25 years after Chernoybyl disaster... (NYT article)

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by BabyHeadCrab, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. BabyHeadCrab

    BabyHeadCrab The Freeman

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    Here's a photo article on the folks who remain near Chernobyl on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster. Be sure to full screen some of the incredible photographs. The most moving photographs, to me, feature the old folks who seem to have just toughed the entire thing out, most of their close friends and family destroyed by the fallout. They farm the land and live independently. As the writeup mentions, a small church still remains... upheld by one person. In many ways life hasn't changed in Redkovka, Ukraine - 22 miles away from the epicenter of the disaster.

    [​IMG]

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  2. JUL3

    JUL3 Space Core

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    Incredible stuff. I did a study on Chernobyl in Physics, what went down that day is heart jolting to think about. All the suffering, the damage done to the planet from one mistake. Nuclear energy is wrong.
     
  3. PJ

    PJ Tank

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    Nuclear energy is not wrong in any way, if its harnessed safely. Which in Chernobyl's case, it was not.

    Think of the environmental benefits over coal/similar resources. Until fusion power becomes a reality, it's the most viable source of energy from an international standpoint. Of course, in countries where it is logistically and economically possible, renewable power sources should be used.

    But as you say - when it goes wrong, such as in Chernobyl (and more recently in Japan, although fortunately to very little consequence) the results can be catastrophic. The simple precautions must be taken, and there is nothing better to learn from than the Chernobyl disaster.

    Thanks for the images BHC, they tell the story better than anything.
     
  4. JUL3

    JUL3 Space Core

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    Potential for human error will always exist, and the simple fact is you cannot make mistakes when messing with nuclear energy. Radiation is probably the dirtiest (and most horrific) thing on the planet, we would do well to steer clear of it for good.
     
  5. PvtRyan

    PvtRyan Party Escort Bot

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    One thing that's always missing from those who oppose nuclear energy is a sense of perspective. The damage that was done to the planet? PJ very correctly mentions the environmental benefits compared to using fossil fuels, but you dismiss that on grounds of human mistakes when working with radiation. Somehow the damage fossil fuels cause is to you less scary than :O ATOMZ :O. But that's what I mean with a lack of perspective. The use of fossil fuels kills 300,000 people every year, just in Europe!

    My life expectancy is cut short by a whole year on average because of their use. Why aren't we up in arms about closing all coal plants? I mean, "environmentalists" don't like coal much either, but they're certainly not as zealous about them as they are about nuclear power. When nuclear power is actually helping their cause!

    That's just their direct effects too, I'm not even mentioning global warming here.

    And Chernobyl wasn't one mistake, not by a long shot. The reactor design was a very bad one, something that was already well understood at the time. No reactors with that design exist in the West, or are even allowed. On top of that, many many human errors were made and many deaths could have been avoided (in Fukushima care was taken to not let workers be exposed to high doses of radiation).

    Watch this part of an excellent lecture on nuclear physics:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0vKnjFrDOs

    The entire lecture is definitely worth it too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BHdsjo-NR4

    Bernard Cohen also has some wonderful reading material that will show you some perspective:

    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/

    The potential for nuclear is so large. It's incredible that we as a species know how to directly harness the energy stored in all mass. There's only two more direct ways to harvest energy; fusion which is perpetually 30 years away, and matter-antimatter reactions which may never be mastered or worth it. It might very well be the most energy dense form of power generation that we'll ever wield. Yet we won't because of irrational fears of radiation? Even if current and next-gen reactors don't suffice, then it's still worthwhile to invest in them until they do. And there are designs, that in my mind can be world-changing, like LFTR and TWR.

    Don't get me wrong, Chernobyl was definitely A Very Bad Thing, but fossil fuel energy literally has a Chernobyl every day. And that's considered normal operations. If we were to replace all coal plants with NPPs and a Chernobyl happened every single year then we would still be saving many lives.

    And human error can be eliminated by any reasonable criteria, because many reactor designs now are passively safe. The LFTR for example cannot run out of control because increased heat makes the liquid salt slow down the reaction. No cooling required to keep it under control. And this is not some theoretical, on-paper design either. This thing was built and operated it successfully.

    Lecture on LFTR:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8

    Good luck with that. Do you like living in a house? Do you like food? Do you like having a body? Are you okay with rocks? Then you're not getting away from radiation. In fact, the Cohen guy argues that nuclear power will reduce our exposure to radiation because uranium that is mined for nuclear power is not given the chance to decay into radon in the environment (second cause of lung cancer after smoking).
     
  6. 15357

    15357 Companion Cube

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    I believe that nuclear power isn't something that we should avoid. All those bastards saying that we should get rid of nuclear power should first answer how we're going to come up with 40% of the entire electricity supply after we do that. Solar power? Hah. Inefficiency at its extreme. Until we manage to find other sources of clean, efficient electricity, nuclear power is the way to go.

    That said, nuclear power requires the utmost caution. It is unwise to have nuclear power plants situated on a fault line prone to earthquakes above 7.0 on the R-scale. Cf: Fukushima.
     
  7. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    More realistically, it's unwise to put so much fatal faith in private business when nuclear power, or any similarly dangerous technology, is in question. There's no transparency, and cutting corners in safety is incentivised by the motive for profit.

    But yeah, you also shouldn't build it where the ground is expected to split in half.
     
  8. Zephos

    Zephos Companion Cube

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    I would have given you a large text reply as to why you are wrong, but PvtRyan already took care of that. Strangely, studying the physics of nuclear power gave me the exact opposite impression of it's viability.

    Again though, not dismissing the horror of Chernobyl.
     
  9. GreatEmperor

    GreatEmperor Full of shit...

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    Yeah then theres Centralia, gulf spill, not to mention the particles just steadily pumping into the air and their effect. Nuclear power plants seem a whole lot more bearable than all but renewable really
     
  10. BabyHeadCrab

    BabyHeadCrab The Freeman

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    I can't honestly say I have an opinion, scientifically or politically, to vouch for nuclear power - so these comments are very interesting to me. It sounds like as long as you avoid coastal plants, and fault lines (derp) - it should be OK (but again, I don't know shit).

    Wind Power, where it works, is something I know a lot more about. I have family in Denmark that head an organization that advocates wind power on the east coast the U.S.A. and the rest of northern Europe. Thanks for the informative and on-topic posts ya'll.
     
  11. Remus

    Remus Companion Cube

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    I've read that experts in the field of solar power estimate that the cost effectiveness of solar power will equal and exceed coal in the next ten years. It remains to be seen, but personally I'm optimistic and I think solar and nuclear fusion will power our world in the future.
     
  12. 15357

    15357 Companion Cube

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    I certainly hope so. We need to start getting rid of coal. It's unfortunate that solar power would still require vast areas of land with sunlight, which is something that not all countries have.

    Fusion is the future. Hopefully we'll commercialize it within the next 2 decades or so.
     
  13. BabyHeadCrab

    BabyHeadCrab The Freeman

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    Let's burn fossil fuels to make enough solar panels to cover the roofs of all the coastal hurricane and earthquake fault ridden... wat
     
  14. morgs

    morgs The Freeman

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    It's all very well do just do away with coal, but remember it is a big source of economy for countries like New Zealand, and if everyone were to just take up nuclear power it'd cripple us.
     
  15. cjohnson

    cjohnson Spy

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    No, coastal plants are almost essential - where else are you gonna get the MASSIVE amount of water needed to cool some reactors? All Nuclear plants in the UK are on the coast.

    But yeah, there has been no nuclear incident that wasn't a culmination of errors.
     
  16. PvtRyan

    PvtRyan Party Escort Bot

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    Liquid salt reactors (like LFTR) are air cooled, so could be built in-land.

    Though I'm not sure why LWRs like Fukushima shouldn't be built near fault-lines. This was a pretty extreme case and all things considered it held up pretty well and the other plants held up perfectly.
     
  17. GreatEmperor

    GreatEmperor Full of shit...

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    Thats the gun held to the head of Pennsylvania too. The answer is tough, the US has survived the collapse of the auto, steel, and other industries, economies move forward, they will eventually anyway
     
  18. Dog--

    Dog-- The Freeman

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    Bread, meat, and vodka.

    What other food would you even want, let alone grow?
     
  19. Mogi67

    Mogi67 Companion Cube

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    It held up pretty well? The damaged reactors are still uncontained. They just detected Xenon in reactor 2 a few days ago which is evidence of re-criticality.
     

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