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Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
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raynebc said:

If we want to talk about switching from coal/oil/gas to nuclear until the favored green technologies are ready to drive the ENTIRE country's power needs 24/7, we can do that.

I love the way you led into that. So we can only discuss using nuclear energy?

raynebc said:

Setting a deadline of using only green energy in a decade like the more extreme Democrats want is a pipe dream.

Probably, but that's no reason not to make the attempt.

The CO^2 levels are at twice their natural historic high.

The sea levels are still rising, despite Neil's article on Antarctic ice gain.

The temperature continues to rise.

When should we start doing something?

Aaron Bolyard
Member #7,537
July 2006
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damn global warming it's even affect video games

{"name":"611949","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/5\/a\/5a2834f024cea7d88ae5e8355e5a3956.png","w":1282,"h":752,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/5\/a\/5a2834f024cea7d88ae5e8355e5a3956"}611949

two days ago that was a blue plain, now look at it

If that's not funny this is:

{"name":"611950","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/6\/1\/6166b38d7b709b2d1310e249ca2c85a9.jpg","w":1650,"h":1275,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/6\/1\/6166b38d7b709b2d1310e249ca2c85a9"}611950

---
ItsyRealm, a quirky 2D/3D RPG where you fight, skill, and explore in a medieval world with horrors unimaginable.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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Nuclear is believed to be generally "green", but ONLY if no disasters occur. I.e., if the plant explodes or the radioactive waste leaks into the environment then we're all fucked. Nuclear is clean-ish, but the waste is a big problem, and there's definite dangers. So if we're going to go with nuclear then we need to be careful about it. But yes, at least from what I've read, it is an improvement over the dirtier alternatives, at least in theory. So go ahead and consider that.

The "deadline" isn't some random figure somebody put together for politics (protip: the politicians are bought by the oil companies that don't profit from green ideas). It's what scientists that study this for a living believe is critical. So we can't do too much about the deadline. There are plenty of things we can do. We just don't because they're inconvenient. Of course, humans are generally very stupid animals. We might be generally more intelligent than most of our neighbours, but we're still extremely stupid. On average anyway. And so we're more than likely going to drive our own species to extinction before we sacrifice any luxuries.

We probably already have the means to take comfortable care of everyone on Earth without doing permanent harm to our environment if we were willing to share like we try to teach our 3 year olds to do, but fuck that shit. We're greedy, and we're selfish, and everyone for themselves. So we'll burn this bitch down instead.

In the long run everything will be fine. Life will continue on this rock for thousands of years. It likely won't include humans, or many of the wonderful animals that we take for granted every day, but life will go on, and so will this planet. If there are alien species in the cosmos we'll be one of those extinct life forms they discover in 1000 years having killed themselves with their own greed.

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

When should we start doing something?

When there's a viable alternative. Solar and wind aren't sufficient at this time. Making drastic moves without having any good moves can be worse than standing still.

Nuclear energy produces enormous energy with very little land required, doesn't output the CO2 that fossil fuels do, etc. Improvements in technology and fail-safe measures mitigate the risks of a meltdown. Fukushima was a perfect storm of bad planning and I'm not immediately aware of a large number of nuclear plants in tsunami range.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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Unfortunately it may not be so easy to predict "tsunami range" for long. Also, nuclear facilities are very ripe for terrorism or military targets. So if we're going to expand upon the facilities we're also going to need to defend them from airplanes, ground forces, etc. As well as defending against "cyber" attacks. It's not as easy as it sounds. And the stakes are quite high. Nuclear is only "green" when things go right. It's far, far worse for the environment when things go wrong.

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

For starters, don't build a reactor a mere two or three hundred meters away from the ocean like the Fukishima reactor. It should be much further inland, which will also make it a harder target for foreign adversaries. If they locate it in unpopulated areas, the human fallout from a successful attack would be mostly avoidable. Second, they can have a closed network with no accessibility to the Internet to eliminate remote cyber attack. They'll have to have strong security practices to make local computer attacks a non-threat, but it is doable. There are dangers of pollution, but they are potential instead of guaranteed like with other forms of energy.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I think it's pretty naive to think that the solutions to these problems are so simple. They're not. They're a very real concern for lots of large, skilled, experienced groups. Certainly there are things that can be done to limit certain risks, but they all have trade-offs. Google says that Japan is only 230 kilometres wide. That combined with the density probably somewhat limits available land for power plants like this. I think you give human beings way too much credit. The really smart, responsible kind are a very small minority. Maybe 0.00001% or something. The vast majority are lucky to be eating with a fork (or chopsticks). :D

Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
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LULZ

1. Three Mile Island

2. Chernobyl

3. Fukushima

4. ???

Not to mention the millions of metric tons of radioactive waste stored underground.

Yeah, great stuff.

IF and WHEN nuclear technology is ready to meet all our energy needs THEN we can consider switching over from green technology.

See what I did there? xD

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

Unfortunately for Edgar, green energy cannot meet current power needs but nuclear technology can. I appreciate you don't like it, but that's reality.

Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
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Sorry, unfortunately for raynebc, you would need to double the number of nuclear power plants in the entire world to build enough power plants in the US to power it at 70%. Not to mention all the radioactive waste it would create. :/

Source :
https://www.quora.com/How-many-nuclear-reactors-would-be-required-to-power-the-United-States-How-much-would-each-modern-reactor-cost-to-build-assuming-there-were-no-NIMBY-issues-i-e-the-land-was-available-and-we-had-the-green-light

EDIT
According to his own estimates, it costs $5 billion for a new reactor, and $1.7 billion for a new solar thermal generator. The solar thermal has half the output, but cost 2/3 less! Which means it is 50% more cost effective.

Estimates on the cost of nuclear powering the US :
1 trillion dollars, 20-60 years

Estimates on green power
2 trillion, 10-20 years

I'd say they're pretty equally positioned to take over the energy market. Nuclear takes too long and generates too much waste. For a larger initial investment you get a better return in a shorter time for green energy.

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

The majority opinion there seems to be that renewables are getting better, but are still much more expensive than nuclear, whose waste can be safely stored and dealt with. The EIA's 2019 annual energy outlook report seems to say in 2023 solar thermal's LCOE is projected to about twice that of nuclear. Plus you won't get Arizona levels of solar energy just anywhere, so location will matter. It does help that super hot desert isn't attractive for many other uses. Ideally both technologies would complement each other well and should be pursued over coal or gas.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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There is still a lot of problem solving with green energy plants. For example, that one solar plant apparently has trouble with birds getting vaporized by the focused energy beams... There is still work to be done, but it's worth pursuing. We're hopeful that the ends will justify the means. And as long as we keep "green" plants regulated to ensure they're respecting the environment too we can achieve a net win over alternative sources.

I would be in favor of some increased usage of nuclear, but we have to be very careful how we approach it. It's a very powerful energy source, but that comes with great dangers too. And the waste is extremely dangerous. I question what the impact is on the planet having that material buried or submerged in pools. It may be theoretically contained, but I don't know if we can account for all possible impacts... We might discover in time that we've fucked ourselves with it. Certainly I think we should try to keep it far away from populated areas.

Perhaps we could utilize a railgun system to launch the material safely into outer space, but then we can't really be certain of the impact of that either. Maybe in 1000 years it'll end up dumping back on us... I wonder if we could predict a velocity that could nearly guarantee reaching the Sun. It seems relatively safe to launch the material into a star, but then again who knows. Maybe it would make the star unstable somehow over time, or make it more intense and ultimately cook us. :D

In any case, I think it's important for us to try. Of course, I don't think that alone will suffice to get us out of trouble. I think we need to start taxing the Hell out of unnecessary/luxury travel and stuff. Basically just make it so that abusing resources/waste is unaffordable. That will be the best way to get things under control. Until we do something like that people will just continue going as they are. Nobody is going to willingly surrender luxury. People (such as those demonstrated on this forum) are much happier just denying that there's a problem and leaving future generations to deal with it. And that's just not going to work.

Aaron Bolyard
Member #7,537
July 2006
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Although nuclear energy is the most efficient in the near term (let's say 10 years), renewables seem to have the potential to be nearly as efficient or more so within 10 years...

It's a matter of "will renewables be more efficient in the timeline it takes to fund and build more nuclear power plants" and I believe the answer will likely be yes.

This is based on fuzzy knowledge, I'd have to actually do research to give exact numbers. But who does research on this forum. ;D

---
ItsyRealm, a quirky 2D/3D RPG where you fight, skill, and explore in a medieval world with horrors unimaginable.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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bamccaig said:

I wonder if we could predict a velocity that could nearly guarantee reaching the Sun.

Removing all orbital velocity (removing earths orbital speed) is easily the best way to do it, so it falls straight in.

Quote:

It seems relatively safe to launch the material into a star, but then again who knows. Maybe it would make the star unstable somehow over time

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you could throw the entire Earth into the sun and it would barely hiccup.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

One of the scientists at my work is an engineer with some experience dealing with nuclear power. I asked him once about removing nuclear waste from the planet and he indicated that it's good in theory, except if there's a problem such as a shuttle explosion, then a contained problem was just turned into a contamination disaster. It's safer to improve the technology to deal with the waste on the planet's surface.

It would be nice if renewables become more efficient than nuclear, but if similar effort is spent on improving nuclear, it may possibly remain more efficient than renewables. Improvements in the collection of fossil fuel led to fracking and is the reason why the USA's carbon emissions have dropped so quickly. We don't have to settle on any energy technology being good enough, they can all get better.

For cooking birds, I don't know if there's a good way to make them avoid solar plants other than emitting an unpleasant noise to scare them away. I bet there would be people that would consider that cruel treatment of animals, but it's better than letting them get cooked to death.

l j
Member #10,584
January 2009
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Sending anything to the sun requires a massive amount of delta-v.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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raynebc said:

One of the scientists at my work is an engineer with some experience dealing with nuclear power. I asked him once about removing nuclear waste from the planet and he indicated that it's good in theory, except if there's a problem such as a shuttle explosion, then a contained problem was just turned into a contamination disaster. It's safer to improve the technology to deal with the waste on the planet's surface.

That's why I quickly ruled out a shuttle/rocket launch and went for a railgun approach. Of course, it would still potentially have the same dangers, but the hope would be that the system would be more reliable. Less moving parts. Though I'm not sure if railgun technology that works on a large scale even exists yet.

raynebc said:

Improvements in the collection of fossil fuel led to fracking and is the reason why the USA's carbon emissions have dropped so quickly.

Except that fracking is considered harmful for several reasons. >:(

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing#Health_risks
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing#Environmental_impacts

raynebc said:

For cooking birds, I don't know if there's a good way to make them avoid solar plants other than emitting an unpleasant noise to scare them away. I bet there would be people that would consider that cruel treatment of animals, but it's better than letting them get cooked to death.

I don't think noise to scare them away has been overly effective. It's probably a short-term solution anyway. Animals are adaptive so they'd probably eventually stop being afraid of it (or just go deaf and no longer hear it ::)).

From what I've read the losses aren't necessarily harming the bird population, but then again I don't trust for-profit organizations to properly care enough about the environment to give an honest answer if that weren't the case.

Nevertheless, perhaps they could solve the problem by enclosing the mirrors/focusing beams somehow. I'm sure solutions exist. They just need to be forced to find them. A for-profit organization isn't going to go out of its way to spend extra money.

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Fracking is horrific. Scientifically.

I've actually been meaning to do a science video on YouTube explaining my argument for global warming. Basically, in a nutshell, even if you're a super-conservative:

- Would you be pissed if someone dumped oil on your lawn? Yes.
- Would you be pissed if someone dumped oil on your lawn and it made your kids sick? Yes.
- Would you be pissed if a corporation dumped oil on your lawn, and poisoned your kids? Yes.

So why wouldn't you be pissed if a corporation dumped poison into the AIR that then poisoned your children? Because that's literally the reason children are growing up with asthma. Their lungs have been poisoned by air pollution.

So, to hell with "global warming" for a moment, you're not "conservative" if you're okay with people poisoning your kids--you're just insane. Pollution is real. And the people who are poisoning your kids should be punished. Ignore CO2 completely. Does that mean POLLUTION and TRASH on the side of the highway magically stops existing because you don't believe it exists?

Further, what are we worried about? What's the worst negative outcome? Where's the DOWNSIDE to cleaning up our waters, forests, and air?

As for nuke power: crazy liberals will say 'omg, it lasts 10000 years'. Yeah, and how much new technology have we come up in the last ONE HUNDRED years? You telling me we won't come up with some new technology for nuclear waste over the next 9900 years of human evolution? And instead, we should build either coal, or millions of acres of solar panels and wind turbines by bulldozing animal's habitats?

raynebc said:

One of the scientists at my work is an engineer with some experience dealing with nuclear power. I asked him once about removing nuclear waste from the planet and he indicated that it's good in theory, except if there's a problem such as a shuttle explosion, then a contained problem was just turned into a contamination disaster. It's safer to improve the technology to deal with the waste on the planet's surface

Yeah, if you ever had nuclear waste explode in the air, it would coat the planet.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

I'm not sure if a railgun projectile would be much less error prone with such a large weight or travel distance.

It doesn't seem like air pollution of directly toxic chemicals or particulate matter is on a worsening trend, at least in my country. The latest EPA report on it (https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2018/documentation/AirTrends_Flyer.pdf) reflects as such. Of course, some countries are much worse with their pollution.

Edgar Reynaldo
Member #8,592
May 2007
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@Chris Katko
It seems to me that your argument goes something like this : Someday soon we'll learn how to cure cancer, so we should all smoke and eat lots of red meat. Note (I'm a chain smoker now starting 20 years ago and I haven't been able to quit but I never try because I think it is too hard)((so I'm gambling that they'll be able to cure my cancer by the time I get it xOx). Not that I think they won't figure out better ways to handle radioactive waste, but in the mean time, it's still as harmful as ever. Leaks happen. Cave-ins happen. Then you've got contaminated aquifers. Ever heard of Flint, Michigan?

That was just lead. Just some minor brain damage, nothing to worry about like getting irradiated by your water. :/

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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raynebc said:

I'm not sure if a railgun projectile would be much less error prone with such a large weight or travel distance.

The reason I think it would be less error-prone is because the launch mechanism/power is all at the launch site. And it's all electronics and magnets. Aside from a power grid failure, and computer glitches, I'm not sure what else would be there to go wrong. Of course, I'm not an engineer, or anything like it, so I have a very basic idea of what a railgun is.

The idea is that if we can be reasonably certain that we can launch then there should be nothing else to stop us from leaving orbit at least. Presumably we could control the airspace, and track/predict obstacles (maybe we'd have to guard against terrorist missiles or something). The bigger mystery would be if the projectile once it escaped Earth's gravity would be able to make it to the Sun without being captured by some other gravity well and brought off course, or collide and spread its waste. It seems like on the one hand we have a pretty good idea what is out there, but on the other hand it seems like objects hide in the shadows until they reveal themselves so perhaps we cannot be too certain. I suppose then the question is what are the chances that such a random collision/misdirection causes the waste to make its way back to us on Earth.

It all seems pretty unlikely, but there are much more intelligent people that study these things that obviously need to be asked first. I'm just offering a stupid simple idea from a stupid simple person. Real scientists and engineers are needed to actually determine if it's feasible. :) I generally agree that it's safer to just store it on Earth, but I do still worry about the long term effects of doing so. It's 2019 so we like to believe that scientists know everything definitively, and the science gets done in like 15 minutes, and then there's cake that nobody gets to eat. But I don't think it actually works that way. It's more like 3 months of research to yield a "maybe" conclusion. 4 months of engineering a perfect machine, only to have to fix it last minute with on-the-run debugging. :D No matter how hard we try, humans can never be "certain" of really anything. Our own biology doesn't allow for it.

raynebc said:

It doesn't seem like air pollution of directly toxic chemicals or particulate matter is on a worsening trend, at least in my country. The latest EPA report on it (https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2018/documentation/AirTrends_Flyer.pdf) reflects as such. Of course, some countries are much worse with their pollution.

Then again, it seems like most people die of cancer these days. You have to wonder what the causes are. Though certainly many communities are being poisoned, whether it's in the water or on the job.

A random example, the steel plant operating in my city has pre-defined "benefits" for the families of loved ones that die of certain types of cancers who worked in certain jobs in the plant because cancer is absolutely linked to those dirty jobs. Those people are lucky to make 65 years old before a fast, painful death. And the families aren't getting millions. They might get 50 or 100 thousand or something.

Mind you, it's a comfortable living up until that point (in theory, if you're smart enough to save it). Of course, the plant also pollutes the city air constantly. Certain days they are releasing the waste gases and the entire west end of the city smells of sulphur/methane. It goes right though walls/windows/doors so the insides of houses/buildings/etc. all smell too. Those crossing the border from Michigan unfortunately get to be greeted by it as well.

Absolutely these companies are harming the environment and should be made to pay a price for that. If they're even allowed to at all. It's better to just shut them down and not let them, but when a community pretty much depends on the money to get by it's hard to just shut the city down. But at the very least, we should be working to phase that sort of dirty work out, and penalize those that continue to do it, working towards a future that doesn't depend on polluting the environment that we all depend on to survive. At some point, the money won't matter because the environment will become inhospitable.

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/18/asthma-deaths-rise-25-amid-growing-air-pollution-crisis

In the UK alone... 1300 people are dead (every year)... just from breathing in air. 1300 people you'll never hear from again.

Quote:

There has been an increase of 43% in asthma deaths in those aged 55-64 since 2016.

Worldwide? 8 million deaths.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-air-pollution-makes-people-sick-8-million-early-deaths-each-year/

And, that doesn't include the WAY MORE amount of people whose lives are hurt (many completely disabled!) but not dying from it. I can tell you from experience that you can go through a huge amount of pain without getting near dying.

And the thing about pollution is, it's worldwide. If you pollute water HERE, it affects everyone. And vice-versa: If China pollutes air over China, it affects your air HERE.

Look up how far radiation was detected when the Chernobyl disaster happened--an incident that wasn't reported to anyone because it was inside the Iron Curtain. And nuclear sensor alarms started firing off... in IIRC, Sweden or France because we knew about it. Which highlights that even huge, heavy, particles of radioactive metals spreading can be detected countries away, then imagine how much tiny pollution particles will travel? (Also google how airstreams work. Highspeed freeways for spreading air around the world and it's how airplanes travel across the world.)

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I just started watching a series on Netflix called "One Strange Rock" narrated by Will Smith. In the very first episode, it blows your mind how interconnected the entire planet is, and just how fragile our paradise that supports life is.

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

@Edgar
Flint's mishandling of water is only related to a potential toxic waste loss of containment in the most tangential of ways. Flint changed their water supply, but didn't properly treat the water to prevent it from leaching lead out of outdated plumbing. Site selection and handling of nuclear waste is nowhere near as sloppy.

@bamccaig
Without doing a ton of research, I'd imagine that dietary problems are more likely to lead to cancer than the current level of air quality. Exposure to toxic chemicals, radiation, ground water contamination, etc. are probably also bigger factors than air quality in general but localized air pollution around specific industrial activity is surely a risk. People as a whole need (or at least want) what is produced by such industry, so they collectively deal with the consequences. Factories have to meet requirements for the waste they output, it's not like they're allowed to do absolutely anything they want unchecked.

@Chris
Sure, open bodies of water will equalize across the planet, as will the open air. A couple random studies I skim read suggested that asthma rates still are substantially worse in some countries than others, so local air quality and treatment options still make a major difference.

NiteHackr
Member #2,229
April 2002

NO RUSSIAN COLLUSION... the Trump-Russia lies are DEAD. God bless Fox News for standing up for the truth.

video

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