Is Nuclear Power Safe
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07-02-2014, 10:23 PM
Is Nuclear Power Safe
Posting elsewhere I was led to this question.

I spent 35 years as a practicing mechanical engineer. One of the projects I was most proud of was one of my first. I designed an air conditioning system to augment an existing one that was not adequate for the control room in question. It worked perfectly except that the compressor routinely burned out. Some 20 years later talking to a co-worker and explaining the situation I found out the mistake I had made. I did not include a minor but important part. I tried to explain it to the person in charge of maintaining the system but unfortunately he was not particularly intelligent so I retreated and simply hoped that eventually someone would discover the mistake.

Now the above is not to suggest that I would have backed down if it was a matter that was going to cause people great harm. It is meant to be a description of what one encounters as an engineer.

I have worked with people who have helped design nuclear power plants. They pointed out to me that triple redundancies were required but that often those redundancies were in such proximity that the same event might cause all to fail.

My point is that as a former engineer and designer I know that mistakes can happen. It is one thing if your dam fails and 10,000 die it is a very great other thing if your nuclear power plant fails and some patch of ground is uninhabitable for centuries.

I from experience know that the perfect design of a system is not likely. I for that reason reject nuclear power. I accept that it may be a way out of the future energy crunch. It is just that human design is such that failures may occur. The failure of a nuclear power plant has such a high probability of great destruction that it should not be allowed.

Note that I disregard the disposal of and storage of nuclear waste. I comment only on the design of nuclear power plants.
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07-02-2014, 10:38 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
It's killed fewer people than coal mining.

Drinking Beverage

(it is late and I may have a more substantive answer later)

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07-02-2014, 11:14 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
Fission or Fusion?

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07-02-2014, 11:26 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
I support getting off fossil fuels and nuclear power may be a way to go. IIRC, it has better efficiency than any other alternative fuel and really, nuclear plant meltdowns are quite rare. It's been a few years since I studied energy sources, but I remember learning that nuclear is pretty safe, it's just people get really scared of it when something goes wrong (big or small) and so the public backlash prevents nuclear from becoming as prominent as it could be.
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07-02-2014, 11:27 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
Umm... FISSION OR FUSION?
I'M SLOWLY DYING OVER HERE!
Smile

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07-02-2014, 11:29 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
have we harnessed fusion power? I thought fusion only happened in the sun...?







I might be wrong.
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07-02-2014, 11:30 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
(07-02-2014 11:29 PM)Colourcraze Wrote:  have we harnessed fusion power? I thought fusion only happened in the sun...?


We're beginning to. They kinda already have. But, it thought it could be a hypothetical question.

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07-02-2014, 11:37 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
Well assuming we could get it to work, it'd be an excellent choice for our energy needs. It's hard to speculate on the safety of a fusion energy plant though, if we've only begun to initiate fusion.
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07-02-2014, 11:53 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
Erm, it's totally safe, considering the people who made the first ones have to operate a super laser and shoot it at a vial and haven't blown up. I remember watching something about it on the science channel lately.

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07-02-2014, 11:56 PM
RE: Is Nuclear Power Safe
benchmark for safety: not blowing up! Thumbsup
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