The Shotgun Blog
Monday, March 10, 2008
Going nuclear over nukes
It's been said that if water were invented today, nanny statists would want to declare it a fire hazard because its component parts, oxygen and hydrogen, are so incendiary. I think this sort of mindset is behind opposition to nuclear energy, as manifested by my regular debating partner, Mary Woo Sims. Her most recent offering in the Tri-City News is here. Mine is here.
PROBLEM WITH LINK: The TCN web page for my column has put Sims' column atop mine, all under my byline. My contribution starts half way down with the para beginning with, "Despite the massive oil reserves...." I'll try to get the problem sorted out.
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Nukes are our frinds.
Posted by: atric | 2008-03-10 3:42:57 PM
The Darlington reactor was $11.6 billion over-budget just to build. The overage was 3.4 times the total budgeted cost. Nuclear has put Ontario Hydro $40B in debt.
Is that ok with everyone? Sounds kind of big-spendy to me.
They aren't perfect, but the Netherlands wind farms, the big costly offshore ones, rang in at $0.5B and 90% of the total cost of wind harware is construction.
Anyway wind isn't 100% of the answer but it seems to be we need to weigh the taxpayer-price of nuclear in balance with the shareholder benefit of the demand for uranium.
Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-10 4:19:34 PM
Apart from no more nuclear plants being built, what exactly was the fallout from 3 Mile Island?
To what extent was 3 Mile island a catastrophe?
The plant director agreed and postponed the test to comply. The ill-fated safety test was then left to be run by the night shift of the plant, a skeleton crew who would be working Reactor 4 that night and the early part of the next morning. This reactor crew had little or no experience in nuclear power plants, as many had been drafted in from coal powered plants, and Anatoly Dyatlov, deputy chief engineer of the plant and the effective crew chief during the experiment, had some experience installing nuclear reactors in submarines.
Arguing against nuclear power by using 3 Mile Island, (the scientific community is largely agreed on the effects of the Three Mile Island accident. The consensus is that no member of the public was injured by the accident) and the Chernobyl disaster, which is like arguing that there should be no water treatment plants because the people who ran the one in Walkerton Ontario were incompetent, is poor reasoning indeed.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-10 4:25:45 PM
"The Darlington reactor was $11.6 billion over-budget just to build. The overage was 3.4 times the total budgeted cost. Nuclear has put Ontario Hydro $40B in debt."
Nuclear did this? Are you sure it wasn't the bloated bureaucracy, corrupt unions, greedy construction firms, or incompetent government ministers?
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-10 4:40:54 PM
Great post, Terry.
In a National Post column on March 8, 2008, Lawrence Solomon wrote: “Nuclear is the single biggest business disaster in the history of the world. No other technology has failed so big, so often, and so spectacularly. No other technology has needed so much help from so many governments over so long a period of a time. Because of its sorry record, almost all developed nations decades ago scrapped their nuclear-expansion plans.”
Solomon is a sharp guy, and often very friendly toward libertarian and conservative ideas – but I think he’s wrong. The private development of practical nuclear technology has not been allowed due to fears surrounding nuclear weapons. We have yet to unleash the full potential of nuclear power. The first step in proving the usefulness of nuclear technology in non-traditional applications should be approving this technology for the oil sands.
Western Standard readers may recall this excellent article by Cyril Doll on this subject:
Nukes for Oil
Natural gas is on the wane, some experts say, but is nuclear power practical for the oil sands?
Cyril Doll - February 12, 2007
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-03-10 4:46:07 PM
Any of you who are into nuclear power willing to bury the depleted uranium and radioactive waste in your own back yard? If you agree to do this, I'm for nuclear energy!
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-10 4:56:08 PM
I'd sell the DU to the U.S. to be used for making ammo with which they could shoot Jihadis and I'd bury the waste in my backyard for a handsome fee.(then I'd take that handsome fee, sell my house, and buy a much better one with a water front property, I've heard good ones are pretty cheap on the Love Canal)
Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-10 5:02:01 PM
"Any of you who are into nuclear power willing to bury the depleted uranium and radioactive waste in your own back yard? If you agree to do this, I'm for nuclear energy!"
No problem. So long as the you get the mercury-filled, radioactive smokestacks from burning coal, etc.
And Ted Kennedy gets the wind farms off Martha's vineyards.
I wonder what kind of toxic sludge remains when manufacturing solar cells? Bueller?
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-10 5:07:51 PM
Great thinking, Dawn. And those people who drive cars can agree to have the refining plant in their back yard, the steel plant on one side yard, and the rubber factory on the other side yard. If we were to ban every means of generation power because it is not perfect, we'd be back to navigating at night by firefly.
Wake up, Sweetcakes. You are not as zero-impact as you imagine. Almost everything you use in everyday life are manufactured in processes that produce ugly leftovers. And women consume so much more than men there's no comparison. There is six times as much retail space devoted to women as men, in spite of the fact that women buy mostly clothes and shoes and men buy mostly cars and boats.
The problem is that it will be decades, if ever, before wind farms and solar farms are able to provide our power needs. In fact, where they are most likely to prove useful, at least in the near term, is by supplementing the existing grid by providing additional on-site power generation that reduces dependence on the primary source.
Nuclear power is clean and safe, and does not contribute to global warming. True, it produces dangerous wastes that have to be properly stored, preferably in sinkholes bored deep into stable geological strata, but the alternative is more dams or more combustion, whether of fossil fuels or biofuels. And without nuclear research, we are unlikely ever to attain nuclear fusion, which promises to be much cleaner and safer than today's plants, with zero chance of runaway meltdowns and none of the weapons-proliferation pitfalls of current technology.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-10 5:37:17 PM
I want to know how Dawn feels about giving up her corn-on-the-cob for ethanol seeing how she's volunteering others for sacrifice.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-10 5:41:09 PM
I have uranium stocks and I hate to lose money. HOWEVER, if industry comes up with a better energy model that is non-polluting (fusion...?) I would not mind my uranium stocks going to zero.
Posted by: dewp | 2008-03-10 6:16:40 PM
Penn & Teller on the Energy Crisis
(specifically about Nuclear Power)
*WARNING* Gratuitous Offensive Language & Some Brief Nudity
Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-10 7:59:40 PM
I love nuclear. Helps my stocks. But maybe my nuclear fuel is not so badly needed. See :
Posted by: dewp | 2008-03-10 8:16:10 PM
I loved watching Penn and Teller. Thanks Speller.
Posted by: dewp | 2008-03-10 9:01:56 PM
Alright, people! You can't even find a dump site that will take the nuclear waste! They don't even know where they are going to bury the stuff (and at what cost).
Do carbon emissions do this?
How about manufacturing plants or extra retail space?
Samso, Denmark is clearly a great pilot to show that it doesn't have to take decades to become self sufficient on renewable energy. But we have to get our heads out of the oilsands to see that!
BTW, 90% of my wardrobe is purchased at thrift stores and consignment shops (NOT because I can't afford new clothes!). I only have one article of clothing that needs to be dry cleaned so I hardly ever wear it. I've got 4 pairs of shoes. (runners, 2 work shoes and a pair of boots)
I'm certainly NOT preaching using food for fuel and the way globalization works, I will NEVER go for that. I ride my bike to work 8-9 months of the year and car pool the other 3 - spent $50.00 every two months to fill up my car. Yes, I leave a very large inprint on this earth, but I reuse, reduce and recycle.
I practice what I preach. I'll EAT my corn on the cob (NON GMO if I can find it)! But make no mistake, "pro nuclear energy" IS volunteering others for sacrifice. I was just asking if YOU were willing to take the sacrifice personally, or are you emotionally distant enough that it doesn't effect you since it isn't in your backyard?
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 9:22:28 AM
"I practice what I preach. I'll EAT my corn on the cob (NON GMO if I can find it)! But make no mistake, "pro nuclear energy" IS volunteering others for sacrifice. I was just asking if YOU were willing to take the sacrifice personally, or are you emotionally distant enough that it doesn't effect you since it isn't in your backyard?"
That was not an answer. While I commend you on your attempts to reduce your footprint, I also do that.
I have no moral or scientific problem with nuclear energy. I have 2 requirements.
Is it relatively safe? Yes, I think so. Remember, there are 100s of deaths due to CO posioning and natural gas explosions each year in NA.
Is it cost effective? Got me. I'm not an expert.
However, you ducked the question. Yes, I support nuclear, in principle. And since you have a non-zero footprint, you are using it as well. You are also using coal-burning generated electricity.
Do you live near these mercury spewing, RADIO-ACTIVE releasing smoke-stacks?
Your accusation was unfair given these facts. So I throw this blatantly hypocritical, provocative statement right back at you.
"...or are you emotionally distant enough that it doesn't effect you since it isn't in your backyard?"
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 9:34:15 AM
Didn't mean to avert the question, H2.... But I did allude to the fact that "Samso, Denmark is clearly a great pilot to show that it doesn't have to take decades to become self sufficient on renewable energy" and so wish to get rid of the "mercury spewing, RADIO-ACTIVE releasing smoke-stacks"
How many deaths occur each year mining uranium? You can't even tally them accurately because unfortunately the effects of mining uranium show up years later. I don't understand how anyone can consider this safe! I'm not talking 3 mile island or chernobyl OR even living next to a nuclear power plant.... I'm looking at the entire picture from mining to production to waste. anyone who tells me it is "the cleanest form of energy" is only looking at the small picture.
I know one thing.... not one of my sons will ever be a uranium miner!
I want to replace coal, but not with uranium.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 10:00:12 AM
"I know one thing.... not one of my sons will ever be a uranium miner!"
I wish him a safe, productive career whatever he chooses.
"I'm looking at the entire picture from mining to production to waste. anyone who tells me it is "the cleanest form of energy" is only looking at the small picture."
My point has been that there is no such thing as a completely safe form of energy production, distribution, use.
Energy is dangerous. Period! That's why it is so valuable to us.
The only relevant questions are: which is the safest given resource availability and technical know-how and which are the most cost effective given the same requirements.
I don't claim to be an expert but I refuse to just toss it out without this knowledge. Especially given the stakes. Survival!
I wish the Danish project well. Time will tell. I never take these claims at face value either. There will be no miracles coming.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 10:08:30 AM
I'm with ya, H2! I don't claim to be an expert, but when I see pretty much the rest of the globe moving towards solar and wind and doing quite well, I see us North Americans as backwards.
We need to get our heads out of the oilsands, get out of the box from what we think we know and look towards progressive countries/dwellings that are faring very well on renewable forms of energy. BTW, Uranium is NOT renewable OR sustainable unless you can think of a way to grow it or produce it.
And I agree... energy is dangerous in all forms (a wind turbine that goes awry can do quite a bit of damage!!!), but it is ALL relative. And not for one second do I buy that nuclear is the "safest" or the most economical. Common sense shows it isn't renewable OR sustainable, so we need to look another way.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 10:15:55 AM
Dawn- I hope my kids don't have to work in a uranium mine, coal mine, pig farm, drilling rig, crab fishing boat, green zone, etc., etc.
While we've been arguing about nuclear power all these years, the technology has been improving under the radar, so to speak.
If they can squeeze an efficient reactor into a ship, they can easily find applications for industrial reactors. The oil sands must use this technology to be profitable.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 10:16:25 AM
DP, let's get our heads OUT of the oilsands!!!
But I concede.... industry is a messy business and if we aren't working in the dangerous side of it, we are working on the side that demands more! more! more!
You didn't hear me say "nuclear energy is not efficient", I stated it is NOT the cleanest/safest form of energy.
It's true, I'd prefer to live next to a nuclear power plant rather than to live next to a coal power plant, but I'd rather live in a coal mine town than in a uranium mine town!! And I already live in a coal waste city, but would NOT want to live in a nuclear waste/depleted uranium city.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 10:30:37 AM
Dawn- I live and work in the middle of the oil patch. Other than the refineries, this industry is amazingly clean and efficient. The main reason being that crude oil is not a particularly toxic substance. I've seen quite a few spills, and unless they go into a water body, they are easy to clean up. They usually only interfere with farming operations for one year.
I'm seeing more and more windmills built these last couple of years. To be truthful, these things scare me. They're huge, expensive, noisy, and don't produce enough energy to have any impact on our energy demands. I sure hope we find an alternative to wind power because we'll run out of farmland if we keep building these monsters.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 10:40:47 AM
" I don't claim to be an expert, but when I see pretty much the rest of the globe moving towards solar and wind and doing quite well, I see us North Americans as backwards."
What? Are you kidding? Did you see the price of oil on the market yesterday? It isn't getting that high because it is being abandoned.
And let's not forget China and it's coal production.
Please show me where the rest of the world has even begun relying solely on wind/solar.
And I need to re-ask
What is the toxic left-over of producing solar cells?
How much energy is used in manufacturing solar cells vs. how much energy it will generate over its lifetime?
These are pertinent questions.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 10:46:45 AM
How about this, DP?
http://www.metaefficient.com/images/denmarkwindmills01.jpg I do know first hand what you mean re: windmills on farmland as I'm driving in Southern Alberta all the time and see the space required.
But don't forget, a hybrid operation that mixes solar with wind exists, and that's what Samso depends on!
I'm an "oilpatch" kid myself. But there's that caveat "Other than the refineries"
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 10:54:28 AM
Dawn- That's a nice picture, but I'm concerned with what I don't see. Where is the generator? I assume it's under water. Where is the transmission line? How much of the sea bed was torn up to build the base for these mills? What are they built from? The alloy required to survive sea water would be extremely expensive, and would require a huge mining operation, as well as manufacturing costs. Bottom line-these things could never be built with the energy available from wind power. That means it isn't self sustaining.
Denmark might be well served by this sort of project because they've never had the benefit of cheap energy.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 11:21:09 AM
What is it about nuclear power that prompts otherwise sensible people to throw away their free market principles and salivate at the thought of further billions in subsidies being thrown into the nuclear black hole? Nanny statism has nothing to do with it, nukes are simply uneconomic. (Neither are wind and solar at the moment, but they are irrelevant to the nuclear discussion.) Move on already.
Posted by: GDH | 2008-03-11 11:41:50 AM
One Nuke on 40 acres (1000 megawatts at 85% capacity factor) could more reliably replace 2200 state-of-the-art "Danish" wind turbines (1500 KW each at 26% capacity factor) requiring 20,000 acres.
Disposal of nuclear (power) waste (in Canada, thanks to political paralysis, currently contained in three Olympic-sized swimming pools) is not a technological / environmental problem but typically one of politics driven by hysteria bordering on psychosis.
The economics of nuclear power has been skewed by the same factors as the last paragraph. You don't hear Lawrence Solomon advocating privatized Nukes nor anything else as solutions to his urban subsidized rural economy rants (although his series on the "Deniers" was good).
80% of France's electricity comes from Nuclear generation. Why do you think they were so eager to sign on to Kyoto and screw "more backwards" nations.
Three Mile Island always had three back-up systems in play preventing a Chernobyl-style(crude 1940s technology - positively reactive, no emergency core cooling system nor containment) melt down.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-03-11 12:13:01 PM
Alberta tried to get into the waste disposal business a few years back, but it didn't fly very well. The concept was very sound. The clay beds that were to be used could contain just about any waste. Apparently, it takes centuries for anything to move a few centimeters through this type of clay. Sounds pretty safe to me.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 12:31:13 PM
Each turbine contains it's own generator and then it joins a power grid very similar to what we already have. In fact, you can tap into the already existing grid:
The underground cabling is no different then the internet/cable tv lines existing between continents today.... with it's pros and cons
"shallow water" turbines are common(20-30 meters deep) but the NEAR future holds "floating turbines" that would even sustain hurricanes which is much cheaper than horizontal oil extraction technology and much cheaper then what it has cost to develop the tar sands extraction techniques.
Marine life. Foundations can act as artificial reefs with a resultant increase in fish populations from the new food supply. These increases in fish population may also have stimulating effects on bird populations in the area, which could cause collisions between birds and towers or rotors.
Migrating birds. Besides potential collisions (bird strikes), it is possible that the birds would need to consume more energy to avoid collisions and maintain their orientation when navigating around the turbines. Tower illumination may also cause navigational disorientation for birds.
Interference with navigation for endangered and threatened species. Electromagnetic fields created by the electric cables running from the turbines and underwater noises and vibrations could affect orientation and navigational ability.
Potential alteration of natural environments and diminution of habitats. Underwater support pilings, anchoring devices, scour-protection materials, and electromagnetic fields could cause a decrease in benthic communities, alter natural environments, and possibly affect migration patterns.
Emissions. Each unit of electricity generated from the wind that saves a unit generated from fossil fuels, which will help reduce greenhouses gases, pollutants, and waste products that result from fossil fuel use.
Marine traffic, recreation, and other sea space uses. It is possible that wind turbine energy plants may disrupt air traffic control and maritime radar systems, and that facilities siting could affect recreation and other sea space uses.
Visual impacts from towers, rotating turbine blades and navigation and aerial warning lights.
Noise impacts from rotating turbine blades."
So.... there are concerns, as you've pointed out, DP! And good point, because of the alloys for underground installation, it isn't 100% self sustaining, however the technology is not being "streamed" and constantly used. All data I've read states even though production, installation and maintenance is expensive, there is still an overall cost savings.
I keep my eye closely on these projects especially in regards to the bird and marine life impacts. The visual and recreation impacts mean nothing to me! You should see my skyline blowing blue smoke every day.... NOT a pretty site!
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 12:43:28 PM
I realize we'll have to find new energy sources. Obviously wind will be part of the solution. The systems you've described all sound much more viable than these huge mills they're building on the prairies.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 1:02:02 PM
Solomon specifically addresses privatized nukes in a privatized power market - the UK in the 90s. And apparently the market overwhelmingly chose to run as far and fast from nuclear as possible. Alright, subsidies are being thrown at wind and solar, which are no more economic. How does this make nuclear a good option?
I am quite prepared to take your claims about safety at at face value, but what you or I believe about the safety of nuclear power is irrelevant - what matters is what the premium for uncapped liability for a reactor would cost. Too much at current power prices would be the answer. Well, liability is capped, and Solomon's article outlines a litany of subsidies that are being thrown at nuclear anyways. To use a rural analogy, this dog won't hunt.
Posted by: GDH | 2008-03-11 1:15:18 PM
H2, sorry I missed your post re: toxic left overs from manufacturing solar cells. It's true that the older technology really does produce toxic left overs, however new technology is eliminating them completely because they can be recycled for other uses. But again, unlike nuclear and coal, the waste is a "one time" thing and not streaming/constant, however your concern is valid.
You are right about the demand for oil is on the increase, but even "China's renewable energy sector has been developing quickly since the 'Renewable Energy Law' came into effect a year ago" http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/chinainstitute/nav03.cfm?nav03=60774&nav02=57589&nav01=57272
Parts of europe have been using wind technology for over 800 years and in the past 30 have stepped that up to include hybrid systems and more efficient technologies. They have complete communities using only renewable energy (including rapeseed as a biofuel rather than corn)
They are VERY pertinent questions, H2! And each needs to be studied to understand not just the efficiencies and relative cleanliness, but impacts on life/earth throughout the entire input/throughput/output cycle.
Keeping in mind that all my data is based on current technology, there is still a savings in development/manufacture to output with solar power. Like all technology, it gets better, more efficient and cheaper the longer it's on the market.
DP, anything that needs to be buried in clay that won't allow anything to move doesn't sound very safe to me!!! There's potentially many things that could go wrong from the removal of the waste from the plant, to the transportation to the "dump site" to the disposal itself. Leaks, accidents happen and it might not be as easy to clean up as Exxon Valdez! But at least we agree that new technologies need to be found and it makes sense that wind is one of them. I believe biofuels and solar will also be included as part of a larger, economical and efficient system.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 2:15:03 PM
"Like all technology, it gets better, more efficient and cheaper the longer it's on the market."
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 2:37:54 PM
H2, when uranium can be mined/processed without producing depleted uranium and nuclear waste (with nowhere to dispose of it underground because it's so dangerous), I'll look at nuclear energy again. I'm open-minded and willing, so I'll keep "poking my head in the nuclear door" to see what advances are made.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 2:48:09 PM
I disagree with the bio-fuel movement. If you're going to switch to new technologies, then make a clean break from the existing ones. Bio-fuel is probably the least efficient of any new technology.
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 2:52:34 PM
But you said
"Like all technology, it gets better, more efficient and cheaper the longer it's on the market."
Then you say
"when uranium can be mined/processed without producing depleted uranium and nuclear waste (with nowhere to dispose of it underground because it's so dangerous), I'll look at nuclear energy again. "
How is this supposed to happen unless we let it compete on the market?
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 2:53:10 PM
H2... Good point! So I've changed my mind. Since uranium processing is not renewable, I'm best to decide that it's outdated technology.
Renewable/sustainable energy technology is where the future is and there's no sense flogging a dead/dying horse.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 3:12:21 PM
"Renewable/sustainable energy technology is where the future is and there's no sense flogging a dead/dying horse."
Some day the sun will burn out. Just pulling your leg.
Anyway, I have my doubts about the ability of wind and solar to replace even a small fraction of the world's energy needs in the near future or even within a few decades. I'm all for research and application where appropriate. Just don't risk my life for a dream.
My children and your sons need to eat and keep warm.
Energy is life.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 3:17:59 PM
Uranium can be reprocessed, reducing nuclear waste by 60%, but the U.S. doesn't have any reprocessing plant, and can't build any to do it in, because of the Infamous 3 Mile Island being over-hyped by the usual suspects.
These same usual suspects are preventing the completion of the Yucca Mountain National Nuclear Waste Storage Facility.
Yes, nuclear waste isn't the problem it is because there aren't solutions.
The solutions would just take a shibboleth out of the hands of the Environmental Hysteria Movement and we can't have that.
Got any idea, Dawn, what kind of thinking these people, the usual suspects, have?
Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-11 3:24:25 PM
Uranium occurs in the ground naturally where it irradiates (detectable from helicopters) whether or not you mine it. Enrichment, processing, reacting, and then handling as spent fuel rods does not increase the total radiation but only concentrates it allowing human control over where it will continue to irradiate. "Buried in clay" can be much safer than many natural occurrences.
My partial (too many mixed messages) sentence re Solomon and Rural was referring to articles he had written not related to nuclear power but rural economies being subsidized by urban economies using public forests as examples.
I doubt that Nuclear power can be ever be totally private (unsubsidized / unprotected) in litigious societies and I doubt that Canada is mature enough to seriously entertain more power from Nuclear other than supplying technology and reactors to the third world. Canada, although it mines much of the uranium for the world, will likely use more natural gas and move into "clean" coal as the only serious alternatives to nuclear and as more daylight is shed on the junk science of catastrophic AGW.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-03-11 3:35:00 PM
Speaking of AGW. Does the water vapor from a nuclear reactor contribute as much as the CO2 from fossil fuels? (I personally don't believe either has much effect)
Posted by: dp | 2008-03-11 3:42:02 PM
Temperature increase leads to higher CO2 levels, not the other way around.
AGW theory is based on a reverse cause and effect from what occurs in the real world.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-11 3:46:12 PM
Speller, I don't have any idea. Obviously the existing nuclear waste needs to be stored somewhere. These irrational people prefer to have the stuff be driven around and around and around only to be turned away just awaiting some kind of disaster (or be stored unsafely) or pretend that it doesn't exist rather then to deal with the issue at hand. Russia apparently got caught putting their into barrels and dumping it in the ocean.... sigh.... Maybe that's what these people would like to do with ours?
John, uranium is usually found in low concentrations in the ground. Obviously, depleted uranium is faaaaarrrrr more concentrated (and dangerous) after processing then it is in the ground left alone to irradiate naturally at it's own pace. but the key is: it is already IN the ground.
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 3:46:51 PM
Dawn wrote: “Alright, people! You can't even find a dump site that will take the nuclear waste! They don't even know where they are going to bury the stuff (and at what cost).”
“We” can’t even find a dump site? I wasn’t aware that responsibility had been assigned to the Shotgun Blog. As for where to bury it, boreholes in the Canadian Shield, which is geologically stable, make sense. It even allows for retrieval of the waste should a way to neutralize it be found in the future.
Dawn wrote: “Do carbon emissions do this? How about manufacturing plants or extra retail space? http://depleteduraniumthechildkiller.com”
Depleted uranium is NON-RADIOACTIVE, Babycakes. That’s why it’s called “depleted.” In truth a small amount of residual radiation remains, but it’s negligible. DU is dangerous not because of radiation, but because munitions composed of it shatter into extremely fine dust which wreaks chemical havoc with the lungs. Other heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, do the same thing in similar circumstances. And do you really expect a balanced viewpoint from a page with an address like that? Please.
Dawn wrote: “Samso, Denmark is clearly a great pilot to show that it doesn't have to take decades to become self sufficient on renewable energy. But we have to get our heads out of the oilsands to see that!”
Denmark does not have our heavy industry or frigid climate and therefore has nowhere near our power requirements. The population of the entire country is less than half that of the province of Ontario. And Canada is not a populous nation!
Dawn wrote: “BTW, 90% of my wardrobe is purchased at thrift stores and consignment shops (NOT because I can't afford new clothes!). I only have one article of clothing that needs to be dry cleaned so I hardly ever wear it. I've got 4 pairs of shoes. (runners, 2 work shoes and a pair of boots)”
Where you bought it is irrelevant.
Dawn wrote: “I'm certainly NOT preaching using food for fuel and the way globalization works, I will NEVER go for that. I ride my bike to work 8-9 months of the year and car pool the other 3 - spent $50.00 every two months to fill up my car. Yes, I leave a very large inprint on this earth, but I reuse, reduce and recycle.”
Biking is only an option for those who live near where they work. Fine for renters, but if you want to own a place and start a family, good luck. For the record, I also reuse and recycle. I even sort my garbage and take the wood, metal, and electronics to various recyclers at my own expense rather than dumping them in the garbage.
Dawn wrote: “I practice what I preach. I'll EAT my corn on the cob (NON GMO if I can find it)!
The food you eat is already so far removed from unmodified natural fruits and vegetables you wouldn’t believe it. Selective breeding (which farmers have used for thousands of years) is just an older, less efficient technique of GMO.
Dawn wrote: But make no mistake, "pro nuclear energy" IS volunteering others for sacrifice. I was just asking if YOU were willing to take the sacrifice personally, or are you emotionally distant enough that it doesn't effect you since it isn't in your backyard?”
You’re a real liberal cliché, Dawn, you know that? Is there no idea so Leftist, no policy so radical, no bandwagon so rickety, that you will not uncritically embrace it? Do you put any thought whatever into the opinions you hold, or is your entire existence defined by weepy emotional storms and Sixties ideology? I’d better send you some gloves; your hands must be quite red after so much wringing.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-11 3:51:13 PM
"Russia apparently got caught putting their into barrels and dumping it in the ocean.... sigh.... Maybe that's what these people would like to do with ours?"
Yes. If we could guarantee it would land inside the mid-oceanic rift. Lots of radio-activity there already. Our stuff would simply be absorbed.
Thanks Dawn. Now you're thinking outside the box.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 3:51:34 PM
Dawn wrote: “How many deaths occur each year mining uranium? You can't even tally them accurately because unfortunately the effects of mining uranium show up years later.”
In other words, for all you know, there are none at all. You just accept as an article of faith that there must be, because uranium is “bad,” and you expect everyone else to do so as well.
Dawn wrote: “I don't understand how anyone can consider this safe!”
There is much you do not understand, Dawn. The fact that you can’t wrap your eager little mind around something doesn’t make it bad or false.
Dawn wrote: “I'm not talking 3 mile island or chernobyl OR even living next to a nuclear power plant.... I'm looking at the entire picture from mining to production to waste. anyone who tells me it is "the cleanest form of energy" is only looking at the small picture.”
So far, you’ve done a pretty fitful and incompetent job of drawing the big picture for us. If the small picture is the only one available, that’s the one you look at.
Dawn wrote: “I know one thing.... not one of my sons will ever be a uranium miner!”
Yes, I know…you are the world.
Dawn wrote: “I want to replace coal, but not with uranium.”
Then shut your yap. Because until you have a workable solution to offer you’re just another nattering nabob.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-11 3:56:09 PM
Love the pet names, Shane! ;)
Is there no technology so old and outdated that you can't let go of it? Is your box so rigid you can't leap out and look around it?
I don't know what renewable/sustainable energy technology research and "liberal cliches" have to do with one another, but I'm confident you'll tell me!
I'm not here to convert anyone! I'm here to provide another opinion (and it is educated). I'm sorry mine obviously threatens yours because if you weren't threatened, you'd have no need for insults that bore me.
Hmmmmm depleted uranium non radioactive, hey, Sweet cheeks? "The external radiation dose from DU is about 60 percent of that from the same mass of natural uranium". It is radioactive, but 40% less than the same mass of natural radiation. BUT depleted uranium is in a higher concentration than natural radiation after processing.
Glad I didn't go to your school of misinformation!
Posted by: Dawn | 2008-03-11 4:03:02 PM
Dawn wrote: “H2! I don't claim to be an expert, but when I see pretty much the rest of the globe moving towards solar and wind and doing quite well, I see us North Americans as backwards.”
Don’t worry, Dawn, no one will ever mistake you for an expert. By the way, the only place in the world (apart from some areas of the U.S. and Canada) that are making any real investment in alternative energy is Europe, so that hardly covers “the rest of the globe.”
Dawn wrote: “We need to get our heads out of the oilsands, get out of the box from what we think we know and look towards progressive countries/dwellings that are faring very well on renewable forms of energy.
What percentage of their total electricity requirements do these “progressive countries” derive from renewable energy? B.C.’s power grid is served primarily by hydroelectric dams and is one of the cleanest in the world.
Dawn wrote: “BTW, Uranium is NOT renewable OR sustainable unless you can think of a way to grow it or produce it.”
Know what a breeder reactor is, little girl?
Dawn wrote: “And I agree... energy is dangerous in all forms (a wind turbine that goes awry can do quite a bit of damage!!!), but it is ALL relative. And not for one second do I buy that nuclear is the "safest" or the most economical.”
Again, the narcissistic attitude that reality cares what you think. Yawn.
Dawn wrote: “Common sense shows it isn't renewable OR sustainable, so we need to look another way.”
Nuclear fuel can be reprocessed, and breeder reactors can produce more nuclear fuel than they consume. The reasons for not doing so are geopolitical, not scientific. I agree fission is far from an ideal power source because of the radiation hazard, but until fusion becomes practical, it is worth pursuing. You cannot power the entire world on wind turbines.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-11 4:04:20 PM
"BUT depleted uranium is in a higher concentration than natural radiation after processing."
And it's concentration is lower than natural radiation once it disintegrates in an explosion.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-11 4:16:22 PM
Dawn: “Is there no technology so old and outdated that you can't let go of it? Is your box so rigid you can't leap out and look around it?”
Lots. For instance, I advocate the use of biodiesel as an eventual replacement for gasoline, since there is already a distribution network for diesel, bioD will run in existing diesel engines without modification, and since it’s produced from carbon taken from the air, not the ground, burning biodiesel produces no net increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. What you’re doing is turning sunlight into car fuel, but doing it in a way that works better than direct solar.
Dawn: “I don't know what renewable/sustainable energy technology research and "liberal cliches" have to do with one another, but I'm confident you'll tell me!”
Nothing, including you. You are not a researcher and your knowledge of the subject matter is very poor. Most of your posts consist not of rational argument or abundant facts, but raw, untrammeled emotion. Repeat after me: Emotion is NOT the equal of logic, and feelings are NOT the equal of facts.
Dawn: “I'm not here to convert anyone! I'm here to provide another opinion (and it is educated).”
You’re here because you’re one of those people who needs to feel superior to others, so you grab a cause celébre and start waving your bra around. And no, it is not educated. In fact I venture to say it’s the least educated on this board. Well-educated people seldom stay as emotional and self-righteous as you.
Dawn: “I'm sorry mine obviously threatens yours because if you weren't threatened, you'd have no need for insults that bore me.”
Rest assured, Dawn, your opinions threaten no one. Can a drop of water put out a forest fire? Can the ant topple the pedestrian?
Dawn: “Hmmmmm depleted uranium non radioactive, hey, Sweet cheeks? "The external radiation dose from DU is about 60 percent of that from the same mass of natural uranium". It is radioactive, but 40% less than the same mass of natural radiation. BUT depleted uranium is in a higher concentration than natural radiation after processing.
Glad I didn't go to your school of misinformation!”
I said that depleted uranium contains a SMALL amount of residual radiation, not that it was radiation-free. And uranium-238 (i.e., “natural” uranium) contains minimal radiation to begin with; before it can be used in nuclear applications, it has to be “enriched,” either by filtering out the uranium-238 to isolate the more intensely radioactive uranium-235, or by bombarding it with neutrons to produce plutonium. So depleted uranium contains even less radioactivity than an already minimally radioactive substance. Which is no more than what I said. Babycakes.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-11 7:37:16 PM
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