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Author Topic: If Humans Were Wiped Out Would The World Survive ? (A nuclear power question)  (Read 12136 times)

Offline neilep

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Hello,

I'm Neil.

There have been many articles about how the world would reclaim itself should us as humans be wiped out......but what about all the unattended nuclear power stations ?...wouldn't there be meltdowns ?


whajafink


Thanks

n






« Last Edit: 04/04/2008 13:46:29 by neilep »


 

Offline JnA

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it'd get rather hot for a while but I suspect the world would survive.. and poosibly give rise to a super species of some insect or other.
 

Offline neilep

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it'd get rather hot for a while but I suspect the world would survive.. and poosibly give rise to a super species of some insect or other.

THANK YOU JnA...

I reckon you're right.....the cockroaches will rule !!
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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The world would get on just fine without humans.  It would also get on just fine if there were only one percent of the current human population and as long as the numbers stayed the same we could do what we liked with absolutely no problems and all live a very nice life.  The real problem is overpopulation not global warming but no one will admit the truth.
 

Offline BenV

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Quote
The real problem is overpopulation not global warming but no one will admit the truth.

It's not a very PC thing to admit to!

"...the prime minister today admitted that all we need to do to solve many of the world's problems is allow a few hundred million people to die off..."

Certainly wouldn't go down well.

But back to the topic - I doubt there would be any major damage to Earth without us, and my personal suspicion is that the rats would do very well in our absence!
« Last Edit: 06/04/2008 11:33:36 by BenV »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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I am not suggesting any sort of active reduction of population.  We will have to learn to live with what we have got but governments and industry and general economic theory have a vested interest in young growing populations.  To reduce the population we will need totally innovative systems to cope with an aging and shrinking population or even a stable one. There are some hints as to how things might work but I would rather see a more active approach
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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I'm no expert on nuclear power stations but i'd imagine these days they would be fairly automated and surely have alot of failsafes, maybe they would just continue to run until the fuel was depleted
 

Offline lolaryan

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There has just been a book published about this very subject; "The World without us" by Alan Weisman. The premise is what would happen if all humans just vanished instantly.
 

Offline TheHerbaholic

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Offline Allanon

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I actually just finished "The World Without Us" and it was very interesting to see what would happen without humans. The book was well written and you can tell Alan Weisman did a lot of research into the matter. I recommend it to all who have wondered about the world without humans.

As far as the nuclear plants are concerned they would start melting down within a couple of weeks. As soon as electricity went out and generators run out of fuel there is nothing to keep the water cool which in turn keeps spent fuel rods cool. It would get really hot, really quick.
 

Offline LeeE

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Forget about the nuclear plants - after just a few hundred thousand years (an eye blink, in geological terms) you'd not find any signs of damage that might have been caused by unattended melt-downs.  However, nature would still be doing her stuff.  The one thing that everyone who has an interest in geology shares is an appreciation of the time scales involved.

Life on Earth isn't likely to die out until the core cools down and solidifies, at which point we'll probably loose our protective magnetic shield resulting in our atmosphere being stripped away by the solar wind, as appears to have happened on Mars.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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You wouldnt see damage from a meltdown, but there would still be evidence.
A few hundred thousand years would be long enough for most of the plutonium to decay but there would still be plenty left to detect. There would be other radioisotopes and such that would still show up for a very long time.
These still show up billions of years later.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor
 

blakestyger

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I'm astonished at some of the replies here. Not only would the world 'get on alright without us' it would be a damned sight better off.

Human 'progress' may have benefited one species in the short term but the long term damage to thousands of others has been permanent.

I don't usually fulminate online but the sooner we all lose this anthropocentric way of treating the planet the more chance there will be for all species rather than just this one.
 

Offline LeeE

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You wouldnt see damage from a meltdown, but there would still be evidence.
A few hundred thousand years would be long enough for most of the plutonium to decay but there would still be plenty left to detect. There would be other radioisotopes and such that would still show up for a very long time.
These still show up billions of years later.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor

Ta for that link - an interesting read.
 

Offline daveshorts

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I don't know about all the old soviet power stations, but the western ones are absolutely filled with fail safes, and I definitely get the impression that even if a fairly minor thing goes wrong and there is noone there to fix it the plant will shut down.

In a few thousand years the reactor building would erode away and then you may let out some of the radioactivity, but a lot of it would have decayed away by then, so it would be nasty but not too nasty.

As for our species only looking out for our own good - yes we probably do, in fact the problem is deeper than this, we have evolved, and because we are the descendants of at least 3 billion years worth of survivors, we have evolved to be interested in our and more importantly our descendants survival. The fact that any of us can worry about other species in a non-self interested way is quite surprising. I am not saying that we shouldn't worry, just that we shouldn't be too surprised when we in general don't use many of our resources to fix the problem.
 

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