated site. But goods produced by small businesses and startups are marginal compared to those produced by big businesses. There should be strong incentives for businesses to manage the end of life for their goods, so they will attempt to recover those goods and see that they are recycled. That will also incentivize them to design products that can be recycled, and as profitably as possible.
I could not agree more. Thank you for bringing this up.
I think part of why this doesn't turn up more often when green parties try to get elected is that it isn't sexy enough. It is much more fun to imagine building new and shiny stuff or have an opportunity to strongly signal values. But something as boring as laws that would require all manufacturers to design for repairability and banning any manufacturer who even looks like they are trying to limit who can repair stuff, is too boring.
I agree: this would be a very good place to start.
A few years ago I had the same experience. It cost me $30 and 10 minutes to replace the subwoofer speaker in my 20 year old Mission home theatre, but finding the right speaker was quite difficult. I trawled forums and ended up ordering a speaker from a German manufacturer that had all sorts of speakers for specialised applications.
Most people would have just thrown out the entire setup and bought a new one, expensive and wasteful. Yet it was so trivial to fix with the right knowledge. And it sounded great, better than most setups I hear today.
It makes me wonder whether home theatres bought today will still be functioning in the 2040s. It seems unlikely as soundbars are all the rage these days which communicate over bluetooth/hdmi protocols that get superseded every few years, forcing you to constantly upgrade. Makes me appreciate the “dumb” aspect of that old setup I had.
"Vestas unveils circularity solution to end landfill for turbine blades"
Notably there are two peaks in isotopic distribution, but there are a great many species generated, with varying impact on human health if ingested, depending on whether they mimic species like calcium (in the same column on the periodic table) or are actually used (iodine in the thryoid gland for example). Note also there are some transuranics (plutonium etc.) formed by neutron capture in addition to the fission products.
The risk is that these products don't stay sealed in their cooling pond containers (note that 'spent' is hardly the right term, it's really 'too hot to safely remain in the reactor' as they're still generating lots of energy by decay of the unstable isotopes). Eventually they cool off enough to go into dry cask storage (also a long-term risk).
Usually in these discussions someone trots out a line like 'airplanes are risky, too, but we don't stop flying just because of the rare plane crash, do we?'. The answer to this is that if every plane crash created a 50-mile diameter exclusion zone that had to be kept off-limits for 50-100 years without extensive decontamination, then we'd think twice about flying (note the nuclear-reactor-powered airplane was on the drawing boards for a while).
The end result of this issue is that nuclear reactors have to be heavily over-engineered to take into account so-called 'black swan' events, see Fukushima. This inevitably raises the costs of nuclear power well above those for any other energy source, which is why many people (myself included) think it doesn't have much of a future except in certain niche situations.
There are other issues, of course - high demand for cooling water, nuclear weapons material proliferation, uncertainties over high-grade uranium ore supplies (i.e. price fluctuations etc.), and so on, but attempting to claim long-term storage of nuclear waste is not a seriously problematic issue is just blatantly dishonest.
Thing is, that's genuinely not what's needed.
You can live quite happily within a couple of miles of Chernobyl with a life expectancy difference much smaller than going from middle class to working class.
Fukushima today is even less dangerous, basically negligible danger unless you're on the plant grounds.
I'm not sure we would if planes only crashed once a thirty years. Especially if crashes were limited to experimental or old planes with known design flaws.
If every reactor accident created an exclusion zone like this that had to be kept off limits for that long, we likely wouldn't use reactors at all.
Most of the nuclear accidents that have happened don't create problems that big, only Chernobyl and Fukushima. There have been hundreds of other incidents, but almost all of those have no after effects at all.
For example, another well known accident was Three Mile Island. There were no detectable health effects from it and the background radiation was increased by 0.5% or so in the immediate area. No exclusion zone required.
> The amount of high-level waste produced during nuclear energy production is also small: a typical large reactor produces about 25-30 tonnes of used fuel per year.
That's such a propaganda way of phrasing it, because it considers the waste is essentially pure uranium you would never be able to store it like this. It is actually quite a lot.
Incidentally this is about the same amount of coal we burn per year.
> Worldwide, 97% of the waste produced by the nuclear power industry is classified as low- or medium-level waste.
So essentially the actual amount of nuclear waste is 30 times as high. It's also funny considering the later part of the argument is how highly radioactive waste is not such a problem because it decays quickly. Well guess what mid and low level wast has often much longer lifetimes and it's still as dangerous as much hazardous chemical waste.
The whole piece reads like a giant fluff piece, sprinkled with lots of nuclear industry talking points.
Who are "we"?
The US alone consumed about 545 million short ton of coal in 2021 . From what I can tell, that's in the range of 400 million m^3. Did I get the numbers wrong? (I just semi-randomly picked a converter online as I have no reference point to how heavy a cubic meter of coal is). Because that does not seem at all like about the same amount.
Regarding the calculation https://www.worldometers.info/coal/ says we are burning 1,147,083 cubic feet of coal which is about 30000 cubic meters which is about the same as a football field up to 10 yards (~50mx90mx10m).
> The world consumes 1,147,083 cubic feet of coal per capita every year (based on the 2016 world population of 7,464,022,049 people) or 3,143 cubic feet per capita per day.
So closer to a football field per person according to this. That sounds excessive to me, so I'm not sure I trust those numbers.
This  says "1 ton of coal is approximately 40 cubic feet per ton, might be a little less, might be a little more....". Using my earlier numbers from DOE, that gives 545 million short tons * 40 = ca. 21,800 million cubic feet, or ~ 600 million m^3, or ca. 1.67m^3 per capita in the US. That sounds low, but as a global average, maybe not.
They properly calculated 1.147083 tons of coal per capita per year, but then incorrectly multiplied by it 1,000,000 cubic feet per ton.
The actual conversion factor for coal seems to be 20-60 cubic feet per ton, depending on whether you use bulk density or particle density. Their per capita calculation is too high by a factor of about 15,000-50,000.
You're right that the amount of coal consumed is not similar to the amount of uranium byproduct generated. The original commenter's intuition was misled, not by uranium's density, but by its energy density. Of course there is an xkcd for this.
> The decay of heat and radioactivity over time means that after only forty years, the radioactivity of used fuel has decreased to about one-thousandth of the level at the point when it was unloaded. Less than 1% is radioactive for 10,000 years. The portion that stays radioactive for longer is about as radioactive as some things found in nature and can be easily shielded to protect humans.
But the stuff that lasts 10k years is a very different beast from the stuff that kills you quickly from just being near it. The supremely radioactive stuff tends to have a very short half-life. We can think about storage methods in very human time-frames, it's much more achievable. The other, long half life stuff needn't be stored with nearly the same extremly stringent standards, because it just isn't so extremely dangerous.
Typically: intense radiation is caused by massive presence of isotopes with short half-life, which means that they go away quite quickly.
Even the notorious Elephant's Foot in Chernobyl, made of molten core content, is now much safer than it used to be, to the degree that people are now willing to enter the room and make photos of it 
Very nice good faith representation.
According to this graph, the truth is more like 1% after 100 years, 0.1% after 10,000 years.
If we want any serious progress on Nuclear you need regulators with authority to ignore organized civilian protestation. And the only way that happens is when politicians have their backs against the wall when it comes to energy options.
The average nuclear reactor is over 40 years old(!) and well past due for replacement. So the cost is skewed by unrealistic maintenance demand on reactors that are 3 generations old because we can't politically replace them with anything other than a Natural Gas plant.
Meanwhile, renewables enjoy fast-tracking and subsidies. But keep in mind renewables currently only benefit places that are either windy or sunny. There are going to be diminishing returns as they fill up our power diet. We are still going to need power supplies that can keep New York powered in the winter. Or power that can be turned on/off to meet seasonal demand. So unless we want to keep natural gas and coal plants around indefinitely, we are going to need some amount of nuclear power in the mix.
After the Ukraine invasion, I think it's also worth considering future political instability in reactor permitting and design. I believe the molten salt reactors negate a lot of the problems we've had to consider with the Zaporozhye nuclear plant being in a war zone, but I'm not sure it comes out to something much better than solar and wind.
The micro reactors sound interesting though.
Meanwhile, the Nordics and France that when all-in on nuclear are enjoying relative energy independence.
That's 99.9% of Germany's anti-nuclear movement. The "it's just not economical" is a super recent addition (last 3 years, I'd say) to the public debate, and it feels very much tacked on. If anyone discovered a method to bring down cost, most of those who are against nuclear energy wouldn't change their mind, because that's not an actual concern to them.
Meanwhile, we are just supposed to take for granted that unforeseen technology will make energy storage and transport cheaper.
I do believe regulators have their foot on the brakes, and there are some really telling stories from people in the actual industry. The level of paperwork and scrutiny are hard to fathom for people in other industries. But right now, in the US, that is more of a Federal political issue. The AP1000 lost crucial time due to added missile shield requirements. That doesn't scream local on-the-ground public resistance. You can pin some of this nearly directly to anti-nuclear views from (let's be honestly) Democratic senators (not from the south). Federal policy both encourages and discourages nuclear, but the domestic industry was too weak, and the regulatory policy took critical hits during a formative time.
I care very deeply about addressing carbon emissions. I want nuclear to work, but that's not an argumentative hill I should die on when solar has seen costs go bananas. Maybe another human generation will change things, but from lived experience, I would bet not.
As an engineer, I admit that either nuclear or solar COULD HAVE become the backbone of our energy system. But time is out for climate action. Solar is modular, proven, and roaring. Further deployment will create a new engineering problem of storage, but we don't have time to turn that into a delay tactic. There will be solutions to energy storage, just as there are solutions to nuclear waste. Neither are cheap, but either are a drop in the bucket compared to the climate damage we face.
I think renewables are amazing and have a long way still to go, but I look at the current energy mix and it's hard to see a 100% renewables grid in our lifetime with foreseeable technology.
Citation needed? The argument that "those gosh-darn environmentalists ruined nuclear" have been countered repeatedly by simply focusing on the huge economic headwinds facing any nuclear project, while renewables gallop into an ever-cheaper future.
Even making the claim that environmental activism resulted in overaggressive regulation is hard to back up, since agencies like the NRC and IAEA are made up of mainly nuclear industry figures who are hardly anti-nuke.
Assuming you're an educated person, the question we must ask is if natural gas is viable to fill in the gaps from renewables in 2050. Given the net-zero requirement, that means a natural gas plant that puts its CO2 emissions back in the ground. That can make sense with direct carbon-capture and storage, but the problem is high capital costs totally undermine the low capacity factor which is why we use it today.
If we go natural gas CCS vs nuclear in 2050, maybe it's a tossup, but they're BOTH poorly suited for the job, if we're talking about solar at >50%. Daily storage will be solved fairly well by then, and seasonal energy storage will be the challenge. But nuclear is baseload.
There are interesting ideas like running nuclear to heat a vat of salt which is used as a means of energy storage so that it would work in a grid with lots of renewables. But that's peak smoothing over several days. Seasonal thermal storage has been written about but is basically crackpot stuff.
So I've kind of come around to seasonal storage of green hydrogen. The technology is at least focused on the right problem. Duration of storage and energy density arguments favor chemical energy, and low capital costs per nameplate capacity are the primary driver.
Burning green hydrogen is also largely not going to be needed outside of emergency conditions. Capturing the many thousands of twh per year of waste stream methane is essential anyway and can easily cover what hydro and a few hours of battery cannot.
Nuclear has been proven in France for decades. I've yet to see a medium-sized country with solar as the backbone of electricity production.
"In 2008, nuclear power accounted for 16% of final energy consumption in France"
> ...the median person doesn't really care where their power comes from when they hit a switch so long as it's cheap.
> If we want any serious progress on Nuclear you need regulators with authority to ignore organized civilian protestation.
The reason sentiment isn't going to change is because much of the situation is dictated by greed. People want cheap power, the companies want money; both are driving forces compelling them to act not in their best interest but cheaply.
Unless regulators can ignore commercial and private interests a like, then greed will always taint regulation. Which is why sentiment will never change.
There's a complete lack of trust that the industry will do the right thing and sustain it long term because it is under constant pressure to be both profitable and cheap.
The implication with both this statement and the map is that we should be comparing the total number of people who died from radiation, and the total from fossil fuels, and see which is bigger, but there are other ways of evaluating (potential) harms.
Nuclear power and other radtech is not equally common around the world, and neither are fossil fuels. In the context of promoting transition from one to the other, the important question is the relative harm of these two choices as a function of their deployment over time. There have been events from minor leaks to world-changing disasters, all of which are contingent on human factors which vary widely across time and space. So it's not clear that increasing global rollout of nuclear power will be as consistently safe in the future as it has been in the recent past.
I really do not understand why almost no one bothers to spend a couple of minutes looking up the actual numbers and analysis that people have been doing for decades... its universal in all subjects, not just nuclear.
In spite of various plant operators' attempts, no serious accident has ever occured because there are mass protests and an industry regulator which hasn't been captured (yet). There is no precedent for this ever continuing if a toxic industry is accepted by the public and every precedent of it turning into a relationship like chevron has with the amazon.
Solar is also front loaded, whereas nuclear stays an existential threat to an entire region for decades after decomissioning at the very least. The risk from plants that shut down in the 60s has not yet passed.
And once corner cutting starts it doesn't distinguish well between the actually important rules and the ineffectual or overly cautious ones. Overregulation is an actual safety threat.
These things kill people. Life is not infinitely valuable, a higher quality of life for years can be worth a few life hour reduction in life expectancy.
In the domain of public policy, money is lives. Spending more money on nuclear safety means less money on cancer detection or rare disease research, which costs lives. Spending money inefficiently costs lives.
> It also has no explanatory power over all of the corruption and willful negligence pre-1979 or the spiralling costs elsewhere.
By the latter, are you referring to Cost Disease?
While some would like nuclear to replace solar as well, I think most of those of us who see nuclear as unnecessarily maligned are more frustrated by how e.g. coal and fossil fuels remain in the mix despite the massive number of deaths they cause. E.g. the German decision to shut down nuclear plants and as a consequence needing to run coal plants longer will likely cause more deaths than all nuclear plants combined through the history of nuclear power.
A. It's useful and can be reprocessed into useful fuel once that's allowed and we can do it cheaply.
B. The media and public would throw a fit if people started dumping (glassed) nuclear waste on the ocean floor. Because the media and public are completely innumerate and cannot do things like multiplication required to calculate the less than 0.1% radioactivity increase the ocean would experience.
That's a funny way of spelling cancelling tens to hundreds of gigawatts of renewable investment which was to replace those nuclear reactors and the fossil fuels and replacing them with gas.
Your bad propaganda is completely incoherent.
If you're trying to make a point, you're failing.
However, the greater point is that although nuclear power is dangerous by default because of the waste and risks of meltdowns it can be made very safe with engineering and still be a cheap generation method. By all accounts I'm familiar with fossil fuels cannot be made safe for either the environment or people while still being cost-effective.
A major issue in the nuclear vs fossil fuels argument is perceived vs actual risk. I don't have the numbers, but even though Fukushima was a huge disaster, the death toll is officially 1. But the cleanup has been very expensive and very visible. Meanwhile, coal/gas/oil plants deflect the equivalent costs of their cleanup onto workers and people in the communities in increased mortality and healthcare costs.
More succinctly, nuclear can be safe with effort, but fossil fuels seemingly can't be safe, no matter how much effort.
Also great points about perceived vs actual risk, and observability of effects, as other things affecting the political landscape of nuclear!
But the technology has changed (though most reactors are not new), and more importantly, when compared with the effects of fossil fuels on climate, nuclear is by far the lesser evil. Sure, solar/wind/hydro renewables are important but they're not practical or feasible everywhere. I'm now pretty convinced nuclear needs to play an important part if we have any hope of significant emission reduction. So in that respect, as well meaning as the anti-nuclear green movement has been, they are wrong in opposing it today (in terms of power generation; nuclear weapons are an abomination).
"Conflation" means (or at least implies) that one thing has been mistaken for the other.
Nuclear reactors have been entwined with nuclear weapons production since the very beginning. The British MAGNOX reactors were designed (and used) to produce warheads as well as energy. Iran is under sanctions partly because it's feared they'll use any reactor they build to make warheads.
Yes, and the word is being used correctly here.
>Nuclear reactors have been entwined with nuclear weapons production since the very beginning.
No, they have not. While it's possible to get civilian power plants to produce (breed) nuclear materials, they aren't designed for it. Almost all weapons production at places like Savannah River and Hanford was done with purpose specific plants that created plutonium and U-235 by design.
Iran is under sanctions not because it's feared they'll use power plants to make warheads but because they are working on enriching nuclear fuel to a level useful for weapons. IE, they're taking the same stuff that powers power plants and trying to concentrate it so they can make a weapon.
That's as may be. But Wikipedia says that the "civilian" Magnox reactors were indeed used to manufacture Plutonium:
1) I support Sizewell c & d. There's already two big reactors there, a third and fourth one make no difference to be fair.
2) I live about 20km from Sizewell.
3) The road that will be choked with traffic from building it is 1.5km away, the rail track is also 1.5km away - they should really build a sea pier like last time.
4) 5 years ago the wet storage at Sizewell suffered a leak.
5) No one noticed, until someone decided to do a wash [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/jun/11/nuclear-...]
6) If they hadn't noticed then pond would have boiled enough to expose the rods. This would have taken just a few hours.
7) A column of fire would have erupted out of the pond, creating a radioactive plume that would have rendered my house uninhabitable, for like, 200 years.
So, I do not give a toss about whether it glows green or not... but it's definitely scary stuff that needs to be watched.
She is right about weapons though, that stuff is the real deal. There's 1000 Hiroshima's worth of Plutonium in a shed on the other side of the country [ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/inside-sellafield-nuclear-wa...] - that's even scarier.
> Aim for 50% nuclear at least, as per the science.
Which suggests a pretty cavalier attitude to "the science".
edit: I take it back, she's in cahoots with Shellenberger and GWPF so it's the fossil fuel industry that she's supporting.
I thought the timing was mysteriously exact for both her and Shellenberger to be running the same "I used to be an environmentalist" story:
> In recent days, former Extinction Rebellion spokesman Zion Lights has announced her conversion to the cause of nuclear energy, while so-called “eco-modernist” Michael Shellenberger has gone further, and apologised for the years he spent scaremongering over climate change in a long article at Forbes website.
> Welcoming these developments, GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser said:
> It’s great to see these prominent green campaigners disavowing the eco-extremism that has done such damage to the world. When Michael Shellenberger says that climate change isn’t even the biggest environmental problem the world faces, he’s echoing a view that the GWPF has highlighted since our inception.”
Extinction rebellion have a page on her (NSFW warning for some nudity in the banner image):
> There have been a number of stories in the press in the last few weeks with criticisms about Extinction Rebellion by Zion Lights, UK director of the pro-nuclear lobby group Environmental Progress. It appears that Lights is engaged in a deliberate PR campaign to discredit Extinction Rebellion.
> For any editors who might be considering platforming Lights, we would like to make you aware of some information about the organisation she works for and her employer, Michael Shellenberger.
Controversial opinion: by scaremongering about nuclear power—which the west could have started adopting in the 1970s like France did—the naked tree huggers did as much to set back climate change mitigation efforts as the oil lobby.
At least with the oil folks, they were pushing a status quo that was likely to stand until today anyway, because renewables have only become cost competitive relatively recently. Even without lobbying by the oil industry people had powerful incentives until now to stick with the technology that didn’t require them to put on a sweater or pay more for energy.
The anti-nuclear movement by contrast knee-capped the last best hope for climate change mitigation. A technology that could have been deployed—and catalyzed electrification and energy storage efforts—decades ago when we had more runway.
I've always hoped they're secretly funded/friends with the oil lobby, because otherwise that's just pure sadness.
At a minimum, it seems that (thanks to ignorance) they lapped up all of the anti-nuclear FUD that was generated by the oil lobby and others.
For the past 100+ years, Russia has been one of the largest energy players in the world, bigger than Saudi Arabia. You can see this today in the Russian Invasion in Ukraine, as Germany tries to comply with the international regulations and shut the Russian Nord Stream pipeline off and can't; Russia has a stranglehold on everyone on that side of the world.
So, given that, they feared an America that could meet its energy needs without pollution, heavy investment, and significant cost; while Russia was literally killing its own people to make the oil and gas flow as a cost of doing business. Thus, they slipped right in and used the Hippies to astroturf an anti-nuclear position.
Reagan may have torn down that wall, but Russia won the cold war; and then they made sure, post-Soviet, to make sure we'd never attain energy independence. The end result of that trainwreck is currently under investigation by the FBI as per the recommendations of the Jan 6th Committee.
The anti-nuclear movement is also still alive and doing well
but at this point it's like arguing over spilled milk, the damage is mostly done and a lot of is irreversible. We can try to salvage nuclear but we've already regressed to further impure sources in some countries so progress seems unlikely.
You would have thought that France would have supplied the European continent with electricity now that Russia cut its gas supply, but it turns out that France received electricity from Germany even during this time.
It turns out that even new builds of nuclear power plants take years to be completed. Getting safety right is a challenge, the more we know about engineering and material science for nuclear plants, the more we know about challenges in building them, the more we need to do to avoid these risks, the harder it is to build a safe power plant.
Moreover the long-term deposit site (dubbed 'Cigéo') isn't ready.
France closed a working-order nuclear plant for political reasons just two years before, so we're not making exactly the brightest decisions here either.
The issue with construction isn't that it's hard to build a safe power plant, it's that there's been no will from anyone, or active harm from incompetent shitheads.
Fessenheim is the perfect reason for why Hollande wanted to close some of those plants: old, accident ridden, one of those which have to be closed down in summer due to possible overheating of nearby rivers and to top that off: it's in a region which may have earthquakes for which it is not prepared...
> The issue with construction isn't that it's hard to build a safe power plant, it's that there's been no will from anyone, or active harm from incompetent shitheads.
Weird because there are plenty western countries which do have popular support for nuclear energy but still struggle with construction times and costs in astronomical ways.
And as always, the same awful arguments about "don't overheat the rivers", when the limits set by the safety regulations are way under anything that could damage the environment. You could triple the output heat in the river and it would change absolutely nothing.
Hollande did not want to diversify our energy production. It was a purely political play to get EELV's support and used Fessenheim as a sacrificial chip. Glad to see the German energiewende led to such diversification that you're running half your country on coal right now btw. https://app.electricitymaps.com/zone/DE
That is false. It was an old and accident ridden plant.
> And as always, the same awful arguments about "don't overheat the rivers", when the limits set by the safety regulations are way under anything
Luckily those limits are set by people who know what they're doing and not the nuclear astroturf online.
> Hollande did not want to diversify our energy production. It was a purely political play to get EELV's support and used Fessenheim as a sacrificial chip.
That's pure propaganda from the opposite political spectrum and is not even worth the discussion anymore at this point.
> Glad to see the German energiewende led to such diversification that you're running half your country on coal right now btw. https://app.electricitymaps.com/zone/DE
We even had to get some coal plants back from retirement (just like you did) because your rotting nuclear fleet isn't performing and it's cold outside. You're welcome :)
The sole closed nuclear plant (Fessenheim) was the oldest one, disputed by neighboring nations Germany and Switzerland (all owning stakes in it!) for seismic-related risks.
A new reactor (Flamanville-3, an EPR) was ordered in 2004, work began in 2007 for a delivery in 2012, it is not delivered yet and 6x times over-budget.
A huge program (55 to 95 billions euros) aiming at upgrading all existing reactors in order to run them for 60 or even 80 years was launched and runs:
Governments adopted sustained nuclear R&D budgets.
See «Graphique 1», French ahead: https://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/energie-recherche-et-developpem...
Governments also sold reactors to Finland (running project, way over-budget and delay), China (2 reactors, over-budget and delay, and they stayed offline or at low-power for a full year after an incident) and the U.-K. (this is a running project, already late and over-budget).
By 2050 it will be easily possible to power the world using renewables. Ending nuclear at that point doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.
Disregarding electric dams because, while wonderful, those depend heavily on the country geography and I assume a lot of countries cannot build enough of them. (but we should build as much as we can of those, just don't expect 50% hydroelectricity everywhere)
Norway 98% since 2016.
Costa Rica 98% since 2015.
Scotland 97% in 2020.
Uruguay 98% in 2021.
New Zealand pushing close to 90%.
> Are we talking 90%, an the entire year, without creative accounting?
I don’t know what this means. If a country reports that X amount of energy came from a particular source in a particular year, that means the entire year. And if you believe these countries are lying and doing “creative accounting”, then the burden of proof lies with you to prove it, not for me to disprove it.
So except for Uruguay (which does look interesting), most countries mostly use renewable dispatchable sources which are perfect. But not all countries have the hydro potential / population ratio of Norway. We should use hydro as much as we can but we are limited by geography; once everything that can be used is we are stuck with nuclear, wind or solar.
Maybe Uruguay could be an example of country that manages somehow with mostly solar/wind; I need to look into it. Thank you.
Of course some green energy climate tree hugger whatever protesters oppose nuclear energy, but they are powerless and don't change public opinion much and certainly don't influence outcomes. To my knowledge it's government regulations and laws that stifle nuclear energy - not protesters or climate people.
1 - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/23/americans-c...
France is often considered to be in "The West".
I believe in nuclear as a technology, and I believe in mankind's ability to perform science and engineering tasks.
I don't have a lot of faith in the role of the government in properly and adequately regulating a booming nuclear industry.
Is it though? The US Navy has a pretty impressive nuclear safety record for the number of reactors they have in service.
To flip it, would you have more trust in a private company with nuclear safety? If the same decisions being made that allows PG&E to cut their funding for maintenance that allows their lines to be the cause of California's forest fires, why would we trust they would pay for the upkeep on a nuclear reactor?
If the government wanted PG&E to properly fund their line maintenance, PG&E would properly fund their line maintenance.
We could have had the wind and solar revolution any time in the last 70 years. Instead trillions were gifted to fossil fuel and nuclear con artists.
This blame of the failure of nuclear on them being forced to sort-of clean up some of their mess rather than just sending native people to mine with no PPE and dumping tailings and waste wherever is a sad attempt at gaslighting.
The masses of environmentalists moved on from nuclear in the 80's but would surely return if nuclear regained traction.
Whoever was behind it successfully managed to delay nuclear fission adoption by about 60 years for all of the EU and UK except France causing massive amounts of totally unnecessary CO2 emissions in the process.
[Rosatom] ranks first in the overseas NPP construction, responsible for 76% of global nuclear technology exports: 35 nuclear power plant units, at different stages of development, in 12 countries, as of December 2020.
It's like an Illuminati conspiracy theory except with people who dont use soap...
Global warming will cost countless trillions and displace, sicken, and/or kill billions in the coming centuries.
Nobody is talking about fossil anymore. It's on the way out just like nuclear.
Well, from, like 1960 until about 2010 everybody who built a power plant did exactly that.
And, from about 2015 onwards if you didn't ignore it it's still 5x more expensive than solar panels or wind farms.
So, between "expensive" and "people who hug trees and have no power", maybe it's the tree-illuminati people.
0. Nuclear is not forbidden.
1. Nuclear power is exceedingly common in many countries.
2. Electricity production is not (by far) the only source of carbon emissions. Why have we also not seen any major action to reduce emissions from other sources? Or did the treehuggers also force people to fly, eat meat and drive large cars?
3. > Last best hope.
Energy efficiency. Regulation incentivizing fuel efficiency. Low carbon public transportation. Incentives to reduce the carbon emissions from agriculture. Renewables. The list of available remedies is long.
But sure, go ahead and blame environmentalists for the destruction profit driven market capitalism caused. If that soothes your cognitive dissonance.
The alternative economic systems are even worse on environmental grounds, and their only saving grace is their ineptness and inefficiency, which limits the amount of damage they cause.
Like, have you heard about environmental disaster of Aral Sea? About how Soviet Union explicitly pursued maximizing fossil extraction as its core economic policy? About the environmental disaster of Great Leap Forward? Check out the list of 10 most polluted places in the world, where are they? Literally the only one that got its pollution under capitalism is in Zambia, all the rest are in former Soviet Union, China and India, which started doing market economy when they were already high polluters.
What is this point replying to?
Anyway, over-regulation can make nuclear energy commercially unviable. It doesn't take a ban for nuclear to die.
If nuclear was truly this obvious answer to aquire abundant clean energy, wouldn't our business friendly leaders embrace it with open arms?
A couple of treehuggers didn't stop them from allowing overfishing the sea, or from extracting fuel from oil sands. Despite those things having very clear negative environmental consequences. And strong popular opposition.
But for Nuclear apparently they went totally in the opposite direction. Deaf to the cries of businessmen they heavily regulated an obviously harmless and extremly profitable energy industry to death?
Occam's razor says there's a simpler explanation.
This is laughable. I come from a country that’s officially socialist. But even people from there want to come to Texas and drive a big SUV and live in a big house with a pool. Better yet, they want to attain that same standard of living in their own country.
If environmentalists tell people to turn down the thermostat and stop eating meet and crowd into public transit, they will lose every time.
Then I dearly hope turning down the thermostat, stopping eating meat, and crowding in public transport isn't necessary to prevent climate change.
Because if it is, and if you're right, then we are fucked.
And to people saying it is not possible, I call bullshit.
There are large carbon footprint variations within the West. Of course countries have different circumstances, but it's also very clearly a question of political will.
If they're not, I'd love to see a take down of that. But I see no problem with anything she wrote, I remain convinced nuclear is the only rational energy source left, and all this fear mongering about nuclear is causing us to slowly kill ourselves.
The fossil fuel industry is funding pro-nuclear PR because they realize that renewables do pose a major economic threat to their business in the short term, since they are now cost-effective enough to replace vast chunks of their business (even if not 100% of it.) Pro-nuclear (and coincidentally anti-renewable) PR is the most efficient way to protect their business. If they can convince the public [incorrectly] that the best way to decarbonize rapidly is to abandon/block renewable build-outs because “nuclear is the only way” then they’ve paid enormous dividends to their shareholders.
If your response to the above is “these random technical points are correct, what’s the problem”, then the problem is: those random technical points are largely a distraction from the important questions of how we decarbonize quickly. The fossil fuel industry understands this perfectly, because they have a lot of skin in the game.
Last time I heard, it wasn't pro-nuclear France that urgently built a new LNG terminal, it was staunchly anti-nuclear Germany (in 2023!!). So I have doubt about your analysis.
"Due to the technical problems affecting French reactors, Germany for the first time sold more power to France than it received from its neighbour, doubling its year-earlier export volume there.
France produced 15.1% less power in 2022 and the volume fell short of national usage by 1%."
I wonder if it's not even more cynical than that because it doesn't seem right. We still need an alternative controllable* source of energy when renewables can't cover the demand (no wind, no sunshine), and it needs to cover peak demand... For now aside from hydro it's mostly fossil fuels: coal, gas and oil.
As far as the current tech goes, my understanding is that "renewables" are much more compatible with profits from fossil fuel than nuclear power is.
* is "controllable" the right word in this context in english?
I believe the appropriate term is dispatchable.
Now, if your objective is public safety you should use a different standard: Better than any viable competing technology. Within the limit of rounding nuclear is currently 100x safer than it's closest competitor: natural gas. By mandating that level of nuclear safety we are actually increasing deaths by causing the use of a far more dangerous technology instead.
(And note that her post repeats a common mistake about nuclear safety--assigning the Fukushima deaths to the nuclear plant rather than to the politicians. The evacuation of the city did not make sense from a safety standpoint. Growing food there will not be a good idea for some time but the expected death toll from sitting put was zero. The only non-worker nuclear power deaths are from Chernobyl.)
I don’t disagree whatsoever that the fossil fuel industry is up to tricks. What I’m saying is I don’t care what their intentions are. I care about results. If Hitler came back and found a way to fix climate change, but his intention was in order to create a better planet for Aryan people, I’d simultaneously despise him and support the fix.
That’s an extreme example of course, but trying to make my point that when we’re facing extinction, we shouldn’t take solutions off the table. We should ignore intentions and look at results.
To me, all this arguing about their intentions is a distraction that keeps us from solving the problem.
We have a slim chance of fixing climate change, and I have yet to see a single fact to dissuade me from believing nuclear is our best hope. Even if the people behind the push turned out to be scumbags.
Who are themselves.
(Just thought the story would make more sense if I filled in that last part. :-))
In Germany it's the same companies running fossil and nuclear btw.
They also expand into renewables now.
This is an interesting theory devoid of evidence to back it up.
Yes, there is a significant amount of data and research that supports the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy compared to oil. Here are a few examples:
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that in 2020, the average global cost of producing electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems was lower than the cost of producing electricity from new fossil fuel plants, including coal and natural gas.
A recent study by the consultancy firm Lazard found that the cost of utility-scale solar and wind energy in the United States has fallen significantly in recent years, and is now cheaper than the cost of power generated from coal and natural gas in most regions of the country.
The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reported that the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind and solar energy in the United States has fallen by more than 50% over the past decade, and is projected to continue to decline in the future.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of solar PV and wind energy has declined by over 80% and 60%, respectively, since 2010. IRENA also found that renewable energy is now the cheapest source of new power generation in many countries, including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the United States.
These are just a few examples, but they demonstrate the trend of declining costs for renewable energy and increasing competitiveness with oil and other fossil fuels.
Obviously we shouldn't rely on ChatGPT for our answers to life, but it's not a terrible list. Except for the absolute lack of any mention of nuclear, which I think fairly reflects the zeitgeist but not the real science.
Here's what it said:
1. Switch to Renewable Energy Sources: We should phase out the use of fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. This would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants from burning fossil fuels.
2. Increase Energy Efficiency: We should invest in technologies and practices that reduce energy consumption, such as LED lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, and better insulation.
3. Plant Trees and Protect Forests: Trees absorb carbon dioxide, so planting more of them can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We should also protect existing forests and prevent deforestation.
4. Reduce Food Waste: Food waste is a major contributor to climate change, as it releases methane and other greenhouse gases when it decomposes. We should reduce food waste and increase food recycling.
5. Reduce Meat Consumption: Animal agriculture is a major source of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, so reducing meat consumption can help reduce emissions. We should also promote plant-based diets.
6. Improve Transportation: We should invest in public transportation, electric vehicles, and other low-emission transportation options. This would reduce emissions from cars and other vehicles.
7. Educate and Advocate: We must educate people about the causes and consequences of climate change, and advocate for public policies that can help mitigate climate change.
Yes, the cost of generating a watt-hour of power from renewables is competitive with fossil fuels. If you could put those watt-hours in a tank somewhere those numbers would work. However, a tank for a watt-hour is called a battery--and storing that watt-hour is going to cost you more than creating it.
In practice what happens is that renewables reduce the fuel use by gas plants. You still need just as many gas plants, though, and once you count those costs the renewables are no longer the cheapest.
There's still the storage and base load problem. But I am 100% with you that we shouldn't slow solar in deference to nuclear; what we should be doing is mapping out what we want our next generation energy mix to look like (solar, wind, pumped storage, nuclear, geothermal, etc) on a regional basis, stop fucking around and arguing about it, and just get on with building it.
I live in an area (Canadian prairies) where max energy consumption lines up with with minimum solar and wind production (-40C in December on a calm night). Even during the day, those calm bitterly cold days only have about 8 hours of sunlight from a sun that barely comes over the horizon. We're starting to build solar, we've had wind for a while, but even though we've committed to building SMR Nuclear, we're still in a situation where we've got coal and natural gas plants that are approaching EOL and they'll likely be replaced/retrofitted to burn more fossil fuels because we won't have any sufficiently reliable baseload ready.
And BC has tons of hydro.
So build out enough renewables to supply BC when the sun is shining, maybe even enough to pump some water uphill, and then have BC hydro supply the prairies at other times.
863 m^3 of natural gas -> ~9100 kWh of heating energy
Assuming (generously) that I can get a COP of 3, even though that’s unrealistic at the miserable temperatures we had over the last few months, that’s ~3000 kWh for electric heat pump heat.
Electricity was about 745kWh for the month, so 3750kWh total between heat pump heating and electricity.
https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/ma... shows 3.5kWh/mo/m^2 for December and 4.4kWh/mo/m^2 for January. Let’s go with January to be generous.
3750kWh/mo / 4.4kWh/mo/m^2 = 852 m^2 = 9170 sq.ft. of solar required to cover both my electricity and heating needs.
If I look at just electricity it’s a lot easier. 745 / 4.4 = 169m^2 = 1800 sq.ft. which is essentially the same footprint as the house. Heating completely kills it though and is, I suspect for most people, an even larger source of carbon than their electricity use. At least looking at those two bills, there’s an $88 carbon tax charge on the natural gas bill and only $8 on the electrical bill.
I've got one family member in Saskatchewan with rooftop solar looking at numbers similar to you. Another has 40 acres and a honey operation so just has ground mounted solar and often zeroes his electricity bill even during winter months, although he's still using gas for heating. Just got a heat pump water heater, so he's heading in that direction.
Saskatchewan has lots of land, so we we can do it collectively even if we can't do it ourselves just with roof tops.
As far as the urban spots go, my electricity+gas numbers there approximately match the size of the entire lot. Extrapolating a bit and assuming that my house is “average”, that works out to needing a solar farm about the size of Regina to power the city in the winter. Maybe half the size when considering all of the street area.
As of last year they just give a 25% credit.
I think this is a little misleading, unless there' a good story for storage and long distance power transmission, which I haven't seen yet.
Can small modular reactors like those designed by NuScale do better? Maybe. But we're not going to find out sooner than 2030, which is when NuScale plans to have its first plant operational: https://www.nuscalepower.com/en/about
That seems factually incorrect, and the anti-renewables paragraph was the thing that jumped out at me most, though the author claims not "to say that we should abandon renewables altogether, but to illustrate that all energy generation carries an environmental cost, and no solution is perfect."
I’m totally on board for building more but it doesn’t seem like this is a solved problem yet.
> her logic and her facts were solid.
I came to a somewhat different conclusion after reading that article: I felt it was sufficiently blatant, manipulative, and simply wrong that no one would fall for that. Ah well.
Nuclear should be a part of decarbonization, and you can search my comment history here to see I've said so for a long time. But the breezy 'I was misinformed!' tone of this article is PR because it dismisses rather than engages with criticisms of the nuclear industry.
For contrast, consider that British Nuclear Fuels used the Irish Sea as a dumping ground for nuclear waste through the 1970s, becoming a significant bone of contention between the UK and the Republic of Ireland: https://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2012/11/filedownload31607en....
Though practices have since changed and risks appear to have been mitigated, the substack article just ignores the uncomfortable reality of past abuses which should inform policy assessments. When someone tells a just-so story, even if you agree with it - in fact, especially then - you should question whether it's purpose is to educate or to manipulate.
Thank you for outing the author.
> power plant workers fleeing
That is an argument for no power plants with workers anywhere.
In WW2 dams were attacked causing lots of damage. I haven't seen anyone using that as an argument that we should demolish all hydro dams lest they become targets in a future war. Strangely this kind of thinking only applies to nuclear power.
You may find this bit of history interesting: https://www.rferl.org/a/european-remembrance-day-ukraine-lit...
I think the answer is that Russia didn't plan to occupy the largest nuclear power plant in Europe; they occupied Ukrainian territory, and there was a NPP in it. I think it's inconvenient for them to have international inspectors paying attention to the ZNPP. It's right on the frontline; it's on the shore of this huge reservoir on the Dniepro, and Ukraine occupies the opposite shore.
Russia doesn't need the energy from ZNPP; if there's one thing they have plenty of, it's energy.
And for Ukraine's part, they are playing a slow game. I think it suits them that Russia has this inconvenience in the middle of their frontline.
For reactors that could be threatened, they should be "walk-away safe" and even more focused on recycling spent fuel so large quantities are not necessary to keep on hand.
The more likely scenario I would envision is that - under the guise of business "joint venture partnerships in next generation energy" - the technological know how and access to a steady stream of the requisite raw materials to build weapons will leak to more questionable parts of the world.
It's kind of like now that humans conquered polio and smallpox, the next challenge toward advancing the human race is ridding ourselves of cancer. If polio and smallpox returned, we'd be back to fighting those.
e.g. Here's a company that was licensed to build SMR (small modular reactors) last month that is designed to be underground https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NuScale_Power
> In a particularly ill-advised action, a Russian soldier from a chemical, biological and nuclear protection unit picked up a source of cobalt-60 at one waste storage site with his bare hands, exposing himself to so much radiation in a few seconds that it went off the scales of a Geiger counter, Mr. Simyonov said. It was not clear what happened to the man, he said.
> But in invisible hot spots, some covering an acre or two, some just a few square yards, radiation can soar to thousands of times normal ambient levels.
> A soldier in such a spot would be exposed every hour to what experts consider a safe limit for an entire year, said Mr. Chareyron, the nuclear expert. The most dangerous isotopes in the soil are Cesium 137, Strontium 90 and various isotopes of plutonium. Days or weeks spent in these areas bring a high risk of causing cancer, he said.
Fission waste is truly long term. Just like desertification.
I agree with you.
not to mention, maybe the place you want to attack doesn't have a dam?
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a British foundation highly critical of the anthropogenic global warming scientific consensus.
Isn't there some serious, vigorous debate on this topic?
And from what I've read a bunch of the people claiming it will be a benefit for humans are speaking strictly on an economic basis, not a quality of life basis.
"I don't like her and someone she works with" isn't persuasive. On a controversial topic, everyone with a view is going to be disliked by someone - it carries to significance.
I suppose your user name checks out...
You accuse someone to have a "cavalier attitude to science" and "being in cahoots with" parties you allege are suspicious and then you proceed to use Extinction Rebellion as a source? You should worry more how cavalier Extinction Rebellion are, and who they are in cahoots with.
That was my reaction; but the way she characterizes her younger self was not at all convincing. People who change their views show more sympathy and understanding for their younger self than the author does, who just dismisses herself as a naive idiot (before moving on to explain the rather basic things she's "learned" about radioactive materials in the meantime).
This is just an ad hominem attack that does nothing to rebut the arguments.
if you think that nuclear is an awesome energy source why shouldn’t you work for increasing its adoption?
I worked in the industry for about a decade on nuclear, solar, wind, coal, and natural gas. I mostly worked in capacity planning and did some light industrial engineering.
There is not some massive split between 'Big fossil fuel' and 'big renewable'. Most of the generators are diversified in a blend of all different types of power plants. It's ridiculous to advance these conspiracy theories about companies running marketting campaigns against themselves.
This claim that every statement about nuclear power is some 'industry shill' narrative is really ignorant and misinformed. Then there is the lines-on-the-corkboard about what organizations they belong to... trying to infer that this is some sort of nefarious pysop.. when in reality most people in the industry are part of organizations that span every power source.
I did alot of work with SCE and Nextera which are both incredibly diversified and have a variety of power plants.
Even the infamous Duke (typically considered heavy on fossil fuels) has plenty of renewable and nuclear generation.
There is also a complete lack of knowledge about base load versus peak load, and other aspects of power generation in the thread below. The commenter in the thread claiming that 'Renewables are ALWAYS cheaper' is not correct and is running an interesting theory that energy companies want to create pollution so badly that they will throw away potential profits and lose money.
This entire discussion is pretty much the peak of software engineers who can't tell the difference between a crescent and a ratchet weighing in expertise about an industrial field they do not comprehend.
TLDR: She writes about her time in Extinction Rebellion as a media guru and highlights some issues the group has with it's 'eccentric' founder.
That article came out 18 days ago. So there seems to be something of a media coordination going on.
This is a pretty serious claim.
> edit: I take it back, she's in cahoots with Shellenberger and GWPF so it's the fossil fuel industry that she's supporting.
This is an EVEN MORE serious claim.
Both of these need some serious backing. I don't see how what you're following up with is evidence to this claim. Maybe there's something I'm not getting because it just looks like typical group fighting to me. Political groups use strong language and often are quick to criticize other groups who are not aligned to a goal in the way that they are aligned (including wanting similar high level outcomes but through different means). I watched the Shellenberger Fox news link that they provided. More than half is Tucker on his typical idiotic rant then Shellenberger saying things that are like 70% true but out of context. Can't tell if he's just an idiot that doesn't grasp what "the nerds" are telling him or malicious (often difficult).
For the fossil fuel funding claims, I didn't dig in but I'll say that I actually wouldn't be surprised. These companies have a long history of funding several environmentalist groups. They had a history of funding Sierra Nevada Club to promote anti-nuclear sentiment (this was highly successful btw). But the story here is actually more complicated than it would seem at first glance. I do think the Sierra Nevada Club members and even leaders (mostly) had good intentions and did believe that they were acting in the best interest of the environment. The same is probably true about the above group. But to see why this may be true we need to ask who benefits the most if you have differing groups that are concerned with reaching 0 emissions fighting one another? Fossil fuels. They are the current de facto solution to energy and unfortunately momentum is a powerful force. They've gladly promoted this war. (It's also not like they don't often try to paint themselves green. They fund plenty of green campaigns and even carbon scrubbing technologies. This is done for PR but those groups still get money. Kinda like filming yourself giving the homeless food and putting it on youtube. You get rich but the homeless probably (?) did get more food than they would have otherwise. The ethics is complicated here even if it is clear you're not a saint)
The fossil fuel industry wants us to think that the conversation is "renewables vs nuclear" instead of "renewables + nuclear vs renewables alone to fight fossil fuels". Moreso, they want us to think that energy can be acquired homogeneously. They both fund the nuclear bro idiots that want a 100% nuclear grid (ludicrous notion) as well as the renewable bros that think solar + batteries are going to work well in major cities that have weeks with no sun. Neither of these groups are listening to the real scientists working on this shit. These same scientists will even tell you that this is a complicated issue and they may not even know the full answer themselves but are working as a community to solve this. Why? Because climate change is the most complicated threat humans have ever faced and unfortunately no singular person has enough expertise to answer half these questions accurately (though can have relatively good accuracy). The honest to god truth is that while we have our stupid uninformed quibbling online we aren't actively building out zero carbon solutions and the fossil fuel industry not only continues but grows because our energy needs also do. The honest to god truth is that the scientific community generally just says "let's just not take nuclear off the table. We'll use renewables where they best fit and nuclear is a good option if/when there are gaps to fill." While we quibble the threat grows and the cost to turn back balloons.
 There have been grounds made and we're not actually on the "business as usual" trajectory, but we are still not building nearly fast enough. Carbon neutral isn't enough, we need to be carbon negative. A much tougher goal. The truth here is that even to reach net zero we're going to have to learn how to scrub chemicals from the atmosphere and oceans. Emissions are far more than vehicles and energy, and many of these are more difficult to decarbonize.
As it stands, I have learned considerably more from her post.
> I also learned that batteries cannot be recycled.
That is a rhetorical tactic that kind of misses the point - it's not that weapons reactors produce fundamentally leakier waste than civilian reactors, it's that the military has a long history of not disposing of dangerous chemicals the right way. It happens with non-radioactive toxic waste too and a lot of bases and the areas around them are contaminated.
If you want to use this as an argument for the safety of nuclear waste disposal, you would have to explain why the armed force's problems with waste disposal are specific to them and will never spread to regulated private industry. (P.S. the history of that is not great either and you might end up arguing that something which has already happened never will.)