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Nuclear Power Prevents More Deaths Than It Causes

Soulskill posted 1 year,17 days | from the also-conducive-for-uninformed-panic dept.

Power 599

MTorrice writes "NASA researchers have compared nuclear power to fossil fuel energy sources in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution-related deaths. Using nuclear power in place of coal and gas power has prevented some 1.8 million deaths globally over the past four decades and could save millions of more lives in coming decades, concludes their study. The pair also found that nuclear energy prevents emissions of huge quantities of greenhouse gases. These estimates help make the case that policymakers should continue to rely on and expand nuclear power in place of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, the authors say."

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599 comments

So? (-1, Troll)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339465)

It isn't the deaths we are most worried about.

Re:So? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339521)

Remind me again what we ARE worried about.

Blinky the three eyed fish?

Teh cancerz?

The oil companies not making record profits?

Re:So? (5, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339925)

Yes.
You got "Environmentalists" not the actually scientists per say but average guy who feels the need to stop all things that are bad, not really realizing that most things has some sort of trade-off, So they just say NO NO BAD BAD all the time. Oddly enough these people side with the left leaning parties, thus influence their policies.

You got other energy companies who won't cry to see nuclear go away. These guys tend to side with the right leaning parties, thus influence their policies.

As a counterpoint you have the supporters touting Clean, Safe, too cheap to meter. Who are just pushing the opposing side.

Nuclear Energy is dangerous, it produces a lot of hazardous wastes. However it is manageable when you have all the sides playing fairly and stop trying to discredit each other.

Nuclear Energy is part of a complete energy plan. Hydroelectric, Wind, Solar, Fossil Fuels, etc. are needed to. As of right now we are using too much Fossil Fuels, its side effects are outweighing its benefits. So we should start dialing it back a bit and replace it with other sources, yes they have their own side effects too, but they are different and if you get the right balance you are good.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340025)

Nuclear Energy is part of a complete energy plan.

Well it's a stepping stone to a sustainable energy plan anyway. But yes, it will be necessary for probably 50-100 years before we can fully finish converting to entirely renewable sources.

The *only* way nuclear is 'good' is that its less bad than coal in terms of greenhouse gases. No more.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339569)

It isn't the deaths we are most worried about.

Then what are you worried about?

It's also contaminated less land. And takes up less space overall.

Certianly compared to coal, which produces vast quantities of ash waste (which sometimes has massive spills), churns our mercury and requires insanely huge mining operations due to the sheer volume of coal required.

So, basacilly nuclear provides solid, reliable baseline power with fewer deaths per kWh than any other scheme in existence.

Re:So? (-1, Redundant)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339635)

Then what are you worried about?

Cost, ruined lives, waste disposal, diversion of money that could be spent on better stuff etc.

Certianly compared to coal

False dichotomy. Coal is not the only other option, and there are cleaner ones than nuclear.

So, basacilly nuclear provides solid, reliable baseline power with fewer deaths per kWh than any other scheme in existence.

Fewer than say geothermal, hydro, wind, solar? Fewer lives ruined? Less cost and property damage? Less pollution?

Re:So? (4, Informative)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339709)

Definitely fewer than hydro I guess: check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_failure [wikipedia.org]

Re:So? (1, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339759)

If you buy a car and it happens to come with a stereo, then the engine explodes and the wheels fall off you tend not to attribute the failure to the AM/FM radio.

Dam failures are due to the failure of the dams, which just happen to have a hydro plant includes as an added bonus. There has never been a failure of a dam built specifically for hydroelectric power, not least because you tend not to build big ones unless there is some other reason for them. The one major case of a hydro plant failure was IIRC in Russia and resulted in a few deaths when a turbine broke and was flung free.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339971)

How about the loss of lad and relocation of all those affected by the huge reservoir created, not to mention the environmental damage created by changing the way the river flows..

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339973)

You can own a radio without a car; you cannot operate a hydro plant without a dam. Your analogy is flawed.

The inherent dangers and ecological drawbacks of dams are necessarily inherent to hydro-electric power stations.

Re:So? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339981)

If you buy a car and it happens to come with a stereo, then the engine explodes and the wheels fall off you tend not to attribute the failure to the AM/FM radio.

Dam failures are due to the failure of the dams, which just happen to have a hydro plant includes as an added bonus. There has never been a failure of a dam built specifically for hydroelectric power, not least because you tend not to build big ones unless there is some other reason for them. The one major case of a hydro plant failure was IIRC in Russia and resulted in a few deaths when a turbine broke and was flung free.

How many large dams are built that don't include electricity generation as a large part of the justification for the dam?

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339719)

Risky business, filing a logical fallacy complaint against another user while outright ignoring the reality of the situation, yourself. Most of your complaints stopped being an issue over twenty years ago as the technology matured. Modern reactors are perfectly safe, and can be constructed in such a way that they produce zero hazardous waste. The only major problem that we carry over from fossil fuels is the limited supply, which certain breeder reactor technologies promise to all but eliminate. Your entire premise is false, and has been for longer than most /. readers have been alive.

Re:So? (-1, Troll)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339969)

. Modern reactors are perfectly safe, and can be constructed in such a way that they produce zero hazardous waste. The only major problem that we carry over from fossil fuels is the limited supply, which certain breeder reactor technologies promise to all but eliminate. Your entire premise is false, and has been for longer than most /. readers have been alive.

1. Nothing is 'perfectly safe'. Nothing.
2. "Modern" reactor designs don't have a very large track record to make one comfortable with the engineering ESTIMATES of safety and reliability. Remember, the 'old' reactor designs were supposed to be safe. And the majority of them have been. Just takes a few to spoil the barrel.
3. Nobody has come up with a commercial scale breeder reactor. There have been a number of annoying and expensive failures so far. Planning on supporting and entire civilization on future technology is more than a little risky. Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Re:So? (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339975)

Modern reactors are perfectly safe, and can be constructed in such a way that they produce zero hazardous waste.

What type of reactor is that? Sounds magical. Even thorium reactors produce plenty of hazardous waste, i.e. the reactor vessel itself which becomes highly radioactive. Plus no-one has actually built a commercial scale one yet, so at the moment it's just pie in the sky.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339785)

PV solar definitely creates more pollution per MWHr, wind would be site dependant but it's not like mining ore, smelting, etc all the pieces is pollution free plus it's not baseline and we're decades away from it being able to fill that role. Hydro is probably 80-90% tapped and we're actually tearing down hydro dams to try to help fish. Geothermal causes earthquakes and there aren't that many sites where it's economical.

Citation definitely required there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43340043)

"PV solar definitely creates more pollution per MWHr"

Really? Citation needed.

" wind would be site dependant"

So it would produce dangerous byproducts in one place but not in another? How does that work?

" Hydro is probably 80-90% tapped"

Probably nowhere near 80%.

"Geothermal causes earthquakes"

Fracking. Mining uranium. Nuff said.

Re:So? (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339853)

Hydro is abismal, it destroys millions of acres of land with flooding and disrupts the river ecosystem. Migratory freshwater fish all around the world are rapidly facing extinction because of hydro power.

Geothermal is not infinitely renewable, heat sources can be and are being depleted, and there is evidence that it can cause earthquakes.

Solar thermal is great if you have the right environment for it, but outside the southwest, nuclear is still the better option.

We need more nuclear and more solar power.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339877)

Not really a false dichotomy.

While there are numerous other sources of electrical power, the ONLY CURRENTLY AVAILABLE METHODS OF GETTING LARGE AMOUNTS OF BASELOAD POWER are fossil fuels and nuclear. Solar and wind MIGHT be able to scale up if we spend enough money improving the transmission infrastructure (which we are not). So, when talking about the big contributors, you have a limited number of options.

Now, I'm not so sanguine about TFA's answers. Having some researchers with an axe to grind (Climate Change) and having said researchers dig out some numbers of dubious quality, make a few entertaining assumptions and grind out some numbers doesn't exactly strike me as the most intellectual of ventures. In particular, the long term costs of nuclear waste storage have never been realistically modeled.

Big fission plants in the middle of nowhere might be answer - with the implicit assumption that if it starts glowing, you just put a big fence around it - but if you're going to go there, you need better transmission infrastructure and so you might as well do large scale wind / solar.....

Re:So? (2, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339763)

Don't forget that every year the coal industry in the US pumps out more radioactive material than has ever been released from US nuclear power plants, even if you include the 3 mile island minor incident.

Re:So? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339953)

Good points, but don't forget that there are similar situations that happen with the mining and separation of uranium and (one would hope) thorium.

Another advantage of increasing use of nukes is that, depending on fuel cycle and design, a significant amount of current and future high-level waste can be re-processed and used; with good design, it will mostly all get 'burned' - at least according to my understanding from what I've read.

At the garbage end, we've still got problems with long-term storage of low-level wastes - so far, anyway.

Overall I agree that making a concerted shift from coal to nuclear would be useful.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339571)

Yes it is. You are disagreeing with the extrapolation method.

Re:So? (0)

Baloroth (2370816) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339627)

It isn't the deaths we are most worried about.

So, what are you most worried about? Health risks? Lower with nuclear (part of the reason it saves lives). Environmental impact? Lower with nuclear. Cost? About the same, coal is only lower because the power companies haven't had to pay as much in regulatory fees or health costs (overall, the total cost of coal is higher, especially over time).

Re:So? (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339669)

Why are nuclear fans obsessed with coal? Is it because it's the only thing that nuclear is better than?

Nuclear is perhaps better than gas too I suppose. Pretty much everything else though is cheaper and cleaner, and does less direct and indirect harm.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339807)

Because it's the only other technology that supplies any appreciable percentage of global base load.

Re:So? (1)

steelyeyedmissileman (1657583) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339867)

That's a fair question; though in the published article, they actually address gas as well too. And they come to the conclusion that, yes, nuclear is better than natural gas in both greenhouse emissions and pollution related deaths.

The problem with the other "clean energy" mechanisms is that none of them are very good for base-line power generation yet, except perhaps hydro. Not every location is situated in a spot where they can make use of hydroelectric power, though, so likely the best solution for the time being is nuclear supplemented with other clean energy production. I think that's essentially what these scientists are arguing for, but I retain the right to be completely off my rocker.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339893)

Your half right – because nuclear and coal are close substitute and coal is the low hanging fruit.

Both are very good a providing base load power and not much else. Natural gas can do other things – peak electricity, heating, stock feed for plastic manufacturing, etc. Solar, Wind, etc. – while getting better – can’t offer reliable baseline load.

And, if we are talking about changing the energy supply mix, then yes, it does make logical sense to ask relative questions – is A better then B? If yes, more of A and less of B.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339921)

because coal and gas are the only ones that can scale up.

Wind is a clusterfuck from a construction standpoint and land use perspective, Solar even more so then wind, and Hydro is an environmental suckerpunch and has already been tapped. Geothermal is good stuff, but isn't really effective outside of volcanically active areas.

Also, nuclear is compact enough that it can be used to power ships, aircraft, and other large vehicles. Sail is useful, but only for stuff that doesn't need to stick to a timeline. solar is an expensive joke. You can't haul an active volcano with you on a boat, and for the Battery folks, baring a quantum entanglement battery, it will be stupid heavy to use batteries for ships.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339939)

Nuclear proponents talk about coal because coal is the competition. If a new nuclear plant is built it will be build instead of a fossil fuel plant, it won't be replacing a wind farm. 40% of our electricity comes from coal and another 25% comes from gas. Solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal are way down on the list and have no chance of becoming the dominant source of power in the near future, if ever.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339979)

Because it doesn't make sense to compare it against technologies that can't scale up to meet demand.

No country has achieved more than 20% grid penetration of wind/solar without major compromises. In the case of Denmark, they did it by trading electricity with Norway. (Norway is fortunate to have LOTS of hydro resources, and hydro is great for energy storage and filling in holes left when you use a resource that typically has only 20-30% capacity factor.)

The problem is that our hydroelectric resources are pretty much tapped out - there aren't many more places we can build dams.

So once your wind/solar penetration goes above what our current hydro resources can fill in the gaps for - you've got a BIG scaling problem.

Nuclear, on the other hand, has a pretty consistent track record of delivering capacity factors of 90% or above. (The exception being France, who actually do have too much nuclear, so much that they actually have to do demand following with some of their plants.)

So what does that leave? Coal and gas. Coal can be proven to be FAR more dangerous and dirty than nuclear, and while gas burns cleanly, if you look at the environmental impacts of modern drilling techniques (such as hydrofracturing), you're approaching as much environmental damage in the past 5-10 years as the entire history of nuclear - it's just not as obvious because instead of bad things happening at a single obvious point source, the damage being done by gas drilling is distributed geographically.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

LongearedBat (1665481) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339737)

If you're worried about accidents, then you're worried about deaths and and sickness. But fossil fuels are worse.

If you're worried about weaponisation, then you're worried about deaths. The cat's out of the bag, and not using nuclear power stations won't stop people from making bombs.

If you're worried about waste, then you need not worry [larouchepac.com].

So what are you more worried about than deaths?

Long term? (4, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339497)

I am still wanting to see a viable long term storage solution for the waste, with at least one example of a spent rod finding a final and safe resting place. Otherwise the tail risk of nuclear power is just a myth.

Re:Long term? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339535)

How about like the french. We reprocess what we can, and bury what we can't. Safe and Effective.

Re:Long term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339581)

I agree. Place reasonable controls around reprocessing to get rid of the proliferation concerns and recycle the fuel. Nuclear is the best solution currently available with available technology to stem climate change.

Re:Long term? (4, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339911)

Better than the french we can use next generation feeder breeder reactors to eliminate the already minimal transportation and mechanical processing risks.

Re:Long term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339597)

change the policy on reprocessing - there is no waste that isn't reusable, the US just chooses not to because reprocessing gets the material closer to weapons grade

Re:Long term? (5, Funny)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339607)

The North Koreans are accepting spent fuels rods for safe and efficient displosal, no cash down and no questions asked!!!

Re:Long term? (5, Insightful)

MasseKid (1294554) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339611)

Funny, I'm still waiting to see the long term solution for the waste of coal plants. And no, existing as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere doesn't count.

Re:Long term? (4, Insightful)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339647)

And we haven't even discussed the impacts of extracting the coal. Have you ever seen a large strip mine with dragline in person? Wow!

Re:Long term? (1, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339791)

If only there was some other way of generating electricity that wasn't coal or nuclear...

Sure (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339977)

Give me one that can:

1) Generate base load, as in it doesn't vary with the time of day or weather.

2) Provide for power in all parts of the world, from northern latitudes to the equator.

3) Is cost effective.

You can't. That isn't to say other power generation methods aren't useful in some areas. Solar rules in the desert for peak load (when it is the hottest, you need the most energy for cooling and it is also outputting the most usually). However you are going to need something for base load. Nuclear is the best option.

If you think we could just go solar and/or wind and that would be all we need, well you haven't researched the grid very well.

Re:Long term? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340001)

Name one that also can be used for baseload generation that doesn't depend on variable environmental conditions that also doesn't result in massive ecological change.

Hint: there aren't any.

Re:Long term? (1)

JavaBear (9872) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340009)

There are, but there is no way we can produce enough electricity to replace Nuclear and coal.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see that increase in demand still outstrip added renewable sources.

Then there is the electric cars everyone is touting. They need power, and they need a LOT of it.

Re:Long term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43340041)

The manufacture of photovoltaics is environmentally harmful (probably more than nuclear fission.) It takes 1000 wind turbines to generate the same power as a single nuclear fission plant - where are all of those wind turbines going to go? Hydroelectric is tapped out. Geothermal is very location-dependent.

TL;DR version: take your head out of your ass and read the science instead of parroting Greenpeace.

It's not waste (4, Insightful)

MpVpRb (1423381) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339631)

I would argue that it's not waste..It's valuable raw material we don't currently use

Re:It's not waste (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339711)

It's like saying that there are lots of valuable mining opportunities out in the asteroid belt. It's technically true but the cost involved in taking advantage of it means no-one is really interested while there are better options.

The problem with waste consuming thorium reactors is that no-one has a proven design for a commercial scale one, and all the research ones have had major issues. When you are looking at spending billions of private and taxpayer money on a new nuclear plant it is rather hard to justify spending billions more to make it a thorium one that might run into expensive problems, especially when demand for other forms of clean energy make them a much more attractive proposition.

Re:It's not waste (4, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340063)

Reprocessing of nuclear waste doesn't have technical or economic hurdles, our reasons for not doing it are all political.

Re:Long term? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339689)

I am still wanting to see a viable long term storage solution for the waste, with at least one example of a spent rod finding a final and safe resting place. Otherwise the tail risk of nuclear power is just a myth.

Feeding it to babies would result in fewer deaths than abandoning nuclear power would. That's not hyperbole. It's an understatement.

Re:Long term? (1, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339873)

Japan is one of the most high tech industrialized nations in the world. Without any warning or time to plan for a controlled, long term phase-out all of their nuclear plants went offline at once. In the short term the lights stayed on. Within a day their electric train network was operating pretty much normally, except for where there was earthquake/tsunami damage.

Despite dire predictions of black-outs and rationing they got through the summer peaks without issue. Energy prices have not rocketed. They did not reduce their quality of life at all, and in fact in many ways have increased it with more efficient products. The push for efficiency and energy saving has actually driven sales of new appliances and demand for renewable energy systems.

Japan used to get about 23% of its electricity from nuclear plants. Given most countries would naturally allow at least a decade for phase-out like Germany has it doesn't seem likely that they would "suffer" any worse than Japan has. Saying it will result in deaths is just pure hyperbole, proven beyond doubt to be utter nonsense.

Dump it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339777)

Do the same as with other toxic waste: Dump it into an appropriately prepared landfill. Problem solved for the next millennium.

Long Term Waste EASY.. (3, Interesting)

wanfuse123 (2860713) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339817)

Simple as changing from Uranium to Thorium as a fuel supply. It consumes a small amount of Uranium to keep it's reaction going (which is why it can't go boom ) and burns with 99.9 % efficiency. Most of the remaining waste only remains radioactive for 10 years while a small amount the size of a coke can per MW remains radioactive for 300 years instead of Uranium's 10,000 years. It also is hugely less possible to proliferate than Uranium at the same time. In addition Thorium is so abundant and easy to refine that it appears easy compared to mining coal. It would cost us 1.6 Trillion in capital cost to convert all coal plants to LFTR Reactors [rawcell.com] (starting in about a 5 year time frame, once we have made the investment (23 Billion ) to overcome the inner containers materials problem. All other problems have been solved. In fact India will have their first full scale Thorium test reactor online THIS YEAR [rawcell.com]. A 500MW boohemoth! Within 3 years they will have 6 more that will follow for COMMERCIAL USE. So why not the US? I will leave it with this note there is other types of reactors that burn spent Uranium in larger quantities so consideration of them is also is an important feature to getting rid of long term waste.

Re:Long term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339827)

This is bullshit through and through. Anyone asking the question that you're asking here has either done NO research on the various issues surrounding nuclear power or are being extremely disingenuous. The storage of nuclear waste is a solved problem. Especially compared to that of coal. Nuclear waste products are no more hazardous to health and are far lower in volume compared to that of coal.

Re:Long term? (4, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339861)

I have yet to see a nonviable solution to storing nuclear waste. The problem is that no one wants viable, they want perfect. The standards are being set by the fearful, with the design to not really make storage safe, but to make it impossible in order to kill the industry.

Re:Long term? (4, Insightful)

JavaBear (9872) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339951)

The long term waste is a known quantity, and needs to be addressed. But it is nowhere nearly as pressing a concern as the global CO2 levels are.

We have to bring down the CO2 emissions dramatically, and fast. Doing this through renewable energies would be nice, but it is a pipe dream at best. At least for now. We have to go nuclear, and do so on an far more aggressive scale than we are using it now, if we are to survive long enough, to be able to harness the still elusive fusion and renewable energy bonanza, the greens and the lawmakers are still clinging to.

North Koreo understands this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339529)

They are light years ahead of the West, as they have announced they are going to be restarting reactors.

Re:North Koreo understands this. (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339671)

They are light years ahead of the West, as they have announced they are going to be restarting reactors.

April fools day was yesterday.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339549)

nasa is now doing studies for kim jong un ?

Whaaaaa? (0)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339557)

That's a pretty precise attempt at a measurement for a very nebulous idea. Now we wait for the "other" study from the Fossil Fuel's industry groups I guess. This sort of wildly speculative "guess" at something that is basically unmeasureable due to the large number of variables and assumptions only makes it more difficult to get the public to believe the results of more meaningful and relevant studies when that time comes.

Re:Whaaaaa? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339721)

That's a pretty precise attempt at a measurement for a very nebulous idea. Now we wait for the "other" study from the Fossil Fuel's industry groups I guess. This sort of wildly speculative "guess" at something that is basically unmeasureable due to the large number of variables and assumptions only makes it more difficult to get the public to believe the results of more meaningful and relevant studies when that time comes.

Did you RTFA? Do you understand concepts of quantitative risk assessment? Do you really think that we should equally balance an academic article produced by non-profit third parties and one produced by an industry group directly opposed to nuclear?

Re:Whaaaaa? (1)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339815)

Yes I understand the concept of quantitative risk assesment. My believe is that you can make the results come out any way you want by tweaking the inputs by tiny amounts. It is policy argument masquerading as science. I have no particular dog in this hunt as it were. All approaches at energy come with risks. I say lets use them all and let economics eventually pick the winner.

It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (2, Insightful)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339583)

It also take a lot of upfront cash. So as nice as it would be to have more nuclear energy; the window of opportunity is gone. Renewable energy sources will be far cheaper by the time a new nuclear plant opens

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (0)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339693)

So tell me, how much power does a solar panel array produce between 8pm and 6am?

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (0)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339833)

Multiple solar facilities already produce enough energy to provide energy at 9 cents per KWH, and are getting cheaper.

Oh, and they have this magic invention called the electrical grid. You put power into it, and it can take it out later. You should learn about it

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340003)

The electrical grid is not some fairy-dust invention which magically stores electricity. It distributes energy which is being produced at any given moment. You can't take power out of the grid if there is nothing producing the energy!

I didn't ask about the price of solar. Solar power could be .00001 cents per kWH for all I care. But solar panels do not work at night. They are reduced in efficiency when it is cloudy. And are completely useless when covered in show. Solar panels, at best, will be used to help offset the need for on-demand energy sources (nuclear, natural gas, coal). They are not a plausible replacement for the ENTIRE North American power grid.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339889)

Up to 93% of its daily production if we store all the heat into salt at day. So night production is not a problem.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339937)

That's what batteries are for. Of course I am assuming you mean solar PV, solar collectors produce electricity 24/7.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339805)

The window of opportunity might be gone here in the west but there are other countries that are willing to give it a try. The last I heard, India is building a thorium fuelled rector and there's a Chinese built pebble bed reactor being built in Africa. These are newer designs less prone to the failures we've seen in the older reactor designs.

The only thing that closes the window of opportunity in some countries is their adherence a political idea that windmills and solar cells will be able to provide all the power needed for their future populations. That works if the populations are drastically reduced. Use Google and search for the term "negative population credits" and see what you find.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339923)

Great to hear about what those other countries are trying to do. I wish them the best. But solar most definitely can supply all of our energy needs. Every form of energy we have goes back to solar. The amount of sunlight that hits the earth is many times over what we'd need. It's just a matter of bringing down the cost some more.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339857)

[citation needed]

20 years to build something we already have many of? I call BS.

Re:It takes 20+ years to build a nuclear plant (1)

mpe (36238) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340075)

It also take a lot of upfront cash. So as nice as it would be to have more nuclear energy; the window of opportunity is gone. Renewable energy sources will be far cheaper by the time a new nuclear plant opens.

Fission power is about the only form of power generation which can be called "renewable". Since you can produce new fuel from that which has already been used. The first nuclear power plant took more like 3 years to build. So there is no good reason why it should now take 7 times as long!

overpopulated (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339663)

Since there are already to many humans, isn't that another strike against nuclear power?
Free smokes for all!

Says the nuclear industry... (-1, Troll)

Zemran (3101) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339695)

ssshh... (they forget to mention that the nuclear industry will continue to kill people for thousands of years after the fallacy has been realised and people realise that it is as foolish as lead water pipes)

Re:Says the nuclear industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43340007)

ssshh... (they forget to mention that the nuclear industry will continue to kill people for thousands of years after the fallacy has been realised and people realise that it is as foolish as lead water pipes)

"The Fallacy", you say.

*deep, annoyed sigh* All right, Mr. The Real Serious I'm Not Making This Up Truth. Why don't you go ahead and tell us aaaaaaaaaall about "The Fallacy" and the obligatory big huge evil government-corporate conspiracy that exists to keep these "Lies" going, and then explain why coal and oil are perfectly clean and safe and beautiful and how the people who die from coal power plant-related issues TODAY don't count, and how they'll suddenly stop dying if we just gave the coal lobby a teeeeeensy bit more money. Every year.

another way (1)

CarlosHawes (1256490) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339705)

I would say we should just hold out for dilithium crystals; but then I remembered their impact in terms of human trafficing.

Old news (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339723)

Nuclear power has the lowest deaths per TWh [nextbigfuture.com] of any form of energy -- and that includes things like Chernobyl and Fukushima, the latter of which had a curious focus given that far, far, far more people were injured, displaced, or killed by the actual tsunami as opposed to any radiation events, now or in the future.

Direct deaths from fossil fuel sources -- including even naturally occurring radiation from conventional fossil fuel energy sources -- far outstrip any deaths that have ever occurred, or even will occur with even the most extreme statistical projections, from any nuclear power source, including accidents. That's right: there are more deaths from "radiation" from the byproducts of fossil fuel sources than there are from nuclear power, including accidents and waste.

This [nytimes.com] is what we should be worried about:

"Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide. Figured another way, the researchers said, China's toll from pollution was the loss of 25 million healthy years of life from the population."

There is a reason China has 30 nuclear plants under construction, while the US just approved its first new plant in 30 years.

As did (1)

sunking2 (521698) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339739)

bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Re:As did (3, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339839)

Nuclear power != Nuclear bomb.

With your logic, I have decided to blame solar power on the death of anyone who got dehydrated while out in the sun. And I am going to blame wind power on the death of anyone caused by a hurricane or tornado. Under your flawed logic, more people have died from solar and wind power than have from nuclear power.

Re:As did (1)

waddgodd (34934) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340019)

Nuclear power != Nuclear bomb.

With your logic, I have decided to blame solar power on the death of anyone who got dehydrated while out in the sun. And I am going to blame wind power on the death of anyone caused by a hurricane or tornado. Under your flawed logic, more people have died from solar and wind power than have from nuclear power.

And I get to blame every traffic fatality on Fossil Fuels. DINGDINGDING we have a winner!

Less exposure than you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339743)

Working in a nuclear plant, ive received less exposure than i would spending the summer outside at the beach.

Its the Food Chain, Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339837)

Slow poisons that work over generations, for which there is no effective 'cure'. Brought to you by the same people who say there isnt enough solar power to go around.

Obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339869)

Well someone's a shill for Big Nuclear.

Not sure if want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339895)

Genocide also prevents more deaths than it causes. All the people killed would have died years layer, and produce no children. That doesn't necessarily sell the practice.

Whats happening is right now is our nuclear power plants are getting older and older and we are too scared by the cost to improve or replace them. Given enough time, that will lead to an accident.

Nuclear is fodder for war mongers and scam artists (2, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339905)

The only way they can keep the price down is to nationalize it, and even then you have to have a very specific regulatory and business culture (like France) to make it work in abundance. Otherwise, the exclusive private club financing the construction of nuclear power plants will find ways to jack up the prices, essentially holding the ratepayers hostage once the community has made a commitment to having the new plant. IOW, nuclear literally puts too much power in too few hands to the extent that it gets abused immediately.

The war mongers (neoconservatives) love nuclear power the most because while they promote the scamming of consumers at home, they spread fear about its development in any country that has not put itself up for sale to Wall St. or become a client state to US military contractors.

good thing Hansen is leaving NASA (2, Informative)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,17 days | (#43339929)

I see this sort of propagandized research as a good reason for embracing James Hansen's coming departure from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA. While I agree with the main conclusion of the paper, that nuclear power has in general saved more lives than it has lost, I think he goes about it again in a haphazard fashion, heavily biased to nuclear power production.

For example, there is no breakdown of the data or consideration of alternative strategies. What's the break down of the various sources of deaths from fossil fuel burning? In particular, I was curious how many deaths he would attribute to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. As far as I can tell, it's not there in his research though I probably could figure it out eventually from a detailed analysis of his references.

Here's another big question. How effective would implementing other strategies, like pollution controls on coal power plants, be? If most of those lives can be saved merely by scrubbing coal power plant exhaust, then that's not a strong argument for nuclear power (and would become another propaganda element of the paper).

And once again, he exaggerates the risks of carbon dioxide emissions (in his "Implications" section).

I have no problem with Hansen putting out biased research. Just don't do it with public funds.

I came for a discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#43339999)

I came for a discussion, but all I found was a flame war.

Fuck I hate politics. Can we at least debate the merits of the study?

One small problem (4, Interesting)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | 1 year,17 days | (#43340073)

The only entities that can afford to build a nuclear power plant such as Entergy, Duke, PG&E always end up doing the double whammy of cutting back on maintenance just as the plants start to age out. Then, they quickly spin off the plant ownership to a separate division, then a separate DBA, then quietly sell it or convert it to a wholly separate no-liability company just as the expensive chickens of total rebuilt or shutdown come home to roost.

As an aside, the folks running SONGS for PG&E decided to redesign the tube bundles when they had to be replaced. They arrogantly redesigned them - without even telling the NRC, mind you - to get more [Jeremy Clarkson] Power! [/JC], but only managed to make them wear out in mere months due to so much vibration the tubes eroded each other.

So nuclear power does make sense, if it weren't the actual short-term greedy bastards that own and run them.
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