Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

Why not nuclear energy?

Usually these questions have very few answerers. I'd much rather have a nuclear power plant in my area than a coal burning plant. the soot and smog they produce has a direct link to lung cancer.


Not one person has died in America or France due to nuclear waste. Meanwhile coal burning causes cancer to local area residents and miners get black lung by the thousands....where is your premise now?

Update 2:

Eedro very interesting ty

Update 3:

Aeon_---Chernoble was a crap building built as cheap as possible safe gaurds not in place and no cap on their cooling stack because they were too busy trying to outspend the U.S..

Update 4:

bohemian you make a good point but with technology today compared to 50 years ago I'm sure their lifespan could be tripled at least probably more. Yet I do see your point.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The main reason that nuclear plants are no longer constructed is due to three mile island, and the media blitz that has been going on ever since. This disaster was mainly due to operator error, and having some poor instrumentation panels in the control room.

    Since three mile island, plants have become much more automated, however the same amount of people are still present on site. If the plant detects two errors, it goes into automatic shut down, and the control room operators are essientially there to ensure that this happens. The reason it requires two errors, is to prevent automatic shut down if some sensor randomly fails. Since a power plant is one massive thermal system, if you really have an error in one in the system, then you will definitely have a second down stream, thus shutting the plant down.

    You cannot compare modern US nuclear plants to Chernoble due to all of the checks and balances post three mile island, and the general design considerations. It would be like trying to compare a Ford Pinto to a Mercedes.

    Nuclear power is safe and clean. It is the most heavily regulated/monitored industry in the world (externally and internally). Plant personnel are trained extensively, drilled every month, and have to pass a very extensive background check.

    Nuclear power is much more expensive than coal or natural gas due to the construction costs. All of the checks and balances required in the design and construction of the plant drive cost to huge levels when compared to any other type of plant. The costs of construction are not 'hidden', they are reflected in the price per kwh.

    Although the typical life of a plant is 50 years, they retrofit them all the time. The plant I worked at just replaced the reactor vessel head and steam generators, and has extended it's liscense to 2021 (the plant will be almost 60 years old by then).

    Nuclear waste can be reprocessed, and will be when the cost of mining uranium increases. As far as waste spillage, it is pretty much immpossible to destroy one of the casks. If a cask travels passed your car while it is on a train, the radiation dose that you will recieve will be less than an xray.

    If for some reason the waste does spill out, we can clean it up since it is pretty easy to detect radiation.

    One further note - there has been a fatal nuclear accident in the United States. It occured in the 50's on a test reactor for the US Army. The operators were 'burping' the reactor (not exactly smart). This is when you raise a control rod, which increase the reaction, which increases the heat, and instantaneously boils the coolant. The operator pulled control rod a little too far and the reactor pretty much exploded from the pressure generated by the coolant. Three people died, the two men near the reactor (the one pulling on the rod was impaled in the ceiling - they found him the next day), and the control room operator died the next day from acute radiation posioning.


    Using Bohemian's news source the proposed plant's capacity is 1600MW. Making a couple of very conservative assumptions, if the plant generates power at half capacity of 800MW, for forty years it will gross $16.8 billion dollars if the rate they charge is $0.06 / Kwh, which is most likely too low.

    If the hidden costs are as such that the plant would need to charge $66 per Kwh to break even (from construction to decomission), as Bohemian states, than the real cost of the plant will be $18.5 trillion dollars (approx 1.5 times our gross national product). So if this is in fact the true cost, then it would have been paid on four seperate plants by now since we have completely decomissioned and dismantled four plants.

    So, even they could charge $0.12 per Kwh, the cost of the plant would be 500 times greater than the amount of revenue it could produce. With no source provided and the above numbers stated, I see no reason to consider that the $66/Kwh as being a reasonable figure of the 'true cost' of nuclear power.

  • Let's get into "lifespan." Everything man-made has a "life-span." Even nuclear energy plants. Their lifespan is about 50 years. They are NOT recycleable, in any way, shape or form. Once torn down, everything, even the concrete must be stored somewhere at titanic expence. Every tool, from a screwdriver, to a huge bulldozer, once it is used in the decomissioning of a nuclear plant is concidered contaminated. Those tool are also sent away and stored...forever.

    Of course the tax payers pay for all of this.

    Most nuclear plants charge $.14 cents a kilowatt hour for their energy.

    Did you know that once you factor in the cost of building, running, AND decomissioning a plant and storing all of that "stuff" the cost actually comes to $66 DOLLARS a kilowatt hour for their energy output? Of course the actual cost of nuclear plants is hidden.

    The tax payers pay for the decomissing, and storage of them, not just the people using their power.

    Yes the ACTUAL spent rods can be stored in a fairly small area. However the ACTUAL amount of waste produced by nuclear plants once they are decomissioned is simply stagering.

    How do I know so much about it? My husbands best friend has worked decomissioning two of them so far. He makes $45 an hour strait time doing the work...that's not even when they start getting into overtime, which happens frequently.

    Imagine what the pay is for several hundred men. You can see why decomissioning a nuclear plant is the true "hidden" cost. For that reason alone, they shouldn't be built.

    What do you think it is going to cost to decomission these plants in another 50-60 years?

    So all talks about leaks, and melt-downs aside, they simply do NOT make financial sence!


    Homesteading/Farming over 20 years

    Sorry, your wrong. Their life span is still 50-60 years. I live in Idaho. We may be "lucky" enough to get the first nuke plant built in a generation (to be built in Mountain Home, Idaho).

    The brand spanking new plant they want to build is only to have a lifespan of 60 years...after that decomision, and dismantel time. Even the brand new plants, still only a 50-60 year lifespan. How much is it going to cost to tear that plant down in 50-60 years? I've been reading everything they put out about the nuclear plant in Mountain Home, since it affects us. I've read several times in different papers, and heard on the news stations more than once, only a 50-60 year lifespan for the new plant.

    We are a tad over 200 miles from this new site. If it gets built, it will vastly accelerate our plans to move our permaculture farm. We are 200 miles DOWNWIND from the plant. Any leak or misshap will contaminate us. We also do not want them to be "upriver" of our water source.

    We will be putting a mountain range between us, and the site, as well as changing water sources.

  • eedro
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    nuclear energy is safer and less polluting than coal.

    to be fair to coal they have some really good scrubbers(air cleaners) that take out alot of the harmful stuff now days.

    If you were to take all of the nuclear waste made by the oldest nuclear plant, it would not even fill a 50 gallon drum. also the saste is stored on site. all those "radioactive landfills" are made because of nuclear weapon programs.

  • 1 decade ago

    Harnessing the power of the atom is the only way to save our world. It is the cleanest and safest alternative. Of course it is also of infinite supply. I just think we need to continue to make it safer. The only way to accomplish that is with the proliferation of more plants.

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    It takes a special type of Nuclear Reactor to produce weapons. It is called a Breeder Reactor and it's construction is easily detected. A reactor for research or electricity is an entirely different type of reactor. It is the energy of the future as there is not enough resources to build the number of wind generators needed for a modern living standards, and solar voltaic cells cost more energy to produce than the cells can give back. The spent fuel rods (actually pellets stacked on top of each other) can be cleaned of lead and other contaminates and reused many thousands of time. It is peoples fear of old technology that caused state laws prohibiting the shipping of spent fuel rods to South Carolina where they can be cleaned and reused. Almost every large city in Europe has a nuclear reactor supplying power and they haven't had accidents. The technology is available, we just need to use it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yet the nuclear energy you are talking about is really harmful to the environment and humans as well, and the nuclear material may leak out of its containers and harm everyone.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    what do you expect? we have liberal enviromentalists complaining about everything. they complain about the use of co2.

    but then people tried to change it to clean nuclear power. the liberal enviromentalists still didnt want it. what else are we to do?

    they want us to sign kyoto and the Law of the seas treaty, so that we can pay carbon taxes to the UN.

  • 1 decade ago

    Whatdya know abt Chernobyl? It's nuclear.. It's a gud way to die fast. =)

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