Posted by Ken on June 24, 2004, 1:06 am
Are the proponents of massive expansion of nuclear energy production
proposing it occur world wide or only within 'approved' nations? The
limk between nuclear power and nuclear weapons is very strong. Lots of
nations embarked on nuclear energy programs in order to develop bombs
as much as to provide electricity.It was certainly a major
consideration early on in US, UK, French, Russian, Chinese, Indian,
Pakistani, Israeli, Iranian, Iraqi (have I missed any?) development
of nuclear capability. Finding nuclear capable nations that don't have
or have ambitions to have the big bomb as a way to deter potential
attackers can be difficult. Making full use of the uranium resource
really requires use of the fast breeder cycle ie turning the most
common but not very useable isotope -U235- into fissionable plutonium.
Will the old nuclear powers really encourage or even allow developing
nations to develop such technologies? Or will they only be allowed to
buy it off those old powers without being permitted to acquire the
capability themselves? That would surely help to fuel anti- West
I'm not convinced the waste problem is as easily or cheaply solved as
the proponents claim. In a world where planning past a decade or two
is the exception, planning for storage of wastes thousands of years
into the future seems questionable. Especially if the stuff is
proliferating in places where standards may depend more on who's paid
off whom than the kind of meticulous attention the stuff requires.
I'm also not convinced alternatives will always be the minor players
they are now, although they certainly don't get the kind of priority I
believe they should. When the entire world budget for renewable energy
research is less than gets spent on a few hundred kilometers of
freeway, it's very clear the will to really act just isn't there. And
it's a good indicator of just where Our priorities lie. Perhaps this
is a form of democratic choice but even in so called democracies we
need leadership that acts on best available information for the good
of their respective nations. I'm hoping the essentially decent nature
of Americans comes through and the good of the USA doesn't come
through depriving other nations of any decent future.
Posted by Damon Hill on June 24, 2004, 6:43 am
email@example.com (Ken) wrote in news:39e45634.0406231706.1cac2130
The first step is education. Suggested reading on advanced
If you want better energy technology, you'll have to learn
the technology rather than complain about it. There are
plenty of choices.
Posted by Antipodean Bucket Farmer on June 24, 2004, 7:00 am
Nah, the countries with nuke-electric capability will
just use the electricity themselves, and pay some
desperate third-world country a few bucks to dump the
waste products there.
See above. Dump it in someone else's backyard, which
is probably a barren desert, anyway.
A third-world country desperate for cash will only
think short-term. And their corrupt leaders' long-term
thinking will just be about taking in as much cash as
possible before retiring to luxurious exile following
the next revolution.
As long as it is buried in someone else's desert, and
won't pollute the producers' countries, that is far
enough for them. They will, of course, encase the
waste in some way that makes it too expensive to re-
refine into weapons-grade.
The average inhabitant of a developed country seems to
have their priorities focused upon watching Tee-Vee,
coveting money, consumer goods, sex, junk food, etc.
Those things help them avoid the effort of cranking up
a few brain cells and seeing anything complex or
In fact, come to think of it... That could be another
idea for mitigating things like the physical risks of
nuke-electricity... Maybe invade some impoverished,
unpopular desert country, and put the dangerous nuke-
electric plants there...
Guide To DIY Living
(Work in progress)
Posted by G. R. L. Cowan on June 24, 2004, 1:43 pm
Antipodean Bucket Farmer wrote:
Hundreds of caches of spent nuclear fuel
have existed for decades, the world over.
No neighbour of such a cache has ever been harmed by it.
There has been no attempt I'm aware of to ship the stuff
to a poor country.
No-one is really concerned about this stuff.
It would be stupid to talk like "Antipodean Bucket Farmer"
without getting paid oil money to do so. And for sure,
it would be *really* stupid to talk so, *for* pay.
Also see http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/waste.htm .
--- Graham Cowan
How individual mobility gains nuclear cachet.
Link if you want it to happen
Posted by Richard Bell on June 24, 2004, 7:36 pm
Yes, the link between nuclear energy production and nuclear weapons is
so strong, that the Manhattan Project failed to produce any successes,
until the US built its first power reactor, sometime in the early fifties.
While the only way to generate weapons grade plutonium is to expose it
to high neutron fluxes, no high energy neutrons are necessary to produce
a uranium bomb. It may take alot of electrical power to seperate the
U235 from the U238, but burning coal is more than adequite to supply that
electricity. Plutonium does accumulate in the fuel assemblies of a power
reactor, but to get weapons grade plutonium, you have to extract the Pu239
from the fuel assemblies before it absorbs another neutron to become Pu240.
Too much Pu240 will cause the bomb to fizzle. Seperating U235 from U238
is hard enough, seperating Pu239 from Pu240 is much worse.
For reactors in less trusted nations, the fuel is not prepared there, and
it is not reprocessed there. Finally, the assemblies are left in the reactor
until the Pu is either burned up by fissioning, or converted to Pu240. As
an added incentive to good behavior, the trusted nation that supplies the fuel
elements to the distrusted nation deals with the radioactive waste.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has helped determine who might
be developing illegal nuclear weapons programs, even if it does little
to stop or prevent them.