If not Nuclear Power, then WHAT??

rwenzori

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Interesting thanks. Very dodgy but to me it seems to point more to bad corporate management practices than the inherent danger of nuclear power. Sure Eskom was in the wrong but that doesn't make nuclear power automatically unsafe, just as the Enron scandal didn't make electricity unsafe.

Yes, I was responding originally to jetpacman's post at #162 about dodgy employment and management practices at Koeberg, not to say that there was any proven connection between the site and Mr Lockwood's disease.

My concern is that if any "incident" did occur at Koeberg, their management has not demonstrated any honesty or integrity, so things might be covered up as many nuclear "incidents" are. Putting it another way, I would not like to live near a nuclear reactor managed by this particular bunch.
 

jab2

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Here's the Noseweek editorial from issue 54:
Thanks, Rwenzori. That reference I have found. I'm however a bit hesitant in believing a story of such newsworthiness and the only sources is pony press. I have also read the reference on the Earthwatch site, but was hoping you could give references from more reputable sources. A positive is that there is a Mr R C Lockwood registered at the address given in the letter to Min Alec Irwin, so I assume such a person also did work at Koeberg as this would be easy to check.

When Koeberg employees start meeting one another in the oncology wards of city hospitals, people start to talk …
The fact that people from a big company like Eskom will meet each other in an oncology ward is likely, even if no radiation is involved, as about 25% of natural deaths in developed countries is due to some form of cancer. Of these 4% is attributed to Leukemia. There is thus a 1:100 change of dyeing of Leukemia, even if you were not exposed to abnormal radiation. In the States, Leukemia is the most frequent source of infant death from malignant diseases. I would like to quote the following:
Leukemia, like other cancers, result from somatic mutations in the DNA which activate oncogenes or deactivate tumor suppressor genes, and disrupt the regulation of cell death, differentiation or division. These mutations may occur spontaneously or as a result of exposure to radiation or carcinogenic substances and are likely to be influenced by genetic factors. Cohort and case-control studies have linked exposure to petrochemicals, such as benzene, and hair dyes to the development of some forms of leukemia.
It is thus not a for gone conclusion that something is fishy if people start seeing each other in a hospital. This will trigger something and must be collaborated by data from other sources. This data is shining in it's absence here. Unless you can point me to it.
 

rwenzori

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Thanks, Rwenzori. That reference I have found. I'm however a bit hesitant in believing a story of such newsworthiness and the only sources is pony press. I have also read the reference on the Earthwatch site, but was hoping you could give references from more reputable sources. A positive is that there is a Mr R C Lockwood registered at the address given in the letter to Min Alec Irwin, so I assume such a person also did work at Koeberg as this would be easy to check.
Well, buy yourself a Nose subscription and read the whole thing. Maybe that will settle your mind about its veracity. Pics, even a letter from Lockwood, lawyers, dates, times, documents. And you'd better believe that if the story were not true the Nose would have been taken to court.

As I say above, I did not bring this saga up to claim that working at Koeberg necessarily gives you cancer - rather, that there are such slimeballs managing the setup that if something did go wrong, they would lie and cover up as usual. Not nice people. Not the sort of people I trust to set up and run an experimental nuclear pebbly-type reactor.

Another question, of course, is why the big newspapers did not pick up on it. Money and influence I guess, certainly not that it is not true. Rather like why ICASA does stuff-all.

EDIT:

Some links:

http://iafrica.com/news/sa/52838.htm
http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national&articleid=143176
http://biophile.co.za/energy/death-threats-secrets-and-lies

Not really corroborating, but honourable mentions.
 
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Syndyre

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Yes, I was responding originally to jetpacman's post at #162 about dodgy employment and management practices at Koeberg, not to say that there was any proven connection between the site and Mr Lockwood's disease.

My concern is that if any "incident" did occur at Koeberg, their management has not demonstrated any honesty or integrity, so things might be covered up as many nuclear "incidents" are. Putting it another way, I would not like to live near a nuclear reactor managed by this particular bunch.
I definitely don't have a problem with the technology itself, I think its the best solution we currently have, nuclear technology in general that is, not specifically the PBMR design, but I also don't have much faith in Eskom as a company.
 

bodhi

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Re the Ron Lockwood story.

Poor occupational health & safety practice by Eskom.
 

lsuacner

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Just throwing a stone in the bush.
The health requirements may be strict, therefore they test people before exposing them to radiation.
As an example, before you start to gym, you have to see a doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to do the exercises without suffering from a heart attack. The report may indicate you are 1.1 more likely to suffer a heart attack, but the doctor will tell you its safe to gym since it is in the prescribed range that is acceptable and there is no real cause for concern.

In the Eskom case they realised this person is a high risk, though there was the probable possibility that nothing would come of it. Letting a person go without telling him you are 2x times more likely to develop cancer than other employees while there is no real cause of alarm is just a corporate policy, nothing to do with cover ups. I think people are too fast to assume the worst.

Now it can go either way, I would rather tell the employee he is more likely to get cancer, though not alarming a person unnecessarily is also a good thing. It doesn't mean Eskom is evil just because it has certain criteria and polices.
Lock might have developed cancer in any other field where his employers would never have tested for his predisposition, would you hold them responsible for not testing?

Furthermore, if you tell your employee he is predisposed to get cancer, he is obliged to tell the medical aid that also. I think Lock is lucky that it was kept secret, otherwise he would have spent the remainder of his life paying the medical aid a huge sum with no benefits of good living.

And furthermore... Ron Lockwood sounds white, maybe he was just let go because he is white.
 
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Syndyre

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In the Eskom case they realised this person is a high risk, though there was the probable possibility that nothing would come of it. Letting a person go without telling him you are 2x times more likely to develop cancer than other employees while there is no real cause of alarm is just a corporate policy, nothing to do with cover ups. I think people are too fast to assume the worst.
It could be that or it could be something more sinister, depends on the medical details which we're unlikely to find out.
 

Syndyre

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sinister is always more interesting.
True, and considering its Eskom not entirely unlikely either. Although I think him being let go because he was white is very probable, and sinister in itself.
 

Roman4604

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Q for jab2. You seem up to speed with matters of fission ... any thoughts on the viability of fusion ... in our lifetime?
 
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jab2

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Q for jab2. You seem up to speed with matters of fission ...
:D Not as much as I would like. Have had an interest in Nuclear Physics since leaving school in the 70s. With the internet, it is now possible to get to a huge amount of information on the subject. I also have access to a former Koeberg employee, who join Eskom as one of the people in charge of the reactor control room, and was trained by the French while the plant was still in construction. One thus have access to facts, lies and blatant lies and have to weight all to find the accurate facts. That is why I get "pompous" ;) when statements are made with very little cross checking done and I know through personal experience that lies is sown. That said I do see a place for people like rwenzori, who might uncover things what the mainstream misses. Exchange of views should however always be done in such a manner that the facts are addressed and not evolve into personal attacks. One should also be open to the fact that you might have to concede on a point and change your alignment.

BTW, I have the same problem with Evolution vs Creationism, another interest of mine. No interest of the other side to even listen to your arguments.


any thoughts on the viability of fusion ... in our lifetime?
Well, yes, since the mid 1950s in weapons form. But I suspect you are talking about the use of nuclear fusion as a source of energy and electricity. The theory of fusion is well understood, but it is the practical application to use it as a continious power source, which is still strained by the absence of feasible engineering solutions. I do not follow this branch closely due to it's highly theoretical nature at this point and thus does not feel qualified to venture a comment. See the following if you are interested.

Overview of Nuclear Fusion
JET (Joint European Torus)
University of California at Berkeley - Dept of Nuclear Engineering
Studiecentrum voor kernenergie
 

BCO

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I found this to be an interesting article that echoes my sentiments exactly.

The renewable energy world is incredibly dynamic right now. Almost every day I read of new innovations (today it was inflatable solar arrays), plummeting costs (solar is dropping 3-5% a year), and increasing rollouts.

But still more nuclear power stations are being conceptualised, and even attracting some support.

Why is nuclear still attracting support?

Nuclear or coal?

If the debate is framed as nuclear versus coal, there seems to be little question. Global warming, and the massive environmental costs of coal power generation make nuclear the obvious answer.

But framing the question in that limited way is ignoring the real solution - renewable energy.
 
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lsuacner

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And nuclear is not renewable? It is renewable. It pollutes less than solar panels compared with the actual energy output, yet hippies can't do the maths. If they are so much for solar energy I suggest they go sit in the sun till they die.
 

BCO

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How exactly is a power generation technology that requires and expends fuel renewable?
 

Syndyre

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As much as uranium needs to be mined solar panels and wind turbines etc. need to be produced. I know nuclear plants do too but neither option is totally emissions free.

I'd love to see the source for 9 years of uranium supplies left, have never seen an estimate even close to that. If you look purely at cost then coal AFAIK is the cheapest but clearly not many people are advocating that.

And what about those balmy sunny days, when energy use is at its highest, with the air conditioners going full blast?
Is energy use really at its highest then? What about cold winter days, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. And how can this energy be easily stored? The only option that comes to mind is hydro electric. If it was so easy to store this energy utilities like Eskom wouldn't need extra generating capacity to cater for peak load times as they could just store the energy from periods of less demand like the middle of the night.

354MW is negligible in terms of power generation and that's the world's largest solar facility? Looks like we still have a long way to go.
 

lsuacner

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A conservative estimate at current market prices (2003) put the available Uranium available which will be mined at 1500 years before depletion. If prices were to increase it would be profitable to mine even more which is available. The link is somewhere in the chaos of previous posts but I do not have time today to look for it.

How exactly is a power generation technology that requires and expends fuel renewable?
Have been asking that about solar energy this whole thread. It pollutes more and uses just about the same energy to produce as itself produces. There is no such thing as renewable energy, newtons law, just very efficient energy generation by our standards.
 

Syndyre

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A conservative estimate at current market prices (2003) put the available Uranium available which will be mined at 1500 years before depletion. If prices were to increase it would be profitable to mine even more which is available. The link is somewhere in the chaos of previous posts but I do not have time today to look for it.
I remember seeing similar such figures before, 9 years is a joke. It just irritates me when people make incredulous claims like that without backing them up.
 

rwenzori

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CIMA isn't bean counting. However, financial accountants are paid allot of money, because they can count, if you think so little of it, try do it, you can earn allot of money and you make it sound easy.
...
Well in my best pompous voice imagine me telling you, "stfu".
So this CIMA thing is like, for wannabe chartered accountants who didn't make the board exams then?
 

BCO

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And nuclear is not renewable? It is renewable. It pollutes less than solar panels compared with the actual energy output, yet hippies can't do the maths. If they are so much for solar energy I suggest they go sit in the sun till they die.
Where's your maths? Here's what I've dug up:

It is seen that, even for the most energy intensive of these four common photovoltaic technologies, the energy required for producing the system does not exceed 10% of the total energy generated by the system during its anticipated operational lifetime.
Source

Also, what about all the other renewable sources combined as a complete package? YOu keep forgetting about solar thermal (I really love this), wind, tidal, wave, hydroelectric and geothermal power, NONE of which are nearly as potentially hazardous as nuclear. While I agree that modern nuclear's pretty safe you surely can't deny that it's riskier than the other sources I've just mentioned.
 

BCO

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WRT Uranium supplies - the figures of 9 years (or even 6 years as cited below) are based on the amount of rich uranium supplies left and assuming nuclear provided all of the world's current electricity supply. Also worth noting is that there are vast quantities of uranium available (as has been mentioned in this thread) - enough for many hundreds of years, but its concentrations are so low that you'd use more coal-fired electricity to extract the uranium than you would just making electricity from the coal (i.e. a negative energy balance).

The advantage of nuclear power in producing lower carbon emissions holds true only as long as supplies of rich uranium last. When the leaner ores are used - that is, ores consisting of less than 0.01 percent (for soft rocks such as sandstone) and 0.02 percent (for hard rocks such as granite), so much energy is required by the milling process that the total quantity of fossil fuels needed for nuclear fission is greater than would be needed if those fuels were used directly to generate electricity. In other words, when it is forced to use ore of around this quality or worse, nuclear power begins to slip into a negative energy balance: more energy goes in than comes out, and more carbon dioxide is produced by nuclear power than by the fossil-fuel alternatives.15

The world's annual production of uranium oxide has been lagging behind its use in nuclear reactors for the past twenty years. The shortfall has been made up from military stockpiles.

Source: http://www.uxc.com/cover-stories/uxw_18-34-cover.html

The rise in the price of uranium oxide ("yellowcake") has soared recently. One reason is the higher cost of the fossil energy needed to mine and concentrate it.

Source: http://www.uex-corporation.com/s/UraniumMarket.as

There is doubtless some rich uranium ore still to be discovered, and yet exhaustive worldwide exploration has been done, and the evaluation by Storm van Leeuwen and Smith of the energy balances at every stage of the nuclear cycle has given us a summary. There is enough usable uranium ore in the ground to sustain the present trivial rate of consumption - a mere 2 1/2 percent of all the world's final energy demand - and to fulfil its waste-management obligations, for around 45 years. However, to make a difference - to make a real contribution to postponing or mitigating the coming energy winter - nuclear energy would have to supply the energy needed for (say) the whole of the world's electricity supply. It could do so - but there are deep uncertainties as to how long this could be sustained. The best estimate (pretending for a moment that all the needed nuclear power stations could be built at the same time and without delay) is that the global demand for electricity could be supplied from nuclear power for about six years, with margins for error of about two years either way. Or perhaps it could be more ambitious than that: it could supply all the energy needed for an entire (hydrogen- fuelled) transport system. It could keep this up for some three years (with the same margin for error) before it ran out of rich ore and the energy balance turned negative.
Source
 
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