[ExI] EP and Peak oil

Richard Loosemore rpwl at lightlink.com
Tue Apr 1 16:34:32 UTC 2008

Kevin Freels wrote:
> Richard Loosemore wrote:

>> The issue, then, is whether nuclear power and renewable sources can be 
>> developed in such a tightly controlled and secure manner that the 
>> considerable dangers of nuclear power can be kept under control.
> It appears this has already been addressed. Here's a great article on 
> Pebble Bed Modular Reactors which eliminate many of the concerns you have.
> http://www.physorg.com/news8956.html
> The only thing I can't seem to find info on is the energy cost and 
> processes used to make the pebbles in the first place.

I very much agree:  this looks like a promising way to go.

However, my concern is mostly with the procedures and management 
infrastructure surrounding such plants.  The technology is improving, 
but people (especially malicious people) find ways to do stupid, 
dangerous or malevolent things with the technology, so what matters most 
of all is researching the management around the reactors, to find the 
best way to stop problems from coming out of left field.

For example, the original scientists and engineers devised safety 
measures to ensure nothing bad could happen in places like Chernobyl and 
Bhopal, but after a while the management on the ground lost interest or 
tried to cut costs, with the result that (e.g.) workers in Chernobyl 
were routinely doing such things as carrying open buckets of radioactive 
waste around by hand.

Even with the pebble-bed reactors, what matters is the unexpected 
gotchas lying hidden away in the system as a whole (people plus technology).

Overall I am optimistic that this can be done, but not if people are 
locked into a mindset in which the main problem with the nuclear 
industry is that idiot environmentalists have been bollixing the work of 
the captains of industry.

Richard Loosemore

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