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Old 08-28-2007, 04:28 PM   #21
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I don't know where you are getting your numbers from .... but they are WAY off... I was in Kiev and wanted to get out to see the accident... it was not going to be easy to do so I blew it off... but, heard that many hundreds or even many thousand died. I was shown a fire station where every single person in that group died as they went in the first few days...
Nuclear Power Education - The Chernobyl Accident

I also "heard" of those numbers, but was never able to find any reputable source for confirmation.

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BTW... I am one that thinks we should be using more nuke energy, but it need to be better regulated more like France... NO skimping on maintenance etc.. I don't care what budget constraints you have...
Hmm, interesting. French nuclear power plants are better regulated than the ones in the US? Skimping on maintenance? Any reliable source to back these up?
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Another Problem With Coal
Old 08-28-2007, 04:31 PM   #22
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Another Problem With Coal

Approx 6,000 deaths a year in Chinese coal mines, and I found this article interesting: http://tinyurl.com/5bcb3
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:37 PM   #23
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BTW... I am one that thinks we should be using more nuke energy, but it need to be better regulated more like France... NO skimping on maintenance etc.. I don't care what budget constraints you have...
Ahah! You're just an evil, pandering socialist! Knew it!

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:37 PM   #24
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Seems that the UN is even saying 4,000 so your 41 is way low... and there are much higher number around..

Have to admit it is from greenpeace... but...

"The new data, based on Belarus national cancer statistics, predicts approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000. "

Chernobyl death toll grossly underestimated | Greenpeace International


Guardian in the UK...

UN accused of ignoring 500,000 Chernobyl deaths



Atomic agency says toll will not exceed 4,000
Doctors 'overwhelmed' by cancers and mutations


John Vidal, environment editor
Saturday March 25, 2006
The Guardian



United Nations nuclear and health watchdogs have ignored evidence of deaths, cancers, mutations and other conditions after the Chernobyl accident, leading scientists and doctors have claimed in the run-up to the nuclear disaster's 20th anniversary next month. In a series of reports about to be published, they will suggest that at least 30,000 people are expected to die of cancers linked directly to severe radiation exposure in 1986 and up to 500,000 people may have already died as a result of the world's worst environmental catastrophe.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:39 PM   #25
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Ahah! You're just an evil, pandering socialist! Knew it!


Boy you are mean!!!! Them are FIGHTING words...
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:40 PM   #26
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Have to admit it is from greenpeace... but...
No comment.
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:28 PM   #27
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If you are going to include less direct deaths from cancer from the fall-out, then you need to include all the deaths caused by coal pollution, etc, etc, etc.

At any rate, NO ONE is suggesting that a Chernobyl design reactor be built. So I'm not even sure the statistics apply. That might be like inferring that since some early steam engines blew up, that steam power would continue to result in that ratio of deaths each year. It didn't, we (sometimes) learn from mistakes.

Coal and nuclear power plants both use the heat to create steam to power a turbine.

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Old 08-29-2007, 11:06 AM   #28
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BTW... I am one that thinks we should be using more nuke energy, but it need to be better regulated more like France... NO skimping on maintenance etc.. I don't care what budget constraints you have...
In France there are just a couple of reactor designs. All reactors are almost identical--same manufacturers of major components, matching of components, control room switchology, etc. In the US each site is virtually a one-off. Yes, we have just a few builders of the reactors, but all the sub-systems are engineered for each site. The advantages of the French approach:
-- Continual improvement of all reactors based on directly applicable experiences at other reactors.
-- Reduced design costs
-- Reduced training costs
-- Easier to regulate (i.e. to confirm that all reactors sites are in compliance, since their configurations and "issues" are common)

There has also been discussion in the US of building the reactor cores in a central site (or sites) rather than building them at each nuclear plant location. These modular cores would be fabricated as we build ships: in a controlled environment with plenty of specialized tools and jigs available. The cores would be trucked to the reactor sites. After their few decades of design life is expired, the "hot" modular core could be removed and trucked away as waste, to be replaced by a new modular core. The modularity of the cores makes this much less expensive than decommissioning the site-built cores we now have.

I'm no fan of increased govt involvement in general, but this is an area that definitely calls for centralization for the common good, and that no other entity can accomplish as well.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:21 AM   #29
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A little trivia: French had several designs of their own, but were not quite successful. They ended up buying American designs, and that's what they are using now.

samclem, I agree about the benefit of a common design: Increase reliability, shared issues knowledges, econony of scales, etc... But I also see the benefit of different designs, mainly innovations.
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:54 PM   #30
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I don't know where you are getting your numbers from .... but they are WAY off... I was in Kiev and wanted to get out to see the accident... it was not going to be easy to do so I blew it off... but, heard that many hundreds or even many thousand died. I was shown a fire station where every single person in that group died as they went in the first few days...

And there are many who died or gotten cancer who 'cleaned up' the site and build the tomb around it... (maybe these are the ones that the locals were talking about, but it was still related to the accident)..

Also.. there are many sq. miles of land that will not be used in the next few thousand years...


BTW... I am one that thinks we should be using more nuke energy, but it need to be better regulated more like France... NO skimping on maintenance etc.. I don't care what budget constraints you have...
Texas Proud:

The Chernobyl accident wasn't caused by a lack of maitenance, but by criminal stupidity on the part of the plant operators and a poor plant design. Because of differences in design, the same thing simply cannot happen at a US light water reactor, and the newer design pebble bed reators will be even safer.
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Old 08-30-2007, 03:54 PM   #31
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Texas Proud:

The Chernobyl accident wasn't caused by a lack of maitenance, but by criminal stupidity on the part of the plant operators and a poor plant design. Because of differences in design, the same thing simply cannot happen at a US light water reactor, and the newer design pebble bed reators will be even safer.
absolutely. Criminal stupidity and poor design NEVER happen in the US. I'm sure of it....in fact, I'd bet your life on it!
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:27 PM   #32
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absolutely. Criminal stupidity and poor design NEVER happen in the US. I'm sure of it....in fact, I'd bet your life on it!
I already have bet my life on US nuclear power plant design -- many times. How much do you actually know about the failure mechanism for the Chrenobyl accident, the design of that plant or the desiqn of a US plant? Or are you just a smart aleck?
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:16 PM   #33
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I already have bet my life on US nuclear power plant design -- many times. How much do you actually know about the failure mechanism for the Chrenobyl accident, the design of that plant or the desiqn of a US plant? Or are you just a smart aleck?
I know enough about probability to know that if you bet your life enough times, you WILL lose. I have a fairly reasonable understanding of the probability of failure, joint probabilities etc. since I made my living as an engineer managing such risks. As for the exact failure mechanism of Chernobyl, that I do not know.

However, I know that nobody has figured out what to do with the EXTREMELY toxic waste these things generate (throw it in a hole and hope it goes away is the best that's come up with), that they make very attractive terrorist targets, that they require large amounts of coolant which can heat up river systems, that they cost a lot to decommission and often this is not done and they just sit there waiting for the decommisisioning that doesn't happen, and that there HAVE been problems including potentially serious ones.

To answer you question, however, yes I am a smart Aleck

I will also go so far as to say that I'd rather live near a nuke plant that a coal burner, but frankly would prefer neither.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:47 PM   #34
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Having been in a number of nuclear plants, they are not, in fact, a very good terrorist target. As you might assume, there are multiple redundant security features. They have containments inside of containments.

Also, even if you managed to attack one, what would you do with it? You can't make them blow up like a bomb. A much better target would be a chemical plant.

If you employ cooling towers, you don't need to heat up rivers to cool them. Others can use the sea or a large lake as a heat sink. The thermal input of the plant to the body of water is negligible in that case, except in the immediate vicinity of the outflow.

It might surprise most people to learn that the vast majority (>90%) of uranium in a spent fuel rod is unused. It is primarily the build up of neutron absorbent fission products that renders the fuel rod unusable. If we were to employ fuel reprocessing, as the French do, we could immediately reduce our inventory of high level waste by 90%. After reprocessing, the unusable stuff is vitrified (made into big glass hot dogs) and put deep in granite formations to decay. Low level waste is usually contaminated paper towels, rubber gloves, scaffolding, tools etc. Almost all of the low level waste in the country fits into three relatively small dumps. I have been to the one in South Carolina -- most municipal dumps are bigger. It is buried and then we simply wait it out - after 5 half lives, 97% of the radioactive material has decayed. Since most of the contamination is short half-life material, you are not waiting 10,00 years, like you would in the case of spent fuel.

As far as decommissioning, I know of several plants that were shut down and decommissioned. Some examples are Connecticut Yankee at Haddam Neck, CT; Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, ME; Big Rock Point in Charelevoix, MI. If you go to these sites today, you cannot tell there was ever a nuclear plant. Any large industrial facility - such as a factory, a steel plant, a chemical plant, a refinery, a copper mine or smelter -- would need to be properly and safely decommissioned. It is simply part of the cost of having such things. Indeed, the Superfund program exists mostly to clean up sites where this was not done. The nuclear industry has a stellar record by comparison.

As an engineer, you know that life is about risk. We cannot eliminate it entirely, so we should soberly measure it and evaluate costs and benefits. If you could eliminate nuclear plants tomorrow, would you? Since they provide 20% of our electricity, which 20% of hospitals will close because they have no electricity? How much food will spoil because it can't be refrigerated? How many will starve as a result? Which 20% of the people should lose their jobs? Or maybe you would replace them with coal plants. In that case, how much more global warming are you willing to tolerate? How many more mountaintops in Kentucky and West Virgina must be strip mined, ruining far more rivers than any nuclear plant has ever done? How many deep miners must be killed?

Maybe we can have a reasonable discussion about the precise level of risk and the alternatives we are willing to tolerate. That would be useful. Scaring people with the hobgoblin of NUCLEAR!!!! power is just not useful.
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:57 PM   #35
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Texas Proud:

The Chernobyl accident wasn't caused by a lack of maitenance, but by criminal stupidity on the part of the plant operators and a poor plant design. Because of differences in design, the same thing simply cannot happen at a US light water reactor, and the newer design pebble bed reators will be even safer.

SOOOO... there is no such thing as you put it "criminal stupidity" in America business There are a number of plant explosions that have occurred around here... and I could say that it is criminal stupidity because they made a choice NOT to do the safe thing because it might have cost more...

And what about the Alaskian pipeline... BP decided not to 'pig' it and just play 'let's hope something does not happen on my watch'... well, eventually it happens on someones watch...

As people have pointed out, there is benefits for a common design. I am not saying you need ONE, but maybe a few... look at the airlines... Southwest has made a mint using a 'common design' so they can maintain their planes easier... everyone knows what to do on any of the planes...
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:06 PM   #36
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Gumby....

Good point about decommissioning ... but you missed the negatives of the other ones you mentioned.... go up to (forgot the state).... and visit one of the open pit mines that is no longer in use... the one I saw had like 1200 feet of water in it that was badly contaminated... and it looked like it was WAY down the pit... maybe a few 1,000 more feet before it fills up...

And the way they do coal now is just scrap off the top of the mountain and take it... and do nothing when you are finished... a lot more damage to the earth..


As I said before, I would think that with good planning and a 'standard' type plant we can produce a LOT more electricity cheaply and use the oil for other things... and also have cleaner air... I remember the show I say about the French... they have some CLEAN air...
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:16 PM   #37
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I agree on the standard plant. I think having one or two designs, and training the heck out of the operators on those designs, would be much safer and cheaper.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:08 PM   #38
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To answer you question, however, yes I am a smart Aleck


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Scaring people with the hobgoblin of NUCLEAR!!!! power is just not useful.
It's that nucular power that scares the hell heck outta me...
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:36 AM   #39
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As an engineer, you know that life is about risk. We cannot eliminate it entirely, so we should soberly measure it and evaluate costs and benefits. If you could eliminate nuclear plants tomorrow, would you? Since they provide 20% of our electricity, which 20% of hospitals will close because they have no electricity? How much food will spoil because it can't be refrigerated? How many will starve as a result? Which 20% of the people should lose their jobs? Or maybe you would replace them with coal plants. In that case, how much more global warming are you willing to tolerate? How many more mountaintops in Kentucky and West Virgina must be strip mined, ruining far more rivers than any nuclear plant has ever done? How many deep miners must be killed?

Maybe we can have a reasonable discussion about the precise level of risk and the alternatives we are willing to tolerate. That would be useful. Scaring people with the hobgoblin of NUCLEAR!!!! power is just not useful.
Gumby and Samclem, I'm glad you're around. Yes, everything has some associated risk, including the 4% SWR (have to make it ER related ;-)). So it's not the risk that we should be concerned with. It's the relative risk that matters.

Personally, I don't want any reduction in nuclear power plants in this country. I would love to see a 100%+ increase instead. I would love to see at least 50% of our electricity generated using nuclear power. 25% using hydro, geo, wind, solar. And the remaining 25% by oil, coal, and natural gas, mainly because certain locations are not ideal for other types of power plants.

One question for you, Gumby and Samclem, and people who are intimately familiar with nuclear power from the technical and safety/danger point of views: Why are you guys losing the public relation battle? Why is the majority of Americans so ignorant about the benefits of nuclear power? What did the Europeans do to educate their people? Why couldn't we do the same, or better?
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:04 AM   #40
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What did the Europeans do to educate their people? Why couldn't we do the same, or better?
That is an excellent question. Maybe we can get some perspective here from people who live or travelled there.

Maybe Americans are much more easily influenced by media/actors/artists?

I looked back at some of the 'No Nukes' concert and film stuff. A bunch of (hopefully) well meaning, talented musicians who don't know squat about nuclear engineering, risk assessment, or the unintended consequences of no-nukes (more coal plants).

The 'Live Earth' concerts to fight global warming - Deja' Vu?

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