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[–] HentaiOjisan 5 points 44 points (+49|-5) ago 

I have to disagree with this. You are just taking into account the direct environment impact, but there are two very big problems with nuclear energy that haven't been solved yet:

  • The environmental problems of nuclear waste. You can't just throw them to the bottom of the ocean, or store them until someone finds a way to fix it. Nuclear waste is very dangerous, and we don't even know what to do with it, all solutions are temporary solutions.

  • The extreme danger and impact of a meltdown. You know, extremely big areas of the world have been sealed because of what happened in Fukushima and Chernobyl, and they'll be sealed for extremely long periods of time.

I know there is a really low possibility of any kind of problem in a nuclear plant, but the risk is never zero and the damage is extremely big. And now we are having peaceful times but imagine a war or something like that happening in a country with nuclear plants.

For me, those two problems are big enough not to want any nuclear plant at all for now. If they get solved then, ok, go for it.

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[–] TheyOnlyComeAtNight 0 points 20 points (+20|-0) ago 

You're making those issues bigger than they are.

You can't just throw them to the bottom of the ocean, or store them until someone finds a way to fix it

Actually we can. The containers are extremely sturdy and can withstand a train collision or a missile impact for instance.

Nuclear waste is very dangerous, and we don't even know what to do with it, all solutions are temporary solutions.

There are solutions, they are just not economically viable. But if safe storage space becomes an issue, there are ways to get rid of the waste.

extremely big areas of the world have been sealed because of what happened in Fukushima and Chernobyl

Actually not that big. For Fukushima we are talking about a 12 miles radius around the plant, which on the world's scale is pretty insignificant - and it only concerns absolute safety for humans. It's not a dead wasteland.

imagine a war or something like that happening in a country with nuclear plants.

What do you think would happen? Nuclear plants CANNOT explode like nuclear bombs. Also, modern plants are extremely sturdy : it took an earthquake AND a tsunami to trigger a meltdown at Fukushima. In a war scenario you would basically need a nuclear strike, and needless to say a nuclear plant meltdown on a nuclear strike area is pretty much the least of your concerns.

I'm not saying those two problems don't exist, but they are somewhat insignificant (and well under control) compared to the risk of transforming our planet into the new Venus.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 11 points (+11|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Tonguestun 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Actually we can. The containers are extremely sturdy and can withstand a train collision or a missile impact for instance.

And if we do it over a subduction fault there's even less to worry about.

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[–] Alybad 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Id like to see a source on how to remove the nuclear fission waste. Afaik it can't be done, and that's why the usa dump it in abandoned mines, russia dump it in the white sea, etc. What we need is fusion, something physicists are still working on. Once we get that, we'll have practically unlimited green energy

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[–] Heinrich_Himmler 0 points 9 points (+9|-0) ago  (edited ago)

The environmental problems of nuclear waste. You can't just throw them to the bottom of the ocean, or store them until someone finds a way to fix it. Nuclear waste is very dangerous, and we don't even know what to do with it, all solutions are temporary solutions.

Yes, nuclear waste is very dangerous and is one of the main problems with nuclear power. But overall it causes far less damage than the burning of fossil fuels does. This is why nuclear fission power will only be a temporary solution.

The extreme danger and impact of a meltdown. You know, extremely big areas of the world have been sealed because of what happened in Fukushima and Chernobyl, and they'll be sealed for extremely long periods of time.

What extremely big areas of the world are sealed? A small village in Japan and a rural area of Ukraine? Those areas are tiny compared to the area being affected by climate change (the whole world). Nuclear power damages the environment on a local scale on the very rare occasion that something goes wrong. In a carbon power plant, damage is done to the entire planet if everything happens according to plan.

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[–] JeffGodOfBiscuits 3 points -2 points (+1|-3) ago 

A small village in Japan and a rural area of Ukraine?

Don't be a smartass. 2600sq km is not a tiny area. Go draw a 30km exclusion zone around 3 Mile Island and then come back and make the argument that it's an insignificant impact.

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[–] Wafflebutt 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Not disagreeing with your points, but this conversation happens in my head whenever I think about this topic....

What about the impact of the fuel sources currently being used? Coal fired generators take a huge toll on the environment and impact large swaths of land and even solar powered has big issues with disposal. Those panels are not exactly biodegradable. Wind has very strong opposition, tidal as well....so how does one calculate the risk vs the returns?

Conservation overall is our best bet....but with an ever increasing population, and a consumption-based economy, it's not likely going to happen in our life times and may take a great disaster to ever change our current course.

So with all that taken into consideration, again, how does the nuclear risk factor in to all of that?

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[–] Heinrich_Himmler 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I'm not disagreeing with you but I would think that nuclear has a greater problem with disposal than solar. If we could use solar to power the entire planet that would be great. The main problem is it only works in the day, when we use the least energy. It is possible to store it but modern batteries are extremely inefficient.

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[–] themanlyhegoat 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

The environmental issues are VERY minimal in relative terms... the volume of hot waste that a reactor uses in a year can fit in a large suitcase.

Chernobyl was the result of two things: 1) 1950s technology and 2) they were performing an experiment whereby they actually turned off the safety mechanisms that would have prevented the meltdown. Also, the number of people who died in Chernobyl is directly linked to around 40 and it's estimated that around 4000 may have developed thyroid cancer because of that; however, of those who developed thyroid cancer, it's also estimated that 99% survived. Compare that to one hydroelectric incident in China where 23,000 people died when a dam burst.

Fukushima was also a product of severe human error - I had dinner with the CEO of a large nuclear reinsurance company, he said that Fukushima was built on a fault line (which obviously should never have happened) and secondly he said that the engineers had placed the emergency diesel generators on the side facing the ocean because they were so confident that the tsunami wall would be sufficient. If the generators were properly placed on the other side, Fukushima would have never happened (there are rumors that the Japanese underworld had links to the construction company in charge, that rumor fits in well with this thread).

Also, in terms of relative danger, consider this... Fukushima is the worst nuclear power disaster in the past 30 or so years. The number of people who suffered shortened lifespans (cancer) because of it is estimated to be from a couple of hundred to around 1800 at the highest range, while the number of people who suffered shortened lifespans because of the immediate shutdown of the rest of the nuclear plants is estimated to be at least several thousand (3000 plus) due to the use of coal and other fossil fuels in only the following 3 to 5 year time span (it was not possible to switch to renewable that quickly).

People freak out about nuclear because it is scary, but in reality, coal, fossil fuels, and even renewables (eg the hydroelectric facility broke in China and killed 23,000 people) kill more people than nuclear energy. In fact, coal kills more people in one year than almost the entire history of nuclear energy.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928053.600-fossil-fuels-are-far-deadlier-than-nuclear-power.html http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/whats-the-deadliest-power-source http://www.myscience.fi/index.php?id=516 http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/03/deaths-per-twh-for-all-energy-sources.html