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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Little John
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:I can't show you the numbers! That's why we can't be sure.

It doesn't matter how big the data set is - if it's too noisy the only safe conclusion is that we don't know.
That noise existed prior to the Chernobyl accident and the size of it has not significantly changed since the accident.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Of course. That's the nature of noise. When there's enough of it and it's not constant, a new signal in undetectable.
Little John
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:Of course. That's the nature of noise. When there's enough of it and it's not constant, a new signal in undetectable.
Ah yes, but.....

If you get an unpredictable variation in the level of noise in a signal from annual measure to annual measure then it is quite true that you cannot be sure of what element of that noise may or may not be attributable to a new signal or even if there is a new signal.

However, if you take enough samples over time that also contain the noise (In the case, of Chernobyl, enough annual cancer-rate data-sets), then the annual variability in the noise can be averaged out and you end up with a predictable average level of noise as opposed to one that, from individual year to individual year may fluctuate quite widely. When you do that you will still not necessarily be able to discern the cause of the noise in any given year. But, what you can discern is if there has been any underlying structural addition to it and, in turn, discern from this the introduction of a new signal even if the identity of that new signal is not known.

In the case of Chernobyl, no significant additional noise has been detected. Therefore, we can state that the only way Chernobyl could form part of the existing noise if if another source of noise that previously contributed exactly the same level of cancer inducement as Chernobyl has coincidently disappeared at precisely the right time in order for Chernobyl to have not had any discernible effect on the total amount of noise. This is extremely implausible, and that's being polite about it.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

But an unpredictable variation in the level of noise in the signal from annual measure to annual measure is just what we do find. Constant noise isn't really noise at all since, being constant, you know what it is and you can remove it.
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:But an unpredictable variation in the level of noise in the signal from annual measure to annual measure is just what we do find. Constant noise isn't really noise at all since, being constant, you know what it is and you can remove it.
Yes, you can, which is precisely what I was referring to when I mentioned longitudinal averages. When you do that, you find that that what is left is next to nothing. In other words, Chernobyl's contribution to cancer rates, when analyzed in a multi-year overview of cancer rates since the accident, in terms of both signal and noise, is next to nothing

Two things to bear in mind when looking at these so=-called disputes are that (1) the "normal" rate of genetic mutations and cancer are already higher than many people suppose. They just tend (understandably) tend to have been noticed a lot more since the accident. (2), In Ukraine, there have been compensation systems in place such that there has been a massive incentive to misdiagnose every kind of malady going as being somehow related to the accident. In adjacent areas where such compensation schemes have not been in place or are not as generous, the correlation with claims/lack of claims made is striking. I'm not suggesting that people are overtly lying. Though this may occur. I am suggesting that if people get something wrong with them and they are told that a nuclear accident will make you grow two heads, then they are naturally going to ascribe every malady they get to that accident. Particularly if there is a large financial incentive.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Back on topic :)
Japan’s prime minister is encountering unexpected opposition to his quest to bring two nuclear reactors back online in the next few weeks: lawmakers from his own party.
More than a third of the legislators from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan submitted to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda a petition Tuesday urging him to exercise “greater caution” over restarting the No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi nuclear plant in western Japan, run by Kansai Electric Power Co.

“Most of the public are of the opinion that we should overcome this summer’s energy needs through conservation and flexibility,” the petition said, signed by 117 members of the DPJ.

At issue is what to do with Japan’s fleet of 50 nuclear reactors, which accounted for around 30% of Japan’s electricity before the devastating accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant last year. All those reactors are now offline, while the government reviews their safety. Japan’s nuclear regulators and Prime Minister Noda have said that Oi’s two reactors are safe, and should be restarted to help head off a shortage of electricity during the sweltering months of July and August, when the country cranks up its air conditioners. Mr. Noda had been widely expected to order the restart as early as this week.

Critics — including the popular mayor of Osaka, and the 117 DPJ petitioners — have questioned just how safe the reactors are, and how prepared utilities are should another accident happen.
http://paper.li/f-1303664245
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RenewableCandy
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Post by RenewableCandy »

Given the "sweltering summer", how are (were) these beasts cooled, I wonder?
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Sea-water? I think most of them are at the sea-side. That appeared to be part of the problem as the sea-side turned out to be a moveable entity.
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Post by emordnilap »

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
JMS
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Better alternatives to traditional nuclear plants...

Post by JMS »

There are better alternatives to traditional nuclear plants: We should be planning to replace all existing (and rapidly-ageing) plants with systems powered by thorium, not plutonium. A power technology article recently (http://www.power-technology.com/feature ... eneration/) describes its superiority to plutonium-powered plants. Maybe we don't need nuclear, but if we are going to continue to use nuclear, thorium-based is a better way to go.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Looks like Fukushima was the most expensive accident ever:
Tepco indicates costs could rise to $120 bln
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/ ... K720121107
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

Not as much as the UK bank bail out then! ;)
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

clv101 wrote:Not as much as the UK bank bail out then! ;)
I said 'accident'. The bail-out was deliberate.
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Post by raspberry-blower »

Meanwhile, back in the vicinity of the stricken reactors
When a doctor told a Fukushima mother recently that the chance of her child having cancer was only 1 in 100. This mother had let her children evacuate to Yamagata after two of her children had gotten 3 milimeter thyroid cists in their throats had answer to the doctor. For her she said, it is not 1 in 100, but it is 1 in 1.

This epitomizes the continuing nightmare the people of Fukushima face as Tokyo Electric Power Company TEPCO, the Japan and US government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continue a full press campaign to convince people that the three Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns can be “overcome”. This was the statement in fact of a politician last year running for parliament in the city of Sendai, which is about 60 miles from the plant meltdowns.....


One Day in Fukushima
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools - Douglas Adams.
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