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Old 03-28-2011, 08:50 AM   #1
David Orange
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The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

I wish I could find the thread, now, but it won't come up on search. I think it was called "Motorcycle Girl in the Nuclear Wasteland," or "Motorcycle Girl in Chernobyl." But nothing comes up and I haven't been able to locate the thread.

In that thread, however, someone told me, "The fact that you believe that a nuclear power plant can explode shows just how little you understand about the subject." Or something about like that.

And here we are several months later with Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan having done exactly what I described. No, it wasn't an explosion like a nuclear bomb, but I said in the earlier thread that I didn't mean an explosion like a nuclear bomb. I meant a catastrophic failure of systems that could cause a reactor containment vessel to rupture and release core materials into the atmosphere. Of course, we don't know for certain that that even happened, but since Tokyo Electric Power Company stored the used fuel rods on top of the reactor buildings, all that had to happen was for the water to leak out of the cooling pools and the old fuel rods could melt down and release the same stuff into the atmosphere. And, unfortunately, it does appear that the actual reactor containment vessel on at least one reactor has been breached and actual core material is leaking into the environment.

I remember people asking me in the earlier thread, "Why hasn't another Chernobyl occurred? And I think I said "It's just a matter of time."

And now I say that if this could happen in Japan, it will happen again in the former Soviet territories eventually. It may happen in California. It almost happened at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama before Three Mile Island and that reactor was shut down for over 20 years.

So I'm afraid I do understand the vagaries of nuclear generation of electricity all too well. I wish I had been wrong, but this should be enough proof for anyone that nuclear power is too dangerous and complex to be trusted to corporations or the government. The powers of Heaven put the atom behind the perfect containment barriers, but the fears and greed of both capitalism and communism dug it out and brought it into our world.

It's time we face the fact that nuclear plants can explode with terrible consequences. The risks are simply too great to allow these plants to be built willy-nilly around the world. It's time to shut them all down and go solar. The silly claim that "solar is too expensive" have been disproven by the horrible costs exposed in this incident. It's free, safe, reliable and practical. It's only the artificial support of capitalist endeavors that make coal and nuclear even imaginable.

May God help us all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:18 AM   #2
dps
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post

It's time we face the fact that nuclear plants can explode with terrible consequences. The risks are simply too great to allow these plants to be built willy-nilly around the world. It's time to shut them all down and go solar. The silly claim that "solar is too expensive" have been disproven by the horrible costs exposed in this incident. It's free, safe, reliable and practical. It's only the artificial support of capitalist endeavors that make coal and nuclear even imaginable.
I don't agree that solar is free, reliable, safe and practical. There is always a cost and associated problems when producing energy of any kind both economically and environmentally.

How are you going to get the all the countries to shut down there nuclear power plants?

How do you go about enforcing it?

dps
.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:09 AM   #3
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I don't agree that solar is free, reliable, safe and practical.
Really? How much does it cost us to operate the sun every day?

And "solar" does not mean necessarily "generating electricity from sunlight." It means things like solar-efficient buildings such as monolithic domes (www.monolithic.com). It means efficient use of energy as well as production of energy. It means capitalizing on the major source of humanity's power over the past thousands of years instead of going the most complicated, dirty and dangerous ways of producing and using energy, which benefit major corporations at the expense of common citizens.

And what's not safe about solar power?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
There is always a cost and associated problems when producing energy of any kind both economically and environmentally.
And the costs and problems of solar are effectively non-existent compared to the global poisoning from single nuclear accident. Radiation from Chernobyl spread across Europe and we've already gotten radiation from Fukushima in the US. If the Fukushima plant's problems get worse (and they very well could go catastrophic), we'll get worse than that.

But can you tell me of a single "solar disaster" in history? Not one in thousands of years.

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
How are you going to get the all the countries to shut down there nuclear power plants?
I won't. I also won't get them to care more about their citizens than they do about their corporations. But as you see citizens in Germany demonstrating against nuclear plants, you're going to see lots more--especially if Fukushima gets worse. And if another plant somewhere goes up soon (as it most definitely will eventually), you'll see anti-nuclear protests across the world just like we've seen anti-dictator protests all through the Arab world in recent days. Nuclear power is a failed idea. Only government subsidies are keeping it alive now.

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
How do you go about enforcing it?
There's no way. Either the people of a nation will vote out or overthrow their leaders who support nuclear poisons or international coalitions will eventually get it done.

And as for your sense of economics...."The way the current administration is handling our economy two cents aint't worth two cents anymore..." you need to remember that the decline in the value of two cents occurred during the Bush administration and was handed over to Obama. If we'd followed the opposition's course, two cents would be worth .10 cents now.

Nuclear power is as flawed as Bushonomics and it will fail as surely. The timing is the only question.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:34 AM   #4
dps
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Really? How much does it cost us to operate the sun every day?
The cost is in converting the solar energy to usable energy, installing, operating and maintaining the equipment.

It is not free.

dps

p.s.

The sun uses nuclear energy to produce those solar rays.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:40 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

David Orange, I hear what you're saying, and I agree that the conventional "renewables won't work" argument is based on flawed data. However, you seem to have the view that many pro-renewables people have, that the solution to all this is through some kind of top-down policy initiative. You say, "Either the people of a nation will vote out or overthrow their leaders who support nuclear poisons or international coalitions will eventually get it done." Either way, a top-down approach.

That will never happen. We're past the point of top-down solutions working, in energy or anything else. All you have to do is look at US politics to see why: our system is designed to allow those with disproportionate influence to get a lot done. The only power available to the rest is the power to obstruct -- sometimes necessary, sometimes critical, but it never gets anything done. You can obstruct the nukes, but what are you building to take their place?

You will never build anything new using a top-down policy initiative -- the power of entrenched interests guarantees that. The solution is to stop spending all your energy on national and international policy, and start building what you want from the ground up. Getting caught in an endless "yes it will" "no it won't" argument about whether renewables will work is a complete waste of time. Build what you want. Make the change in your house, on your block, in your neighborhood, in your community. If it works, it'll be adopted, and if it's too slow for you, consider that your alternative is to make zero to negative progress. A journey of a thousand miles, and all that.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:55 AM   #6
Basia Halliop
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

I work all day doing research on solar electricity... I agree that nothing in life is free, except maybe conservation. I do prefer it to most other energy sources, but it's not 'free', nor 'absolutely clean'.

Some types of solar come closer than others, e.g. passive solar buildings which involve intelligent use of architecture, windows and insulation rather than doing it almost randomly as we mostly do... this provides energy savings that are free or close to free (sometimes the materials are different or more expensive or energy-intensive to make but it really depends and sometimes it's more a matter of doing the same thing in a different place which just takes thought not so much energy) and are pretty 'clean'.

Solar electricity, while I'm certainly a fan and would like to see more of it -- it just muddies the debate to call it totally pollution free, totally safe, or free. To make solar panels you need working mines to get the various minerals, intensive industrial processes to refine them, and further energy intensive processes to turn them into devices. All those do include pollution, health hazards, and occasional industrial accidents (particularly mining).

Then after that they work pretty much free and clean and nearly maintenance free for a couple of decades.

I'd rather argue safER, cleanER, etc...

Conservation, on the other hand -- yes, totally free and safe. Passive solar can vary where _exactly_ it falls on the spectrum but it tends to have a really good energy return on energy investment and I wish we used it more.... I'm often surprised at how little attention it gets -- not as glamorous as the higher tech stuff.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 03-28-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
The cost is in converting the solar energy to usable energy, installing, operating and maintaining the equipment.

It is not free.
No one asked for "free". The sunlight is free and that can replace a lot of "generated" power if we use it properly. And the cost of converting sunlight to electricity is far less than the cost of building a nuclear plant and using uranium to generate electricity.

But again, vast amounts can be done simply by using more efficient equipment.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
The sun uses nuclear energy to produce those solar rays.
Yes, and that's as close as we need nuclear fission to human beings. Do you want to live on the sun?

As I said, the powers of Heaven provided the proper containment for nuclear reactions. They're not meant to be contained on earth. But for profit, men will unleash hell, as long as they believe they can make themselves safe--others, they don't care about.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
However, you seem to have the view that many pro-renewables people have, that the solution to all this is through some kind of top-down policy initiative. You say, "Either the people of a nation will vote out or overthrow their leaders who support nuclear poisons or international coalitions will eventually get it done." Either way, a top-down approach.
I think people voting out or overthrowing their leaders is the essence of a bottom-up approach.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That will never happen. We're past the point of top-down solutions working, in energy or anything else. All you have to do is look at US politics to see why: our system is designed to allow those with disproportionate influence to get a lot done. The only power available to the rest is the power to obstruct -- sometimes necessary, sometimes critical, but it never gets anything done.
It got rid of Mubarak.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
You can obstruct the nukes, but what are you building to take their place?
Solar electric and water units on the roofs of every building built from now on?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
The solution is to stop spending all your energy on national and international policy, and start building what you want from the ground up. Getting caught in an endless "yes it will" "no it won't" argument about whether renewables will work is a complete waste of time. Build what you want. Make the change in your house, on your block, in your neighborhood, in your community. If it works, it'll be adopted, and if it's too slow for you, consider that your alternative is to make zero to negative progress. A journey of a thousand miles, and all that.
Thoughts are things, Mary. To show people the relative costs of solar and nuclear is to build the understanding that nuclear is not only unsustainable but eventually disastrous is to lay the foundation for a new way of thinking, which is the first and most important element to building new physical structures that work with nature instead of against it.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:03 AM   #9
dps
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I work all day doing research on solar electricity... I agree that nothing in life is free, except maybe conservation. I do prefer it to most other energy sources, but it's not 'free', nor 'absolutely clean'.

Some types of solar come closer than others, e.g. passive solar buildings which involve intelligent use of architecture, windows and insulation rather than doing it almost randomly as we mostly do... this provides energy savings that are free or close to free (sometimes the materials are different or more expensive or energy-intensive to make but it really depends and sometimes it's more a matter of doing the same thing in a different place which just takes thought not so much energy) and are pretty 'clean'.

Solar electricity, while I'm certainly a fan and would like to see more of it -- it just muddies the debate to call it totally pollution free, totally safe, or free. To make solar panels you need working mines to get the various minerals, intensive industrial processes to refine them, and further energy intensive processes to turn them into devices. All those do include pollution, health hazards, and occasional industrial accidents (particularly mining).

Then after that they work pretty much free and clean and nearly maintenance free for a couple of decades.

I'd rather say safER, cleanER, etc...

Conservation, on the other hand -- yes, totally free and safe. Passive solar can vary where _exactly_ it falls on the spectrum but it tends to have a really good energy return on energy investment and I wish we used it more.... I'm often surprised at how little attention it gets -- not as glamorous as the higher tech stuff.
Basia,

In your opinion if there were large scale solar farms that produced electricity instead of the conventional nonnuclear forms what would the cost be comparatively and the effects of diverting the solar energy away from earth's use of it?

dps
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:07 AM   #10
Basia Halliop
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
In your opinion if there were large scale solar farms that produced electricity instead of the conventional nonnuclear forms what would the cost be comparatively and the effects of diverting the solar energy away from earth's use of it?
Honestly I really have no idea. That would require me to know a lot about farming and ecosystems and economics and a lot of things I don't know much about.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:16 AM   #11
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I work all day doing research on solar electricity... I agree that nothing in life is free, except maybe conservation. I do prefer it to most other energy sources, but it's not 'free', nor 'absolutely clean'.
The sunlight itself is free and it is delivered directly to us. Compared to uranium, which has to be mined, refined, contained, controlled and then stored, effectively forever, or to coal, which has to be mined, refined, transported and burned, releasing pollutants and filth, sunlight is like giving us free money.

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Some types of solar come closer than others, e.g. passive solar buildings which involve intelligent use of architecture, windows and insulation rather than doing it almost randomly as we mostly do... this provides energy savings that are free or close to free (sometimes the materials are different or more expensive or energy-intensive to make but it really depends and sometimes it's more a matter of doing the same thing in a different place which just takes thought not so much energy) and are pretty 'clean'.
My points exactly. And when you compare these methods to coal or nuclear, which produce wastes that last a long time to effectively forever, solar is proactively clean. Even if you use energy-intensive materials like concrete and rebar, if they produce long-lived structures like monolithic domes (which can last literally hundreds of years), the costs become negative after awhile.

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Solar electricity, while I'm certainly a fan and would like to see more of it -- it just muddies the debate to call it totally pollution free, totally safe, or free. To make solar panels you need working mines to get the various minerals, intensive industrial processes to refine them, and further energy intensive processes to turn them into devices. All those do include pollution, health hazards, and occasional industrial accidents (particularly mining).
But to compare those hazards to coal and uranium mining, we find that the benefits far outweigh the dangers and pollution and, over their lifetimes, the products come close to zero or negative cost in terms of pollution--whereas nuclear is never finally zeroed out.

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Then after that they work pretty much free and clean and nearly maintenance free for a couple of decades.

I'd rather argue safER, cleanER, etc...
Yes, but so much cleaner, safer, etc., that it doesn't show up on the scale, over time.

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Conservation, on the other hand -- yes, totally free and safe. Passive solar can vary where _exactly_ it falls on the spectrum but it tends to have a really good energy return on energy investment and I wish we used it more.... I'm often surprised at how little attention it gets -- not as glamorous as the higher tech stuff.
That's right. A garden, for instance, is a great use of solar power and conservation at the same time because every piece of fruit or vegetable you create saves a trip to the store and picking it fresh saves the cost and energy of refrigerating it. Composting leaves and grass clippings saves bagging those things in plastic bags and having them rot in landfills as well as reducing the need for fertilizers, etc.

The biggest lies about solar energy are that it "costs" so much and that it is mainly about making electricity out of sunlight. You bring up excellent points. Like aikido, solar consciousness is about a very different and far more intelligent approach to living.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:23 AM   #12
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Honestly I really have no idea. That would require me to know a lot about farming and ecosystems and economics and a lot of things I don't know much about.
However, for the same money we spend on a single nuclear plant, we could put solar electric cells on the roof of every building in our state. The investment could be recouped by time-payments for the systems by the homeowners and building owners, which would be offset by not having to pay for generated power. And this huge electric generation capacity could supply industrial needs during the day, when most home systems won't be heavily used.

Opponents of solar energy always use the most outlandish examples to make solar look bad and to make it look bad compared to nuclear, they have to get very outlandish, indeed.

I recall one comparison that used electric space heaters to heat an uninsulated mobile home, resulting in the need for acres of solar cells to heat one "home".

My point is that people need to drop the propaganda and look at the real long-term costs of solar in combination with energy-efficiency, conservation and appropriate use compared to the production of nuclear fuel, containment of reactions and virtually infinite storage of the deadly waste that remains.

When they say nuclear plants produce "no emissions," that's just a lie from the start. And nuclear plants can and do explode. Some propagandist in congress was just saying that a disaster only happens once in 300 years....but we've had three in my lifetime and the current one is still evolving. We don't know yet what will come of this one. We could literally lose Tokyo. Overlay the size of the Chernobyl dead zone on Japan. It doesn't look good.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 03-28-2011 at 11:26 AM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:23 AM   #13
lbb
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Conservation, on the other hand -- yes, totally free and safe. Passive solar can vary where _exactly_ it falls on the spectrum but it tends to have a really good energy return on energy investment and I wish we used it more.... I'm often surprised at how little attention it gets -- not as glamorous as the higher tech stuff.
It's not glamorous; it's also mostly a rich person's solution, as things stand now. The large majority of people can't afford to pay for a solar-friendly lot and build a new house, or extensively retrofit the one they have. But people do use it in smaller ways, putting plastic on porch screens both to insulate and to capture heat, or farming with unheated hoop houses to extend the growing cycle.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:28 AM   #14
lbb
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

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David Orange wrote: View Post
I think people voting out or overthrowing their leaders is the essence of a bottom-up approach.
To what end? To put in another guy at the top. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
It got rid of Mubarak.
And brought what? Most people in the US stopped paying attention when Mubarak left and assumed that everything was going to be hunky dory from here on out. It most decidedly isn't.

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
ISolar electric and water units on the roofs of every building built from now on?
And what of those who aren't building new houses?

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David Orange wrote: View Post
IThoughts are things, Mary. To show people the relative costs of solar and nuclear is to build the understanding that nuclear is not only unsustainable but eventually disastrous is to lay the foundation for a new way of thinking, which is the first and most important element to building new physical structures that work with nature instead of against it.
Well, best of luck to you. I still thinking you're working from the wrong direction, but at least you're doing something (I assume).
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:29 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's not glamorous; it's also mostly a rich person's solution, as things stand now. The large majority of people can't afford to pay for a solar-friendly lot and build a new house, or extensively retrofit the one they have. But people do use it in smaller ways, putting plastic on porch screens both to insulate and to capture heat, or farming with unheated hoop houses to extend the growing cycle.
This is largely true, but we have to have foresight and consciousness going forward, changing the ways we've done things so that in twenty or thirty years we'll be able to see a real difference.

What if we'd followed Jimmy Carter's lead on oil ever since he was in office?

Reagan put the kibosh on that and also took down the solar collectors that Carter put on the White House. And now we're worse off than ever on the matter of oil and we've made virtually zero progress on solar, but we've added two more nuclear disasters to the count.

The first step is admitting that we have a problem....

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #16
Basia Halliop
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's not glamorous; it's also mostly a rich person's solution, as things stand now. The large majority of people can't afford to pay for a solar-friendly lot and build a new house, or extensively retrofit the one they have. But people do use it in smaller ways, putting plastic on porch screens both to insulate and to capture heat, or farming with unheated hoop houses to extend the growing cycle.
I think you're right that the fact that passive solar usually means custom-built is a major obstacle. I'd love to see more developers thinking about this from the start. It's so much more efficient and easier to just build right from the start rather than retrofitting. Some of the changes required aren't major.

There's also the fact that at least in Canada, we're still arguing for a building code that would catch us up to 1980's state of the art... In winter our homes mostly heat the outdoors and warm us up in passing on the way out. And air conditioners should really NOT be necessary in our climate. That's just poor building design if they are.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:33 AM   #17
Basia Halliop
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

For most people one of the biggest things they can do is just fix their basement insulation. At least where I live, as it obviously depends where you live.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:41 AM   #18
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
To what end? To put in another guy at the top. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Maybe. And if so, overthrow him. What's your alternative? It sounds more or less like "Lay down and die" or as Home Simpson told Bart, "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'."

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And brought what? Most people in the US stopped paying attention when Mubarak left and assumed that everything was going to be hunky dory from here on out. It most decidedly isn't.
We don't know what it will bring. But it does show that change can come from the bottom up. And the alternative was to just keep on with Mubarak in power.

But if we force an end to nuclear, we will force ourselves to take up another approach. Buckminster Fuller's approach was that if you build something better, the people will turn to it simply because it's better. The only reason more people haven't turned to solar energy (and wind and water and tidal and geothermal) is that coal and nuclear lobbyists (and the types who ran Enron) continue to compare the costs of those things to the highly disguised and misleading "costs" of power from nuclear and coal. Of course, my guess is that when solar can be controlled by the super-wealthy, they will want to boost their profits by demanding that the government fire nuclear missiles at the sun...

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And what of those who aren't building new houses?
Eventually, every house and every building will be replaced. Without exception. And as energy costs increase steadily, the benefits of replacing any non-efficient structure will quickly outweigh those of keeping it.

Thinking forward.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 03-28-2011 at 11:44 AM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #19
dps
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

A good example of an energy efficient house,

"The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.

Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.

A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.

No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.

This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford"

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.c...c-e362782ce790

dps
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #20
kewms
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

The fundamental problem with solar energy is that it's not very efficient. 1.5 GW of nameplate capacity -- about equal to one nuclear reactor -- will cover about 10 million square meters, or just short of 4 square miles. Earth's total installed generating capacity is close to 13 Terawatts: that's a lot of solar panels and a lot of land. (The entire world installed just 18 GW of solar capacity last year.)

That presents a bunch of problems. First, land is expensive. Second, and more important for those who view solar energy as a green alternative, covering that much land with solar panels changes the albedo, much like covering it with parking lots would, with unpredictable environmental consequences.

Third, solar panel production uses a lot of energy and creates a substantial amount of hazardous waste. Energy consumption has come down in the last few years -- it takes about a year for a panel to generate the energy it took to make it -- but the hazardous waste is still with us. There are reports of solar plants in China simply dumping gallons of silicon tetrachloride in nearby fields. That will sterilize a field just as thoroughly as a Chernobyl incident, and the volume of waste produced by panel manufacturing is much larger.

I'm a fan of solar. I earn most of my living from the solar industry. But we're a long long way from converting the world to solar or other renewables. If we want to avoid climate change, the argument isn't really nuclear vs. renewables, it's nuclear vs. fossil fuels. And on that scale, nuclear wins by a wide margin.

Incidentally, I strongly suggest that anyone reading or contributing to this thread inform themselves about the differences between the Chernobyl incident and the Fukushima situation. Among other things, Chernobyl featured a graphite-moderated reactor which burned out of control for days. Nothing like that was ever a possibility at Fukushima.

Katherine
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:50 AM   #21
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
A good example of an energy efficient house...No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.

This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford"
It's a great example of someone who pushes coal, oil and nuclear on the populace and makes his money from that while avoiding all those costs for himself.

Very smart moves and, as you point out, completely devoid of moral considerations.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:58 AM   #22
Cliff Judge
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
A good example of an energy efficient house,

"The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.

Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.

A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.

No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.

This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford"

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.c...c-e362782ce790

dps
Why is this a good example? Because it is the home of a fabulously wealthy individual whose family has been instrumental in making the USA reliant on foreign oil?
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:02 PM   #23
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
The fundamental problem with solar energy is that it's not very efficient. 1.5 GW of nameplate capacity -- about equal to one nuclear reactor -- will cover about 10 million square meters, or just short of 4 square miles. Earth's total installed generating capacity is close to 13 Terawatts: that's a lot of solar panels and a lot of land. (The entire world installed just 18 GW of solar capacity last year.)
Your error is to limit "solar energy" to generation of electricity. Basia brings up many very important aspects of solar power. Second, you indicate that we have to make huge solar farms in one spot. We can put solar electric and water units on the roof of every structure in the United States rather than taking up empty land for them. Third is the assumption that we actually need all the electricity that's being generated by nuclear plants. Efficient lights and appliances along with conservative use can reduce that "need" manyfold.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
That presents a bunch of problems. First, land is expensive.
That problem is solved as stated above.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Second, and more important for those who view solar energy as a green alternative, covering that much land with solar panels changes the albedo, much like covering it with parking lots would, with unpredictable environmental consequences.
Again, don't use empty lands. Use all existing roofs and apprpriate built surfaces. In fact, cover all large parking lots with solar roofs and collect the rainwater runoff. This will also shade parked cars and reduce the need for car A/C.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Third, solar panel production uses a lot of energy and creates a substantial amount of hazardous waste.
Does it produce waste that will be hazardous for 100,000 years and have to be contained all that time? Compared to nuclear, the hazards from solar cell manufacture are negligible.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Energy consumption has come down in the last few years -- it takes about a year for a panel to generate the energy it took to make it -- but the hazardous waste is still with us. There are reports of solar plants in China simply dumping gallons of silicon tetrachloride in nearby fields. That will sterilize a field just as thoroughly as a Chernobyl incident, and the volume of waste produced by panel manufacturing is much larger.
Well, that is China.... And if you think what they do with solar manufacturing waste is bad, wait until you see how they handle nuclear waste.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I'm a fan of solar. I earn most of my living from the solar industry.
Excellent. How do you do that?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
But we're a long long way from converting the world to solar or other renewables. If we want to avoid climate change, the argument isn't really nuclear vs. renewables, it's nuclear vs. fossil fuels. And on that scale, nuclear wins by a wide margin.
I say it only appears to win--even over fossil fuels. But a combination of renewables trumps them both.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Incidentally, I strongly suggest that anyone reading or contributing to this thread inform themselves about the differences between the Chernobyl incident and the Fukushima situation. Among other things, Chernobyl featured a graphite-moderated reactor which burned out of control for days. Nothing like that was ever a possibility at Fukushima.
As far as I know, the Fukushima plant is still burning and it seems that at least one reactor core is breeched. We haven't seen the end of this one yet, so it's too early to make that comparison. It can still get a lot worse.

Thinking forward.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:51 PM   #24
kewms
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Your error is to limit "solar energy" to generation of electricity. Basia brings up many very important aspects of solar power. Second, you indicate that we have to make huge solar farms in one spot. We can put solar electric and water units on the roof of every structure in the United States rather than taking up empty land for them. Third is the assumption that we actually need all the electricity that's being generated by nuclear plants. Efficient lights and appliances along with conservative use can reduce that "need" manyfold.
Okay, so suppose you cut the need for energy generation in half. (A radically optimistic assumption, given the rapid rise in energy use in developing countries like China and India.) You *still* need 6 Terawatts of generating capacity. That's not going to come from renewables anytime soon.

And suppose you do put solar panels on every roof in the US. You still haven't solved problems like the need for electricity at night or in bad weather. And you still change the albedo of a large amount of surface area.

Quote:
Again, don't use empty lands. Use all existing roofs and apprpriate built surfaces. In fact, cover all large parking lots with solar roofs and collect the rainwater runoff. This will also shade parked cars and reduce the need for car A/C.
Have you considered a funding model for this approach?

Quote:
Well, that is China.... And if you think what they do with solar manufacturing waste is bad, wait until you see how they handle nuclear waste.
So the health of Chinese people doesn't matter? Even when most of their panels are shipped to rich Westerners who seem to think solar energy is free of environmental costs?

Quote:
I say it only appears to win--even over fossil fuels. But a combination of renewables trumps them both.
I don't think your math holds up to close scrutiny.

Fun facts:
* Largest user of renewable energy in Europe: Denmark, with 20% of their total.
* Largest user of nuclear energy in Europe: France, nearly 100% of their total.
* France has among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in Europe. Denmark has among the highest.

Quote:
As far as I know, the Fukushima plant is still burning and it seems that at least one reactor core is breeched. We haven't seen the end of this one yet, so it's too early to make that comparison. It can still get a lot worse.
I don't think the Fukushima plant was *ever* "burning" in the sense that the Chernobyl reactor was. Again, please educate yourself about the very significant differences between the two incidents.

Katherine

Last edited by kewms : 03-28-2011 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:36 PM   #25
David Orange
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Re: The fact that you believe a nuclear plant can explode....

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Okay, so suppose you cut the need for energy generation in half. (A radically optimistic assumption, given the rapid rise in energy use in developing countries like China and India.) You *still* need 6 Terawatts of generating capacity. That's not going to come from renewables anytime soon.
Wasn't it you who just said "Energy consumption has come down in the last few years -- it takes about a year for a panel to generate the energy it took to make it -- but the hazardous waste is still with us." So which is it?

The fact is, due to the recession, energy consumption has been falling, which is also a big factor behind the growing reluctance of a lot of fat cats to invest their money in nuclear plants. I was just listening to a report on NPR this morning about small communities "investing" in building prisons so that they would have jobs for their citizens as prison guards. But now the prison population is falling and many of those prisons are empty. The locals are again unemployed, but they still have to pay every month for the loans they took out to build the prisons. The big investors are seeing the same kind of phenomenon in nuclear power plant construction, which may relieve us of the need to protest new nuke plant construction, but won't, in itself, shut down existing plants.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
And suppose you do put solar panels on every roof in the US. You still haven't solved problems like the need for electricity at night or in bad weather.
That remains less of a problem than how to handle nuclear waste--or the fall-out from a breeched reactor, doesn't it? We definitely won't solve the problems you mention as long as we have the drug of nuclear electric generation driving us to greater and greater consumption, just as Reagan's policies drove the rise in gas-wasting large vehicles, which have led us to today's serious problems with oil. At any rate, why give up 12 hours of virtually free energy every day of the year, year after year, because we don't yet have perfect ways to store electricity?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
And you still change the albedo of a large amount of surface area.
I don't think adding solar units to roofs makes this worse than the roofs themselves. In other words, a moot point.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Have you considered a funding model for this approach? (...don't use empty lands. Use all existing roofs and apprpriate built surfaces...cover all large parking lots with solar roofs and collect the rainwater runoff.)
Sure. Instead of building nuclear and coal plants, the power companies build solar roofs over parking spaces and sell that power to the stores that have the parking lots. And this will still leave a lot of power to sell to industries and homes. Second, as I mentioned, the power companies could lease/mortgage solar systems to homeowners who would simply pay that bill instead of a bill for coal- or nuclear-generated electricity. And this bill would be lower, over time, than the bill for conventional power because it would generate excess power to be sold to industries, etc. And those who have invested in energy-efficient buildings would see even greater savings.

Alternatively, anyone who built a large store with a large parking lot could finaince the solar roofs themselves--using part of the energy for their own operations and selling the excess to the power companies, which would have the money because they wouldn't be spending it by the billions on nuclear plants.

And with this kind of volume production (and emerging technologies [http://www.nanosolar.com/technology]), the price of solar installations will plummet.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
So the health of Chinese people doesn't matter?
That's a straw argument in reply to my statement "Well, that is China.... And if you think what they do with solar manufacturing waste is bad, wait until you see how they handle nuclear waste." Of course, any toxic waste is a problem, but the particular problem you mention ("There are reports of solar plants in China simply dumping gallons of silicon tetrachloride in nearby fields. That will sterilize a field just as thoroughly as a Chernobyl incident, and the volume of waste produced by panel manufacturing is much larger.") is strictly a matter of how the Chinese choose to handle the waste, and they do that very badly with every kind of waste or toxin they handle. But they can change that much more easily than how they would have to handle that the same land covered with plutonium. And make no mistake: if the current Chinese system becomes repsonsible for large amounts of nuclear waste, it will be mishandled and get out of hand. I'd rather deal with their mismanagement of solar cell manufacturing waste than their mishandling of plutonium and other nuclear wastes.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Even when most of their panels are shipped to rich Westerners who seem to think solar energy is free of environmental costs?
Again, a specious argument. Comparing solar cell manufacturing waste to nuclear waste is like comparing a child's peeing in the ocean to BP's massive oil spill last summer.

As long as we allow nuclear plants to operate, we're going to produce waste that will not go away for hundreds of thousands of years and which, as we see in Fukushima, can, itself, cause nuclear accidents. We are sure to see a similar incident in the US within fifty years and probably much sooner.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I don't think the Fukushima plant was *ever* "burning" in the sense that the Chernobyl reactor was. Again, please educate yourself about the very significant differences between the two incidents.
In other words, "The fact that I believe that a nuclear power plant can blow up shows just how little I understand nuclear power"?

Tell that to the people who are now homeless (for the foreseeable future) in Japan because of Fukushima Dai-Ichi. The differences between the two incidents are clear but still relatively minor. And we still don't know how much worse this incident will get. In fact, I am quite educated on this. I said a nuclear plant can blow up and Fukushima Dai-Ichi was exactly the kind of "blow-up" I meant. What I won't do is allow a nuclear apologist to obfuscate the very deadly repurcussions of nuclear waste in our environment under the banner of "educating" myself.

I'm still sure we can expect similar incidents in the former Soviet regions and, eventually, in China and in the good old, safe USA. It's just a matter of time unless we shut those poison factories down.

Thinking forward.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 03-28-2011 at 01:42 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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