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Last Thursday June 13 I learned on facebook that A. They had a very lively, friendly, and interesting conversation about nuclear energy, safety, and the German decision to shut down all nuclear power plants.


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The facebook entry continued: A. An avowing nuke in town! I wish I had been there! I downloaded Max W. Carbon 's book: Nuclear Power, Villain or Victim?

Nuclear Energy, Low-Level Radiation, Radon and Irradiated Foods

Our most misunderstood source of electricity. The book is in its second edition of and therefore only addresses the nuclear accidents of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. I agree with most of what Max Carbon writes like these general statements: In summary, nuclear power is safe; no member of the public has ever been killed from the operation of American-type plants and It appears that no deaths will result worldwide from nuclear power's first 45 years of history — except at Chernobyl and Fukushima? This is a truly phenomenal safety record for a new technology.

Nevertheless over the years I turned anti-nuke and shall fix my opposition to nuclear power on two of Carbon's statements: Low-cost electricity is vital for industry to compete internationally and to provide job s and Most of the scientific and engineering community believes the waste can readily be disposed of by deep-underground burial — where it will be harmless. A German proverb says: Believing means ignorance, and does "readily" mean safely too? Frequently Carbon compares clean nuclear energy with fossil fuels that pollute the environment stressing the known fact that most conventional power stations emit more radioactivity than nuclear power plants not without saying they emit greenhouse gas too.

This, however, is no longer a strong argument since nuclear power should rather be compared with today's renewable energy sources where the cost of producing electricity per kilowatt-hour will strongly enter the debate. The price of electricity Carbon writes: The cost of electricity from today's nuclear plants is the cheapest available from any energy source except possibly hydroelectric. The reason is: Today's nuclear plants were built typically 30 years ago, and their construction costs have already been paid.

Therefore, the cost to generate electricity in them comes only from the cost of maintaining and operating the plant and making ongoing capital improvements; from the cost of buying new fuel and disposing of spent fuel; and from the cost of overhead items such as administration, taxes, money set aside for decommissioning, profits, and so on.

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The money for decommissioning is collected from customers as the plant is operated as part of the price of electricity. Utilities are presently collecting between one-tenth and two-tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour for this purpose. The estimated cost of nuclear electricity from the new plants [discussed above] includes funds for decommissioning.

My idea always has been and still is: Energy should not be cheap. It should be priced "correctly" such that there is an incentive for industry and the private sector to economize. In Germany electricity is heavily taxed with the idea to invest this money in renewable energy technologies. The "correct" costs of nuclear energy are still heavily debated. Production costs are not stable and even increase for written-off power reactors due to higher maintenance costs and modern safety requirements.

A good example is the oldest French nuclear power plant at Fessenheim located 30 km west of Freiburg. This summer the thickness of the concrete base-plate below the reactor vessel will be increased from a mere 1. Give me a break, during the Cold War they were part and parcel of the KGB, remember their utter silence regarding Cherynobyl. Reply to 1: Prof. Shrader-Frechette is a widely published academic author with a background in physics, mathematics, biology and philosophy.

Her discussion of the fallacious arguments being used to promote nuclear energy are spot on and stand up to rigorous examination. Her website contains a library of her publications on the topic which are meticulously documented with a heavy reliance on original sources from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and and the Department of Energy. Murray's attack on the other hand, is a baseless personal assualt - a prime example of an ad hominem logical fallacy.

Even considering the mercury in the CFLs, it is less than half of what would be emitted by the coal burned to power a similar number of incandescent bulbs.

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Another advantage is that the CFL mercury eventually is confined to landfills, where studies have shown it to be absorbed by the surrounding wastes. The mercury from coal, however, is atmospherically distributed, where it finds its way into the soil and the beds of waterways. There the mercury enters the food chain by being absorbed by bacteria and converted to methyl mercury - the form of mercury that is most harmful to humans. Space considerations limit my ability to refute the litany of misinformation in above the responses to the original article, but I'd like to address just one more specifically;the reference to France as a demonstration of nuclear energy as a success story.

It isn't. The French nuclear program has been successful in the limited context of the few decades it has been in operation, however, there are already more than twice the number of nuclear power plants in the US than in France. On both sides of the ocean this deployment has been possible only because of massive government assistance and by ignoring the full external costs of nuclear waste disposal and the the threat of nuclear proliferation.

It should be recognized that the elites proposing climate change be addressed by widescale deployment of thousands of new reactors also endorse the concept that control of nuclear materials will be possible because the non-nuclear countries will be so obligated to the providers of recycled nuclear fuel that they will be compliant regarding the use of these materials in the development of nuclear weapons. However, the basic idea of nationalistic energy security concerns argues that the opposite is true. The policy of widespread deployment will give rise witness Iran to the assertion that processing of nuclear fuel is an inalienable right of all countries.

Far from acting to deter nuclear proliferation, encouraging nuclear power will ensure that any country that wants to acquire nuclear weapons will have the means to do so rather easily. The misinformation in the previous comments is incredible!! The commenters obviously have no clue about the damage that radioactivity does to the human genome for generations upon generations to come.

They'll not see one single watt of electricity yet they will have to pay for the storage and deal with the problems that arise when containers fail and breach. While I have seen such ignorance displayed in many places over the years, I have never seen so much in one essay.

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What can one say about an article that is wrong in nearly every statement it makes about nuclear energy? There is no need for refutation. France and Japan have committed to the French system which reprocesses nuclear waste. Finland has also. After studying all the arguments in this article, the United Kingdom has made the decision to go with the French process,.

It is disappointing to see such a one-sided and I believe misinformed, analysis regarding the future of nuclear energy published in America.


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Relying on 12 million barrels of imported oil per day is sapping the strength of our economy and taking us to terrible political decisions. Full speed ahead on renewable sources such as wind and solar but we won't get there fast enough to maintain an acceptable standard of living. We must not give up on our ability to solve the technological problems that nuclear energy presents. Few of the replies to Professor Shrader-Frechette's arguments actually address her claims.

To take only one example, reprocessing nuclear waste is expensive and not a very secure or studied option. It is being followed in various countries because they are already committed to nuclear power.


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  8. No one of the responses actually addresses the major point about governemnt subsidies to the nuclear industry. As a reader who works for an energy company which produces electricity from wind, solar-thermal, natural gas and nuclear sources - and operates the nation's largest conservation programs - I was disappointed with this article. The nuclear question is an important one, and certainly deserves more thoughtful and balanced discussion.

    This woman is not trying to convince anyone of anything. She's simply topping up the memories of the wingnuts who already agree with her. This article is very well-thought out.

    It is amazing to me how nuclear advocates are often so ideologically bent on favoring this 20th century technology. Nuclear power is a has-been. The only reason it was ever in vogue is because of big government subsidies. The only reason any more will be built is because of big government subsidization.