If not Nuclear Power, then WHAT??

Syndyre

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Some one needs to inform Germany of this. It seems they mistakingly invested in the wrong sort of Power.

Germany's industrial scale is far superior to South Africa's their requirements for power sources far exceeds the needs of South Africa at present, it doesn't even have access to as much ocean as South Africa, and yet it seems to function well with Windmill power and similar sources other than Nuclear power.

The risks associated with Nuclear power can't be managed, since it's not a very predictable source of Power. And the damage can't be minimized, Look at Chernobyl as an example. Russia has far more knowledge in the Nuclear science than South Africa, it has the knowledge and yet still unpredictable events occured. It is not something you can "manage" 100% because it's not that transparent.
You just conveniently leave out the minor detail that Germany buys a lot of power from France, which IIRC gets around 70% of their power from nuke stations.
 

Koos Custodiet

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In all honesty hydro-electric power is probably the best compromise for both sides. Huge power generating capacities, environmentally safe and virtually idiot-proof. The only problem is the initial costs of construction.
And the fact that you're pouring your irrigation water into the sea.

Not bright in a desert country.
 

The_Unbeliever

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Think the cheapest option would be to get a couple of bicycles, connect these to a genny, and get some unemployed okes from all over the country to trap and generate some power :p :D

Coal have its advantages and disadvantages.

Nuclear also have its advantages and disadvantages. (The acid used to dissolve the fuel rods - what do they do with the acid after use? Hmmmm....)

Solar also its advantages and disadvantages.

and so on...

One option is to build a huge nuclear plant on the moon manned by robots (no worries about fuel or radiation leaks) - but the problem will be how to get the electricity to earth.
 

Highflyer_GP

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Ok so people aren't happy with nuclear power or hydro-electric power, then what would you guys be happy with? Wind power does not have the sustainability factor that these two have, making it very unpredictable. Even a minor climate change could have an effect on traditionally windy places. It's something that you cannot predict with any reasonable degree of certainty.
 

lsuacner

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I thought you were making a rude joke but turns out you are serious. You should not be debating with us, I don't think you are up to the challenge mentally.

This post most made the most sense thus far, I don't see anyone actually arguing with it without making a fool of themselves. Read it again and be educated.
I am amazed at our species. The less we know about a subject, the more we feel ourselves an expert to comment on said subject. :mad: I would like to point out a few things that are never mentioned or wrongly used when talking about nuclear power and the danger of radiation.

The acronym SCRAM is used by non-nuclear people to mean that something has gone wrong in a reactor and that some danger is immanent and conclusive. The word comes from “Safety Control Rod Axe Man” and refers to earlier test piles where a guy with an axe had to cut the rope holding the control rods. Cutting the rope drop the control rods into the pile to bring the nuclear reaction to a speedy stop and was a safety precaution. It is like doing emergency braking with your car. There was a danger, but you CONTROLLED it by braking.

People comment on radiation as if nuclear power stations and weapons are the only source. Nobody talk about NORM (Normally Occurring Radioactive Material) or objects and human actions, which deliberately expose us to radiation. We had watches which radioactive phosphor dials, we frequently get X-rays and never worry about it, we fly jet aircraft high up in the sky where radiation is higher than down on earth. Why do we not worry about these things? Because the risk is so small that it is not worth worrying.

Lets look at some NORMs where human activity is increasing the radiation risk. Mineral sands that is mined for Titanium and Zircon often contain the mineral Monazite, a rare earth mineral, which contain Thorium, and this is subject to gravity concentration, to such an extend that radioactivity to the extent of 4000Bk/Kg is sometimes measured. On mining this sand a lot of dust containing this Thorium is released in the air, yet nobody complain, because it is not common knowledge.

Phosphate rock used for fertilizers contains some Uranium and Thorium. In Superphosphate sold in the USA, the concentration can go up to 3000 Bk/Kg.

Granite, on which we live and used for dimension stone in buildings, contain on average 3 ppm Uranium and 17 ppm Thorium. The radioactivity of granite can approach the same levels as low grade tailings in Uranium mines. People living in Paarl, under the shadow of Paarl rock, receive a much higher radiation dose than the people from Bloubergstrand receive from Koeberg. In fact they do not receive any from the Koeberg Power Plant.

One of the decay products of Uranium 238 is Radium 226. This decay to Radon 222, which is a gas with a half live of 4 days and accumulate in building basements were such buildings were erected on uranium rich soil/rock. The EPA in the USA has a max level of 55 Bq/m3 and an action level of 150 Bq/m3. Levels of up to 100 000 Bq/m3 has been measured in some homes.

And now my favorite closet skeleton; Coal. Most coal contains Uranium and Thorium, as well as Potassium-40, Lead-210, and Radium-226. This does not burn and most emerge from the power station in the light fly ash, which is fused and chemically stable. Some 99% of fly ash is typically retained in a modern power station (90% is some older ones), and this is buried in an ash dam or in SA a huge pile.
The amounts of radioactive species are huge. In Victoria, Australia, 65 million tonnes of brown coal is burned annually for electricity production. This contains about 1.6 ppm Uranium and 3.0-3.5 ppm Thorium, hence about 100 tonnes of Uranium and 200 tonnes of Thorium is buried in landfill each year in the Latrobe Valley. Australia exports 235 Mt/yr of coal with 1 to 2 ppm Uranium and about 3.5 ppm Thorium in it, hence up to 400 tonnes of Uranium and about 800 tonnes of Thorium could conceivably be added to published export figures.
Although the actual radioactive levels are not high compared to other NORMs, there is enough uranium in fly ash that the China National Nuclear Corp commissioned Sparton Resources of Canada with the Beijing No.5 Testing Institute to develop an extraction method by way of leaching.

The energy locked in the Uranium (via nuclear reaction) contained in coal is actually higher than the energy one get by burning the coal, and this will come at a cost of 0 CO2 produced, not taking emissions by running axillaries in account as both plants will have these.

Now if 90-99% of the ash is retained, where does the rest go? Up in the air, for you and me to breath, and radionuclides in the lungs is much more dangerous than on the skin. People living near coal power stations are actually exposed to higher radiation doses than ones living near a nuclear plant, if such plants are operated to government regulations by about a factor of 100.

I am not ashamed to say I am an advocate of nuclear power, but also do not say that other technologies should not share the burden of providing energy. What I however would like to see is a healthy debate where the opponents of nuclear power do not use lies to shoot it down. So please when arguing this, make sure of your facts and look at the big picture, including the design, manufacture, operation and decommissioning of a power technology, not only the operation of it.

Oh and please do not use the Greenpeace website as your only reference. They have shown their one-sidedness and willingness to distort the facts on more than once already.;)
 

rwenzori

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I thought you were making a rude joke but turns out you are serious. You should not be debating with us, I don't think you are up to the challenge mentally.

This post most made the most sense thus far, I don't see anyone actually arguing with it without making a fool of themselves. Read it again and be educated.
LOL! You are the one who cannot see further than your own opinions! Try something a bit more original if you want to be insulting.

We read the post, answered some of its more obviously incorrect points, and poor little jabbie2 went off in a huff.

Maybe if you both read up a bit more on the many nuclear "incidents" of the past, you would be able to debate the issues instead of repeating the same old points. There's a good BBC documentary on Windscale that shows why political pressures can lead to nuclear "incidents", and why governments ( in this case British, obviously ) force lies and cover-ups upon the citizenry. Try find that one for starters. And don't believe everything the govt and scientists who are involved tell you about the PBMR.
 

Rockford

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If one wished to create mayhem, the Vaalputs nuclear waste disposal facility has lots of intermediate level waste that looks pretty easy to steal. Wrap some explosives around one of those containers and dump it in a city centre and you have a mess. Do they guard these facilities properly?

What about Radiation Hill near Pelindaba?

I really hope the authorities are doing things properly.
 

JayM

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I cannot believe any country in this day and age would waste perfectly good uranium on power generation, when it can be used to make far more useful weapons instead!
 

lsuacner

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LOL! You are the one who cannot see further than your own opinions! Try something a bit more original if you want to be insulting.
We read the post, answered some of its more obviously incorrect points, and poor little jabbie2 went off in a huff.
Maybe if you both read up a bit more on the many nuclear "incidents" of the past, you would be able to debate the issues instead of repeating the same old points. There's a good BBC documentary on Windscale that shows why political pressures can lead to nuclear "incidents", and why governments ( in this case British, obviously ) force lies and cover-ups upon the citizenry. Try find that one for starters. And don't believe everything the govt and scientists who are involved tell you about the PBMR.
Instead of believing the government and scientist you decide to believe Hollywood movies. Paranoid tree-hugger, are you acting like an idiot, or are you an actual idiot?

If one wished to create mayhem, the Vaalputs nuclear waste disposal facility has lots of intermediate level waste that looks pretty easy to steal. Wrap some explosives around one of those containers and dump it in a city centre and you have a mess. Do they guard these facilities properly?
What about Radiation Hill near Pelindaba?
I really hope the authorities are doing things properly.
When was the last time that happened? Just because something is not 100% safe does not mean it isn't safe enough. There is a chance that America can declare war on RSA which has diamonds, mineral resources and a corrupt oppressive government, but we don't go surrendering just for 100% peace of mind. Coal power isn't 100% safe either, I think it is much more dangerous than nuclear, but a 99.99% certainty of safety is ok with me.
 

lsuacner

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I cannot believe any country in this day and age would waste perfectly good uranium on power generation, when it can be used to make far more useful weapons instead!
lol. The chances of the incidents happening these people are describing areactually outweighed by the potential avoidance of a nuclear war. I know you were making a joke but with their relative opinion about how likely it is for Africa to be turned in to a nuclear wasteland, your "argument" is actually feasible. Make power not war. lol.
 
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jab2

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Well, the “6 post wonder” has not run away. The reason for my absence simply is that I work for a living. I therefore cannot respond immediately to every post that seeks a response, nor would my employer like if I run rwenzori’s average of 1 post every 34min. As for the low post count, not everybody is an ADSL expert, so I do not feel myself qualified to post on most of the threads on the MyADSL forum.

Rwenzori., you say I am pontificating. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but I would honestly like to know which words in my post was received as pompous languages. I certainly did not intend it to be read as such. I cannot understand however why you should resort to derogatory and belittling language to argue a point and have kept it up for the last 3 hours is several posts. Do you want to play the ball or the player?

JBFRobisher, if you feel me high and mighty because I do not want to answer a post that uses derogative language attacking my person and not the issue, why not deal the same card to Rwenzori as he neatly side-stepped most of the points on NORMs that I raised?

Rwenzori and Porco Rosso, please read what I said about the uses of the word SCRAM. I did not say nuclear people do not use the term. I said non-nuclear people use it in the sense that doomsday is on us when a reactor in SCRAMed, which is not the case. It is done to shut down the reactor fast in a CONTROLLED manner. As I said, it is like slamming on the brakes of a car. One surely does not call it an accident every time one use your car’s brakes to slow down fast?

Rwenzori, Chernobyl went boom because of a steam explosion, cause by the meltdown of the reactor core due to poor design (amongst others, no containment building) and absolute scandalous operation as previously mentioned in the tread. It did not explode due to a nuclear reaction like in a bomb, something which can never happened as the neutron density in nuclear reactor cores are way to low and the speed of the neutrons not right. If you need more info on the fundimentals of nuclear fission and fussion, read The Los Alamos Primer by Robert Serber. This is a declasified Secret, Limited document from Los Alamos and is annotated for layman (sort of) understanding by Nobelist Robert Serber, the original author.

When you talk about Windscale, I assume you talk about the Windscale fire of 1957. The Windscale Pile 1 and 2 was graphite moderated, air-cooled reactors and build at a time when the behaviour of graphite in a nuclear reactor was not completely understood. Due to this and the rush to follow the USA as a nuclear nation, the design of the reactor was not as it can be. Due to this accident, no air-cooled reactors were built again. You do not believe that we still have the same design capability and understanding of nuclear matters as we did in 1950 when designing plants today?

On the lying, I do not deny that the nuclear side does not lie also. These are after all companies in it for financial gain. One therefore need to cross check facts as you know there is a danger of window dressing. But what are GreenPeace and the other so called protectors of the environments reason for lying about environmental matters. Organizations with no obvious reason to report distorted facts and untruths. They are not in it for the money, or are they? Why did GreenPeace had to lie when the report, which they commissioned at great cost, about so called dangerous chemicals in Apple’s products, did not turn out as they expected? Why did a leaflet targeting George Bush’s visit to Pennsylvania in May 2006 and was accidentally released in draft form, contain the words “In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world’s worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDONIST FACTIOD HERE]”. Do they not know how many accidents or are they not interested in the truth but to sell doom? GreemPeace a good source of unbiased information, I do not think so.
 

rwenzori

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I cannot believe any country in this day and age would waste perfectly good uranium on power generation, when it can be used to make far more useful weapons instead!
Ah! If you plan your reactor right, it produces Plutonium 239, which is lekker stuff for making bombs with!
 

Alan

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Am I the only one here who thought the mentioning of the bomb in the show last night was particularly disturbing :confused:
 

rwenzori

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Well, the “6 post wonder” has not run away.
Well that is a very civil response, so please accept my apology for attacking you and your post.

I'm a bit weary, but I'll try to respond.

On pontificating, I took these two phrases as arrogant and aggressive:
"The less we know about a subject, the more we feel ourselves an expert to comment on said subject"
"Oh and please do not use the Greenpeace website as your only reference."

Maybe they were not meant so.

About the NORM, it's just not a big worry as you say. We have been evolving for gazillions of years and can take it. I just won't go and live near high concentrations - if that means staying far from coal mines, what a pleasure. My worry is where heavy doses are released by idiotic humans, which is quite common on small scales - hammering abandoned x-ray machines to get the pretty metal inside for example.

About SCRAMs, I do understand the meaning. The frequency of emergencies requiring shut-down worries me though - I do not accept we have all the designs right, or can cater for every weird situation. The SCRAM at Chernobyl made things worse.


About Windscale, the reasons for the fire include the air-cooling of course, but the fuel elements or containers were also to blame, as they had been filing the containers down to increase the nuclear reaction speeds to produce enough bomb material to meet political deadlines. They could not even push them out of the back of the pile when the fire was going - the improvised scaffolding rods just melted, and the containers were stuck anyway because of the temperatures. Several other similar reasons that relate not at all to the flawed design, but to politics and the arms-race. No-one had the balls to tell the govt to f-off. The same factors are at play today, with the PBMR too.

On Chernobyl, the point is one made earlier - humans are quite capable of putting incompetent people in to run nuclear facilities or look after nuclear materials. They will do it again. There are many nuclear "incidents" that have happened and will continue to happen. Even in the highly controlled US of A.

On lying, well that is the human race. Trust Nobody as the sign on the taxi says. All the more reason not to let kids play with hand grenades, if you get the analogy.

I don't profess to have the alternatives, but I would hate Cape Town to be uninhabitable for twenty-something thousand years. And things CAN go wrong, in spite of lsuacner's faith in human abilities.

Have fun.
 

rwenzori

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Instead of believing the government and scientist you decide to believe Hollywood movies. Paranoid tree-hugger, are you acting like an idiot, or are you an actual idiot?
I are an actual idiot. And proud of it too.
:p
 

jab2

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Rwenzori, I completely share your worries about human incompetence, negligence or ignorance. Whatever you want to call it. If one however want to sideline all activities where a human being can act in a way that was not intended or would be detrimental to others, we should not even breath, as some people try to do that under water (without bottles). We ban this and do not allow that. Look at the gun laws. It did not help. We have to address human behavior.

I understand your concern, but are your worries not a bit overboard? The chance of dying of a radiation overdose from a nuclear power plant accident is orders of magnitudes smaller than dying in an automobile accident or in Guateng being murdered in your own home.
 

lsuacner

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About SCRAMs, I do understand the meaning. The frequency of emergencies requiring shut-down worries me though - I do not accept we have all the designs right, or can cater for every weird situation. The SCRAM at Chernobyl made things worse.

I just won't go and live near high concentrations - if that means staying far from coal mines

I don't profess to have the alternatives, but I would hate Cape Town to be uninhabitable for twenty-something thousand years. And things CAN go wrong, in spite of lsuacner's faith in human abilities.
Earlier I asked, how many people have died from nuclear accidents, with the exception of Chernobyl? Coal miners, people on oil rigs die daily. If you intend to focus on human lives lost then nuclear is the way to go.

Its coal power plants which release more radiation than nuclear plants do in the surrounding environment, not mines with the exception of a coal mine which has been burning underground for several years.

concering SCRAMs..
As I said before, just because you would be unable to anticipate every situation and negate the risks, does not mean nobody else can. You should not benchmark the intelligence of the people who work on these technologies against your own. Compare apples with apples k?
Now if you find what jab posted as pompous, I can only come to the conclusion that you do not have and formal training past matric? So really if you find the use of big words pompous, stfu. It is not always possible to dumb down things so people like you would be able to understand it.
 
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