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[–] OhBlindOne 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

We've had sustainable clean energy for decades, we just don't use it because of "public fear." It's called nuclear energy. It's safe and effective. But, people are so freaked out about it because of mistakes made over 60 years ago, so we don't use it.

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[–] azide 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

It is unfortunate that the US government decided that pressurized water reactors using uranium were the way nuclear power should be done as opposed to liquid fluoride thorium reactors. That decision was likely made because spent fuel from a reactor running on lightly enriched uranium can be reprocessed to make plutonium-239 for nuclear weapons. Compared to pressurized water reactors liquid fluoride thorium reactors are safer in the event of loss of cooling/power , produce less high level radioactive waste, and uses up thorium which is a waste product of the rare earth mining industry without needing the isotopic enrichment of uranium.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory built the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment back in the 60's to prove out some of the concepts but the second phase where they would use thorium got canceled. There is a good period documentary about the MSRE here (20 minutes).

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

I wish people gave more thought to nuclear energy. It really is the only viable choice to satisfy not only todays demands but tomorrows as well.

Meltdowns are still an enormous problem but as long as you build it with a just in case mindset you can handle most if not any serious events with the exception of a perfect storm of unlikely scenarios. Chernobyl had design deficiencies preventing an adequate containment, Fukushima had sea wall protection but because the entire land mass shifted down several meters it was inadequate to prevent a massive wave crippling the facilities backup cooling system.

Environmental impact of constructing it? Depends on the scale of the site but generally speaking most nuclear power plants are built to last generations not a handful of decades so its a big project with a big carbon footprint which it eventually offsets during its operational life.

Depleted core material? There was a plan to store them in a mountainside vault in sealed containers preventing most if not all all radioactive contamination for millennia but right now, as of today most spent core material is kept on site in steel or concrete casks because of public fear of moving it from where its not completely safe to where it would be most likely safe for the foreseeable future. Hell even some newer generations of reactor designs can use older refurbished spent fuel as fuel.

But what about hydro or wind? First hydroelectric dam construction is just as environmentally impacting as a nuclear plant, first in the sheer carbon footprint secondly in the massive impact it has on the area, that and you can't just do it everywhere there are only so many sites where not only can you put in a dam, build up a reliable reservoir, AND generate enough electricity close enough to where it will be most useful, if a dam fails it has this habit of you know causing a massive flood oh and because dams can only contain X amount of water safely if there is flooding the dam operators open up the dam to relieve some of the pressure which will cause flooding in extreme weather.

Wind is great when your conditions are ideal it also scales really well but you basically have airplane wing sized turbine blades spinning on a shaft that sits on a tower dozens of meters in the air, you've got at least a couple dozen of them in any given wind farm so maintenance is a very big, very laborious, very weather sensitive headache. Just like hydro theres only so many sites where its very effective, if the wind is too high you shut down, if its too low you shut down and do preventative maintenance, if its just right you try to only run as many turbines as needed and try doing preventative maintenance. Its also noisy as fuck, I will say this for it if you get the chance and own the kind of property where you can have one or more to offset your homes energy usage it is a legitimate way to save a small fortune if you can keep it the noise to a minimum and have some way to maintain it.

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[–] alele-opathic 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Depleted core material? There was a plan to store them in a mountainside vault

No need to store it. The DOE commissioned a study in the 70s where they found that subjecting spent fuels to intense low frequency radiation accelerates decay as much as 5 times(misremembered). I'm sketchy on the details - haven't read the report in a half decade. I'll be back with a link in an hour.

I have a small collection of US studies from 3 separate research groups into the mutability of decay rates as well (Falkenberg, et al). I can post a link collection for further reading if anyone is interested.

Edit: This is a recent attempt (2000) to reanalyze the earlier experiments and see if they can be interpreted under a new comprehensive theory..

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

Fukushima was 60 years ago?

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

Fukushima was 1. Not in the U.S. and 2. ran off of 60 year old technology.

We have nuclear reactors today, they cannot meltdown anymore, even if all the power goes out in the middle of a reaction.

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[–] Kannibal [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I can agree with this.

But also, Nuclear is generally a b ig bucks operation, centralized in big companies, and of course, subject to government regulation/

Having a lot of solar, etc. makes it decentralized, and less subject to government control. This stuff is also perceived as less hazardous vs nuclear.

once battery technology starts to really take off, then energy storage will solve a lot of problems.

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

Problems with solar are cost, inefficiency, and distribution.

Not only do solar cells cost a crap load, they are only about 5-10% efficient. They take up a ton of space and are dependent on an open space with little obstruction. If they break, it costs quite a bit to replace them.

Solar is decades upon decades away from being viable.

Since very few people are able to buy solar themselves, they usually contract with a company that will install it for a set payment plan. I.e. doesn't really matter if it's decentralized, because most people don't actually own the solar cells in their front yard, the company who installed it does.

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

https://archive.is/TgsNe | https://vgy.me/4puzk3.png :

Clean Energy Could Spark a Trade War Between the US and China | WIRED

'So if a trade war breaks out between China and the US, it may well be over clean energy. '

'That investment puts China in a prime position to lead the world in clean energy, selling its innovations to other countries looking to cut their energy bills. '

'Trump might become a clean energy believer—$200 billion domestic contribution to GDP is hard to ignore for long. '

'That’s not to say the US clean energy sector is down for the count. '

'The US has historically been a huge innovator in clean energy. '

This has been an automated message.

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

Awww shit nigga, let's just import millions of unwashed Muslims in our societies that will spark actual wars, so we won't have to worry about petty shit like competing with Chinese in mobile phone markets.

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[–] Kannibal [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

competing with Chinese in mobile phone markets.

We would be conceding a world market to them because we want to prop up big oil and coal.

Cell phones are something else.