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The Evil "nuclear" and "Anti Nuclear" camps -- The next Technological dark age?

Discussion in 'Science' started by bcann, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. bcann

    bcann Member

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    Given that it seems that to progress in any meaningful way it seems that we need more power to progress scientifically, I wonder if we are or have approached the next great "dark age" of technological progress due to the fear of the "nuclear" genie.

    Given what has happened in japan of recent, and the phasing out or planned phasing out of a lot of nuclear power I wonder if we are stalling ourselves technologically by fearing the power of nuclear.

    It seems to me that if we are to get off this planet and progress, we have to go nuclear of one form or another. Wether it be fission, fusion, matter/antimatter or whatever we have to progress to getting past the fear of "nuclear" and all associated technologies that have come from it and those that will come from it, or else we are doomed to waste decades and possibly centuries in a "dark age" merely progressing technologies incrementally rather then fundamentally.

    Although I'm sure other technologies like genetic engineering will progress, i believe we are fundamentally chaining ourselves where we are due to not wanting to take risks.

    Where would generations past be if they didn't sail there ships to australia or america because it was "too risky"? Someone might die? We seem to have lost our pioneering way as a society as a whole, and are too bogged down in risk managment and mitigation. Sure the loss of a human life is a tragedy, but should it also stop us progressing so that many more can be saved. Would madam Curie say dieing of radiation wasn't worth it if she came to this time and saw all the good xrays, and the like that came from the work she did? I seriously don't think so.

    So what are your thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  2. xxxxxx

    xxxxxx (Banned or Deleted)

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    Much more people die anually working on/for coal power plants than Nuclear ones.
     
  3. SneakyBastd

    SneakyBastd Member

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    Nuclear power is evil - it kills the need for coal.

    Plus, Australia doesn't have enough uranium or arid unpopulated space to store nuclear waste. Totally unsuitable for us. :rolleyes:
     
  4. FiShy

    FiShy Member

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    Yes if only we had tested nukes back the 50's so we could have had the storage space
     
  5. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    Note: I am pro-nuclear.

    But one must ask why reactors were EVER designed to not fail securely needs to be looked at.

    If such a design is impossible, then perhaps nuclear isn't the answer I thought it was.

    Basically, when a reactor is scrammed, it should require no further input to safely shut down.
     
  6. raX

    raX Member

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    The designs in use there right now that are failing are from what, 1950? (due to be decomissioned this year as well I read somewhere)

    Anything recent wouldn't be damaged like this....
     
  7. seb

    seb Member

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    Pretty sure modern nuclear fission reactor designs are self-limiting in case of failure, ie close to failsafe.

    I am not so sure that fear of the atom is hindering or will hinder our progress. I think it is more the fact that the desire for progress and even the desire for creative thinking has been squashed to some degree. A vast majority of ppl in Western countries would rather watch reruns of 2.5 Men than get off their derrieres and innovate.

    There is no vision, nor even discussion of different visions, of what humankind could accomplish. Do we want to go to the stars? What do we want to achieve as a race? Do we want to end global poverty? Do we want to live longer healthier lives? Most ppl living reasonably comfortable western lifestyles just don't care.
     
  8. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    Have you read the material around on scramming?

    Essentially when the control rods are jammed in, it kills off the chain reaction pretty quickly (as far as you or I are concerned instantly).

    It's the 'other' stuff in the reactor - that causes 'latent heat' (1-2% of total output) that needs to be taken care of, you still need to provide cooling to the reactor, for what could be days to being it back to 'cold'.

    The latent heat is enough to cause a partial/total melt down if not controlled.
     
  9. cicada

    cicada Member

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    I put it to you that western cultures like Australia are not just interested in watching reruns of 2.5 man, and have no interest in advancement.

    I suggest if you develop improved display technology for bigger TVs, with higher resolutions, and fancy 3D effects to watch said reruns of 2.5 men, that Joe Bogan will be very interested in such progress.

    Being serious for a moment, as far as I can tell most western governments are now completely politically paralised. Incessant, and instantaneous dissection, by the voracious mass media means hard and progressive policy is now a fantasy.

    Joe Bogan has it too good an is not going to vote for anything that a 10 second news bite suggests to him may have any possible down sides for him.
     
  10. Recharge

    Recharge Member

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    and here lies part of the problem, WHY weren't the safety protocols updated over time? why where they allowed to continue to operate without the ability to have extreme control issues to be handled? (generators having the wrong connections and a further comedy of errors because some idiot decided to save a few bucks instead of continuing to keep the plants up to date, or worse, didn't even fucking think of it)

    this NEVER should have happened, but it has, because companies and government can't be trusted to upgrade infrastructure.

    so no, fuck having it here.
     
  11. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    They had to essentially go down to Kennards and hire generators - hardly their fault they had the wrong connections.

    And while it's easy to say, why not upgrade the reactor. In practice it's near impossible, due to the fact it's highly dangerous to 1, mess with something that ain't broke, and 2 mess with high grade radioactive materials.

    It still stand by the fact that, the reactors have stood against situations FAR exceeding their design, and have survived with minimal issues. Again the release of radiation is so small that it's caused next to no effect. One worker (i.e. close to the situation) received enough background radiation for a year and a half of regular exposure - or roughly a chest xrays' worth. The reactor plant workers have controlled a worst case disaster* situation superbly.

    *where backups and backups and backups were taken out by the quake and tsunami.
     
  12. Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    :lol: No. Nuclear power has been used in a range of countries for decades, regardless of protesters. Meanwhile, technological development has continued even in non-nuclear countries.

    If you want to think big about power, think Dyson Sphere.

    :lol: Sorry, that didn't deserve that. It deserves this. :lol::lol::lol:
     
  13. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I have, And In my further research, 2 Terms have cropped up, Active Saftey, vs Passive Safety. It appears most Reactors currently in use require Active safety, even when shutdown, they need to actively cooled.

    Why are all reactors not built to be Passively Safe?
     
  14. Tabris

    Tabris Member

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    Because people don't spend the money on Nuclear R&D and site upgrades (not that you can do too much in upgrades) because it is politically unpalatable.
     
  15. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    Check the age of the existing reactors. They mostly all predate passive designs.

    Constant fear mongering and spineless polies, have prevented any new design being more than paper drawings.
     
  16. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    As technology has improved our quality of life and the length of it we have come to value life more. We are able to live with incredibly lower risk of premature death than a century ago, more so than during the age of the great explorations. If you got on a sailing boat that might sail off the end of the earth or stayed at home didn't make much difference to your life expectancy unless you were one of the elite and even then.

    No one alive today has lived through a plague that has wiped out a third of all humanity, the death toll from natural disasters has diminished. We know why the sun rises and sets. Is it that hard to comprehend why when we can quite easily avoid premature death and have no need to take great risks we are adverse to doing so?

    Our fear of nuclear accidents is also understandable. For the average man in the street these are man made events over which he has no control. Driving a car although more likely to cause death than any nuclear accident is to some extent under your direct control. Our greatest fear is that which we have no control over. That our senses cannot see radiation hightens our fear of it.

    I'd also point out that NASA has never been short of people wanting to go into space, some lucky few are paying huge sums for the experience. Not all are adverse to risks if there are obviously enjoyable benefits. Recreational drug use is steadily increasing despite the risks. Dangerous activities are increasingly popular such as sky diving, scuba diving and mountain climbing. Again we chose these risks as individuals, we have control.

    Don't know if I've put my case very well for a science forum, maybe others can elaborate on it better than I but I feel certain your premise is flawed.
     
  17. Whisper

    Whisper Member

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    Some of us think that if we actually put some effort in, we could come up with a solution that avoids nuclear fission based options altogether, that is cleaner, safer and far more sustainable.

    I don't consider such an opinion as being backward, I consider this type of thinking as enlightened.

    Moreover, without meaning to be some conspiracy nut case, there are very strong political and economic forces at work to maintain the status quo, and anybody who refuses to acknowledge the complex interrelated relationships at play is just plain naive.
     
  18. cicada

    cicada Member

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    It's interesting isn't it. While I commented on the political paralysis due to the way modern media works, I stopped short of also fingering industry and political groups directly, as I was worried about the nut case label.
    But I agree totally, when certain people are doing very very well they will stop an nothing to ensure the status quo.

    And it's a simple task to pacify the masses in a well off country, especially one doing as well as Australia.
     
  19. aXis

    aXis Member

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    Australia has stacks of uranium, we are a major worldwide producer of it. It's just that we have even more coal, and coal is *dirt* cheap.
     
  20. geelongfan

    geelongfan Member

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    i'm guessing you didn't see the sarcasm in his post
     

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