[extropy-chat] Nuke 'em

Julian Assange xyz at iq.org
Sun Oct 23 17:48:58 UTC 2005

The recent increase in oil prices have made the nuclear option even less
efficient. Construction and decomissioning are extremely expensive.
Insurance is unobtainable so all reactors require state subsidy to over-
ride legal liability. Ore extraction, concentration and shipment is
oil intensive and the reactor super structure is likewise made from
mining related products. Ionizing radiation causes structural defects
to any metal it interacts with, hence most reactor components have a
limited life and must be routined checked, replaced or decomissioned.
Natural distribution and proliferation concerns limit supply to a few
major players and shifting political arrangements mean cost-effective
priced supply can not be guaranteed for many countries. Nuclear
qualified employees are highly paid. Further, there just isn't that
much yellow cake to be had. Efficiencies of scale (say 20x the number
of reactors) will soon meet deficiencies of supply and although
proliferation and security concerns are mostly hype, they are not all
hype and they only go away with expensive engineering, personel and
government subsidised monitors.

If you re-cost coal fired power-stations to include the 3rd party
effects of Co2, sulfer-dioxide, fly ash, radioactive isotope release etc
then nuclear starts to look better, but there isn't the political will
to do much of this.

On Sun, 23 Oct 2005 07:30:03 -0500, "Greg Burch"
<gregburch at gregburch.net> said:
> Over the last few years I've come to the conclusion (like very many
> people) that nuclear power generation is generally undervalued as a
> source of electricity generation.  Opponents to nuclear power point to
> issues at almost every step of the process from the mining of uranium
> ore through storage and disposal of spent fuel and other waste.  Based
> on the evidence of how many reactors are in operation or have been
> constructed (in the U.S. at least) over the last 30 years, nuke
> proponents have done a poor job of responding to those concerns.
> >From a technical standpoint, it seems to me that no alternative to
> >nuclear power generation comes close to the value that nuke plants
> >can offer in the face of the many societal problems created by fossil
> >fuel energy sources.  But nuke advocates have to have good answers to
> >overcome the huge hit that nukes have taken in public perception
> >since Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.  I'm sure that reactor design
> >and operating procedures have been and can be developed to adequately
> >address the kinds of problems that gave rise to those two incidents.
> But it seems to me that two issues remain as legitimate problems and
> therefore major stumbling blocks to more widespread use of nuclear
> power. These issues are weapons proliferation and waste storage.  Both
> seem to call for structures of social control about which liberty
> lovers and skeptics about government power and efficiency should have
> deep misgivings.  So I'm interested in the thoughts of those here on
> the List about these two issues. What kinds of social and technical
> mechanisms present the best balance between harvesting the obvious
> benefits of nuclear power on the one hand and avoiding the problems of
> inefficient and overly-intrusive social controls on the other?
> Greg Burch http://www.gregburch.net
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