• kibiz0r
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    10 months ago

    Obligatory Kyle Hill videos because keyword “nuclear energy”:

    https://youtu.be/4aUODXeAM-k

    https://youtu.be/J3znG6_vla0

    Some things to note:

    Going back to 1965, air pollution from fossil fuels has cost us around 81 million lives. 4,000 people in China die every day due to fossil fuel pollution. 1 in 5 premature deaths can be attributed to fossil fuels.

    Radiation in pop culture is portrayed as difficult to contain, but that isn’t the case. We know how to do it well, and we already do it.

    Pop culture depictions fail to illustrate the radiation that is released into the air, unable to be properly managed, as a result of fossil fuel production and consumption.

      • Fazoo@lemmy.ml
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        10 months ago

        That’s why we’ve already seen breakthroughs in reactors that use nuclear waste for fuel.

        • Quatity_Control@lemm.ee
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          10 months ago

          Which if they were practically feasible, still wouldn’t be running for another ten years. Whereas the time and money and resources looking for breakthroughs in that ten years, could easily go to renewables and hey, they don’t need a breakthrough solution for nuclear waste. They already work and already are cheaper. Literally the solution. Right there.

      • Mossy Feathers (They/Them)@pawb.social
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        10 months ago

        We would have had that solved a long time ago if it weren’t for a few factors.

        The first is that a significant amount of radioactive waste is short-term. Like, literally inert after a couple years. The reason for that is because the vast majority of radioactive waste isn’t actually inherently radioactive. Most of it has become radioactive as a result of coming into extended contact with highly radioactive sources. However my understanding is that despite being short-lived, you must dispose of it the same way you’d dispose of nuclear fuel rods. This is an issue that could be resolved by separating the short-lived stuff from the fuel rods and returning the short-lived stuff to a landfill once radioactivity drops to background radiation levels.

        Factor 2: paranoia. We had a potential permanent waste site in the middle of nowhere, in an extremely geologically stable area in the US that has virtually no chance of flooding, however people thought that radioactive waste buried beneath a literal mountain would somehow still poison them. So Yucca Mountain was never fully completed. Afaik it’s technically still on the table but it’s been completely defunded thanks to NIMBYs, so instead nuclear waste is being stored across the US at various nuclear plants which are less geologically stable, have a higher chance for flooding, etc. This also hampers state and national efforts to clean up decommissioned plants and nuclear accidents. The waste has to go somewhere; if you have no where to safely store it, you can’t clean it up.

        Factor 3: if I understand correctly, we could hypothetically design nuclear plants with reactor chains that produce dead fuel rods (fuel rods that are completely spent). However, a lot of weapons-grade material would be produced during the intermediate stages. For sooome reason everyone freaks out when they hear you’re making weapons-grade radioactive material, even if you promise you’re just using it to generate power. I can’t imagine why /s

        The problems with nuclear storage are actually pretty easily solved, it’s just that no one wants to because they’d rather pretend nuclear doesn’t exist to begin with. I swear, we could have a one-time pill that makes you fully immune to every radiation-induced disease and people would still freak out about nuclear. Hell, there was an article I saw a month or two about how a bunch of researches discovered that turning used graphite control rods into diamonds resulted in low-power batteries that could be used for things that require a small amount of power over long durations (like SSDs or RAM). Iirc something about the diamond’s structure meant it contained its own radiation as well, meaning it didn’t need any radiation shielding either despite generating energy via radioactivity.

        • relic_@lemm.ee
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          10 months ago

          Factor 1: Not quite accurate. Yes there are categories of waste; the names change depending on the regulator. The lower level wastes are already disposed of in the US (there are already four such facilities). The politically charged problem is always the spent nuclear fuel itself.

          Factor 2: Senator Reed (D-NV) was a former Senate majority leader. He extracted the defending of Yucca Mountain from the Obama administration as a concession to pass Obamacare. It’s still technically viable and not disposing of waste costs enormous amounts of money. The federal government is legally obligated to take spent fuel off the hands of operators. Obviously they have not, so the government is sued (and loses). This has cost the government roughly $20b for their inaction see here..

          Factor 3: You can recycle spent fuel but there’s no concept as spent fuel with zero radioactivity.

          Two largest problems in the US: Inability to manage waste and inability to execute on large scale construction required for nuclear.

          • Mossy Feathers (They/Them)@pawb.social
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            10 months ago

            On factor 3: I thought that there were cyclic reactor chains, where the fuel produced at the end of the chain could be reused at the start. If followed long enough, wouldn’t that theoretically result in fully spent fuel rods? It might take a long time, but it’s not impossible and in the meantime, they’re still being useful and generating power when they’d normally be discarded.

      • HiddenLayer5@lemmy.ml
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        10 months ago

        It’s still better than the totally uncontained pollution and carbon dioxide of fossil fuels.

        • Quatity_Control@lemm.ee
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          10 months ago

          No. It’s kicking the can down the road. And when there is a real, viable, cleaner, cheaper option already up and running, nuclear is simply not the answer.

      • eldain@feddit.nl
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        10 months ago

        And the non insurable nature of nuclear power besides its distant break even point is the reason only governments have ever build nuclear plants, or had to give huge guarantees. There are financial problems with nuclear, too.

        • Quatity_Control@lemm.ee
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          10 months ago

          That’s kinda the problem. Money that should be going to renewables is going to nuclear, which won’t be effective for many years. Renewables don’t have the high cost and requirements and ramp up time nuclear requires.

          • skulblaka@kbin.social
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            10 months ago

            Nuclear could be extremely effective right now, if only someone put money into it and people stopped jumping at ghosts. We have the technology, it’s not like we have another 2 decades of research to make it viable. The general public is just uninformed and when someone says “nuclear” they hear “Chernobyl” and this has caused quite a lot of general mass panic, despite the fact that nuclear is one of the safest and most environmentally friendly power production technologies that exist today.

            • Meowoem@sh.itjust.works
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              10 months ago

              Except that clearly isn’t true, if nuclear was a viable solution then we’d be building power plants but we’re not because they make no sense economically or practically.

              Look at all the plants in France losing more money every time they have another problem, shutting down in the summer because the rivers get low… Oh someone said the word terror attack let’s spend a whole boat load of euros on security because they’re such a massive and vulnerable target…

              They keep saying the new nuclear will be great and we just need ten more years of oil and gas plus a billion in research and development grants then it’ll do everything they promised a decade ago.

              For a lot of people it seems to have turned into a sports team tribalism. They feel like they’re supposed to support nuclear because it’s science which kinda overlooks that PV is far cooler science, we need to look at reality and see we can have renewables now or the hope for a decent micellar ten or twenty years down the line, maybe.

            • Quatity_Control@lemm.ee
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              10 months ago

              No one has mentioned Chernobyl here. And burying the waste for 240000 years and hoping it doesn’t leak is not a solution.

              Renewables are safer and cheaper and more environmental. There is no case for nuclear.

              • SwedishFool@lemmy.world
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                10 months ago

                Chernobyl happened because of a multitude of reasons that just aren’t capable of happening today in the western world. This is just pure fear-mongering, it’s like saying we need to ban planes because of world trade center, or ban all research on narcotic medications because the opiod epidemic.

                A wind farm costs in the range of 32 - 62 dollar per megawatts (Judith Gap/Spion Kop wind farms), compared to the 29 dollars per megawatt for nuclear power (average in USA year 2021).

                In USA there are 92 reactors totaling 809 terawatt hours. To compensate for that with wind turbines you would require roughly 33.000 wind turbines all running 24/7 at max capacity with no down-time assuming a rated limit of 3 megawatt. Together those wind turbines would collectively take up 260 square kilometers.

                Building them would likely be close to impossible as there isnt any infrastructure to make 33.000 in a timely manner. Since 2005 about 3000 has been built per year, assuming current production that would mean 11 years without producing parts for servicing current turbines to simply just replace the nuclear energy.

                Lets make it a little more interesting and compare wind turbines to Browns Ferry nuclear plant. It has 3 reactors producing in total 3600 megawatt, to compensate for just that plant alone it would require 1200 turbines. To make it even more interesting, fossile fuel plants produces in total 2554 terawatt hours, and is the worst energy source we have, and would require roughly 104.000 turbines to offset, or 34 years of wind turbine production. That means the old turbines will have to be replaced before theyre all even fully built assuming the 20-30 year life expectancy.

                Are you starting to grasp the problems with wind turbines now? To stop the usage of fossile fuel for powerplants you need other complementary systems. We need to get rid of fossile plants -now- and there’s literally no way wind turbines could ever realistically fill that role alone. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

                • Quatity_Control@lemm.ee
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                  10 months ago

                  Again, no one but you mentioning Chernobyl.

                  You’re ignoring solar and hydro. No one said everything has to be wind.

                  Nuclear costs in the US are at that price because the industry is mature and subsidised by the government significantly. As in France, as reactors age, things get a lot costlier. Maintaining the surplus industries for storage, maintenance, supplies and infrastructure for nuclear are only getting more expensive. And you still haven’t solved the waste problem. Renewables have some obstacles, but none that can’t be resolved with money. And the end result is cleaner and cheaper.

                  • SwedishFool@lemmy.world
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                    10 months ago

                    You mentioned chernobyl in the very comment I replied to, you being the first person in this entire comment section to do so.

                    You’re also oversimplifying the problems and arguing in bad faith by simply ignoring the viability and reality. You can’t just throw money at a problem and it’ll magically resolve itself. Instead of arguing against one of our safest energy sources you should turn your eyes towards fossile power plants which is genuinely killing our planet as we speak. To end that madness in any sort of reasonable time frame you need a combination of all options.

                    I also want to add that the production costs for nuclear power I mentioned above, doesn’t count in subsidizes, it’s based on the actual average costs among these 92 reactors without withdrawing government spendings.

                    My source is Statista, “the production costs equal the sum of operations and capital costs and fuel costs”.

                    You still are just spouting fearmongering that’s going to kill our planet before any “worst case scenarios” you can dream up about nuclear power has any chance to.