Talk:Nuclear power

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Nukes, the new party line.[edit]

Alright, full disclosure -- I've always been anti-nuke, and that's probably rooted way less in detailed scientific knowledge and more in gut feeling and being a product of a particular time. That being said, from core meltdown to depleted uranium it seems as though one user in particular has spun the party line in a pro-nuke direction. I'm not questioning his good faith, and he obviously knows more about nuclear science than I. But the new party line goes against everything I've ever believed about the topic, I don't really have the time right now to properly immerse myself in the literature, there's gonna be more articles, etc. coming around with the situation in Japan, and the whole thing leaves me feeling a little uneasy. P-Foster (talk) 17:05, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Noted. I'm with you on this, having been a longtime anti-nuke. For me the primary issue has always been the disposal of the products of nuclear power - nuclear waste is stunningly toxic, and for the lifetime of the entire industry, the only viable solution has been "Hmmm, we'll store it in these not-very-safe ways, and figure that out later". This is not a viable policy, and to my eyes, unless the waste issue can be resolved, it makes nuclear power an unviable industry. I'm sure we can work on those articles and keep the obviously knowledgable contributor onboard. DogP (talk) 17:22, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Having looked at some of these articles, I feel the same. He seems knowledgeable about the issue and I think the technical details can be trusted, but as far as the politics are concerned, some of this stuff borders on propaganda. "Anti-nuclear movement", in particular, is an outright smear piece. Röstigraben (talk) 17:33, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a case where the politics and science are intermingled enough that the issue needs to be treated with kid gloves. I'm not really pro- or anti-nuke -- I don't buy the "just build nukes everywhere!" stuff, but there's also a lot of nuke woo like the stuff Alec Baldwin pushes. AFAIC, it seems like nukes could be a complementary energy source, but optimally would be a stopgap until we can roll out some real alternative energy. I'd compare this to the GMO controversy, which I know more about. I'm not anti-GMO, but I realize that agribusiness has a lot of pull over GMO science and that a lot of it might be hype. However, there's still a huge contingent of anti-GMO nuts who complain about "Frankenfood" and don't want GMO because "there's DNA in it!" As well as all the organic and natural woo-meisters involved in anti-GMO campaigns and the true nuts who think Monsanto is part of the NWO/Illuminati/whatever (see useless eaters, for example). The legitimate criticisms need to be separated from the bullshit. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:04, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Well said Neb. It's really difficult to tease apart the special interests and the politicking on both sides.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:18, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
First step would be to go through the articles, firmly separating the technical details from the political details - David Gerard (talk) 19:39, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
It's difficult though. Take the simple question of the cost of nuclear energy. The anti-nuke crowd say that it's really expensive and that it eats up lots of government money which should be spent on renewable energy.
The other camp maintain that it really is cheap and that the grants make little difference even if they are included.
So the antis say that they have not factored in long-term waste disposal, decommissioning and the initial R@D.
The other guys say they have factored in all of this and it's still cheap. (OK, I don't have links for all this, it's remembered off the top of my head.)
The thing is that unless you are really well up on the issues and have some scientific or engineering background along with some idea of accountancy and the financing of big infrastructure projects then you just don't know. You've just got two pressure groups shouting at each other.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:21, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Good thing our rationality is sufficiently superlative to the task, then. Phew! - David Gerard (talk) 22:42, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Not really. All it took was one user, with very little knowledge of the topic, to go "they make me feel icky" and we want to rewrite articles on the topic. I would like to see actual figures of the relative costs of energy production included in the article though. - π 23:17, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

A challenger appears[edit]

Now full disclosure for me - you can read it at User:Tweenk/Agenda. I was never anti-nuclear, and became increasingly pro-nuclear as I learned more about nuclear technology. I admit that I overreacted to what I perceived as sensationalized reporting about the problems in Japan. There were a few places in the articles where I went over the top with being pro-nuclear. But then, I had the impression that being neutral is not the goal of RationalWiki. I'm well aware of the fact that some of the content I've added is rather offensive for people with strong anti-nuclear convictions, and I relied too much on industry sources. Despite this I stand by my view that most of anti-nuclear opposition is pseudoscientific. I welcome criticism of my articles. I will try to respond in a factual manner, time permitting. --Tweenk (talk) 01:14, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

I think the message is that we really welcome your knowledge and excellent contributions Tweenk, and there's a hell of a lot of your agenda I'd agree with, but there is room for a broader view on this topic. Regarding subduction zone disposal, not only does it go against international treaties but it also suffers form the concern of how long the process of subduction takes (the containers of waste don't just get sucked into some convenient little vortex-plughole-to-the-centre-of-the-Earth and disappear overnight). There's also been a history in nuclear waste disposal research of making rash assumptions about the processes of nature, which in time turn out to be not quite so predictable over the millenia required to safely store this stuff. Proponents of dropping high level nuclear waste into the 'permanent' Greenland ice sheets, such that it would melt the ice around it and drop to the bottom of the ice sheet, might not be quite so gung-ho now that the Northwest Passage is open and large ice sheets are melting with rising global temperatures. Depending on nature to store this stuff tends not to work out too well.... DogP (talk) 04:55, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Also, this is too useful a discussion for the pub - should we move the conversation to the Talk page of one of the articles in question, or perhaps Nuclear power? DogP (talk) 04:57, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Being neutral is not a requirement, but attacks should only be targeted at groups and movements that pursue goals at odds with RW's mission. Labeling anyone who's opposed to nuclear energy as a violence-prone eco-fundamentalist who can only justify his beliefs through pseudoscience is a strawman argument, designed to deligitimize the opposition before actually taking on their arguments. There is a substantial number of scientists and science-minded people among the ranks of this movement that can't just be ignored. Take the UCS or NDRC, for example - these aren't fringe groups or some sort of fig-leaf like the few creationist shills with real Ph.Ds. As for the problem of sources and factual information, well, this is a rather prominent issue, and I'm sure there are a lot of independent studies that can serve as a basis. And I agree with moving this discussion to a relevant place in the article space. Röstigraben (talk) 06:36, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
To rectify this particular concern (painting everyone who is anti-nuclear as violent fundamentalists), I can prune the "Notable anti-nuclear groups" section, or rework it so that it separates the political activist groups with extreme and anti-scientific positions (e.g. Greenpeace, Friends of Earth, Sierra Club) from more science-minded groups which are just not convinced it's a good idea (UCS, NRDC). --Tweenk
I think one major difference between the stances of the more science-minded groups and the anti-scientific ones is in the approaches they take. The science-minded ones seem not to be so much "anti-nuclear" as merely wary of nuclear power, focusing more on "is" type concerns than taking "ought" positions. In other words, their concerns fall more along the lines of "In order to do nuclear safely and effectively, we need to do A and B. A and B require C, which in turn requires D." ...and so on, rather than saying "NUKES ARE EVIL AND WE SHOULD NEVER PURSUE THEM!!1!!" or promoting falsehoods such as saying there can be no such thing as safe nuclear or acting as though all nuclear power methods are created equal. The One They Call Mars (talk) 16:16, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Nuclear waste disposal[edit]

I'm not advocating widescale waste disposal at sea but perhaps someone could explain why we can't dump nuclear waste in an oceanic trench where it is being subducted back into the Earth's crust. Clickbot (talk) 23:39, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

It is prohibited by the London Dumping Convention. [1] [2] --Tweenk (talk) 01:41, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

(split discussion) I think the nuclear waste issues - the focal point of the anti-nuclear movement - are overhyped, see nuclear waste. --Tweenk (talk) 17:51, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Given that no-one has yet permanently disposed of nuclear waste, that's a view that may be a little premature. That said, no-one had gone to the Moon until they did. But I think there's great reasons to be concerned about the nuclear waste problem, and that article is a little glib, frankly. DogP (talk) 18:21, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
You assume that the waste poses significant danger until it is disposed, but this is rather hard to defend, unless it was involved in some major accident like an airplane crash. But an airplane crashing into a chlorine tank could do much more damage. Nuclear waste is insoluble in water, non-volatile, and there's simply not that much of it. --Tweenk (talk) 02:09, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
No, I'm not assuming that at all - in fact, I don't have much concern for the short-term storage solutions - it's manageable, though anything but ideal. The issues that concern me are all to do with what happens after 'permanent' disposal and entombment solutions. For one example, see the Hanford Site groundwater issues. DogP (talk) 17:10, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Give a look at what Finland and Sweden are doing. Read some of their Radiation Authority documents on the subject. The problem of nuclear waste disposal *is* overhyped, as simple as that. Editor at CPmały książe 16:50, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I have done, in some detail, a year or two ago. I recommend you watch the documentary "Into Eternity" which is about the Onkalo project for some not quite so hyperbolic perspective. And I'm sorry, but it's not overhyped, it's a very very real issue. You have heard of groundwater, right? DogP (talk) 17:09, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I happen to know Onkalo quite well, Doggedpersistence, certainly better than director Michael Madsen. Editor at CPmały książe 17:28, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Good for you. Now, what makes you think the problem of long-term nuclear waste is "overhyped"? Do you have zero concerns about the process? If so, good for you. Others don't share your view though, and we're not all crazy hippies running around with our hair on fire. DogP (talk) 17:31, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
For me you are crazy hippies running around, sorry. I was involved with the design of Onkalo for a few years and got to know it, its risks and solutions quite extensively. Editor at CPmały książe 17:42, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
It's all a big argument from ignorance. We even have about a hundred years before Onkalo gets full and sealed, so there's going to be a strong understanding of any issues by then. --62.142.167.134 (talk) 17:38, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

{{od|8} I'm delighted that we have such a qualified person to discuss this with, and congrats for working on Onkalo, that's a big deal and you have far more relevant experience than I have. Here's a question then - one aspect of the issue is that 'stable' geological formations are not that common around the planet. Yucca Valley was thought to be geologically more stable at first, and in part its cancellation was due to new understandings of its geology. Assuming there aren't locations in every country running nuclear power, this means that nuclear waste will have to be shipped around the world to be disposed of? How does this sit with everyone? As an Irishman, having grown up fairly worried about Windscale (conveniently renamed after big radiation leaks into the Irish Sea), I feel this quite acutely. So the issues are significantly international, especially on land, where groundwater knows no international boundaries. What to do about this? DogP (talk) 18:04, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

The Slate has a good article on this FWIW. Relevant quote:
If Japan, the United States, or Europe retreats from nuclear power in the face of the current panic, the most likely alternative energy source is fossil fuel. And by any measure, fossil fuel is more dangerous. The sole fatal nuclear power accident of the last 40 years, Chernobyl, directly killed 31 people. By comparison, Switzerland's Paul Scherrer Institute calculates that from 1969 to 2000, more than 20,000 people died in severe accidents in the oil supply chain. More than 15,000 people died in severe accidents in the coal supply chain—11,000 in China alone. The rate of direct fatalities per unit of energy production is 18 times worse for oil than it is for nuclear power.

Even if you count all the deaths plausibly related to Chernobyl—9,000 to 33,000 over a 70-year period—that number is dwarfed by the death rate from burning fossil fuels. The OECD's 2008 Environmental Outlook calculates that fine-particle outdoor air pollution caused nearly 1 million premature deaths in the year 2000, and 30 percent of this was energy-related. You'd need 500 Chernobyls to match that level of annual carnage. But outside Chernobyl, we've had zero fatal nuclear power accidents.
[3]

Heck, given all the flammables and corrosives we ship every day (saw a train with hydrochloric acid in it; undoubtably concentrated), I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. sterile equestrian 14:29, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Tangent on uranium mining[edit]

The above quote is absurdly partial. It apparently assumes that there are no deaths in the uranium supply chain and that the only deaths are as a consequence of the occasional nuclear accident. A quick google search on "deaths from uranium mining" shows that it's rather hazardous.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:13, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Those Google hits mainly talk about deaths from mining in the 50s and 60s fueled by military demand, when safety measures were highly inadequate, for example the mines were not ventilated. I can't find any source on recent deaths from uranium mining at the moment, but I found this. I haven't read it carefully so I don't know if the author's assertions are justified. --Tweenk
Also, Googling for "vaccine death" suggests that the anti-vax groups are right too so perhaps this "research by Google" approach is not entirely to be trusted, eh? Wikipedia seems to point to the biggest problem in mining Uranium as the Radon (a gas familiar to anyone who lives in Cornwall or similar mildly radioactive bits of countryside). Killed by lack of ventilation in a mine? I think I've heard this story before, and do you know, I don't think it was anything to do with the nuclear power industry, just good old unethical mining practices. So, I suggest we shouldn't buy uranium OR coal from countries that treat mine workers as near slave-labour.
I have never tried to do the numbers, but as I understand it Uranium mining could afford to be ridiculously dangerous for the miners and still work out safer in a "deaths per city provided with electricity" basis just because you don't need very much Uranium. In my opinion Nuclear Power is another one of those issues where we are unlikely to get a decision based on the facts, mores the pity. 82.69.171.94 (talk) 02:17, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
My point about the article is that it simply pretends that there no deaths from the uranium supply chain. At least it simply avoids mentioning them while talking about deaths in the supply supply chains of other industries. It's simply not comparing like with like.--BobSpring is sprung! 06:48, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
No, we can decide on the basis of the facts. There's danger in every form of power production - hell, large dams have collapsed and killed tens of thousands. No-one's arguing out of hand (well, I'm not) that there's no reason to give nuclear serious consideration. But I keep finding that having considered the facts (and I have, for over twenty years), I still see enormous problems with an industry that cannot dispose of its waste materials, and one in which accidents, though rare, can have hideously serious consequences that may not be directly related to the total number of casualties. DogP (talk) 03:55, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Sure, when I think about "coal supply chain accident" I think about Aberfan. I'm not sure about "hideously serious" -- are the uncontrollable coal fires like Centralia "hideously serious" ? How about huge dead zones caused by run off from industrial farming? There are billions of us, we make a big mess, our thumbprint on the planet is unmistakable. So long as you can avoid large scale criticality accidents (which appear to be essentially impossible for modern designs) nuclear power doesn't have the capability to create a much bigger mess than the other things we're already doing. The waste already exists, even if everyone decided that candles and early bedtime were worth it and switched off nuclear power tomorrow, we need those long term waste facilities, and at every site they are blocked by NIMBYs. 82.69.171.94 (talk) 14:59, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I have no problem agreeing with you that we fuck up our planet in many, many other ways, and many of them have worse casualties. But remember that if Fukushima does have the large release of radioactivity feared, no-one can live there and the agricultural area that surrounds the plant may not be able to used to cultivate food for perhaps 300 years. No other type of disaster has such long-term effects, or the ability to depopulate a region and remove good land from the critically tight landbank available in that country. And as to NIMBY's, well, how do you convince people otherwise? Certainly not the way TEPCOE has been doing things.DogP (talk) 15:44, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough on the mining bit and DogP's point are well taken. I'm not sure that any mining is ecologically sound, especially strip mining. We really, really need to get off fossil fuels though, and solar and wind aren't entirely economically feasible. Getting there, but not. We need research in solar fuels in a massive way. GOP will block a lot of it. sterile equestrian 17:29, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, 300 years? How long do you think Centralia will burn for? What is going to fix the coastal dead zones in that period? But also, it's important to distinguish between radiation (which is bad now, but you could be perfectly safe next week) and release of radioactive materials, which depending on exactly what's released could indeed render the place inhospitable for hundreds of years. 188.220.41.110 (talk) 12:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Some data on "deadliness" of energy sources[edit]

To add some information to the debate above, I'm sharing a link. MacKay's book (recommended reading - it's available online for free!) has a good section on lifecycle death rate from nuclear power as compared to other power sources. --Tweenk (talk) 03:18, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Here's another study (non-peer-reviewed, I'd guess) showing deaths per terrawatt/hr. Nuke does well. DogP (talk) 16:21, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Page getting long-let's break up arguments[edit]

There's discussions going on all over this page - please create a section for a topic you want to debate to make it easier to read. DogP (talk) 17:33, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Where is the Luminous One? I'd sure he'd be happy to split the page up for us!--BobSpring is sprung! 20:54, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Here you go. --Tweenk (talk) 03:10, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Comment on the pro-nuke whitewashing in many articles[edit]

Balance the whitewashing. Most of the links I followed above are painfully partisan and weakly written. Resist the Tweenking of the Wiki with All your Might! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:55, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

We're workin' on it. Wanna help? This old shithole isn't the same without you, Human. Also, I think this makes you 90/10 for this month, we don't tolerate talk-talk-talk around here you know. --DogP (talk) 04:33, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I would be helpful if you told me which articles (or even better, which sections) need balancing. People are not very good at spotting their own bias. --Tweenk (talk) 18:32, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Human has a tendency to give generalized orders to the wiki, and then (to borrow from our friends across the pond) bugger off. Uke Blue 20:53, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Possibility of severe accidents[edit]

"Possibility of severe accidents" was sitting under "Neither pros nor cons"! Surely if there is a possibility of severe accidents (which there undoubtedly is with any activity involving nuclear waste), then this must be accepted as a con. The fact that the nuclear industry is fully aware of all the risks and has extensive safety measures in place, and that the major accidents which have occurred have been caused by poor conditions or unforeseen circumstances like an earthquake, does not change the fact that nuclear accidents present dangers with far reaching consequences which are not a factor in other forms of electricity production. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:39, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

I think the apologist answer is that the risk is so small it doesn't count. I'm with you, though: the fact that such stringent safety measures are in place pretty much proves how serious an accident could be. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:41, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
The answer is that the severity of the accidents is overblown, and that nuclear is still the safest form of energy production in terms of deaths/GWh. Why is it better to have a lot of small accidents than a few larger ones? --85.77.227.76 (talk) 21:47, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
And the larger ones don't have soooo far reaching consequences. Anyway SuspectedReplicant's logic is quite faulty. Editor at CPmały książe 21:49, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
(EC) A more reasonable question would be is it better to have a lot of small accidents than a few larger ones? I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this, just differing opinions. But this article has a list of pros & cons, so surely the risk of accidents (even if rare) must be counted as a con. To suggest that it's neither an advantage nor a disadvantage simply doesn't make sense. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:58, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
And maybe add some values to both probabilities and consequences of small and large accidents. Editor at CPmały książe 22:15, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Nothing at all wrong with my logic, and there's more to the seriousness of accidents than death, such as rendering vast areas of land uninhabitable for centuries. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:30, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd gladly have lives over land area. An uninhabitable area is more like a wildlife sanctuary. --85.77.227.76 (talk) 23:03, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
More like a wildlife sanctuary than what? Sure, an uninhabitable area is more like a wildlife sanctuary than an inhabitable area is. But a developed area which is suddenly and inconveniently uninhabitable is a massive loss to society. The fact that wildlife may still make use of it is small compensation. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 02:10, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Uranium mining[edit]

It appears that industry would nearly disappear without nuclear power. --62.142.167.134 (talk) 21:15, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Pro-nuker[edit]

I've done some basic fixes, including making some statements general where before they applied only to LWRs. I think the current state of this article is way too anti-nuke, but I understand that's not a popular or even consensus opinion despite IMHO the obviousness of the documented facts, so I leave it as-is. The problem is that it's one of policy, not of basic scientific facts, which makes it harder to argue.

The quick argument in favor of nuclear is:

A- There's no alternative if we want 1- an industrial lifestyle 2- to avoid avoid a billion+ people die-off, and 3- fix global warming. Wind is too intermittent and too costly to provide power for the grid and gas for our cars (and ships, and airplanes). Solar less-so, but still not good enough. Battery tech is too expensive. Conventional tidal designs is too expense. Conventional geothermal is cost effective only in a small number of areas. Continue down the list. See the following links for good intro discussion of the basic physics on these issues:

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/01/warm-and-fuzzy-on-geothermal/

and more.

(Note that the professor is not a big nuclear supporter. He's more of a pessimist.)

B- It's not that bad / it's better than the alternatives. Reprocessing can lessen the waste in volume by quite a large amount, and with new breeder reactors and fast spectrum reactors (or even LFTR), we can "burn" a lot of the existing waste, leaving stuff that's hazardous for about 300 years. With new designs, the chances of accidents are very low, and if you honestly compare the harm of accidents of nuclear to say coal, the conclusion is obvious. More people die in a single coal mine accident than have ever died from radiation poisoning from accidents in nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power should certainly get more attention, especially in the form of Thorium. Mr. Anon (talk) 03:09, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Rather than seem like a fanboy or whatever, I tried not to let my enthusiasm for LFTR show, but I do stay current on the energyfromthorium.com forums, which overall seems to contain reputable knowledgeable posters. LFTR answers most of the legitimate complaints/questions of the anti-nuke side. To be fair, there's also IFR, CANDU, and various other options, which all have more appealing characteristics than light water reactors. It's unfortunate that no one seems interested in LFTR. Even worse is when people dismiss it ignorantly, thinking they know all they need to. For example, even the "Do The Math" professor made very basic mistakes which shows a complete lack of due-diligence - at one point he said LFTR uses liquid sodium!
Especially in light of studies such as this which indicates that, even factoring in nuclear disasters (and even the nuclear bombings of Japan), the number of lives saved by nuclear power is well into 7 digits. While the article already indicates (in several places) the relative harmlessness of nuclear power, I think that study should be added somewhere, if only because it offers some real numbers of lives saved. Onychoprion (talk) 20:30, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Radioactive Wasteland[edit]

The radioactive wasteland is not mentioned in the paragraph about nuclear accidents. I think this is an important factor to calculate the real impact to the population of such areas. The area 20 kilometers around the reactors of fukushima was evacuated and many people lost thier home. The german wikipedia states a number of 62000 people. The public authorities restricts the access to the 20 kilometer area. Nobody could say how long this situation continues.

Also in chernobyl the contaminated area is around 4300 square kilometers and around 300000 people were evacuated. The situation has not changed since 1986. The are is still wasteland. Today in bavaria (part of germany) hunting of wild pig requires safety precaution. These animals have such a high rate of contamination that they have to be handled with care and are not allowed to be used as food.

Also the statement "... and furthermore it was also caused by criminal stupidity." is not feasible. It conciliates by using the false argument that only in not "real" developed countries such accidents could occure. Fukushima shows the opposite in two ways: 1. Japan is an high tech country and they cannot handle the problem. It is still immanent. 2. The operator company Tepco had a very intransparent information policy and at the beginning of accident they try to downplay the situation.

Further more such accidents could happen in any country having nuclear powerplants even if they use different types of reactors. Nobody is really able to calculate the risk. Already for small machines like bicycles it is very complex to calculate the failing risk (for example which reoccuring force during cycling is necessary to rupture the frame). Now consider the safety calculations for a nuclear powerplant. It is far more complex.

Additionally the idea that only full educated and responsible persons operate such big machines is naive. Also the investigations shows that the operators at chernobyl had planned an experiment and during this experiment the accidents has happend. The chronology of the accident shows that also human flaws such as a missed shift change and other carelessness attitudes provoke such outcome.

As an example the oil spill at Deepwater Horizon shows in several aspects how large facilities are manged by operators in general: A worker touched unintentional a control switch which regulates the engine of some pipe rods. The foreman does not report this incident to the technician so that the rupture of the rubber-joint of the Annular Blowout-Preventer was never seen. On battery of one control unit was exhausted. The investigators assume that this battery was the reason of the failing dead man's control. There was also a significant leak of the hydraulic. Against all recommendations there was no automatic or remote initiation for the Blowout-Preventer. It was a simple blast hole not a double-walled as the internal study of BP suggest.

In brief: 1. Nonskilled workers 2. Foreman underestimate the situation / does not report incidents 3. Missing or postponed machine care 4. Saving on safety equipment 5. Manager ignores risks 6. Cost pressure

This example shows that in western countries some high tech facilities are operated sloppy. Of course many companies have high standards but this does not protect us from carelessness and greedy incompentent worker, foremans, and managers. This is not considered at all in the article. This problem is brushed under the carpet.

If you have less sensitive technology like wind power, gas-fired power plant, oil-fired power plant, solar parks and so on the failures of a few does not harm the mass. — Unsigned, by: 88.152.170.60 / talk / contribs

wrt food restrictions due to chernobyl, can you cite a single example where something went awry because they weren't followed? they are just paranoid recommendations made by a few random doctors, not really enforced or cared about by anyone but greenpeace --81.175.225.92 (talk) 20:02, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Fissionable and Fertile Isotopes[edit]

In the section Breeder Reactors begins with the following statement: "Breeder reactors are reactors capable of transmuting low-quality fertile or fissionable material, such as thorium or depleted uranium, respectively, into more highly fissionable materials such as uranium-233 or plutonium".

Depleted Uranium is a form of Uranium predominantly consisting of the isotope Uranium-238 with an amount of the *fissile* isotope Uranium-235 less than natural. Uranium-238, and therefore depleted Uranium, is fissionable under limited circumstances such as under fast neutrons. Uranium-238 and therefore depleted uranium is in fact fertile, but not *fissile*. Natural Thorium whilst predominantly the isotope Thorium-232 also contains trace amounts of Thorium-229 that is believed to be fissionable.

I suggest changing "highly fissionable materials" to "high-quality fissile materials", and consider something like "transmuting low-quality fertile and fissionable material, such as natural thorium and depleted uranium, into ..." — Unsigned, by: 199.64.0.253 / talk / contribs 05:15, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

"either fission or fusion"[edit]

So is radioactive decay, as in an RTG,Wikipedia's W.svg actually excluded? Or should the lead be altered? —Kazitor, pending 02:50, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

@Kazitor Radioactive decay means the disintegration of an atomic nucleus, which is fission. The difference here is that the split is spontaneous rather than induced. Nerd (talk) 02:54, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
@Nerd it's not spontaneous fission, it's just regular alpha emission. —Kazitor, pending 02:56, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
@Kazitor But an alpha particle consists of two neutrons and two protons tightly bound together. This is not gamma emission or electron capture. A part of the nucleus is spit out here. (No pun intended.) Nerd (talk) 02:58, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
As all debates tend to go, we're arguing definitions here :) As far as I can tell, alpha decay is not classified as fission. I did some quick research and it seems that only spontaneous fission counts as non-neutron-induced fission; alpha decay (despite the He-4 nucleus) is not fission. Let's please not argue definitions, I just want to know whether the lead should be edited. —Kazitor, pending 03:01, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
@Kazitor True, that. It appears I was wrong, according to a quick search on Wikipedia. (Oh, no! I don't know enough physics!) Please go ahead. You have my full support.
Do you happen to be interested in or knowledgeable about Generation IV reactors, by the way? I think we should talk briefly about them. A few designs are mentioned already. Nerd (talk) 03:08, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
@Nerd Woo, we managed to avoid a painful internet debate! High-five!
But to the point at hand, do you think RTGs count as nuclear power? I would think yes and have an idea of how to rephrase it.
And sadly no, I do not know much about such reactors and writing substantial paragraphs is not one of my strong points. I can still do fact-checking and spelling corrections though. —Kazitor, pending 03:12, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
@Kazitor High five! Yes, I do believe RTGs count as nuclear power generators. After all, what they do is converting the heat released by nuclear reactions into electricity. Nerd (talk) 03:17, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
Incidentally, I have with me a book on nuclear energy (written by an actual expert) with a wonderful discussion on various promising Generation IV designs. I will load the bombs into the hangar. I just need more time. :-) Nerd (talk) 03:19, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
Alright, I have since added this article to my watchlist and have changed the lead. The truth about nuclear power will be revealed! —Kazitor, pending 03:23, 12 July 2018 (UTC)