A bit of help with public perception for my work?

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by BLEH!, May 6, 2020.

  1. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Hey Gurus

    So I'm an academic (university researcher) working in the field of nuclear energy (recycling nuclear fuel).

    Two of the biggest hurdles we often face in our field, at least for advancing it, is the cost (yeah, it's expensive), but moreso public perception. Now the way we try to sell nuclear is that it's great for combatting climate change (which it is, it makes basically zero carbon), but the downsides are all that radioactive nastiness that gets produced as a by product (more on that later), and the risk of things going bang (sure we've all seen Chernobyl, and Fukushima-related things, it's actually very unlikely).

    Now my research is based on the recycling of the spent fuel produced by reactors more feasible, with a goal of reusing the useful stuff (to make more energy, improves efficiency), reducing waste volumes (smaller hole in the ground to throw it in), and increasing safety. I know G3D isn't the most representative pool of people to ask with respect to general society, but I thought I'd throw this out there to you guys (please keep the discussion civil), if you're willing to help me here.

    So what I'd like to know from any of you, if you're willing to help me here:
    • What is your perception of nuclear power?
    • Do you approve of increased nuclear power usage to combat climate change?
    • Is there more you'd like to know about nuclear power that you presently don't? (Whether it be down to misinformation or lack of good education on the topic.)
    Thanks for your help.

    Ta

    BLEH!
     
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  2. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    we live on continental plates that are shifting, grinding and bumping against one another, nuclear will never be safe enough.
     
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  3. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    I think that depends where you live. Not so bad in the UK, earquakes are an extreme rarity, but in other places (Italy, Japan, parts of USA), I can see the issues. I'm pretty sure all reactors have seismic trip sensors which will automatically SCRAM (shut down) the thing in the event of an earthquake, exactly as happened at Fukushima. The issue there was the backup generators were below sea level and the tsunami following the quake flooded them, the resultant loss of cooling lead to the explosions observed.
     
  4. Tat3

    Tat3 Ancient Guru

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    • What is your perception of nuclear power?
    Safe and good way to make power. Very solid ground here in Finland. Compared to coal nuclear energy has caused less fatalities and less heath problems. Electric cars and so coming, you have to make the power for those things some how. ITER is not ready so I think this is the best technology we have atm.
    • Do you approve of increased nuclear power usage to combat climate change?
    Yes ofc. Like, what are the alternatives?
    • Is there more you'd like to know about nuclear power that you presently don't? (Whether it be down to misinformation or lack of good education on the topic.)
    Do people usually know if they have some misinformation about something? I'm a bit lazy to read long articles about topics I'm somewhat interested (or which are very complicated and I do not understand very well) in on the internet, so if you have short texts or good YouTube videos about the subject, please share.
     
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  5. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for your reply, man, greatly appreciated.

    Fusion has always been a gamble, many of us still think it's another 20 years away, but then again we've been saying that for decades...

    A lot of people seem to misunderstand what we do, and yeah, I know i't s a pretty heavy topic. Maybe a short video might help. Not sure how many easily accessible ones there are out there, but maybe that's a gap in the market we can fill for "outreach".
     
  6. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    • What is your perception of nuclear power?
    When everything works as it should it's an emission free energy form. Major downside is radioactive nuclear waste that cannot be reused or processed with current technology (?)
    • Do you approve of increased nuclear power usage to combat climate change?
    At the moment, yes, until a better alternative is possible, whatever that would be.
    Combating climate change is required by whatever means as far as I know.
    • Is there more you'd like to know about nuclear power that you presently don't? (Whether it be down to misinformation or lack of good education on the topic.)

    Surely lots, I don't really "know" anything about it.

    Maybe to start, the current process is fission based I think but I've been told fusion would be a lot more efficient.
    Produce more energy from less material (so less waste as well).

    Practically this means using cold fusion AFAIK, how close are we to having a working cold fusion process? In theory.

    Or rather what do you as a researcher think will be possible first, reusing nuclear waste or cold fusion?
     
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  7. tsunami231

    tsunami231 Ancient Guru

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    necessary evil? depending on how you look it, it might be have zero carbon but it has massive amount radioactive waste that pretty much goes no where much less carbon then oil and coal definitely but those 2 don't have radioactivity attached to it and earth getting to tipping point where we have runnaway green house effect is gona be worse. IF some goes horrible wrong with nuclear reactor you have radioactive fallout that gona be there for 100's of years on top the explosion. Fusion has been talk long time that gona be clean yes safer? debatable fusion explosion would be just bad if not worse but like you said who know when happen.

    Many countries have put that radioactive waste in barrels buried them that are leaking now some have just dumped it into the water and ocean which leak into that. Nuclear can be safe IF meltdown never happen and we could get rid of radioactive waste safely which we can not. barrel it up and storing it someplace is not how to deal with it cause sooner later it gona leak and it gona leak long before it goes away naturally.

    None this would be a problem with N. Tesla was allowed to do what he want to do way back when consider he was talking harnessing power earth magnetic field wireless which he proved could be done back then and we just now get around to mess around with that. just like coal and oil companies stifled electric car and other alternative power for decades long we depend on that stuff they going to bank and long they can throw money at people keep thing at status quote. they will fight to end to keep there profits and delay fusion too.

    Personal I dont want nuclear plant anywhere near me nor would I live near one. but if it wasn't for nuclear power alot of us would not have power and going forward it gona be more true, cause of how much our power consumption is goes up yearly. in 50~100 years or so it either gona be our warning come true and nothing we do about or it gona none issue cause we wised up acted before it was to late. as far global warming is goes, forget about world population that gona be another issue

    Nuclear power is not the way go neither is oil and coal (which really should be thing anymore) as soon as we can get away from them all the better who know when that will happen. Last i check most of our worlds power is produced by nuclear and oil cause most other means dont meet our power needs? and wont, it a necessary evil imo
     
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  8. Clouseau

    Clouseau Ancient Guru

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    You pointed out the problem already...makes the hole in the ground smaller. That is for what is in use already. Grow the industry...grow the hole. Manmade substances degrade over time. Burying the waste just places it in the the category out-of-sight, out-of-mind. How much more land we going to render useless in addition to the landfill sites used to bury garbage. All nuclear energy is doing in its current state is exchanging the hot button topic of climate change for a later issue of how to deal with the radioactive waste that is still left behind and buried.

    What are the alternatives? Solar, wind, and hydro. Not solution is perfect. It begs the question: Just because we can, should we? The other side is if we do not, advances will never happen. The question that needs to be addressed is the one not specifically asked: What are we willing to exchange/pay for the advancement of "clean" energy?
     
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  9. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    And Geothermal, Tidal.
     
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  10. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for your reply!

    We can recycle the bulk of spent fuel (it's > 95% uranium and plutonium which can be used to generate more power), but the cost of recycling means that capacity is limted. Only the French really recycle everything. We've had the tech to do it since WWII (originally developed for weapons purposes).

    How long the better alternative will take to come is the big question, but given the approval/lead time for nuclear, we need to make those hard decisions and spent the money now, really.

    Fusion is great in theory, but in practice, it's *very* hard to make it work, which is why we still don't have it working. Cold fusion was a hoax, I think, though there is a technique by the same name used to make heavy elements.

    We can already reuse the nuclear waste, with the approapriate engineering and processes, which need to take safety first, and minimise the proliferation (weapons) risk. That's basically the core of what my research is (can explain more in detail if you're interested), making the recycling side of it safer, cheaper, and to reduce the environmental impact (also means you need to mine and enrich less uranium - win/win!).
     
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  11. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    It's a tossup between the radioactive waste which can be isolated safely, and the nasty gases made which kill poeple by making the air hard to breathe/toxic. Most reactors built in the west since the 60s (including since the Fukushima designs) will contain any accidents, as demonstrated by three mile island. Chernobyl was caused by bad russian reactor design and user error, Fukushima... harder to explain, but don't put your backup generators below sea level in a tsunami-prone area, basically... We have learned from that.

    If we recycle the fuel and reuse the bits we can reuse, the waste volumes are much lower and not as toxic for as long, but this storage longevity issue is the main challenge we face at the moment... we've got a lot of fuel and nowhere save to put it.

    The Tesla thing is a very different debate, and a bit outside my field of expertise, unfortunately., so I'll leave that poj there.

    Exactly, we gotta done *something*, and replacing coal/oil with nuclear ius a pretty good way of doing it. Nuclear makes about 10-12% of power worldwide, renewables about 25%, rest fossil of various types. Main issue with renewables is the transience (except maybe hydro, and then only in in drought), and our inability to store the excesss energy they make effectively. Nuclear's the ideal "base-load" - turn it on and leave it, that's how it's happiest.
     
  12. jbscotchman

    jbscotchman Ancient Guru

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    What is your perception of nuclear power?

    Its the best we have right now, and probably will be until solar can be utilized for the masses which will be decades if not longer.

    Do you approve of increased nuclear power usage to combat climate change?

    The earth's climate and living conditions have been changing since well.. forever? Man should not try to change mother nature's evolution. Nothing we can do will change that and we shouldn't try to imo. I think the rush to change climate conditions is blown out of proportion.

    Is there more you'd like to know about nuclear power that you presently don't? (Whether it be down to misinformation or lack of good education on the topic.)

    Chernobyl and Fukushima, are those areas basically stains on the planet that will never be able to support human life again?
     
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  13. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    That raises a very good question, to which there is no easy answer. I guess the dilemma is a) cook the planet in 10 years and collapse the climate, or b) make a bit of radioactive stuff which we already know how to (mostly) contain safely).

    As for renewables - great in principle, but there are drawbacks. You need *something* to provide that base-load, for which coal/oil/nculear is ideal.
    Solar - only works when it's sunny, can't really store the excess.
    Wind - only works when it's moderately windy, again, can't store the excess.
    Hydro - great in theory, but what about the ecosystems you collapse and people displaced as a result of making the lakes?
     
  14. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Geothermal is a great idea, but only a few places where it can relaibly work - Iceland being the prime example. I think they get most of their power and heat from it IIRC.
    Tidal - as per hydro, can cause really bad ecosystems effects depending on how it's engineered, and you've got that inflexion at high and low tide where it doesn't generate any energy.
     
  15. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Probably the right answer there, reflects my own thoughts on it.

    Hmmm, we're definitely pushing things faster than the Earth has seen in a very long time, and we'll definitely come off worse for it!

    Chernobyl - it's getting better, wildlife is abundant there.

    Fukushima - far less documented, couldn't tell you.

    Three Mile Island - still contained within the reactor building. This is what happens when things work properly.
     

  16. tsunami231

    tsunami231 Ancient Guru

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    There is enough science papers out that prove other wise. but everyone is entiled to there opinion till it comes back to bite them on the ass. and to many people think like that including the ones that are in power.

    "it not our problem and wont be problem for long time let the people in future deal with it when it problem"

    That is how thing get out control and cascade into bigger ones
     
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  17. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    I echo this sentiment.

    There are 4 outcomes here, each with 2 variables: climate change happening, and us preparing for it.
    We prepare for climate change, it happens - well, we're prepared.
    We prepare for climate change, it doesn't happen - we spent the money, but maybe we've prevented it long term?
    We don't prepare for climate change, it happens - well, we're screwed (the current approach, mostly).
    We don't prepare for climate change, it doesn't happen - all's fine!

    There was a diagram of that somewhere, but I can't bloody find it!
     
  18. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    • What is your perception of nuclear power?
    An underfunded under utilized form of safe clean energy production that is capable of providing 24 / 7 the power needed for all the vastly increasing modern tech we have.
    Demonized falsely for events such as Chernobyl, Fukishima or Three Mile Island and the tiresome nonsense of radio-active by products.
    • Do you approve of increased nuclear power usage to combat climate change?
    Yes, most renewables are a pipe dream when it comes to providing the required power reliably.
    • Is there more you'd like to know about nuclear power that you presently don't? (Whether it be down to misinformation or lack of good education on the topic.
    Nah all good here.
     
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  19. BLEH!

    BLEH! Ancient Guru

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    Straight and to the point! Well done, sir!
     
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  20. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    Glad to help.
     
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