Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Siemens To Exit Nuclear Power Business

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the picking-up-my-cooling-rods-and-going-home dept.

Power 400

jones_supa wrote in with a link about the future of nuclear power in Germany. The story reads: "German industrial giant Siemens is turning the page on nuclear energy, the group's CEO Peter Löscher told the weekly Der Spiegel in an interview published on Sunday. The group's decision to withdraw from the nuclear industry reflects 'the very clear stance taken by Germany's society and political leadership.' Along with abandoning nuclear power, Germany wants to boost the share of the country's power needs generated by renewable energies to 35% by 2020 from 17% at present."

cancel ×

400 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Lessor of two evils... (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436716)

This kind of thought is too bad for the Earth, because baring fossil fuels, there is really no other source that can provide the need of our modern society. The actual unblemished truth is that the popular âoerenewableâ sources can not supply but a minority proportion of the worldâ(TM)s needs for energy. The truth is: Itâ(TM)s either coal / oil, or nuclear energy.

And the sad thing is that today, as in right now, the nuclear technologies have never been safer, so much safer than any of the currently operational nuke plants, and much more relevant to this discussion, much more safe and indeed cleaner than any, ANY, of the alternatives.

Simply the truth, folks.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436754)

âoerenewableâ...the worldâ(TM)s needs for energy. The truth is: Itâ(TM)s

It's not just you, I see this all over, but just what is wrong with your keyboard? There's already a perfectly serviceable apostrophe, two even, both up and down versions, in the basic ASCII set. Yet somehow you've used non-ascii escapes for this trivial character. Why???

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436776)

Probably because he writes in Word and pastes the result into his browser. Stupid "Smart Quotes".

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436812)

In a related question, why does anyone still do this? As far as I know, all the modern browsers have spell check built in and I can't think of any other reasons off the top of my head.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436904)

In a related question, why does anyone still do this? As far as I know, all the modern browsers have spell check built in and I can't think of any other reasons off the top of my head.

Using lynx without a spell-checker and being afraid of the grammar nazi?

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436946)

Lynx and Word together? Now that's an odd couple! :)

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436912)

In case you, without thinking, change the page and lose your whole post before it's finished. External editors can use auto-save.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437154)

In case you, without thinking, change the page and lose your whole post before it's finished. External editors can use auto-save.

Oh come on. You get warned on any modern browser if you change away from comments. Who doesn't use tabs these days.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1, Offtopic)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436956)

I think that a better question is ``Why the fuck doesn't Slashdot support Unicode already?''. Oh right, because of the stupid, lame argument that people might use it to make look-alike names. Well shit CmdrTaco, why not only permit ASCII only in the name field? A good compromise, no? It will stop people from unnecessarily looking like idiots, and stop making /. the laughing stock of all the major websites that have had support for Unicode since 2000.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437196)

Well shit CmdrTaco, why not only permit ASCII only in the name field?

I've got a pretty good reason why not. How about "CmdrTaco doesn't work at slashdot anymore"?

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437036)

Because many of these "First Post" responses are boilerplate content provided by advertising agencies. That's how they can get in so quickly with what appear to be cogent, well-reasoned articles.

Phrases like "there is really no other source" "The actual unblemished truth" "The truth is:" "nuclear technologies have never been safer" are essentially meaningless tautologies or outright lies, but are presented here to deflect real discussion, such as why it was economically sensible of Siemens to stop building power plants with huge lead times and doubtful value.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437088)

Some discussion implementations (slashdot's D2 being one of them) make it easy to accidently lose a post by navigating away from the page or sometimes even by actions on the page. Thanks to the heavy use of javascript the auto-refilling of the text boxes that some browsers do when you use the back button doesn't work with D2 either.

Yes one could use notepad but that doesn't have a spell checker.

And not everyone uses a browser recent enough to have a spell checker.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436802)

In other news FORD says it wished it got out of the business in 1910. Thousands of people could have been saved injury from unpredictable hand cranks on Model Ts. Sure today, starting your car became safe, but we can never calculate the loss of people who got injured to hand cranks when the technology was new.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437030)

but we can never calculate the loss of people who got injured to hand cranks when the technology was new.

Why are you comparing nuclear energy to a "new" technology? It's been around more than half a century and it's still expensive, filthy and dangerous.

Siemens is getting out because nuclear energy has never been profitable without government subsidies and perhaps you haven't noticed, but not that many governments have money to burn ever since the corporations took over. Plus, the level 7 Fukushima disaster that forced 80,000 people from their homes and will probably cause the premature deaths of several times that number (see: guardian.co.uk) was not really great advertisement for the failed experiment that was energy from nuclear fission.

Face it, like the hydrogen dirigible, fission energy is a technology that was almost really good except for the fact that it was really bad. As Maxwell Smart might have said, "It missed it by that much."

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437130)

Complaining that nuclear cannot be profitable without government subsidies is just a little ironic given that every "green" "renewable" source has the same fate.

But that you say things like the governments have no money since the corporations took over, and joining that with actually trying to reference the Guardian... well, you're just a kook anyway.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437172)

Complaining that nuclear cannot be profitable without government subsidies is just a little ironic given that every "green" "renewable" source has the same fate.

But that you say things like the governments have no money since the corporations took over, and joining that with actually trying to reference the Guardian... well, you're just a kook anyway.

Same goes for oil, gas, and coal--if it's owned by the people and held in trust by the state, as is typical for minerals and oil, but only a small fraction is charged in royalty to the extractor, that Is also a form of subsidy.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437558)

Same goes for oil, gas, and coal--if it's owned by the people and held in trust by the state, as is typical for minerals and oil, but only a small fraction is charged in royalty to the extractor, that Is also a form of subsidy.

How does the state decide who gets to be the extractor? If it's auctioned off (which is usually the case for oil), then that indicates that the resource in question is being sold at market rate, hence no subsidy.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437318)

What is the Guardian?
I was saying,"Nuclear Technology is going to keep getting better and safer. So why abandon it now when it only gets better as our science and engineering gets better?"

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437342)

Nuclear Technology is going to keep getting better and safer. So why abandon it now when it only gets better as our science and engineering gets better?

Science and engineering may be "getting better" (debatable) but corporate governance is certainly getting much much worse. As long as private industry is going to be involved in nuclear energy, it's only going to get more dangerous.

If you want to talk about nationalized nuclear plants, we might come to an accommodation. But privately-owned and operated plants? Never.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437472)

"What is the Guardian?"

In trhe UK it is a national newspaper. I presume this is what the gp is referring to.

Although for millions of us around the world, The Guardian was Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897-1957) head of the Baha'i Faith 1921-1957

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437182)

Why are you comparing nuclear energy to a "new" technology? It's been around more than half a century and it's still expensive, filthy and dangerous.

Because the nuclear plants in use today are using technology that's half a century old.

...perhaps you haven't noticed, but not that many governments have money to burn ever since the corporations took over.

Oh, spare us.

Plus, the level 7 Fukushima disaster that forced 80,000 people from their homes and will probably cause the premature deaths of several times that number (see: guardian.co.uk) was not really great advertisement for the failed experiment that was energy from nuclear fission.

I hope you'll forgive me*, but I don't consider The Guardian an unbiased source of news on nuclear, and I certainly don't consider them qualified to actually understand the sources from which they pick and choose. As for fission being a failed experiment, it hasn't failed; it's been working quite well at producing our energy for decades. In fact the plant that's just down the road from where I live provides a few percent of the nation's electrical needs without incident, but you don't see The Gruaniad printed stories about that...

*Though going by your post history I doubt it; humility does not seem to be one of your virtues.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437214)

The Guardian isn't a very good news source for science (nor is any other mainstream newspaper that I know of). However, when even George Monbiot supports nuclear [guardian.co.uk] you've got to wonder about who doesn't.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437320)

I hope you'll forgive me*

Of course I forgive you. I'm big that way.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437406)

I'm gratified. Almost as gratified as I am for you proving my point about your lack of humility.
Well done.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437288)

Why are you comparing nuclear energy to a "new" technology? It's been around more than half a century and it's still expensive, filthy and dangerous.

well, first off, heat engines were around a lot earlier than the internal combustion engine, and we have been turning oils into heat and gas for a lot longer than turning heavy rocks into heat. unless your "new" technology is win turbines or solar power? in which the technology has been available somewhat for the last 100 years?

secondly, your description of this "new" technology could be applied to any power plant.

expensive : is a relative term, expensive compared to what? because the biggest cost of nuclear power is in regulation and administrative fees, but cost per fuel weight is very very low.
filthy : nuclear is a clean power source, so i don't know why you think its filthy? and as the "filth" is so highly concentrated, its a lot easier to manage.
dangerous : deaths per kw for nuclear in averaged over the last 10 years.. "0", deaths per KW per year for coal? 4000.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437334)

will probably cause the premature deaths of several times that number

[citation needed]

(see: guardian.co.uk)

[lol]

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437426)

Why are you comparing nuclear energy to a "new" technology? It's been around more than half a century and it's still expensive, filthy and dangerous.

Ironically, cars were expensive, filthy and dangerous at about the same part of their development arc..
I wonder if Siemens is getting out only of the whole plant delivery business, or is it about to end its component development as well. The latter would mean a loss for the future of any high performance energy source business at Siemens.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437470)

Siemens is getting out because nuclear energy has never been profitable without government subsidies and perhaps you haven't noticed, but not that many governments have money to burn ever since the corporations took over.

Nor has coal, requiring government protections from lawsuits (a subsidy, even if not as easily measured) to remain profitable.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437188)

That analogy is so fucking stupid you ought to be banned from this site.

A hand crank is a danger to the person using it, and occasionally to bystanders. Nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, as well as the unsolved problem of waste disposal and the ongoing threat of terrorism, can threaten population regions hundreds of miles wide (at least) with cancer-causing contamination for decades. Not to mention a death sentence to many first responders to a nuclear disaster.

Not saying this means nuclear power should be abandoned, but it comes with extremely serious risks.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437568)

Look up the World Almanac statistics for automobile fatalities in Manhattan from 1908-1912, over 250 people killed by hand cranked automobiles. Consider the total of those caused by civilian nuclear power plant radiation accidents: five. Good thing we no longer have the hand cranked automobiles, more dangerous than a nuke plant by far, eh? Even this year a guy was run over by a Model T at a car show, those killer hand-cranked machines still slaughtering.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436816)

The actual unblemished truth is that the popular "renewable" sources can not supply but a minority proportion of the world's needs for energy.

[citation needed]
TFA:

Germany wants to boost the share of the country's power needs generated by renewable energies to 35 percent by 2020 from 17 percent at present.

Seems that Germany thinks is possible to cover more than 1/3 of its energy needs from renewables, in only 8 years from now. This on top of Germany already producing less than half CO2/capita [google.com] than some other developed nation.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436854)

Yeah, and I'm sure they won't have to rely on neighbouring countries to load balance once 1/3 of its energy is magically produced by renewable...

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436930)

35% is still a minority. What about the other 65% ?

This [blogspot.com] graph of ERCOT wind production versus demand illustrates the major problem with renewables. Although it is summer, when wind production is low, this is a real power grid with a huge number of large wind turbines. Notice that peak demand coincides almost exactly with minimum production. Notice also that "minimum production" basically means "zero production".

And while it's true that solar could fill the gap nicely, we will have to (optimistically) live through at least one more "lost decade" for the economy before solar becomes an economically beneficial alternative.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (3, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437072)

Solar PV pricing per watt has fallen dramatically in the last 2 years; at commercial scale it's at or near $1.20/watt. That's one reason why Solyndra folded as they were developing a non-silicon alternative but they can no longer compete on price. Germany installed a ton of solar back when the cost for PV was much higher.

California has 8 GW on the roadmap ( http://votesolar.org/2011/09/who-says-solar-is-too-expensive/ [votesolar.org] ) slightly more than half of which will cost less than the natural gas equivalent.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437466)

Problem is that it takes more energy to produce a solar panel than the panel takes in over its lifetime. So, yes solar is useful for powering an RV or maybe experimenting at living off-grid, but in as a real energy source that makes more energy than it costs to produce, forget about it.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437562)

Problem is that it takes more energy to produce a solar panel than the panel takes in over its lifetime.

BULLSHIT

http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/794/ [ecogeek.org]

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436942)

This on top of Germany already producing less than half CO2/capita [google.com] than some other developed nation.

That won't last as they shut down the remaining nuclear plants. Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 23% of national electricity consumption.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437020)

Not to support the parent post, but 35%, while impressive, is still "a minority proportion."

Re:Lessor of two evils... (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436832)

It's good that you mention the word "truth" three times, because with your complete lack of sources I would otherwise have worried that your post might be bullshit.

This is Slashdot . . . (5, Insightful)

Idou (572394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437404)

Such posts will get 5 Insightful just because they support the nuclear industry. It has been a peculiar experience to see just how slanted the community is, especially since I was directly impacted by the Fukushima accident.

Unfortunate, though. Slashdot is usually a great place to find opinions from those with first hand experience. However, when it comes to nuclear power, it might as well be a site for the nuclear lobby. Those with first hand experience are either too intimidated to post or accused of being liars when they do.

Re:This is Slashdot . . . (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437442)

Or just far to few to be of any relevance.

Yeah, ~35M people is far to[sic] irrelevant . . . (1)

Idou (572394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437576)

But thanks for supporting my point about Slashdot.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436852)

Renewable energy sources are more than enought to cover the entire world's energy needs. They are expensive, inefficient and their output is very variable, but they are certainly capable of producing 100% or the energy the world uses right now.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436860)

there is really no other source that can provide the need of our modern society.

Please define "need[s]" in this context.

This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436890)

This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

You misspelled "Organized Religion".

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436944)

This confusion of wants with needs has perhaps been the cause of countless wars in the Middle East.

You misspelled "Organized Religion".

There have been many wars in the middle-east. I agree that some have been due to religious conflicts. But I also believe many would have not occurred, or at least not involved the Western powers, if it were not for an unwillingness to forgo cheap oil.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436894)

Don't worry. Solar power is going to save us all, provided they get $0.30/kWh subsidies.

China: Villagers protest at Zhejiang solar panel plant
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14963354 [bbc.co.uk]

Oh wait, wind will save us all, provided it doesn't get too hot or cold or windy or calm. That gets wind power 30% efficiency.

OK, hydroelectric will save us all. OK, that's maxed out already.

And while we protest, record number of coal and natural gas power plants are getting built. Fraking and ground water pollution is the reality while the "environmentalists" bitch and moan over nuclear. Nuclear, a power source that is not 100% clean. That is not 100% safe. But its the only power source where we require the industry to manage its entire waste. Nuclear gives us the lowest impact on environment from any power sources.

Heck, in avoidable incidents like Fukushima or even Chernobyl, we, the people, suffer almost entire impact of these events. While some are scared shitless of the word "radiation" and most try to avoid any contaminated areas, nature does not have these inhibitions and goes on. Almost any amount of radiation is vastly preferred by nature to birth control pills or plastics. Why? Because radiation is an equal -opportunity stressor.

http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2008-02-19/cupido-birthcontrol.html [columbia.edu]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch [wikipedia.org]

The "environmentalists" can't understand basic physics or biology. They don't get it. Natural world "re-routes" around low environmental stresses, like radiation. Provided an organism can reproduce, it will adapt. It is only people that can't really adapt because we do not want to pay the price of mutation/natural selection.

The bottom line is, "environmentalists" are trying to protect people from minimal risks at a cost of the natural world, and hence eventually at the cost of future generations. Quite sad actually.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (-1, Flamebait)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437054)

I take it you're a regular viewer of Fox News.

Environmentalists are looking at the downsides of every possible way of getting energy. Which is a good thing, somebody has to do it, and at least they're looking at the environmental cost, something which corporations only do when they're being paid to clean up the mess.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437554)

Environmentalists with their fake doom prophecies are why we still burn oil and coal instead of throwing research into nuclear, fusion, and technologies that will pay off. Yes, nuclear needs R&D, but the engine on the Prius could have never been invented had people said "OMG, a series of small explosions happening many times a second? Too dangerous to even contemplate! Lets stick with these horses and buggy whips."

Had it not been for Carter who killed any chance of nuclear power for decades, we likely would be using oil for making plastics and joking about how wasteful that our fathers used it to power cars.

As for the Greens in Germany, they managed to do one successful thing -- get Germany's national security subject to the whims of Russia. If the Bear decides to turn off the natural gas, Germans will be freezing to death by the hundreds of thousands.

Great work, environmentalists. Now go get your check from the Big Oil/Big Coal company and continue your campaign.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437574)

The thing is, there are Environmentalists and then there are "Environmentalists"...

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436914)

...nuclear technologies have never been safer...

That's a truism right there. At the same time, the solar energy industry has stagnated in Germany, I believe the topic was posted here on Slashdot about a week ago. So what's going on in Germany?

BTW, interesting correlation between your user ID and chronological placement of comment.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436920)

I rather suspect they are simply taking this opportunity (German sentiment) as an excuse to dump an industry segment
that has been given a black eye due to the Iranian centrifuge hacking. Probably their controllers won't be trusted anyway
in today's market, and it is likely to become very unprofitable.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437022)

Move to New Zealand the. We're producing the vast majority of our electricity from hydro power.
I think its about 70% renewable

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437450)

We do have a pretty high ratio of dammable rivers : population

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437068)

So, the rebuttal to this notion is twofold. One: you are correct in that cost-per-mw there is little that can compete with nuclear power currently except fossil fuels, but the general concensus on alternate energy is still that with time and investments they will become competitive, they're all still in their infancy compared to the half-century long nuclear industry.

Two: this is a hard pill to swallow. The defense of nuclear facilities is that "chances are nothing will ever go wrong". But you can't deny the chance that they can. Over an infinite period of time a chance they can becomes a fact that they will. The chances were nothing like Fukushima would happen, but they did. And chances are, they'll never happen again, but they will. And eventually either we'll stop playing russian roulette with nuclear power, or we'll be too irradiated to reproduce properly.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437074)

cleaner than any, ANY, of the alternatives.

I would agree but there are two pesky comrades named half-life and disposal that just won't shup up about being unsolved problems.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437352)

just because something is radioactive, doesn't make it not "clean".

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437462)

300000t of radioactive waste that needs to be sealed for at least 1000 years is neither clean nor cheap.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437534)

That so-called "spent fuel" isn't spent at all, it's a gold mine of breeding fuel stock. It can be fully "burned" to release many times more energy than has currently been extracted, and then will produce waste that decays in decades. Russia, China, India, South Korea are moving foward with this technology, while the dumb-ass United States sits on the sidelines wringing their hands

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

transami (202700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437224)

Who told you this? The Truth is if we could harness all the sunlight hitting the Earth we would have over 11,000 times the energy needed to power the entire world today. If we put in the effort we could easily harvest .01% of that.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437354)

Not even plants can harness 100% of the sunlight hitting the earth -- and they've had millions of years to work on the problem. We're not going to do any better.

2/3 the planet is covered with water. We just can't ever plan on putting solar over that. Besides, even if we could, the ecological impact would be immeasurable. Other things need that sunlight.

In time, solar could probably provide a good source of energy. In time. That time is not today. All we're doing now is rushing out tech that is immature -- we are wasting energy on steam-powered cars for the good of horses, and retarding the emergence of more efficient tech, and blowing a ton of energy and money on crap that we'll just have to blow a ton of energy and money replacing sooner rather than later anyway.

Meanwhile, everyone's upset over nuclear power because they don't like the designs that are 50 years old. If you're going by 5-decade-old tech, cars are a bad idea too. Fortunately, there's more modern designs. Unfortunately, NIMBYs don't really care about that, 'cause like, they know it's baaad, man. Nuclear has to be bad, because there's been, like, 2 or 3 serious nuclear accidents, man!

DID YOU KNOW.. that with modern reactor designs, Fukushima wouldn't have really had any problems at all? Now you do. That's a fact. Modern designs output less quantity of waste, which is less radioactive, for a order of magnitude less time. Modern designs can continue circulating coolant through the reactor after a loss of power through *the natural convection* of the coolant, or they may have a control rod design which uses the magic of gravity to drop them in place if there is a loss of power. And hey, if it's the former, that naturally convecting coolant can circulate for 2 weeks without power -- and when it starts getting too hot, the increased temperature of the coolant changes it so that it begins to act as a neutron trap. That means it retards fission naturally and without any human intervention!

Shocking, isn't it? 50 year old designs aren't as good as modern designs. News at 11. Nuclear tech works, it works now, it works better than it ever has before. Solar is not yet ready for prime time. We should not invest in the deployment of immature tech, and especially not when we have good and matured tech that will work. Solar, right now, is supported not for what it can do but for what it represents. That is foolish.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (1)

quokkaZ (1780340) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437296)

To support what the OP says about the safety of nuclear power, this paper compares the mortality risk from a major radiation accident to that from other environmental factors including air pollution. It concludes that living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone poses a lower mortality risk that does living in the air pollution of central London.

Are passive smoking, air pollution and obesity a greater mortality risk than major radiation incidents [nih.gov]

A rare nuclear accident is .... an accident. Air pollution is business as usual and it's not going to go away without abandoning fossil fuels.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (2)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437368)

There is no single solution to the problem and what often gets left out of the discussion is curbing energy needs so that the false dichotomy of fossil fuels or nuclear appears to be the only choice. Just as no one is addressing the non-renewable aspects of fossil fuels in a serious way (I've only ever heard Buckminster Fuller address it in a realistic fashion) also no one seems to have a real answer in regard to storing the ridiculously long lasting radioactive by-products of energy produced by uranium fission reactors. Oh wait a minute - there was something about thorium reactors and how they are much safer but they don't produce nuclear weapons and I'm not sure what the storage situation is like with those but anyway they seemed to promise a more sane solution and were written off because they're not weaponize-able or something typical like that.

Also we could leave nuclear waste disposal up to the mafia. Last I heard the rumour was they dumped all kinds of italian-sourced toxic sludge off the coast of somalia.

Re:Lessor of two evils... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437500)

This is great news! I am sick of all those entities who will only lease a single evil at a time—so much hassle to get a decent leased-evil base of operation that way.

BTW, do they offer rent-to-own?

That's the reason. SUUUURE! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436748)

It's not that they fear (or already know about) more security holes in their SIMATIC and the ensuing fallout from it. Nooooo...

Re:That's the reason. SUUUURE! (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436824)

That's just stupid. SIMATIC is used to automate things, it's not designed to be used only in nuclear power plants. They aren't going to stop making these machines.

Re:That's the reason. SUUUURE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436948)

Nothing nearly that modern is used in US power plants.

Re:That's the reason. SUUUURE! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437476)

Of course you can use that in other plants too. But let's be honest, what's the harm if somewhere a mail sorter doesn't work? So mail gets delivered a day late. Here's some money, shut up, nobody who mattered noticed anyway, and we'll cover the three complaints you'll get.

It's kinda hard to hush up something like Fukushima. You do NOT want your name associated with the answer to the question "Now, how the HELL could something like that happen?"

Re:That's the reason. SUUUURE! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436840)

ensuing fallout

*RIMSHOT*

Re:That's the reason. SUUUURE! (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436998)

yeah, carry on all they want about "renewable resources" and other buzzwords about energy.

This is about stuxnet.

Or, rather, about their lawyers' assessment of the potential apocalyptic ramifications of Stuxnet and imitators.

So what? (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436822)

Importing power from France is like importing it from one US State to another. The distances are short, Germany can be nuke-free, and can purchase electricity without building expensive infrastructure it doesn't need.

Germany may as well pay France as dump billions into constructing and maintaining reactors.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436878)

Or Germany may find ways to control power usage or even ration power.

Making new power plants is the Red Queens Race (or Jevon's Paradox if you prefer) however changing the rules (this is all ya got and are gonna get) can allow for homeostasis. Also the German population will be shrinking sooner than later and will probably need less power anyway.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436982)

A red queen's race is when you run yet stay in the same place - you are never ahead. As far as I can tell there is always electricity available when I turn on the light switch, so the metaphor doesn't apply. The situation we are in is that power use always increases, and it is perfectly possible to have production keep pace. The main problem with that is you end up with the dispersed pollution and CO2 from coal, gas and oil fired plants, or you end up with the erratic output from alternative energy. The one way so far to avoid the big problems is nuclear, so this story is sad.

Re:So what? (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436888)

That's not how the European Union works. Germany is not going to rely on France to provide them electricity, they are going to make plans to produce themselves all the power they need - and export to other countries, if they can.

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437056)

So how do they get power on a week where the sun is mostly blocked by clouds, the wind doesn't blow much and there are only tiny waves? They will buy it from France because solar, tidal and wind are not dependable. Unless you want blackouts, there must in total be enough capacity in dependable energy like oil, gas, coal and nuclear to power everything. All solar, tidal and wind can buy you is the ability to run your main power infrastructure at less than full capacity on sunny and windy days. Oil and gas will get more expensive at some point, so really it's down to a single choice: coal or nuclear. Which do you want? Nuclear is the obvious choice to me, and once you've got nuclear up and running, you might as well run it all the time since fuel isn't that expensive, so there's no point in alternative energy.

Re:So what? (2)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437160)

Before the decision to shut down nuclear power in Germany, they were a major exporter of electricity [nytimes.com] with about 90 gigawats of domestic usage and producing 130 gigawatts. Taking away the 25 gigawatts from nuclear and they can just about meet their internal demand, if all goes to plan.

This winter, Amprion predicts its grid will have 84,000 megawatts of electricity at its disposal, to provide 81,000 megawatts needed for consumption - an uncomfortably slim margin of safety, Mr. Vanzetta said. In prior years, electricity was readily available for purchase on the European grid if the price was right. But exported German power is what helped keep France glowing in winter.

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436828)

What the guy says is they will continue to build power-generation equipment, just not be involved with paying for and managing nuclear operations. Looks like a case of general business fail and sour grapes more than something forced by Germany's decision to move away from nukular.

On Germany.. (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436842)

I do not fault Germany for wanting to increase their reliance on renewable resources for power generation. However, I do fault them for wanting to phase out nuclear power, since it is really the only viable generating method for the future-at-large.

Think about how much coal and how many coal plants will be required to replace their nuclear plants. I'd rather run the tiny tiny chance of an accident at a nuclear plant than the very large risk that I'll be coughing up black spit and dying at 35 from lung cancer when I've never smoked.

France, on the other hand, will be making a killing selling their nuclear power to Germany..I bet they're scrambling to build a couple of plants for it right now..

Re:On Germany.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437170)

You know... at least in Germany all the coal power plants have effective filters which remove dust. I think that became mandatory here 30 years ago. So I really have no clue why everyone is saying that coal plants poison people and why this is assumed to be unavoidable.

Russian gas (5, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37436866)

Thats OK, The Germans can rely on their good friends in Russia for a cheap reliable supply of natural gas to fire their power stations for the next century or so while they work on alternatives. What could go wrong?

Re:Russian gas (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437058)

Well for a start the Ukraineans can cut it every time they have a price debate with Russia.

Re:Russian gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437266)

Well, not any more. Google Nord Stream Pipeline and you know why.

With a name like Siemens (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436962)

, you know it has to deal with faggotry . Who would have thought that in 2011, France would be the only country left that had the balls to deal with nuclear power sensibly. The rest of the world pusses out, while France alone realizes that Nuclear power is a tool. A tool can be used for faggotry, like war and killing people, or it can be used for manly things like supplying power, and sending rockets to the moon. Viva la france. Fuck Germany, you are just too stupid and too fat to do anything useful anymore. Go build your solar powered fag mobiles, on some other planet. Ohh, wait, you will never be able to do that, because solar power will never get you off the planet. OK, you stay here, and continue to make planet Earth even gayer than it already is, while France and China settle on Mars using Manly Nuclear Power.

90 % Chance parent is a closet homosexual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37436996)

Been spending alot of time looking at gay porn lately, fag?

Re:With a name like Siemens (0)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437362)

your mildly interesting reply was ruined by you're own faggotry.

fagot.

wow (1, Interesting)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437014)

At first I thought the German government lost it and were overreacting about Japan. But now a company who does business world wide is dropping nuclear power I'm asking myself: is there too much lead in the water over there or is the country just fucking crazy on their own?

Re:wow (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437378)

At first I thought the German government lost it and were overreacting about Japan. But now a company who does business world wide is dropping nuclear power I'm asking myself: is there too much lead in the water over there or is the country just fucking crazy on their own?

I take it you've never studied this past century's world history?

Or . . . (1)

Idou (572394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437546)

Maybe the German government and Siemens are privy to information you are not. Might be a bit more reasonable than to assume that they are all "just fucking crazy." But perhaps I am just fucking crazy for proposing a contrary idea?

German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (2, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437046)

If instead of trying to increase renewable capacity desperately - I'm doubtful about the execution of a very large ramp-up in renewable energy generation capacity in itself - the German government would try to decrease fossil fuel use, they'd save at least 25k lives per year as compared to shutting down nuclear plants and letting fossil fuel based ones operate.

Based on deaths per TWh [ibm.com] (which includes Chernobyl for nuclear), it takes about 160 lives to generate one TWh by coal and 0.04 lives per TWh by nuclear fission. Germany in 2008 generated [wikipedia.org] 291TWh of electricity from coal, that's about 47'000 lives lost in one year.

Keeping all the nuclear capacity and spending the ramp-up in renewables to shut down coal plants would save tens of thousands of lives. Shutting down nuclear plants forces Germany to open about 20 new [dw-world.de] fossil fuel based plants, because even with a substantial increase in renewable capacity they cannot meet demand.

This is nothing short of mass murder through ignorance.

Re:German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437258)

Mass murder, perhaps, but not by ignorance. Mass murder by whatever means is going to become the standard in the next century or haven't you heard that, in order to create a sustainable world, we have to reduce the population of the world to 500 million by the end of THIS century (some say 100 million). Given that, we won't need nuclear, coal, oil or any of the other sources that are causing so many problems in someone or else's mind. Imagine the power requirements of the United States at the end of the century when the population has been reduced to about 20 million ( do the math, 7 billion down to 500 million distributed evenly across the planet means the current 300 million or so Americans gets reduced to about 20 million or so (what's a million here or there when there are hundreds of millions to be eliminated.).) and they're living in relatively small reserves rather than being spread out all over the place. A few windmills or solar collectors in the right places with some relatively simple backups like energy storage in molten salts or heavy gyros to take up the slack will be all we need.

It's going to be a wonderful future. There just won't be as many of us to enjoy it. Ah, but that's the key to the wonderful future, fewer of us.

Re:German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437384)

lol

Re:German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (4, Funny)

wronski (821189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437410)

I didnt realize these plants generated power through human sacrifce. How does that work? I suppose that if you carve out someones heart and then Quetzaqual grants you a few gigajoules.

Re:German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (2)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437524)

Coal mining deaths are measured in workers per 100,000 ton and the world currently burns roughly 1 billion short-tons per year.

Greenwash (5, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437246)

If they were making money hand over fist, they would not be exiting nuclear power. Because they decided to exit nuclear power, they take the opportunity to make it look like they're concerned about society.

This is not much different than companies saying "we're going green" and getting rid of postal-mail bills. They're "going green" because it saves them money. If it it was more expensive to send email than paper, you can be certain they would still be sending paper.

Re:Greenwash (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437302)

Yes, this!

Also like hotels that don't want to go to the cost of washing towels everyday - so write a long card justifying that it saves the environment - when really they are just doing it to save money.

Re:Greenwash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37437542)

Very accurate analysis. Think critical drones, less you be nerve-stapled.

A step backwards... (2, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437430)

I'll add my voice to the chorus of people supporting nuclear power as the only currently viable solution to meet the growing energy needs of the future. It's just madness at this stage to suggest that any other technology can be:

A) As environmentally friendly.
B) As cheap.
C) As reliable.
D) As adaptable (goes anywhere in the world).

Siemens code (1)

blahblah1984 (2464498) | more than 2 years ago | (#37437452)

Bummer. All those SCADA exploits and default passwords in Siemen's products won't be available anymore to run the local power plant from home. Oh wait... maybe that means "nucular" power will be safer now along with more uranium available for the rest of the world. Win/Win.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>