Fukushima meltdown hastens decline of nuclear power

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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Aurora
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Fukushima meltdown hastens decline of nuclear power

Post by Aurora »

People & Planet - 24/05/12

While the draft UK Energy Bill appears to incentivise new nuclear at the expense of other low-carbon technologies, few governments remain enthusiastic about nuclear power which, some experts now believe, has passed its peak.

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JohnB
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Post by JohnB »

A wise and far sighted vision from our government at last. If every other country gives up nuclear power, there will be plenty of uranium for us :D :roll:
John

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lgliddon
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Post by lgliddon »

The U.K., Russia, Canada, South Korea, India, South America, and China are all moving forward with nuclear power. I find the article inaccurate.

Russia sees a huge market for its natural gas, so it is getting onto nuclear so it will have a greater surplus for profit on the Germans and Western Europe. The danger is that Russia gets to turn it off and on at its discretion.
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Post by Little John »

I read somewhere that the total number of people who have died as a direct result of the Fukishma nuclear accident is less than can be counted on one hand. Consequently, I think that people's fear of nuclear accidents is massively overstated.

I've read, similarly, that the number of people directly killed by the Chernobyl accident was less than thirty and that the increased risk of cancer to the people of the region and of the wider continent is barely more than statistical noise. Ironically, as well, the clearance of humans of the area surrounding Chernobyl mean that now it is one of the most biodiverse regions of the continent.

Having said all of the above, I do not consider nuclear to be our saviour. Far from it. It simply allows the unsustainable party to continue for a little while longer. Meaning the hangover will be all the greater.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

If you add up the total economic cost of all the dislocation caused by Russian and Japanese meltdowns from the long term loss of land, etc. as well as the direct cost of clearing up the mess, how much is it compared with the cost of replacing the remaining nuclear power stations with renewable sources ?
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Post by Little John »

RalphW wrote:If you add up the total economic cost of all the dislocation caused by Russian and Japanese meltdowns from the long term loss of land, etc. as well as the direct cost of clearing up the mess, how much is it compared with the cost of replacing the remaining nuclear power stations with renewable sources ?
Oh, I quite agree on the cost. Completely bonkers. I'm just making the narrow point about safety and mortality risk.
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Post by clv101 »

stevecook172001 wrote:I read somewhere that the total number of people who have died as a direct result of the Fukishma nuclear accident is less than can be counted on one hand. Consequently, I think that people's fear of nuclear accidents is massively overstated.
Indeed, it's quite clear that a lot of the fear is irrational. It's similar to the hype rail and aviation deaths receive compared to road deaths. Per kWh generated, nuclear has a dramatically lower death rate compared with coal, and when CO2 is considered, a dramatically lower global impact.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Please give every cancer an attributable cause.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

emordnilap wrote:Please give every cancer an attributable cause.
What are you suggesting?
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

That the cause of a lot of cancers is unknown and that some of them may have resulted from the nuclear industry but have not been counted. Nevertheless, even the most ardent anti-nuke would probably have to admit that coal has killed far more.

However, when people say that Chernobyl killed 37 and Fukushima killed nobody they are just displaying the stupidity.
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

biffvernon wrote:However, when people say that Chernobyl killed 37 and Fukushima killed nobody they are just displaying the stupidity.
Indeed. I would suggest there are lots of good reasons why nuclear power is a particularly bad idea, but the number of people it's killed in past accidents simply isn't one of them.
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:That the cause of a lot of cancers is unknown and that some of them may have resulted from the nuclear industry but have not been counted. Nevertheless, even the most ardent anti-nuke would probably have to admit that coal has killed far more.

However, when people say that Chernobyl killed 37 and Fukushima killed nobody they are just displaying the stupidity.
The point about cancer, B, is that we humans get it in large numbers anyway. That being the case, I recall that there have been a number of longitudinal studies done following the Chernobyl incident and it has been found that the number of cancers across Europe that have happened since Chernobyl and are above the normal rate (and therefore attributable to Chernobyl) is so small as to be regarded as only barely above statistical noise.

As for Fukishima, we won't know about the cancer rates for some years. However, as a matter of fact, the number who have died directly as a result of the Fukishima nuclear accident is, if I remember the BBC report correctly, 6 people. There may well be more who have been working on the cleanup who will die in the not too distant future. However, as things stand, the number is 6.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

clv101 wrote:
emordnilap wrote:Please give every cancer an attributable cause.
What are you suggesting?
No more than - until you can prove a particular cancer has a particular cause, deaths attributable directly to nuclear is no defence of nuclear.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

stevecook172001 wrote: only barely above statistical noise.
The trouble is that the statistical noise is so loud that a large number of individuals may end up dead and we'll never know. That doesn't mean they are not dead. It just means that people who say nuclear power is safe may not be telling the truth.

Tangentially, not doing organic farming cost 20000+ lives at Bhophal and mad cow disease. But who thinks about that in Tesco?
Little John
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote: only barely above statistical noise.
The trouble is that the statistical noise is so loud that a large number of individuals may end up dead and we'll never know. That doesn't mean they are not dead. It just means that people who say nuclear power is safe may not be telling the truth.

Tangentially, not doing organic farming cost 20000+ lives at Bhophal and mad cow disease. But who thinks about that in Tesco?
We have only the stats to go on B and the stats show clearly little if any cancer rates above background following Chernobyl. It doesn't matter if you don't like nuclear (neither do I by the way, for different reasons), the plain fact is the worst fears of the anti nuclear power lobby, in terms of the cancer rates following accidents, have simply not been born out. That doesn't mean that a terrible and significant legacy of long term cancer rates could not conceivably follow a nuclear accident. It's just that all nuclear accidents to date have not produced that outcome.

At all.
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