Namely, do you think it has a future in the wave of next gen clean energy sources? If you support it, do you think it will always be viable or that it should only be a temporary measure to get us off fossil fuels while our renewable infrastructure grows?

@Spinnaker
212d

We have a very short timeline to do anything meaningful to reduce the impacts of the impeding climate disaster. If we want to stop burning fossil fuels in 30 years, we have to be pragmatic. I assume the question is only about nuclear fission energy production, given that fusion research is nowhere near providing anything for at least 5-6 decades, which will be too late to solve our little issue.

Without efficient storage, solar & wind are out of the question given our modern society energy needs. When you add the storage component, both technologies see their greenhouse gases emissions multiplied by a factor of 2 to 10 depending on the storage solution used.

My view is that nuclear power is the rescue parachute for the global climate crisis. It can generate a vast quantity of power for a relatively low price (the upfront cost is high, but running costs are quite low) without GHS emissions (almost all emissions are done during the building phase).

The main drawbacks are the pollution risk and the nuclear waste storage:

  • Nuclear waste is a non-issue: just bury it somewhere geologically stable and forget about it for the time being.
  • The pollution risk is real: we have to ensure that strict safety standards are met with oversight of national/woldwide agencies. The next generation of reactors could also be safer with no possibility of a meltdown.
@ace
1017d

Until we figure out the storage problem in order to get solar working, nuclear is the only realistic way of replacing coal which has much more negative consequences. I don’t like it, but as it stands it is the lesser of two evils.

@k_o_t
516d

please take into consideration that solar panel are not a viable solution in all countries…

@iszomer
115d

I would imagine this being the case for countries in the northern and southern-most hemisphere, seasonally.

SnowCode
1217d

I spent a lot of time discussing with French people in YouTube comments. And I need to say that a lot of beliefs of nuclear energy are wrong.

  • France got a very good re-processing of nuclear wastes
  • Nuclear energy is the energy with the smallest mortality rate compared to any other energy. The worst being coal with 2 deaths per removedt
  • Nuclear energy is still pretty clean on a pollution side.

I don’t like this energy but trying to throw it away, without reducing the demand, sounds impossible to me.

Something I really regret about nuclear energy though is the fact that you are completely dependent on other countries and industries.

So another belief (on the side of pro-nuclear this time) is the fact that it makes you independent of your own electricity. Except that all your uranium is coming from another countries, this is not what I call “independent”.

TL;DR: I don’t like centralization of the electricity production. But with the current demand, it’s the only viable choice.

Could you alborate on your first claim ?

France got a very good re-processing of nuclear wastes

SnowCode
416d

They seem very advanced in the control of nuclear waste and know how to reprocess a good part of them. Everything is contained securely and they don’t seem to have any space problem with it. It’s the “ANDRA” (National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste) who do all of that.

I don’t know where you saw that the ANDRA was dealing with all this in good manner. If you can translate, you should look at theses website :

SnowCode
114d

I mean, ANDRA seems a bit more neutral. They are not there to promote nuclear energy. They are there to deal with the wastes. Not only from power plants, but also from the military, labs and medical (X-rays and stuff). In deed I don’t have any “proof” they do their work correctly, but they seems pretty transparent about it and publish everything on their website.

I’m not saying they are not doing their jobs, or that they do it badly, I’m saying that the jobs requires them to destroy forests, contaminate areas of land for centuries, and sometimes take decisions that are contrary to good practice, for example the choice of the site at Bure.

SnowCode
16d

Yeah, that’s why I think calculations based on the surface took by such centrals is completely biased (it only counts the power plant, not the storage).

The reason why I cite ANDRA is because they have the decency to be transparent about what they’re doing. Which was not the case in France in the past.

Dessalines
admin
117d

I’m still on the fence about nuclear, and centralized vs decentralized energy production (bc decentralized relies on batteries where the materials are mined under terrible conditions, not to mention the batteries themselves are terrible for the environment) . I wonder if anyone’s done a comparison of nuclear vs solar, in terms of waste byproducts and mining ethics, bc I bet its probably closer or even possibly more in favor of nuclear than many think.

SnowCode
216d

Yes there are people who made that comparison. Solar is much worse than nuclear energy.

@k_o_t
116d

could you link the research pls?

@iszomer
216d

I recently saw a promotional ad with Elon Musk’s Tesla/SolarCity deployments per residence and tying the panels with an onsite battery and optionally connected to the grid. But yes, the raw and rare earth resources required to produce these panels are fast becoming a conflict resource, just like conflict diamonds in Africa.

@k_o_t
918d

I think that nuclear energy is actually a decent temporary solution for countries until they can transition to other energy sources of energy that are much safer and with fewer negative consequences. However, there needs to be regulation and control throughout the whole process, private companies of course shouldn’t be allowed to run them, governments should buy the absolute best available equipment possibly at a monetary loss to themselves. Plus investing into figuring out a nuclear waste disposal solution.

Agreed 100%

Maya
admin
717d

I do not live within a culture / community / political entity capable of handling it responsibly. I am therefore not familiar with the much reduced but still existent risks of nuclear handled responsibly, or at least, not familiar enough to have strong feelings on the topic.

@Kamui
317d

Fallout! Err I mean, yeah this right here.

I love nuclear energy. It is will be viable far longer than oil or other non-renewables.

I would recommend anyone who hasn’t seen it to watch Pandora’s Promise!

https://youtu.be/ObcgG9vjUbs

SnowCode
213d

viable longer than oil or other non-renewables.

Nuclear energy is not renewable actually. It’s still extracted from the ground.

@yogthos
618d

I think we have to use all available options at this point. We have around a decade left to avert the most horrific effects of global warming, and nuclear power is a proven technology that’s available to us today. I see fission being phased out eventually in favor of renewables and fusion.

@iszomer
517d

If they ever get fusion reactors working which I imagine is still a long ways off.

They say nuclear energy is clean but I tend to disagree. Nuclear waste (in America) is still disposed of in a deep underground storage facility. The Yucca Mountain Waste Repository in Nevada is one of such sites and if I recall correctly, there is also a relatively new one in New Mexico called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

I recall reading about an alternative fuel source called Thorium and the promises it could potentially bring.

@yogthos
217d

Nuclear waste is contained in one place and it doesn’t contribute to global warming which is the most urgent problem we have right now. The waste is a potential problem, however it can be recycled going forward. Thorium is also very promising and as I recalled it’s created from processed uranium.

@iszomer
117d

While true we’ve made the process of recycling more efficient, there are still byproducts from it that cannot. Burying and sealing them underground may seem to be the most effective disposal but is never meant to be sustainable. And yes, it doesn’t necessarily contribute to global warming but that’s a topic in of itself. Truth be told, there are still high uncertainty in the number of pathways in our world in which we can affect and that process cannot be stopped outright by international cooperation.

Thorium is also naturally occurring and estimated to be three times more abundant than Uranium.

@yogthos
217d

The key point here is that we’re well past the point where we can be picky about the solutions. The worst case scenario we’re looking at is mass extinction of complex life on this planet, and even barring the worst case outcomes we’re looking at billions of people dying as parts of the globe become uninhabitable. As you note, we need levels of international cooperation that don’t currently exist, so things are looking very grim already. Hence why I think we must encourage the use of all the tools available to us.

@iszomer
116d

Yes we can. I don’t believe in the mass extinction theory they claim that is fast approaching and, I don’t believe there is any way for an immediate fix. Until new methods of energy production and efficient energy conservation can be achieved, the best we can do is brace for the worst now. Going nuclear should never be the answer.

I did thoroughly enjoy the Death Stranding game though and Snowpiercer was an awesome film.

@yogthos
516d

Here’s what’s currently happening:

We’re currently seeing a global ecosystem collapse:

World’s oceans are also acidifying to a similar rate as the Permian extinction (but again in 100 years instead of 20k-60k), with an anoxic event locked in after 1,000ppm or 360 gigatons, which we will reach by 2100 at the latest. So that’s whatever’s left wiped out.

And here’s what’s currently happening with food production. Two different groups of 200+ scientists and academics, separately from each other, each warned of near-term global collapse:

Examples of record-breaking crop failures currently happening:

Scientific studies projecting future crop failures:

News articles about projected crop failures:

@iszomer
-116d

Viva la mass extinction.

And to think the dinosaurs didn’t have to kill themselves when we’re doing it to ourselves, millions of years later. Get over the sensationalism.

@yogthos
216d

Can you be more specific about what you’re calling sensationalism here?

@iszomer
-216d

Linking a bunch of scientific articles and studies of our impending doom. An average nobody couldn’t care less. It’s more subtly systemic than that.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy reading this sort of stuff but there aren’t any reasonable solutions to “this problem” on a global scale.

There are reasonable solutions, even if we can’t have a “perfect” solution.

@yogthos
115d

But what specifically are you saying is sensational in the material I linked. We have deep systemic problems, our biosphere is collapsing, and we don’t have reasonable solutions right now. These are all just facts.

@iszomer
-115d

They’re not facts, they’re scientific research and investigative reporting over periods of time. What I meant by systemic is by what pertains to the overall trend of human consumption and seemingly lack of conservation.

Look at it from the perspective of a stock exchange microcosm. There’s science to be observed and made within that system where every aspect of human driven economics are at play. Then look at the global scale of how countries drive those markets. If you were to reflect this system into how it relates to our world of biomimicry, you’d understand that it is one tiny pathway to how the world works.

It’s sensational because there’s a lot of research being done on this topic but no real world solutions. That’s not to say there aren’t any in the works (eg: fusion reactors, carbon capture, solar panel efficiencies, etc). I’d say it’s more productive to be reading those sorts of advancements than constantly reading about the doom and gloom.

@yogthos
115d

Some of it is research, but a lot of it is documented events that are currently happening. Meanwhile, the research provides us with the best knowledge of what we can expect going forward. To our best knowledge we’re expecting drastic climate change within a decade.

Whether we can do anything about that or how we might do it is a separate discussion. Currently, there is no plan to deal with this in a meaningful way. Fusion reactors don’t exist right now, and there’s no evidence to suggest we’ll have fusion reactors within the time frame we need. Carbon capture is not sufficient, and we’re not expecting any major jumps in solar efficiency either. Technology isn’t magically going to solve this problem in the next decade.

The reality of the situation is that we need to abandon growth and consumerism, and that simply can’t happen in a world of capitalism. You can call it doom and gloom, but that’s the reality we’re in. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to change anything.

@iszomer
-115d

You just repeated what I said.

@yogthos
215d

how do you figure?

@iszomer
-215d

Is English your second language or are you trolling? Are you treating every one of my replies independently without context from previous replies? Have you not read the rest of the comments in this post and taken them into consideration? Jesus Fucking Christ.

@yogthos
214d

I asked you what was sensational about the links, and you went off on a tangent talking about advancements in technology. I explained why these advancements aren’t really meaningful or promising and now you’re saying I’m trolling you. JFC indeed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@iszomer
014d

I could say the same for you, between global warming, nuclear energy, and having ten years left of our lives. That last bit is not a fact but a projection, then you dumped a bunch of articles claiming why it is.

After traversing those links, I’m still not convinced. I’m saying I’d rather (in my opinion) read about solutions rather than the symptoms. JFCx2.

@yogthos
214d

The ten year figure is based on the best available science. Practically all the people studying the climate agree that we have around a decade left to take aggressive action. On top of that, we’re seeing that tipping points are being reached faster than expected, and global warming is progressing faster than the models predict.

The fact that you’re not convinced means that you really do need to read about the symptoms more. Understanding the severity of the problem is a prerequisite for finding the appropriate solutions. That much should be obvious.

And I’ve already mentioned the actual solutions that need to happen. We need to start moving towards degrowth and sustainable resource usage. We need to abandon consumerism and growth economy. The solutions are largely social in nature and focusing on technology is fundamentally misguided.

Not ideal, because you’re basically trading like 20 to 40 years of energy for potentially 10,000+ years of radioactive waste that we have to store somewhere. Situationally, I guess it make sense if we opt to use nuclear energy as a band-aid for current global warming problem to buy us time to develop Nuclear Fusion energy as a real permanent solution. The biggest problem is that you have to think about the energy loss over energy transfer in a long distance when it come to green energy, so we need nuclear fusion pretty soon if we want to get off fossil fuel.

@nutomic
admin
518d

Its not gonna be much use once Uranium runs out, and that might be rather soon.

Good article about it (in Spanish, but with graphics in English)

@unperson
13d

The logic of the article doesn’t really follow? It implies there’s no uranium just because there’s no profitable way to extract it in France and the US at the current dirt cheap prices. It even acknowledges there’s plenty of Uranium ore in Kazakhstan, but provides no data about it.

You could multiply the price of uranium in the graphs by 100 and it would barely impact the cost of electricity: nuclear power is extremely fuel efficient, even a price of 10000 $/kg of natural uranium implies less than 0.1 $/kWh of electricity in fuel costs.

Capitalist mining companies will never survey more uranium mines when uranium demand has been dwindling for the last 2 decades due to the anti-nuclear media campaign and the inherent low rate of profit of such a capital-intensive industry.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
creator
216d

Good point. Hadn’t thought of that, I always assumed that there’d be plenty of Uranium in the Earth.

What about Thorium reactors.

@nutomic
admin
116d

“After 50 years of exploitation we still haven’t arrived at the level to create a reactor that’s comercially viable.”

And it links to this blog post which explains that in a lot of detail it seems: http://theoildrum.com/node/5929

@AI_WAIFU
417d

With proper reprocessing (what France does), nuclear waste is a non-issue. And if the regulatory committees would get their shit together, we could roll out cheap and safe reactor technologies like lead cooled fast reactors or uranium hydride reactors, and then we wouldn’t have a clean energy problem anymore. For extra safety we could put them all off shore, and if there was a real risk of a serious incident we could drag the reactor away from population centers, or outright sink the reactor.

A loosely moderated place to ask open ended questions

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