1. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Go-ahead given for new nuclear power plants

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Raven, Jan 10, 2008.

    The government gave the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations on Thursday, setting no limits on nuclear expansion and adding momentum for a worldwide renaissance of atomic energy.

    The government considered nuclear power unattractive as recently as 2003 but now says it will help Britain meet its climate change goals and avoid overdependence on imported energy as North Sea oil and gas supplies dwindle.

    Nuclear power stations provide about 18 percent of Britain's electricity now, but many are nearing the end of their lives.

    "We want Britain to be more secure in its energy supply," Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters. "We are inviting companies to express an interest in building a new generation of power stations to replace the existing ones."

    Energy Secretary John Hutton said he would set no limit on the construction of new plants.

    Nuclear operators welcomed the move and announced plans for at least four new reactors with the first running by late 2017.

    Environmental group Greenpeace, which succeeded in blocking an earlier pro-nuclear decision, said the public had been misled during recent consultations and its lawyers were already considering a fresh challenge.

    "This is bad news for Britain's energy security and bad news for our efforts to beat climate change," Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven said, adding that government plans to store highly radioactive waste underground were not safe.

    RENAISSANCE

    Nuclear power is on the verge of a renaissance, having remained unchanged at 16 percent of the global mix for the last 20 years, when the Chernobyl disaster curbed its growth.

    It is now becoming more competitive amid surging prices for oil and gas and buoyed by the need to cut carbon emissions to fight climate change.

    Already, countries such as France and Finland are building new nuclear plants and, in the United States, companies have begun filing licence applications, reinforcing the view atomic energy is part of the solution to the world's energy problems.

    There is opposition to nuclear among some states, however, including Germany, an anti-nuclear stronghold. Critics say the toxic waste from nuclear power generation remains a problem for thousands of years and is not worth the risk.

    Hutton said the UK would not subsidise any new reactors, but the government would step in to help in case of a catastrophe.

    The Conservative Party lent its support to the decision and vowed to "set aside political scrapping", but London Mayor Ken Livingstone called the decision "the mistake of a generation".

    "I would anticipate that there will be yet further challenges, both political and indeed legal which the government will have to deal with," said lawyer Jim Percival of Brabners Chaffe Street, a nuclear specialist.

    GLOBAL COMPETITION

    Nuclear operators say they could have new plants running in Britain by 2017, but analysts point to tough global competition for components and experienced nuclear workers.

    "The UK will need to work hard to remain an attractive option," said Tony Ward of Ernst & Young, adding that more than 30 reactors were under construction around the world, and over 90 were in the pipeline.

    Hutton said he expected several new plants to be running by the mid-2020s and France's EDF said it aimed to build four reactors in the UK alongside Areva and British Energy.

    Centrica and Germany's RWE and E.ON also said they were keen to get involved.

    The government green light was accompanied by publication of an Energy Bill to be fast-tracked through parliament with the Climate Change Bill and the Planning Bill.

    The trio of bills form the backbone of the government's new energy and climate policy for the next decades.

    Have your say on nuclear power: Green light for nuclear - Ask... #respond
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Personally, I think nuclear power is probably the best available option at the moment. It's long term, fairly clean and safe (if you dispose of the waste properly, and don't mess around with the reactor like the Russians did), and will take pressure off other resources.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I agree Banzai.

    Wind power is inefficiant, sar power can be unreliable and it takes a massive amount of solar panels to get the same results as a nuclear reactor, and hydropower is hard to get a good location for. Geothermal energy is also location dependent.

    Nuclear reactors can be built almost anywhere and from what I hear your actually safer from radiation in a nuclear pwoer plant than you are walking down the street on a sunny day. Go figure.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. There is a common misperception that various solar energy technologies (which includes wind, direct solar conversion, and hydroelectric power) have no environmental impact. On a small scale, this is true, but on a larger scale, the environmental impact can be profound. Disruption of wind or water flow patterns and thermal distribution changes from direct conversion are typical factors that must not be ignored.

    Similarly, geothermal energy production removes heat from sites within the Earth's crust, changing the heat distribution under the planet's surface.

    Nuclear energy is not without impact either, but is a highly efficient production method whose environmental impact in normal operation can be well localized.

    The environmental impact of an accident at any power station that generates large amounts of energy is inevitably disastrous, and nuclear energy is the most feared in this regard. As it has the greatest potential for energy production per unit generator site volume, the risks are undoubtedly the greatest.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Do you reckon anyone would object to me building a nuclear reacter in my garden shed?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    possibly...
     
  7. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Well Banzai if you had a degree in Nuclear Physics I'd probably apporve and start jacking your power. If you don't then I'd move away.
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Oh come on. I'm not Russian. It won't explode or anything.
     
  9. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Sorry Banzai but when it comes to the Land of Hats I don't take chances. I conquered the place to rule with an iron fist, how do you expect me to rule the place if its blown to bi- I mean.... I care about the people of Hat Land. I can't take chances with Nuclear power unless I'm sure its safe.
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'll wear safety goggles...
     
  11. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Well safety goggles are awefully safe... they ahve to be... "safe" is in the name right?

    Ok Banzai. Set up shop next to the Berets!

    The french ones not the Green ones. John Wayne is a valued contributor to my regim- administration... yeah
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't care how much of a hurry you are or are not in. You're too vocal about world domination to be trusted with a "nucular" power plant.

    As for making iot explode, that's much more difficult than you think.
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well if the Soviets managed it...

    *sulks*
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, there was an explosion at Chernobyl, but it wasn't a nuclear explosion. It was a pressure explosion that resulted in a meltdown incident.
     
  15. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Has there ever been an unintintional nuclear explosion?
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you mean a nuclear detonation of something that was not specifically designed to be a fission bomb, the answer is no. The requirements for nuclear detonation are in a completely different range than what is required for energy production. The fissionable material must be isotopically enriched to a much higher degree than is required or safe for operating a reactor. Even then, initiating a cascade reaction requires additional technology to make it happen.

    As for a fusion (hydrogen) bomb, you begin with a fission bomb and add highly enriched hydrogen isotopes to that, along with even more technology.

    So no, it won't happen by accident.
     
  17. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right, Cog... so, what exactly is this "additional technology"? Not saying I plan on using it against any countries as I would never do such a thing. Especially not for world domination. Never. Nope, not me. *whistles*
     
  18. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I would... *Pulls out map of France*
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    adamant, I know some of those things in very general terms - not all the details, none of the necessary mathematics - but stopped where I did deliberately.

    I'm not a nuclear physicist. What I do know was available to every undergraduate in MIT close to 40 years ago (minus what I have forgotten). Those were still Cold War years, so there was a lot withheld back then.
     
  20. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, that was too funny. :p
     
  21. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Nuclear power is definetley the best and most ecological desicion to make. Chernobyl only happened due to shoddy Soviet engineering that didn't really look ahead at consequences. Today's modern power plants are incredibly advanced, and the worst that could happen would be an internal collapse, but since the concrete dome surrounding it is so strong (the equivalent of 35 feet!) it would never leak. An explosion is also impossible because there is not enough of the type of element (it's name escapes me at the moment) to cause an explosive reaction. If only the American government would allow reprocessing of the leftovers to be reused. Then we could truely run on efficient, green power... :mad:
     
  22. PrincessGarnet
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    if nuclear power is so ecological the why are green parties and green groups so against it?
     
  23. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    They are against anything nuclear, without realizing the sensibility of its use. They simply no nothing about it other than it uses that stuff from nuclear bombs, therefore they assume its evil. Simplisitc logic for simpletons.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well no, there are real issues associated with it. The fuel is dangerous to handle, even to transport through populated areas, and is chemically highly toxic as well. The expended waste products, although also solid, present disposal problems because of their highly radioactive and toxic nature, and the fact that they remain that way for a very, very long time.
     
  25. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Hence why we should recylce the waste products. Allowing it to sit for 7 years in cooling water turns it into plutonium, which can be reused in the plant. But, back in the 80s a diplomatic ideal was placed that no plutonium was to be reused, because as it sits there it could be stolen for nuclear weapons. Yet every other country does it, so it could be just stolen from somewhere I else.
    And yes it CAN be dangerous to handle, but working with radioactive material is all about time and distance. They work short shifts when it is necessary to change out the fuel rods and wear contamination clothing to prevent radioactive materials to get to them. In fact, working with radioactive materials takes less days from your life then working as a farmer (a difference of 50 to 250 days).
     

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