Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

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Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:10 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... ds-missing

News. A hydroelectric dam bursts in Laos, and hundreds of people are missing, while more than 6,000 are made homeless. The death toll will almost certainly rise into the hundreds.

Yet when I search news web sites, this story is well down in their priority lists.

When the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened, it was headline news for days, and now, thirty years later, it is still a synonym for bogeyman. Yet the only confirmed deaths added up to just 49.

Hydroelectricity has killed hundreds of thousands of people through more than ten dam bursts, and caused horrendous environmental damage, and rendered millions homeless. Nuclear power has killed very few, and caused very little environmental damage, and made very few homeless. Yet nuclear is the bogeyman. Why ?

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:38 pm

Because nuclear has the potential - the risk, of doing far more damage. Most particularly when old designs are reapproved time and again for use beyond their design lifetime. Decommission or refurbish those at the end of those 40 years, deal with the long term waste storage, then factor those costs into the electricity cost equation - and then compare the cost of each - including the great damage caused by hydro and fossil. Unfortunately this isn`t done since investors are permitted to walk away.

BTW - that article didn`t mention nuclear, solar, or even fossil... so from where did the boogieman come?

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:59 pm

Hydro power is unsustainable. The reservoirs fill up with silt, and precious river valley ecosystems are inundated and destroyed. Fossil-fuel driven power plants go without saying as undesirable. Some environmentalists have done the math correctly, and chosen nuclear power as the best option, but solar power can certainly go it one better, but the costs are so prohibitive that it's difficult to see it replacing other sources with rapidly increasing demand for electricity. A wind turbine currently has about a 20-year lifespan, about half that of solar, but it may be an important stop-gap until other technologies are developed.

Helium-3 is one of the most promising energy sources of the future, but nearly all of it exists in the regolith of the moon, a result of solar wind. It promises to be one of the safest and most abundant energy sources available, but the vast engineering hurdles and costs are currently keeping it a long way in the future.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:53 am

What is lacking is the political will to deal with the problem. We spent billions on the atomic bombs in WWII, with no complete certainty that we could get the implosion bomb to work. ("Little Boy" was a dead bang sinch compared to "Fat Man", but highly wasteful in fissile material.)
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:00 am

TJ

The 'potential ' argument is not one that washes with me. I deal with reality, not speculation about potential. The reality is that there are over 400 nuclear power plants, and nuclear power has been a major contributor to electricity generation for more than 50 years, and it has done very little harm. If there was great potential for harm, we would have seen it by now. Instead, we have three nuclear accidents with the accident killing people only in one, and that one being only 49 people.

Compare that to the Banqiao dam burst. 170,000 deaths. 11 million homeless. Talk about "potential"!!

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:58 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:TJ

The 'potential ' argument is not one that washes with me. I deal with reality, not speculation about potential. The reality is that there are over 400 nuclear power plants, and nuclear power has been a major contributor to electricity generation for more than 50 years, and it has done very little harm. If there was great potential for harm, we would have seen it by now. Instead, we have three nuclear accidents with the accident killing people only in one, and that one being only 49 people.

Compare that to the Banqiao dam burst. 170,000 deaths. 11 million homeless. Talk about "potential"!!
Yes Lance, I knew it didn`t wash with you - just as it doesn`t wash with politicians who approve 40 year extensions on plants that are already 20 years over planned lifespans. But the potential is still there, whether it washes with you or not.

But you do deal with potential. As after all, you don`t fly internationally by straping yourself to a rocket - just because nobody has done so and died. Instead, you recognise the potential and take other travel means.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:43 am

Yes, but I do climb into a passenger airplane, knowing that a million others have done so without incident. In the same way, I accept that 50 years of experience shows that nuclear power is safer than other forms, despite your "potential".

The other place the very lame "potential" argument is used is to oppose abortion . The anti abortion crowd say that a fetus is a potential human, and so must not be killed. Sounds good until you realise that every sperm/egg combination is also a potential human. Yet we do not force women to remain permanently pregnant between puberty and menopause in order to permit every "potential" human to exist.

Arguing against reality in favor of a speculative and probably incorrect "potential" is just silly.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by ElectricMonk » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:59 am

false dichotomy.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:11 am

I found a good article that addresses the relative safety as measured in deaths. Odd, it didn`t cover boogiemen.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Austin Harper » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:23 pm

I like this air travel analogy. More people die in automobile-related accidents every year than in aircraft-related accidents, but people are far more frightened of air travel than of driving.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by ElectricMonk » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:47 pm

And it is the old and/or poorly maintained aircraft that cause the most casualties.

Currently, it is a waste of time to talk about new nuclear reactors in the West: the old reactors are too expensive to run, and only still exist because companies and lawmakers {!#%@} their pants at the prospect of having to dismantle them.
New reactors of established design aren't competitive.

The only hope for the technology is new types being tested in Asian countries, where they will need about a decade to prove themselves before investors in the West will stick their necks out to finance one.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:35 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:And it is the old and/or poorly maintained aircraft that cause the most casualties.

Currently, it is a waste of time to talk about new nuclear reactors in the West: the old reactors are too expensive to run, and only still exist because companies and lawmakers {!#%@} their pants at the prospect of having to dismantle them.
New reactors of established design aren't competitive.

The only hope for the technology is new types being tested in Asian countries, where they will need about a decade to prove themselves before investors in the West will stick their necks out to finance one.
I'm not buying into the fallacy that "old" is unreliable. But "poorly maintained" applies to everything; an old aircraft can be maintained to a level of safety exceeding a new one.

We are no different; I am "old" but I don't recognize that I am diminished in an overall sense. My strengths more than compensate for my weaknesses; a lifetime of experience has taught me that. The peak of our powers is not based on only a few traits, it's the sum of the whole, and for as long as we live, the cumulative effect rises until the law of averages takes over. As our society evolves, our capacity to remain effective to an older age also increases.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:15 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:... Arguing against reality in favor of a speculative and probably incorrect "potential" is just silly.
Lance, In your OP you asked what the boogieman was - and I suggested it was `potential`. Since you apparently don`t think that it is potential, what do you think it is?

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Poodle » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:31 pm

I think it may be down to perceived personal risk factor. You have a chance of walking away from a serious traffic accident in which you are involved. You are unlikely to survive an aircraft plunging into the ground. You may survive a dam burst even if you are caught in a raging flood, but a heavy radiation dose is very likely to kill you.
They're naive statements, but I suspect that's how the relative dangers are assessed by large numbers of people.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:19 pm

TO TJ

In my opinion, the nuclear bogieman is ignorance, and deliberately misleading tactics by certain organisations. The general public have been led right up the garden path on their conception of nuclear risk. Most people have an utterly wrong view. This leads to incorrect politics.

It is not just nuclear, of course. Exactly the same thing applies to genetic modification. Groups like Greenpeace and Fiends of the Earth (typo deliberate) jump onto a bandwagon opposing these technologies, and commit themselves to a position. After the technology is proven OK, those crackpots refuse to back down and continue to vehemently oppose them. Ultimately the bogeyman is shown to be human idiocy.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:04 am

Yes, I do believe you are at least partially correct - ignorance brings opposition. But surely that isn`t the fault of the ignorant, but rather that of the promoters/developers, who haven`t done a sufficient job of full cycle problem solving, incorporating full cycle costs, and in educating the masses. After all, if start-to-finish solutions have indeed been incorporated with costs factored in, then it should be an easy sell. Even with coal, Peabody in the US mostly just walked away, leaving acidic strip mine ground un-reclaimed and thus poisoning wildlife for many years, with future generation taxpayers footing the bill. So with nuclear, though theoretic solutions are there for the dismantling and long term storage, those costs will be borne by the consumer/taxpayers of future generations, as will any negative health effects if things go wrong. The great prior generation benefits from coal or nuclear (cheap energy), will likely be lost on the generation that must pay.

Of course there will always be the willingly ignorant - a few, who will oppose anything new, but I rather think that isn`t the majority of those who still today oppose nuclear energy or genetically engineered food sources.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:53 am

TJ

The opposition to genetic modification began even before anyone really knew how much risk or not actually existed. The researchers working on it were remarkably open to outsiders about what the doubt and uncertainty was. Despite the fact that, at the time, no one knew if there was any risk, certain organisations dived into campaigns of opposition. Once experience showed that the perception of risk was overblown, those groups still maintained their opposition. Idiocy.

I suspect the opposition to nuclear power originated from the opposition to nuclear weapons (which I support). But the same idiocy took over, and the opponents did not draw a proper distinction.

The sad thing is that most people, and especially most politicians, are not skeptics and cannot think rationally and critically.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by TJrandom » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:04 am

Yes - there are people out there who hold to the premise that new things need to be developed, tested, and proven un-harmful before they are released upon the planet. But that isn`t the way leading technologies are deployed, so most anything new will have its share of opposition. This isn`t idiocy, but rather a belief in a different approach to new developments and technologies.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:35 pm

The Chernobyl disaster didn't happen because nuclear technology is inherently unsafe. Under the Soviet system, there was such a myriad of rules and regulations that it was not only impossible to follow them all, it was necessary to break the rules to be able to do the job. When things went wrong, it was impossible to salvage the situation under the existing rule framework.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:24 am

Lance Kennedy wrote: Yet nuclear is the bogeyman. Why ?
I spent too much time trying to find a reputable "poll" to provide support for what I think is common sense. Lots of the google descriptions were right on the mark, but the links were all over the place.

The answer is simple: fear of centuries of radiation poisoning. something not present in renewable energy sources.

As I recall from prior discussions, one difference with dams are that practicably dams provide much more than just energy, IRONICALLY: when properly built and maintained, flood control. Another is that on disasters you have one event and that is it....not centuries of continuing deaths.

But Lance limits his considerations to current progress as in the suicide passing the thity-third floor: everything is ok right now.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:26 am

landrew wrote:The Chernobyl disaster didn't happen because nuclear technology is inherently unsafe.
that's exactly why it happened. Inherently safe technology doesn't cause death when safety rules aren't followed. In fact, there aren't any safety rules...…..see the connection? ((…….and the mitigating implication?))
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:20 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
landrew wrote:The Chernobyl disaster didn't happen because nuclear technology is inherently unsafe.
that's exactly why it happened. Inherently safe technology doesn't cause death when safety rules aren't followed. In fact, there aren't any safety rules...…..see the connection? ((…….and the mitigating implication?))
Automobiles are inherently unsafe. Millions of people have been killed by them. Refueling them requires exposure to a toxic and highly flammable substance. They are driven at dangerous speeds in close proximity to opposing traffic. If they were introduced today as a new product, they would never obtain approval or certification.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:27 pm

Again: not true.

Please confirm: is nuclear energy inherently safe or unsafe???
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:31 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Again: not true.

Please confirm: is nuclear energy inherently safe or unsafe???
Everything is unsafe, at any speed in fact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXzqw3ZP6yI

But we are not yet finished the process of transforming our society into a giant rubber-room.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:00 pm

There ya go!
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:37 pm

The safer we make our society, the more stupidly dangerous things people will be doing.
So what's the point?
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:43 am

landrew wrote:The safer we make our society, the more stupidly dangerous things people will be doing.
So what's the point?
Whats the point? ====> To make society safer.

You seem, at least just recently, to not understand what you post.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:22 am

I am confused about some things.
That much is true.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:51 am

Well, there ya go!
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:05 pm

Safety is good, but hysteria is not. Risk-management is a good way to balance risk against reward. For example, The US Coast Guard was about to conduct live-fire exercises on one of the Great Lakes. The mayor of a nearby town got them canceled because of "lead contamination" in the water. Ridiculous, because the amount of lead being introduced was far below background levels. This is not risk-management, it is hysteria. The overall effect is negative. Hysteria has no IQ, nor is it useful for making things safer.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:30 pm

Want to connect your thoughts on Hydro vs Nuke?
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:02 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Want to connect your thoughts on Hydro vs Nuke?
Two different concerns. One is a threat to human health, and the other is a threat to the ecosystem. We need to put on our big boy pants and agree to accept some risk from one or the other.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:21 pm

landrew wrote: Two different concerns. One is a threat to human health, and the other is a threat to the ecosystem.
Ummmmm....OK....but which is which? Seems to me....both are both?
landrew wrote: We need to put on our big boy pants and agree to accept some risk from one or the other.
Yes....that is exactlhy what I invited you to do. I accept Nukes as a transition fuel as needed. Silly to think it is "safe."
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:51 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
landrew wrote: Two different concerns. One is a threat to human health, and the other is a threat to the ecosystem.
Ummmmm....OK....but which is which? Seems to me....both are both?
landrew wrote: We need to put on our big boy pants and agree to accept some risk from one or the other.
Yes....that is exactlhy what I invited you to do. I accept Nukes as a transition fuel as needed. Silly to think it is "safe."
Really?
Hydro dams require valleys to be inundated, which are usually the most diverse and valuable part of an ecosystem. That is a cost.
The other is a risk to human health. Do I really need to explain further?
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:12 am

On Bobbos question.

NOTHING is inherently safe. Several years ago, sunbathers on a beach in Portugal were killed when a small plane crashed on top of them. So sunbathing is inherently risky, with the inherent risk of death by space time coincidence with a small plane.

So of course nuclear is inherently risky. So what ?
The key question is how risky is it compared to the alternatives. The answer is that it is the safest of all major methods of generating electricity. Major in this case is defined as any method which contributes more than 1% of the world's electricity needs.

This is estimated from hard data by experts as fatalities per terawatt hour of electricity generated. The worst is burning coal at 100, and the best is nuclear at 0.04. Rooftop solar is 0.44.
https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/d ... ource.html

Please note that my answer is based on measured data, where Bobbo is merely spouting unsupported opinion.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by landrew » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:09 am

The best option is solar of course, once better storage is developed. But it's the most expensive option by far, which doesn't matter if it's someone else's money.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:28 am

Yet solar energy kills ten times as many people per unit energy compared to nuclear.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by ElectricMonk » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:35 am

the fact that some contractors are too clumsy to install something on a roof has nothing to do with solar energy - changing tiles is just as dangerous.

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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:56 am

landrew wrote:Really?
Hydro dams require valleys to be inundated, which are usually the most diverse and valuable part of an ecosystem. That is a cost.
The other is a risk to human health. Do I really need to explain further?
Yes...……..AFTER...…….you figure out what has been pointed out to you. I'll say it again: "Both are both."

In context, you imply that that dams are not a risk to human health while Nukes are not a risk to the ecosystem. I part way agree with you that dams don't represent a threat to human health as does nuclear pollution. but when a dam breaks and kills 100K people.....human health is adversely affected. So....it does depend on what shape your cookie is before it crumbles. Much the same with Nukes: it degrades the ecosystem and kills humans. More direct and harder to spin an argument to avoid the obvious.
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Re: Risk. Hydro versus nuclear.

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:58 am

landrew wrote:The best option is solar of course, once better storage is developed. But it's the most expensive option by far, which doesn't matter if it's someone else's money.
What cost factor did you include for the destruction of hooman society?

Even Lance refuses to answer what will happen if we don't stop burning fossil fuels. Apparently, the issue confuses you too?
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