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Author Topic: Is nuclear considered "renewable"?  (Read 3450 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« on: 14/04/2010 01:27:46 »
I'm talking about nuclear fission here as fusion is still many many years away. I know there are issues with nuclear but there are issues with all power generation methods. I think the question is which issues we are most willing to live with.


 

Offline Mazurka

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #1 on: 14/04/2010 12:21:28 »
In the UK, (politically) power generation not related to fossil fuel was classed as renewable, but is now "low carbon"

Personaly, I would not define nuclear as "renewable" as the fuel is physically extracted from the ground and eventually a particular mine will run out. 

So called "Breeder reactors" which produce more fissile material than they consume could be considered "renewable", however, the technology seems to have stalled due to the costs and nature of reprocessing required.  Of course, the fuel created by adding neutrons from the fission reaction to uranium238, which transmutes into the fissile Plutonium 239 (who said alchemy was dead?)   

This contrasts with true renewable power, such as wind, hydro, tidal, solar etc.
 

Offline Jessica H

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #2 on: 15/04/2010 04:04:36 »
I agree that it's not truly renewable but yet a viable alternative to fossil fuels.  The big issue in my mind is what do we do with all the waste?   
 

Offline norcalclimber

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #3 on: 15/04/2010 18:47:05 »
In the UK, (politically) power generation not related to fossil fuel was classed as renewable, but is now "low carbon"

Personaly, I would not define nuclear as "renewable" as the fuel is physically extracted from the ground and eventually a particular mine will run out. 

So called "Breeder reactors" which produce more fissile material than they consume could be considered "renewable", however, the technology seems to have stalled due to the costs and nature of reprocessing required.  Of course, the fuel created by adding neutrons from the fission reaction to uranium238, which transmutes into the fissile Plutonium 239 (who said alchemy was dead?)  

This contrasts with true renewable power, such as wind, hydro, tidal, solar etc.


Are wind, hydro, solar etc. truly renewable though?  I thought that all of those power sources(at the level we now need) still require fossil fuels at some stage??
 

Offline Geezer

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #4 on: 16/04/2010 06:41:37 »
Are wind, hydro, solar etc. truly renewable though?  I thought that all of those power sources(at the level we now need) still require fossil fuels at some stage??

No sources of energy are "truly renewable". It's simply a matter of time.

Fossil fuels are stored solar energy. We also have solar energy that we can harvest directly, or indirectly by wind. Lunar tidal forces can also be harnessed, but that can't go on for ever either. We can also tap into the energy in the Earth's core, but ultimately, that will give out too.

Pick your poison.
 

Offline Jessica H

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #5 on: 20/04/2010 17:34:29 »
Quote
Are wind, hydro, solar etc. truly renewable though?  I thought that all of those power sources(at the level we now need) still require fossil fuels at some stage??

Yes, I think to reach the "start up" energy cost, we would be making windmills and solar panels with nonrenewable fuel.
 

Offline SeanB

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #6 on: 20/04/2010 17:48:24 »
Just remember that nuclear waste is reprocessable into new fuel elements, but is not done for political reasons, as the reprocessing makes a richer fuel possible which is theoretically possible to turn into a weapon. Of course this requires a lot of knowledge and even more so a whole lot of really big and expensive plant, not exactly a backyard thing you can do in a shed. This results in the fuel being almost totally consumed after a few passes though, and the waste material is generally going to be used to generate power.

OTOH you can actually build a fusion reactor in your shed, although it is not going to come close to break even, but will make neutrons for you.
 

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Is nuclear considered "renewable"?
« Reply #6 on: 20/04/2010 17:48:24 »

 

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