Blackhawk

The stupidity of being against nuclear power

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The biggest problem with Nuclear Power isn't safety concerns (provided of course the safer Thorium model reactors are being used, and adequate safety regulations are being followed).

The biggest problem with Nuclear Power plants are almost entirely logistical and economical. From my understanding, a single Nuclear power plant takes on average 7 to 10 years to build, and costs between 5 and 10 billion dollars.

That's a huge opportunity cost that puts it at a disadvantage compared to renewables which are cheaper and faster to transition to than nuclear.

That's also leaving aside the problem of nuclear waste, which while a solvable problem, is an additional hurdle that further puts nuclear at a disadvantage compared to renewables.


The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. 

So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.  - Thomas Nagel

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In some ways conventional nuclear power is great - it's a reliable energy source, it's non carbon-emitting.

One of the big problems is that the waste products last for millennia. It's a really hard value calculation to figure out if it's fair to burden future generations thousands of years down with line with the nuclear waste from today. The counter-argument is that if we don't do this we're going to roast the planet and there won't be any future generations to burden. But I think there are other more palatable options:

  • Generation IV reactors hold promise for being much safer and producing far less waste.
  • Thorium reactors - thorium is abundant and has a much cleaner life cycle than uranium
  • Hopefully nuclear fusion will come online and be feasible as a clean energy source.

Failing all that, we do have this giant fusion reactor in the sky, and solar panels are continually becoming cheaper and more efficient.

Ironically, if one were to be a pure environmentalist, the best choice would be nuclear. It produces the least C02 and damage to the environment, except when they fail. But when they do fail, the radioactive pollution harms individuals, but populations still thrive. As a result, Chernobyl for example, is a thriving wildlife refuge - it turns out radioactive waste is less harmful to wildlife than people are.

But I think most environmentalists are actually humanists, and nuclear power, at least the old styles of plants, do carry a lot of risks for humanity (including being a fuel source for apocalyptic nuclear weapons), thus the public's concern has justification.


How to get to infinity? Divide by zero.

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The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. 

So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.  - Thomas Nagel

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The problem I see with nuclear power is that its main benefit is only carbon reduction.

And you cannot reduce the ecological crisis to simply reducing carbon. The earth is a far more complex system than that, and therefore you need a much more holistic approach.

So even if it is possible to carbon emissions down to 0 with nuclear power, you’d still have an absolute disaster on our hands unless you made more fundamental societal changes.

In fact, that would possibly make the problem worse. Because now industrial society and endless growth can continue on with us having to question it.

I find it very convenient that our solutions to solving the problems of industrial society tend to be another industrial project.

And this is all part of the problem with the “net zero carbon emissions” paradigm in general. Reducing carbon is actually a relatively straight forward and simple goal to accomplish within the paradigm of modern capitalism. Just build some more machines (through more consuming of earth’s resources), charge people money to buy them, and there ya go.
 

But solving for deforestation, or coral reef die off or any of the other numerous ecological problems is not easily done through capitalism. Capitalism so far really only knows how to consume the earth, not heal it.

None of this is to say that excess carbon isn’t a problem. I’m simply saying it’s far more complex than that and we are foolish for focusing so much on it.


Loving a new world into being.

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Concepts of long-term responsability not included.

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How many acres of wind and solar farms would it take to replace the power generation of 1 nuclear facility that occupies about the same space as a Wal-Mart or Costco? It would probably rival the size of some big cities. All forms of power generation need to be well-maintained to stay efficient, and I’d rather maintain a Wal-Mart than a city. Also, the nuclear facility doesn’t rely on the weather at any given moment.

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3 hours ago, Willie said:

All forms of power generation need to be well-maintained to stay efficient, and I’d rather maintain a Wal-Mart than a city.

Okay, then we'll send you in to clean up the reactor from the inevitable nuclear leak.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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I see no way we can sustain ourselves without transferring over to nuclear. The world population would have to greatly rise in consciousness and cut back on consumption and make all sorts of massive collective changes. I don't even think a green majority could accomplish this. 

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Is nuclear even profitable?


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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Was posting stupidity against nukes really supposed to be the point of the thread?

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Posted (edited)

A typical nuclear power plant takes something like 15 - 20 years to become profitable, and considering that these facilities cost billions of dollars to construct it's obviously a huge risk. From what I understand the reason that various places are turning away from nuclear has less to do with safety concerns, and more to do with the volatile economics behind nuclear energy.

While nuclear power can be made safe, modernizing older facilities is prohibitively expensive, and several operational nuclear plants have chosen to shut down rather than eat the cost of updating thier facilities to meet more stringent safety standards.

Considering all that, it'$ not hard to see why nuclear is at a disadvantage compared to other carbon neutral energy sources. While in theory nuclear energy has distinct advantages over both fossil fuels and renewables, that doesn't amount to much if economic realities put it at a severe disadvantage compared to renewables.

In addition to economic concerns, the fact that uranium and thorium are nonrenewable (with estimations of available supplies lasting another one to two centuries) means that the best nuclear can hope for is to be a stopgap until the world transitions to renewables.

All of which is to say that Nuclear energy something that sounds great in Theory (cheap and reliable carbon neutral energy!), but in practice Nuclear faces obstacles that make it less advantageous compared to other forms of energy production.

Edited by DocWatts

The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. 

So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.  - Thomas Nagel

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All countries that have signed the Paris Climate Agreement have agreed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Let's remember that's only 9 years from now. Building a single Nuclear Plant takes 7-10 years on average.

 

Thus to reach the climate goals for 2030 we have no choice but to invest massively in solar and wind (and geothermal). And it's possible.

And Thorium Reactors may sound interesting. But it's all future-talk. Nobody has any idea as to how to build such a thing yet.

 

And time is exactly the one thing we don't have when it comes to Climate Change and the Biodiversity crisis.

 

@Leo Gura I don't think it's profitable. I know in The Netherlands there are 3 locations where energy companies are allowed to build a Nuclear Plant. Yet in 10 years there hasn't been a single company that requested a permit because it would require massive goverment subsidies to build.

 

 

 


"We all live our lives in the confines of fear."

Ben Howard, The Fear

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I think solar and wind is now cheaper than nuclear, especially if you factor in the costs of rigorous nuclear waste storage costs.

Old nuclear plants did not factor in such costs, creating a gross long-term externality.

But if someone invents solutions to these problems I would be for it. It makes no sense to be ideological about energy. We want the cheapest, cleanest solution long-term, whatever that is. But it has to factor in externalities.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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thorium all the all


It's just turtles all the way down.

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1 hour ago, Leo Gura said:

I think solar and wind is now cheaper than nuclear, especially if you factor in the costs of rigorous nuclear waste storage costs.

Old nuclear plants did not factor in such costs, creating a gross long-term externality.

But if someone invents solutions to these problems I would be for it. It makes no sense to be ideological about energy. We want the cheapest, cleanest solution long-term, whatever that is. But it has to factor in externalities.

Makes sense. And just because nuclear may not be the lynchpin of an energy policy for combating climate change doesn't mean it can't still be incredibly useful in other areas. The nuclear reactor aboard the Voyager 2 space probe has been providing power to that device for something like five decades now, which should go without saying is an incredible feat of engineering. 


The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. 

So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.  - Thomas Nagel

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Definitely research should be encouraged. Thorium is one of many interesting possibilities to study. And maybe in the long-term nuclear will be needed.

But for now I think it makes no sense to start building nuclear plants.


"We all live our lives in the confines of fear."

Ben Howard, The Fear

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Further massive reasearch is needed, but nuclear as it is today is kinda devilrly. 

An accident is really unlikely, but let's say it happens, it takes just 1 accident to fuck up millions of lives for generations.

In Europe and Japan people are still paying the prices years later

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Nuclear power is not as clean as you would like to think it is, it leaves behind nuclear waste that is buried deep underground and then seeps into the soil.

It’s also dangerous for the employees working on these plants.

Wind and solar or bust.


''To be happy we must not be too concerned with others''.

Albert Camus

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