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Comment Re:above post: example of techie vs public disconn (Score 1) 442

The article I presented is in reference to the corrupt management culture that is in charge of nuclear assets. No they did not cause the earthquake nor did they cause the tsunami, I didn't realize I had to explicitly say that for you to follow my argument. What they did do was falsify safety reports. The same safety reports that nuclear proponents like yourself toss around to demonstrate how safe and wonderful nuclear power is. These are the same safety reports that they use to lobby congress to back loans and bonds on nuclear equipment. My contention is your argument is based on faulty information, as has been clearly demonstrated by your own post. Consequently, the idea that an educated person would naturally take at face value the pronouncement of the nuclear industry and always support the growth of nuclear power is false.

Pardon me for stopping your stream of bullshit here

You realize you're arguing with TEPCo management and the Japanese government right? I din't rate this nuclear incident at a 5. The parties involved with mitigating this disaster did. Further, the rating of 6 was determined by governing bodies of the appropriate nations I indicated. Its not my bullshit, its the bullshit coming from the industry you're trying so hard to promote.

And there are several medical radiotherapy accidents which caused more casualties (deaths and injuries) than Fukushima. Then there are military accidents such as nuclear sub accidents which are a mite bit worse. In other words, you can call Fukushima the "second worst nuclear accident" only if you are completely ignorant of nuclear history.

Lets forget that Fukushima is an ongoing incident; 11 days ago 3 of the failed reactors were rated as a 5 on the INES scale by the Japanese government. If all radiation release halted at that moment it would have likely been the second worst nuclear disaster in history. And you keep going back to deaths. Nuclear incidents are not rated solely by number of casualties:

If it were only by casualties, then by your estimate Chernobyl wouldn't be on the list would it? And by your own scale of casualties Kyshtym had none.

Well, I guess I need to point out that Fukushima has a touch less than 6% of all nuclear reactors on Earth.

No, you don't need to point that out, it was clear in my post I was refering to all the reactors on earth, I said that explicitly. Earth includes japan. Its strange to me I have to point out such simple facts to an "educated" individual.

And saying Fukushima 1 and 2 have a failure rate of 50%? Do you realize how stupid an assertion that is? First, they both "failed". They are contaminated with salt water, boric acid, and radioactive products, and everyone is saying they won't ever run again even if they weren't.

Second, if you had looked at it at the beginning of March, then both reactors had "succeeded" for 35 to 40 years. It's not like falling off a 40 story building and saying as the ground rushes up that you've been "successful" so far. Each year of operation is productive and gives something to society. Instead it's like saying a car "failed" because it gets wrecked in 40 years, completely ignoring how much it was driven around.

Once again, the context of my statement was clear, these reactors failed in the sense that they moved catastrophically far outside of their operating range and as consequence their failure will greatly impact the world economy and the ecology of Japan. My argument, which you are so charmingly obtuse to, is that the inherent flaw of nuclear power is the culture that employs it. This argument is beautifully demonstrated by the fact that the most technologically advanced culture on the planet extended the operational license of a 40 year old plant, managed by a company with a history of falsifying safety reports, in one of the most seismically active places on earth. Fukushima isn't the only nuclear plant operating on its second decade outside of its life expectancy. There are 27 identical reactors in the USA managed by people with roughly the same outlooks and organizational histories. If we are to increase our reliance on nuclear power, the number of incidences like fukushima will increase, that's simple arithmetic.

. Even if they're more common than we'd like, they cause surprisingly little harm

Only if your only metric is immediate casualties. When do you think the Fukushima prefecture will be inhabitable again? Thats a 452sqmi area that will be unable to produce economically for a decade. If the wind changes direction this accident will represent thousands of cancer cases that would not have been were it not for this power plant. What is the economic cost of 1000 cancer treatments? What about 10000 cancer treatments? Will TEPCo be able to recompense the 100,000 displaced families?

We have "incidents" with other sorts of industrial sites which also release radiation into the environment. Somehow we manage to maintain perspective with those. Coal burning plants release more radiation into the environment than a nuclear plant does. There are something like hundreds of coal fires burning uncontrolled in the world today (some which have burned for decades). Those are releasing, among other things, significant levels of radiation into the atmosphere

So nuclear is safe because something is worse? This isn't any sort of meaningful argument. It means we shouldn't burn coal either. I'm ok with that. And I happen to be of the opinion that humanity would be significantly improved by allowing fossil fuels and nuclear power to pay for their externalities and allow renewable resources to be what they are; cheaper. In the USA we pay $600 Billion/year for a military industrial complex whose nearly singular purpose, as I see it, is to protect fuel supplies abroad and prevent rampant nuclear proliferation (and, also in my opinion, not for altruistic purposes, but rather, to protect scarce nuclear resources.) Thats a cost that those industries should have to pay. Instead, people like you crow about how renewables aren't cheap enough to be cost competitive. Right, not cheap enough against the trillions worldwide used to indirectly subsidize non-renewable resources.

Irrational fear of radiation plus a litigation system that can scale to consume all your assets. That's why I'm pleased to live in a constitutionally-restricted representative democracy. At some point, you do have to say "Fuck you" to all the clueless people or you don't get anything done. Such a government allows you to do that while treating the clueless peoples' interests fairly

The fears aren't irrational. Your pollyanna stance on the nuclear industry is. And those "clueless people" have just as much right to an opinion on the matter as you do. Those "clueless people" happen to have a clue about just what kind of people are painting the pretty pretty nuclear picture. And those "clueless people" aren't as apt to buy the nuclear industry's bullshit.

We already know how to deal with nuclear waste: recycle it, reduce it, and if you need to throw it somewhere, put it in Yucca Mountain or a similar site

The people who live at those sites don't want it and the industry isn't offering anything to make it worth their while besides false assertions about the spent fuel's harmlessness. Meanwhile, how are we going to protect a spent fuel site for the 10,000 years transuranic wastes stay harmful? What institution has humanity ever created that has lasted anywhere near that long?

It's a display of remarkably mendacity for anti-nuke activists to lobby against these things while simultaneously claiming that the options don't exist.

They aren't saying they don't exist, they're saying they won't work to do what we need them to do.

That sort of game is a big reason that nuclear power has regained some of its luster over the decades.

Right, not rising fossil fuel costs, expanding energy demands or a multi-billion dollar lobby, its just those damn lying hippies. Just filthy, dirty, all powerful greenpeace membership having, treehuggers. You;ve clearly got an accurate understanding of the world. I concede to you sir. Nuke baby nuke.

Comment Re:Simple replacement for nuclear power... (Score 1) 1122

The power yield is 2GW avg(that's including night hours when the plant is using the thermal mass for power generation) / sq mile. The maintenance requirements are little more than cleaning some mirrors. You are absolutely right. The amount of power we can extract from sunlight dwarfs any other terrestrial power source we could possibly exploit.

Comment Re:The *real* shame in all of this (Score 1) 1122

Renewable power sources coupled with voluntary conservation are the only realistic solutions that don't involve gigadeaths. Everything else requires unsustainable growth models and a belief in technological solutions that borders on magical thinking. Nuclear was never the answer. Even if you feel that the fukushima disaster is some amazing-never-gonna-happen-again far outlier, this accident demonstrates that nuclear plants in general are soft military targets. Unless you think war will be abolished in the near term, the odds of a nuclear plant being targeted during military maneuvers is approaching 1.

I propose we develop distributed, locale specific, renewable energy sources that use whatever energy is most abundant in the area: tidal/wave +solar and wind on the coasts, wind in northern climes, geothermal and hydro where available. Concurrently we curtail excessive waste and voluntarily reduce consumption. The western world has done it before during war drives. Its not wishful thinking. The magnitude of the world's environmental problems need to be framed in terms that the general population can understand, and the message from our representatives and leaders needs to reflect the meaningful actions that the average person can take to help. The elite class needs to be reigned in and forced to accept the same privations the rest of us have to. Thats my proposal. What is yours?

Comment Re:above post: example of techie vs public disconn (Score 1) 442

This culture wasn't responsible for the magnitude 9 quake and accompanying tsunami waves. So the fundamental cause of the Fukushima accident was not due to corruption, bureaucracy, etc.

The corporate culture was responsible for this:

A scandal which ended with the Senior Officers all stepping down. So we have a company running this plant with a history of safety violations and document falsification, but I'm sure the current disaster was completely unforeseeable.

Centralization does seem to be a problem since there were six reactors in one location,

In this context I was referring to centralized power as being power plant based, not just highly localized on site. For instance, the nature and distribution of most renewable power resources necessitate distributed systems.

So what makes you think the accident calls this into question? I look at the accident and I see a business promptly working with government to successfully keep a serious accident from getting much worse.

Then you haven't been paying attention. The japanese government is clearly upset with TEPCo's handling of the situation. The released information is routinely questionable. The disaster response at this point is kabuki theatre at best. And this serious accident has gone from "nothing to see here folks" to second worst nuclear accident in history.

Not by deaths caused. Chernobyl and Kyshtym were worse. There's also medical radiation accidents such as Costa Rica, Zaragoza, and several in the US. I think your characterization of this accident as being the "second worst" nuclear accident is pretty weak given the lack of casualties.

Once again, just a few minutes of research would demonstrate that the INES classifies nuclear accidents not just by deaths but by radiation release and environmental effects. The Japanese government itself rated it at 5 (the same as 3-mile island) on March 18th. Since then radiation release has increased. France, Finland and the USA have rated them at 6 on the INES scale. And as of this writing, there has been essentially no improvement at the plant. Incidentally, each reactor is being rated separately at 5, I wonder how they aggregate.

We are seeing a failure rate on reactors that approaches six percent

From one magnitude 9 quake and one country. That's pretty damn good. Note that this is also the first core melt since Chernobyl, 25 years ago.

The 6% figure is in reference to all 436 commercial reactors on earth, and it is a conservative estimate. Some have calculated over 115 nuclear incidents since 1960. The failure rate between Fukushima 1 and 2 is 50%.

whether the failsafes kick in and prevent tragedy is immaterial.

If it prevents tragedy, then it becomes far more material than whatever argument you were trying to make.

No it becomes indicative. It means every time someone says "1 in a billion chance" they're talking out of their ass. If we are having routine safety failures with 1000 reactors? Or 2000? It points to massive scaling issues that are not being addressed. We've had significant nuclear accidents every 15 years with the relatively small amount of nuclear plants we have. If we were to ramp that number up, how can we possibly say future incidents won't increase?

The nuclear industry has not addressed the concern of waste storage, waste transport, or waste disposal. A responsible industry would figure out its supply and maintenance infrastructure before implementation, not afterwards when they have to store 64,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.

It would start with the public getting a bit of common sense. Waste storage becomes a much less serious issue if you are allowed to recycle rods and store waste in sensible locations./quote>

Which does not get past the point that the Nuclear Industry produced waste that they have no ability to deal with. Presumably we exist within certain democratic institutions. If voters within those institutions say "we don't accept your risk assessments." Then that's the way it is. What's more, if nuclear power is so wonderfully safe, where are the insurers? Why won't any insurance agency insure reactors without 100% guarantees from taxpayers? If it was safe, they could collect premiums all day long and never expect to have to pay out. Insurance actuaries have looked at the data and voted no confidence. Why is that you think? Irrational fear of radiation? Or severe unmitigated risk?

Comment Re:above post: example of techie vs public disconn (Score 2) 442

The risk to the multi-billion dollar nuclear power industry and their 42billion dollar stimulus is pretty great considering the events in Japan. All of you posters are arrogantly speaking about nuclear power as if it is a closed issue for any 'educated' person. It is not. An hour of unbiased research demonstrates that the nuclear industry suffers from significant corruption within their corporate culture, as do all highly subsidized, centralized power generation industries. All of the tech nerds running around stroking themselves off about the beauty and wonder of nuclear engineering need to realize quickly that what is at issue is the ability of for profit corporations to implement safe nuclear reactor designs, not whether safe nuclear reactors can be designed. According to the relevant experts (TEPCO and the IAEA) this is rated as the second worst nuclear accident in history. We are seeing a failure rate on reactors that approaches six percent, whether the failsafes kick in and prevent tragedy is immaterial. The nuclear industry has not addressed the concern of waste storage, waste transport, or waste disposal. A responsible industry would figure out its supply and maintenance infrastructure before implementation, not afterwards when they have to store 64,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.

Comment Re:OK, I misread (Score 2) 347

Serious researcher= agrees with my preconceived notions about how nature behaves. Crackpot= Produces research that challenges those notions and must be wrong. I don't even know why humanity pursues science at this point. 250+ comments aptly demonstrate that slashdot commentators know exactly how the universe behaves at all levels and surprising or preliminary research is clear wooery of the basest and most brain-dead sort.

Comment Re:Doomed (Score 1) 987

You're the one who seems to have trouble with comprehension. A google search doesn't reveal anything about the veracity of Michael Moore's claims. Just list a few of the glaring lies that you know of personally to illustrate what a worthless scumbag Michael Moore happens to be.

Comment Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570

If your conclusion to the above thought experiment was "most likely" murder, than you are accepting conclusions based on faith in your ability to intuit causes. If you haven't vetted that ability through rigorous experimentation, than yes, you are operating under a faith based belief system. There is a large gulf between an internet skeptic and a scientist. An interesting recent illustration was posted on the makezine blog wrt to DDWFTTW (Dead Down Wind faster than the Wind) vehicles just today. Internet skeptic after skeptic railing about what an obvious hoax they are, how against the basic rules of physics they are, etc etc. But in the end, the proof was in both videos and mathematics. The point is this, science may not be faith based, but those who apply the results of science outside of the specific instances the scientific results are describing are basing that application on various levels of faith.

Comment Re:Return on Investment (Score 1) 405

I may be going out on a limb here, but average class sizes have been creeping up for 30 years now. I read one report stating that in California high school class sizes average in the high 30's to low 40's. If we spent money for more teachers to reduce class size and offer more time for individual attention to each student we'd probably see a marked improvement in education standards across the board. I tutor SAT students on the side, and while I use a fixed curriculum, I see a marked difference in my score improvements for a small class (4-8 students) vs a large class (15-20students). Its obvious how the improvement comes about; in a smaller class I have much more time to address specific concerns of my students. So in light of my admittedly anecdotal evidence, I suggest that as a society we invest in training and deploying more teachers with the goal of reducing class size.

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Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. -- James F. Byrnes