Talk:Nuclear power/Archive 9

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Archive 8 Archive 9 Archive 10

Because of their length, the previous discussions on this page have been archived. If further archiving is needed, see Help:Archiving a talk page.

Risk stuff...

Discussion as to whether or not Oldberg's papers should be referenced. Discussion is interesting for its definition of "Ad Homenin" as well as for its discussion of when references should be included.Chuck Simmons 01:52, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Image

I have replaced the image of a nuclear powerplant with sunflowers (Image:Nuclear Power Plant.jpg) in the foreground with this (Image:Nuclear_Power_Plant_Cattenom.jpg) much higher quality image. Which I believe was the original image here anyway. I think that the image with sunflowers may be construed as being pov. The sunflowers are purposefully juxtaposed with the power plant in the background (it is an image taken by the plant organization itself, afterall) likely in order to portray an image of environmental consiousness or one of "being green". The image I replaced it with is merely one showing a power plant and a blank field (slightly brownish grass even) with nothing in it. It is much more honest/neutral and the reader can see much more detail of the power plant. (full disclosure: I am very "pro nuclear" when it comes to nuclear power, I just feel that it should be represented as honestly as possible when being professionally presented, as is the case here.)--Deglr6328 02:56, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the original picture was a very good aerial view of Leibstadt - Image:Nuclear_Power_Plant_Cattenom.jpg is also used on nuclear power plant. The Image:Nuclear Power Plant.jpg was obtained with some difficulty from the Nuclear Energy Institute as a free-to-use picture showing the key buildings without revealing details. The name of the plant is even unknown, as the utility insisted on anonymity. Simesa 17:01, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

uranium-235 and/or plutonium vs fissionable

The opening paragraph mentions that:

Nuclear power plants generate power by nuclear fission reactions which occur when sufficient amounts of uranium-235 and/or plutonium are confined to a small space

Is this strictly speaking true for the small number of fast breader reactors? From the article Fissile material:

Notably, uranium-238 is fissionable but not fissile. Fast fission of uranium-238 in the third stage of the fission-fusion-fission weapons contributes greatly to their yield and fallout. Fast fission of uranium-238 also makes a significant contribution to the power output of some fast breeder reactors. However, uranium-238 on its own cannot achieve criticality, so these uses are both dependent on there being fissile material present to sustain the chain reaction.

My understanding is that there are also small amounts of other transuranic isotopes created in a fast breeder which then can go on to contribute to the reactions. My question is are we close enough in the opening paragraph not ot mention any of this? Or should we perhaps change it so that it says fissionable instead of uranium-235 and/or plutonium? Dalf | Talk 09:50, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I think that, in practice, the isotopes which participate to the reaction in standard, water-moderated reactors (relevant for this article) are either uranium-235 or plutonium-239 (transuranic elements are created during drift through neutron capture). The other transuranics are usually not fissile. --Philipum 15:17, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
This is nto strictly speaking true. At least according to this (or last) months Scientific American where they had an article about Fast Breader reactors (3 or 4 of which are currently in use globally and a number more are under construction in several contries) as much as (and I am going from memory here) 5% of the total energy in these types of reactors are from the transuranics and a even larger % from depleated uranium (which the Fissile material article discusses. That is to say fissile and fisionable are not equvilent terms (according to that article and the Scientific american article). I will try and see if there is an online copy of the article I read and provide a link here. Dalf | Talk 02:03, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
The article I read is here (this is the format their "link to this article" thing generated):
Scientific American: Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste it looks like you ahve to be a subscriber to see the whole thign. When I get home from xmass tomorrow I will look up the actual numbers and I think the article might even have refrences to primary sources. Maybe. Dalf | Talk 02:08, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
These other compounds which are not Fissile are called Fertile material meanning that they can be changed in a breeder to fissile elements I think via nutron capture). Anyway I think its significant for the article in that I suspect a lot of the new construction on reactors that we are going to see in the near future will be this type of reactor. Dalf | Talk 00:23, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Depleted uranium is simply uranium that has less then 0.711% U-235, that is, it's almost 100% U-238. The transuranics that you are refering to are most likely just Pu-239 and Pu-240. Pu-239 is breed from U-238 via neutron capture. In a fast breeder reactor, most of your fissions come from U-238. A fissile isotope is one that can be fissioned by a neutron with almost no kinetic energy (Pu-239, Pu-241, and U-235). Fissionable is an isotope that can be fissioned only by a neutron with a substantial amount of energy (U-238 and Pu-240). Therefore, a fast breeder reactor uses neutrons of a lot of energy to fission isotopes such as U-238.

Intresting page on Nuclear Power in Finland

I just read this article which is about nuclear power in Finland and about the new reactor being built that will go oinline in 2009. Reading the cost per Kwh and other considerations made me think that the diffrences in cost of nuclear power really does seem to differ drastically from country to counrty. I though we might want to include a look at the factors that contribute to these diffrences in the article. Dalf | Talk 02:00, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Unverified price assertion

[[1]] This section asserts that nuclear power is less expensive that Wind power without attribution. Accordingly, it is unverifiable and I suggest violates NPOV.

Could this be improved? Benjamin Gatti 06:22, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps by reading it: "...the subsidized cost per megawatt for a nuclear power plant is ... more than that of a wind farm, ..." Presumably that's not including the cost of the back-up power supply for the wind farm.
—wwoods 09:30, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
does this cost per megawatt for a nuclear plant also includes the cost for nuclear waste transport and storage?--Enr-v 14:19, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I am not sure where the price comparison came from, although I have seen it before, but yes, in the US the price of nuclear power includes disposal. A disposal charge is added to the cost charged to consumers (I think the amount of money accumulated now is somewhere near $20 billion?). I believe nuclear power is the only power source that adds the decommissioning and disposal costs up front. As a side note, the last source that I saw that compared the cost of nuclear, wind etc... had wind being less costly than nuclear when it was by itself, once you added in energy storage or standby generation nuclear was less expensive. Lcolson 14:31, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
A 2004 UK Royal Academy of Engineering report giving price comparisons is cited in "Economy", just two paragraphs above the sentence in question. Simesa 16:40, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The problem I have is that it's weaselly and the source is unidentified. Given that (in this state any way) the one and only consideration for building new energy plants is the burden on the state and ratepayer (without respect for associated health costs or federal subsides) - I suggest that we could treat the subject with more than a passing glance. I would very much like to see a section on the relative price which lists a plurality of sources and their conclusion in a traceable fashion. (BTW - In a recent energy conference in NC, the state regulator indicated that the total cost of ownership for nuclear was less than wind, so the issue seems to deserve more clarity. Benjamin Gatti 15:49, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
A PDF of the full UK RAE report is at [2]. I'll add it to the article. Simesa 20:09, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Seems a bit cheeky to use as a reference a file on an anti-wind farm site when it is perfectly possible to reference the RAE original article http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Cost_of_Generating_Electricity.pdf from their site isn't it?? Perhaps someone who knows how to do it could substitute this.. User:anonymous 5 Feb 2006
I notice on Page 10 that this study fails to include the societal costs of known externalities - such as the health costs related to coal pollution, the cost of invading oil suppliers in order to secure their oil reserves, and the cost of securing nuclear waste against malicious re-purposing indefinitely, as well as the cost of insuring against the risks of each technology. And I note that here, the risk of inoperation is included for wind, while the risk of meltdown is unincluded for nuclear. So I would suggest that this section is a work of fiction with a bias against safe. clean energy. Benjamin Gatti 23:32, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Your assertions are garbage and so are your wikilinks (i.e. secure). I think that you would question any source of information that is contradictory to your "belief system". The sources the article is currently using is adequate for the price assertion. Lcolson 00:39, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
The term "a work of fiction" is definitely uncalled for. Sorry, it's a fact that windmills are non-operating when the wind doesn't blow. As for nuclear accidents, I suggest that realistic numbers and probabilities be used instead of the "wildly conservative" (as stated to me by a Sandia National Labs researcher) super-worst-case estimates found in the 1975-data-based CRAC-II study -- also bearing in mind that any new nuclear units will be several orders of magnitude safer than the current ones. Simesa 01:23, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
All I'm proposing is a properly formatted NPOV section: ie:
  1. this study reported the cost of nuclear energy as 2 cents per kw - while the cost of alternatives such as oil, coal and wind were reported to be 3, 5 & 9 cents respectively.
  2. this other study held that the cost of nuclear (including subsides) is some 4 cents - compared to oil (3 cents), (coal 5 cents) and wind (8 cents).

I think its clear that any single assertion of the price is fiction given that there is no single accepted accounting practice for energy, and many various studies of the projected price. Is that so disagreeable? Benjamin Gatti 17:26, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

It is commonly accepted in law that industry standards are credible, as well as most government reports and professional group guidlines. While it is true that not everyone will agree on all methods used, it is not true that there is no commonly accepted method to account for price assertions. There are many accepted accounting practices. As with drawing conclusions from all research, you just have to uderstand the assumptions used and who are making them and see if they are applicable for the given situation. I have no problem with multiple studies being used, as long as they are explained properly. If you want cost in the US, say its for the US and use DOE data (or say who did the study and what it was intended to show). If you want global costs, use the equivelent international organization (I know this data exists somewhere). Lcolson 19:10, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

(back left) I understand that c.1988 in countries where the nuclear industry is required to get insurance but the insurance is not offered by the government for free as a subsidy as it is in U.S., U.K., France, etc., the projected cost was estimated by Lloyds of London about USD$0.50/kilowatt-hour, more than twice the cost of solar photovoltaic. I say "projected" because that was always too high so none of those countries ever developed much more than a few research reactors. Lloyds and other insurers no longer even quote such insurance, last I heard. It would be great if someone could ask around and see what the last such quote was. --James S. 22:21, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Those numbers would be based on probabilities and projections of damage. Since the next generation of plants will be over 100 times safer than previous ones (ABWR, ESBWR, AP-1000, although I can't speak for the EPR beyond its four-train ECCS system), one would expect the insurance cost estimates to be lowered by a factor of at least a hundred. I haven't seen a source saying that lack of insurance kept any nation from developing nuclear power. According to [3], Lloyds offers nuclear insurance at least in the UK (but apparently not in the U.S., as Lloyds isn't licensed except in Kentucky and Illinois - I didn't check for the other 28 nations that have NPPs). Simesa 00:05, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Also, to do this completely right, we'd need to amortize the waste disposal cost, which has a huge confidence interval at this point. In fact, back in 2004, that is what I was working on when I learned about uranium combustion product inhalation poisoning. I still don't have a projected cost on the waste disposal with a magnitude more than a tenth of the width of the confidence interval. Even if there was no DU used in battle or on the interstate highways, the projected cost would still be way up in the air because of all the political horse-trading. --James S. 00:43, 16 January 2006 (UTC)


Those numbers would be based on probabilities and projections of damage. Since the next generation of plants will be over 100 times safer than previous ones (ABWR, ESBWR, AP-1000, although I can't speak for the EPR beyond its four-train ECCS system), one would expect the insurance cost estimates to be lowered by a factor of at least a hundred. I haven't seen a source saying that lack of insurance kept any nation from developing nuclear power. According to [4], Lloyds offers nuclear insurance at least in the UK (but apparently not in the U.S., as Lloyds isn't licensed except in Kentucky and Illinois - I didn't check for the other 28 nations that have NPPs). Simesa 00:05, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
So now we have a range of costs from 2 cents to 50 cents for nuclear energy. The reports cited don't even claim to be comprehensive, nor consistent with some "standard" accounting system. Pretending that the cost just "is" is a fiction. The cost quite unfortunately is wildly speculative for almost all energy sources. I think neutrality requires that we strive to reflect that simple fact. The arguments that standard accounting exists leads inescapably to the conclusion that one's pet study is standardized.

Benjamin Gatti

No we don't have a range. We have a rumor of a number, basis completely unknown, that certainly doesn't apply to the plants being ordered now. Simesa 13:08, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The next generation of wind turbine will be ten times more efficient, etc etc ... I believe Wikipedia is not a crystal ball - in other words the projected future improvements on nuclear reactor isn't fact. (plans, tests, and simulation results are just that - plans and tests). Are we any closer to a firm cost estimate? Benjamin Gatti 01:31, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Projections can be made because new nuclear powerplant designs are being constructed in various countries in Asia on time and on budget. Like in Korea and the ABWRs in Japan and the Candu's and other reactor types in China. Lcolson 01:56, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
New designs do not mitigate the fatigue caused by irradiating construction materials, nor the risks associated with using reprocessed fuel such as mox, nor the risk associated with housing said materials endlessly. I take this as an admission from the pro nuclear editors that they are injecting unfounded speculation into the article, and I find it very objectionable. 20% of the world electricity comes from nuclear, a few new designs being built hardly changes the cost of that 20%. Now it we want to compare an insignificant future best case - then we need to compare that to the future best case scenario for its alternatives. Benjamin Gatti 03:37, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Benjamin, you completely ignored the point Lcolson made about costs. Try responding to the point made rather than changing the subject. --Robert Merkel 03:44, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Second attempt then. Lcolson says that "Projections can be made." I would suggest that "Projections" do not belong on Wikipedia; however, third party research which makes noteworthy projections is reportable - but only if and when it is fully described and identified as such. Benjamin Gatti 04:29, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
In any case, you're on shaky ground if you want to argue operating costs; existing nuclear plant is very cheap to run. --Robert Merkel 03:47, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I think Wind Turbines have nuclear beat on that. Very cheap to run. no fuel, no security, no insurance. Benjamin Gatti 03:50, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
But the same is not true of their necessary back-up power. In any event, we don't have a range - we have a rumored value, one that isn't applicable to the plants that would be built next. Simesa 11:10, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Does anyone object to my removing assertions of "projected" price or prices based on original research or otherwise not properly attributed? Benjamin Gatti 04:31, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Benjamin -- MIT produced a report estimating the costs of new nuclear versus new coal. Since similar methodologies were used for both projections, they are roughly comparable. The study is frequently referenced. Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute dicusses that report, although I can't find the exact reference. This report, based on a CEC study, compares levelized costs of wind with other technologies. Points out that the learning curve for wind is rather good. Falling costs for wind combined with falling costs for flywheels is likely to make wind, including extra storage, more fully competitive with possible future fission plants. Also, note the development of ideas for using intermittent power when it is available -- e.g. for producing fresh water. -- Chuck
Wind energy always requires backup in case the wind doesn't blow or blows too hard in which case the windmills are stopped to prevent damage. Windmills break down easily as the repair of windmills is costly as well, especially when build at sea. So the true cost of wind energy cannot be predicted until an efficient method is developed to store energy. --Scandum 17:49, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

just a quick observation

hey Gatti, i don't know if my input matters but i'd support it. I've not read the previously archived talk pages but have read through this one and found it fascinating for a number of reasons. Put briefly - great to see vigorous debate involving Wiki-heads with widely varied levels of knowledge almost invariably inversely proportional to their arrogance. "The electrical power facilities combined take in 1.69 trillion gallons (6.4 billion cubic meters) of water annually, more than three times the water used each year by New York City's 9 million residents and two neighboring counties. The study found that the greatest harm came from billions of fish and larvae being sucked in (entrained) into the station cooling condensers and killed upon discharge to the river with the heated water (up to 35° Fahrenheit (19° Celsius) hotter than the intake water temperature).

The state study further concluded that there was greater harm from the heated water being discharged back into the Hudson's tidal estuary than previously assumed. The three electrical generating facilities' combined thermal discharge, 220 trillion BTUs per year (232 million GigaJoules), is the equivalent amount of heat generated by the detonation of a Hiroshima-size nuclear bomb approximately every two hours " from http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/index.html?http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/591/5536.php

Not only is the creation of nuclear power destructive in this sense, but the argument that it is a non-contributor to global warming, recoined 'climate change' by one of G W Bush's wordsmiths (google Luntz speak) is opportunistic spin. Not only are the general public swallowing this spin, but long-time conservationists are starting to fall into line because they're ill-informed. Major bodies of water are massively important as climate controls. Superheating huge masses of water continually over a long period of time will, logically, further contribute to, if not worsen, global warming as well as, with time, affect ocean currents and the huge bodies of air above them which determine weather.

The Alex Gabbard article which is a primary resource for the coal-power-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-power argument is thoroughly researched, but falls down in its manipulation of information gathered. The conclusion that coal power is a greater radioactive risk than nuclear power comes from a long range projection of drastically increasing coal usage until 2040, measuring radioactive element ouput over a period of around 100 years (many of which have not yet happened), and doesn't consider the introduction or use of power saving technologies or the possibility of changes in consumer behaviour.

When the Atoms For Peace program it was started with the promise that there would be a safe way of dealing with the waste developed within a small number of decades. This has not yet happened, and American and Australian governments at least are still taking the stick-it-in-a-big-hole approach. Not very reassuring to anybody who knows anything about halflives, and I find this Wiki article's claim that nuclear waste is safe after 40 years laughable at best.

As for claims that the US government does not recycle nuclear waste, perhaps Mr Oldberg (given that he knows what he's talking about) is revisiting this page and would care to weigh in as to whether military use of depleted uranium and denutritionalising food irradiation facilities might be fairly described as 'recycling'. Of course the question is open to anybody, be they a blinkered reactionary with no sense of the WHO's historical involvement with the IAEA or not.

As for the gang-up approach that has been taken by some people who share similar viewpoints, though disparate commitments to this topic, 'democracy' has frequently been the majority of wrong-thinking people being right. The fact that you have to resort to stating 'there's more of us here than of you' in the face of an argument you can't engage suggests the weakness of your position when challenged.

oh yeah, and that bit about a tenfold increase in leukaemia and other illnesses being attributable to immigrant populations - was that sponsored by Pat Robertson or Justice Alito? Holigopoly 10:12, 17 January 2006 (UTC)Holigopoly

Agreeing in part. I too cringe when I hear a pol say "most of the American people support X" as if that argument alone were the test of important subjects. As if the purpose of the bill of rights weren't precisely to protect us from a mindless majority of the selfish uninformed. "Most" Americans, by that standard have supported slavery - or at least grossly oppressive discrimination, the oppression of any minority from Japanese in WWII, to women until ~1950, Blacks until ~1960, Chinese during their immigration, to say nothing of those damn Italians (me) and Irish (me too), the Jews, Catholics, Mormons, and Heathen. In fact it is with great difficulty that one try to imagine a group of people which "Most American People" would not, or did not at some point, willingly oppress. You've raised a good point which hasn't been discussed lately, and that is the fishkill effect. As for the effect of nuclear plants on directly warming the globe, that's an easy logical case, but a difficult mathematical case to make - compare the sun's incidental energy to global energy production to realize that isn't likely to be a major source of additional heat. Care, Benjamin Gatti 23:35, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Two comments with regard to fishkill: wouldn't a coal-fired steam turbine potentially have the same fishkill problems as a nuclear-fired one; secondly, as the environmental article itself notes, you can use cooling towers instead of straight-through cooling. Some current reactors, and notable future designs, don't use any water cooling at all. --Robert Merkel 00:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
The article suggests that coal plants can be made smaller (without sacrificing economies of scale). I suspect the security issues, borders, fences, 24 7 guards, no fly zones, jets to enforce a no fly zone - etc... make a strong economic argument for operating nukes in fleets with large thermal footprints in a single location. Coal on the other-hand can justify more distributed operation - with presumably less impact on fish in the area of operation. (anyone else offer an explanation). Benjamin Gatti 03:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Coal-fired plants currently tend to operate at higher temperatures than nuclear plants. Therefore, they are more thermally efficient and so do not heat their cooling water as much. --hitssquad 05:02, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
WRT depleted uranium, it's the waste left over after uranium has been enriched, rather than the spent fuel from a reactor. It's quite different from spent fuel reprocessing.
As to the safety of nuclear waste, I invite you to compare the safety of nuclear waste with the safety of the emissions from coal-based power stations, which has been estimated to kill 30,000 Americans every year, and even with stringent pollution controls will continue to kill thousands of Americans (and probably hundreds of thousands of Chinese; I have some work colleagues from northern China and they tell me the air pollution there has to seen to be believed) each and every year. --Robert Merkel 00:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes - I agree with you there. Coal really is a problem. But wind is safe, clean and less expensive than alternatives (assuming energy on demand is an overrated luxury). The risks of nuclear are highly concentrated on the high-exposure/low-probability end of the risk continuum. I only advocate for a fair hearing of all options. Benjamin Gatti 03:08, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is arguing that wind power isn't better for the environment than nuclear power, I think the issue is purely scale. Can wind realistically produce a significant portion of the world's power, and do it without being extremely expensive? I haven't been given the impression it can, but I'm no expert. TastyCakes 06:07, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
You said it yourself Ben, "assuming energy on demand is an overrated luxury." Whether or not that's true, most people disagree, so it doesn't really matter. wagsbags

NRC's Position on CRAC-II and NUREG-1150

I just received an e-mail from the NRC, which I'll add to CRAC-II and NUREG-1150 as they requested. Please see the Discussion for those articles. Simesa 08:32, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Good work, I'll check it out Benjamin Gatti 19:22, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Davis-Besse Indictments

For news on the Department of Justice indictment of First Energy and several employees/contractors, see Davis-Besse and the reference. (I have to read it all myself yet.) Simesa 21:16, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Apologies from wikipedia editors which have used wikipedia to downplay the dangers of nuclear energy are being accepted at User Talk:Benjamin Gatti ;-) I told you so doesn't even begin to describe it. Benjamin Gatti 18:15, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
You mean the part where a Nuclear plant was mismanaged and violated saftey rules but still was caught before anythign bad happened and then people are in the process of being punished? Dalf | Talk 02:47, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Dalf,, I mean that part where Simesa has been arguing ad nauseum that plant operators would never exploit the Price-Anderson free-ridership problem by cutting corners on safety - when low and behold, the temptation to ignore safeguards is in fact so strong that employees are willing to risk 20 year prison sentences in order to falsify inspections and do whatever to keep a plant operating - including putting the public in danger. Your response is akin to suggesting that the indictment of Jack Abramoff jist goes to show that corruption is being well-managed by the justice department. The truth in both cases is that these indictments reflect the tip of an iceberg. This indictment demonstrates the degree to which very ordinary persons (see Banality of evil) are willing to violate nuclear safety regulations. Benjamin Gatti 03:22, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh my mistake. I did not realise that when you said the dangers of nuclear energy you actually ment the dangers of the Price-Anderson act, my mistake. Dalf | Talk 04:06, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Meant Price Anderson Act, and the 97% subsidy of nuclear over safe clean alternatives. All I ask is that we confront the risks openly here, rather than tow the NRC propaganda line rank and file. Benjamin Gatti 04:24, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
I take your point. OUt of curiosity (and I really am curious) is there an equvilent to the PA-Act in say France or FInnland or any other country? I am asking because you ahve very frequently asserted that without the act there woudl be no plants. It strikes me that the PA act only governs 104 of the 404 plants in the world. Dalf | Talk 04:50, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
My impression is that the US was the moving force for nuclear plants in the west. I believe the US built the first plants, spent the lion's share of the research costs, and set the course for the rest of the World - The US has more plants that other country, and all of France's plants, which has the highest saturation are of US Design. That said, the Soviet nuclear enterprise is either completely novel, or the benefactor of US research by espionage. I also believe that reactors in most other countries are state-owned, which puts the risk back on the taxpayer in much the same way - however, it also changes the profit motive as the operators serve at the pleasure of the public - and not to serve the interest of investors. This story underlines the difference which is quite simply, that investors want to see the rate of return they were promised, and that the only way to meet that goal (and to receive the performance bonuses) is to reduce costs without reducing electricity, and the obvious way to do that is to cut corners on safety. In Europe, there is no profit incentive to reduce costs, so that while the risk is similarly the burden of the taxpayer, the counter-safety incentive of the Price-Anderson is unique to the US. Benjamin Gatti 05:11, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

(PS. England was considering Wave Energy as an alternative, but opted for nuclear afer a mathematical error overestimated the cost of wave energy - circa 1960-70 IIRC)

From what have read most of what you said used to be true but that most recent research (that resulted in reactor designes under construction) was not done in the US. I am still curious though or example the next major plant to come online will probably be Olkiluoto III which will also be the largest nuclear power plant in the world (If I am remembering correctly). It is a European Pressurized Reactor designed in France (obviously if you go far enough back you are going to come accross an American design). From reading here it looks likes in Finland the plants are privately run (two by one company and two by a sort of cooperative where companies that own stock in it get the electricity at cost based on how much stock they hold) but highly regulated. So I am wondering, and it looks like you may not know so I am asking anyone, in other countries are there contingency plans in place to deal with liability in the event of an accident? Dalf | Talk 05:54, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

To take the case of Chernobyl - essentially there is not. The cost has fallen to the G8, UN, World Bank, the US and others perhaps to raise some 300 Billion dollars (about the cost of the War to Christianize Muslim Oil in Iraq) needed in Belarus to deal with the fallout, and some to pay the Ukraine to shut down the other (3?) reactors at the same station. But for GB, France, Germany, Finland - one only presumes - based largely on them being more socialist that the United States, that the insurance of such plants is presumably more socialized as well. The Medical costs would fall on the socialized medicine system, Liability in those countries is considerably less of an issue anyways, which leaves the cost of unusable real estate, and there my guess is that the likelihood of being reimbursed would vary widely based on the ability of the various party's to pay. Bearing in mind the great challenge of funding the existing social services in Europe into the next few decades, I would place very shallow odds on injured parties ever seeing much more than world-subsidized health-care as a response. Benjamin Gatti 02:15, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
(I found this comment on my discussion page) - it seems to touch on Sweden at least - Benjamin Gatti 05:56, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
"Bad writing of mine. What I intended to write was "Thus the state assumed the responsibility to insure for the utilities regarding accident costs above ~$10 billion". The remainder stays the same. The state insures the company, because the insurance companies cannot. My own country, Sweden, imposes a nuclear tax as payment for this service, and so could (should) the USA.--Sinus 21:02, 6 December 2005 (UTC)"
I have not even read the whole P-A act article but I think if we could come up with enough (sourced) details of liability in other countries it might make for an intresting section of the article. Dalf | Talk 07:29, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Capone was convicted of tax fraud. --James S. 04:18, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Solar Discussion

I archived this discussion. I started an off-topic discussion of Solar because nuclear proponents made an overly generalized claim about "all" renewables when they really meant Wind. I claimed that Solar was cost-effective for society to day. Others questioned my assertion. Various references and numbers were tossed around. Chuck Simmons 21:22, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Organizational Questions

The Wind Power page is much better organized and coherent than the Nuclear Power page. Should we attempt to use a similar style on the Nuclear Power page? Since the two pages share many points in common, does it make sense to try and have them reference a common Economics page? -- Chuck

New Intro

The intro had become unacceptably precise, missing the forest for the trees. Great trees, but introductions ought to leave the reader with a useful sense of the term, and not require them to remember the specific power or particular isotope used in a given reaction. I like to imagine that I am writing a 20 second soundbite for the average voter (someting a candidate might give in reply to being grilled on the subject) Certainly, the specific energy seems to be less than the best response. Benjamin Gatti 04:44, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Ben, that was a reasonable introduction to an essay trying to argue that nuclear power is a bad idea. It was in no way a reasonable introduction for the Wikipedia article, or even the basis for one.
Starting from the basis of the version before your edit, I removed the specific bit about energy density, which I agree was unnecessary complex . Aside from that, what's so bad about the version currently there now, except for your view it is insufficiently condemnatory of nuclear power?--Robert Merkel 06:25, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
The precision of the intro is needed because it is such a controversial issue. The useful work sentence you like in the intro while technically correct is confusing for a large number of readers as they don't think of the word work in its physics meaning. There are some other parts of your version of the intro that I think are meant to make the average reader confused enough that they will buy whatever you say. The last sentence about fuel supplies is of course simply incorrect. Even if most reactors are not currently FBR's we could build them which would allow us to run the same number of power plants as we currently have almost indefinitely (thousands of years) and for a generation or three without out even mining more fuel by simply reprocessing. That said I will add that even though I like the intro we have had more than your version this is the most neutral I ever seen you be in a edit that was more than a few words (not to say that it was NPOV). Dalf | Talk 07:26, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks - I'm trying. I've taken out the sentences which could be construed as controversial. There is an issue with fuel availability. I stated scarce - not depleted. My understanding is that the safest fuel will in fact run out, and reprocessing - which President Carter prohibited because of the risk of proliferation. etc etc. so there is fairly a scarcity of premium fuel which will begin to compel the acceptance of inferior fuels within a lifespan. How do you like an intro which delves into the minutia of specific energy density several paragraphs before the rawest statement of the quintessential nuclear transaction - the controlled conversion of atomic level energy into heat. I think we must start with first principles - ask yourself what if the fuel were less dense (perhaps by encapsulation in glass or other diluting materials - would it cease to be nuclear power? no. so I think we organize the assertions by placing constitutional matters first - after which the typical - but not empirical facts may be relevant, followed by the most subjective, transient, and speculative. - My suggestion. Benjamin Gatti 04:18, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Ben, did you notice I already removed the sentence about the density of fuel when I did the revert?
I still think the previous version was better - you're complaining about the complexity of the previous version but you bring in a whole bunch of issues, like metal fatigue, which are far too complex to canvas properly in the introduction. What is your objection to the previous version? And bringing in issues like RTG-powered spacecraft and lighthouses is completely peripheral to the main point of this article - the large-scale production of power from nuclear fission. Maybe they could be mentioned briefly somewhere, but they're certainly not important in the intro. I'd also remove any mention of "nuclear batteries" from the intro as well. There are other issues of non-NPOVness. Frankly, I think it'll take more work to fix your intro than it will be to fix the old one, and the old one is currently in a better state, so I'm going to revert again. I'll make a copy of your text and place it at Nuclear power/proposed new intro. --Robert Merkel 08:45, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I actually concur that minor uses of nuclear energy is rare cases doesn't belong. It has been insisted upon by others, I'd be happy not to touch it. Personally, I think the intro should connect the dots between the quintessential nuclear event (a controlled chain reaction which produces heat) to the end use - which is steam|thermocouple, rotation, generator|propeller, and it should get there without tangential diversions into specifics, some of which may not even be exclusively true. The intro for a long time was such (as I wrote it about 6 months ago) but since then, it seems a lot of little details have been added which distract from the first principles. State the first principles, then embellish with the preferred embodiments. Benjamin Gatti 17:56, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Robert - I was attempting to edit the intro when he reverted, but it was a lot of work. Simesa 09:00, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Why not merge this with nuclear power plant?

Is there any particular reason why we need two separate articles? --Robert Merkel 08:11, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Honestly I couldn't find any reason not to. Just create a redirect. I think however, that while there is little controversy about what a nuclear reactor is - the use of nuclear energy is highly controversial, and touches on the entire life cycle of nuclear energy from the coal plants used to power the refining plants to the long term storage and mobile Chernobyl's. Benjamin Gatti 04:07, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Mark this on the calender. I agree with Ben. Actually, nuclear power and nuclear power plant are 2 different things. This article is a discussion of nuclear power and it's uses, history. Plant is on the specific place where nuclear power is generated. 2 different things. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 10:41, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Environmental Impact

I would object to the assertion in the intro that nuclear has a lower environmental impact. It has admittedly a lower - daily impact - but historically, it's punctuated impact is or can be devastating. There is no evidence that material can be secured long term, nor that the embrittlement does not create a long-term hazard. Benjamin Gatti 18:11, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Ben, does the change I've made - advocates' claims are now explicitly identified as such - help?
No. Just one sentence higher is this: "because it could partially address both dwindling oil reserves and global warming with far fewer emissions of greenhouse gases than fossil fuel." The implicit assertion is that nuclear is better for the environment. I would suggest the jury on that is out. It is not an uncontested assertion, and therefore NPOV requires that it be assigned to some body's ass. You can say - "Jack friedermier of the ever-present optimists society, a cover group for the association of uber-rich nuclear subsidy-gardeners, said in his state of the state, or union address, or whatever you call it speech to the nation, that nuclear was just the greaterest thing since spellcheck." or some similar tripe, but we can't while respecting NPOV assert that nuclear energy is good for the environment. It certainly isn't the case in Belarus. Benjamin Gatti 03:49, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
In cases where there are two sides of the issue, i don't think it's POV to spell out both sides. On the one hand nuclear energy produces electricity without requiring fossil fuels or releasing green house gasses. On the other, it produces long term nuclear waste, the method of disposal of which has not come to consensus. On the one hand nuclear power resulted in the Chernobyl disaster and three mile island. On the other, far more people die in coal mines each year than uranium mines and nuclear plants. Now was that POV? TastyCakes 05:00, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
All forms of power production and mining generate long-term nuclear waste. --hitssquad 05:12, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
You're fun'in us right? Surely whale hunting for oil by Schooner doesn't generate long-term nuclear waste? Benjamin Gatti 14:56, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't know, I only hunt atomic superwhales, which are, naturally, quite radioactive TastyCakes 03:51, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Ben your arguing that the direct and intrensic polution of power genertion methods is POV because of other dangers that you feel more than offset any benifit is unreasonable. It is not as if the article claims that longterm storage is not a problem. It is not as if the article even fails to mention longterm storage and nuclear accidents in the opening paragraph. Readers do not need yoru additional evaluatin of these facts complete with yoru conclusions about the trade off because:

  1. They have the facts and can decide on their own.
  2. That would be POV since your conclusions are not shared by all.

Dalf | Talk 06:26, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

(wow)I couldn't parse the sentence meaningfully; however My objection is to a conclusorary assertion that nuclear plants have a lower environmental impact. Case in point (even though I wrote it) the renewed interest is not simple because it has lower daily impact - but in the very general sense, the renewed interest by environmentalists exists because of the perception that nuclear may have lower overall impact. Because the jury is out on that, we cannot issue a conclusorary statement that it just is. I fixed it. Benjamin Gatti 13:50, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Deleted some more stuff from intro

I deleted the reference to deaths from coal mining, and the comment about waste storage, from the second paragraph. The coal mining comparison is potentially controversial - I'm sure Ben would say "compare to wind power, not coal!!!!!". I'd still include the comparison somewhere but not in the introduction. Elsewhere, there is room to give context that renewables can't replace fossil fuels for baseload generation without either big advances in grid energy storage or a very considerable change in our energy consumption patterns, so a comparison with coal is valid in that sense. The bit about waste storage was largely duplicated in the third paragraph. Hence their removal. --Robert Merkel 13:05, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe deaths due to coal is controversial, I think it is quite an accepted fact. The argument is that nuclear power is dangerous to people, and the counterargument is that electricity generation through coal kills more people through mining and respiratory problems. If the intro is going to say nuclear power is dangerous, I think the qualifier that it's apparently not as dangerous as coal is necessary.
I think comparing to coal is valid, more so than wind, because both are thermal plants that are used in practice to generate significant portions of countries' electricity. You can point to certain exceptions for wind (like Denmark), but it is essentially still a fringe player. Why would you compare a proven mainstay of electricity generation with a fringe player rather than with another mainstay? TastyCakes 21:32, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Because Ben thinks that wind power (and, presumably, a radical program of energy conservation) can largely replace both fossil fuels and nuclear. He's kidding himself in my view, but he's representative of a not insubstantial viewpoint, including most of the green groups. I agree with your analysis, but in the introduction there's no room to justify the validity of the comparison. --Robert Merkel 21:40, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
More to the point it does not belong in the intro. The deaths mining coal (and presumably uranium) are wroth mentioning as is the fact that coal plants release way more radioactivity which on the scale of hundreds of years will become dangerous. Though I suppose this means that natural gas is the best option ;P Dalf | Talk 22:04, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Jumping in. Wind is the fastest growing energy source. It certainly can provide a significant portion - as it does in Denmark - and deserves to be a point of reference for comparing competing sources of energy. Nuclear is more dangerous than safe clean wind. It has a greater environmental impact than safe clean wind, and it is both more expensive and less attractive to private investors than safe clean wind, and were it not for government intervention in market freedom, the market would not choose nuclear power over safe clean wind. The only reason we build nuclear plants is because they are dangerous - that is because they can also produce weapons of spectacular destruction. Without the desire for WMD, there is no rational interest in nuclear power. The evidence is in Price Anderson. Does wind need a free-ride on matters of safety? no. Does wind need a subsidy worth 3 billion a year to merit private participation? no. Wind power meets a valid market demand. Many companies - recently Whole Foods, choose to purchase safe clean power for market-driven reasons. Nuclear plants are built for military-driven reasons. There is no private customer who is interested in receiving the product of a nuclear reactor - it is forced on the consumer without their consent, and the bill for these plants is forced on the public without their consent, as is the risk of an accident thrust on the public without their consent. (The corruption by which DeLay and Abramhoff have scuttled the democratic process unlawfully argue that consent does not exists even by means of democracies - but let's be clear - in a free market - consent refers to the consent of the purchaser. An economy in which elections decide what product will be sold and who will pay for it and at what price are not free market economies - but rather centralized command economies). It is not neutral to use the straw man of coal to create a better and false impression of nuclear. NG is the cleanest FF, but Wind is effective, substantial, and growing - on the basis of a free market in which the buyer and seller are free to make the choice of their own preference. (Nuclear energy is not the product of a free-market - it is without exception an outgrowth of an militarily aggressive regime.) Benjamin Gatti 02:23, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
1) Many locations/countries are not windy enough for significant wind power.
(1R) I can show that with hydro, wind, wave energy, which is nearly as economic as wind and moderate conservation, we can meet the world energy needs - if we use these to grow bio-fuel, we can even drive carbon neutral without oil or nuclear energy.
Ok, show me. The guy's numbers below seem to show little hope that wind can be scaled up to the levels you propose. TC
Short Answer - Wave Energy offers about 2*global consumption at the coastlines - or within 50 miles of about 50% of global population, assume 20% wave energy, 20% hydro, 20% wind (which has already been exceeded in Denmark) & 20% conservation (the cheapest form of sustainable energy). Use the electricity to operate farm machines i.e. crop circles to grow bio-fuel (a form of solar energy) and you have transportation fuel as well. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I hate to nitpick, but doesn't that add up to 80%?
2) Even when it is viable it can be difficult/impossible/uneconomical to generate enough power for a region's needs.
(2R)Uneconomical and uncompetitive are not the same, and I would bet money that whatever your business, if the government forced you to pay taxes and then gave that money to your competitor - you would be "uneconomical" as well.
I agree that there should be more in the way of tax breaks for renewable energy, and the idea of letting people that run wind generators on their land sell the power they don't use back into the grid is a great idea which should be an option everywhere. But I also think nuclear holds huge potential, and with investment now there is more chance it will be safer and cheaper in the future. TC
So invest your money in nuclear and let me invest mine in renewables - that is fair. What is not fair is that I am forced to be an investor in nuclear energy. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
3) Most people don't care where they get their electricity from. I get mine from hydro. Would I feel like democracy had been denied to me if I got it from nuclear? no. In short, I as a private customer am interested in receiving the product of a nuclear reactor - assuming that that product is electricity ;)
(3R) Almost. Consider Some people want exclusively "green power", but there is no niche market for exclusively "nuclear power" the best that can be said for nuclear energy is that some are willing not to care.
I agree there is a niche for this. But in my opinion few people, and even fewer industries, would be willing to pay significantly more for "green" energy. Could be wrong, I agree it's worth a try. TC
Even fewer would be willing to pay one red cent extra for nuclear. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
4) The idea that countries like Sweden, Canada, Japan etc use nuclear power just to be able to make nuclear weapons is ridiculous. They use it for its various advantages it has over other forms of energy. About 30 countries use nuclear power. What maybe 10 have nuclear weapons? Tops? Further more, plants that generate plutonium are the ones that are used to make bombs. As signatories of the nuclear non proliferation treaty, most countries do not generate material that can be used in bombs (without further refinement).
(4R)First, some countries are private maintainers of nuclear arsenal. Certainly Israel is considered to be in that list. I would be surprised if Canada, which has a nuclear reactor design to its credit is not capable of constructing an effective nuclear weapon, and the best we can say for the others is we hope you are right.
Israel, Iran and North Korea are the only three nations reasonably suspected of having secret atomic weapons (with Israel it's more fact than suspicion). The other ~20 states with nuclear facilities use them for peaceful purposes (read: do not make bombs). Canada would be capable of making nuclear weapons, although I believe not without modifying to its CANDU reactors, but your accusation is that nuclear plants are built only to create nuclear weapons. I don't think that is even remotely true, particularly in cases like Canada but really all those other 20 states. See Nuclear nations. TC
Then my point should be clarified - governments invest in nuclear programs - including research, education, infrastructure, storage facilities, and emoluments, chiefly because of the dual-use advantage. In a dead heat for cheap energy, a wind turbine wins every time. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Your position here is cynical and paranoid to the point of hurting your other arguments.
5) Most electrical grids in the world are at least primarily state owned. Therefore your points on a free market don't really apply. In theory, the state is more likely to choose the energy sources that are good for the overall country than a private company is, and less likely to be driven by market factors. If nuclear were more economical than wind, would you be pushing it? How about if wind were economical only with significant government subsidies - would you recommend a more economical solution if that solution was dirtier power? You seem to want it both ways.
(5R)States are most likely to make decisions based on which industries are most generous with the baksheesh. This is a fact that has been demonstrated again and again.
I repeat, most nuclear plants are government run. The idea that the government is baksheeshing itself (and that say hydro power would lose out because it didn't backsheesh as well as another branch of the government) in north america, western europe, japan and elsewhere is slightly more paranoia than I like to get into on a weeknight. Unless you have some evidence to back up this allegation against nuclear power? TC
Even where the nuclear plants are government owned, Private industries, trade unions, and individuals who want high paying jobs can baksheesh the decision; but primarily the incentive is from the military-industrial complex. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok you win. Major government decisions in the first world are made based on bribes and coersion. Oh wait, no they're not, you're being cynical and paranoid again. I agree the military-industrial complex plays a significant role in some places, but not all, that use nuclear power. And it certainly plays a smaller role now than it did earlier in the technologies historyl. TastyCakes 03:43, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
6) A thousand fold increase in "dick all" is still not very much.
(6R) Wind is growing at a significant pace, and that argument is losing ground every year.
Look I think it would be great if a significant portion of our power could come from wind. And I think significant research and industrial effort should keep going into it. But I'm a long way from thinking that it can/will supply a sizeable chunk of north america's energy any time soon. Furthermore, I think there is only a limited amount of improvement that will be realized through further research, which is not so clearly the case (to me at least) with nuclear. TC
97% of energy subsides have gone into nuclear energy - which translated means that wind isn't even 3% of the way towards being as fully researched as is nuclear. Even so, Wind is cheaper than nuclear in a comprehensive cost analysis. Benjamin Gatti 17:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You are assuming there is the same amount to research in nuclear and wave/wind energy. Wave and wind turbines depend on mechanical devices which are relatively well understood in comparison to nuclear issues. I'll say again, there is a lot less advancement that can be made through research into wind than research into nuclear energy, simply because we already know most of what there is to know about wind energy and improvements will take the form of percentage increments. Consider to the ability to neutralize radioactive waste or generate with no possibility of a meltdown. TastyCakes 03:43, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I think thats it.. TastyCakes 22:26, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Tasty; Yes, if nuclear were more economical on a macroscale, I would support it. Consider that all of the short term economic benefits of nuclear power in the Soviet States were wipes out three times over in a single accident - Chernobly. Consider the economic costs of going to war with Iran over nuclear activities - the hypocricy of operating a nuclear plant while preventing other's from doing so can only be sustained by the use of force. Consider the cost of guarding waste for an eternity. Consider the interest payment on the research. Consider the real cost of insuring against the risk of a nuclear accident. In conclusion, nuclear has a lot of external costs to overcome before it can demonstrate a mere economic benefit over safe, clean alternatives. (My Replies 1-6R) Benjamin Gatti 00:55, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
One thing that speaks behind nuclear power is that you get a whole lot of energy out of it, it's incredibly energy dense: 1 kg of nuclear fuel is equivalent to 3.5 million kilograms of coal. That's a heck of a lot of homes heated and electric lightbulbs lit. Nuclear fuel reprocessing, which is hard, but currently forbidden in the US for whatever reason, if done, separates the highly radioactive unstable materials to be used again as fuel, while the low radioactivity componets as less dangerous waste. Theoretically you could keep sending back anything radioactive coming out of a reactor, to get a mix of something else, separate the stable, nonradioactive isotopes from the new very complicated mix (and very hard isotopic separations for each isotope 6 or so isotope of the 100 or so elements, 600 players, it's a zoo to deal with, but at least go for the major players), then send everything radioactive back. Waste should be possible to cut down 99% this way, and this would most likely operate in conjunction with breeder reactors. Breeder reactors that use all U-238 and thorium, not just the U-235, which is 0.7% of naturally ocurring uranium, might be able to feed the whole world. Where are the numbers that show that wind can power the whole world? Wind and wave energy are cheap, just like hydro, but, for instance, with all the hydro capacity in the US, with most damable sites already damed so not much growth potential there, hydro only provides 6% of the energy needs, while nuclear also already provides 6%, and there is a whole lot of growth potential, especially if you consider touching the 238 uranium and the thorium too in breeder reactors, not just the currently touched 0.7% U-235 touched in conventional reactors, that supplies that 6% of current energy use. Multiply it out to 100% from 0.7% and you get over 6 times what we currently use in all forms of energy, including fossils. We are not even talking about increased mining, just better using what we already use, with better reactor technology. Add thorium that's 3 times more abundant on Earth to the picture. As far as wind goes one site cites 300 square miles covered by windmills to make up for one conventional power plant, and look at the world wind resource pages 1 2, you can note that the wind-dense places, such as Denmark, are already windmillified, yet they only collect a fraction of their national electricity use from wind, let alone export, or make up for such things as home heating or car-gasoline replacement equivalents in energy. The wind power page shows that Germany produces 35% of the world's wind energy, or 15 GW from 47 GW worldwide, yet they hope to get only 12% of their electricity needs from wind by 2010, as a target to shoot for. The Earth currently consumes at a rate of 10224 million tons of oil equivalent yearly, or about 325 tons of oil equivalent per second. At 44GJ/ton oil, that's 14.3 TW, or 14,300 GW energy, of which 37% (5300 GW) is oil, 24% (3400 GW) natural gas, (4000 GW) 28% coal, (860 GW) 6% nuclear, and (860 GW) 6% hydro. So is getting from 47 GW wind to 14,3000 GW doable by wind alone? It'd be nice if we could just keep building more hydro plants and supply all of our energy needs from hydro power, but build where? Not many places left. Same question will sooner or later apply to wind, though there is a long way to go for wind to get there, and it will probably surpass the total hydropower capacity by a lot, but even then, will wind power cover all the needs? The US, 5% of the world population consumes 23% of energy. Multilplying both by 20, 100% of the world population would consume 4.6 times the current rate, or 66 TW. Then consider growth in world population, that's gotta stop sooner or later, just like China stopped by national willpower, and India has yet to stop, so you're probably talking 100 TW of need that could be sold in 50 years. By the way, if you must absolutely abstain from nuclear, the Sahara Desert is sitting there with its over 9 million km2 area wainting anxiously for anyone interested in an investment, and at 50 MW/km2 that's up to 450 TW of solar energy. Net energy gain payback period estimates vary, between 2 to 7 years, add contractor's profit on top to build these things to get maybe 10 years financial payback, when solar panel derived expensive electrolysis power has to generate new solar panels instead of cheap coal/quartz reduction. Who's gonna cover the all of the Sahara with solar panels with such financials? You could also put solar panels into space and you could build almost infinitely large area energy collectors. Expensive, but just like the Sahara, outer space is anxiously waiting for investors too. Who's gonna do it? Sillybilly 05:46, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


I saw you assert that Wind is the fastest growing form of energy. As I kinda mentioned on the Wind Power discussion page, I'm not convinced that is true. I think it may be true in a certain country over a certain time period and possibly in certain niches.Chuck Simmons 02:50, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
The growth rate for wind energy is higher than for any other form of generation (as I understand it) Growth rate is not the same as net increase in production capacity. It is the "fastest growing" - not the largest. But I'm not sure I have ready source, so I'll be sure to source it before I use it again. Thanks. Benjamin Gatti 02:54, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
(Sorry to but in on your userpage, Ben) I think Ben is right. I have seen the numbers before many times, and the statement that Wind is growing the fastest (in terms of self-relative power sector growth) has never seemed out of line to me.[5] --hitssquad 03:41, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I believe numbers for Wind Power growth are probably all derived from the EIA. On the Wind Power page, I referenced [the EIA's renewables trends table]. Sure, Wind looks fast growing having nearly tripled in electricity production from 2000 to 2004. However, notice that industrial municipal solid waste/landfill gas increased its electricity production by nearly a factor of 5 during the same time period. Also, when we read the footnotes, it appears that the Solar electricity production figures are, basically, for centralized solar power plants. Residential and commercial grid connected (or even off-grid) solar generated electricity seems to be not included. Since solar cell production increased by 60% last year and an additional 33% this year (world wide), it seems plausible that solar pv is the fastest growing electricity generating sector. Chuck Simmons 21:44, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
From the google search reference above [someone] asserts that Wind is adding 6GW of capacity annually worldwide, so we might be able to show that absolute increase is fastest if not percentage growth. The EIA data for the U.S. supports this interpretation.Chuck Simmons 21:59, 1 February 2006 (UTC)


Guys, guys, hasn't this drifted offtopic for this page, which is to discuss the nuclear power article, not wind power or nuclear proliferation (those topics are relevant only where they apply to nuclear power).

That said, as far as the risk of nuclear proliferation goes, you may be interested in List of countries with nuclear weapons. In practice, just about any Western country could develop a basic nuclear weapon within a few years if they chose. --Robert Merkel 03:15, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Not at all. The Nuclear Guild has chosen to use this article as a launching pad for assaults on renewable energy; consequentially, protracted discussions related to those unwarranted assaults are necessary. The option to write an encyclopedia - by which is meant the option to write a series of single-subject articles has been proposed several times and rejected.
Examples of multi-sentence independant criticisms of secondary subjects:
  • A UK Royal Academy of Engineering report in 2004 looked at electricity generation costs from new plants in the UK. In particular it aimed to develop "a robust approach to compare directly the costs of intermittent generation with more dependable sources of generation". This meant adding the cost of standby capacity for wind, as well as carbon values up to £30 (€45.44) per tonne CO2 for coal and gas. Wind power was calculated to be more than twice as expensive as nuclear power.
  • Nuclear proponents often assert that renewable sources of power have not solved problems like intermittent output, high costs, and diffuse output which requires the use of large surface areas and much construction material and which increases distribution losses. For example, studies in Britain have shown that increasing wind power production contribution to 20% of all energy production, without costly pumped hydro or electrolysis/fuel cell storage, would only reduce coal or nuclear power plant capacity by 6.7% (from 59 to 55 GWe) since they must remain as backup in the absence of power storage. Nuclear proponents often claim that increasing the contribution of intermittent energy sources above that is not possible with current technology [45]. Some renewable energy sources, such as solar, overlap well with peak electricial production and reduce the need of spare generating capacity. Future applications that use electricity when it is available (e.g. for pressurizing water systems, desalination, or hydrogen generation) would help to reduce the spare generation capacity required by both nuclear and renewable energy sources[46].
  • Renewables receive large direct production subsidies and tax breaks in many nations [37] ... Energy research and development (R&D) for nuclear power has and continues to receive much larger state subsidies than R&D for renewable energy or fossil fuels. However, today most of this takes places in Japan and France: in most other nations renewable R&D get more money.

Benjamin Gatti 03:41, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, then, if you've got changes to propose by all means propose them. But please stick to the point - the nuclear power article, and try not to turn this into a forum for debating the merits or otherwise of various energy types. --Robert Merkel 03:57, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You couldn't just read a proposed change into my previous comment? Benjamin Gatti 04:50, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. As to your implied suggestion, no, we shouldn't Balkanise the articles any further. --Robert Merkel 08:42, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Then I don't understand you. Earlier you criticise the discussion for drifting into the subject of renewable energy sources - then you criticise the idea of removing the same from the article under the rubric of non-balkanization. "Some people can blow hot and cold in the same breath". Benjamin Gatti 15:50, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that renewable energy is relevant as a competitor, if you will, for investment in new plant capacity. So comparisons between the two are indeed highly relevant. But the discussion above was degenerating into a discussion of the relative growth rates of biogas and wind, and another bruising general discussion over the merits or otherwise of nuclear power that wasn't in reference to the article itself. We're not here to argue the merits of nuclear power; we're here to write an article on it. So I was trying to make an appeal to you all to concentrate on the article!--Robert Merkel 23:56, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
And Again - I showed three multiple sentence attacks on renewable energy which made no mention or comparison to nuclear energy. If, as you suggest - the article were to say: Mr. Bodermeirer issued a bi-partisan faith-based study which reported that nuclear power was less expensive than wind - that would be an appropriately sourced comparison; however the article does not make appropriate comparisons, instead it launched unsourced and conclusorary assertions that renewable energy is uneconomic and in other ways impractical. After which you now complain that the discussion dares to address this unfair and clear violation of the principles of WP. Benjamin Gatti 01:13, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Good news

Bush is going to invest in clean, safe nuclear energy. Guess that means we won't be needing the Price Anderson trillion dollar insurance subsidy for the dangerous kind of nuclear energy anymore. Benjamin Gatti 02:51, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Dubious assertions of causality

Currently, the text says that "The use of nuclear power is controversial because of the problem of storing radioactive waste for indefinite periods, the potential for possibly severe radioactive contamination by accident or sabotage, and the possibility that its use in some countries could lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons." This wording implies a) causality for possible controversiality of nuclear power and b) that the author knows the causes of this controversiality. However, per the philosophy of science, causality is impossible to prove.

Questions On Provision of Advanced Technical Material

The actual internal workings of Nuclear Power plants is something that has been glossed over in this Wiki article. It is possible to provide flow diagrams of the basic processes, plus their chemical formulas. How would people feel about this?

As the workings vary with type, it may be more suitable on the pages for individual reactor types. Some diagrams are already held on these pages, see Current Technologies section of this article. --OscarTheCattalk 22:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Question

I haven't participated in the debate at all here, but I have a quick question. Has there been any talk about splitting this article up? It's 70K. Too long. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 11:34, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Tonnes vs Cubic Metres

Most sources express the amount in cubic metres. It's quite difficult to accurately estimate the amount of waste by it's weight while it's easy when expresses in cubic metres. Does anyone object to a change? --Scandum 01:00, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

The confusing thing about this is that nuclear fuel is exceedingly dense. So, either way, that point should be made clear in the context of the nuclear waste discussion. --Robert Merkel 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
1 cubic metre of nuclear waste weights about 9 tonnes. [www.uic.com.au/wast.htm] I don't feel like calculating the exact value though, mainly because I forgot how and the elements the waste is composed of isn't easy to find either as well as depending on the plant. Then again, non of the other sources are clear which leaves much to be said about the accuracy. A plant doesn't necesairly have to run at full capacity either. I'd say the yearly 3 cubic metres of waste estimate per plant is a fair intuitive value. --Scandum 03:00, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Clean safe nuclear energy

Started this Article to document Bush's propoganda. Benjamin Gatti 21:07, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Listed on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Clean safe nuclear energy. See my justification and vote/discuss there. --Robert Merkel 04:06, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Oldberg "implications"

Removed original research not in Oldberg's peer-reviewed paper. Removed POV assertion that NRC and ASME ignored Oldberg. Wrote to NRC and requested their position on Oldberg's work. Simesa 18:58, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

while France produces the highest percent of its energy from nuclear reactors.

What %?

Yes - good point. I believe its around 70% of (electric) but I left out the actual because I didn't have a ready reference. One is needed. Also for the US. Percentage doesn't matter as much because the US doesn't have the highest percent, it has the highest absolute production so it should be expressed in nameplate gigawatts. Benjamin Gatti 14:50, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
70% was the figure I remembered, but http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/electricity.html says 78.1% in 2004; I guess they brought a new plant online. For the US in 2002, 19.9%, 98.9 GW capacity, 780 TW-hr production. —wwoods 18:41, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

My Thoughts

I personally prefer dry anal rape with a goat in piledriver position.