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(pbs.org)   Why do Americans fear nuclear power?   (pbs.org) divider line 591
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26547 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Dec 2004 at 3:56 AM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2004-12-13 09:57:10 AM
Fool_Marquis
Actually, the area around Chernobyl is almost completely abandoned.... and DURING the chernobyl accident, somewhere in the nature of 200,000 people died right out. Firemen died trying to get to the scene of the accident.

Har, firemen. HAR. Ok, my grandfather was a nuclear physisist in Russia at the time of chernobyl. There were no firemen. There was nobody trained or even equipped to handle the sittuation. And the reason the death-toll was so high is because a lot of the security personell told everyone to stay in their homes so as not to spread the contamination rather than to go to a hospital. 200,000 people did NOT die out-right. A lot of them were eventually evacuated, but almost none of them got the treatment they deserved and died soon afterwards of radiation poisoning. The few that survived gained super powers and were recruited by the KGB to serve as secret super-commandos. Well, not really, would've been sweet though.
 
2004-12-13 10:01:22 AM
Devin172
Embracing a technology of convienence is different from being scientifically literate. The point Riche was (I believe) trying to make is that since most Americans are unwilling to take the time to learn how to understand science and are therefore dependant upon pundits and media to tell them what the science means. To expand on your point above:

Yeah, because god knows Americans have yet to embrace things like flight, automobiles, computers, cell phones and the internet. I mean, just look at how Americans have consistently ignored scientific breakthroughs in medicine, industry, and transportation throughout the last 100 years.

How many people do you think have any real understanding of how an airplane flies, or a turbine or car engine actually works. Hell, I help out friends with their PCs all the time, most of them barely know how to use the GUI, much less understand the inner workings of an OS or of PC hardware. And as for embracing breakthroughs, why is stem cell research catching so much hell, why do we not have maglev trains or electric cars, why is nuclear power so horribly misunderstood?

Because the populace is either uninformed or misinformed and are unable to self rectify their ignorance due to a lack of scientific understanding.
 
2004-12-13 10:01:33 AM
I think the troll post was to get people to stop using "neocon" as a general insult. Like "liberal" calling someone a neocon has gotten out of hand. When used to describe someone who follows Leo Strauss' philosophy is one thing, but lately it's used to label anyone you disagree with. Personal favorites are people using "neocon" instead of anti-semite as an insult.

Basically: You disagree with me. I am good, so you must be evil. Leftist writers I agree with say "neocons" are the embodiment of evil. Therefore you must be a neocon.


Whatever, saying "supid republican" or "stupid neo-con" or "stupid democrat" or "stupid liberal", same shiat different smell, its directly attacking their party/ideology...theres no need to get all PC on the actual party/ideology's name, only the uninformed use it out of context...be they liberal or republican.

Its dumb that people think its a made up word (or a term like "commie") used to tease someone when its an actual ideology that people in the Bush admin follow.
 
2004-12-13 10:03:05 AM
Bring em' on.
Now watch this drive.
Mission Accomplished.
 
2004-12-13 10:07:44 AM
Yeah, they lined up a local regiment of the Soviet Army that happened to be nearby and had them run onto the roof, grab two large chunks of debris, and throw them back in the hole, then run off to the other side of the roof to recieve a citation for bravery. Not a damn one of those soldiers knew what they were doing. Not a damn one of them lived beyond a few weeks from the day they unknowingly microwaved themselves.

Nice guys, those communists.
 
2004-12-13 10:08:56 AM
NOW HEAR THIS:

The article linked here:

2004-12-13 08:22:22 AM SineSwiper

...is the most interesting thing I've read in weeks. Months, even.

/that is all
 
2004-12-13 10:09:01 AM
I fear it because it costs more than energy generated by coal-powered plants. My state has one nuclear power plant, but it provides power for only part of the state. When I lived in that part of the state my electricty cost 33% more than it does where I live now. And this isn't just me comparing power bills. The same company owns the nuclear plant and the coal plant that currently serves my power needs. They fully admit that the nuclear power costs a lot more and that they simply pass that higher cost on to its customers.
 
2004-12-13 10:09:24 AM
An interesting read:

http://www.cosmos-club.org/journals/2002/rockwell.html

/sorry for the lack of html - in a rush
 
2004-12-13 10:10:12 AM
Why do Americans fear nuclear power?



The giant man-eating insects, of course.
 
2004-12-13 10:14:37 AM
AcornMan

You must not be from Illinois because 50% of our power is nuclear and my bill is cheap as shiat. Of course, this could just be because I follow my dad's advise and "shut off the goddamn light if you're not in the room!"
 
2004-12-13 10:15:16 AM
People don't fear nuclear reactors. They're just whiney. They always say "Not in my back yard." They just don't want a reactor nearby their home lowering their property values. Screw the environment, screw our own health, we just want a pretty view and high resale values on our homes. Same thing with the wind farm off of cape cod. People are all upset that it may alter their pretty view/property values. They spout environmental trash like "It may ruin fish migratory patterns", but lets face it folks, if your noisy, exhaust spewing motor boat hasn't disturbed the fish, then some quiet unobstrusive windmills certainly won't. Obviously, a wind farm that would generate 75% of the cape's power needs on a good day, without generating any harmful biproducts, doesn't matter. I hate people.
 
2004-12-13 10:15:33 AM
AcornMan,

Huh? One pellet of fuel the size of the metal part of a No.2 pencil will kick out as much heat as 1750# of coal, and we sell those pellets for around $9 a piece. And it's only a bazillion times cleaner than coal and less harmful to the environment both to find and produce. The costs are at least the same if not in nuclear fuels favor after the safety regs are taken into account. If they charge you more, it's because they're shafting you...but they don't have to.
 
2004-12-13 10:20:19 AM
Maybe because we recognize that nuclear plant aren't well maintained right now and with the relentless drive to fire every "extraneous" worker, the plants get less and less safe every day.

Also maybe because those of us in Northern Illinois which gets more of its power from nuclear than any other area of the country are getting ass-raped by Commonwealth Edison for its bloated overbuilt reactors. We have the highest electric rates in the country.

It's not cheap and if an accident occurs an awfully large area is farked for an awfully long time. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
 
2004-12-13 10:20:46 AM
AcornMan,

Actually, a lot of plants (as PR thing) will give free electricity to folks that live within a few miles of their plant as a sign of goodwill, to spur nearby development, and to generate postive feelings from the locals.
 
2004-12-13 10:21:49 AM
Nightsweat,

You don't work in the nuclear industry do you?
 
2004-12-13 10:24:52 AM
kippson
You're wrong if you think Illinois power is cheap - Follow this link to see that while I may have been wrong about our rates being highest, we're second highest in residential after Detroit Edison and #3 in Industrial prices.
 
2004-12-13 10:26:10 AM
Goblin King You don't work in the nuclear industry do you?

No, I just pay my bloated electric bills from Commonwealth Edison.
 
2004-12-13 10:27:48 AM
I didn't fear nuclear power for a long time, then I read Charles Perrow's "Normal Accidents". http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0691004129/002-1571978-3844060?v =glance

This is NOT a scare-tactic book about nuclear power, this is a sociologist's take on why accidents happen, and the seminal work in what's now called "Normal Accident Theory". The basic idea is that when you have systems put together where events happen very quickly, with no chance to pause, and indicators that things might not be going well are hard to discern, accidents are inevitable. A very good book, and one I'm going to have to pick up another copy of, since my last one walked off somewhere.
 
2004-12-13 10:28:13 AM
Nightsweat,

Maybe because we recognize that nuclear plant aren't well maintained right now and with the relentless drive to fire every "extraneous" worker, the plants get less and less safe every day.

Totally off base...not only are most if not all nuke plants unionized, the NRC (the feds) tells you you've got to have so many operators here and there, where, and when. Sorry, no corporate boogeymen here. No 'downsizing' allowed.
 
2004-12-13 10:28:49 AM
We haven't been able to complete conbstruction of a Reactor since the 80's because of Environmental lunacy, and it is now showing up as $50 to fill up your gas tank, thank Jane for that

That's the stupiidest thing I've read on Fark today.
 
2004-12-13 10:31:08 AM
Yeah, nuclear power is great if you aren't the one getting the waste shoved down your throat. All of you flatlanders can have all the nuclear power you want, just keep the waste in your own backyards. We'd see how enthusiastic you were if WIPP and Yucca Mountain were in your state, and you got ZERO electricity from nuclear power.

Jerks.
 
2004-12-13 10:31:29 AM
LordZorch:

Because eco-freaks have a religious bent against anything that smacks of technology beyond fire.

You ever hear of three-mile island, or Chernobyl? Eco-freaks try to protect your ignorant ass as well as theirs. Get your head out of your corporate overlord's ass for once.

This isn't to say that I don't advocate nuclear power. Provided that strict environmental regulations aren't relaxed to ensure that they stay safe I'd be willing to put up with the waste.

Of course, we really should be thinking about safer and cleaner alternatives, like wind and solar. But that won't happen until all other energy sources are more expensive than wind and solar, and by that time, it'll be too late.

We are like yeast in a vat of grape juice, endlessly consuming the sugars, reproducing like crazy, because we can. We can see where this is leading, but it's too late to stop the feeding frenzy now...
 
2004-12-13 10:32:04 AM
I live in East TN in TVA land. We have pretty much every power source in the books. Hydro from dams, hydro from pumping water up a mountain and then letting it run back down through generators, coal, and nuclear.

I must say that the dams created a much bigger mess on the environment than any of the nuclear plants have. That said, TVA's dams were created to change the environment (tame the TN river), but still with dams you are garunteed a change, with nuclear plants there is no given that a massive change will take place during normal operation.

and yes our power is quite cheap here
 
2004-12-13 10:32:12 AM
Atvar

1) Ask your friendly US Navy recruiter about the "NFQT" - Nuclear Field Qualification Test

2) Do 6 years herding neutrons on a sub or carrier

3) Profit!
 
2004-12-13 10:34:04 AM
TheGoblinKing
Then perhaps you'd like to explain why ComEd was regularly cited for violations in the running of its reactors throughout the 90's and 2000.

Though their practices haven't changed much from what I read, they haven't been cited as far as I can find since Bush took office. Strange, that.
 
2004-12-13 10:34:15 AM
Hey, I am all for nuclear power. I think we should build many more reactors.

Unless of course you want to build them in my backyard, then I will fight you tooth and nail on it.

Not because I am afraid of it, or think that something bad will happen, but because it will kick my property value's ass into the ground.
 
2004-12-13 10:34:24 AM
Nuclear power = good, clean, cheap, reliable, abundant (relative to other forms)

only "i'm a treehugger and a vegan because it's cool" people are against Nuclear power

/overgeneralization
//semi-troll
 
2004-12-13 10:38:00 AM
 
2004-12-13 10:38:07 AM
I remember when the Cassini spacecraft (nuclear powered) was launched. The no nuke fever was reignited and the media ate it up like M&Ms. CNN had a classic footage of a young girl crying as the Titan IVB lifted off. The no nuke "experts" said the probe had the potential of killing everyone on the planet (which was based on huge stretch of the facts). After the probe was safely on its trajectory, the no nuke "experts" said Cassini could crash into earth as it made its sling shot maneuvers around Venus and the Sun (again potentially killing everyone). Cassini was a perfectly safe mission, but assumptions based on ignorance made a great exploration mission and turned it into a media circus.

Unfortunately, we Americans still continue to dwell in ignorance and fear, while Europe and Asia ease their dependence on foreign energy supply by utilizing nuclear energy.
 
2004-12-13 10:40:58 AM
2004-12-13 10:31:08 AM canyoneer

Want some cheese with that whine?

How has Yucca mountain hurt you? Think of all the jobs Yucca mountain has created. What about all the dollars in the local economy as a result.
 
2004-12-13 10:41:19 AM
I'm far, far too late in this thread, but neo-conservatives are Jews. They used to be liberals, but dumped them due to the fact that liberals weren't serving their needs, thus the "neo" label. As opposed to regular conservatives, who are your typical flyover territory types and Mr. Burns clones.
 
2004-12-13 10:43:09 AM
Foxhole athiest,

But that just doesn't apply...recognizing the inherent fallability of humans, US reactors are built to where they literally will put themselves to sleep if everyone in the plant just got up and walked away. It's not some electric safeguard (though they are at least doubly redundant in case one circuit fails), it's pure physics.

Here comes the (reactor) science:

In a steady state operating plant, steam losses from the secondary through gland seals on the main steam turbines and through the condensate system slowly bleed water out of the secondary plant. This lost water, held in a big expansion tank known as the DFT (deaerating feed tank) which supplies a positive pressure head to the main feed pumps, begins to bleed off due to aforementioned steam leaks. Pressure head is gradually lost on the feed pumps, causing them to cavitate and shut off. With no secondary cooling, steam demand from the primary goes down and dies off. With no steam demand, no removal of heat from the primary occurs; thus, warmer coolant gets fed into the reactor. This warmer coolant lowers power in the reactor as the coolant/moderator is less dense, moderating fewer and fewer neutrons down to thermal energies. the chain reaction sustaining the reactor slowly dies off until it cannot generate enough heat to keep the overall temperature up, natural fission product neutron-poisons such as xenon-135 scavenge what little neutrons there are to go around, supressing the reaction even further, and the self sustaining fission dies off, fissions beging to die off, and the reactor drifts gently down into the source range, shutting itself off without human or design action taken.

/Not bad for 10 years since my last nuke physics tests.
 
2004-12-13 10:46:04 AM
Do you fear this man's invention
That they call atomic power?
Are we all in great confusion
Do we know the time or hour?
When a terrible explosion
May rain down upon our land,
Leaving horrible destruction
Blotting out the works of man?

Are you, are you ready for that great atomic power?

--Uncle Tupelo
 
2004-12-13 10:49:32 AM
Pfil
Neocons are not necearily Jewish. Neocon are primarily defined by their hawkishness, particularly on matters involving the Middle East and Israel. Because of the focus on Israel many are Jewish, but not all by any stretch.

When you say the liberals weren't "serving their needs" you're using a euphemism. The liberals weren't supporting military action against the Arabs (not against "Radical Islamofacists" or whatever, but against the Arabs), and were forcing Israel to consider making concessions to the Palestinians.
 
2004-12-13 10:50:25 AM
The reason you can 'trust' the corporations who own the nuclear facilities is that if they fark up and cause an accident, even to the level of TMI (which caused no adverse affects outside of containment, btw. You could walk up to containment walls and get less dose than if you were in a tanning booth!), the entire US Nuclear industry is farked.

Its true that corporation's primary interest is profit. They also know that the best way to maintain profitability is to make sure that no accidents happen.


/Engineer at a Nuke Plant
 
2004-12-13 10:53:47 AM
because it'll make your kids grow six legs?
 
2004-12-13 10:55:35 AM
Spaceclown:

Unfortunately, we Americans still continue to dwell in ignorance and fear, while Europe and Asia ease their dependence on foreign energy supply by utilizing nuclear energy.

You know that's an interesting theory. I look at what's happening in Europe (excepting the UK) right now and I have to say, those guys are slowly building on small successes and making bigger and bigger waves in the world.

I think one of these days, and not too far in the future, the US is going to turn around and see that Europe has a higher standard of living, better social programs, a more educated populace, more personal freedoms and a larger influence on what's happening in the world.

When I look at the US. I see a culture backsliding. Fundamentalist religion is gaining power in the government. Individual rights and freedoms are slowly eroded in the name of security. The populace to a greater or lesser degree lives in fear and hatred of outsiders. Education levels are falling for the middle class and below. Social programs are getting to be jokes without punchlines. Misinformation and doublespeak rule the day from both the politicians and the media that fails to question them.

We're quickly approaching a moment of truth for the US. It is time to reevaluate what we're told are the "core values" of the US and see what the populace would really like to do in the coming decades.

I can only hope that if the status quo continues, my country chooses to be less subservient to the US and decides to make closer allies of the European countries.
 
2004-12-13 10:55:54 AM
Nightsweat,

Because the NRC cites you for things like not having neat and trimmed fingernails or for having your birthday on february 29th.

I'm not exaggerating THAT much either.

They concentrate on the miniscule for two reasons: one, it keeps you searching and makes sure you've got the appropriate attitude of self correction regardlessof how good you are; and two, it makes sure the tiny things don't evolve into something meaningful.

Trust me guy, you've never in your whole life seen a tighter ship than in a nuke power plant. It's come leagues since the TMI fiasco. Plants are mostly/wholly staffed by ex-Naval operators now, guys (and now gals) that can close their eyes and point directly to each and every gauge on a 200 gauge board and tell you what it reads to the pound pressure or degree temperature and can recite proceedure from volumes of books you can stack as high as your waist like the Pope can quote the frickin Bible.
 
2004-12-13 10:57:15 AM
Nuclear is the way to go. I live in the Ohio valley and the farking coal plants are destroying the enviroment. Nuclear is clean and cheap. People are just stupid and don't look at the long term.
 
2004-12-13 10:57:44 AM
PicoDelSol,

Hey, where do you work?

(Westinghouse/BNFL health physics here...ex RO from USS Enterprise)
 
2004-12-13 11:01:11 AM
lws
I'll have to assume that you didn't read what I'd written. The reactors are probably safe, but if you hold the belief that all materials that pose a grave hazard are protected by massive reinforced concrete structures you're sadly mistaken.

/trained at BNFL Wylfa
//unconvinced by assertions that 9/11 couldn't happen again
///scared
 
2004-12-13 11:02:04 AM
My guess would be because it is fairly unstable and there is no safe way to dispose of spent fuel rods.
 
lws
2004-12-13 11:05:34 AM
FarkinNortherner


But this thread is about nuclear power, not about where nuclear material material is stored.
 
2004-12-13 11:06:24 AM
If they had such faith in them. They'd repeal the law the gives nuclear plants exemption from liability in case of an accident.

The energy companies backed this law.

The 'nothing can go wrong, but if it does we're not paying for loss of life or property' attitude doesn't inspire much trust.
 
2004-12-13 11:07:50 AM
Nuclear power is not cheap. It only appears that way to those who fail to consider total systemic costs. Nuclear power plants are far more expensive to build than other forms of electrical generation, $3K to $4K per kW (compared with gas-fired power plants at $350 per kW). Ask people who live in places served primarily by nuclear power plants (like the ones run by Duquesne Light) how *cheap* their electric bills are. Everyone gets to shoulder the outrageous construction cost. At the other end, add in the cost of dealing with the waste. Someone has to pay for storage and transport. Once again, that would be the consumer.

And please, stop with all the "nuclear power is clean" nonsense. First, fissile materials don't just magically appear. They have to be mined using fossil fuels (quite a bit really), and the smelting process also produces greenhouse gasses. Not to mention the toxic gasses produced by the fission process itself.
 
2004-12-13 11:08:23 AM
FAKK:

What safer cleaner alternative are you thinking of pray tell? Hydoelectric power has PROVEN environmental consequences, large ones. Wind and solar aren't very efficient, and oh yeah, they don't work if there is no wind or sun that day anyway. Nuclear is relatively cheap, comparatively clean (when compared oil, coal, natural gas), and it's reliable/consistent. I agree that in the long term, we're going to need to find something other than nuclear, but in the short term, it's an extremely viable alternative to fossil fuels. It actually emits less radioactive material than burning coal, so it's safe in that respect, and as long as the operators are half competent and don't ignore the blaring whistles, bells, dingers, sirens, and flashing lights of doom, and THEN disable the automatic safety features, the reactors are actually pretty safe. Throw breeder reacters into the mix, and we get something that's at least reasonably efficient as well. So they'll create jobs (building and running the plants, dealing with the waste, providing new fuel), help the environment (they emit steam and hot water, not exactly environmentally damning) and could well meet our energy needs for decades if not centuries to come, all while being pretty damn safe. I'm just not seeing the draw-back here. Oh yeah, and as long as we have plenty of guys with guns guarding the spent fuel and the reactors themselves, I just don't see a terrorist issue either.
 
2004-12-13 11:09:51 AM
And as an interesting aside:

They've figued out that if you take a given radioactive isotope and bombard it with a certain wavelength laser, you can accelerate it's decay. In english, you can take radioactive waste, seperate it into it's various isotopic components (namely the nastier ones) and zap it so it doesn't die off in 1000 years, but in 1000 minutes; thus, neutralizing it.

This is still in the lab mind you, and there are tactical complications in the real world, but they are working towards being able to take nuclear waste and neutralizing it, basicaly turning it into harmless lead. Again, this is way far off, but they're working on it.
 
2004-12-13 11:12:31 AM
Sybarite,

Not to mention the toxic gasses produced by the fission process itself.

Huh?? You think anyone will ever get exposed to that?? The only way that can even make it out of the fuel let alone the core is a meltdown.
 
2004-12-13 11:12:51 AM
It's great to see an energy debate. :)
 
2004-12-13 11:12:58 AM
I can only hope that if the status quo continues, my country chooses to be less subservient to the US and decides to make closer allies of the European countries.

Look! It's another irrelevant Canadian.

It must suck being the shoe shine boy of America.

Now, get back to sucking the teat of the American consumer, because there's no way that France is going to purchase 85 percent of your exports anytime soon.

Uppity Canadians. They think that just because the live next door to us and speak English, that makes them more relevant to us than Mexico. When's the last time we cared what you thought? Really. Name it. We put you right behind France on the respect-o-meter, because at least France doesn't rely on us for most of their economic wellbeing.

Talk to the hand, second-raters.
 
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