# Off- topic energy math

Oh PLEASE! I am frankly stunned at how Jackson Brown and the other Nuke panickers convinced Two generations how bad Nuclear was.
Here are a couple of basic facts. 1. You can shield radiation with a stupid piece of PAPER! The problem is the paper breaks down faster than the radiation lasts. Simple. Encase the spent fuel in concrete, but you have to wait till it cools enough, otherwise the concrete cracks. It takes what 15-20 years for the fuel to cool enough, so leave them in cooling ponds. they can be above ground swimming pools for that matter. 2.We had the tech 20 years ago to re-process spent fuel, and re-use it again. (Fuel rods only use a small percentage of the energy in them, before they are pulled out) Re-processing was banned by guess who, even though he was a nuclear engineer (Jimmy Carter) due to public panic pressure. We still cannot re-process spent fuel. 3. There has never be a single death in the U.S. from nuclear radioactive release. There has never been a U.S. meltdown. 3 Mile Island, the safety systems worked as designed, although there were some mechanical and human failures. The amount of radiation released into the atmosphere, and public exposure measured per person was about he same as a chest x-ray. Chernobyl meltdown was caused by unqualified engineers performing electrical overcapacity tests WITH the safety systems disabled. (Otherwise they could not have done the unauthorized tests)
There are 439 Nuclear powerplants worldwide. When was the last time you heard of a problem with ANY of them.
4. The amount of coal is that is needed to produce 1,000,000 Kilowatts (1 days worth for a million or so people) of power is 12 TONS. The amount of nuclear fuel to produce the same amount of energy.............1 Kilo. Serious
Energy density: Nuclear fusion (the Sun) is 683 Million MegaJoules per Kilogram, Nuclear fission (Nuclear power plants) is almost ten times less 88 million MJ/kg. Gasoline is way down at 46 MJ/kg by mass. By volume, Nuclear is 1.5 Trillion MJ per liter, by comparison gasoline is only 34 MJ/liter, (diesel is 37Mj/liter). Natural gas is only 10MJ/liter which is what we are currently building new power plants for. Which is totally stupid from a cost standpoint. We are only doing that because it is so plentiful (sort of). so is Hydrogen at around 10MJ/liter. France is 80% Nuclear, a lot of which they sell to Germany. Ironic huh....Considering what tree huggers France and German college kids are. I doubt they even know where their power comes from. From a total Green standpoint ( materials, byproducts, emmissions, etc..) Nuclear is probably the very lowest impact, next is probably Hydro.
Most power plants are steam engines. Steam power is relatively efficient at around 35%. Wind power is around 40%. Hydroelectric is a whopping 95% efficient. Solar is barely 15%. don't get me started on solar. Hydrogen power is almost as stupid as solar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf36.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_by_country
correct my mistakes for me.
flame suit on
ca
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clay wrote:

I'll be happy to.
1 You can stop alpha particles with a piece of paper; but beta particles (high speed electrons), X rays, gamma rays, etc., won't even know the paper is there. And neutrons, the natural output of every single fission of even a single atom, are the things that break down, alter, or make unstable, all sorts of other stuff. Nuclear waste isn't just spent fuel rods. It can be any worn out part, or any piece of wire or plumbing, or any paper towel or rubber glove that's ever been in the way of a neutron stream, or has been used on other things that have been in the way of flying neutrons. Yes, nuclear stuff can be contained; but it CAN'T just be bottled up and ignored unless you have a really REALLY big and secure bottle.
2. The Fermi 1 nuclear plant at Monroe, Michigan melted down in 1966. Not a release of steam like at Three Mile Island. Not anything like the minor scares or "statistically potentially significant" crap that newcreatures love to scream about. This was very real. A design flaw coupled with a construction error caused a crucial part of the main reactor cooling system to fail. (Liquid sodium cooling, no less.) The failure clogged coolant flow, and the reactor cooked itself. The result was tons of uranium, sodium, steel, boron control rods, and parts of everything else in the reactor's interior, puddled at the bottom of the reactor vessel. Engineers spent YEARS building a life-size, detailed model of the reactor, right next door to the real thing, just so they could design and test tools they hoped would let them reach through long, twisted bits of the reactor's plumbing to chip and grind and cut the cooling and solidified puddle into bite-size pieces. Then, they hoped, they could get the stuff out of the vessel and dispose of it. They gave up around 1970, and decided just to cover the whole reactor with thousands and thousands of tons of concrete. The puddle will still be there, still hot and dangerous, thousands of years from now. How long the concrete will last is yet to be determined.
3. There have been many deaths caused directly and definitely by nuclear stuff. Most have been deaths from cancer, leukemia, fibrous lungs, or other diseases associated with exposure to radiation or radioactive materials. Just because we've never seen a live version of "The China Syndrome", or actually had to count dead bodies at a reactor site, doesn't mean that nuclear energy isn't seriously dangerous. I don't suggest that it HAS to be dangerous. Controls and safeties are certainly possible. But pretending, as you do, that the dangers aren't real, is one of the most effective ways to PREVENT substantive research into ways that we might develop safety systems, waste disposal plans, and more, that could make nuclear energy a real and viable part of our future.
If you're actually interested in this topic, and not just shooting off your keyboard, you might take a look at http://www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/KOO.pdf
The article is long, and it's a biased look at the issue in some ways; but does a decent job of presenting facts which are easily distinguished from opinion. And it's heavily documented, in case you want to search through the sources of the material, and get a bit closer to real data.
Bottom line: You aren't helping promote nuclear energy by propogating myths and lies. Too often, even very good ideas are destroyed by the blindness, ignorance, and misplaced zealotry of their supporters.
In case you're interested, I'm agree completely that rock stars and Hollywood play-actors are the last people we should listen to in regard to issues of policy, science, or sanity. I also happen to think that nuclear energy could and should be a much bigger part of how we power our civilization. But until we're ready to deal with facts, to approach very real problems with science, discipline, and exhaustively verified quality and safety systems, we really AREN'T ready to grab this particular tiger by its tail.
And, just in case you wondered, I know about the Fermi 1 failure because I toured the model reactor there, with 14 other physics students, in 1970. The engineer who lead the tour, and whose job it was to put a positive "spin" on the plant, it's problems, and the "terrific future" of nuclear energy, used the term "meltdown" many times. That's what it was. To describe it any other way would be foolish, at best. Time has a way of fogging our memories; but some things are worth remembering carefully.
KG
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Kirk Gordon wrote:

Kirk,
Thank you. I watched a Nova documentary on the paper shielding comment. I have yet to find again. It was pretty compelling, and addressed the fears with facts.
I was not aware of the Fermi meltdown. Way before my time. The article I read about 3Mile and other plants did not include the Fermi history. IIRC the article may have been events in the near future only. The death angle also from the same 3Mile article. Again, IIRC it was regarding deaths by radioactive release, etc... I wasn't covering all deaths, by other radioactive exposure. Again it is easier to fear people by what "might" happen. The general public doesn't respond very well to actual historical facts for some reason. Cancer, etc..I did read an interesting study that conducted on 3Mile. They tracked residents for 30 years, and found no evidence of 3Mile accident traceable deaths. I will have to find the cite.
I don't pretend that the dangers are real. But the industry record of safety is pretty dang good worldwide. 2 1/2 meltdowns out of 400+ plants in 50 years? My point was that the general public is totally un-educated as to the big energy picture here. There is an awful lot of fear, and or complete lack of rational facts bantied about. Thank you for the corrections. Here in Sacramento we had the last operational Nuke plant (Rancho Seco) It took forever to complete & bring online cause there were so many lawsuits. It was built and funded by a local public utility. Ultimately the decision to keep it operational was put to a public vote. WHAT? How insane is that? It is way way easier to scare people than educate. Guess how that turned out. A whole pile of public money down the drain.
Thanks for the link. I am slowly compiling energy info. Part of my interest is the drive to covert the US to 100% Solar & Wind energy, which is completely impractical, on a whole lot of levels. Unless there is some radical breakthrough in solar (And they have been pursuing it since the 70's) it is a silly goal right now, and will end up costing a TON. Reminds me an awful lot of the big Windmill farm push in the 80's. The only people that made out with that were the carpet baggers selling windmills.
My understanding is the new nuke tech/reactors are a whole heck of a lot safer than previous. There is a quiet revolution on new plants coming online worldwide. China has 5, and India has 7 IIRC. GE is heavily involved in the China plants IIRC.
ca
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As long as you build the plants and also store all of the nations nuclear waste down there somewhere in John McCains backyard then hey I'm perfectly okay with it...
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