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Response to kristopher (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:14 PM

21. Put your broad brush away

 

I am not going to deny what is obvious, that humanity gets one shot at using the fossil fuels that have been stored up over geologic time. True, once peak fossil fuels is far in the rear view mirror, we're back to renewables and let's hope that wind, solar, geothermal, and all others are more advanced than what they were when fossil fuel extraction started. But even with those improvements, it might not be enough to keep up with the demands for energy. What then?

Do you ration it? Or do you have turn to some non-renewable technology, which really only leaves nuclear, either fission or fusion? Even if fusion technology is figured out far into the future, you still have a nuclear waste problem because of all the tritium generated (although not nearly as horrendous a problem as for fission reactors). And the best way to keep that tritium waste from a fusion reactor contained would be to bury the reactor before it's even started.

I'm being realistic in saying that there probably are reasons for keeping some nuclear reactors running -- production of medical isotopes, Pu thermoelectric units for space exploration, research, etc. Now if you grant that some need to be kept running we're back to the age old question -- how to keep it out of the biosphere completely? This is the question that should have been solved first, not left as an afterthought. After people found out how dangerous radioactivity was, and they were well aware of it by even the 1930s because of the history of workers who made radium watch dials, they should have banished all work with radioactivity to deep underground locations.

Nuclear technology stands the old saw "familiarity breeds contempt" upside down: there are many who are unfamiliar with it and have great contempt for it; yet those who work with it daily get complacent and don't have enough contempt for the dangers of it. Having worked in the industry, I've seen a lot of irrational thinking on both sides. In the ideal world of the future, the use of nuclear should use as its motto its own ALARA principle -- As Little As Reasonable Allowable. But if we are going to have cities with millions of people in the future, like Shanghai or New York or Mexico City, I wonder how you get all that renewable energy they will require into that small area, or would it just be more cost effective to have a nuclear reactor a half-mile under the city.

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kristopher Apr 2012 OP
izquierdista Apr 2012 #1
freshwest Apr 2012 #3
kristopher Apr 2012 #8
izquierdista Apr 2012 #16
kristopher Apr 2012 #18
LineLineLineLineLineReply Put your broad brush away
izquierdista Apr 2012 #21
kristopher Apr 2012 #22
izquierdista Apr 2012 #23
kristopher Apr 2012 #24
PamW Apr 2012 #28
kristopher Apr 2012 #29
izquierdista Apr 2012 #36
PamW Apr 2012 #44
freshwest Apr 2012 #2
bananas Apr 2012 #4
freshwest Apr 2012 #6
bananas Apr 2012 #10
cprise Apr 2012 #27
PamW Apr 2012 #30
kristopher Apr 2012 #31
bananas Apr 2012 #5
freshwest Apr 2012 #7
bananas Apr 2012 #11
bananas Apr 2012 #12
bananas Apr 2012 #13
freshwest Apr 2012 #14
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #32
kristopher Apr 2012 #35
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #41
kristopher Apr 2012 #42
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #43
Nederland Apr 2012 #37
kristopher Apr 2012 #38
freshwest Apr 2012 #40
Nederland Apr 2012 #45
freshwest Apr 2012 #39
GliderGuider Apr 2012 #9
freshwest Apr 2012 #15
XemaSab Apr 2012 #17
freshwest Apr 2012 #19
XemaSab Apr 2012 #20
kristopher Apr 2012 #25
kristopher Apr 2012 #26
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #33
kristopher Apr 2012 #34
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