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They can say "the odds of an accident are only blah blah blah" all day long, but unless the answer is an absolute zero, they're just too dangerous for my liking, especially when there are dozens of other avenues we can take in the name of energy.
According to a report from the National Research Council, coal fired plants produce 129 million tons of combustion residues every year — enough to fill more one million railroad coal cars. That’s the second largest waste stream in the United States after municipal solid waste. All that material, consisting of fly ash, bottom ash (a dry, coarse material from the bottom of the furnace), boiler slag (molten material from the furnace that’s quenched in water), and residues from air pollution control technologies, must be disposed of somehow. The two most common methods are to dump it in a landfill or pile it in a surface impoundment like the one that failed in Tennessee.
But what risks are posed by the high concentrations of fly ash contained in coal waste landfills and impoundments? Alex Gabbard writes that “by collecting the uranium residue from coal combustion, significant quantities of fissionable material can be accumulated. In a few year’s time, the recovery of the uranium-235 released by coal combustion from a typical utility anywhere in the world could provide the equivalent of several World War II-type uranium-fueled weapons.” He concludes that “long-term accumulation of radioactive materials from continued worldwide combustion of coal could pose serious health hazards.”
I guess the fact that the Pacific Ocean is likely screwed for the next millennia wasn't lesson enough.
If something goes wrong with a "product" and the aftermath includes mass illness and/or death, then I don't care how cost effective or "clean" that product is. We need to move past the archaic notion of money if we're ever to advance into a better/safer world. We can all have free energy if we can just move past the old notions.
Originally posted by Aim64C
reply to post by WeekendWarrior
Yeah, like in Finland we have so solid ground that even other countries bury/want to bury their nuclear waste in our ground. Burying nuclear waste just can't go on forever and when the day comes that some natural disaster rips through our solid ground we are fu***d and northern europe become inviable.
Incorrect on nearly all accounts.
Nuclear waste selected for disposal is sealed into lead-lined, reinforced concrete canisters that emit less radiation than a banana in and of themselves. They are, then, transported to compartmentalized reinforced concrete structures located a hundred meters or more under the bedrock of (often) a mountain.
This can go on indefinitely, as the half-life of the stored materials allows for the 'stock' to be rotated and the depleted materials to be recycled to a number of other industry purposes - vacating space used to store even more materials.
The issue with nuclear waste storage has never been one of contamination. The crust is littered with thorium and uranium (in fact, that's a large reason for the Earth's core temperature - we are sitting atop the warmth of a mild nuclear reactor); even the worst imaginable containment breach inside of one of these facilities would be less of an issue than the unmined fissile materials in our crust, already. The real issue is that of securing the materials to ensure they do not get stolen (for a wide range of purposes - third-party research institutes would pay top dollar for various radioactives; malevolent parties would be looking to create dirty weapons or to use the neutron and beta emissions to breed other radioactives).
No nuclear sounds much better IMO!
No nuclear sounds better than what it actually means. Solar power is simply not cost-effective in the latitudes where the most power is needed (the equator is one of the best suited areas for solar power - but, interestingly enough, is mostly open ocean). Geothermal is really only suited to areas of thin crust. This means that we have to do one of two things: Pay to construct and maintain costly long-distance power distribution grids, or pay to import sources of power derived from fossil fuels.
Sure - there are alternatives like hydro-electric, but those are also location specific. Environmentalists also tend to have a #-fit when we dam up rivers or lock away tide-waters for the purpose of power generation.
So, we're back to fossil fuels, nuclear, or importing 90+% of the power for most regions that require it.
The only one that makes any kind of sense is nuclear, as there is no effective monopoly on the mining of radioactives. Importing of renewable (and non-renewable) power sources will create effective monopolies - just as there is an effective monopoly over oil at this point in time. Areas with goe-thermal power will be building islands, mountains, or whatever suits their whims out of the profits they make exporting power and threatening to hit the breaker if the price demanded is not met. The same with solar.
Burying nuclear waste in the ground cant be good in long term, it just cant go on forever. Like a ticking timebomb..
This isn't hollyweird.
All of this storage and security makes nuke power much more expensive than any other type of fuel we use ... this just a business model that feeds the mega-corporations cash for thousands of years!
From the outset the basic attraction of nuclear energy has been its low fuel costs compared with coal, oil and gas-fired plants. Uranium, however, has to be processed, enriched and fabricated into fuel elements, and about half of the cost is due to enrichment and fabrication. In the assessment of the economics of nuclear power allowances must also be made for the management of radioactive used fuel and the ultimate disposal of this used fuel or the wastes separated from it. But even with these included, the total fuel costs of a nuclear power plant in the OECD are typically about a third of those for a coal-fired plant and between a quarter and a fifth of those for a gas combined-cycle plant. The US Nuclear Energy Institute suggests that for a coal-fired plant 78% of the cost is the fuel, for a gas-fired plant the figure is 89%, and for nuclear the uranium is about 14%, or double that to include all front end costs.
There are other possible savings. For example, if used fuel is reprocessed and the recovered plutonium and uranium is used in mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, more energy can be extracted. The costs of achieving this are large, but are offset by MOX fuel not needing enrichment and particularly by the smaller amount of high-level wastes produced at the end. Seven UO2 fuel assemblies give rise to one MOX assembly plus some vitrified high-level waste, resulting in only about 35% of the volume, mass and cost of disposal.
Operating costs include operating and maintenance (O&M) plus fuel. Fuel cost figures include used fuel management and final waste disposal. These costs, while usually external for other technologies, are internal for nuclear power (ie they have to be paid or set aside securely by the utility generating the power, and the cost passed on to the customer in the actual tariff).
This “back-end” of the fuel cycle, including used fuel storage or disposal in a waste repository, contributes up to 10% of the overall costs per kWh, - rather less if there is direct disposal of used fuel rather than reprocessing. The $26 billion US used fuel program is funded by a 0.1 cent/kWh levy.