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Thread: Future/Alternative Energy Sources

  1. #1

    Default Future/Alternative Energy Sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Blagtastic88 View Post
    Yeah, there is a lot here to be debated and discussed, but I think maybe we should start up an Alternative Energy/Technology thread for this sort of thing...
    Maybe we should open another thread for it!

    For me, it doesn't make sense to use fission to reduce carbon emissions. Nuclear power plants are so much more expensive to build and maintain than the hydrocarbon variety, and even if they produce next to no carbon waste, their nuclear waste is much more hazardous and will be much more of a hassle to deal with in the long run. Waste staying radioactive for up to (and over) 300 years is not a good sign, right? Is the LFTR really meltdown-proof? If you're putting enough fuel into it to create a sizable explosion, then I'd say that it isn't. I'll be honest, fission power plants scare the crap out of me, and I think that we'd be better off without them (except for research purposes).

    Here, let's take something that the environment has adapted/is adapting to already (excess carbon emissions) and replace it with something way more insidious and volatile (radioactive waste) that will ultimately break DNA strands when it finally decides to undergo radioactive decay. Bad idea! Not only is it more expensive to make the waste in the first place, but it's way more expensive to process/extract/confine and protect the environment from, once you've made it. With our current technology, fission power simply isn't cost effective. And it's just an awful idea for the planet as a whole, if you ask me. OK, there's radioactive stuff in the hydrocarbons we burn, too. I guess that all modern powerplants just suck major balls.

    Personally, I think that fusion is a much more attractive alternative, and am hopeful that we'll have it figured out in the next 50 years. The JET experiment is supposed to reach near breakeven efficiency over the next couple of years (news). In the following decades, ITER will likely prove the efficacy of the magnetic confinement approach and show that reliable fusion power plants can be made. That is, if it really does get the funding that it was promised (news).

    Once they become cost effective to build, fusion power plants will usher in a new era for fuel burning energy production. We can even use them to replenish our supply of Helium, a very precious and rapidly vanishing commodity (news).

    You're right, though. Wind and wave power aren't really that great for most of the population, but some people living near geographic oddities may be able to take advantage of them. There's something about geothermal that just isn't sexy enough, I guess. It really is a great idea, but I don't know too much about it.

    Solar is probably going to be the way that we end up doing things in the future, if you ask me. The technology still has a long way to go (like fusion), but it's already shown a lot of promise. Carbon nanotubes are being produced in greater and greater quantities every year, I bet that we're not too far from figuring out mass production. Some small companies have already started creating specialized carbon nanotube components that are compatible with our existing computer circuitry (more news).

    We'll probably have to agree to disagree about batteries.
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; May 27th, 2014 at 04:20 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Here, let's take something that the environment has adapted/is adapting to already (excess carbon emissions) and replace it with something way more insidious and volatile (radioactive waste) that will ultimately break DNA strands when it finally decides to undergo radioactive decay. Bad idea! Not only is it more expensive to make the waste in the first place, but it's way more expensive to process/extract/confine and protect the environment from, once you've made it. With our current technology, fission power simply isn't cost effective. And it's just an awful idea for the planet as a whole, if you ask me. OK, there's radioactive stuff in the hydrocarbons we burn, too. I guess that all modern powerplants just suck major balls.


    I like your casual dismissal of atmospheric carbon (etc) as something "the environment has adapted to." But really, fission isn't that expensive. Compared to dirty hydrocarbon power, sure, but otherwise ...

    Personally, I think that fusion is a much more attractive alternative, and am hopeful that we'll have it figured out in the next 50 years. The JET experiment is supposed to reach near breakeven efficiency over the next couple of years (news). In the following decades, ITER will likely prove the efficacy of the magnetic confinement approach and show that reliable fusion power plants can be made. That is, if it really does get the funding that it was promised (news).
    It's not an alternative if the technology isn't actually there yet. We've been on the cusp of fusion power generation for half a century, and we might well be there for a hell of a lot longer. We were thinking we were close to getting fusion power when JET was built. Jet is old. They built a scale model of the actual reactor and surrounding machinery etc because
    a) this was before the age of CAD
    b) it was too complicated to do just drawings.

    And they have it sitting in a display case for visitors, which I found kind of funny.

    They also had an air cannon, but I'm not sure what the relevance of that is.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    I like your casual dismissal of atmospheric carbon (etc) as something "the environment has adapted to." But really, fission isn't that expensive. Compared to dirty hydrocarbon power, sure, but otherwise ...
    Forgive me for seeming dismissive, but what I typed was "has adapted/is adapting to". Carbon dioxide is something that life on Earth has been adapting to for a very long time. It's one of the reasons we can do things like carbon dating.



    Furthermore, it would be ridiculous for us to think that we could significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels using any of the currently existing alternative energy schemes. We're simply talking about possibilities, here, Supernova.

    Attempting to directly or indirectly change the currently existing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere is definitely not a wise move ecologically speaking, but probably not as awful as, say, spewing tons of radioactive waste into it instead. This is the point that I was trying to make.

    If you think that fission isn't expensive, then what do you think about what happened in Japan in 2011? For which they are still paying ridiculous amounts of money to "clean" up? There have been a lot of these kinds of accidents in recent human history. Basically, I don't trust us humans to handle large quantities or concentrations of fissile material very well.

    This is what I mean when I say that fission is more costly than currently existing hydrocarbon plants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    It's not an alternative if the technology isn't actually there yet. We've been on the cusp of fusion power generation for half a century, and we might well be there for a hell of a lot longer. We were thinking we were close to getting fusion power when JET was built. Jet is old. They built a scale model of the actual reactor and surrounding machinery etc because
    a) this was before the age of CAD
    b) it was too complicated to do just drawings.

    And they have it sitting in a display case for visitors, which I found kind of funny.

    They also had an air cannon, but I'm not sure what the relevance of that is.
    Well, yes, JET is very old. Like most of the currently existing fusion experiments, it has been around forever and has been continually upgraded and updated. Fusion researchers, being intelligent and frugal guys, have been doing what they can with as little money as possible, continuing to use reactors that have been built and well researched for many decades. Does this sound ridiculous to you? It sounds like a good idea to me, especially when it's kind of expensive to build a new reactor (ITER is costing upwards of 10 billion euros).

    Sure, projections for how well the old reactors would work were a little optimistic from the beginning. But they weren't ultimately unrealistic, since they were based on the assumption that we could control the plasmas inside them well. Now that we are finally getting to the point where we can control the plasmas in those old reactors well, they are actually reaching breakeven efficiency. So there. :p

    Problem with plasmas is that they are faster and more erratic when they are confined to smaller spatial scales. Larger reactors are much easier to use and control, but cost a hell of a lot more to build. I'm betting that initial projections for ITER's power production will be a little too optimistic, as well, but I am sure that in another 50 years or so we'll have ironed out it's kinks.

    edit: Let me just say this; I was extremely bummed out when I first started my graduate program in physics. I really wanted to study fusion power, but what the vice chair of the department had essentially said during his little introductory speech was, "we physicists believe that fusion power is no longer a scientific problem, but merely a practical problem for the engineers". If that doesn't tell you that fusion power is a very real possibility for the near future, then I don't know what else will.
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; May 30th, 2014 at 05:59 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Forgive me for seeming dismissive, but what I typed was "has adapted/is adapting to". Carbon dioxide is something that life on Earth has been adapting to for a very long time. It's one of the reasons we can do things like carbon dating.
    Forgive me for my ignorance, but I don't really see what carbon dating has to do with "adapting to CO2." Isn't carbon dating based on the idea that the concentration of C14 is probably pretty much the same in living things ages ago as it is these days, and hence we can guess when things died from the amount of C14 left over ... What does that have to do with "adapting to CO2?" Or more significantly, what at all does it have to do with the general impact of CO2 and similar pollutants in the vein of climate change?

    Furthermore, it would be ridiculous for us to think that we could significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels using any of the currently existing alternative energy schemes. We're simply talking about possibilities, here, Supernova.
    No it's really not that hard. In terms of power generation, at least, it's pretty easy; it just involves ensuring there's enough other power up and running by the time current gen hydrocarbon sources are being decommissioned, and not preparing to build new hydrocarbon sources. All it's really about is expenses, and that's just a balance of priorities ... Fission is pretty cheap compared to clean sources, and nice shortcuts can be taken here and there ... bamboo turbine blades in the East ... private use of solar thermal and PV putting the onus of investment on the individual rather than big companies and governments ... Bit defeatist to say it's all well and good but we can't possibly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels with current technology.


    If you think that fission isn't expensive, then what do you think about what happened in Japan in 2011? For which they are still paying ridiculous amounts of money to "clean" up? There have been a lot of these kinds of accidents in recent human history. Basically, I don't trust us humans to handle large quantities or concentrations of fissile material very well.

    This is what I mean when I say that fission is more costly than currently existing hydrocarbon plants.
    I love how the Fukushima story is the go-to thing. Like how GERMANY throws out Fission owing to Fukushima. All the safety measures weren't even properly in place in the Fukushima plant and it still took a freakishly big quake and tsunami to cause any fallout. And that's Japan ... you don't really get more geologically hazardous than Japan. What are the Germans so scared of, a quake in the Baltic??

    edit: Let me just say this; I was extremely bummed out when I first started my graduate program in physics. I really wanted to study fusion power, but what the vice chair of the department had essentially said during his little introductory speech was, "we physicists believe that fusion power is no longer a scientific problem, but merely a practical problem for the engineers". If that doesn't tell you that fusion power is a very real possibility for the near future, then I don't know what else will.
    That's such a bullshit thing to say lol. As if "Oh we understand the theory" = "Science is irrelevant now" ... It's not like science and engineering are sequential, they're two parallel things. Like any Materials Science or Nanoscience department anywhere will be filled with engineers and scientists because there's no discrete jump between the two disciplines.

    Like between Galileo and Euler knew a lot about beams but that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of new science & engineering going into building design in the early to mid twentieth century.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    Forgive me for my ignorance, but I don't really see what carbon dating has to do with "adapting to CO2." Isn't carbon dating based on the idea that the concentration of C14 is probably pretty much the same in living things ages ago as it is these days, and hence we can guess when things died from the amount of C14 left over ... What does that have to do with "adapting to CO2?" Or more significantly, what at all does it have to do with the general impact of CO2 and similar pollutants in the vein of climate change?
    Like, I don't know why you're getting so offended by my claims, here, but you definitely are a little ignorant about this stuff. That's not exactly how carbon dating works. You measure the level of C14 in the object, then compare this to how much C14 should have been around at the time the object "took its last breath". We don't just assume that the C14 levels must have been "about the same" as they are today.

    If you are living/breathing, then you are exchanging carbon atoms with the atmosphere, continually matching the C14 concentration of the atmosphere. When you die, you stop breathing and exchanging carbon atoms, which means that your C14 concentrations become stuck where they are and will only decrease via radioactive decay. This is the basic idea behind carbon dating.

    If you'll carefully look at that graph that I showed you in my last post, you'll see that there's been plenty of carbon in Earth's atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years. That's a lot of time for life to start adapting to it, isn't it? Almost all life on the planet makes use of CO2 in its metabolic processes. You're a supernova, so I'll understand if you can metabolize radioactive waste, but most other Earth life forms are incapable of such a feat.

    What I'm saying is that it is probably not such a bad thing to be varying concentrations of stuff in the environment, as long as it's stuff that life has been dealing with (metabolizing) for a long time. Radioactive waste, while ever present due to natural fission reactions in the Earth, is also extremely rare. I think it's probably a good thing that we keep it pretty rare, is all.

    No it's really not that hard. In terms of power generation, at least, it's pretty easy; it just involves ensuring there's enough other power up and running by the time current gen hydrocarbon sources are being decommissioned, and not preparing to build new hydrocarbon sources. All it's really about is expenses, and that's just a balance of priorities ... Fission is pretty cheap compared to clean sources, and nice shortcuts can be taken here and there ... bamboo turbine blades in the East ... private use of solar thermal and PV putting the onus of investment on the individual rather than big companies and governments ... Bit defeatist to say it's all well and good but we can't possibly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels with current technology.
    Is it really not that hard? Then why haven't we done it yet? Because it's very hard, expensive, and nigh impossible at this point to fight all the inertia that we have in fossil fuels.

    The fact that almost all of our power still comes from hydrocarbon plants (even clean hydrocarbon plants) should make it obvious which energy scheme really is the most cost effective. People aren't going to waste their time and money on ventures that have little return for their investment. It's simple: People invest in hydrocarbon power plants because of how cost effective they are.

    Why are fission plants rarer? A lot of reasons: They're harder to design and build. They're more expensive to build. They're more expensive to fuel. The waste is more expensive to dispose of. And finally: They're really goddamn dangerous.

    I love how the Fukushima story is the go-to thing. Like how GERMANY throws out Fission owing to Fukushima. All the safety measures weren't even properly in place in the Fukushima plant and it still took a freakishly big quake and tsunami to cause any fallout. And that's Japan ... you don't really get more geologically hazardous than Japan. What are the Germans so scared of, a quake in the Baltic??
    I love how you seem confused when people bring up recent history. If recent history isn't allowed, then do you want me to talk about Chernobyl? You want me to talk about Three Mile Island? And how we're all still breathing/drinking/eating radioactive waste that these accidents spewed into the atmosphere?

    As I've already said, every single fission power plant on Earth works only because you've put enough fuel into it to cause a huge meltdown or explosion if it gets out of control. The process itself simply doesn't work unless you take that risk. I'm saying we should never be taking that risk, at least not anywhere near planet Earth.

    That's such a bullshit thing to say lol. As if "Oh we understand the theory" = "Science is irrelevant now" ... It's not like science and engineering are sequential, they're two parallel things. Like any Materials Science or Nanoscience department anywhere will be filled with engineers and scientists because there's no discrete jump between the two disciplines.

    Like between Galileo and Euler knew a lot about beams but that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of new science & engineering going into building design in the early to mid twentieth century.
    I consider myself an engineer as much as I consider myself a scientist. Please don't think that I'm trying to say engineering is below science in some way. What I'm trying to say is that there's a general consensus among the physics community that fusion power is "in the bag", something that we'll have completely under control with a little more fine tuning and experience.
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; May 31st, 2014 at 07:53 AM. Reason: You're being pretty selective with your quoting. I get the feeling that you think you know more about this stuff than I do.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Like, I don't know why you're getting so offended by my claims
    I'm not :p

    That's not exactly how carbon dating works. You measure the level of C14 in the object, then compare this to how much C14 should have been around at the time the object "took its last breath". We don't just assume that the C14 levels must have been "about the same" as they are today.

    If you are living/breathing, then you are exchanging carbon atoms with the atmosphere, continually matching the C14 concentration of the atmosphere. When you die, you stop breathing and exchanging carbon atoms, which means that your C14 concentrations become stuck where they are and will only decrease via radioactive decay. This is the basic idea behind carbon dating.
    Right, this is what I didn't know. But is C14 proportional to the general CO2 level or ... ? I generally get the impression they're not directly related?

    If you'll carefully look at that graph that I showed you in my last post, you'll see that there's been plenty of carbon in Earth's atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years. That's a lot of time for life to start adapting to it, isn't it? Almost all life on the planet makes use of CO2 in its metabolic processes. You're a supernova, so I'll understand if you can metabolize radioactive waste, but most other Earth life forms are incapable of such a feat.

    What I'm saying is that it is probably not such a bad thing to be varying concentrations of stuff in the environment, as long as it's stuff that life has been dealing with (metabolizing) for a long time. Radioactive waste, while ever present due to natural fission reactions in the Earth, is also extremely rare. I think it's probably a good thing that we keep it pretty rare, is all.
    But isn't it the case that everyone's issue with carbon emissions is not about it's direct impact on life (as a gas in the air) as it's impact on the climate? I feel like we're almost talking about completely different things >_>

    Is it really not that hard? Then why haven't we done it yet? Because it's very hard, expensive, and nigh impossible at this point to fight all the inertia that we have in fossil fuels.
    Uh, because it's expensive. And then capitalism. And hence the rest.

    Pretty much government policy will decide how large scale power generation is done. Like I said, people do things on their own small scale (solar panels are becoming more and more common to generate a bit of extra power or for heating ...), but otherwise it's down to government policy. France is pretty comfortably generating over three quarters of its power from fission, because they got behind nuclear power and put money into it.

    I love how you seem confused when people bring up recent history. If recent history isn't allowed, then do you want me to talk about Chernobyl? You want me to talk about Three Mile Island? And how we're all still breathing/drinking/eating radioactive waste that these accidents spewed into the atmosphere?

    As I've already said, every single fission power plant on Earth works only because you've put enough fuel into it to cause a huge meltdown or explosion if it gets out of control. The process itself simply doesn't work unless you take that risk. I'm saying we should never be taking that risk, at least not anywhere near planet Earth.

    The probability of such an accident occurring is really, really low though. As I'm sure you know, there are great safety measures in place in every fission plant ...

    I consider myself an engineer as much as I consider myself a scientist. Please don't think that I'm trying to say engineering is below science in some way. What I'm trying to say is that there's a general consensus among the physics community that fusion power is "in the bag", something that we'll have completely under control with a little more fine tuning and experience.
    In the same sense it was "in the bag" fifty years ago. It doesn't mean much ... fusion's still ages away, most probably (as you more or less said yourself). More than a plant life cycle or two. So it doesn't really impact decisions about what we should use today.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    I'm not :p
    Phew!

    Right, this is what I didn't know. But is C14 proportional to the general CO2 level or ... ? I generally get the impression they're not directly related?
    You're right that it's an indirect relationship. Basically, it wouldn't make sense to assume that a given sample of organic matter had equalized its C14 levels with that of the atmosphere if there wasn't a lot of carbon in the atmosphere in the first place. If there were no CO2 to exchange with the environment, then there'd be no reason to guess that all living things have similar carbon composition.

    But isn't it the case that everyone's issue with carbon emissions is not about it's direct impact on life (as a gas in the air) as it's impact on the climate? I feel like we're almost talking about completely different things >_>
    Yes, the main gripe people have about excess carbon emissions is the greenhouse effect. But the truth is that we've already pushed the planet past its breaking point. There's an enormous shelf of ice that is sliding off of Antarctica right now. In another couple centuries, it'll have completely slipped into the oceans, and by then will have raised sea levels around the world by approximately 4 feet. Scientists have already concluded that stopping this process at this point is impossible.

    It would be real nice if we could collectively reduce our carbon emissions, but I don't think that it's a good idea to do so by increasing the risk of radiation polution! We've already capsized the climate boat, let's not set the floating wreckage on fire as well, OK?

    Uh, because it's expensive. And then capitalism. And hence the rest.

    Pretty much government policy will decide how large scale power generation is done. Like I said, people do things on their own small scale (solar panels are becoming more and more common to generate a bit of extra power or for heating ...), but otherwise it's down to government policy. France is pretty comfortably generating over three quarters of its power from fission, because they got behind nuclear power and put money into it.
    Yeah, France is pretty awesome about their alternative energy policies. That's where ITER is being built, by the way. Doesn't change the fact that they are taking huge risks by using fission energy.

    Remember that we have policies in place to protect us from nuclear waste. If those weren't there, well then yeah fission power plants would be wicked cheap because you could literally just pour all of your radioactive shit into the nearest river. Luckily, we've got big brother looking out for us, making sure that companies who build nuclear power plants are doing so in a safe and conscientious manner.

    But even with all of these safe guards in place, you've still got examples like Fukushima. I thought it was funny that your reasoning for why it should be ignored was "they didn't even have all of their safety measures in place". If anything, I think this makes it a perfect example for why we shouldn't trust (greedy, selfish, money grubbing) people with fissile materials.

    The probability of such an accident occurring is really, really low though. As I'm sure you know, there are great safety measures in place in every fission plant ...
    It's not the probability of an accident that concerns me. It's the inevitable likelihood of one, given enough time, no matter what probability. If we try to make fission power, then fission accidents are going to happen, period. Even if one accident occurs every 100 years, that's bad news because each accident creates waste that won't go away for THOUSANDS of years!

    I'm really not sure how else to explain this. Does my perspective make a little more sense, now?

    In the same sense it was "in the bag" fifty years ago. It doesn't mean much ... fusion's still ages away, most probably (as you more or less said yourself). More than a plant life cycle or two. So it doesn't really impact decisions about what we should use today.
    Well, if you asked physicists 50 years ago, they would have told you that there is a lot of physics research that still needs to be done regarding fusion power. Today, they laugh and say it's "just an engineering problem". Take what you will from that, but I can promise you that we are a lot closer to real fusion power today than we were 50 years ago.

    All I'm saying is that we should probably do our best to refrain from fission power production for as long as we are unable to completely mitigate the risk of a meltdown and safely manage the hazards of random radioactive byproducts. Fusion power will fix both of these problems and will ultimately be the best fuel burning energy scheme we can use for the future, even if that future is still a few decades away. In the meantime, let's not screw up our situation any more than we already have with even more (inevitable) fission power accidents.
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; May 31st, 2014 at 11:45 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    I'd much rather die of problems related to a heightened amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than of problems related to an unnaturally high dosage of radiation. Just saying.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryish View Post
    I'd much rather die of problems related to a heightened amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than of problems related to an unnaturally high dosage of radiation. Just saying.
    With any luck, we'll all hopefully survive both.

    Pandemics, though. Those'll probably kill us all in the end.

  10. #10
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    Nuclear power isn't as dangerous or risky as you're making it sound.

    Climate change is reversible. The loss of an arctic shelf centuries from now is regrettable but we have no idea what the state of the planet or technology will be at that point.

    CO2 has it's direct cost as well. Oil spills are a low hanging fruit for this argument that have already caused FAR more damage to the environment than all the nuclear plant disasters combined.

    And I don't know the circles you're talking about we're are decades away from making fission viable. That's based on the math and the materials we have at our disposal. Yes it's an engineering problem. No that doesn't make it any easier to solve.



    Your concerns don't make sense based on what we currently know about and how we deal with both sources of energy.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Taggerung View Post
    Nuclear power isn't as dangerous or risky as you're making it sound.
    Maybe I'm being a little fatalistic in the way that I describe the dangers of fission power, but it's a lot more dangerous than you're making it sound.

    Climate change is reversible. The loss of an arctic shelf centuries from now is regrettable but we have no idea what the state of the planet or technology will be at that point.
    Perhaps global temperatures can be brought back to reasonable levels. But what will reverse global warming is the rest of the environment, not us. When we finally significantly cut our carbon emissions, the rest of nature will play catch up and bring us back to equilibrium. In the meantime, climate change is happening and will continue to happen, and it is going to change the world's weather distribution for centuries, maybe millennia.

    You and a couple others are trying to tell me that fusion is a long way off. Well, climate control (e.g. reliable reversal of our impact on the environment) is even further away, guys. We have definitely not got something as incredibly complicated as the Earth's climate figured out yet. No where near as close as we've figured out fusion, anyway.

    CO2 has it's direct cost as well. Oil spills are a low hanging fruit for this argument that have already caused FAR more damage to the environment than all the nuclear plant disasters combined.
    I think that you need to clarify exactly how you're defining "FAR more damage". Like I've already said, the byproducts of the hydrocarbon industry are all things that the environment has previously been exposed to in enormous quantities. Terrestrial life will naturally process the pollutants left behind by hydrocarbon accidents, even if these accidents are huge. In a hundred years or so, life may take on a different appearance in the aftermath of an oil spill, but life will return to the area.

    Fission waste is a different story entirely. Fission byproducts really are random: Not only are they random radioactive isotopes, but they can be essentially any material that is lower than Uranium on the periodic table. At least hydrocarbons are just hydrocarbons. We're freakin' made out of those, so you're going to have a real hard time convincing me that they're as bad for the environment as radioactive waste.

    And I don't know the circles you're talking about we're are decades away from making fission viable. That's based on the math and the materials we have at our disposal. Yes it's an engineering problem. No that doesn't make it any easier to solve.
    Do you mean "making fusion viable"?

    Do you have any experience with the circles that do fusion power research? I've actually been involved in some fusion research and have conversed with people who do it. There are definitely some skeptics in the bunch who think we'll never figure it out, but most really do think that it's going to happen, and relatively soon at that.

    What exactly do you think that we have left to solve? If you have specific questions, I may be able to make you feel better about it all.

    Just so you know, we've already made burning (self sustaining) fusion plasma in some experimental reactors that have lasted ten seconds or more. That might not sound very exciting, but believe me, it's an amazing feat. ITER is going to be like a bonfire compared to the little campfires that we've been working with, so get ready for exciting news when they finally start making plasma in that bad boy.

    Your concerns don't make sense based on what we currently know about and how we deal with both sources of energy.
    Don't they? What about what I've said so far is incorrect? If you'd like to have a detailed discussion regarding the issue, then I'm more than game.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    brought back to reasonable levels. But what will reverse global warming is the rest of the environment, not us. When we finally significantly cut our carbon emissions, the rest of nature will play catch up and bring us back to equilibrium. In the meantime, climate change is happening and will continue to happen, and it is going to change the world's weather distribution for centuries, maybe millennia.
    But you're basically against doing so!

    You and a couple others are trying to tell me that fusion is a long way off. Well, climate control (e.g. reliable reversal of our impact on the environment) is even further away, guys. We have definitely not got something as incredibly complicated as the Earth's climate figured out yet. No where near as close as we've figured out fusion, anyway.
    But the objective is totally different. Fusion is a long way off -> when it comes, surely everyone who can will use it, but we have real, practical decisions to make about how to supply our power until then. Power plants are reaching the ends of their lifetimes and need to be replaced by something ... and that will happen for a number of cycles yet. You yourself threw out numbers like 50-100 years!

    Climate change on the other hand, that's about stopping worsening our impact on the environment. Which we obviously can do over the medium term if anyone can be bothered. But then people like you are all "Nah, it would be great if we could, but we won't really, will we? So let's not."



    I think that you need to clarify exactly how you're defining "FAR more damage". Like I've already said, the byproducts of the hydrocarbon industry are all things that the environment has previously been exposed to in enormous quantities. Terrestrial life will naturally process the pollutants left behind by hydrocarbon accidents, even if these accidents are huge. In a hundred years or so, life may take on a different appearance in the aftermath of an oil spill, but life will return to the area.

    Fission waste is a different story entirely. Fission byproducts really are random: Not only are they random radioactive isotopes, but they can be essentially any material that is lower than Uranium on the periodic table. At least hydrocarbons are just hydrocarbons. We're freakin' made out of those, so you're going to have a real hard time convincing me that they're as bad for the environment as radioactive waste.

    Well there's actually a fixed sequence which goes through certain elements and finishes somewhere right?

    But you're objection to fission power is more of a vague, hand-wavy fear of something weird, basically. "Oh, we have that in our bodies, it can't be bad." Which doesn't actually make sense. We have water in our bodies, but we drown ... we have electricity in our bodies but lightning will kill us ... It's not a solid reason, and you're pretty well rejecting out of hand the impact of these things on this basis.

    And it is not like fission by-products are thrown into the air or the rivers or something. People spend loads of money containing nuclear waste. As they should do ...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Perhaps global temperatures can be brought back to reasonable levels. But what will reverse global warming is the rest of the environment, not us. When we finally significantly cut our carbon emissions, the rest of nature will play catch up and bring us back to equilibrium. In the meantime, climate change is happening and will continue to happen, and it is going to change the world's weather distribution for centuries, maybe millennia.

    You and a couple others are trying to tell me that fusion is a long way off. Well, climate control (e.g. reliable reversal of our impact on the environment) is even further away, guys. We have definitely not got something as incredibly complicated as the Earth's climate figured out yet. No where near as close as we've figured out fusion, anyway.
    You don't know what will reverse global warming anymore than you can give me a solid timeline for when fusion becomes viable. The point is it's not a sunken ship and the damage is not irreparable. The first step though is reducing carbon emissions.


    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    I think that you need to clarify exactly how you're defining "FAR more damage". Like I've already said, the byproducts of the hydrocarbon industry are all things that the environment has previously been exposed to in enormous quantities. Terrestrial life will naturally process the pollutants left behind by hydrocarbon accidents, even if these accidents are huge. In a hundred years or so, life may take on a different appearance in the aftermath of an oil spill, but life will return to the area.

    Fission waste is a different story entirely. Fission byproducts really are random: Not only are they random radioactive isotopes, but they can be essentially any material that is lower than Uranium on the periodic table. At least hydrocarbons are just hydrocarbons. We're freakin' made out of those, so you're going to have a real hard time convincing me that they're as bad for the environment as radioactive waste.
    Why is it OK for life to die via carbon because it will just come back in a different form but it's not OK for life to die via radiation which life on this planet as also withstood and come back from. Most life on the planet can withstand more radiation than mammals. We have life on this planet that can survive radiation far worse than anything we can make here. I don't see the point you're trying to make with this argument or what you're trying to argue here and bring up with that we're carbon based life is practically a strawman type argument. That's how useless and distracting it is.

    Carbon is here and now and it's noticeable damage is everywhere. When the temperature of the sea rises and it's ecosystem starts to break down which is already happening, that sets off a chain reaction that will eventually end with most current life in the sea dying off. That's not even taking into account the extra damage done by oil spills, constant pollution, over fishing. The whole planet works like this. Chernobyl is already recovering and it didn't take thousands of years. Three Mile was unfortunate but it was widely blown out of proportion. Fukushima is probably the worst disaster and that's not the fault of the method but how the Japanese built and regulated the plant and how they tried to cover things up afterwards. Nuclear power and waste does not pose a threat to the stability of the world. The randomness of the waste is well known. Well documented. Well studied. It is not a mystery what we are dealing with. There are safe ways to handling this material and they are used much more than you seem to be giving credit for.


    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Do you mean "making fusion viable"?

    Do you have any experience with the circles that do fusion power research? I've actually been involved in some fusion research and have conversed with people who do it. There are definitely some skeptics in the bunch who think we'll never figure it out, but most really do think that it's going to happen, and relatively soon at that.

    What exactly do you think that we have left to solve? If you have specific questions, I may be able to make you feel better about it all.

    Just so you know, we've already made burning (self sustaining) fusion plasma in some experimental reactors that have lasted ten seconds or more. That might not sound very exciting, but believe me, it's an amazing feat. ITER is going to be like a bonfire compared to the little campfires that we've been working with, so get ready for exciting news when they finally start making plasma in that bad boy.
    This is exactly what I mean by viable. I haven't seen research or any experimental data currently available that shows the energy needed to create net positive fusion outweighing the the cost, energy, and total resources of the operation that created it. No where near close. "Just an engineering problem" is an understatement. It's the difference between the Wright Brothers plane and a modern jet engine. It's not a matter of do we know how to do it. It's can we reproduce the process on a scale that we can actually use for something. I don't think I can be any more clear than that.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    You two are either (1) not reading what I'm writing or (2) having a lot of trouble understanding what we're talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    But you're basically against doing so!
    No, I'm not. I said that it would be a bad idea to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the risk of radioactive pollution.

    Of course we need to reduce our carbon emissions. I'm just saying that replacing carbon plants with fission ones is probably not the wisest move, considering the drawbacks which I've already enumerated plenty of times.

    But the objective is totally different. Fusion is a long way off -> when it comes, surely everyone who can will use it, but we have real, practical decisions to make about how to supply our power until then. Power plants are reaching the ends of their lifetimes and need to be replaced by something ... and that will happen for a number of cycles yet. You yourself threw out numbers like 50-100 years!

    Climate change on the other hand, that's about stopping worsening our impact on the environment. Which we obviously can do over the medium term if anyone can be bothered. But then people like you are all "Nah, it would be great if we could, but we won't really, will we? So let's not."
    I'm definitely not saying that we shouldn't try to lessen our impact on the environment. I'm saying that we should ACTUALLY LESSEN our impact, not change our impact to something possibly even more dangerous and life threatening. This means that we need to be a little intelligent about exactly what we are doing to the environment and how we change our energy sources, which requires discussing the actual byproducts of both sources of power (carbon and nuclear).

    Well there's actually a fixed sequence which goes through certain elements and finishes somewhere right?
    Yeah, a sequence that goes (more or less randomly) through almost every element in the table and a lot of their isotopes. What's your point?

    But you're objection to fission power is more of a vague, hand-wavy fear of something weird, basically. "Oh, we have that in our bodies, it can't be bad." Which doesn't actually make sense. We have water in our bodies, but we drown ... we have electricity in our bodies but lightning will kill us ... It's not a solid reason, and you're pretty well rejecting out of hand the impact of these things on this basis.

    And it is not like fission by-products are thrown into the air or the rivers or something. People spend loads of money containing nuclear waste. As they should do ...
    I'm being hand-wavy because that's all that's necessary to prove my point. But I can get into the numbers more if that's really what you all want from me.

    Please do go on and tell me about how dangerous H2O is for the environment. How much it's poisoning our biomes and killing off other species. Also lightning, there's no way that life could survive with that sort of thing happening in the environment, now, is there?

    You're completely missing my point about the dangers of fission byproducts if you don't understand my sarcasm, here.

    And it totally IS like fission byproducts are thrown into the air, which is exactly the point I'm making with Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima, and a lot of other accidents that I won't be troubled to look up for you. Please read what I'm writing, Supernova...

    Even the waste that is disposed of "properly" is still just being buried in glass beads somewhere where it will sit for a good several thousand years before it becomes just another bunch of random rare earth metals. In the meantime, it's sitting there, irradiating our soil and all that jazz.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Taggerung View Post
    You don't know what will reverse global warming anymore than you can give me a solid timeline for when fusion becomes viable. The point is it's not a sunken ship and the damage is not irreparable. The first step though is reducing carbon emissions.
    I think I've got a better grasp on both of these concepts than you, but (you're right) that still doesn't make me a fortune teller.

    Yes, the first step to fixing the climate is reducing carbon emissions. You think that I'm arguing against this?

    Why is it OK for life to die via carbon because it will just come back in a different form but it's not OK for life to die via radiation which life on this planet as also withstood and come back from. Most life on the planet can withstand more radiation than mammals. We have life on this planet that can survive radiation far worse than anything we can make here. I don't see the point you're trying to make with this argument or what you're trying to argue here and bring up with that we're carbon based life is practically a strawman type argument. That's how useless and distracting it is.
    It's really not distracting at all, in fact it very clearly illustrates the point that I'm trying to make. If we were composed almost entirely of radioactive substances, if all life on the planet naturally metabolized U-235, then maybe I wouldn't be beating the "fission is bad" drum so hard. But we aren't. And we can't. And so I beat on.

    Who said that it's "OK" for any life to be dying right now? I think that we have a horrible impact on the planet and almost all other forms of life around us, but that has no bearing on this argument about whether it's more harmful for things to breathe CO2 or, say, radioactive Argon.

    Carbon is here and now and it's noticeable damage is everywhere. When the temperature of the sea rises and it's ecosystem starts to break down which is already happening, that sets off a chain reaction that will eventually end with most current life in the sea dying off. That's not even taking into account the extra damage done by oil spills, constant pollution, over fishing. The whole planet works like this. Chernobyl is already recovering and it didn't take thousands of years. Three Mile was unfortunate but it was widely blown out of proportion. Fukushima is probably the worst disaster and that's not the fault of the method but how the Japanese built and regulated the plant and how they tried to cover things up afterwards. Nuclear power and waste does not pose a threat to the stability of the world. The randomness of the waste is well known. Well documented. Well studied. It is not a mystery what we are dealing with. There are safe ways to handling this material and they are used much more than you seem to be giving credit for.
    It most definitely will take thousands of years before Chernobyl is back to the state that it was in before the meltdown. You're just wrong on this one, guy. There're still people in Belarus who are getting thyroid cancer from the radiation left behind by the Chernobyl meltdown. How 'bout you go tell them to quit worrying so much about these totally well understood fission byproducts of yours.

    How about you do some research and actually tell me what these "safe" disposal methods are. I'll bet you anything that they don't stop the waste from being radioactive and continuing to pollute the environment (even from behind the wall of a glass bead).

    This is exactly what I mean by viable. I haven't seen research or any experimental data currently available that shows the energy needed to create net positive fusion outweighing the the cost, energy, and total resources of the operation that created it. No where near close. "Just an engineering problem" is an understatement. It's the difference between the Wright Brothers plane and a modern jet engine. It's not a matter of do we know how to do it. It's can we reproduce the process on a scale that we can actually use for something. I don't think I can be any more clear than that.
    I won't blame you for not seeing promising fusion research, yet. But I'm pretty surprised that you haven't clicked on some of the links I've already provided. We're already reaching breakeven efficiency, and you think that we're still that far off from viable fusion power? I've actually been involved in the field, and have told you about how the research is coming along. But you don't seem to trust me, so...?

    And, yes, we can reproduce the process on a scale that will provide reliable power. That's what ITER is. Why don't you wait and complain once that's built and isn't performing at the level I've said it will.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    The reason I keep saying that we're only decades away from fusion power is because that's the projected timeline of ITER, and I'm convinced that ITER is going to be successful. I'd be happy to talk to you all about why I feel this way, but somehow I get the feeling that you won't believe what I have to say, anyway.

    *rolls eyes*
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; June 1st, 2014 at 09:31 AM. Reason: fuckin' typos

  15. #15

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    No, I'm not. I said that it would be a bad idea to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the risk of radioactive pollution.

    Of course we need to reduce our carbon emissions. I'm just saying that replacing carbon plants with fission ones is probably not the wisest move, considering the drawbacks which I've already enumerated plenty of times.

    I'm definitely not saying that we shouldn't try to lessen our impact on the environment. I'm saying that we should ACTUALLY LESSEN our impact, not change our impact to something possibly even more dangerous and life threatening. This means that we need to be a little intelligent about exactly what we are doing to the environment and how we change our energy sources, which requires discussing the actual byproducts of both sources of power (carbon and nuclear).


    And it totally IS like fission byproducts are thrown into the air, which is exactly the point I'm making with Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima, and a lot of other accidents that I won't be troubled to look up for you. Please read what I'm writing, Supernova...

    Even the waste that is disposed of "properly" is still just being buried in glass beads somewhere where it will sit for a good several thousand years before it becomes just another bunch of random rare earth metals. In the meantime, it's sitting there, irradiating our soil and all that jazz.
    Yes, in a nuclear catastrophe, there will be a fallout which causes some environmental damage (a fair bit in Fukushima ... a hell of a lot in Chernobyl) but in the routine operation of a fission plant, it isn't. That's a direct contrast to burning fossil fuels ... Fission's a lot more containable an environmental impact (even if it is over a much greater timescale) than fossil fuels. You are not being even remotely convincing that the balance of priorities should make us reject fission power.

    Yeah, a sequence that goes (more or less randomly) through almost every element in the table and a lot of their isotopes. What's your point?
    I wasn't making one. Hence the small print. I was just curious ... if it is a fixed sequence, the sequence cannot be random (by definition). And it doesn't go through light elements, right?

    You two are either (1) not reading what I'm writing or (2) having a lot of trouble understanding what we're talking about.
    I'm being hand-wavy because that's all that's necessary to prove my point. But I can get into the numbers more if that's really what you all want from me.

    Please do go on and tell me about how dangerous H2O is for the environment. How much it's poisoning our biomes and killing off other species. Also lightning, there's no way that life could survive with that sort of thing happening in the environment, now, is there?

    You're completely missing my point about the dangers of fission byproducts if you don't understand my sarcasm, here.
    I think I've got a better grasp on both of these concepts than you, but (you're right) that still doesn't make me a fortune teller.
    I won't blame you for not seeing promising fusion research, yet. But I'm pretty surprised that you haven't clicked on some of the links I've already provided. We're already reaching breakeven efficiency, and you think that we're still that far off from viable fusion power? I've actually been involved in the field, and have told you about how the research is coming along. But you don't seem to trust me, so...?

    And, yes, we can reproduce the process on a scale that will provide reliable power. That's what ITER is. Why don't you wait and complain once that's built and isn't performing at the level I've said it will.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    The reason I keep saying that we're only decades away from fusion power is because that's the projected timeline of ITER, and I'm convinced that ITER is going to be successful. I'd be happy to talk to you all about why I feel this way, but somehow I get the feeling that you won't believe what I have to say, anyway.

    *rolls eyes*
    You're very good at affecting the lofty, super-knowledgeable guy wearily putting up with his more ignorant lessers, but you're points are mostly meandering, repetitive and unhelpfully close to missing the point.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Supernova122 View Post
    Yes, in a nuclear catastrophe, there will be a fallout which causes some environmental damage (a fair bit in Fukushima ... a hell of a lot in Chernobyl) but in the routine operation of a fission plant, it isn't. That's a direct contrast to burning fossil fuels ... Fission's a lot more containable an environmental impact (even if it is over a much greater timescale) than fossil fuels. You are not being even remotely convincing that the balance of priorities should make us reject fission power.
    Are you sure you understand that fission plants produce waste, just like carbon plants? Even in the event that no fission power catastrophe will ever happen again (lol, seriously, you think this is a possibility?), you're STILL producing radioactive waste that must be *disposed* of somehow. Tell me again why you think it's a good idea to bury radioactive waste that will last thousands of years before turning into various other dangerous pollutants, albeit no longer radioactive.

    edit: Try your best to contain radioactive waste, but you're never going to protect the environment from its radiation. Think about the steady neutron, alpha and beta particle, x-ray, and gamma ray emission that we will have to deal with from these things. This radiation will last effectively forever (probably longer than even humanity will) compared to the time scales of the climate change we are currently experiencing. How exactly do you suggest we "contain" this? I promise you that we are not doing well enough of a job with it already, and it would be silly for us to think that we can just keep burying this stuff all over the place and never run out of room to bury it in.

    I wasn't making one. Hence the small print. I was just curious ... if it is a fixed sequence, the sequence cannot be random (by definition). And it doesn't go through light elements, right?
    You need a refresher on quantum mechanics. Just because there are set, known decay paths for a given radioactive element doesn't mean that it follows the same path every time. Quantum behavior is by definition random. There is nothing more random than stuff happening on the quantum level. Like fission.

    And, no, light elements can also be made (simplest example: alpha particle), though they are much rarer. Light elements would be more attractive than heavy metals, though, which is what you usually end up getting.

    You're very good at affecting the lofty, super-knowledgeable guy wearily putting up with his more ignorant lessers, but you're points are mostly meandering, repetitive and unhelpfully close to missing the point.
    Forgive me for getting a little annoyed that you've completely misread and misrepresented a lot of what I've written so far. I know that I have a problem of getting a little lofty when I get grumpy, so perhaps I will just take a chill pill. But... since I was the one who started the whole discourse, I'm really confused about why you think I'm missing the main point.

    I do suggest that you learn a little more about this stuff, though, before you just write off what I've been saying.

    We all want to make the world a better place, but it's a little difficult to get everyone to agree about how it should be done.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Supernova, how can you call my points mostly meandering when I've addressed each of your questions and comments directly? You're the one who's been selectively quoting and avoiding some of the issues that I've brought up. Who's missing the point, here?

    Dem's fightin' words, but really, I don't want an argument. I'll try my best to drop the topic here unless I get any further replies about it.
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; June 1st, 2014 at 10:59 AM.

  17. #17
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    ITER won't be running for at least a decade. That's if it doesn't get pushed back which based on all previous large scale physics projects will likely happen. And that's assuming that everything works which is not a 100%. This reactor is still very much experimental. I would say you're looking at 20+ years which is a long time to wait.

    Your reaction to fission waste is so laced with hyperbole it's not even worth arguing against.

    Your argument on carbon life is just nonsense. I still don't know what you're trying to say. Carbon emissions will kill us and a large portion of life on the planet regardless of whether we're carbon based life forms or not. That has no bearing on the argument. It's like saying the the sea level won't rise because ice water can transition into ice.

    20 years from now at the rate we're going we will have pumped several hundred billion metric tonnes of CO2 into the air and the ocean. You have so far been unsuccessful in attempting to convince me that that is much more preferable than creating more nuclear power planets whose waste we can and have been properly storing for decades all over the world without detriment to the environment.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Please, Taggerung, what hyperbole? Please tell me what you think is inaccurate in what I've said so far about fission. I really would love to discuss it. Mostly because I'm extremely sure that I know what I'm talking about.

    What don't you get about this statement: Radioactive stuff is more hazardous to living things than hydrocarbon oxidation products. Because that's what I'm trying to say with my carbon based life argument. Yes, we've got the climate to consider as well, and that's a big scary thing that is going pretty wildly out of control at the moment. But I really think that the best way for us to deal with our current level of carbon emissions is to increase the efficiency of our existing fossil fuel devices. We will definitely need to switch to alternative energy eventually, but I'm surprised that you seem to think that such a switch will be possible in, what, under twenty years???

    In twenty years, just based on social inertia, we'll have probably put about as much carbon into the atmosphere as we have over the last 20-50 years. However, this change to the environment is actually pretty slight when you consider the existing concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere. But, ultimately, even if we start switching to alternative energy sources all willy-nilly over the next couple decades, we're not going to be able to stop or even really significantly slow our consumption of fossil fuels. Think of all the developing nations that can't afford alternative energy. They're going to keep on burning fossil fuels and there's really nothing that you can do or say about it.

    That said, how much do you think the relative concentrations of radioactive waste in the atmosphere have changed in the last 20 years, my friend?

    There's evidence that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were on the rise long before people could have started to significantly contribute to it. We don't know exactly how much of what we are seeing right now is directly our fault, how much is indirectly our fault, and how much is just part of the Earth's natural climate cycles. Sure, we can make educated guesses, but that's all they really are; guesses.

    But I can guarantee you that whatever increase we have seen in general radioactivity levels everywhere is completely and totally the fault of humans. We are the only thing creating more of that stuff on the surface of the earth, and we really need to stop. Savvy?

    P.S. I know all about ITER, I'm the one who brought it up, remember? I'm the guy who's done fusion research, remember? Why are you trying to teach me about its construction timeline and likelihood of success?
    Last edited by benjamminbrown; June 1st, 2014 at 02:28 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Radioactive waste is not everywhere. CO2 and the environmental devastation caused by it, it's production, and it's transportation is literally everywhere. Yes, if you put a person near radioactive material it will cause more harm than putting them near a vat of oil but that is not the argument. That radioactive waste is more harmful to some living things is not the argument. Trying to make that the argument is the strawman because realistically CO2 damage is omnipresent on the planet whereas radio waste damage is extremely contained to less than a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the earths surface. The increase in radio active materials in the planets atmosphere has everything to with the 2000+ nuclear bombs that have been detonated and nothing to do with nuclear waste.

    The arguments against human beings responsibility for climate change are nothing compared to the massive amount of data we have supporting it. We're pumping CO2 into the environment on a level not seen in millions of years. This isn't debatable. This is a fact. This climate change is not natural. Anyone who thinks otherwise in the same boat as the scientist who were saying cigarettes don't cause cancer.

    If you want to talk about hyperbole you can discuss the disasters that have occurred during nuclear waste disposal and we can weigh that damage versus the damage caused by coal waste, oil spills, and methane pollution.

    Lastly how can can put fusion power on such a high pedestal as our savior but then start talking about how developing nations can't afford alternative energy so there's no point in putting in putting money into it because they're going to keep burning fossil fuels. You might as well say that there's no point to put money into fusion because it's not going to stop poorer nations from continuing to destroy the environment.


    There is no part of your argument that isn't faulty and I'm not going to waste any more time on someone who is denying man made climate change. That is beyond ridiculous.
    Last edited by Taggerung; June 1st, 2014 at 03:12 PM. Reason: i don't proof read

  20. #20

    Default Re: Random News Article Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamminbrown View Post
    Are you sure you understand that fission plants produce waste, just like carbon plants?
    Are you sure you understand the relative impacts of these forms of pollution?
    I shall dispense with the subtext and tell you that I think you don't.

    Tell me again why you think it's a good idea to bury radioactive waste that will last thousands of years before turning into various other dangerous pollutants, albeit no longer radioactive.
    Because it would be dumb not to contain it.

    edit: Try your best to contain radioactive waste, but you're never going to protect the environment from its radiation. Think about the steady neutron, alpha and beta particle, x-ray, and gamma ray emission that we will have to deal with from these things. This radiation will last effectively forever (probably longer than even humanity will) compared to the time scales of the climate change we are currently experiencing. How exactly do you suggest we "contain" this? I promise you that we are not doing well enough of a job with it already, and it would be silly for us to think that we can just keep burying this stuff all over the place and never run out of room to bury it in.
    Certainly for general ionising radiation, fission by-products, nuclear disasters (even Chernobyl) and weapon tests together pale in comparison to natural sources, particularly naturally occurring radon ...

    In terms of impact on humans exclusively, we get on average far more radiation from X-rays (as in for imaging purposes) than we do from the above mentioned fission sources.

    Nobody's going to argue fission's a great eternal solution, especially with the way we deal with nuclear waste now, but it is not really tenable to argue against fission power in the medium term based on the impact of fission waste products.

    Also, I'm definitely going to call bullshit on the radiation "effectively lasting forever." It will become negligible well before the doom of humanity. Unless you're expecting an apocalypse pretty soon.

    What don't you get about this statement: Radioactive stuff is more hazardous to living things than hydrocarbon oxidation products. Because that's what I'm trying to say with my carbon based life argument.

    This is such a non-point though. Nobody here (or anywhere??) is arguing to the contrary.

    I say Problem X is better than Problem Y.

    You say Problem X is worse than Problem Z.

    Do you now see what I mean about you missing the point?

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