CL-Ed's picture
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21 March 2011 - 2:15am

Nuclear power - yea or nay?

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I thought this post from hope777 was really interesting reading. I'll quote it here:

hope777 wrote:

I used to live about 10 miles from a nuclear plant, and it always freaked me out when we received an annual calendar from them, instructing us what to do and where to go (to meet family, et) if something happened. Just an eerie feeling.

The irony is that I just finished helping a student work on a paper, for geography, and the topic was she had to take a stand for building MORE nuclear reactors for energy. We had to address the pros and cons and she had to take the "pro" side. We worked for weeks on the paper, and shortly after we handed it in, the new disaster struck. She is now getting a "real life" lesson involving her topic.

In her paper she was arguing (had to) that nuclear reactors are the best source of energy due to the decreased cost and she mentioned that safety measures were corrected after Chernobyl, so the public did not have to worry about the safety side of things anymore. We also addressed Three Mile Island in her paper and did tons of research. What a lesson for her, to have this happen right after she submits her paper. I certainly wish she was NOT getting this "real life" example of what goes wrong.

Sorry for the long post, when all I had to do was answer the question, but just wanted to share. Smile

The way I see it, nuclear power is great in theory until something goes wrong - and it inevitably does - and then its a complete disaster. Not to mention the nuclear weapons it helps produce. Probably the saddest place I ever visited was the Hiroshima peace memorial museum. It was so hard to walk through and read about what happened to the people afterwards and see photos. It was worse than visiting a concentration camp (I've done that too). But it was utterly unforgettable. Everyone should visit at least once in their life and take their kids too.

There are a lot of people pushing to introduce it in Australia as a "clean" energy source but I don't see how a process that produces radioactive waste that lasts for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years can be called clean.

I heard a scientist on the radio a while back saying that if governments had looked at it decades ago, we could be using thorium nuclear reactors which are far safer, produce less waste, and can't be used to make nuclear weapons. And that last point was his explanation for why no-one had done it yet. Apparently China, India and Russia are working on it now though, and India is supposed to be bringing one online this year. If for example the USA used all the money they have spent fighting wars over oil in the middle east, they could have had thorium reactors operating by now that would completely eliminate the need for coal, and would not be exhausted for 1000 years.

So for me, current reactor technology - no way. But newer thorium reactors that are safer, can't melt down and can't be used to make weapons. Sure, at least as a stop gap until solar, wind and all the other renewable energy sources become more efficient.

So what do you think about nuclear power?

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CatFace's picture
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21 March 2011 - 11:55am

I'm ashamed to admit that I know so little about this topic (I've never taken any interest in physics or any related topic), and now, with what happened to Japan, my embarrassment increased, so I've been reading through your posts, feeling eager to learn more.

Thanks for the inspiration, guys! Girl

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21 March 2011 - 7:43pm

Simply put - Nay!!

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9 September 2011 - 8:25pm


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12 September 2011 - 8:12am

I don't argue that nuclear power plays the major role in technology development and evolution and so on. but the price for this development is very high - great catastrophes and disasters, with major air and environment pollution and people suffering from it. Like it was in Chernobil case

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salivan_genius's picture
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12 September 2011 - 8:13am

So, I say - nay to it