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PostPosted: November 14th, 2010, 9:15 pm 
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wotrock wrote:
Candu reactors, for e.g., used refined uranium, but not enriched uranium.
That's fine, but you're going to get less energy out of it, in a more efficient design, not sure how this impacts the overall CO2 emissions calculation. It might actually make it worse? And CANDU reactors (outside of Canada?) normally use a mixed oxide fuel: natural uranium mixed with plutonium (from nuclear weapons), or depleted uranium with an enrichment around 0.9%. I think it makes a lot of sense to burn up decommissioned weapons stock (which is what you can do in CANDU reactors moderately well). Mining for new uranium is not an effective carbon reduction strategy, especially with global reserves of high grade ore on decline. The high cost, outages, and problematic maintenance record of CANDU reactors are well known. The production of heavy water is also a highly energy intensive process.

Thanks for raising this issue … I may have to look at it further.

And yep … receped made the point of the day, we need to take cancer "mortality" claims (since they are often used for a specific purpose) with a grain of salt. We've become very effective at treating cancers over the years, and doctors may actually record "pneumonia" as cause of death, when it was something different (like leukemia). It's "cancer incidence" that is the relevant statistic. These numbers are recorded for US, I would think they are even more detailed (and perhaps more accurate) in Canada. One more misleading claim from the likes of Mr. Solomon.


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2010, 9:12 am 
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I hope some of you get to attend Caldicott's talk on Tuesday...


The Port Hope residents may have kicked her out more or less... at least from news reports several days ago. The church she was due to speak at has been slammed shut... I guess telling residents that the town needs to be closed down and they all need to move out wasn't too popular.

One thing I've noticed with municipal employees, and town residents... they don't like hearing negative stories about where they live. There are plenty of polluted hotspots around the Great Lakes, and usually local news stories want to accentuate the positive. Civil servants usually won't be too eager to talk about the more negative elements since those are politically dangerous (from the keeping your job and keeping the paychecks coming POV).

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PostPosted: November 15th, 2010, 1:04 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
The Port Hope residents may have kicked her out more or less ... I guess telling residents that the town needs to be closed down and they all need to move out wasn't too popular.
It should be noted that it's community residents paying her speaking fees. There aren't too many venues large enough to host this event. Currently, pre-ordered tickets are sold out and you can't get any more through FARE (maybe this has changed with new venue). So obviously, it's not everybody turning her away. Unless the Church wants to take a firm stand as a proponent of free speech in the community, I'm not sure it was the right venue to begin with.

================

But on to a different issue. We've talked about the high costs (short term and long term for taxpayer), health issues, and carbon emissions of nuclear industry. But we haven't talked about waste storage, transportation, proliferation, and security issues.

Allan Jacobs wrote:
I'd like to point out though that the contamination in Port Hope occurred before proper standards were established for handling low-level waste, to the best of my knowledge.
Sorry for my loud dismay on what follows … but I think this is TOTALLY INSANE! I decided to take a google street views tour of the Cameco Refining and Conversion Plant in Port Hope. Apparently, you can just drive by the UF6 drums on the site. What's more, they are even being stored right next to the water … OMG (see below). Anything new in the world of waste storage at the Port Hope facility … I THINK NOT!!! This would have Homeland Security red flags all over it in the States. I tried to drive to Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Wisconsin some years ago, to take in the lake view, and couldn't get to within three miles of the place (and was turned away by armed guards). It's not like we haven't already learned our lessons from the accidental release of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) from uranium enrichment plants in the past?

1985 Incident Report from Accidental Release of UF6 at Sequoyah Fuels Corporation Facility at Gore, Oklahoma (killing 1 person, sending 25 people to hospital, and resulting in long term monitoring and decontamination of radiological materials and toxic flourides from site for years to come):

Quote:
According to statements from company officials, plant employees had overfilled the cylinder (maximum limit is 27,560 pounds) and were in the process of heating the cylinder to facilitate removing the excess uranium hexaflouride when the rupture occurred. An approximate three foot-long split occurred in the wall of the cylinder, allowing the contents of the cylinder to be released to the atmosphere in gaseous form. Company officials estimate that the contents of the cylinder emptied in about 30 to 40 minutes.

Contact with the air resulted in the formation of hydrogenate flouride (HF) and uranyl flouride. Although it is believed, based on radiation surveys and sample results to date, that most of the uranyl flouride was deposited in the immediate vicinity of the plant, the hydrogen fluoride, a toxic and corrosive chemical, formed a plume that was visible at more than a mile from the plant site before it was dispersed. Interstate 40, which runs east-west about a mile south of the plant, was closed for a short period of time after the incident by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

About 25 people, mostly company employees, were hospitalized as a result of the incident, but only a few were diagnosed as suffering from respiratory problems related to inhalation of hydrogen fluoride. Those exhibiting actual respiratory problems were transferred to a medical facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas, from a hospital in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. One person, a company employee, died enroute to Fort Smith. No additional deaths have been reported. Numerous company employees and local residents have reported to the Sallisaw hospital at the company's urging for initial screening. Many have been asked for urine samples which the company will analyze at its Technical Center in Oklahoma City.
Contemporary management standards, challenges, and risks of storing and transporting UF6 have been long known and debated (here, here, and here):

Quote:
IEER makes the following recommendations for the long-term management of depleted uranium:

• DU should be declared a waste and reclassified to reflect the fact that, for all practical purposes, the properties of DU are the same as the properties of TRU waste.
• Like TRU waste, classification of DU should require deep geologic disposal under the rules specified in 40 CFR 191.
• In the interim, DUF6, which makes up most of the stockpile, should be converted to an oxide form in order to greatly reduce the hazards of storage. Conversion should be done with careful attention to health and environmental protection.
Earth to insane promoters of "healthful" low level radiation industries and elected representatives of Port Hope … you guys have a problem!

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And the challenges of long term storage and transportation of highly radioactive wastes and materials don't get any easier with decommissioning or upgrades to existing plants:

Read Bruce Power, Steam Generators, and transportation of Plutonium in St. Lawrence Seaway.
Quote:
[Bruce Power's] planned shipment of 1600 tonnes of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence has been met with concerted opposition from over 100 municipalities and aboriginal communities along the route, as well as from more than 70 NGOs. In response to this public outcry, CNSC held a public hearing in September with 79 intervenors. The outpouring of concern at that hearing led CNSC to extend the comment period for intervenors to give added input until November 22 -- an unexpected and unprecedented development.

Most of the intervenors want Bruce Power to cancel the shipment and return to the original plan as laid down in a 2006 Environmental Assessment: to store the steam generators on site indefinitely as radioactive waste along with all the other radioactive waste materials produced by the Bruce reactors. “Radioactive waste should be isolated from the human environment, not transported halfway around the world, and certainly not dispersed into consumer products,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear.

But if BP insists on pushing forward with its proposal, intervenors feel strongly that there must be an environmental assessment of the entire project, including not only the initial transport to Sweden but the recycling of the radioactive metal and the return back to Canada of up to 90 percent of the original waste.


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2010, 2:56 pm 
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On what basis do you believe that those drums contain UF6? Why do you even think that there is UF6 at that site? UF6 is used for Uranium ENRICHMENT. Canada does not enrich Uranium.


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm 
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Interesting comment, Slipper! You seem to know something about the Port Hope facilities.

Now how does that jibe with the vision as outlined in this Cameco document:
Quote:
Vision 2010 is to be realized through development of a preferred master plan using the following
key objectives:
....
• Consolidating site operations, in particular for cylinder-handling and storage facilities, so
that the analytical laboratory and other operations related to the production of uranium
hexafluoride (UF6) and uranium dioxide (UO2) are ultimately situated as close as possible
to their respective centres of activity, where practical and cost effective.


http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=we ... 5A&cad=rja

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PostPosted: November 15th, 2010, 3:23 pm 
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slipper wrote:
On what basis do you believe that those drums contain UF6? Why do you even think that there is UF6 at that site? UF6 is used for Uranium ENRICHMENT. Canada does not enrich Uranium.
I'm 99.98% positive these are UF6 storage barrels? Here's a link to the same on PHCHCC website (for same location and elsewhere). The Cameco Refining and Conversion Plant is in the business of producing UF6 (uranium oxide mixed with anhydrous HF and fluorine gas) for use in enrichment facilities outside of Canada (see here). Northumberland News reports "most of the Port Hope operation supports UF6 production."

I suppose it's possible they could be empty (but they look old and used to me). Everywhere else this stuff is stored (and it's almost always stored outside), this is what it looks like. Single rows, not stacked, managed for easy inspection and monitoring. It's worth noting UF6 is highly volatile and reactive with moisture in the air or other sources of water.


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PostPosted: November 18th, 2010, 10:07 am 
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Here's a report on the meeting in Oshawa... draw your own conclusions on what the overall tone there must have been like.

It's interesting that Farley Mowat felt qualified to make comments, all that radioactivity escaping into the lake must explain the sea monsters he saw from the Port Hope beach.

:roll:

Quote:
Sue government over toxic town, activist tells Port Hope

Published On Tue Nov 16 2010


Port Hope’s air, drinking water, fish, beach, soil — virtually everything in the town of 16,000 poses a health risk from radioactivity, anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott warned an overflow crowd Tuesday night.

Radium is leaking into Lake Ontario and uranium from the Cameco refinery and is “almost certainly” being inhaled by residents, she told more than 200 people jammed into the banquet hall at the Best Western Durham Hotel in Oshawa.

“Your town symbolizes the whole wickedness” of the nuclear industry, the internationally acclaimed pediatrician said. “This radioactive waste will leak into food supplies, water and air for the rest of time.”

Children are particularly at risk because they’re 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radon than adults, she said.

“This government should be sued and you should get millions and millions of dollars,” she said to cheers and applause.

Caldicott repeated her warning made last week in an interview with the Star: the town should be moved and Cameco should be shut down. The resulting furor over her comments forced the sponsors of her talk to move the event to Oshawa.

Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. has begun a 10-year, $260-million project to dig up 1.2 million cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste buried in numerous sites around town and store it in a huge covered mound. The contamination was the result of 50 years of radium and uranium refining at the Cameco refinery, formerly Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear Ltd.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which is overseeing the cleanup, maintains there is no health risk and that Port Hope’s cancer rates are the same as any other community’s.

Calling the activist’s comments “sensationalism,” Mayor Linda Thompson said Tuesday before Caldicott spoke that real estate agents have complained about cancelled showings and deals falling through, and bus tours have stopped coming to the picturesque town an hour east of Toronto.

But Caldicott urged the crowd to “read, check the facts, check my data — and make your own decision” about whether to move or stay put.

During a visit to Port Hope earlier in the day, she reiterated her fears about the “disaster” plaguing Port Hope.

“I’m much more concerned. I stand by what I said, even more so.

“My eyes nearly fell out” during a visit to Cameco on Lake Ontario, Caldicott said.

Aghast at cancer-causing smokestack emissions that are “blowing over town,” she said Cameco should be shut down. The refinery is a “secretive, diabolical factory” that is adding to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, she said.

The federal government should pay to relocate everyone, insisted Caldicott, who was shocked to see people fishing in the harbour and river.

“Everyone should be totally compensated financially . . . No one should suffer.”

While the people doing the work are “sincere and caring,” they failed to ease her safety concerns, Caldicott said.

Caldicott’s warning to relocate or risk soaring cancer rates and genetic disease triggered nasty phone calls to the local environmental groups who invited her to Port Hope to speak and prompted the church that was hosting her talk to pull the plug.

At a dinner in Caldicott’s honour on Monday, legendary author Farley Mowat, who lives in Port Hope, lashed out at “certain elements” for treating her “as if she was the bearer of the plague itself.”

He urged everyone to listen to what she has to say. “Our lives, and those of generations yet unborn, depend upon it.”


http://www.thestar.com/news/sciencetech ... -port-hope

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PostPosted: November 18th, 2010, 1:31 pm 
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Cameco and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission both readily admit to pollution from Cameco production facilities (along the waterfront and from smokestacks):
Quote:
Each year, Cameco’s air emissions contain more than 100 kilograms of uranium, more than 500 kilograms of fluoride, over 30 tonnes of nitrates, and approximately 20 tonnes of ammonia. In 2002, an Ontario environment ministry audit revealed that some 60 percent of emissions escape through cracks, ducts, doors, and windows.
It's interesting to me that many comments on the story from local residents fundamentally misunderstand or are misinformed about the primary activities at the Cameco production facilities in their town. It seems widely known that Canada doesn't have any enrichment plants in the country, but less known that Cameco exports uranium products (UF6) for enrichment activities elsewhere (in US, Japan, and Europe). "Trust but verify" … isn't this a leading principle in nuclear safety, production, and proliferation concerns around the world. US currently intends to spend $80 billion over next 10 years on a new START treaty to maintain infrastructure for monitoring and maintaining nuclear stockpiles and weapons decommissioning in US, Russia, and elsewhere. I would hope this also includes safety, regulatory oversight, and monitoring of transportation infrastructure for shipping uranium products between Canada and the US, and the long term storage of depleted uranium from these processes (which already adds to a very long list of significant longterm costs to the taxpayer).

Other stories on Caldicott's Oshawa talk:
Quote:
I also recommend a longer news story on Port Hope from the Walrus Magazine in 2008. It discusses background radiation issues, health studies, remediation efforts, and lingering emissions and pollution concerns that continue to impact and divide members of the community.

Issues that stand out for me in article:

    - Contamination of groundwater sources with uranium that led to a temporary shutdown of Cameco UF6 production facility in 2007.

    - 1978 radon levels in school gymnasium and kindergarten at L. B. Powers public school 125 times the allowable limit ... and also current residents dealing with health impacts from possible radon exposure.

    - Home owner audits and remediation of individual properties not shared with public or other homeowners (only with residents of individual properties).

    - Documentation of neutron radiation from UF6 cylinder left on trailer in parking lot: "Neutron radiation is produced in the manufacture and storage of UF6 and is normally found only inside nuclear reactors."

    - In 2006, community petitioned CNSC for shorter licensing period for Cameco in order to address ongoing contamination concerns and plant failures, and was denied.

    - Disputes over interpretation of CNSC cancer incidence health report for 1971-1996: Eric Mintz suggests "it actually shows higher than normal rates of leukemia and childhood cancer deaths, as well as significantly elevated incidences of brain, lung, and colon cancer for certain time periods and demographic groups."

What all of this says to me … there is still a great deal of secrecy and some very complicated science when it comes to the nuclear industry. Not sure this bodes well for having an active and informed citizenry … and where lifetime experts are needed to make effective decisions on development, regulation, and management of risks for local residents who don't have time or expertise to make "informed" decisions for themselves (and the ever present risk of human error). It's fine to say make up your own mind on these issues … but I am not sure exactly what this means in the current context: "make up your own mind based on what other experts are telling you and on your own faulty information?" When it comes to the likes of Lawrence Solomon, we have a pretty good example of the breakdown of public trust between representatives of industry, local officials, regulators, and the power of the media to spread easy to hear "wishful thinking" and potentially very dangerous misinformation.


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PostPosted: November 18th, 2010, 8:05 pm 
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Each year, Cameco’s air emissions contain more than 100 kilograms of uranium, more than 500 kilograms of fluoride, over 30 tonnes of nitrates, and approximately 20 tonnes of ammonia.


From what I've been able to gather, uranium particles in the air aren't tremendously toxic. There may be much more damaging substances in the Great Lakes, PCBs, dioxin, mercury, cadmium, and on and on, but what do I know about toxicity.

I found Farley Mowat at the Oshawa meeting enlightening, although not as he intended. He's been in the Port Hope area for a long time and since he hasn't moved away yet, he's cast his vote to stay put (voting with his ass rather than his feet... more or less).

It's not like Farley's chained to a mule to plant potatoes for the rest of his life, he's been around and has plenty of options. The fact that he's chosen residence in Port Hope says a lot all on it's own.

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2010, 8:04 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
I found Farley Mowat at the Oshawa meeting enlightening ... he's been around and has plenty of options. The fact that he's chosen residence in Port Hope says a lot all on it's own.
Interesting that you turn to Mowat as a telling case. He does live a spartan, abstinent and self-sacrificing way of life. "He refuses to take advances on his books and lives modestly … 'I am frightened by the prospect of being spoiled by wealth' … He insists the comfortable domesticity of his life makes him feel encrusted by possessions … 'Cancer, radioactivity, all the things that destroy the flesh are nothing compared to aloneness'" (he says). I suppose it doesn't matter that he actually defended Caldicott during her visit, and urged audiences to listen to her, "Our lives, and those of generations yet unborn, depend upon it."

He also writes for FARE, the community advocacy and monitoring group for contamination and radioactive pollution for region. "We are told 60 kg is spewed out by the Cameco plant every year," he writes, "much of it in so fine a form that it can be absorbed into the blood stream of living creatures, including human beings. And this is now--before any SEU [Slightly Enriched Uranium], which would add even more uranium, ammonia and other legal contaminates to our land air and water. I believe that continuing to support Cameco's interests would be insanity." Hardly a ringing endorsement, wouldn't you say?

When looking to re-name Percy Street, the road running alongside the Cameco facility, after him, Mowat said: "No way!" "'I will paraphrase what he said in order that it can be repeated in print: a road that is going to encircle a portion of Cameco, he would do anything in his power to prevent it being named after him'." He lives part of the year in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, where he is actively involved in land conservation issues. I love wilderness and paddling, but have lived in towns built on environmental industries of nickel mining, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, transfer payments and federal services, slaughterhouses, railroads, steel fabrication, finance, coal, nuclear, much more. What do you suppose that says about me? We have many material and cultural ways of living and relating to a place, and local residents advocating for their own interests is one of the best ways to create change and a livable, healthy, and sustainable/responsible way of life for the planet (and future generations).

Illinois (where I currently live) gets 50% of it's electricity from nuclear, and we're dealing with a lot of the same at the Honeywell uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion plant in Metropolis ("Superman's Home Town").
Quote:
the government has paid out $15.2 million in compensation and medical benefits to former workers at the plant or their families. Those workers were determined to have become ill from radiation exposure while working between 1959 and 1976 or suffered residual radiation exposure between 1977 and 2009 … Many workers believe that the plant contributed to their fellow employees’ illnesses, which is a central reason the union is refusing to accept the plant operator’s plan to reduce pensions for newly hired workers and health benefits for retirees ...

In December 2003, an accidental release of uranium hexafluoride sent a plume of gas into the air, and nearby homes were evacuated. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency sued Honeywell over the accident, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued two safety violations, which led to increased oversight.
Add to this a hydrogen explosion in 2010, poor training of replacement workers, a grand jury investigation looking into criminal violations of environmental laws, and 37 incidents of reportable uranium contamination events NOT reported to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (between 2008 and 2010), and public confidence is at an all time low in Metropolis.

The necessary prerequisite of huge levels of government involvement, financing, and regulation (and meting out compensation claims and revenue for remediation, decommissioning, waste storage, and long lasting health impacts) are some of the many reasons why nuclear is so expensive (to the taxpayer) as an industry.


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PostPosted: November 19th, 2010, 11:11 am 
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recped wrote:
I could blow a giant hole in that theory with one simple question........

What is the difference in average income/education between Colorado and the "lowland States" mentioned?

Take note that mortality rate differences are given not incidence rates, probably a safe bet that Mississippi has higher relative mortality rates for just about everything.


You will find higher than average cancer rates in most southern states, probably largely due to unhealthy lifestyles, and possibly other factors, like concentrated environmental contamination. For example, there are higher rates of cancer in communities along the lower Mississippi River where higher levels of carcinogens occur in the drinking water and in the air.

I find the discussion of the safety of nuclear energy interesting, but am convinced that with the human population growing out of control almost everywhere, with a corresponding increasing demand for electricity, nuclear power plants must be a part of providing it.

The continued burning of fossil fuels can no longer be tolerated over the long term due to the catastrophic effects on the worldwide climate that are increasingly occuring. "Renewables", though very important, can never keep up with the insatiable demand for power.


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PostPosted: November 19th, 2010, 4:54 pm 
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ghommes wrote:
I find the discussion of the safety of nuclear energy interesting, but am convinced that with the human population growing out of control almost everywhere, with a corresponding increasing demand for electricity, nuclear power plants must be a part of providing it.

The continued burning of fossil fuels can no longer be tolerated over the long term due to the catastrophic effects on the worldwide climate that are increasingly occuring. "Renewables", though very important, can never keep up with the insatiable demand for power.
Sorry … but nobody is going to be building nuclear power plants in places like Sudan, Congo, East Timor, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Laos, Columbia … or anywhere else you find weak central states that lack the planning and research infrastructure to carry out important regulatory, financing, security, and implementation functions. We probably shouldn't be building them in Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and other states with serious internal conflicts within their borders, and also longstanding issues with their neighbors. I still have high hopes for a tough minded anti-proliferation framework from global leaders in order to stem the tide of rising security threats from weak or non-state actors. If not from well intentioned leaders, than by default from actual changing circumstances.

We have huge energy challenges. The EIA just published it's World Energy Outlook for 2010. The most notable finding is that we have already passed the crest of peak oil. Liquid fuels and tapping smaller undiscovered reserves will continue to hamper our energy outlook and the cost advantage of existing technologies (ending subsidies to fossil fuels is a top priority in the report). It's not even about climate change anymore. They see a rapid rise of renewables in the next 15 years. Their own accounting shows only a 2% rise for nuclear in installed capacity in 2009 (among the smallest gains for the year), and a shift of 2% globally for 2035 … with cost equations growing increasingly out of whack as renewables get cheaper, and nuclear gets more expensive (high cost of new reactor construction, improvements to regulatory infrastructure, challenges to public acceptance, and long term accounting for externalities).

The greatest potential for scalable and sustainable energy alternatives for the planet (as a whole … including places like East Timor, Liberia, Iran … all the rest) are solar, wind, geothermal, conservation, efficiency, battery technology, tidal, hydro (and perhaps some as yet undeveloped game changer). We achieve a 30% reduction in energy demand by transition to renewables (away from fossil fuels) so this helps too. There are plenty of plans out there for scaling renewables to cover the whole amount: in the EU and US (among the many). Not that I want to argue this point strongly (our energy challenges are too complex) … but it is technically and ecologically feasible with current technology. Germany has declared the nuclear option dead (although conservatives still debate it). Most who seriously look at global challenges (and not just selling uranium and reactor designs to China) frequently come to the same conclusion. Why … well, it's costs (plain and simple), it doesn't change emissions or environmental concerns much, and it presents a huge long term security challenge.

Far more interesting to me ... a game changer today from Kentucky, one of the largest coal producing regions in the US. "Recognizing the spiraling costs of coal-fired plant construction and more practical energy efficiency and renewable energy options, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) has agreed to halt its once fervent plans to construct two coal-burning power plants in Clark County." It's the result of a coalition of partners including EKPC, Sierra Club, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, and numerous other grassroots organizations and individuals. And how did such a thing happen in Kentucky, you say … well, it just makes sense (which should be our first priority in meeting our energy challenges). A breakthrough report showed that investments in energy efficiency, weatherization, hydro and wind power would lower costs for energy and provide a greater benefit to consumers, the economy, and the environment: 8,740 new jobs, $1.7 billion to local economy, lower energy costs (all in a period of three short years). "Unlike projected economic activity that would result from construction of a new coal‐burning power plant, investing in renewable energy, efficiency and weatherization would result in jobs and benefits across the region rather than in a smaller geographic area around the site of the proposed coal burning power plant."

Why am I spending so much time on this … well, I'd like to highlight the multiple challenges for nuclear, and namely look at what makes sense and avoid the problem of making the same arguments over and over again (and talking entirely past each other). Is this possible? If your main argument (directed at FT) is that radiation is "healthful," that nuclear is "zero" emissions, that global security and waste storage issues don't matter, that mining tailings are safe, that public acceptability is high, and that the cost curve for nuclear is attractive … well, then we're not having an honest conversation.


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2010, 12:24 pm 
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If your main argument (directed at FT) is that radiation is "healthful," that nuclear is "zero" emissions, that global security and waste storage issues don't matter, that mining tailings are safe, that public acceptability is high, and that the cost curve for nuclear is attractive … well, then we're not having an honest conversation.


That isn't the reason behind choosing to go with nuclear at all, the main issue is dealing with the public's increasing demand for electricity, while minimizing environmental damage. So far, there are no signs that demand is slackening off, in spite of numerous initiatives aimed at conservation.

And new green alternatives don't seem to be taking off fast enough to satisfy increasing demand, so more traditional generation will likely be needed to do the heavy lifting. Nuclear may well be an option to consider, recognizing that there will be impacts. Balancing off what is lost vs what is gained may well tilt the choice towards nuclear, especially when coal is still an option throughout much of the world.

The opinions being brought foward against green energy are often countered with - Oh, their research must be funded by the oil industry. One never hears the opposite being put to the anti-nuclear camp such as Caldicott's - can a vote against nuclear power mean an unintentional vote for coal?

If carrying on with coal-fired generation means a more damaged world as a result, is the anti-nuclear vote partially responsible for that, if it turns out that conservation and green alternatives aren't working?

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PostPosted: November 21st, 2010, 10:22 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
The opinions being brought foward against green energy are often countered with - Oh, their research must be funded by the oil industry. One never hears the opposite being put to the anti-nuclear camp such as Caldicott's - can a vote against nuclear power mean an unintentional vote for coal?
You must be talking about someone else, because I rarely make such arguments. I look instead at the economics, global security, market, and emissions benefits of different approaches. Hence my comments above about "what makes sense" and avoiding arguments couched in ad hominem attacks ("dirty environmentalists") and distracting side shows ("radiation as healthful").

You make an important point, but I'd be interested to hear your perspective on world energy demand and EIA statistics for the West (US as example).


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It's worth noting that increasing demand is not really an issue in N. America and other developed countries (where nuclear has the highest potential for growth). 93% of growth will come from non-OECD countries (and primarily in oil and natural gas). Nuclear fails to meet the test of keeping up with global demand (even with wild speculations on planned new construction in China). From 2008-2035, production from nuclear will rise 6-8% globally (and will actually decline in States from 20-17%). Renewables will rise globally 7-14% for same period (9 to 17% in US). Coal production is anticipated to peak in 2020, and decline through the period. So coal is largely being displaced by natural gas and renewables. I don't see where nuclear is contributing much to overall energy picture (other than to roughly maintain current levels of production).


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And the Kentucky case is an important one. Coal was dealt a heavy blow (in a region where it was central to economy) not because of massive spending on new energy sources, but by new public and private partnerships (citizen action), a focus on conservation, and a turn to small scale and decentralized renewables that will reduce long-term costs of energy for consumers and create more jobs and local economic benefit than new coal plants. The graph above shows the same, and the huge advantage of efficiency and conservation for managing growing energy demand worldwide. Adding more nuclear capacity, independent of conservation measures, does absolutely nothing to address issue of rising energy demand (and actually probably continues a trend of wasting energy that we can no longer afford to waste, and at a huge expense to taxpayer). Estimated costs for storage and maintenance of depleted uranium stocks in US will reach $15 billion per year by 2025.

Research at McKinsey on energy and electricity markets show the same:
Quote:
What about the alleged nuclear renaissance? In 2006, nuclear's added net capacity--1.44 gigawatts--was less than that of solar cells and a tenth that of wind power. Micropower added 43 to 58 gigawatts and surpassed nuclear's output. Distributed renewables alone got $56 billion of private risk capital. Nuclear, as usual, got nothing: it's only bought by central planners. The world now has more wind capacity than the United States has nuclear capacity. In addition, the United States in 2007 added more wind power than it has added coal power in the past five years combined--or than the world added nuclear power over the same period. For anybody who takes the market seriously, what part of that story don't you understand? These market trends also are good for our climate because new nuclear power buys you two to ten times less coal displacement per dollar than does micropower or improved end-use efficiency, and at a pace that is significantly slower.
World energy demand will increase 36% from 2008-2035. Electric cars (because they are hugely efficient), new building design (buildings are the source of 60-70% of carbon emissions in many cities), and improved public transportation represent the largest gains to be made on future emissions and consumption. Private capital is not looking at nuclear (it's a dead end for them). And renewables are adding capacity and outbuilding nuclear 5 to 20 to 1. Countries will continue to turn to nuclear for other important reasons: because it confers benefits in international standing and global prestige, keeps a cadre of scientists at home busy and active in new research, and provides crucial support to weapon's production and other military applications. As an energy solution for developing countries, however, for all of the reasons I have stated above (economics, waste storage, emissions, and safety and proliferation concerns) it's an incredibly poor choice for the planet, many national economies (funded primarily by low labor costs and trade imbalances), and for global security concerns.


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PostPosted: November 21st, 2010, 11:42 am 
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CTV has an interview with Caldicott and Mayor Thompson:

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/201011 ... te-101119/

It looks like there were plenty of people taking video of Oshawa event. So far, only this 13 minute segment has made it's way to the web (with very poor sound quality).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaqrjaW5ts4


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