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Comment Re:Mod parent down, spurious data... (Score 1) 853

The question is do modern reactors fall far enough into the safe corner to warrant widespread deployment?

Indeed. Each exposed human being must be able to decide. As long-lived (/'hot') waste may be a matter of concern for future generations we have a problem.

Jet liners

There are at least a few major differences with a nuke reactor:

  1. Jetliners rarely kill non-passengers and everyone can chose to avoid them (be a non-passenger)
  2. They kill locally (in space and time) and 'patently' while every bystander, and even anti-nuke and distant people, in space and time, may be more than slightly annoyed by a nuclear reactor, and may be unable to know that they are at risk (exposed to ionizing radiation). Even without any disaster, because part of the waste is highly dangerous!
  3. Jetliners are very difficult to replace in their mission. Civilian nuke, used for gridpower generation, is not.

As with cars

Same answers, adaptation (as for non-passengers victims, who now can only dismiss the risk by leaving cities) left as an exercise for the reader :-)

people regard the risk/benefit ratio to be worth the deaths

That's the whole point.

the risks/rewards lie on a continuum and that despite it being distasteful to admit some number of deaths are acceptable

Indeed. BTW a jetliner killed my brother in 1998 (flight SR-111, he was a passenger), I had to give a thought about those matters.

If you compare the number of people likely to be killed by reactor malfunctions to the number of people saved by some consequence of the reactors existing does it compare favourably?

Answering is difficult, for example (again!) because we have to take waste into account. Moreover one cannot neglect lies published by some people advocating it, which is not precisely a good factor in my book.

Comment Re:Mod parent down, spurious data... (Score 1) 853

I just can't parse that sentence

Sorry. Wish I had the wisdom to avoid writing while in a hurry.

The original poster wrote: "Chernobyl, but that one was a combination of bad reactor design even for its age, human error, but most importantly, deliberate shutdown of safety mechanisms while running in experimental mode".

My intent was to say that not a single one of those risks are now solved. "Bad reactor design" is not out of question (recent bugs were discovered in modern designs, and with time others may appear, maybe by hitting hard), human error is always a factor (Three Mile Island...), deliberate (or miscalculated risk-taking) did not suddenly became impossible.

Comment Re:Mod parent down, spurious data... (Score 1) 853

in a modern nuclear plant (pebble-bed designs), when it "goes down" all it does is stop generating power, nothing more

The Soviets masters also used to tout their reactors as "sure to the point of enabling us to build them on the Red Square". When Cherno blasted stuff away they were nowhere to be found, and poor suckers (civilians and liquidators) enjoyed the ride.

Even the modern EPR was also touted as absolutely sure, then experts mandated by the first customer (the Finns) discovered that the classic "sump clogging" problem may cause a major accident, as explained in "Nucleonics Week" (Volume 45, Number 11 - March 11, 2004). It was at least partially fixed, but for one discovered bug how many remain hidden?

As for your pebble thingie don't neglect criticism (page 41). Published by anti-nukers, yep, but please read the authors' pedigrees (page 4).

For informed people anyone claiming that a complex technical thingie (for example a nuclear powerplant or a piece of software) is "fully debugged and sure" is either a naive enthusiast or a liar.

Comment Re:Mod parent down, spurious data... (Score 1) 853

Three Mile Island? Fully contained, worked as designed.

No one knows for sure why the meltdown was avoided. Moreover the very probable causes (regulatory failure and industry cost-cutting) are not forever gone.

Chernobyl, but that one was a combination of bad reactor design even for its age, human error, but most importantly, deliberate shutdown of safety mechanisms while running in experimental mode

All thoses causes were then possible, most (if not all) for sure are and probably will.

Comment Effective way to battle climage change? (Score 1) 853

A civilian nuclear reactor produces gridpower. "There are currently 104 commercial nuclear reactors ((...)) the share of the Nationâ(TM)s total electricity supply provided by nuclear power generation has averaged about 20%". Source:EIA.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions were (2007): 2,433 million metric tons emitted to produce gridpower, and 3,557 for other uses, mainly transportation (no car/plane runs on nuclear fuel!). Source: EIA

In other words building 400 new nuclear reactors, a major ordeal, only reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 40% and there is no further potential gain without an even much more major retrofit: only using gridpower-fed transportation means. Is it an "effective" approach?

Nuclear: 8.5 percent of the total primary energy used. Renewable (7.3%) are not ridiculous, especially given their long history of lack of founding.


Submission + - Transparent solar cells made for your house, cars (examiner.com)

Johnathan Martinez writes: "Imagine having a hybrid or electric car that uses sunlight that hits the windows during the day to charge itself. The windows of your house would look just like any other windows, except they are really solar cells in disguise. Several companies are on the verge of making transparent electronics a reality, including the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials."
The Media

Submission + - Google Set Up by the Chinese Government? (shanghaiist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google Adwords was recently blocked in China, in a public campaign against Google where the state-controlled media spent several days railing against Google and its connection to porn, pushing aside discussion of the controversial Green Dam software. Most damning was that normal search terms like "son" would bring up naughty searches to incest. However, analysis of Google Insights suggests that these search terms only became popular as a result of Web Activity from Beijing, from shortly before the media began its attacks. The original Chinese-language posting may be found here.

Submission + - Canada considering online voting in elections (flyinglow.ca) 2

ehud42 writes: "Slashdot readers generally agree that voting machines such as from Diebold are a bad idea. Well, what about online voting? That is what the Vancouver Sun is reporting. Given that voter turnout in our most recent election was the worst on record, Elections Canada is kicking around the idea of allowing voters to register online, update registration information online and maybe even vote online. Seems the kids like the idea... what do you think?"

Submission + - What's up with the Munich Linux migration? (worldlabel.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "The Munich decision to move its 14,000 desktops to Free Open Source Software created a big splash back in 2003 as news circulated of the third-largest German city's defection from Microsoft. When it was announced in 2003, the story garnered coverage even in the US, such as an extensive article in USAtoday on-line. Currently, about 60% of desktops are using OpenOffice, with the remaining 40% to be completed by the end of 2009. Firefox and Thunderbird are being used in all of the city's desktop machines. Ten percent of desktops are running the LiMux Debian-based distro, and 80% will be running LiMux by 2012 at the latest. Autonomy was generally considered more important than costs savings, although the LiMux initiative is increasing competition in the IT industry in Munich already. The program has succeeded because the city administration has been careful to reach out to all stakeholders, from managers down to simple end users."

Submission + - New Technique Developed for Secure Data Storage

gcn writes: The company Cleversafe is is proposing a radically different approach to the problem of secure data storage and key management. Instead of encrypting the data and storing the key in a separate location their solution is to use a secret sharing scheme on the data itself to keep it secure. Normally this would be impractical for bulk data storage because each share of the secret would be the same size as the original data, but it seems they have overcome this with the novel combination of an All-or-Nothing Transform and forward error correction. What do other slashdotters think about this technique, is it a viable solution for secure data storage?
Operating Systems

Submission + - EasyPeasy/Ubuntu-EEE Shut Down 1

chill writes: Ubuntu-EEE, now known as EasyPeasy, is a Ubuntu-based distro optimized for netbooks, like the Asus EEE. It has become popular. So popular their hosting provider just yanked them offline without warning for excessive CPU usage. (Yeah, I know, linking directly to the "we're offline" page will do wonders for his utilization.) How do you deal with being a popular distro without generating any serious income?

Comment The Bose Institute exhibited that plants do "feel" (Score 1) 628

The Bose Institute ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose_Institute ) exhibited approximatively 90 years ago that plants do "feel" pain. A. Huxley visited the lab and wrote about this in his "Jesting Pilate" book (1926), in very similar terms (more or less "upon discovering those studies, vegans will be tempted to only eat minerals") Nothing new under the Sun...

Submission + - gOS 1.0.1: modified ISO floating around (cafelinux.org)

natmakarvitch writes: "Two different versions of the Linux gOS live CD 1.0.1 live are floating around. Same sizes, same names... but their contents differ.

One is probably the official one (MD5: a43c8720fe61875e1353f3111258e4cf).

Does anybody have official information about the other one (MD5SUM: 4c3500a22ec25b44c1586acac69eea09), which is ubiquitous? If no one knows about this... beware!

People releasing stuff have to seal it (sign it thanks to a well-signed GPG key). Please!"


Submission + - Trophees du libre: financial support for free (tropheesdulibre.org)

natmakarvitch writes: "Free software projects have just a few weeks left to apply to the Trophees du Libre (international free software awards), an international event that has been rewarding innovative free software since 2003, providing its winners with financial support as well as media coverage.

The winner of each category, as decided by an int'l jury, will be presented with 3,000 euros, a laptop PC, books and goodies. The second and third will be presented with, respectively, 1,0000 euros and 500 euros, along with books and goodies.

Projects must register before the 1st of October 2007."

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