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Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-nukes-for-you dept.

Power 470

mdsolar writes "Energy minister Doris Leuthard is set to propose Switzerland gradually exits nuclear power, two Swiss newspapers reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the government. The multi-party Swiss government was expected to make an announcement on nuclear policy on Wednesday and may recommend an exit. Switzerland's five nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of the country's electricity."

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What will they replace it with? (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208692)

Avalanche power?

Re:What will they replace it with? (3, Interesting)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208698)

Pacifism, obviously.

Re:What will they replace it with? (5, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208730)

They'll put a paddle-wheel in the cash-flow going to the nation's banks.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208776)

Well, if they get enough money it might reach critical mass to generate energy via perpetual finance.

Re:What will they replace it with? (2)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208782)

They will replace it with the power of peace.

Re:What will they replace it with? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208872)

Will they visualize whirled peas?

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208900)

Close [youtube.com] ...

Re:What will they replace it with? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208974)

Pacifism, obviously.

Switzerland's policy is neutrality not pacifism. They have compulsory military service. They're committed to fighting back if you attack them, they just don't take sides in other people's disputes.

Re:What will they replace it with? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209098)

Switzerland's policy is neutrality not pacifism. They have compulsory military service. They're committed to fighting back if you attack them, they just don't take sides in other people's disputes.

Yes. Quite neutral. As long as you offer them a cut of the Jew gold they'll wink and nod and remain entirely neutral as they refuse entry to Jewish refugees fleeing genocide.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209284)

Let's see that strawman and raise a simple fact:

Option one: Help refugees, piss off big aggressor who has you surrounded. Take part in the war. Be forced to take sides, get bombed, and end up under one occupant or another.
Option two: Stay neutral, avoid any and all sources of confrontation with the aggressor who has you surrounded including any and all refugees that aggressor wants dead.

Clearly, option one is likely more ethical from point of view of victims of the big aggressor. It's also very much suicidal for swiss themselves. Swiss chose their own survival over that of outsiders.

Good luck finding even one country that has chosen differently and survived in human history.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

amck (34780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209320)

While building a set of defences that made the Nazis think twice about invading ... like it or not the Swiss have been consistent in their policies over refugees too.

Also worth noting, for those who might mistake them for pacifists, they had an active nuclear weapons program in the early 1960s until the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty took hold. They are quite conservative, but very serious about their defence.

Re:What will they replace it with? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209006)

You misspelt cowardice.

(But, remember: 'It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life'.)

Re:What will they replace it with? (-1, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209310)


That would be better than the current proliferation of nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power plant workers are (I forget the exact number) something like 15x more likely to develop life-threatening vertebral subluxations. It isn't from heavy lifting as they're mostly desk workers and walking about with clipboards. It *must* be due to leaking high energy radiation from the plant. It's good for the chiropractic business. Ever notice how they're in every strip mall nowadays? There's a *need* for chiropractic care!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the invention of radioactivity by that Madam Curree and her husband was the *worst* thing to ever happen to the planet and humankinds' spinal health.

Take care,
Bob

Re:What will they replace it with? (4, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208712)

You could have read the TFA, it wasn't that long:

The two papers reported Leuthard backed continuing to use current nuclear plants until the end of their lifespans, not building any new ones, and expanding alternative energy sources such as water power.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208760)

...expanding alternative energy sources such as water power.

Ah! Then I was right.. How do you like that for prognostication, eh?

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208866)

Between me and you, rather lame. Avalanche isn't the same thing as water, and your prognostication did not include a list of the other alternative sources that Switzerland could develop. Therefore, not good enough to even use as an investor guideline.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208932)

Get off my lawn! *Sheesh!*

Re:What will they replace it with? (5, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208914)

The two papers reported Leuthard backed continuing to use current nuclear plants until the end of their lifespans, not building any new ones, and expanding alternative energy sources such as water power.

Ah. So in other words they don't have a plan yet. Unless you count "hoping really hard that something revolutionary will happen before our existing nuke plants wear out" to be a plan.

Re:What will they replace it with? (3, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209120)

It is a mountain kingdom, lots of hydro potential and very few people. Why would they want the infinite expense and risks involved with current nuclear? They can have free power without difficulty and hydro does not stop at night. It is easy for those here to say that anyone that does not want nuclear must be a crank or green but that is just stupid. I worked for BNFL and am not green (maybe a crank). I just happen to look at the whole picture without rose coloured glasses.

In Wales there are dams that were built by the Victorians and they are still good. The reactors I have worked with are not good but there is nothing you can do to stop a Magnox reactor. The British Magnox reactors are still running after their expected lifespan because no-one knows what to do with them. Trawsfynydd still consumes considerable amounts of electricity to keep it stable. The costs do not stop after the fifty years of lifespan. The costs go on and on for tens of thousands of years making them unbelievably expensive when compared to any other power source. Burning money in a generator would be cheaper.

There are better options and this decision is not the best way forward. I hope that advances will soon make Thorium into a good commercial choice. Anything but Uranium/Plutonium...

Re:What will they replace it with? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208916)

So they are basically trying to create another Japan like incident, on purpose this time.

Come 40 years from now when these plants are past their life expectancy, and desperately need updates to newer technology, instead they will remain falling apart and not replaced, since they clearly have no plan to move away to another form of power generation that can match their usage needs. (No water will not cut it)

Then the unmaintained and failing hardware will do as all unmaintained hardware does and fail catastrophically, giving the moron anti-nuclear people one more bullet in the 'zomg nuclear is bad!' gun just like they are doing in Japan right now :/

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208960)

You could have read the TFA

Eh?

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209056)

Because damming up a river doesn't have any environmental impact, right?

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=maps.google.com+lake+mead&rlz=1B7GGHP_enUS428US428&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl [google.com]

Nothing like flooding an area the size of modern Las Vegas with water to be green!

Re:What will they replace it with? (2)

Mprx (82435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209154)

Hydroelectric power has killed far more people than nuclear ever has:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam [wikipedia.org]

This was a worse disaster than Chernobyl but hydroelectric power is "green" so people forget about it.

Re:What will they replace it with? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209350)

Most people also forget that even if you don't count Banqiao Dam, hydro still has had more victims per power generated then nuclear.

In fact all major power sources have, including wind and solar. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html [nextbigfuture.com] (quotes WHO sources peer reviewed study).

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209358)

Don't forget about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajont_Dam [wikipedia.org] , or even the safety issues of necessary-for-renewables pumped storage plants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taum_Sauk_Hydroelectric_Power_Station [wikipedia.org] (which was fortunately limited to a few injuries and no fatalities).

Generating electricity is dangerous, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Re:What will they replace it with? (4, Insightful)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208828)

French nuclear power.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209060)

Exactly!

Re:What will they replace it with? (-1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208930)

Avalanche power?

Hot sexy blonde Swedish chicks.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

serial-surfer (1909346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209008)

Confusing Switzerland and Sweden again are we?

Re:What will they replace it with? (2)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208984)

They will do just what the anti-nuclear Germans have done: buy electricity from countries like France. Just don't ask how they generated it.

Re:What will they replace it with? (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209234)

I used to do this in Sim City 4. Put the nasty stuff in the neighboring cities and buy from them so that my prized city wouldn't be tarnished.

Re:What will they replace it with? (2)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209250)

Captain Planet.

Just put him on a hamster wheel and tell him to start running. And the best part. The cleaner the world gets, the stronger and faster he becomes.

Although the one liners could get pretty old.

Eh.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208708)

I feel neutral regarding this decision.

Obviously... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208718)

They are going full solar and just accepting not to have power during the nighttime hours.

Re:Obviously... (0)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208888)

...or their rather longish winters, eh?

Re:Obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208958)

The length of winter in high mountains has nothing to do with the lack of sunlight.

Re:Obviously... (2)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209164)

Sorry, pal - but it is "lack of sunlight" which makes winter, well, Winter. Thus, longer winter = less potential energy to create/convert. Ipso facto, and all that...

Do you have any direct experience with solar? I do. I run my boat off of it. I live at a rather balmy 35N latitude, and even here my solar panels electric producing ability take a big hit when the daylight hours shorten by a large factor (in the winter), *and* the sun is at a more oblique angle in the sky, making it's rays weaker (also, in the winter).

I also wonder if you have ever really spent time any length of time in mountains. They affect airflow, and thus weather, and even create their own clouds. Not all the time, but by and large it is a whole lot cloudier in mountains than in flat areas, like the desert (whether low or high altitude). All in all, I think solar as the energy of choice for a high-latitude, mountainous country is far from the best choice for energy production.

Re:Obviously... (1, Flamebait)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209328)

Obviously... you don't care to even research the slightest bit about how modern technologies work. Why should you - nuclear is king, and any research that would endanger your opinion is better skipped. Let's just spout bullshit instead. The majority of nuclear proponents around here operate at such a low intellectual level that this alone could be construed as argument against the technology.

Headline Misleading (5, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208722)

The Slashdot headline is (predictably?) not accurate. The Swiss *ARE NOT* ending nuclear power. Rather, there is a proposal to gradually exit nuclear power by not building any new plants. Realistically, even if such a proposal was approved by the current government, given the growing energy needs of society and the shrinking supply / rising cost / environmental issues associated with fossil fuels, I don't see this happening. The current technologies of renewable energy simply cannot support the world's energy needs.

So what's it going to be? Continue with fossil fuels, or continue developing safer cleaner nuclear? Switzerland's five nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of the country's electricity, and the needs will only grow. What can realistically replace that?

Re:Headline Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208746)

Aswan Dam works pretty well

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208838)

That was my thought, I thought that a significant portion of their power came from dams. More likely they'd be looking to supplement with solar and probably something else for the remainder.

Re:Headline Misleading (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208934)

I thought that a significant portion of their power came from dams.

This does not mean that building more dams is an option.

More likely they'd be looking to supplement with solar and probably something else for the remainder.

This is exactly my point: It simply *IS NOT* realistic to think that renewable sources (you mention solar) can replace 40% of the CURRENT energy needs (not to mention future needs).

Re:Headline Misleading (-1, Troll)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209118)

And you get that number by what? Anal extraction? Well, keep fapping about your reactors, while the rest of the world moves on and leaves you at third-world standards once more.

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209346)

And you get that number by what? Anal extraction?

Dear Mr. Troll, unlike you, I read the article.

That's where I got that number.

Re:Headline Misleading (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208810)

What can realistically replace that?

This is the question the anti-nuke people never seem to answer, it's always just "something else".

You can't expect to shut the country down on calm/cloudy days. Something has to take up the slack.

Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (0)

wytcld (179112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208968)

Mountains mean (1) abundant hydroelectric opportunity (much of it currently unexploited, from what I've seen traveling there), (2) plenty of ridge lines with abundant wind (almost totally undeveloped at present), and (3) a likelihood of major geothermal resources (reservoirs of underground heat).

As for "shut the country down on calm/cloudy days," the wind never stops blowing throughout Switzerland all at once. There are many different microclimes, and major mountain ranges generate their own winds throughout the course of a day. It's not like Oklahoma, where you really can have a day where there's no wind anywhere (although days in Oklahoma days with both no wind anywhere and clouds everywhere are rarer than hens' teeth). And note I didn't even mention solar for Switzerland.

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209012)

The problem is wind can't ensure baseload power. You can say "it never stops blowing" - but how low does it dip? Because that's the minimum you have to assume *will* happen. Which means you have to make up the loss with something else. It's practical for generators with a short startup time like coal and gas, but if you want to go no carbon then you pretty much can't even bother with wind at the moment. There's no practical, grid-scale load-levelling technology.

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209136)

Yes, if you distribute wind turbines then you get nice consistent generation. As you can see below, the Bonneville Power Administration (which hasn't even distributed its wind turbines yet) is generating two gigawatts from wind alone -- and another twelve gigawatts from hydro (what the Swiss are focusing on) which is more than twice the BPA demand. They've shut down their coal plant and taken their nuclear plant off-line for refueling and still had so much extra power (all renewable) that they were forced to give it away for free a few weeks ago:

Bonneville Power Administration Live Graph of Output [bpa.gov]

http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (2, Interesting)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209318)

So that is why the Dutch powered their golden age mainly with wind power. Wind + mountains = buffer. Just pump up water and attach the hydro generators to your precious grid. Gee, I wonder how mankind has ever accomplished anything before there even was a grid.

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209388)

Well, given that Switzerland has many mountains, storing the energy shouldn't be that much of a problem. It's a proven method: In times with much energy, pump water up, and in times of little energy, use that pumped-up water to generate electricity again. Both pumps and water turbines can be quickly switched on and off, therefore they are ideal for this purpose.

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (1)

pleasegetreal (744605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209214)

I'm sure building all the dams to provide hydroelectric power and placing windmills in prominent windswept areas won't affect the Swiss at all. The alternatives are all far worse than nuclear power in terms of damaging the environment, not to mention the character of the Swiss landscape.

Re:Have you noticed the Swiss have mountains? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209360)

Have you noticed that the Swiss mountains are kind of a signature thing for them - are you willing to account for tourism losses in your cost-per-kWh calculations? Viewshed from the top of the Swiss alps is pretty broad. Plus, it means isntalling and servicing them from those physically remote, but visually omnipresent locations.

The Japanese Way (1)

HacTar (86396) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209002)

Kan to announce new energy program at G8 [nhk.or.jp]
"Under the program, the cost of solar power generation will be slashed to one-third of the current level by 2020 and one-sixth by 2030. Japan hopes to install solar panels on virtually all rooftops. The plan also envisions the construction of large-scale offshore wind farms and the full-scale introduction of next-generation biomass fuels in the 2020s."

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209024)

Ever hear of energy storage?
You can pump water uphill, you can use molten salt to hold heat for days, there are quite efficient large scale batteries, or even pumping air into caves. The reality is nuclear is probably cheaper than all that, and is far better than the next most likely solution which is coal.

Making up Glen Beck-like bullshit like "You can't expect to shut the country down on calm/cloudy days." is as annoying and pointless as when he does it. There are great arguments for nuclear, adding talking headish crap like this just makes anyone supporting you cause look as stupid as that statement.

40% (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209122)

40%. Five reactors. 40%. No, seriously, what CAN replace that? Do the Swiss have some insight into energy storage we don't know about?

Re:Headline Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209362)

If you really want to know you could just try to find one of those numerous studies available on the net. The main thing is that we have to switch from our mainly fossil fuel based economy to a renewable energy based economy. Nuclear is not capable of helping there. So the most important part is to increase energy efficiency so we can reduce the use of primary energy by 80%.

The rest can be done by renewable energy which is always a mix of solar energy, wind energy, water energy, biomass. The good thing about solar power is that the output is at its top around noon where the energy consumption is at its peak.

It is true that the current implementation of the energy grids are not sufficient for renewable energy and consumers are not optimized for renewable energy. But we will be able to solve these problems, as we already know what to do.

While one country after another in Europe is moving away from nuclear power the trend of nuclear is cool stays very popular on /. a forum which is often progressive and modern.

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208850)

Sounds like how we're "gradually phasing out" nuclear power here in the states.

Only instead of decommissioning we're just letting the old ones keep running...go figure.

Re:Headline Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208992)

You really mean it's like how we're gradually sunsetting the PATRIOT act.

Re:Headline Misleading (2)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209038)

Yeah, go figure... so instead of nuclear we are going down the path where we'll keep burning coal and oil, and lots of it - with all of its 'environmental fallout' - while the anti-nuke environmentalists and others keep making more babies, (re)producing even and ever more consumers of this nasty sort of electricity, and we'll stay dependent on foreign oil for their kids...

...instead of doing what we need to do for advancing technologies that are or can be much cleaner, more efficient, and safer, like micro reactors [wikipedia.org] . Looking at the damage to the environment and society that coal and oil produce, when compared to nuclear - even the relatively "primitive" nuclear we mostly have now - it just doesn't make any sense to me why these technologies shouldn't be at the forefront of the (reproducing) environmentalists list of power sources to get online, and soonest.

Or perhaps we should just address the root problem, which is too many people, for a planet this size, at our current efficiencies. If the effort that went into typical 'green' causes (anti-nuke, wind, anti-whaling, etc) were to be directed instead towards slowing down the human population explosion, maybe then we could hit equilibrium and sustainability.

Re:Headline Misleading (1, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209298)

Or perhaps we should just address the root problem, which is too many people, for a planet this size, at our current efficiencies. If the effort that went into typical 'green' causes (anti-nuke, wind, anti-whaling, etc) were to be directed instead towards slowing down the human population explosion, maybe then we could hit equilibrium and sustainability.

Hmm, US population growth is almost entirely a result of immigration (illegal and otherwise). We have almost the lowest population density of any industrial civilization.

Europe has a negative population growth, excluding immigration. It has been under 0.17% (including immigration) for the last five or so years.

China has a population growth rate comparable to the US's, or a bit lower. No immigration to speak of, of course.

India's population growth rate is still healthy (slightly above 1.5%), but lower than it was as recently as 40 years ago.

So it doesn't really look all that much like population is the big issue here.

Big issue, such as it is, is that more of China's and India's population wants to enjoy the kind of living conditions we take pretty much for granted in the western nations - electricity, running water, sewage treatment, that sort of thing.

Re:Headline Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208978)

Steve Jobs ego could easily used to power switzerland, but i don't think he's gonna be around 'til 2040...

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209000)

The Slashdot headline is (predictably?) not accurate. The Swiss *ARE NOT* ending nuclear power

Ok, so if you want to be completely pedantic the headline might have said "Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power Within 20 Years; No New Plants to Be Built." Which is rather the same thing as ending nuclear power.

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

exceptfor (2188760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209266)

Ok, so if you want to be completely pedantic the headline might have said "Swiss To End Use of Nuclear Power Within 20 Years; No New Plants to Be Built." Which is rather the same thing as ending nuclear power.

Or how about "Politicians who won't be around to see it out propose crowd pleasing measures to assuage the knee jerk fears of people with no sense of perspective" ?

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209032)

Given Switzerland's geography, they could go with a lot of hydro power (currently ~50%) and succeed, in my opinion with a higher risk of loss of human life (a lot more people died in hydro accident than nuclear accident), with more pollution, more destruction of ecosystems, but it could probably be done. It is however not doable in every country of the world.

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209088)

How is that not "ending". Only a moron would think they could stop using nuclear power overnight, so obviously deciding "to end use of nuclear power" can't mean anything but deciding to not use it at some point in the future, likely bu not building new plants so that when the existing ones reach their EOL you have "ended".

And you do realise there is more than just fossil fuels and nuclear power generation, right? Right?

Re:Headline Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209196)

The Slashdot headline is (predictably?) not accurate. The Swiss *ARE NOT* ending nuclear power. Rather, there is a proposal to gradually exit nuclear power by not building any new plants. Realistically, even if such a proposal was approved by the current government, given the growing energy needs of society and the shrinking supply / rising cost / environmental issues associated with fossil fuels, I don't see this happening. The current technologies of renewable energy simply cannot support the world's energy needs.

This not true. And repeating it will make it not more true.

Re:Headline Misleading (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209230)

The current technologies of renewable energy simply cannot support the world's energy needs.

Yeah, and even the feeblest attempts to develop new ones is obviously pointless and futile.. Maybe they can tap the power of hysteria. There's more than enough of that. Sake nukes are not beyond our reach. But mitigating the corruption in most big things just might be...

Re:Headline Misleading (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209240)

How's that, if you covered 2% of the uninhabitable portions of the Sahara with photovoltaic cells, it would supply 100% of the world's needs. Of course renewables are up to the challenge. And no I'm not saying that the Sahara should be caked in PV, although a company called DESERTEC are giving it a go.

Re:Headline Misleading (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209344)

The current technologies of renewable energy simply cannot support the world's energy needs.

Well, Switzerland is not the world. The question therefore is whether the current (or near-future) technologies of renewable energy can support Switzerland's energy needs.

To be honest, I don't know if they can. But it's a different question to whether they can support the world energy needs.

Posted by 'mdsolar' (5, Informative)

Rurik (113882) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208768)

So an anti-nuclear story posted by a user named 'mdsolar' with a blog running very anti-nuclear posts. He also is involved in a business that rents solar systems to homes (http://www.blogger.com/profile/14124764472206647347).

Christ, Slashdot. Can you be a bit more opaque in posting biased stories?

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208804)

Can you be a bit more opaque in posting biased stories?

Inaccurate headline aside, what's biased in reporting news?

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209010)

An inaccurate headline is enough to spread in-accurate information as many people won't read beyond the headline.

Ostensibly, "editing" is why Slashdot has "editors."

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209050)

Let me demonstrate bias.

Non bias:

Today congress voted on a ban of Oil exploration. The vote was rather evenly split. The resolution passed.

With bias:
Today congress voted on a ban of Oil exploration. Republicans led the majority in saying yes to more oil exploration. A Democratic congresswoman was quoted as saying "We do not need any more environmental disasters". The bill now moves onto the Senate where Democrat majority leaders have promised to vote down any bills that contain measures such as this.

That is a simple example of bias. As in news conflict sells even if it is minor conflict. So they play up the 'we vs they' of politics. Usually picking sides in the matter. In this case I let the news pick the side of the Democrats. If you watch other news channels you can see the same thing but done by Republicans. Most news wants to make up your mind for you so you will come back and buy more of their stuff. They may not even realize they are doing it.

In this case the dude has an agenda. He wants solar power. Denying an alternative powersource helps him out. That is bias.

I am all for more sources of energy. Reducing the ones we have is stupid and foolish. We need more coal/nuke/solar/wind/hydro/etc. Not one or two. Our entire world is based upon the use of energy. We need more at lower prices. Not less at higher prices. If something is dirty lets find ways to make it clean. If something is dangerous lets find ways to make it safer. If something doesnt work well lets find ways to make it work better. More energy not less. That is my bias.

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209146)

More energy not less. That is my bias.

More energy efficiency & more "passive" energy plants (where "fuel comes by itself"). These are mine. Call me crazy.

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (0)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209168)

It's colliding with is precious pro-nuclear worldview. That, obviously, can not be, so it has to be biased. Oh, that damn dirty swiss hippies....

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (2, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208816)

The Japanese situation has people like mdsolar doing the Chicken Little all over the web. In reality they should feel reassured because the worst has happened and it didn't mean the end of the world. Hell, it didn't even mean the end of one small set of islands. That's quite good news, isn't it?

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208818)

Funny thing, this guy is in Maryland - ever notice how all the solar power evangelists live really far south?

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208842)

Florida is "really far south". Maryland is "the northeast". It's a stone's throw from PA, DC, NY, NJ...

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209068)

It is below the Mason-Dixon line. That means it is in the South.

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209292)

If it's below the north pole, it's in the 'south'. Personally I would say it's in the south only if it's below the equator.

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209102)

Ever notice how Maryland isn't really far south?

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (3, Insightful)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208824)

The link goes to Reuters. Who cares about the bias of the submitter? Doesn't pretty much every submitter only submit stories they feel should see wider exposure, and hence are biased about? It does work for me like that at least.

Re:Posted by 'mdsolar' (3, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209074)

You know, I'd be willing to bet that stories about Apple are mostly submitted by fans or people who hate the company, stories about games are mostly submitted by gamers, and stories about new versions of the Linux kernel mostly come from Linux users.

In other words, people submit stores about subjects they care about, and are almost certainly biased in one way or another.

So what's the big deal here?

Because tsunamis are a huge risk in Switzerland. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208794)

n/t

Re:Because tsunamis are a huge risk in Switzerland (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208844)

No, but I do hear that they have ogres.

Re:Because tsunamis are a huge risk in Switzerland (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209034)

You must have missed a lot of news -- the Japanese disaster happened not because "the worst happened", but because of a failure to do a proper design. There was an article on the BBC last week about the fact that practically all German reactors will not withstand a direct hit from an airplane, despite the nuclear industry telling us they would. In Eastern Europe, multiple NPPs have been operating with fuel not intended for their reactors for nearly a decade, apparently resulting in trouble that wasn't publicized very much.

The largest risks associated with nuclear power aren't tsunamis and earthquakes, but corrupt governments and greedy plant operators, who usually come in tandems and configurations that are opaque and hard to control.

Re:Because tsunamis are a huge risk in Switzerland (1)

hypersql (954649) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209080)

It's not clear yet if the tsunami was the main reason [bloomberg.com] . Besides, one of the Swiss nuclear power plants is not in good shape [wikipedia.org] . Also, there have been reports the controlling instance for nuclear safety is not independent enough (their boss getting money from the nuclear power plant operators and such).

makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208830)

The more you split an atom, the farther it gets from gold.

What will they replace it with? (2, Insightful)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208862)

Why, an intricate and precise clock-work driven by a wind-up spring.

Thorium (1)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208876)

They should switch to Thorium reactors. Look up LFTR.

Re:Thorium (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209040)

Where nuclear power is concerned, governments seem to be remarkably reluctant to commission reactors in the first place.

Commissioning reactors that don't exist anywhere else on the planet outside of a few test environments that were last operated in 1969 is never going to happen.

Conservative confederation helvetica! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208922)

The German-speaking majority, anyway. Reminds me of their minaret-banning.

Power (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208986)

The Japan situation shows that nuclear power is safe, but not every contingency can be planned for, therefore there is always a small risk. The problem is one of managing risk and expectation. The nuclear industry, like all industries, wish to have minimum external burdens, wish to externalize as much costs as possible to the general public, so they like anyone else will lie to gain support. This will in the long run is always disastrous, but enough profits are made in the short run to make no difference to the private interests.

The big thing with energy is the externalization of costs to the general public, both real and opportunity. It is not really a conservative of liberal thing. When the BP oil well exploded in the Gulf or Mexico, conservatives all along the conservative Gulf Coast raised hell about the externalization of costs. Conservative Florida threw a fit even though conservative support approving drilling in the Gulf with minimal regulations. The coal industry is allowed to destroy public owned resources the could be better monetized by future generation with no recompense to future generations. And the nuclear industry is allowed to irradiate resources and create waste without a management plan. The Swiss reprocesses and stores the larger quantity, but less radioactive waste. Whether this faustian bargain will be acceptable in the long term is yet to be seen. What is true is that unlike out previous energy experiments in the industrial revolution will not be so easy to reverse. The benefit of nuclear energy is that most of the externalization is limited to the nation-state that benefits from the energy, unlike other sources in which the externalization is wolrd wide.

On a total cost basis other energy sources are viable. Switzerland has good solar irradiation potential. It also has mountains. During the day excess solar energy can be used to pump water up the mountain into a reservoir, and then run through a hydroelectric generator when needed. The same is true for wind. All without externalazing costs to future generations.

I thought they already did this, sort of (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209332)

I thought the Swiss bought power from France ('s nuclear reactors) at cheap off-peak rates and used the power to pump water into elevated reservoirs, then let the water back through the dams during peak times, selling the power back to the French for a profit.

On an operational cost basis, practically nothing competes with nuclear. The challenge is that it has a very high capital cost outlay and a long startup phase (~10y from decision to operational). It's still more efficient than fossil fuels, which is multiples better than any "renewable" source (save hydroelectric, which can be efficient, but is geographically very limited).

While I want solar to win, the cost to produce a panel in energy is more than the panel will generate (dollars for dollars over a typical/reasonable 25 year return period). Right now, in my area, solar companies are financing their own installations, and selling the power to the business on whose roof they've placed the panels. The cost? $0.30/kWh on a 30 year contract. That may be a bargain 15 years from now, but commercial rates are still just under $0.10/kWh right now. Even if you take your cost of money as 0%, energy costs will have to double every ten years to break even, and even in recent years the increase has accelerated to about half that (4% actual vs 7% breakeven).

Re:Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209368)

The Japan situation shows that there will be massive cover ups if nuclear accidents occur.

Nuclear power requires honest governments (3, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209096)

Those are few and far between, even today. The Soviet Union lied to their own people about Cherynobyl. The Japanese government withheld messy truth until they were outed by foreign press.

I believe nukes can be safe, but most governments are not trustworthy enough to make that happen.

Re:Nuclear power requires honest governments (1)

exceptfor (2188760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209338)

"The Japanese government withheld messy truth until they were outed by foreign press." You should have read the tepco and iaea websites, then the messy truth wouldn't have been such a surprise.

Isn't it safer to build new plants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209326)

Keep running existing nuclear plants and not building new ones: is it really the better choice for safety?
We are told that one of the Swiss plants is an older, less safe design, similar to the one in Fukushiyama.
If newer safer designs actually exist, wouldn't it be safer to retire the old plants ASAP and build new ones?

Apparently there's only one option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36209348)

I knew the thread would be a lot of Swiss bashing but I read it anyway. Anyone ever consider it might not be the best option for the Swiss long term? The Slashdot community has always embraced Nuclear as a one size fits all solution to all the world's energy needs and everything else has too many downsides to be practical. Nuclear of course having no real downside. Switzerland is a small country and dealing with the waste may be an issue. For Russia it's easy they have enough land to have multiple waste dumps the size of Switzerland. One accident and the entire country could be uninhabitable. Okay there's never been an accident in the history of the world. Oh wait there's been two major ones and a bunch of badly contaminated sites like Hanover and multiple ones in Russia. Given their lack of mines they are dependent on foreign countries for fuel so it's not much different than oil economically and they are probably equally dependent on foreign countries for long term waste storage. Say they can keep their plants going for another 20 years what are the odds of alternative solutions becoming practical? Solar is already more practical than it's given credit, neighboring Germany loves it. Given their mountains wind would be an excellent source but I'm sure there are scenery issues to deal with. The point is it's silly to condemn the Swiss for not drinking the nuclear Kool-Aide when it may not be ideal for their long term energy needs.

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