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Essay talk:Arguments against nuclear power

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how about comparing toxicity of coal fired plants with nuclear.
tossing treated waste into a subduction zone has been suggested as a dispposal method , as has storing it in Western Australia :) (talk) 23:00, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Natural background radiation versus artificial second event emitters[edit]

I noticed that this article uses the argument that natural background radiation exceeds the radiation of artificial isotopes released into the environment. Chris Busby's Second Event Theory is a plausible theory that explains how Second Event Emitters can nonetheless cause damage that far exceeds any damage generated by natural background radiation.

Second Event Theory has been reviewed by numerous physicists who agreed that this is a plausible mechanism and a severe problem for current assumptions about the safety of nuclear power, as shown here:

It's a real shame people felt the need to remove ANY reference to the Second Event Theory and the problem it poses for comparing Natural Background Radiation to the damage caused by nuclear power plants. Without mentioning Second Event Theory and the fact that different isotopes accumulate in different tissues, this article doesn't give a good overview of the issue of radiation from nuclear power.

I'm really trying to help improve this article and others dealing with radiation safety since I consider them to be rather one-sided, but having anything I add deleted isn't really encouraging.

Counteraction (talk) 15:56, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

The effects of diifferent types of radiation can be easily compared, and safe tresholds established. Unless you are actually going to claim reactors emit deadly radiation because the comparisons are done wrong, your huge chunk of text has nothing to do in the article. -- (talk) 18:33, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Second event theory is pseudoscience. Busby is a crank and anti-nuclear activist whose theories were rejected by radiation protection scientists. The theory is contradicted by actual carcinogenicity data for strontium-90. [1] I am going to create an article that specifically debunks it. --Tweenk (talk) 18:40, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Move to Essay space?[edit]

This whole thing reads like a paid advert for the nuclear industry. The title is misleading, because the article only contains arguments for nuclear power, it uses very doubtful cites to support very dubious points and the whole thing should be moved to essay space - or deleted entirely. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:43, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

While we're at it, Anti-nuclear movement should go too. Biased shite from word one. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:52, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
And Nuclear paranoia. Tweenk, what pro-nuclear organisation do you work for? These articles are full of straw and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:53, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with all this. I guess you work for the gas companies. -- (talk) 18:55, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
See the discussion at Talk:Nuclear power#Nukes, the new party line..--ZooGuard (talk) 19:05, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd suggest a big warning label, if not an essay/userspace move, while RW sorts out its nuclear philosophy... ~ Kupochama[1][2] 19:09, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
We don't need a unifying philosophy, but being blatant shills for the nuclear lobby isn't in the mission statement! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
True. By "RW's philosophy", I mean "whatever everyone decides before getting bored or annoyed". So far, it seems neutral with a tinge of this probably won't last in main. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 19:29, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
You forget, SR, that we are by definition not neutral. That is why we sound like shills for the vaccine lobby, and our articles on chiropractic and most of our political articles are terribly biased. Subjecting nuclear energy to a different standard is, well, nuclear exceptionalism, plain and simple. Blue Talk 19:33, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't expect us to be neutral, which is why I haven't used the word at any point so far. Unlike our articles on vaccines and homeopathy, where it's clear where the rational POV (and SPOV) lies, with nuclear power it's anything BUT clear. Sounding so stridently pro-nuclear, especially when so many of the arguments used are bogus (what's this shit about chemicals being difficult to detect, for instance). My objections are that these articles offer an utterly one-sided view when there are valid arguments on both sides. I note that the first reply to my suggestion was an anonymous, ad-hom attack. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:38, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Moving it to an Essay would prolly be better than what I wanna do, which is vape it. P-Foster (talk) 19:42, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Vape would be my first choice too, but I'll acknowledge the effort that's been put in even if I think it's over the top. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:44, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I would agree that there is some irresponsibility in these articles, but I am going to do my best to cut them down. This article, however, should be moved to essay space. Blue Talk 20:01, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
As the one tossing the word "neutral" around, I meant that nobody here seems irrationally opposed to nuclear energy (except by these articles' definitions), but neither do we agree that's it's a largely defensive harmless solution to coal and oil. I'd prefer articles that grudgingly admit nuclear power won't vaporize continents or spawn zombies, but maybe "neutral" isn't the right word. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 19:52, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (can't work out where this reply should go) For full-disclosure, it's worth saying here that I'm not anti-nuclear, except when judged by the standard set forth in this essay. Neither am I pro-nuclear. I think most rational thinkers start from an ideal situation where 1) energy consumption is reduced as much as is practical, and 2) all energy is provided by 100% renewable means. I also think most rational thinkers will realise that 1) can never be attained, and that 2) is at best a long, long, long-term goal rather than a realistic current policy. The question then becomes about making up the gap between the desirable and the practicable. I'll acknowledge a certain gut-instinct against nuclear, but I'll also acknowledge a realisation that we will probably have to use the tech to make up the shortfall and as a means of research. My take on the Rational POV therefore is that we should look at the pros and cons of nuclear and its alternatives with RW's usual sarcastic and somewhat detached eye. Tweenk's articles don't do that, which is what caused me to make the move suggestion(s). –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:18, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree with you, but I lack that gut instinct against nuclear power. When we are able to sustain a fusion reaction, it seems clear to me that nuclear power will become as globally dominant as coal and fossil fuels are today. (And then, a long way into the future, we'll be having a similar discussion, but instead of nuclear energy, we'll be arguing about the risks of a matter-antimatter reaction...) Blue Talk 20:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
We already have an article on peak uranium. I have always viewed Nuclear as a stop-gap to take up the sack until solar becomes cheaper, and fusion "matures". I have met people fanatical about the threat they feel nuclear power causes. They are, in general, scientifically illiterate, simply "radiation bad". However, I have a friend who is rabidly pro-nuclear, almost to the point he seems like the spokesperson for some 1950s future house show. ТyTalk. 20:27, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Apologies, I should have made clear that I was talking almost entirely about fission. From what I understand about fusion, it's actually a lot safer than fission but I need to read some modern material on the subject. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:32, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Randall Munroe does it again... –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Why not move this to [[Invalid arguments against nuclear power]][edit]

? -- (talk) 20:06, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't think "invalid" is the best word - not all of those arguments are wrong, most are just too weak to warrant banning nuclear power or removing it from consideration as a future source of energy. Another possibility is "analysis of arguments against nuclear power". --Tweenk (talk) 21:15, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Other name suggestions:
  • Guide to arguments against nuclear power
  • Guide to anti-nuclear arguments
--Tweenk (talk) 09:01, 21 March 2011 (UTC)


So far the critics (SuspectedReplicant, DogP, Rostigraben) have failed to point out *what* is actually wrong with the specific arguments and focus on general criticisms of my "viewpoint". I think this isn't very productive, and criticism of specific arguments or sources I used to support them would be better.

SuspectedReplicant - I don't think this kind of ad hominem is appropriate. Despite your suggestions, I have no ties whatsoever with the nuclear industry, as there is no nuclear industry is Poland. The only, very superficial link is that I have taken a nuclear chemistry course, and recently I have considered getting a degree in nuclear engineering. Your "rational POV" that "1) energy consumption is reduced as much as is practical, and 2) all energy is provided by 100% renewable means" is by no means more rational than other possible viewpoints, such as "energy consumption should expand to improve the standards of living" or "in the short term, energy should be provided by sources which have the lowest environmental impact, regardless of whether they are renewable". You also have a perception of the nuclear industry as a well organized entity that engages in anti-scientific propaganda, even though this is not supported by history and no examples of such activity are provided. Given your viewpoint, I could accuse you of being a shill for the renewable industry (which I have no intention of doing). The only difference between you accusing me and me accusing you is that your position is much more popular, but we are not running a popularity contest.

Additionally, both sides of the argument were affected by the wave of media panic over the events in Japan. The anti-nuclear people think it demonstrates the un-safety of nuclear power and is a reason to close power stations even in seismically stable areas of the world, while some pro-nuclear bloggers think it is serious but are downplaying its impact. I think any judgment on this needs to be withheld until the true effects of the accident are known. I am open to changing the title of this article to something different, as the previous titles of "anti-nuclear arguments" and "arguments against nuclear power" could be improved upon. --Tweenk (talk) 21:15, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Tweenk, you miss my point. I said "as much as is practical" because I was trying to come up with the shortest way of saying "The lowest level commensurate with our energy needs". I'm not advocating a mass-abandonment of TVs or other devices that improve our standard of living - I'm suggesting that we make the best possible use of the energy we have, which means better insulation, better energy efficiency and so on. Your other points have nothing to do with what I actually said, so I'll ignore them. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:26, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the goal of efficiency, and don't suggest that you are advocating reductions in the standard of living. I am objecting to the following things:
  • Maintaining that the "100% renewables" energy goal is the (only?) rational one. There are other possible objectives which are also rational, and could take precedence - it depends only on your value hierarchy.
  • Declaring the article wrong on the basis that it "reads like a paid advert for the nuclear industry." Have you considered the possibility that viewpoint which you associate with the nuclear industry might be true and supported by facts?
  • The general criticism that "it uses very doubtful cites to support very dubious points". It would be more useful if you pointed out which specific claims you don't agree with.
--Tweenk (talk) 21:43, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Let me respond to those points then:
  • What are those objectives and why/HOW is non-renewable energy a rational goal?
  • Yes, I have considered it - don't propose straw arguments. My point is that ONLY arguments that read like they come from the pro-nuclear side are presented.
  • Those will come. For the moment, it is clear that a 100% pro-nuclear POV is not acceptable here. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:12, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually I don't think this should be an essay at all. And I also don't think that we should have a "nuclear POV" of any type. What we need is a POV supported by the best data there is. Which means going through the items in this article one by one and finding out if they are correct or not. It may be completely correct, completely wrong or a mixture of the two.--BobSpring is sprung! 22:32, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, although that is by far the most time consuming option... Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:45, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, actually investigating the facts would certainly take more time than adopting some sort of faith-based "Nuclear is bad" or "Nuclear is good" option.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:42, 20 March 2011 (UTC)--BobSpring is sprung! 07:42, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Reply to SuspectedReplicant:
  • Other objectives, which could be judged as more important than going 100% renewable, include fighting poverty, improving human and animal welfare, or preserving wilderness. Some forms of renewable energy are not compatible with the last goal, because they require large areas of land to be heavily transformed by human activity. Non-renewable energy is a rational goal if you consider currently available renewable sources to be insufficient to sustain a technologically advanced civilization, and you consider this advanced civilization to be essential. (E.g. you think it's better to live a short and eventful life than a boring, nearly eternal life.)
  • We cover the creation-evolution debate in the same "one-sided" way, because one of the sides is objectively right.
  • If 100% pro-nuclear POV is sufficiently supported by evidence, then from the RW perspective it's as acceptable as a 100% pro-evolution POV. This is a factual issue, not a values issue.
--Tweenk (talk) 23:09, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
That's a mass of crap totally unrelated to this discussion, just like your essays. Yes, other things can be seen as more important, but then I like vanilla ice cream. Neither fact has anything to do with the objective desirability of renewable energy. Preserving wilderness if the only part of your reply with any bearing on the discussion, and I'm pretty sure that nuclear power stations require land to be used too, and after recent events it's unlikely that support for nuclear power stations in populated areas is going to increase any time soon. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:32, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Getting back to POV's we do not have a a "pro-evolution" POV as such, and we should not have. We have a science-based "Pro evidence" POV. This leads to support evolution, but not because it's an intrinsic POV of ours.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:46, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Bob, I agree. But for me a well-defined POV does not imply bias - I just understand POV to be a general stance taken on some issue after considering the available evidence. For example, you can have an anti-drug bias but ultimately have a pro-drug POV (e.g. because you consider the harm from drug abuse to be less important than civil liberties).
SuspectedReplicant, I think I know where the problem is. For me renewable energy is the thing the mainstream environmental movement promotes. They are promoting not just a set of technologies, but a systemic solution that involves low per capita energy use, conservation, efficiency, and considerable reduction in energy-intensive activities like eating exotic food or international air travel. If I understand you, you define "renewable energy" as simply those energy sources which are sustainable or nearly inexhaustible. This definition does not preclude an energy-intensive future, as it includes fusion and breeder reactors fueled with seawater uranium. Renewable energy as defined by you is objectively desirable, while renewable energy as defined by the environmental movement is not, because abundant energy is also objectively desirable and you must make a choice between those options. I consider a modern, energy-intensive civilization to be more valuable than indefinite sustainability. At the same time, I believe that fusion and breeder reactors, augmented with hydro, wind and solar where appropriate, can make an energy-intensive civilization sustainable.
Nuclear power stations do require land, but their land footprint is much lower. A nuclear power plant has an energy density of 1000 W/m2 [2], while a wind farm only 2 W/m2 [3]. Using support for nuclear power stations in a rational debate about energy is an argument from popularity. --Tweenk (talk) 02:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Though I'm a green-leaning centrist who's somewhat neutral on the subject of nuclear energy, I still notice that you're using the easily-debunked argument that energy consumption has a direct correlation with quality of life - a dubious line of reasoning that puts you in the prestigious company of Andy Schlafly and energy lobbyists. Two counter-examples should suffice to invalidate this assumption: Western Europe and the Middle East. One of these regions uses ungodly amounts of energy per capita and is home to widespread misery; in the other, very reasonable and shrinking per-capita energy use coexists in a region which enjoys the highest quality of life anywhere on earth.
The reason why this is the case is simply that Western Europe has been focusing on sustainability for 40 years while places like the USA believed in this myth of energy consumption, refused to deal with the issue, and are just now beginning to pay the true price of living in gigantic McMansions 40 km from work. I'm not qualified to evaluate your other arguments, but this particular one totally irks me whenever I see it, and is one reason why you're coming off as a shill. Junggai (talk) 09:18, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I am probably more green-leaning than you, and both reduction of energy consumption and drastic cutting of pollution and CO2 are probably the one issue that I care most in today's world. Still there is and will forever be a demand for large amounts of base load power - however you reduce consumptions - and the only green solution is, for the time being, nuclear. Paradoxically, I find the majority of environmentalist and green organizations' opposition to nuclear and contraposition (?) of nuclear to renewables, as the one most damaging decision for our planet. Renewables and nuclear serve different "markets", and should go hand in hand. Editor at CPmały książe 09:28, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm totally with you that opposition to nuclear is the green movement's Achilles heel. I disagree with calling nuclear "green energy" though. Producing small quantities of a highly-toxic byproduct and the possibility of environmental catastrophe kind of makes such facile support problematic. Junggai (talk) 09:38, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Let's agree to disagree then, as I disagree on both points. ;-) Editor at CPmały książe 09:41, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Western Europe isn't exactly a power-down society. When talking about an energy-intensive society I actually had something like Germany or Poland in mind. I don't think that "energy consumption has a direct correlation with quality of life", because there are obvious counterexamples. I simply think that: 1. the Western standard of living necessarily requires lots of energy, and even with strong conservation and efficiency measures it would be very costly, if possible at all, to support it only with renewables; and 2. with more energy, we can do more. --Tweenk (talk) 11:09, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Objection about detecting chemicals[edit]

In the discussion above, SuspectedReplicant said "what's this shit about chemicals being difficult to detect, for instance".

I am a chemist in training, and also took a nuclear chemistry course. I can tell you that detecting radiation is trivial when compared to detecting chemical pollutants. With radiation, you have a portable detector that doesn't need to contact or alter the sample, works on any kind of radiation and has no consumables except the battery. When you want to detect chemical pollutants at sufficiently low levels, there is no general method that will identify all pollutants. You need to take samples and use very expensive equipment, such as ICP-MS or a gas chromatograph. To identify all possible contaminants, you need to repeat this many times. A single GC column costs as much as a very sensitive scintillation detector. With a few exceptions, there are no field kits - you need to take everything back to the lab. When field kits are available, they are rather expensive, not very sensitive and require consumable chemicals. Detecting chemical pollutants is simply much more expensive than detecting radiation. --Tweenk (talk) 23:22, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

A while ago I has some nuclear engineers as students and they made the same point. They claimed that radioactive materials can be detected down to exceptionally low levels - orders of magnitude lower than many other carcinogens.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:14, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't dispute that chemicals can be more difficult to detect. I want to know what the fuck it's got to do with this topic. The argument seems to be "radiation is easier to detect than some things that are irrelevant to power generation therefore nuclear power is teh cool". –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:34, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Most opposition to nuclear power is, at least implicitly, based on the notion that radiation is very dangerous. The fact that it's easy to detect supports the point that radiation is much less dangerous than the public thinks. If you can detect something harmful easily, you are more likely take precautions against further exposure. Chemicals are used as a point of reference, because the effects of chemical pollution are familiar to more people and the risk that the public assigns to it is more or less in line with reality - as opposed to the risks assigned to radioactive contamination. --Tweenk (talk) 01:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Move back to article space[edit]

It seems quite reasonable to me to have an article about objections to nuclear power along with an evaluation of whether these objections are valid or not based on scientific evidence rather than emotion. While we must be careful of the balance fallacy the probability is that some arguments will be valid, some valid and some partially valid. I don't see why we should have a problem with saying this.

Simply banishing the article to essay space because either one side or the other can't stand the idea that there might be something valid in the opinions of their opponents is absurd. --BobSpring is sprung! 09:32, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

At the moment this article is absurdly biased. Many of the more extravagant claims are unsourced, and the ones that are use references from the nuclear industry. It's not about taking sides on this topic, it's about coming up with a decent article. This one isn't it. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:37, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
That's like complaining that farmers have all the know-how about growing food. Either something is true or isn't. -- (talk) 09:43, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
No, it's like basing an argument on the Common Agricultural Policy only on what farmers want. If you're only taking opinions from one group, you get a biased result. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:48, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
If the article is biased then we need to go through the points one by one and correct them. Putting it into essay space in theory makes it the property of one user and therefore means that it cannot be edited by the mob. It sets in stone the present version - which, it seems to me, rather defeats the purpose of those who object to it.--BobSpring is sprung! 09:53, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Essays are only the property of one user when they are tagged as such. This one isn't. It does, however, present a very one-sided account of the issues & read like an essay rather than an article. Hence why it's in essay space. When it's been improved up to article standards, it can be moved back. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 10:16, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Non-owned "essays" are always very ambiguous. Typically they are only edited by those who support the point being made. In such a case this would never be "improved" in the way you suggest. If, on the other hand, we are saying this can be edited by anybody who has an interest - then in what way does it differ from a normal article which is improved during the normal course of events and as a result of talk page debate?--BobSpring is sprung! 10:23, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I like Bob and his idea. It should not have been moved in the first place just to placate the anti-nuke hysterics of users who admit to knowing nothing of the topic. - π 04:37, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, this is crazy - it's now neither an essay NOR an article. It needs to be an article. DogP (talk) 18:03, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Let's go back to the original idea and delete it then. It's too shit to have in mainspace. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:12, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I say keep it and restore it to article status, but keep discussing the individual points, balance and improve it. There's too much material here to throw away, and the topic is important, too. Tweenk has been willing to make changes, he hasn't monopolized the article, and he's supplied sources and additional information for his arguments. It would only be an essay if it reflected only his opinion, but it's improved since then. Röstigraben (talk) 18:36, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
If it's going to be kept, it needs to be renamed "Arguments Surrounding Nuclear Power" and substantially rewritten. At the moment it sets up a load of strawmen and then knocks them down. It's simply not the sort of content that mainspace should be hosting. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:41, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Problems with specific arguments[edit]

So far there hasn't been a lot of constructive criticism, so here I offer some ideas for improvement after critically analyzing my text.

  • "There is no solution to the nuclear waste problem" - I like the main point, but apparently the critics' concern are that geological disposal is inappropriate, or than interim storage is dangerous. I can add an arguments that specifically address this.
  • "There are vast amounts of nuclear waste awaiting disposal" - I could instead compare the annual generation of radioactive waste and other hazardous wastes, and point out that those hazardous wastes remain toxic forever, while radwaste decays over time. Coal ash is not the best comparison.
  • "Nuclear waste is a burden on future generations" - source of SuspectedReplicant's complaint. This argument is based on invalidating the assumptions needed to come to the conclusion used as the section title. I use chemicals as a comparison, because the ability to detect something harmful is necessary to take precautions against exposure to it, and chemical pollution is a familiar frame of reference. The argument that our descendants could find the waste valuable appears plausible, though not likely. Nuclear waste-based arguments could be subsections of one argument.
  • "Uranium will run out soon". This could be improved beyond a he-said-she-said. Seawater uranium extraction and breeder reactors could be mentioned.
  • "Reactors emit DEADLY RADIATION!" - for brevity I can omit mentioning doubts about the LNT, as the counter-argument doesn't require it.
  • "Reactors will explode" - the only possible contention I can see is the second bullet point. I can expand this, or add supporting material in the Chernobyl article, to explain in more detail why a Chernobyl-style event is not possible in other designs. I can add a note that Fukushima reactors did not suffer core explosions.
  • "Terrorists will hurt us" - I can track down and link to a security analysis by th U.S. government, which considers NPPs a "hard" target.
  • "Nuclear power will lead to nuclear proliferation" - I know that most "proliferation experts" consider any plutonium to be directly usable for weapons, but this is a conservative assumption, not a conclusion based on evidence. Please tell me what you think about this.
  • "Nuclear power is expensive" - looks like most analyses put wind as slightly less expensive than nuclear. What should be emphasized, however, is that those analyses do not talk about the cost of a system composed solely of a given source of energy (which is the common interpretation by the anti-nuclear movement), but about the cost of adding an extra unit of that type of generation to an existing grid. The last 2 paragraphs can be deleted if someone objects to them.
  • "The taxpayers will pay for permanent disposal of nuclear waste" - I added this argument in response to edits from Thorvelden. I think the various "taxpayers will do X for the nuclear industry" have to be consolidated.
  • "Nuclear is unfairly subsidized" - I don't see any outstanding issues with this.
  • "Liability limitation laws give the nuclear industry an unfair advantage" - to phrase this more clearly, only the nuclear industry has well defined procedures on who pays in case of a massive accident. The anti-nuclear movement thinks that other facilities also have to be insured against massive accidents, so they perceive P-A as unfair, but in reality other facilities are not insured against this kind of event at all and nobody knows who would pay for the damage and how much.
  • "Not enough people to operate the reactors" - this could be removed as the anti-nuclear movement doesn't use it.
  • "Nuclear can't be built fast enough to make a difference" - should be OK.
  • "There is a supply bottleneck for pressure vessels" - could be clarified or merged with the argument above, but is basically OK.

--Tweenk (talk) 02:59, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

There's nothing to criticise constructively. My preferred option for this steaming pile of pro-nuclear apologetics is to vaporise it. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 08:19, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I really do think that, if you have problems with the article, you should at least try to address specific points. I must say that there is a surprising lack of point-by-point rebuttal, and a surprising amount of strong language used in its place. One does not really substitute the other. --BobSpring is sprung! 08:31, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I began writing replies yesterday, but there's no point. The entire thing is so one-sided it makes it impossible to edit. It would be better to kill this off and start a proper article around the more important points. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 08:37, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
It's very hard to agree with you. -- (talk) 08:41, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Try harder. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 08:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Not having read the article yet, I won't go through the generic points (disposal, uranium, etc), but a couple follow. Keep in mind this relates to countries where I have direct experience. In the US, for example, it could be different!
  • "Terrorists will hurt us": especially after 9/11 the requirements have changes. Now new reactors must survive impact from both a jet fighter and the "largest passenger airplane in use". This caused some new calculations for Olkiluoto 3.
  • "Nuclear power is expensive" - just take the average cost of producing one MWh and compare to the price of on international markets of 1 MWh. Energy companies take all expenses (see also my next point) and still go strong on the electricity markets.
  • "The taxpayers will pay for permanent disposal of nuclear waste" all the costs are taken care by the operators of nuclear power plants, that is, energy companies. A fair amount is paid in advance, to avoid consequences of companies folding or going bankrupt.
  • "Nuclear is unfairly subsidized": this is just untrue, on the contrary. It's pretty ironic that the only viable green option for base energy is not subsidized. Editor at CPmały książe 08:55, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay, purely on the final point, Nuclear is subsudized. Right up the wazzoo. See this and this as two good sources. I'm not going to deny that wind power and other renewables are subsidized too, but that's not the point: saying that the nuclear industry isn't subsidized is simply untrue. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Those subsidies seem in line with IEA's nuclear roadmap. To call them unfair is a stretch as noted above. -- (talk) 09:45, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I said I related to other countries, I have no idea of the US. Editor at CPmały książe 09:05, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
It's just as true everywhere else. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:07, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
See, for instance, this and this. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:11, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
See, for instance, this. Editor at CPmały książe 09:15, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
So? The nuclear industry denies receiving subsidies? And actually, that article has huge gaps in it. Note that it never actually says the industry isn't subsidized at all, it just gives a couple of examples of certain types of subsidy that it doesn't get in certain places, then attacks renewables. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I answered with your weapons, both propaganda pages ( At least the world-nuclear page has some factual info in it, though take all with a grain of salt. Editor at CPmały książe 09:32, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Just read this. It's a pretty good response to the lies of the nuclear industry. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:55, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Read that as I read the other two (factually completely incorrect, at least the parts I know about). I have always told you to use IAEA stuff, or your local national authority. Pretty good? I wouldn't say. Editor at CPmały książe 10:14, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
That article hurts. A "comprehensive review" is apparently something ominous. It is not mentioned that corrective action was taken at Fukushima after the IAEA warning. It is not explained why Fukushima is a disaster (I heard the other event where near 20,000 died is also a disaster). Surely the %50 default rate is a conservative figure, and if it is it's a point against nuclear power that the US is willing to pay so much (probably instantly, and not over decades) to reintroduce nuclear power in the country. For comparison, construction of the the International Space Station cost 100 billion dollars, more than those loan guarantees would. -- (talk) 10:25, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Except you haven't used IAEA stuff. You've used links directly from the nuclear industry! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:29, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely. I gave just a counterlink to your linking of bad quality anti-nuclear propaganda. You talk about lies by the nuclear industry, but in my quite unbiased and open (heh!) opinion the other side is much worse from this point of view. Let's be rational and leave it all to the scientists, I have been saying all the time. Editor at CPmały książe 11:34, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
  • A loan guarantee is not a subsidy. It is basically a promise to allow the company's project to complete, under threat of covering the cost of the project if it fails. This promise actually costs the company substantial sums of money. You can regard it as a financial service the company buys from the government. The UCS report is based on the misleading notion that a loan guarantee is a direct subsidy, which causes those artificially high numbers. It even says that government payments of the IAEA fees are a subsidy - even though having those fees financed by the industry could undermine IAEA's neutrality. Instead of calculating the portion of the "real cost" of nuclear electricity that is financed from taxes, the report calculates the amount of subsidy as % of power price, which is meaningless and only done to further inflate the numbers. Here is a rebuttal of the report (unfortunately it comes from an industry source).
  • The report from goes on a lot about a "rigged market" and is rife with speculation while failing to notice that the market is also heavily rigged in favor of renewables (google "feed-in tariff"). It has claims about "failure of the nuclear industry around the globe to establish properly managed segregated decommissioning funds" which in reality apply only to the UK, and absurd bullshit about nuclear power being a "failed technology" (15% of world electricity is a "failure"?!). I can analyze it in more depth later if you want.
  • The Daily Kos article is reactionary coverage of the hysteria that resulted from spectacularly bad coverage of the event in Japan. Several of the points are already appropriately addressed by the content in the article. Some of the orange links point to pages that don't support the poster's arguments at all. One of the links in the last paragraph links to the paper "The Base Load Fallacy", which is purely theoretical and contains this sentence: "But, for large amounts of wind power connected to the grid from several wind farms that are geographically dispersed in different wind regimes, total wind power generally varies smoothly and therefore cannot be described accurately as ‘intermittent’." This is contradicted by actual data for such dispersed farms, e.g. here. Basically, the article appears to be an example of Gish Gallop.
--Tweenk (talk) 10:38, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The irony of Mr Bullet Point calling that article a Gish Gallop is astonishing. A loan guarantee is a subsidy when there's so little chance that the loan will be repaid. As one of the links I've provided says, the chance of the loans being repaid is less than 50%. I've already agreed that renewables are subsidized to a huge degree, but since they are totally non-polluting, unlike nuclear, I think that's a price worth paying. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:45, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I am not flooding you with bullshit, ad hominem or straw men, so I don't see where's the irony. The risk of default referred to in the article is a conservative estimate made if there are NO loan guarantees. The loan guarantee affects the risk of default: the government has a financial interest in not interfering with the project. Historically, government interference and regulatory changes were the reason many nuclear power plant projects in the 70s and 80s failed. Renewables are not totally non-polluting (see: solar panel waste, industrialization of the countryside by wind farms), though the waste concerns are much lower than for nuclear. --Tweenk (talk) 10:54, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that's exactly what you're doing - the bullshit and straw, at least. I'll agree about the non-polluting point, though. I should have said "largely", not "totally". –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
If that's what you think, you can ignore all of my preceding bullet-point comment and consider only these short points: 1. Loan guarantee is hardly a subsidy (it is only a subsidy if "shit happens") and its presentation as a direct subsidy in the UCS report is misleading; 2. The Daily Kos article which "exposes the lies" cites sources which don't always support what the author claims. --Tweenk (talk) 11:24, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
You're right that we should address your individual points, and I'll try to write up my criticism of a few of them this evening. For now, just one quick point - a loan guarantee can be a kind of subsidy, because the side guaranteeing it has a lower risk of default and can thus secure a lower interest rate for the debtor, saving him money. I don't know the details of this specific agreement, but that's the general idea behind such measures. Röstigraben (talk) 11:36, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, in the sense of "a financial measure that encourages more nuclear", it is a subsidy. However, most people think that "subsidy" means "government giving money to companies", which is more properly called a disbursement. That's clearly not the case here, as the company gives money to the government in return for a specific financial promise. I can remove that argument altogether, because it only matters if you already think that nuclear is undesirable. --Tweenk (talk) 21:52, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Direct subsidy: government gives money to company in order to develop a project. Government loses money, gains a factory or plant it considers strategically desirable. Loan guarantee: government assumes risk on behalf of a company, so they may obtain a cheap credit. Loses money because they do not get interest payments as compensation for the risk, gains factory or plant. The outcome is the same. Röstigraben (talk) 07:16, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
"Loses money because they do not get interest payments" - I don't get it. This would only be the case if the government was a bank. And surely the lost interest and the total cost of the project are different. In the loan guarantee scenario the financial burden on the government is lower than in the direct subsidy (disbursement) scenario. --Tweenk (talk) 01:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
For g0D's sake, this couldn't be more simple. In one case, the government pays money to a company and doesn't expect to see it again, because they'd like that project to be realized. A subsidy doesn't have to cover all of the costs of a project either, only enough to make it profitable for the company or exceed opportunity costs. Now, if a government extends a loan guarantee to a company, the latter can take advantage of the fact that most states are considered extremely reliable debtors and can thus obtain credit at much lower interest than a private enterprise. If a loan guarantee is in effect, the default risk of the company is no longer being considered as a basis for interest payments, because the state assumes that risk (the creditor will, of course, have to keep in mind that the state could default, too, but this is much less likely). Assuming a risk means losing money - if you give me 100 bucks and there's a 10% chance I won't pay it back, you've lost $10 from a probabilistic POV unless you charge me interest. The government does in fact act like a bank in such situations, only one in which strategic motivations override the profit objective, because they'd rather see the project done than earn interest. The sums involved vary from case to case, there's no way to say a priori which kind of subsidy comes out lower. A small direct payment may well be a smaller burden than assuming all of the default risk of a project. But regardless, both ways result in the transfer of public money to the private sector. Röstigraben (talk) 07:03, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
All non-renewable power sources are undesirable because of the "non-renewable" bit of the name. At best, nuclear is a stopgap. Quibbling about what people think things mean doesn't change the fact that nuclear receives massive subsidies. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:19, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
"All non-renewable power sources are undesirable because of the "non-renewable" bit of the name" ? Editor at CPmały książe 22:42, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
SuspectedReplicant, you need to define what "renewable" and "non-renewable" mean to you, otherwise this discussion isn't going anywhere. And no, it's all about what people think. The argument about subsidies is designed to have an emotional appeal, based on outrage over the government giving taxpayer money to the corporations. Pointing out that loan guarantees do not involve government giving money to the industry takes away most of this appeal.
Another point is that all sources of energy are subsidized. I never said it's not. The article doesn't claim that nuclear is not subsidized, only that it's not subsidized unfairly - that is, it doesn't receives more money than its potential would warrant. --Tweenk (talk) 23:11, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Non-renewable sources are methods of generating power using fuel that will, at some point, run out. They are inherently less desirable than renewable sources. The IAEA's figures show that under current growth levels, half the currently available nuclear fuel will be gone by 2035 ([4]), and after that it's just a hope that more will be found. I'm sure you're going to claim that there's enough uranium for thousands of years if only we look for it and if we start using less economic sources, but that's all guesswork. Wind and Solar power aren't running out any time soon, and will supply Earth with power as long as there's a requirement for it.
Your claim that loan guarantees aren't subsidies is risible. It's the same crap the nuclear industry churns out time and time again ([5] [6]) and simply reinforces my belief that you're a shill for the industry. The US government actually calls its loan guarantees subsidies (- Reestimates of loan guarantee subsidy) and there are plenty of other sources ([7] [8] [9] etc) that prove you wrong. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:32, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
It's hard to define 'unfair' in the light that the US military has an interest in nuclear technologies. -- (talk) 11:40, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Seawater uranium could make nuclear power renewable: [10]. And read the updated uranium supply section. You can't just divide the reserves by consumption, because reserves are defined in economic terms. Then there are breeders, unconventional deposits (e.g. phosphates), thorium and seawater uranium. With breeders, even the uranium and thorium in common dirt contain on average 22x more energy than the equivalent weight of coal.

If you look at the past comments in this thread, I was objecting to the UCS characterization of loan guarantees. They presented it in a way that suggested that the cost to the government is equal to the amount of the loan guarantee, like a disbursement. I was making the case that a loan guarantee is not a disbursement, not that a loan guarantee does not constitute government support, and in the process I incorrectly used the word "subsidy" (I took it to mean "government giving money to companies", which your links prove is incorrect). But you were quick to assume bad faith. --Tweenk (talk) 01:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Uranium from seawater is not a viable option. Just one stat from that paper: to power ONE reactor, "285 km3 seawater per year per GW has to be processed, or 9040 m3 per second per GW. This is about 3-4 times the outflow of the river Rhine into the North Sea."
I'm afraid I do assume bad faith in your case. You're a shill who has come to this site and single-handedly changed the content of it's pages on nuclear power so they read like an advert for the nuclear industry. As one editor put it: So you rewrite the entire article with your first edit here? Perhaps discuss on talk page?. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:32, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
This comes from van Leeuwen, which means it is potentially pseudoscience. According to his bogus "study", the Rossing mine in Namibia cannot exist because it would consume more electricity than the entire country of Namibia. [11] His analyses are fine and dandy but at some point you have to check whether they work in the real world, and that's where they fail miserably.
I'm getting tired of the never ending shill accusations. So far I ignored them, but if the remote possibility of me being a shill is going to be your main concern, this isn't going anywhere. Have you considered the possibility that this is simply the subject I care about most, and so most of my edits are on this topic? Do you think other single-issue editors are also paid by someone? --Tweenk (talk) 18:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Whereas your information comes from the nuclear industry, so it's biased tripe. And we don't have other single issue editors on commercial topics. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:28, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Which information? The link I provided in the previous comment? The page is from the University of Melbourne. Its contributors are listed here. Homeopathy is arguably a commercial topic, and User:Doctor Dark writes mainly on homeopathy and Citizendium. --Tweenk (talk) 18:57, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
That one wasn't, but almost all the others are. That link has nothing to do with seawater anyway. Nothing in your link justifies the description of the report I cited as pseudoscience. Doctor Dark doesn't shill for homeopathy but writes against it passionately: "a rational evaluation of the evidence for and against homeopathy shows that "obvious bullshit" is an accurate characterization." and neither is Citizendium a commercial enterprise. Anything else you want to be wrong about or are you going to STFU and GTFO now? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:13, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that extraction of uranium from seawater is a very real technology and under development. It's slowly becoming economical, even if it's not going to scale up to providing all of the world's current electricity consumption. -- (talk) 21:14, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Nuclear waste disposal[edit]

So, I think the best way to address Tweenk's arguments is to discuss each one in a specific section. Since the question of waste disposal is arguably the most important and prominent one, I'll start with it.

  • There is no solution - simply asserts that deep geological disposal is the best solution, and that this method is both feasible and economical. The first part may well be true, but the second is hardly obvious. Designing, let alone building. a storage facility that has to prevent any significant leakage for several millenia is a pretty tall order. Several countries have spent decades on this problem without making much headway. Yucca mountain may be the most prominent example of a project that is all but dead, after billions of dollars were sunk into it. I'm more familiar with the situation in Germany, and our planned final disposal facility in Gorleben as well as an intermediate storage area suffer from similar problems. The search for a final storage area will likely have to begin again, because the process that led to its selection was apparently heavily influenced by political concerns. Two large intermediate storage facilities are already crumbling and have to be stabilized at a further cost of billions. You can read about the issue here and here (bonus giggles for non-German speakers). Another issue that the article ignores is the problem's political angle. Nuclear waste isn't exactly popular in the neighbourhood, and local protests are a recurring feature of this whole saga. In democracies, these resistances turned out to be strong enough to kill a couple of projects and seriously delay pretty much every single one, and there's no reason to believe that this pattern won't continue. Autocracies may be willing to push such a project through without paying attention to their citizens' concerns, but taking advantage of this would raise obvious ethical concerns.
The early projects in Germany (Asse and Morsleben) are an example of how not to do things - they reused old salt mines, which led to structural stability problems. They can be mentioned, but I would balance them with newer projects which were done correctly, such as Onkalo and WIPP. I guess we could say that the problem is not solved yet not because there is no solution, but because people oppose implementing the solution (though not everywhere). This is entirely due to the actions of anti-nuclear groups, which don't have any constructive ideas and oppose all possible projects, because ensuring that the waste issue is not completely solved gives them a valuable argument. --Tweenk (talk) 22:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
[citation needed] - that last part is a conspiracy theory. Mentioning both the problematic projects and the ones that have so far turned out OK is, of course, fine. My point is that the (costly) failure of major projects even in highly developed countries does not justify the view that we've got a tried-and-true method, and all concerns about nuclear waste are irrational or politicking. There've been serious technical and planning problems as well, as you'd expect in projects with unprecedented engineering requirements. Röstigraben (talk) 18:39, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
So why do you think they oppose EVERY solution that was ever proposed? They must be aware of the fact that the already produced nuclear waste won't magically disappear.
See w:Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, particularly the long comment on the talk page, to see why there are no outstanding technical problems. --Tweenk (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Who is "they"? Is that your illusion of the monolithic anti-nuclear movement again? There's no helping it that we've got to somehow take care of all the nuclear waste that we've already piled up, and even anti-nuclear politicians have so far mostly stuck to Gorleben. Now the situation's different because of what we now know about the selection process. If politicians don't start looking for an alternative, the courts will most likely topple the current solution anyway. It's just that our problems in making it work are a pretty damn good argument against producing more waste. Röstigraben (talk) 21:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Tell me which anti-nuclear organizations have some specific plans on what to do with existing nuclear waste. As for "Our problems in making it work", they appear to be limited to Germany and USA. --Tweenk (talk) 23:14, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I already told you that I was talking about anti-nuclear politicians that participated in the SPD/Green and CDU/SPD governments. Given that you used to have all of Germany flagged as an "anti-nuclear group", surely that's specific enough? I don't care if Greenpeace or some other group ignores the problem, responsible actors can't make reality go away. Germany is the case I'm most familiar with, and Yucca mountain is the most prominent and expensive one. Maybe all other projects have turned out to be stellar successes and I just haven't heard about it? Röstigraben (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Other projects aren't completed yet, but they appear to be facing less problems. For example in Finland and Sweden there was no brouhaha over site selection (I recall something along the lines of 2 local governments competing to host the repository). The jury is still out on them but their progress so far indicates that public opposition to such facilities is not an insurmountable concern.
I removed Germany from the list because I realized it was an overgeneralization. --Tweenk (talk) 17:51, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
  • It will remain toxic - maybe not for millions of years, but several millennia would still require a huge engineering feat, with associated costs, especially in maintenance. Reprocessing seems to be rather expensive, so while this may lower the requirements for long-term storage, it would increase the short-term costs of disposal. There don't seem to be many reprocessing plants around the world, creating logistical bottlenecks, and hightened activity there would also increase the toll on the local ecology and probably spark protests.
The nuclear waste of natural nuclear fission reactors in w:Oklo did not move for 2 billion years, even though there were no engineered barriers to protect it. [12] That's a strong indication that geological disposal can't be that hard to do. --Tweenk (talk) 22:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Again, theoretically possible or even probably feasible !=impossible, but also !="not hard to do". We can't just assume that we can copy any outcomes brought about by forces of nature. Röstigraben (talk) 18:39, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Why? A chance configuration of materials kept the waste in place for 2 billion years. We can do much better, because we are not going to put random materials in there. Predicting the behavior of the repository is not beyond our scientific reach.
"We can't just assume that we can copy any outcomes brought about by forces of nature" - what? The laws of nature are the same in supernovas and particle accelerators, and they're also the same in Oklo and nuclear waste repositories. It's one of the basic assumptions of science. This sounds like an argument from incredulity - "I don't believe that science can predict the behavior of the repository for the next 10 000 years, so it must be unsafe". --Tweenk (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Read what I wrote. Understanding how something works does not mean being able to manipulate it, not because it's impossible in priciple - if it occurs in nature, it obviously is not - but because we don't have the means to do so (yet). We know how fusion works, but we don't have a working reactor yet. Likewise, it's not a given that we can simply recreate the effects of long-term geological processes at all, and boasting about the easyness of such a task is certainly unwarranted in light of previous engineering failures. Röstigraben (talk) 21:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
The only engineering failures were in Germany. Incidentally, it was the only country which did not conduct a dedicated research program before constructing a repository. The situation with fusion is very different. Fusion in nature happens in conditions completely different from those on Earth, a situation which does not apply to Oklo. --Tweenk (talk) 23:14, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
We'll see about that. That's a pretty strong statement, again - a single engineering failure outside of Germany would prove you wrong. I'll check. Röstigraben (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
By the way: the German repositories were not for spent fuel, but for low and intermediate level waste (e.g. the kind that also comes from medicine). I know there is a similar surface repository in Poland (KSOP Różan) that was working since 1961 and has not caused any problems. Engineering failures are possible, but very unlikely given the extent of investigation of this problem and the only ones I'm aware of are the German underground repositories. --Tweenk (talk) 17:51, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Checking the list of such projects, the two German repositories indeed seem to be the only outright failures. On the other hand, that's a very short list. If we only look at projects that have actually been completed, we've got a grand total of six cases (Okiluoto, Loviisa, Asse II, Morsleben, Forsmark and WIPP), of which two turned out to be failures. Additionally, two projects (Gorleben and Yucca mountain) were abandoned due to non-technical reasons, and one (Sachacht Konrad) is under construction ATM. At best, that's reason for very cautious optimism. Röstigraben (talk) 16:02, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
  • There are vast amounts of it - For me, it's not so much about the amount of waste as rather the massive attention that must be paid even to small quantities. One point, though: the BAS article I linked to above gives a projected figure of 22,000 tons that Germany alone will have piled up by 2040. Germany does not have many nuclear reactors and no plams to build any more, yet that's almost half of what you quoted for the US in the article. Just summing up how much there already is (in one country, at that) isn't particularly relevant, as these numbers will steadily increase. Expanding nuclear energy usage would obviously exacerbate the problem.
I think the 22 000 tons figure either includes things other than spent fuel, e.g. it could include components of decommissioned reactors, which are heavy but not very dangerous, or it is calculated by assuming that all existing reactors will keep operating or their number will increase. Regardless of this, several times more than this amount could be stored at a single disposal facility. --Tweenk (talk) 22:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
They give a definition of it - "Heat-generating waste includes spent fuel from light water and other nuclear reactors, vitrified high-level waste, and core instrumentation and residues from fuel element cladding after reprocessing." Basically, anything with intensive radioactivity and ongoing decay processes, where long-term, high-security storage is necessary. I don't think this number is based on the assumption that additional reactors will be built, because anyone who studies the German case will quickly find that there's absolutely zero chance of that happening, and it's been like this since Chernobyl. It's a 2008 report, so they'll have used the old phase-out plan, which would've meant that the last plants would have been shut down by the early 2020s. This has been adjusted and pushed about a decade back, so if anything, that projection is low. Remember, that's just Germany with its rather small number of reactors. France or Japan have three times as many, the US six times. China, India and others plan to build many more. Röstigraben (talk) 18:39, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
"Core instrumentation" would include what I was talking about. I know about German plans, but they might not be taken into account when calculating the figure. The waste projection might use a forecast of nuclear power usage that is completely different than current government policy. We can only know if we get the source for this projection. (By the way, the nuclear phase-out in Germany is not about the environment, it's about certain people (e.g. Schröder) and their Russian friends selling more gas, with the renewable business cheering from the gallery.) --Tweenk (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Want some advice? You're knowledgeable about technical details, but stay away from the political angle of the issue. You've got exactly zero evidence to back these conspiracy theories up, and you shouldn't engage in speculations about topics that you simply don't have a clue about. Both the SPD and the Greens had committed themselves to a phase-out long before Putin got into office or anyone had ever heard about Gazprom. They had promised an exit, the majority of the German public wanted it, and so they brought it about. Of course the renewables industry developed a stake in this, but it was still in its infancy when the relevant laws were passed, and if you'd like to analyze this from a political economy viewpoint, you'll have a hard time explaining how the much more powerful nuclear energy suppliers lost that fight. Röstigraben (talk) 21:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Nuclear companies are bit players compared to oil/gas companies: [13]. I don't believe this is a "conspiracy", just a natural unspoken agreement. All involved companies know they will benefit if nuclear power is eliminated as a competitor. Also this. --Tweenk (talk) 23:14, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
We were talking about renewables, not oil and gas companies. That wouldn't be a meaningful distinction in this case anyway, because the German utility companies that run nuclear reactors are also the leading gas suppliers. These bastards, for example, have just billed me a few hundred bucks extra for last year's heating. Röstigraben (talk) 07:19, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
  • It is a burden on future generations - I'm not concerned that our descendants will dig up all the waste and roll around in it for eat it. However, they will still have to maintain these facilities at an unknown cost, even though they never directly profited from the energy. That raises an ethical problem that's similar to the one posed by AGW, where most of the costs will also be incurred by people who didn't make extensive use of fossil fuels. Not the most important concern, but still something that needs to be brought up.
I had the impression that the repositories were designed in such a way that they can be closed and forgotten once they are full. That's certainly how the BAS article makes it sound. Our descendants won't be bothered much by these sites, unless they'll use them to store their own waste. --Tweenk (talk) 22:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
  • The public will pay - Depends on the country. I'm going to bring up the German example again for another form of costs, though: protecting the transports and facilities. Each time a train is en route from La Hague to Gorleben, it takes thousands of policemen to protect it and clear the way, resulting in eight-figure costs for each of these trips, and the amount of waste that's carried is rather small. You'll probably say that the anti-nuclear movement is responsible for that, but these people are simply exercising their right to protest, which they can't be denied. Controversy is expensive, and there's no reason to believe that any of this will change. Röstigraben (talk) 18:09, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
BAS article says that in Germany the nuclear industry is billed for the costs of disposal. What's ironic is that the shipments reduce the amount of waste and its longevity, so if the protesters are so concerned about waste, they should support them. Yes, the anti-nuclear movement (who else?) is responsible for the protests by spreading misinformation about the La Hague site and the storage facility. They should at least share the costs of providing security, because they are the ones causing disruption. --Tweenk (talk) 22:55, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense. If you stage a protest somewhere, you're exercising an essential civil liberty that can't be limited through financial burdens. Disruptions happen in democracies, unpopular decisions will spark legitimate protests. If it's an unregistered or illegal protest, you have a point, but in such cases, it's impossible to determine responsibilities and recoup the costs anyway. But apart from all fairness considerations, that's simply the way things are, and it needs to be taken into account. Röstigraben (talk) 18:39, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Your civil liberties do not include the right to blockade the runway on an airport because you think air travel is dangerous. As soon as they start interfering with the transport, they are no longer in the civil liberty territory. The protesters are not prosecuted because they can legally do this, but because prosecuting them would be unpopular (because the anti-nuclear movement has the support of the misguided public). Same goes for trespassing on the grounds of nuclear power plants - they are not shot on sight only because the guards know it would make extremely bad press. --Tweenk (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Courts have mostly sided with a rather far-reaching interpretation of the right to civil disobedience, there's even been a groundbreaking constitutional court decision in 1995. Some participants in an illegal protest can be tried, but they're usually let off the hook because it's a petty offense. Those which use violence or vandalize the premises (and get caught, which isn't easy) are tried, but you won't be able to get much money out of them, which is what that argument was about. Apart from that, the law is applied in this manner to the vast majority of demonstrations, not just those with an anti-nuclear background. I'll say it again, back these conspiracy theories up with facts. Saying that courts hand down sentences based on public opinion is a pretty strong claim. And that last sentence is where you're really coming across as unhinged. A guard shooting a trespasser on sight will be tried for manslaughter, and justifiably so. A company ordering its security personnel to do this would most likely be considered a criminal organization. I don't know where you've got that crap from. Röstigraben (talk) 21:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
(IANAL) The law in Kansas says under the title of "Nuclear security guard; use of force; use of deadly force, when" the armed nuclear security guard reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent or terminate (... blah blah blah) criminal trespass on a nuclear generating facility under K.S.A. 2009 Supp. 66-2303, and amendments thereto. I have no idea what "reasonable belief" is in the context of using deadly force to prevent trespass. It's doubtful any sane guard would shoot someone for trespassing. -- (talk) 08:10, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, disregard the comment about shooting trespassers etc. - it was over the top. They could only be shot if they posed an immediate threat to the facility, and then only in some countries. We are straying quite a lot from the article's content. I added this sentence: "The public typically pays for protests related to nuclear waste transport, for example the costs of providing security. But it's also the public that stages and participates in those protests." --Tweenk (talk) 17:51, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Kirk Sorensen has some views on nuclear waste later on in this video. -- (talk) 22:32, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

[[Arguments against nuclear power]][edit]

It's never getting recreated is it? -- (talk) 20:45, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

At least you'll always have the essay. zieber (talk) 20:30, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Pedantic note[edit]

Just to point out that toxicity is an absolute yes/no and has nothing to do with radiation. Plutonium will -always- be toxic in its elemental state and uranium isn't much better. Radioactive materials in themselves might have important biological roles (such as potassium-40) but their unstable isotopes are the issue, not their toxicity. Also, plutonium is always radioactive, it decays into daughter elements; there's no such thing as non-radioactive plutonium, just a lump of metal that's less plutonium than it was a while ago Natman (talk) 17:00, 21 June 2011 (UTC)