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Wed Jan 30, 2019, 11:27 AM

Nuclear power technologies, costs and profit solutions are not enough

I was very impressed by the interest of DU members related to Bill Gates’ announcement of support for nuclear power. One poster appeared to have an extensive scientific understanding of the topic. Let me say up front, I am no expert.

My position as an activist has always been related to known issues related to safety and regulation, and water resources required to mine and process the uranium, water required to operate the nuclear plants, and disposal of radioactive waste material.

If there are scientific sources that have addressed my concerns, I would appreciate any suggestions anyone has on reading sources. My only expert source would be material published by Union of Concerned Scientists. The entire topic is covered in detail at their website. I did not find any detail material related to water resource requirement study per plant and its impact on water use for farming and consumption.

I did not save a link to the blog. Anyone who wants to share a link, please do include a snippet of the material that might help in forming a consensus. I did not comment in the other blog.


Nuclear power is the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in the United States. In 2017, some 99 nuclear reactors operating at 60 plants provided 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

But the numbers are changing. Cheap natural gas and renewable energy, diminished demand, rising operational costs, and safety and performance problems are all threatening the profitability of nuclear power plants—and increasing the likelihood that reactors might close.

If natural gas or coal replaces them, emissions will rise—and our ability to fight climate change will become that much weaker.


Nuclear accidents happen

Floods, fires, and earthquakes can combine with aging facilities and error-prone humans in devastating ways. Adequate understanding of these issues, along with significant safety upgrades and consistent oversight, can help safeguard the US public.
Learn more about preventing nuclear accidents >

Waste should be safely stored

Nuclear fuel emits radiation long after it’s done powering a reactor. Securing a long-term waste repository—and transferring fuel currently held in cooling pools to dry casks—is essential for long-term public safety.

Learn more about handling nuclear waste >

Technology (water based)

Different reactor designs approach these requirements in different ways. About two-thirds of operating US reactors are pressurized water reactors (PWRs); the rest are boiling water reactors (BWRs). Both BWRs and PWRs heat ordinary water with nuclear fuel, driving turbines that generate power.


Nuclear power plants generate almost one fifth of the electricity produced in the United States. The nuclear power cycle uses water in three major ways: extracting and processing uranium fuel, producing electricity, impact on fish, and controlling wastes and risks.

How it Works: Water for Nuclear

Nuclear plants as a whole withdraw and consume more water per unit of electricity produced than coal plants using similar cooling technologies because nuclear plants operate at a lower temperature and lower turbine efficiency, and do not lose heat via smokestacks.[2]

Dry cooling is not currently used in nuclear power generation due to safety risks of using dry-cooled technology with nuclear reactors [4] and the high costs of operating large dry-cooling fans. In addition to cooling the steam, nuclear power plants also use water in a way that no other plant does: to keep the reactor core and used fuel rods cool. To avoid potentially catastrophic failure, these systems need to be kept running at all times, even when the plant is closed for refueling.[5]

Fuel extraction

The most common fuel for nuclear power plants is uranium. Processing uranium requires mining, milling, enrichment, and fuel fabrication, all of which use significant quantities of water.

When nuclear plants draw water from natural water sources, fish and other wildlife get caught in the cooling system water intake structures. While this is an issue for all power plants with water-cooled systems, a study completed in 2005 in Southern California indicates that the problem is more acute for nuclear facilities. The study investigated impacts from 11 coastal power plants and estimated that in 2003, a single nuclear plant killed close to 3.5 million fish--32 times more than the combined impact of all of the other plants in the study.[15]

For full disclosure, I support National Resource Defense Council


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Reply Nuclear power technologies, costs and profit solutions are not enough (Original post)
saidsimplesimon Jan 2019 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 2019 #1
saidsimplesimon Jan 2019 #2

Response to saidsimplesimon (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 11:28 AM

1. H-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-e we go. I'll make some popcorn. NT

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 11:30 AM

2. Should I put up my force shield? haha

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