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Offline Hadrian

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Chernobyl
« on: 21/04/2006 12:15:42 »
Twenty years after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor spread radiation across Europe, BBC News looks at the effects creating an exclusion zone around the power plant has had on local wildlife.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4923342.stm

Now that oil is running out nuclear power is back in the spotlight. Even pundits in my country are suggesting it may be the only option.

Do you agree or not and why?


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Offline time-cop

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #1 on: 22/04/2006 00:39:16 »
nuclear power is great,its generally safe,the problem is,when it goes wrong,it goes spectacularly wrong,and the effects will last for centuries,the deformities in babies ect just dont stop,it is awfull to see,we have to do some thing,why not tidal or wave power,wind power is good,but the turbines upset people,more hydro power,once again an enviromental issue,those in power need to talk,and soon,we all have to give a bit to get things away from fossil fuel,it will be running out soon.

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another_someone

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #2 on: 22/04/2006 02:27:23 »
quote:
Originally posted by time-cop

nuclear power is great,its generally safe,the problem is,when it goes wrong,it goes spectacularly wrong,



This is not particularly a problem with nuclear power.  No matter in what form you derive power, the more concentrated the source of power, the more concentrated the source of disaster.

quote:

and the effects will last for centuries,the deformities in babies ect just dont stop,



Are you sure?

Certainly, in the first generation after a disaster, there will be serious problems; but the experience around Chernobyl seems to indicate that wild life quickly develops a tolerance to high levels of radiation.  It may be the case that humans, because we do more to protect sick children, will respond more slowly to the evolutionary pressure that the high doses of radiation would provide; but do we know this is necessarily the case?

quote:

we have to do some thing,why not tidal or wave power,wind power is good,but the turbines upset people,more hydro power,once again an enviromental issue



Hydro power is considered environmentally unfriendly because it is a mature technology, so we understand its disadvantages.  Wave and wind power (at least in large scale application) are still very new, so we do not yet understand the disadvantages they might bring (just as we did not understand the disadvantages of hydro a few decades ago).

You want to extract lots of power from somewhere, then there are going to be no cost free options.





George
« Last Edit: 22/04/2006 02:27:50 by another_someone »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #3 on: 24/04/2006 20:20:54 »
I particularly interested in how opinion on how the debate around using nuclear power is being distorted by the whole question around oil.  In fact declining oil supplies are putting pressure on many areas like exploring the polar caps for oil. Will we see environment protection standards slip as a result? Will we see greater risks being taken in the feature?

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Offline harryneild

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #4 on: 24/04/2006 22:26:04 »
The technology for nuclear power plant security has significantly improved since the building of Chernobyl station. Also wasn't Chernobyl rushed to be built due to a huge power demand and so some design flaws may have been overlooked in the hastiness?

I think that the one disaster, and i do feel a lot for the families living with the consequences, should not deprive the whole world from such an abundant source of energy which would solve one of the world's biggest, if not THE biggest, problem. I think that we could safely design and build a nuclear power plant and create safe methods of disposing of the harmful wastes.

"Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes." Peter F. Drucker
« Last Edit: 05/04/2007 22:01:40 by harryneild »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #5 on: 25/04/2006 00:22:40 »
Are you saying that we have a safe way to dispose of this waste now? Also are you saying that we will be able to safely decommission all the old plants that are to be soon taken off line in time? Till Chernobyl happened what was the worst accident on record?

USA is probably the one of thew most tectonically advanced country in the world. The spent billions of Dollars on the space shuttle but it still failed more then once.  

So is it guaranteed safe, never ever are we going to face another accident like Chernobyl?

If there is a possibility of failure is the possible damage worth the risk?


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another_someone

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #6 on: 25/04/2006 00:34:03 »
quote:
Originally posted by Hadrian
Are you saying that we have a safe way to dispose of this waste now? Also are you saying that we will be able to safely decommission all the old plants that are to be soon taken off line in time? Till Chernobyl happened what was the worst accident on record?

USA is probably the one of thew most tectonically advanced country in the world. The spent billions of Dollars on the space shuttle but it still failed more then once.  

So is it guaranteed safe, never ever are we going to face another accident like Chernobyl?

If there is a possibility of failure is the possible damage worth the risk?



There is no such thing as safe, and it is naïve to believe otherwise.

There is relative safety, but it can at best be relative.

There is also the question of the type of safety you are talking about.  There are some risks that have a very high probability, but low cost; while other risks that have high cost but low probability.  What you want to avoid are those risks that have both a high probability and a high cost associated with them, but between the other two, you always have to make a judgement of how to balance one against the other.

As an example, more people die each year from motor car accidents than from air accidents, but even a single air accident will have a 200 times the fatalities of the average single car accident.  Is car travel or air travel the safer?



George
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #7 on: 27/04/2006 10:43:24 »
There is a lot of talk about developing smaller reactors to meet the demand for energy when oil runs out. No doubt it is in the interest of corporations that develop such technology to promote it. Government too have a lot of pressure on them to find a quick solution to the energy problem and nuclear is very attractive if you forget the risks and the real waste problem. Waste is something that has been look at for years but still storage is what is mostly happening. We also face the possibility of nuclear waste and technology being diverted into dirty weapons. Thee more we make the more the likelihood that someday it will be used this way. Fact is if we all spent less on guns and bombs there would be money to develop safe alternatives.  We reap what we sow so let us hope the cost will not be to high.  

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« Last Edit: 02/05/2006 11:47:30 by Hadrian »
 

another_someone

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #8 on: 27/04/2006 12:54:16 »
One thing you have to bear in mind is that the nuclear industry is not the only user of nuclear technology, and is generally more accountable for its use of nuclear technology than many other users.

More nuclear waste goes unaccounted for from hospitals than from nuclear power plants.  This is not fissile waste, but it is highly radioactive (and thus still valuable for making dirty bombs).



George
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #9 on: 27/04/2006 14:13:37 »
Red Sky at Night Shepherds Delight. Red Sky in the morning Chernobyl.

While working in Kiev many years ago, I was eating some fresh walnuts from the trees, and they were lovely. One of the locals during his morning vodka break told me they hang the walnuts on trees at Christmas. I thought it was a very nice idea and asked him how it came to be. He replied, Chernobyl is only a short distance from here, so the walnuts glow in the dark and make fantastic illuminations at night. Think he was just trying to say don't eat the yellow snow in a roundabout way, but I did not eat any more for sure.

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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #10 on: 27/04/2006 18:15:22 »

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, however, there is..

Putting into practice theories about how to track and police hazardous waste makes me concerned to say the least.  
 



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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #11 on: 30/04/2006 18:54:55 »

Bush orders suspension of gas rules
By Joseph Curl
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
April 26, 2006


President Bush yesterday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, which are creating bottlenecks in U.S. gasoline markets, and announced a federal investigation into potential manipulation of gas prices that have topped $3 per gallon.
    Mr. Bush, responding to high fuel costs that are expected all summer, said oil companies have a responsibility to American motorists and called on Congress to strip away tax breaks the corporations are enjoying amid record profits.
    "Listen, at record prices, these energy companies have got large cash flows, and they need to reinvest those cash flows into expanding refining capacity, or researching alternative energy sources," the president said in a speech to the Renewable Fuels Association, which advocates alternate energy sources, yesterday in Washington.
    The $16 billion in combined first-quarter earnings expected from ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the country's three largest oil and gas companies, will be 14 times greater than the combined first-quarter profits of Google Inc., Apple Computer Inc. and Oracle Corp, and 19 percent more than last year.
    Mr. Bush also suspended new purchases of crude oil for the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a small move to boost market supplies.
    Analysts and Democrats predicted that the actions will do little to dampen high prices this summer, even though crude oil and gasoline futures fell yesterday after Mr. Bush's announcement.
    "If you have $75 a barrel crude oil, you're sort of at a starting point of $2.90 a gallon for gasoline," said Mary Novak, managing director at the economic consulting firm Global Insight.
    Democrats called Mr. Bush a hypocrite for making the speech because he signed last year's energy bill that gave oil companies billions in tax breaks and subsidies. They also called for a 60-day federal gas tax holiday.
    "We have two oilmen in the White House, the logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. "It is no accident. It is a cause and effect."
    Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, introduced an amendment to the supplemental spending bill that would put a 60-day suspension on the 18-cents-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline to give drivers immediate tax relief -- saving $2.70 to fill a 15-gallon tank.
    The Senate is expected to consider the amendment, which also calls to end tax breaks for oil and energy companies, this week.
    House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, called gas prices a "serious problem," but said lawmakers should further consider drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

 



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Offline tanian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #12 on: 13/05/2006 13:40:36 »
quote:
Fact is if we all spent less on guns and bombs there would be money to develop safe alternatives.  We reap what we sow so let us hope the cost will not be to high.



Too true. This months American Scientist magazine has a review of the book Plan B 2.0 by Lester R Brown which is about this exact point.

'Brown notes that destructive environmental trends that result from human activity can be dealt with using existing technologies, as some countries have already demonstrated. Denmark, for example, already uses wind power to produce 20% of its electricity.'

This is more directly relevant to the point about arms money:

Achieving 'Basic Social Goals' (universal primary education, adult literacy, school lunch programs, assistance for preschool children and pregnant mothers in the worlds 44 poorest countries, reproductive health, family planning, universal basic health care and improved availability of condoms) would cost, worldwide, about $68 bn per year. Reaching 'Earth Restoration Goals' (reforestation, topsoil protection, water-table stabilisation, restoration of rangelands and fisheries, and protection of biodiversity) would cost around $93 bn per year.

Even the sum of these two figures, $161 bn per year, constitutes 1/6 of the $975 bn per year that represents the worlds total annual military expenditures. The US alone spends $492 bn per year and even reduced by one third, enough to pay for Brown's ideas, would remain several times greater than that of any other country, and, Brown argues, would 'help ensure the survival of our civilisation'.

Worth the money, if you ask me...
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #13 on: 16/05/2006 18:12:07 »

Good point Tainan  



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Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #14 on: 09/06/2006 13:00:00 »
Kfar Chabad, Israel — Jay Litvin set out on a course of self-education about cancer and other effects of radiation when he emigrated from the United States to Israel a decade ago to work for Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl project.

To understand the environment from which the children came, Litvin made six trips to the areas of the former Soviet Union where people endangered by the 1986 nuclear power plant accident live


http://www.thejewishweek.com/bottom/specialcontent.php3?artid=479

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another_someone

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #15 on: 14/07/2006 01:14:30 »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5173310.stm
quote:

On 26 April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up. Forty-eight hours later the entire area was evacuated. Over the following months there were stories of mass graves and dire warnings of thousands of deaths from radiation exposure.
Yet in a BBC Horizon report to be screened on Thursday, a number of scientists argue that 20 years after the accident there is no credible scientific evidence that any of these predications are coming true.
The anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident in April saw the publication of a number of reports that examined the potential death toll resulting from exposure to radiation from Chernobyl.
Environmental group Greenpeace said the figure would be near 100,000. Another, Torch (The Other Report on Chernobyl), predicted an extra 30,000-60,000 cancer deaths across Europe.
But according to figures from the Chernobyl Forum, an international organisation of scientific bodies including a number of UN agencies, deaths directly attributable to radiation from Chernobyl currently stand at 56 - less than the weekly death toll on Britain's roads.





George
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #16 on: 14/07/2006 01:31:09 »
I saw that program tonight and it was actually quite interesting ,my kids however are begining to wonder whats happening to their dad and were totally pissed off with me.




Michael
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #17 on: 14/07/2006 13:37:14 »
Excellent programme makes you think. If it turns out to be true in every aspect it offers a lot of hope to solving our energy needs. Of course it did not address all the waste issues or nuclear safety in power stations per say.  I have to admit it certainly opens up the debate in my mind again. How independent are these researchers, does anyone know? I have a lot of respect for horizon in general so I would be surprised if they were not.

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another_someone

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #18 on: 14/07/2006 17:18:28 »
I think one has to accept the fact that there is no such thing as truly independent research – every researcher must be tainted by someone's money, and almost certainly by their own prejudice.

I think that research like this is important, and should be taken seriously; but never taken in isolation.

Ofcourse, one could be totally cynical, and suggest that it is an interesting coincidence that such a report came out just as the Government is investing in nuclear power – but then, the unanswered question must always be whether Government policy influenced the science, or the science influenced Government policy.

The problem is not that the science is likely to be wrong, but that all research of this type, from either side of the argument, must always be incomplete, and open to interpretation of the data.  Could the same data have different meaning to someone else – and who chose which interpretation should be broadcast?

Even removing the political angle, the nature of the media is always to be controversial – so when nuclear was the great hope of the future, then controversial was to be anti-nuclear; as being anti-nuclear became fashionable, then being pro-nuclear becomes controversial.  The reality is probably not as simple as either.



George
« Last Edit: 14/07/2006 17:24:22 by another_someone »
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #19 on: 14/07/2006 19:22:08 »
Absolutely George. But in our country at least we are facing the debate again around nuclear energy. We kept away from it and have even gone to bat against Sellafield. Mostly because if it went up we could be on the direct fallout line but we have no control over its safety standards. One way or another people have to find the truth around these issues in order to come up with the best answer they can. Speaking for ourselves we can't always trust that government to do the right thing.

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Re: Chernobyl
« Reply #19 on: 14/07/2006 19:22:08 »

 

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