<1000 years sounds to me still like long-term problem. I assume this uses Th-232 as the starting material, right? That decay line indeed looks more promising than the usual one. Concerning the reactor it would be better to link to a paper instead since that talk made me sleepy after 1 minute and I'm used to listen to university talks (granted majority of them are as boring as that talk here). I prefer information condensed since then people can not sugar- or side-talk the problems but have to come to the point which is important for scientific work.
Fair enough. I don't claim that there's such thing as a perfect generation technology, but I do think that a lot of the anti-nuclear sentiment is way overblown.
Similarly, I'm quite fond of renewables too, but find that some people get it out of perspective (for example, I live near Heysham in the UK - there was recently a petition to evaluate the site for a third nuclear powerplant (likely with 2x1600MW EPRs)). Some protesters put up a page suggesting that we build two wind turbines instead. Most wind turbines put out ~3.2MW, so this proposal would produce 1/500th the power of the proposed nuclear plant. I just can't fathom what they must be thinking to suggest that as a serious alternative.
Talking about energy sources - what about fusion power? It's not that good right now, but should be available at least earlier than we can deal with nuclear waste.
The trick is usually a mixture. We call it "localized energy production". Hence the idea is to produce as much energy as possible at the location where it is used with means available like for example solar panels, wind turbines or other possibilities. This is not going to be a cure all but would definitely help to reduce the amount of energy required to be drawn from nuclear power plants where possible.
Michael, thanks for this awesome photos. It's damn impressive.
I also think that "modern" nuclear power stations (at least here in Germany, I don't trust others) are relatively safe and secure.
Of course it's always a big risk that someone could fly into such a station with unimaginable consequences, but actually they are generally safe. But there is always a risk. And *if* some disaster happens again...you saw the pictures. (There is always a litte risk, so it's *not* really safe). And in other countries the risk is even bigger.
The problems I see are generally those:
- The waste is an unsolved problem. There is no solution in sight and there are actually no places where you can put the waste. (-> Its *not* clean)
- With the waste the next problem is the price. It's not true, that it's cheap. It's simply that everyone who says that, is a liar. And/or naive. The big companies get many subventions and /we/ pay this. If it comes out that there is no safe place for the waste, the general public has to pay, because the people who run the station have agreements with the state that *they* have not to pay. If they had to pay, it would be much more expensive.
We saw here in Germany that many experts said that many places are inappropriate for the waste. The companies refered simply on other experts who said the opposite (probably they got money for saying this). Now the general public has to pay the billions of billions to find a new 'home' for the waste and make the situation safe again. It's damn expensive for us. (-> From this position it's neither safe nor cheap.)
- The companies always want to make money and so they don't take care of the welfare of the general public. And so it becomes under the line more expensive and dangerous.
- If we see that even in Germany those things are not handled as they should, in other countries it's probably much more worse.
- In countries where is no public control the waste goes into the environment and people get sick. Even /we/ have to accept the consequences.
- If /we/ don't stop using this technology why should other countries with not so safe stations stop, too? We have to be an example.
So I am strong against the use of this technology.
(It's hard to think objective. Especially if we always got said what we should think and don't want to get another opinion. But the only way is to try to see all arguments. Think on your own.)
Thanks for sharing all these impressions.
I still remember the time. Born in the GDR (eastern part of .de) we were not informed for a long time what had happened. Well, of course a lot of people had relatives in western countries (esp. western Germany) and would (illegally) receive western radio/television. So we often knew it sooner from the western media and relatives what had happened than official press organs told. I remember my mom being very worried one day suddenly talking about some accident in Russia but that the salad that was offered on the market was so strangely cheap... probably she suspected the salad having gotten some fallout. Suddenly a lot of thing were sold but having questionable origins. And what really bothered me was that we had to avoid collecting mushroom as we always did in summer vacation. Would store the metals from the fallout. Darn!
And a lot of these pictures woke up childhood memories in me. All the kyrillic letters (Russian at school was obligatory very early), the political posters and all that stuff, the functional but utterly loveless architecture, rabbit and the wolf, the cars... *sigh*.
Sometimes I just miss that rotten view somehow.
It's often difficult to tell who is doing which but some behaviours give the game away:
To draw an analogy, if I were worried about the amount of rubbish going to the landfill I might campaign against the packaging used by soft drink manufacturers, but the absolute last thing I would ever do is try to get the recycling centres shut down - I'd see can recycling centres as a win and a sign my concerns were being taken seriously. The only reason I'd want to shut down the can recycling plant is if I just wanted to hurt the industry.
Similar with nuclear waste - If greenpeace and the like were really concerned about nuclear waste, the absolute last thing they'd be doing is trying to get the waste reprocessing plants shutdown (even illegalised as in the US). That would not be congruous with the stated goal, and the only reason for it would be to hurt the industry by making its waste and economic profiles worse so that they could complain about them some more. And yet who is the number one campaigner for the closure of our fuel reprocessing facilities? Greenpeace. Hmm.
Yea, people have the same thoughts about it here as well. Once we got free, people wanted to destroy as much of the Soviet legacy as they could, but now it's accepted as a part of out history, it's nothing to be proud of but nothing to deny, either. And it's a part of human psychology, you remember the bright sides of days gone past, the view changes from what it was when the events actually happened and you feel nostalgia...