Originally Posted by tyler82
Yes I did read it and admit my rebuttal was a bit histrionic. My main thesis is that a nuclear power fallout can have devastating consequences across the globe. Even oil and coal plants are much more contained than that. There is also a finite amount of uranium supply, so it is not the solution to long term energy use, and storing all of those spent rods takes thousands of years- quite a burden on your grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren's great great grandchildren.
Nuclear's been around for a century, and considering that almost all of what's around is very old stuff, i.e., Gen 1, it is pretty impressive that there have been only three major incidents: Chernobyl (really scary), Three Mile Island (ridiculous hyperventilation), and Fukushima (scary). All these were instances of human failures more than they were technological.
You should really find out a bit more about the safety of Gen 3. It's remarkably safe. You can't base public policy on vague statements such as "...can have devastating consequences...." Lots of things that we spend money on as societies -- wars, chemical plants, automobiles, air travel, space exploration, dead zones from agriculture, waste/emissions/pollution we produce fro our production and consumption -- have devastating consequences.
Yes, I would be somewhat worried about nuclear in its current installed form in countries like the US -- almost entirely first generation -- where it's a matter of time. In another decade or so, we'll start to see some real issues. We really should be thinking about how to leapfrog to Gen 3 and 4 (esp. Gen 4) reactors. Given the lead times involved to set up a plant, which is a decade or so, we should be starting now.
In any event, many countries, such as India, China, and Brazil are plowing ahead: there are nearly 60 being built today around the world (none in the US, perhaps one or two in Europe). I can assure you that countries such as India and China would not be going nuclear it if it was more expensive than wind and solar (which, btw, are prone to intermittency issues, have poorly developed storage technologies as backup, can take up huge tracts of land, use up massive amounts of water in the case of solar CSP, prone to breakdown and noise and visual pollution in the case of wind, and whose core components are very dirty to produce).
Two other points. One, you claim that "oil and coal are more contained than nuclear." Seriously?! Leaving aside issues such as emissions, toxic pollutants, and particulates, coal alone has probably directly
killed over 100,000 people (mostly miners) in just the US alone
this past century! You can look it up. We all know how many lives have been lost over oil.....
As to uranium being finite, know that less than 1% of the energy is used in Gen 1 - 3 nuclear reactors. 99% of the energy is currently wasted. Gen 4 will used reprocessed stuff, and people expect that it can last for decades, if not hundreds of years. (See, e.g., a company such as Terra Power: http://www.terrapower.com/home.aspx
). Scientists and technologists (e.g., in India) are also experimenting with thorium reactors, of which there's abundant supply (see, e.g., http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamp...fire-possibly/