Originally Posted by tundraboy
Originally Posted by Jony0
Agreed, nuclear is clean energy. Nuclear waste already has a few existing techniques like vitrification and ceramic encapsulation, then buried a few thousand feet in geologically stable sites, the French have been doing this for decades and 75% of their electricity is nuclear, they even process spent fuel from the US. Of course more innovative ideas are always welcome. Nuclear does has its risks but like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed. The soviets built their reactors with no containment whatsoever using unreliable cooling systems pushed to their limits by some ambitious pseudo-scientist’s brazen experiment. Fukushima was built only feet away from a tsunami prone seaside with no protection of the protection equipment and no contingency plan.
The public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option. Every serious fossil fuel accident and their victims are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Not many mourn for long the human losses in coal mines or ecological disasters by oil spills, but when it’s nuclear, even with no loss of life, you never hear the end of it. People lose their sense of context. Tens of thousands of people died at Fukushima and surrounding area from the tsunami … yeah, that’s too bad … and soon forgotten, but not the nuclear incident. Of course there’s a lot of land that is now inhabitable by humans, but probably less area than some of those large coal mines, and humans can’t really live comfortably underwater in those immense hydro reservoirs, we’re not getting that space back either.
If you think you can convince detractors with a declaration that "Nuclear is clean energy", you are going about it the wrong way. Doesn't matter if what you say is true or not, a lot of people will just see that as a preposterous statement. At face value most people will see it as false, unless you can stand next to an unshielded reactor with no consequences.
Also the 'safe if not for incompetency and greed' excuse is not going to fly. Incompetency and greed has been and will always be with us and you need to lay out how nuclear power is relatively (not absolutely) safe despite incompetency and greed. If you say 'nuclear power is safe once we eliminate incompetency and greed', then you've lost the argument from the get go.
And don't say 'no one has died from the Fukushima accident'. That news story is ongoing and will be ongoing for the next thirty plus years. We all know of the cancer cases due to radiation exposure in Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the human guinea pigs early in the US nuclear weapons program.
I agree wholeheartedly that detractors will not be convinced that “nuclear is clean energy”, as I pointed out that the “public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option”. I wasn’t trying to “convince detractors”, as I have had this discussion many times and it rarely changes people’s mind. I was simply stating a fact that in its normal operation nuclear energy is indeed a very clean source, an irrefutable fact that gets lost in any nuclear discussion, as does the fact that the waste issue has been solved by the French decades ago as I've previously mentioned, they had to, 75% of their electricity is nuclear. It’s a visceral fear that stems from the invisible nature of radiation and that you can’t run away from it, I understand that. Radiation has always been rightfully feared because it’s a silent killer, it even ultimately killed its first serious researcher Marie Curie after years of exposure. I think it also stems from the fact that most people learned of its existence from its very first use, in anger, at Hiroshima, even though it killed a lot less victims than most of the massive napalm fueled firestorms unleashed just a few months prior in many major Japanese and German cities. The difference is that you can see fire and maybe you could be one of the lucky ones that can run away from its slow advance, but you have no chance against the initial intense heat and shockwave of a nuclear detonation. I think there were even more people burned by napalm than nuclear radiation and subsequently died of their wounds, but all you saw in newsreels were radiation victims. It’s scary, I get that, it's a ray gun versus a bullet firing pistol. It’s worse than just the devil you don’t know, it’s the devil you can’t even see.
I certainly wouldn’t “stand next to an unshielded reactor” because, well, that’s just a “preposterous statement”, as silly as you standing in front of the focal mirror of a solar concentrator or in the path of the blade of a wind turbine “with no consequences”. You wouldn’t do that, nor anybody in their right mind would “stand next to an unshielded reactor”, even though the soviets let their people live next to a shielded reactor but with no containment, greedy cheap bastards.
I also agree that “the 'safe if not for incompetency and greed' excuse is not going to fly” because it was not stated as an excuse but as yet another fact, a fact of life as a matter of fact, simply that “like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed”. And of course I did not say nor would I ever say that “nuclear power is safe once we eliminate incompetency and greed”, shit happens. But the consequences would be greatly mitigated if people stopped doing bonehead things with such a dangerous material out of “incompetency and greed”, just like any other powerful tool.
Admittedly I actually do not know that no one died, I thought there might have been maybe a handful of cleanup workers but I have not read of any, I was actually repeating what a previous commenter wrote without quoting him, it is certainly very believable.
Originally Posted by anantksundaram
There is not a single death attributable to radiation from Fukushima.
Obviously this “is ongoing and will be ongoing for the next thirty plus years” and we “all know of the cancer cases due” to mining, transporting, leaking, processing and burning all those fossil fuels, and all those pesticides, and the hormones and antibiotics and other toxins in our food supply, and all those cigarettes, and all … the perils of modern living. Maybe the only safe place left to live is out in the tundra ;-)