Nothing's gonna change my world...

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AuthorTopic: Nothing's gonna change my world...
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #25
I don't think anyone is saying that radiation cannot be dangerous if mishandled and that we should be careless with it. However, as far as toxicity goes, there are plenty of everyday household things that are far more dangerous.

To put things in perspective, the US average for radiation exposure is about 300 mrem/year. Some areas are lower, some significantly higher (in excess of 5-10 rem/year). From looking at cancer rates throughout the world, what we find is no detectable increase with increasing radiation at these low doses. If there is anything, it is swamped out by the noise of everything else.

So let us suppose that the disposal of nuclear waste might lead to a localized increase of 50-100 mrem/year at some point millennia into the future (assuming no reprocessing and a lot of things go wrong), is it something we should concern ourselves with, considering the disadvantages of the alternatives?

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Agent
Member # 8030
Profile Homepage #26
quote:
So let us suppose that the disposal of nuclear waste might lead to a localized increase of 50-100 mrem/year at some point millennia into the future (assuming no reprocessing and a lot of things go wrong), is it something we should concern ourselves with, considering the disadvantages of the alternatives?
Fortunately the numbers aren't nearly as high. Someone who works regularly at a distance of ten to fifteen feet from a reactor still receives three times as much radiation from the sun.

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Drew - "Coincidence, correlation, or causation, I wonder?"
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #27
quote:
Originally written by cfgauss:

Taking 50 advil will kill you, too, but that doesn't make them "bad."
Actually, there's a pretty good chance that 50 Advil won't kill you. I still wouldn't recommend trying.

Anyway, is anyone here arguing against the use of nuclear power plants? I think there may be some preaching to the choir here.

—Alorael, who considers radiation one of the most dangerous things in the universe. It's an integral part of the heat death of everything, after all.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 6795
Profile #28
A couple of things...

Firstly, if anyone is interested in how a nation copes with converting to 'cleaner' power without resorting to nuclear, they should look into the situation in New Zealand, where we've been avowedly nuclear free for 20-odd years now. I'm not going to pass judgement myself yet, but suffice to say that although there is a large investment in renewable energy there has also been an expansion of coal power. Imported, dirty coal power in some cases.

Secondly, biofuels not only take up valuable land and production capability in a world where the richest nation on earth still has starving people, but may also contribute more to global climate change since they release a large amount of (I think I'm right on the specific substance, but please correct me if I'm wrong) nitrous oxide when used in combustion engines - a gas which is approximately ten times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Not to mention the emissions from pesticide use, farm machinery, etc...

And as a general plea; please, please, please start thinking in terms of energy conservation, rather than expansion: that is the one thing, I believe, that I have ever heard groups of scientists agree on as good for the situation.
Posts: 10 | Registered: Tuesday, February 14 2006 08:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #29
quote:
Originally written by Excalibur:

quote:
So let us suppose that the disposal of nuclear waste might lead to a localized increase of 50-100 mrem/year at some point millennia into the future (assuming no reprocessing and a lot of things go wrong), is it something we should concern ourselves with, considering the disadvantages of the alternatives?
Fortunately the numbers aren't nearly as high. Someone who works regularly at a distance of ten to fifteen feet from a reactor still receives three times as much radiation from the sun.

I was more referring to the 15 mrem limit of Yucca Mountain which I find a bit excessive when that would still be significantly less than other areas of natural background.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #30
quote:
Originally written by BigHungryJoe:

And as a general plea; please, please, please start thinking in terms of energy conservation, rather than expansion: that is the one thing, I believe, that I have ever heard groups of scientists agree on as good for the situation.
Double post to deal with two disparate topics...

Conservation is a good thing, but is not going to solve the problem. While all well and good, it is counter to human nature. Jevons paradox illustrates that as efficiency rises, consumption increases as well. This is not good, but it is what it is.

By all means, develop more efficient appliances and teach conservation habits, but it is naive to think we can, or should, turn back energy growth. We can, at best, minimize waste energy and slow growth because of it.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
BANNED
Member # 13806
Profile #31
Also, note that coal actually produces more radiation than nuclear. Nuclear fuel is reprocessed in every country except for the US, and the waste products are infinitely less harmful to the environment than the pollutants produced by other sources.
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 6795
Profile #32
quote:
Originally written by *i:

Conservation is a good thing, but is not going to solve the problem.
I know. I know. You'll have to excuse me - every once in a while a little bit of idealism actually escapes. However, I never said it would ever solve anything: I'm well aware that energy needs (or, more accurately, demands) will keep rising notwithstanding. What I'm frustrated with is that everybody I've talked to in the electricity business, the transport business, the coal business, and even most people in the general public don't even seem to consider conservation. At all. I've never heard it on any politician's agenda, as far as I know (even the Green party over here never seems to get quoted saying it. Hell, we have a government Department of Conservation that seldom even mentions the word). I know expansion isn't going to stop just because a few people turn off their lights when they leave a room, but dammit, if we all chipped in we could make things better. We wouldn't solve the problem, but we'd make it better.

quote:
Originally written by *i:

While all well and good, it is counter to human nature.
(sigh). You just had to remind me, didn't you?

Oh well: /idealism.
Posts: 10 | Registered: Tuesday, February 14 2006 08:00
BANNED
Member # 13806
Profile #33
It isn't against human nature to conserve; humans are simply confused. Have we forgotten that we actually have to pay bills for our electricity? Saving money seems like a more than reasonable thing to expect people to do.
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #34
quote:
Originally written by Diprosopus:

It isn't against human nature to conserve; humans are simply confused. Have we forgotten that we actually have to pay bills for our electricity? Saving money seems like a more than reasonable thing to expect people to do.
The problem is where the costs are abstract, indefinite, small in the short term, or a long way off. Take the issue of smoking. The costs of smoking are well established, yet people still do it. Why? Because the costs are far off (several decades) and do not necessarily happen (you are at a higher risk). Cutting class in school is another. The costs are abstract, you get less knowledge that may or may not hurt you in the long run when you advance to college, grad school, get a job, etc.

Environmentalism is one of these. Any individual driving a car more than he or she needs to, leaving a light bulb on, or not recycling, does not cause a huge cost to society or the individual. Sure, your fuel/electricity bill may go up by a few dollars a month, but most people will just absorb it because it is typically small in the short term. However, all of these miniscule things add up over millions of people over many decades do the harms become apparent.

Humans only tend to conserve when it directly and will most likely impact their lifestyle in the immediate or near future. Thinking in the long term or statistically is not something people are generally good at. Unfortunately, environmental protection is just this. Any solutions we expect to work must be within the parameters of reasonable human behavior.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Triad Mage
Member # 7
Profile Homepage #35
Something I want to point out is that while hybrid cars are more efficient on the road, the environmental impact of manufacturing them, along with their lower durability, generally makes them less energy-efficient over their lifetime than a compact gas-engine car. Hybrid is a stop-gap technology that will (hopefully) not be around in 20 years.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Encyclopedia Ermariana - Trapped in the Closet
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You can take my Mac when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the mouse!
Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #36
Horses is where it's at, man. They can do anything!

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #37
And they're recyclable.

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Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #38
Horses? Pssh. My wheels are a rickshaw.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #39
Nalyd doesn't blame you. Much tastier meat that way. Horseflesh just doesn't cut it nowadays.

[ Tuesday, February 05, 2008 13:37: Message edited by: Agrajag ]

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Fear us, mortals, but never envy, for though we burn with power, our fuel is our sorrows.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #40
We need more sedan chairs on our roads. They use renewable energy and each one creates at least four jobs!

—Alorael, who intends to be the first on his block to have human-powered transport.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #41
Does it also qualify you for commuter lanes?

Dikiyoba.

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Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6096
Profile Homepage #42
Wind power... Geothermal energy... There are some interesting alternatives that could be worth developing.

Mining uranium produces carbon dioxide emissions (in addition to waste). I've heard it's also a somewhat important issue with nuclear power.

Uranium has been found in Finland recently. But the companies that would mine it have had extreme difficulties in getting a permission to mine and probably will never mine there. People who live near the proposed mining site oppose it (as was to be expected) because of the effects on the environment.

EDIT:
quote:
Jevons paradox illustrates that as efficiency rises, consumption increases as well.
It doesn't apply in every country. At least in Sweden the growth of energy consumption has been stopped. I don't believe that conservation is against human nature.

[ Thursday, February 07, 2008 17:08: Message edited by: *Milu* ]
Posts: 77 | Registered: Sunday, July 10 2005 07:00
Agent
Member # 8030
Profile Homepage #43
Geothermal energy doesn't offer much expansion at all. Wind energy is only practical in particularly windy places like Northern Nevada.

If only the real world were like SimCity 2000. Then we could elevate a big hill, make water flow from some unknown source down all sides, and blanket the hill in hydroelectric dams.

That's how I took care of energy problems in that game. :cool:

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Drew - "Coincidence, correlation, or causation, I wonder?"
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #44
I'm not sure what level of practicality is needed, here, but there are a lot of big new windmills in other places. In the US Northeast there is a huge anti-windmill NIMBY factor: people don't like how they look. Admittedly, we're talking about dense grids of many giant towers with huge three-armed rotors, not a single picturesque farm windmill. But I think they look cool.

They are all over Germany, which is hardly the windiest land in the world. Nobody expects them ever to generate all the country's energy, but they are projected to supply a decent fraction eventually, something like 15%. Every bit helps.

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Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

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