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  1. #1
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Default the U.S. and nuclear power

    I dont remember that I really know the american position towards nuclear energy.

    We have in Germany since the late 60s the ongoing debate to abbolish nuclear energy. It all was started by some farmers who protested against people dumbing nuclear waste into their backyards. Since Germany is much more smaller than the U.S., nuclear waste storage is a much more intense problem.

    At the moment we have a pro-nuclear energy government they basically have the idea to make a lot of money by selling the energy cause we dont really need so many plants for meeting our power demands. Their plan is to make some money with the plants to then have room for new investions in renewable sources. I am against nuclear energy cause I know what grave impact the waste has on the planet and its inhabitants. I've studied nuclear power plant engineering a bit, so I also know on a professional level what you are dealing with. I too dont believe in our government's plan to use the money for renewable energies because they wont.

    Now since the catastrophy in Japan the debate has heaten up anew in Germany. The current government was forced by the political climate to react now and they will shut down half of our nuclear power plants for security investigations. Of course by shutting down they mean, they will stop to produce electrical power, before the fuel elements will be ready for storing they still will be needed to be cooled down for several years to become stable. Yet this reaction could mean the dawn of a new era and we all hope that the catastrophy in Japan will lead to a rethinking of the usage of nuclear energy.

    What is the american position on this ?
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I don't know, but I dislike the fact that the Japanese incident will likely set back the adoption of nuclear power. I wish that those people had designed the plants better, knowing that Japan was a island.

    It basically means that we'll be depending on fossil fuels that much longer, and may just be expected to do without electricity in order to avoid a nuclear disaster. I want nuclear power in order to keep our appliances humming in case our ability to get fossil fuels from the Middle East dries up. I don't want to live in an age where people have decided that the environmental cost of advanced technology is too high to be paid, and that (with the exception of the wealthy) we must go back to more primitive lifestyles.

    This is going to drive the price of petroleum through the roof as countries that had gone nuclear retreat back to fossil fuel, and thus accelerate the decline of the American economy.

  3. #3
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    Most americans like nuclear power. There's a very loud, powerful group of environmentalists though who hate it, for no real reason. Considering how clean and reliable it is, they should be the biggest proponents. I think once electricity becomes expensive enough and hard enough to get from other sources, the US will head in a more nuclear-dependent direction. Wind mills destroy land value and solar panels are expensive and don't work in many areas. Once people get past the fad with those "alternative" forms of energy, nuclear will take over.
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  4. #4
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I don't know, but I dislike the fact that the Japanese incident will likely set back the adoption of nuclear power. I wish that those people had designed the plants better, knowing that Japan was a island.

    It basically means that we'll be depending on fossil fuels that much longer, and may just be expected to do without electricity in order to avoid a nuclear disaster. I want nuclear power in order to keep our appliances humming in case our ability to get fossil fuels from the Middle East dries up. I don't want to live in an age where people have decided that the environmental cost of advanced technology is too high to be paid, and that (with the exception of the wealthy) we must go back to more primitive lifestyles.

    This is going to drive the price of petroleum through the roof as countries that had gone nuclear retreat back to fossil fuel, and thus accelerate the decline of the American economy.


    Yea that is a valid point, think doesnt matter how you look at it, the situations sucks. I tho think it is a better idea to use fossil fuels than to pollute the planet with waste. Fossil fuels have to be categorized for that as well, there is coal, oil and gas and while gas actually is kinda cheap, Russia connected it's pricing to the oil price to make some money with it. Those things of course suck.

    Besides a falling back into fossil fuels I was more thinking of a future with renewable energies. Think there's a lot going on and emerging in that sector, I know the U.S. has huge windparks in the north and geothermal or solar energy are topics aswell. What I am primarily intrested in would be if there is some rethinking in the U.S. that people speak in favor of renewable energy sources and that there are programs to teach the population to save energy.

    I remember when I was young watching american x-mas movies which I loved, I wondered why always there were all lights on in the house, even in rooms nobody was in .
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  5. #5
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Doesn't that contradict your stance on western lifestyle a few days ago? I agree that a return to fossil fuels is no real option, the idea is to both make a greater effort towards the developement of alternative sources and drastically reduce consumption. Both are neccessary. You can design appliances to eat up less energy, but how many of thes allpiances in your home do you really need? That's the consumer side. What's even more important is to reduce the industrial energy consumption, the lion's share. That can partially be done by redesigning processes, but I'm afraid it will eventually come down to reducing consumption for everybody (i.e. we consume fewer products that need a lot of resources to be produced in the first place - like the 40 liters of water needed to produce one can of soda). That's nothing new. How do you want to maintain infinite growth, even if it's just 1% p.a.?


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  6. #6
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Doesn't that contradict your stance on western lifestyle a few days ago? I agree that a return to fossil fuels is no real option, the idea is to both make a greater effort towards the developement of alternative sources and drastically reduce consumption. Both are neccessary. You can design appliances to eat up less energy, but how many of thes allpiances in your home do you really need? That's the consumer side. What's even more important is to reduce the industrial energy consumption, the lion's share. That can partially be done by redesigning processes, but I'm afraid it will eventually come down to reducing consumption for everybody (i.e. we consume fewer products that need a lot of resources to be produced in the first place - like the 40 liters of water needed to produce one can of soda). That's nothing new. How do you want to maintain infinite growth, even if it's just 1% p.a.?
    Well, not really. We should be reducing consumption, and we WILL have to do so... but it's better if it can happen gradually, rather than all at once in resource crash.

    My point is that I don't think we even have enough fossil fuels for a gradual transition into something else. We do need electricity and electric power, to some extent. And we can't rely on fossil fuel forever.

    We need nuclear energy, even if we do reduce consumption. Wind and solar are extremely inconsistent, and can't possibly generate enough power to meet our needs.

  7. #7
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Doesn't that contradict your stance on western lifestyle a few days ago? I agree that a return to fossil fuels is no real option, the idea is to both make a greater effort towards the developement of alternative sources and drastically reduce consumption. Both are neccessary. You can design appliances to eat up less energy, but how many of thes allpiances in your home do you really need? That's the consumer side. What's even more important is to reduce the industrial energy consumption, the lion's share. That can partially be done by redesigning processes, but I'm afraid it will eventually come down to reducing consumption for everybody (i.e. we consume fewer products that need a lot of resources to be produced in the first place - like the 40 liters of water needed to produce one can of soda). That's nothing new. How do you want to maintain infinite growth, even if it's just 1% p.a.?


    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY"]Growth[/YOUTUBE]
    (never mind the sensationalist title, it's the key concept of the presentation that matters)
    What do you mean by "my stance", dont understand.

    Well I dont want to take this onto a so abstract theorethical level that you debate our western philosophy, I am only intrested in the practical view on nuclear energy. You can of course make a theorethical debate out of it but it will get you nowhere, what's more important is what is actually done and what decisions are made.

    It's important for us as an industry nation aswell to see the globalized stance on the topic, cause I need to know with what to make the money with
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  8. #8
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    The brother of my grandpa came from a place in eastern Germany he had to be relocated. This was a village with so little inhabitants so they made them move a few miles away to build a nuclear waste storage.

    I wonder how this will continue, they are deploying the waste in salt mines, tho these are known to become unstable over time. They are doing it nevertheless because the mines are in areas where not too many people live. those are many areas from eastern Germany, since they aint politcally and financially as strong as western Germany they are a good victim. In Bavaria are excellent placers for storage in stone mines, but the rich communes down there play an excellent game to prevent the waste from stored at their places. Prolly invest a lot of money too.

    Even the swiss has a better storage concept than we have and austria has abolished nuclear energy when Tschernobyl happened. What will happen when there is no place left for waste in Germany or the salt mines wont hold no more ? Will we export it to Poland and kill this country once again ?
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  9. #9
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    I meant Athenian who said a few days ago that Americans (and probably the entire West) should drastically cut down on their life style. Not you, Entropie.

    I agree that the problem, even more than the safety of the plants, is the "disposal" (a.k.a didge everything into a hole in the ground and hope for the best). From what I have heard, the managing company of the plant in Fikushima was corrupt, knee deep in scandals and had actually faked documents (they were going to shut the plant down in a month or so). That is a reminder that the human factor must not be forgotten either.

    The practical view is connected to the bigger picture. If you want to discuss the future of nuclear energy, you have to consider global economic developement and neccessary changes in behavior that will likely require a drastic cultural change....because it is interconnected.

    Athenian suggests staying on nuclear energy because fossils are no option. She didn't mention alternative energies, but I hope we are on the same page about the need for an expansion of alternative energies asap. Last year I overheard a conversation between two German managers, one of them had recently been to Washington and claimed that the Obama administration would put this high up on the agenda and make it for this presidency what sending a man to the moon was for Kennedy. He claimed that Europeans would very soon be suprised at how America would make a giant leap forward in green technology and green industry. Let's just say, I haven't heard much about it so far.

    As for the transition: We seem to agree that it is neccessary, the question is only how fast and how drastic it will be. That depends on how fast we can open up new sources and adapt our technologies. The longer it takes the more we will need to keep the nuclear needle in our vein. That, as has already been mentioned, is connected both to short term and long term safety risks. The problem is that, at least in parts of Europe, more and more plants are dangerously old and no longer safe. Should they be shut down? I would say yes. Should new ones be constructed? I'd seriously prefer not to. But if we want to transition fast, we need to take the developement of alternative energies much more serious than we have so far.
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  10. #10
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    I've got to run now so I'll read up on you later.

    You now my problem is, I am too old by now to still debate nuclear energy on a classroom or university level. I am in positions of resonsibility now and have to make decisions regarding this topic. And I have made my decision. I as an engineer was long not contra nuclear energy but the more I gave it thoughts the more I came to the result that I will not be responsible for this and later look my son into the eyes who asks me why I have polluted the planet.

    No nuclear energy may be no alternative but only nuclear energy is the worst alternative and I dont really want to be responsible for that.

    Keep on posting your opinions, I'll be back tomorrow
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

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