149 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. @gerard

    In fact it would take about 50 years to get to that figure at 5%

    At 2% there would be 156 times as much nuclear power output in 254 years …

  2. sorry, I see it’s actually a geometric series, so it wouldn’t apply to population growth, but it would to the cumulative storage of a growing output of any kind. Assuming a year on year output of waste growing at an annual rate of 5% it’s correct.

  3. What we need is a type of nuclear reactor that uses existing waste as fuel…

    It is probably unnecessary to extrapolate the growth of waste stockpiles, or the depletion of uranium deposits, beyond the development of 4th Generation Nuclear Technology, which would actually reduce the amount of nuclear waste in the world rather than increase it. But it will be more than a decade before this type of thing is working. Existing nuclear technology does produce long-lived waste and the only good thing to be said for it is that the waste is controlled, rather then pumped directly into the air like coal waste (which is just as long lived, although most people don’t seem to have a fraction of the same amount of concern about it).

    The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel.”[5] In the U.S. alone, fossil fuel waste has been linked to the death of 20,000 people each year.[6] A coal power plant releases 100 times as much radiation as a nuclear power plant of the same wattage.[7] It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island accident.[8]

    The World Nuclear Association provides a comparison of deaths due to accidents among different forms of energy production. In their comparison, deaths per TW-yr of electricity produced from 1970 to 1992 are quoted as 885 for hydropower, 342 for coal, 85 for natural gas, and 8 for nuclear.[9]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_waste

  4. Gerald

    yes – it cannot apply to population because – unlike waste, deafforestation and urbanisation – births (an addition) are countered by deaths (a subtraction).

    It also cannot apply to short-term, or medium term nuclear waste, as you would have to allow for its own self-decay over the medium and long term.

  5. sorry Chris, I somehow missed the point of your original post last night.

    But the IFR technology (if and when it starts working) could actually convert long-lived nuclear waste into short-lived nuclear waste.

    All nuclear plants in the United States today are Light Water Reactors (LWRs), using ordinary water (as opposed to ‘heavy water’) to slow the neutrons and cool the reactor. Uranium is the fuel in all of these power plants. One basic problem with this approach is that more than 99% of the uranium fuel ends up ‘unburned’ (not fissioned). In addition to ‘throwing away’ most of the potential energy, the long-lived nuclear wastes (plutonium, americium, curium, etc.) require geologic isolation in repositories such as Yucca Mountain.

    There are two compelling alternatives to address these issues, both of which will be needed in the future. The first is to build reactors that keep the neutrons ‘fast’ during the fission reactions. These fast reactors can completely burn the uranium. Moreover, they can burn existing long-lived nuclear waste, producing a small volume of waste with half-life of only sever decades, thus largely solving the nuclear waste problem.

    The other compelling alternative is to use thorium as the fuel in thermal reactors. Thorium can be used in ways that practically eliminate buildup of long-lived nuclear waste.

  6. Alice :
    Fran
    Your arguments were shot down in flames by both Ernestine and bilb on the issue of nuclear so many times in the thread “Monday message board on Tuesday” that Im amazed you are still here …

    hah! hilarious! Coming from you of course.

    Fran sufffered not a scratch in that last debate. I stopped contributing because of the level of personal vitriol, nearly all generated by you, and becuase Fran certainly doesn’t need my help.

  7. The main reason to suspect that Fran Barlow is a lobbyist is because she remains remarkably civil in response to constant name calling. But that’s probably the teacher in her…

  8. I suppose, for all political, social, economic, medical and physical problems, one can always state that “future developments will provide the answer”.

    The solution to unemployment is more growth so we can get more jobs in the future.

    The solution to aging population is more population so we can get more wealth in the future.

    This is a general foible in human psychology where hell on earth is placated by future heaven (even though we have to trick people into believing they will be alive after death to experience it).

    So some seem to accept a real nuclear hell on earth based on a hypothetical concept of a nuclear heaven in the future. When you look for comprehensive details of these supposed heavenly nuclear plants you only find confused partial concepts with no hard data or experience. Internet gibberish, with faulty logic (as with Fran Barlows reference to Mackay’s internet effort), is no alternative to proper propositions carried in journals such as Nature, New Scientist, or Scientific America and similar.

    But not only this. Logically it makes no sense to specifically claim that development of nuclear technology will solve intractable problems when precisely the same argument applies to renewables as they move closer to providing baseload power.

    If we maintain scholarly standards and deliberately restrict ourselves to professional and refereed publications then it seems clear that renewables are much closer to providing baseload power than nuclear research is to heaven. In this context the new fresh to salt water osmosis (“new Scientist” 28 February 2009 see Renewable Baseload ) is looking good, according to the literature.

    So anyone seeking to lobby for nuke energy by playing the “future technology” card are easily trumped by similar technological developments in preferable energy sources.

    In the future it may be possible to forget about uranium entirely – it has no place in the environment and is only being introduced because it gives first-movers a highly profitable competitive advantage while placing huge externalities onto future generations (which actually are not so far off).

  9. @Chris Warren

    Logically it makes no sense to specifically claim that development of nuclear technology will solve intractable problems when precisely the same argument applies to renewables as they move closer to providing baseload power.

    The problems with hazmat are not ‘intractable’. A partial solution already exists in the IFRs. The problem with current renewables are however, far more challenging, because they relate to the constraints on harvest and storage.

  10. @Alice

    yet you are a modestly educated school teacher? Ha? Really? You also play lightly with the truth. Most high school teachers dont know what utilitarianism is

    Well I haven’t been only a schoolteacher. I’ve spent much the better half of my life studying politics and philosophy in the broadest senses. I have and Honours Degree from Macquarie University in their HPP faculty. I have taught courses at Southern Cross in Philosophy of Knowedge and similar. I’ve done academic editing in the Social Sciences.

  11. Fran

    What constraints are there on harvest and storage of the cuurent energy production from salt-fresh water membranes, which are already operating at 3 watts per sq metre?

    What is your reference?

    Is there any data or evidence for such “constraints”?

  12. @Chris Warren

    In Norway, where much of this discussion is taking place there are projections that 10% of Norway’s power might be sourced from it. Worldwide there is speculation that power equivalent to all the power in China might be sourced this way.

    That’s nothing like all the non-renewable power now being used in the world’s stationary systems, and still less scaleable to what they’d bee if everyone was on grid (including transport).

    Nor is there any modelling of harvest costs, installed capacity costs, effects on river systems, the environmental footprint of the membranes needed, the integrity of fresh water flow assumptions in a fresh water-constrained world and so forth …

    Proof of principle is one thing. A working system built to scale is quite another. Nuclear technology is well established. This is not, but if you can show me something with hard numbers, please feel free.

  13. @Alice

    Well I’m not here to blow my own trumpet. I am modest about my attainments, aware that many are better educated in their fields of expertise than I.

    I am a generalist. I know a substantial amount about quite a few things relevant to public policy. So I’m modestly well-educated.

  14. @wilful
    Exactly Wilful except its not the schoolteacher…its the pro nuclear lobbyist in Fran (and I suspect the distractionary troll methodology in Fran). You can call it name calling Wilful but there are various types of trolls in here – they drop in often enough with intentions of pushing certain ideological views and dangerous views at that..

    Often a page of fallacious statistics is enough to derail a thread from the main topic, posted by JQ in itself and prevent meaningful argument by way of distraction. Strategies Wilful….Ernestine knows well what I refer to.

    The ability to remain civil when exposed is often a distinguishing characteristic of trolls Ive noticed.

  15. @Alice

    The trouble, Alice, is that your definition of troll is anyone who presses your buttons on some issue in which you are emotionally invested.

    Trollish behaviour involves active disruption of discussion through flaming, thread-hijacking, posting of information known to be false or seriously misleading (especially when the matter has previously been addressed at the site) and so forth.

    As far as discussion of nuclear power is concerned, I don’t do any of that. So far, nobody has refuted anything I’ve said on the subject. Your responses better fit the decription, “troll”.

    e.g. your repeated implication that I’m some sort of professional nuclear power lobbyist and a troll, your flames, your persistent attempts to make Chernobyl germane when this has been shown to be irrelevant and so forth …

    I accept that you are appalled at the concept of nuclear power — so upset that you feel anyone who thinks it worthwhile must be nefarious.

    You’re entitled to your aesthetic preferences of course but I prefer debtate to be on the basis of measurable reality when we are discussing public policy.

  16. @Fran Barlow

    You wrote:

    “I have and Honours Degree from Macquarie University in their HPP faculty”

    But HPP usually stands for ‘Human Participation Pool’, which is not a faculty. You may have to spell out the acronym.

  17. @Fran Barlow
    I dont think so Fran – a few people have refuted what you have said on the matter of nuclear statistics you have posted here and as for the matter of Chernobyl you repeatedly and doggedly seek to downplay or ignore the residual risk of nuclear power…so I will post again Ernestine’s very important link which you have also ignored on the risks of nuclear energy (and even though Ernestine posted on the nuclear thread – you have ignored this and continued the pro nuclear argument here? I do find that odd).

    I am apalled at your dogged determination to avoid consideration of the risks, and now your denial that people have refuted your costings and logic in threads here Fran.

    http://www.greens-efa.org/cms/topics/dokbin/181/181995.residual_risk@en.pdf.

  18. @Ernestine Gross
    Bingo Ernestine! The faculty of HPP eh? So Fran…what do you have to said to that?
    Need I spell it out more as to what you are? A pro nuclear Plimer. A charlatan. A fake.

  19. A generalist is often a person equally misinformed in every field of knowledge. Climate change deniers are prototypical generalists.

  20. Fran

    My query was:

    What constraints are there on harvest and storage of the cuurent energy production from salt-fresh water membranes, which are already operating at 3 watts per sq metre?

    What is your reference?

    Is there any data or evidence for such “constraints”?

    The relevance of China and Norway does not suggest a “constraint”?

    The footprint issue does not suggest a particularly relevant constraint as every power source has a footprint?

    I think we all know nuclear technology is well established and the key well established fact is that it produces .025 litre high-level long-lived waste per capita per annum which accumulates at some rate. This seems the most obvious constraint within the issue.

    Maybe things will change if some new no-waste reactors replace all of the present stocks of water-based reactors, but there is no evidence that this is likely in the next 100years.

    As advocates for thorium reactors have cited: The radiotoxicity of spent fuel from a PWR reaches the radiotoxicity level of the natural uranium used for that PWR one million years after fuel unloading [Brissot et al. 2001]

    This is the mother of all constraints – and the nuclear industry wants to flood the world with such reactors.

    So we have to get rid of nuclear plants asap and renewables that can provide baseload power (wave, tidal, hot rock, salt-fresh water membranes, hydro) can be developed.

  21. @Ernestine Gross

    History Politics & Philosophy.

    @Alice

    I am appalled at your dogged determination to avoid consideration of the risks,

    I am onew of those here weighing them dispassionately

    and now your denial that people have refuted your costings

    They’ve rejected them not refuted them.

    and logic in threads here Fran.

    They don’t like the reasoning but they haven’t shown why it is wrong.

    @Freelander

    A generalist is often a person equally misinformed in every field of knowledge.

    That’s as may be. It’s not so in my case.

    Climate change deniers are prototypical generalists.

    I disagree. Climate change deniers are typically spreaders of culture-driven agnotology, regardless of their ostensible expertise.

    It remains the case that unless you can show that the cost-risk-benefit calculus of some other suite of technologies is higher than any containing nuclear, your case fails. You also have to explain how, given that much of the rest of the world will continue to use nuclear power regardless of policy here, Australia standing aside and declining to adopt technologies that could reduce waste serves the best interests of humanity, assuming that’s a relevant consideration for you.

  22. In defence of Fran Barlow, her period of time at Macquarie University wasn’t specified by her:

    Fran Barlow :@Alice

    yet you are a modestly educated school teacher? Ha? Really? You also play lightly with the truth. Most high school teachers dont know what utilitarianism is

    Well I haven’t been only a schoolteacher. I’ve spent much the better half of my life studying politics and philosophy in the broadest senses. I have and Honours Degree from Macquarie University in their HPP faculty. I have taught courses at Southern Cross in Philosophy of Knowedge and similar. I’ve done academic editing in the Social Sciences.

    If she was a student at Macquarie University in the 1970s then she may have been at the School of History, Philosophy, and Politics, aka HPP. However, no such school exists at MU now, AFAIK.

    Regards,

    Don.

  23. I know Fran can fight her own battles, but I won’t stand by while someone is subjected to a blog stacks-on.

    “they drop in often enough with intentions of pushing certain ideological views and dangerous views at that..”

    Funny, I think the same about you, Alice. Therefore, if ‘troll’ is not to be simply another insult, we have to agree on a technical definition, which Fran doesn’t meet. In fact, as she points out, you are closer to it than she is.

    It seems you are not content to leave it there, going so far as to accuse Fran outright (after many heavy-handed hints) of being a lobbyist for nuclear power interests. In the context of this discussion, that is close to libel. It’s also ridiculous – Fran is a regular on several blogs, commenting on a wide range of subjects, and has done for a protracted period. Are you seriously suggesting that she was preparing a false blog identity in advance, on the off chance someone brings up nuclear power? If so, you’re more delusional than I thought.

    Also, ‘refuted’ has a specific meaning, of which you are apparently unaware. No-one has refuted Fran.

  24. @Fran Barlow

    In fact, I’ve been posting to usenet since 2003 … at which time I was on the record as being unsympathetic to nuclear power and much more keen on renewables …

  25. Call me a softy but I think Fran is misunderstood, no thanks to her lack of effort to connect to other bloggers on a human level.

    Fran was accused of being a troll on the pro-nuclear blog Brave New Climate, for Green statements, so the only fault I can find with Fran’s style of discourse is that it seems to be completely dispassionate in an arena where people like to connect with each other on a level which is more than academic.

    I don’t believe Fran is a troll. I think Fran is genuinely concerned about the environment and the future of the Human race. I think Fran brings an enormous amount of information and intellect to this blog and others. I don’t think Fran needs protecting, which is my natural instinct to do but I always read what she posts and would like to continue doing so.

    Fran’s posts on nuclear power have not influenced my opinion of it. I have always found the cost figures incredibly rubbery which is not her fault. Some of the renewable’s figures are the same.

    As I have said before, developed nations need to ‘power down’, a term deliberately misunderstood by cornucopians on both the nuclear and renewable sides. Power down does not mean eking out an existence growing food in the back yard fertilised with nightsoil, but we need to get away from the Growth Fetish, consumerism mindset and force the use of energy wisely. Depopulation is probably the most important thing mankind needs to get it’s head around first.

  26. @Salient Green
    Well then Salient – Ill take the consensus view that Fran is not a troll but indeed I do find a level of disconnection there in the interaction, and Im much more inclined to your view of powering down and finding greater use for renewables than I am of replacing one dirty fuel with another possibly even more dangerous.

  27. I’ve been quick to call a few posts as trollish (and have not regretted that) but I’m with salient green and others re Fran – I really like her posts – agree and/or not agree.

  28. “I know Fran can fight her own battles, but I won’t stand by while someone is subjected to a blog stacks-on.”

    Disingenuous much. Our pro-nuke knight in shining armour fails constantly to do this on right wing blogs like Catallaxy. Rather Jarrah joins in the mobbing of leftist positions on everything from race to gender to climate change to neoliberalism to imperialism.

    What a typically “libertarian” hypocrite.

  29. @Philomena
    I was going to say the feeling is mutual to Jarrah Philo but I couldnt be bothered. Jarrah’s Knight in shining armour posturing was indeed laughable.

  30. @Philomena

    Hiya Phil, long time no see. You’re wrong as usual – I’ve defended you (on occasion) when Catallaxians have been piling on, for example. Of course, sometimes you make that difficult 😉

    Proof that you’re wrong – you mention climate change, a subject on which my opinion garners ridicule at the Cat more often than not. Ironically, you also mention race, showing that you completely missed me being victim of a massive stacks-on by Soon, JC, Humphreys, dover beach, and several others not too long ago when I expressed a “leftist” viewpoint.

    @Alice
    Alice, you’ve been called out and shown up for the discussion-policy-breaching semi-troll you are, and you’re pretending that you can’t “be bothered” when in fact you’re hiding in shame. You probably should stay there.

  31. I think Fran can be viewed as an old-style Marxist who has hitched her/his wagon to the holy grail of technology as the grand plan cum means of getting us out of the current mess.

    There’s no way of telling now if what Fran says is possible, that future generations will deal with all the problems of nuclear. More pertinent now is the fact of the traditional Marxist (and Fran’s) failure to deal with the limits to growth and Marxism’s instrumentalist view of and approach to nature and the environment. Probably its greatest deficiency.

  32. Thanks Alice, and on the disconnection, I would say to Fran, this is a real problem for you. Just give a little.

    Jarrah, reducing population is as easy as empowering women for one thing. Developed nations have a negative population growth rate without immigration. I have nothing against immigrants and most of them would be an upgrade on some of the ferals that were born here, but encouraging population growth anywhere by immigration for the purpose of economic growth is wrong. Developed nations also need to increase their foriegn aid.

    There are plenty of ways already out there which will ‘force’ or otherwise coerce the use of energy wisely by taxes and regulation. Sorry Jarrah it’s late and I’m still working long hours and have’nt the enegy for more info.

  33. Now it is all about Jarrah. How typical.

    In fact while I got cyber raped at Catallaxy many times over by a most extraordinary coterie of the most crude and cruel handful of male “libertarians” I’d never dreamed could actually exist, Jarrah not only never once defended me, he stated at the very time I was defending myself against yet another political-personal pile on by the likes of Michael Sutcliffe et al that he reckoned I was the only person in the blogosphere he thought was genuinely insane.

    Group think and tribalism personified.

    What a creep.

  34. Jarrah and Philomena, you were made for each other. There’s a lot of sexual tension between you.

  35. I think {Philomena} can be viewed as an old-style {quack} who has hitched her/his wagon to the holy grail of {stupidity} as the grand plan cum means of getting us out of the current mess.

    Actually you can put any one’s name, and any label, in such dumb, unthinking postings.

    It’s all very, very childish and boring.

  36. @Jarrah
    Jarrah – you a hypocritical libertarian posturer.

    Whats interesting here is who jumps to who’s defence and plays knight in shining armour, not the least because you mean not a single bit of it, but you are posturing because you are likely free pro nuclear and in agreement with Fran on that, also because I dont agree with the libertarian technical user manual and you dont happen to like it. Thats too bad. You are very transparent Jarrah.

  37. Your post is boring, Chris Warren, because it says precisely nothing of import or truth.

    More interesting is: why the reflexive defence of Marxism vis-a-vis technological determinism and environmental/ecological impacts?

    Like most I’m not so naive as to believe that like Jarrah you are leaping to the defence of Fran Barlow at this point purely for objective, scientifically based or philosophically sound reasons.

    The plot thickens.

  38. @Philomena
    Philo – Im surprised you even bothered to venture in there to Catallyxy. When I went there for a look there wasnt a female in the room and when they arent tearing each other to pieces…I would imagine they would be more than excited to pack tear a left or even centrist or even moderately right view to absolute shreds and I cant see Jarrah standing up for you there Philo (or me for that matter).
    So dont pretend otherwise Jarrah – you know where your home turf is and so do Philo and I. You should stay there.

  39. @Fran Barlow

    Hey, no need for harsh words. I’m all in favour of nuclear power. I just see the justification a little differently. Rather than being a competitive source of energy, I see nuclear technology justified as essential if we are to take our rightful place as the scourge of small(ish) nations in the south pacific (and maybe beyond).

  40. Alice, Jarrah explained to me at great length once on Catallaxy why fish depletion was the direct and sole result of the “tragedy of the commons”.

    This btw is his sole explanation for biodiversity loss and all the major environmental problems, including the effects of AGW and of imperialist aggression, war, poverty and underdevelopment.

  41. I posted regularly there from about April to December last year, Alice, under the name Phil the Greek. I think in the end I delivered more political blows than I received but the behaviour and language of the regulars, all men, towards me, a genuinely engaging left woman was staggeringly vicious, coarse, and sexist.

    As I said, Jarrah always 100% explicitly endorsed and encouraged the behaviour of the male “libertarian” mob. I’m writing it up, don’t worry.

  42. Philomena

    Now I see why you were raped.

    Do you even understand your own quackery?

    Any quack can assert there is lack of import or truth in anything – this is standard low grade stuff by school-kids.

    No better than graffiti defacing public spaces.

  43. @Philomena

    Jarrah is right.

    The ‘tragedy of the commons’ is the explanation for all the ills of the world. If everything was exclusively owned by someone, nothing whose continued existence was more valuable than the value that could be extracted by ‘cashing it out’ would find itself going extinct. And all those freeloading species that are unable to pay their way would rapidly find they and freeloading ways extinguished.

    This might still result in some extinctions but not of anything that anyone would miss.

  44. @Philomena
    Philo – Personally I have very few (no) views in common with Jarrah seeing as I dont subscribe to much that is a la libertarian. That is correct isnt it Jarrah?…which is why you didnt miss the oppurtunity to leap to Fran’s defence and put in a boot when the opportunity arose?

    As others have noted Fran doesnt need defence Jarrah and Ive certainly never found Fran unwilling to defend herself or unwilling to throw a few stones either, (and Fran might actually be better off without your defence – have you thought of that Jarrah?)

    But it sure sounds like Philo needs defending from you and I happen to like Philo – she is honest, unlike some here such as yourself.

    So I guess Philo is right – now go home Jarrah – its past your bedtime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s