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Yes but what does that do to the sea?
Three mile island...is an example of accidents that have happened here.
Risks from reactor accidents are estimated by the rapidly developing science of "probabilistic risk analysis" (PRA). A PRA must be done separately for each power plant (at a cost of $5 million) but we give typical results here: A fuel melt-down might be expected once in 20,000 years of reactor operation. In 2 out of 3 melt-downs there would be no deaths, in 1 out of 5 there would be over 1000 deaths, and in 1 out of 100,000 there would be 50,000 deaths. The average for all meltdowns would be 400 deaths. Since air pollution from coal burning is estimated to be causing 10,000 deaths per year, there would have to be 25 melt-downs each year for nuclear power to be as dangerous as coal burning.
Of course deaths from coal burning air pollution are not noticeable, but the same is true for the cancer deaths from reactor accidents. In the worst accident considered, expected once in 100,000 melt-downs (once in 2 billion years of reactor operation), the cancer deaths would be among 10 million people, increasing their cancer risk typically from 20% (the current U.S. average) to 20.5%. This is much less than the geographical variation--- 22% in New England to 17% in the Rocky Mountain states.
Very high radiation doses can destroy body functions and lead to death within 60 days, but such "noticeable" deaths would be expected in only 2% of reactor melt-down accidents; there would be over 100 in 0.2% of meltdowns, and 3500 in 1 out of 100,000 melt-downs. To date, the largest number of noticeable deaths from coal burning was in an air pollution incident (London, 1952) where there were 3500 extra deaths in one week. Of course the nuclear accidents are hypothetical and there are many much worse hypothetical accidents in other electricity generation technologies; e.g., there are hydroelectric dams in California whose sudden failure could cause 200,000 deaths.
The Design Basis Accident (DBA) for a nuclear power plant is the most severe possible single accident that the designers of the plant and the regulatory authorities could imagine. It is, also, by definition, the accident the safety systems of the reactor are designed to respond to successfully, even if it occurs when the reactor is in its most vulnerable state...
...The DBA consists of a "guillotine break" in the coolant loop of one of the recirculation jet pumps, which is substantially below the core waterline (LBLOCA, Large Break Loss of Coolant Accident) combined with loss of feedwater to make up for the water boiled in the reactor (LOFW, loss of proper feedwater), combined with a simultaneous collapse of the regional power grid, resulting in a loss of power to certain reactor emergency systems (LOOP, loss of offsite power). The BWR is designed to shrug this accident off without core damage.
The ABWR and ESBWR, the most recent models of the BWR, are not vulnerable to anything like this incident in the first place, as they have no liquid penetrations (pipes) lower than several feet above the waterline of the core, and thus, the reactor pressure vessel holds in water much like a deep swimming pool in the event of a feedwater line break or a steam line break.
I personally would not believe any nuclear power spokesperson tauting how safe it is...after all they have their agenda to sell it so of course they will down play all the risks.
Also nuclear power produces far more waste than we can use up and among the waste is the buildings themselves when their lifespans are over.
its toxic wastes.
The radioactive waste products from the nuclear industry must be isolated from contact with people for very long time periods. The bulk of the radioactivity is contained in the spent fuel, which is quite small in volume and therefore easily handled with great care. This "high level waste" will be converted to a rock-like form and emplaced in the natural habitat of rocks, deep underground. The average lifetime of a rock in that environment is one billion years. If the waste behaves like other rock, it is easily shown that the waste generated by one nuclear power plant will eventually, over millions of years (if there is no cure found for cancer), cause one death from 50 years of operation. By comparison, the wastes from coal burning plants that end up in the ground will eventually cause several thousand deaths from generating the same amount of electricity.
The much larger volume of much less radioactive (low level) waste from nuclear plants will be buried at shallow depths (typically 20 feet) in soil. If we assume that this material immediately becomes dispersed through the soil between the surface and ground water depth (despite elaborate measures to maintain waste package integrity) and behaves like the same materials that are present naturally in soil (there is extensive evidence confirming such behavior), the death toll from this low level waste would be 5% of that from the high level waste discussed in the previous paragraph.
Originally posted by grover
Yeah nuclear energy looks good until you consider the waste and accidents like Chernoble.