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Why we need nuclear power


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We need nuclear,

 

a). to stand any chance of meeting our CO2 emissions commitments without having the lights go out on nights when the tide is out and it's not windy.

 

B). because once the scientists have got nuclear fusion working commercially, we'll need a pool of skilled nuclear engineers to build us the clean power plants we want.

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I agree that nuclear seems the only cost effective way to produce electricity.

What I do not yet understand is why we need large nuclear stations. why not use nuclear power similar to those used to drive ships? Surely a bundle of small stations scattered across the country using a proven power source is the way to go?

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There's wisdom in the old saying - "don't put all your eggs in one basket" - there's a multitude of cost, safety and added value arguements that require balancing. As for CO2 emmission targets: bit of a joke when you look at India and China - bit like packing in smoking in a room full of Chinese puffing their brains out! :wink:

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So long as it's as safe as it possibly can be, I don't oppose nuclear power plants in principle. What's rarely mentioned (touched on by obs) is the cost to the public purse.

 

...a nuclear industry that has already benefited from more than ?10 billion in public support in the last decade and that has proven that it can?t stand on its own two feet.

 

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/02/coalition-broken-promise-nuclear-power-subsidies/

 

Not as cheap as it looks.

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I agree that nuclear seems the only cost effective way to produce electricity.

What I do not yet understand is why we need large nuclear stations. why not use nuclear power similar to those used to drive ships? Surely a bundle of small stations scattered across the country using a proven power source is the way to go?

 

Because large nuclear stations - expensive though they are - are far cheaper than the hundreds of small marine systems which would be needed to in place of each one.

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Apparently there is a lot of research into the use of Thorium as the fuel of the future. It has many advantages and fewer of the disadvantages of the Uranium based fuel used at present. Look it up if you're interested. :wink:

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There are several birds to be hit with the same stone here: Extreme Weather Events are showing a need for tidal barriers in some of our major esturies, which would provide road linkages and tidal power. Droughts are demonstrating our incapacity to store and transport sufficient water, which would provide hydro-electric energy supply. Such major infrastructure schemes are labour intensive and would involve low skilled employment; thus providing employment for young men, who would pay taxes; thus reinvigourating our economy. In the intensely resource hungry and competive world of the future; non-reliance on others will be a major asset thus indigenous fuel sources need to be included in the mix of options EG coal, oil and now shale gas. Whether great Britain PLC can look that far into the future, and plan and prepare for it, is anyone's guess - but I'm not sure our five yearly cycle of Party politics will do it. :?:cry:

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Apart from your reference to "extreme weather events" ( :?:shock::lol: ) I have to agree with you Obs. Wind and solar are not up to the job, tidal is too expensive. Nuclear is the obvious choice. I think the problem of waste disposal is overstated. :wink::wink:

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The decommisioning costs of the first generation nuclear plants are astromonical mainly because those plants were (perhaps short-sightedly) never designed to be taken apart again.

 

With the second generation plants, and the newer ones currently on the drawing board, ease of safely decommisioning them has been designed in from the outset so the associated costs will be much, much lower.

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.. but we still have the problem of waste storage, with the threat of invisible radiation lasting 1,000s of years. There's already been cases of ground water contamination in France. :shock:

 

There've been plenty of cases of ground water contamination over here too - from the coal, oil and gas industries which fuel our current power plants.

 

The planned scheme of reprocessing then fusing the residue of spent nuclear fuel into totally inert glass and burial in a geologically stable deep repository will prove plenty safe enough. Don't forget that of all of the nuclear waste being dealt with in any given year, only a tiny proportion is high-level waste from spent nuclear fuel - maybe a few hundred tons out of tens of thousands. The rest is largely lower radioactivity waste from medical uses, parts of decommisioned reactors which because of their design can't be cleaned up, and naturally occurring radioactive concentrates removed from their products by the chemical industry.

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The backlog is a few thousand tons of high level waste at most. Call it ten or so lorry loads of waste once it's been reprocessed and the unburnt fuel is recycled .

 

One repository will do us for the next several hundred years.

 

The reason that sites are being sought here, there and everywhere is that they are looking for the ONE best, safest and most suitable site. Almost certainly going to be the proposed deep repository in Cumbria.

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