Advantages of Nuclear energy- Ecology

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    The debate is ongoing and I personally support the idea it is not safe and unbeneficial.
    However, a few of my friends and I have to give a presentation and debate supporting Nuclear energy (urgh). And since I'm extremely biased, it is making it hard for me to find any sources haha.
    If possible I would like a little help with getting some references?
    Thanks in advance
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    Old textbook I had was called Aquatic Pollution by Edward Laws.

    There's a section in there directly related to nuclear power plants (eg Chernobyl, Three Mile Island). Published in 2000, so Fukushima wasn't included. If you need some help, I can provide some other examples and maybe some details if I can remember any. Biggest thing I remember was that most of those incidents happened because of human error, not the fault of the containment systems.
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    (Original post by zombiejon)
    Old textbook I had was called Aquatic Pollution by Edward Laws.

    There's a section in there directly related to nuclear power plants (eg Chernobyl, Three Mile Island). Published in 2000, so Fukushima wasn't included. If you need some help, I can provide some other examples and maybe some details if I can remember any. Biggest thing I remember was that most of those incidents happened because of human error, not the fault of the containment systems.
    yes! In fact, to counter-argue the opposing argument we gathered a lot of details to justify the disasters as the fault of maintenance and incompetence of the workers.
    Any other information would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you!
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    (Original post by AvWOW)
    yes! In fact, to counter-argue the opposing argument we gathered a lot of details to justify the disasters as the fault of maintenance and incompetence of the workers.
    Any other information would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you!
    The main pro I've heard is that it has a stable & controllable output. Compared to solar/wind power, which is dependent on weather, nuclear can run 24/7. It can also decrease production during non-peak hours in order to save the fission rods. This is unlike hydroelectric, which rarely ramps down. Some areas with a lot of hydro power end up paying customers to use the excess electricity, or they sell the excess to other areas where fossil fuel power plants have production temporarily decreased.

    Natural gas/coal can also have controllable output, but there's the risk of environmental emissions, and thus, a lot of regulation. I was in SF in the late 90's. A mix of utility companies almost going bankrupt, and power plants being taken offline for maintenance dropped power production. Rolling blackouts happened, and hurt the tech companies.

    This brings in the next key point. Minimal environmental impact. I would say most nukes have been designed well. Gen 4 look to be very safe compared to Gen I or II. Most of the previous meltdowns happened because of human error. Fukushima is a bit of an odd case because of the earthquake damaging off-site power connections + the tsunami affecting backup generators needed to initiate and maintain cooldown. In other words, acts of Mother Nature are hard to predict and plan for. Now that it has happened, a lot of nuke development will try to take it into account.

    Nukes typically have very little release of hard water into the local environment. Nukes are typically near a major water source - this is used as part of the cooling chain, usually in a tertiary role. Primary is the reactor coolant (a lot of talk on liquid salt/graphite these days), secondary is the water in the cooling towers & driving the turbines, and tertiary is the water to help cool down the secondary. The tertiary water is usually taken upstream (cooler) and spat back into the river downstream. Environmental issues here because the downstream water is much warmer than usual, and can initiate ecological changes. Secondary water does get harder (more neutrons floating around), but the tertiary rarely does. However, when comparing this to building a dam, a nuclear has a piddling environmental impact. Look at the Three Gorges Dam in China. Building it flooded a lot of villages and covered some cultural sites.

    One benefit of a nuke is that it has a high capacity for power production. If you look at the US, a hydroelectric dam is 5th. The top 4 are nuclear. Fuel cost wise, a nuke is also much cheaper in the long run. Mine the uranium, maybe enrich it, and stick it in. Using natural gas, coal, or oil requires constant extraction and transportation (more fossil fuels used!).

    Probably the biggest factor in holding back increased nuke deployment is the environmental issue when a meltdown occurs. Fukushima's fallout was primarily dumped in the ocean, so there are long term impacts. Chernobyl's radioactive cloud had immediate issues because a lot of the fallout happened near human settlements, and would continue to spread over continental Europe. One of my professors on aquatic pollution was a nuclear engineer assigned to Chernobyl (luckily on vacation at the time of the accident). Lots of iodine capsules were handed out to the local population to reduce uptake of fallout. I think someone proposed having nukes on container ships away from shore, so that if a meltdown occurred, they could just scuttle it, and stop the runaway reaction because water is an extremely good coolant
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    (Original post by zombiejon)
    The main pro I've heard is that it has a stable & controllable output. Compared to solar/wind power, which is dependent on weather, nuclear can run 24/7. It can also decrease production during non-peak hours in order to save the fission rods. This is unlike hydroelectric, which rarely ramps down. Some areas with a lot of hydro power end up paying customers to use the excess electricity, or they sell the excess to other areas where fossil fuel power plants have production temporarily decreased.

    Natural gas/coal can also have controllable output, but there's the risk of environmental emissions, and thus, a lot of regulation. I was in SF in the late 90's. A mix of utility companies almost going bankrupt, and power plants being taken offline for maintenance dropped power production. Rolling blackouts happened, and hurt the tech companies.

    This brings in the next key point. Minimal environmental impact. I would say most nukes have been designed well. Gen 4 look to be very safe compared to Gen I or II. Most of the previous meltdowns happened because of human error. Fukushima is a bit of an odd case because of the earthquake damaging off-site power connections + the tsunami affecting backup generators needed to initiate and maintain cooldown. In other words, acts of Mother Nature are hard to predict and plan for. Now that it has happened, a lot of nuke development will try to take it into account.

    Nukes typically have very little release of hard water into the local environment. Nukes are typically near a major water source - this is used as part of the cooling chain, usually in a tertiary role. Primary is the reactor coolant (a lot of talk on liquid salt/graphite these days), secondary is the water in the cooling towers & driving the turbines, and tertiary is the water to help cool down the secondary. The tertiary water is usually taken upstream (cooler) and spat back into the river downstream. Environmental issues here because the downstream water is much warmer than usual, and can initiate ecological changes. Secondary water does get harder (more neutrons floating around), but the tertiary rarely does. However, when comparing this to building a dam, a nuclear has a piddling environmental impact. Look at the Three Gorges Dam in China. Building it flooded a lot of villages and covered some cultural sites.

    One benefit of a nuke is that it has a high capacity for power production. If you look at the US, a hydroelectric dam is 5th. The top 4 are nuclear. Fuel cost wise, a nuke is also much cheaper in the long run. Mine the uranium, maybe enrich it, and stick it in. Using natural gas, coal, or oil requires constant extraction and transportation (more fossil fuels used!).

    Probably the biggest factor in holding back increased nuke deployment is the environmental issue when a meltdown occurs. Fukushima's fallout was primarily dumped in the ocean, so there are long term impacts. Chernobyl's radioactive cloud had immediate issues because a lot of the fallout happened near human settlements, and would continue to spread over continental Europe. One of my professors on aquatic pollution was a nuclear engineer assigned to Chernobyl (luckily on vacation at the time of the accident). Lots of iodine capsules were handed out to the local population to reduce uptake of fallout. I think someone proposed having nukes on container ships away from shore, so that if a meltdown occurred, they could just scuttle it, and stop the runaway reaction because water is an extremely good coolant
    Those are some excellent points. Especially the one concerning hard water release. The interest in our debate concerns Australia's nuclear prospective. And that's a strong benefit for a country with water shortages.
    Thanks again. Much appreciated (Can't rep you, unfortunately)
 
 
 
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