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Nuclear Power The fuel of the future?

Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 9:56 pm
by Andy Hamilton
Sometime between 2020-2030 we will have run out of most of the fuel that runs our power stations. Will we end using alternative energy or is the world going to move towards Nuclear power?

I have a few problems with Nuclear power, the first is the obvious one of nuclear waste and the second is the risk of radiation. Obivously at the moment England is a relatively safe and prosperous country. But what would happen if we simply counld not afford to keep a power station going (as nearly happened in Russia just after the downfall of CCCP).
Also what if there was an attack on a power station, or even an accident of similar to chernobyl? I might sound paraniod but I think these are real enough fears.

It would be good if we had a govenment with the guts to make a change, solar pannels on everyones house would be a good start, perhaps villages sharing turbines.

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 3:35 am
by Wombat
I agree with your points Andy :cheers: , and one big problem that you also allude to is that the nuclear power stations perpetuate the centralised, "we fix it then bill you" system. Unfortunately the big wind farms do the same thing but at least are a step in the right direction.

We need to be looking for an environmentally friendly, decentralised, home produced power generation system wind/solar/hydro etc depending on what you have available. No huge infrastructure to be a target!

More difficult to regulate (tax) :shock: so government won't be fond of the idea, nor will traditional "big business" as they won't have a regular income selling us power. Also, there will be less incentive for us to keep buying power-hungry appliances when your system has difficulty coping with them - efficiency and home production will be the order of the day. (Garden shed technology rules! :mrgreen: )

This change will only come from a groundswell of the people demanding it. Unfortunately, this is only likely to come when the writing is well and truly on the wall (bold print!) and our reaction time somewhat reduced.

Again, though, the people on this site are doing their part.

Well that's my two bob's worth - now I'll shut up! :oops:


Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 9:22 am
by Lyds
Too true. It is unfortunate that while most people have a strong reaction against nuclear power they are unwilling to reduce the amount of energy they use. The whole subject turns into an SEP (someone elses problem) and the few are left to concern themselves with the problem on behalf of the many. Those of us greenies are seen as wierdies. If we could convince the world to cut back on usage and reduce waste we would have done a GOOD THING. :roll:

How to convince your friends and relations without them glazing over? :roll:

Just suggesting that this frantic need to gain possesions is not the answer to life (however tactfull), results in the new age label..... :roll:

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 11:24 am
by sunpuppy
I agree, a two-pronged approach is necessary- Intelligent use of renewable technologies AND encouraging people to reduce their energy use.

If the government insisted (and maybe subsidised the cost) that every new house built had solar roof tiles on it instead of traditional tiles, it would take care of a fair old whack of energy needs. That, backed up with hydro/wind power, could be a viable alternative.

I'm glad the government has started putting recycling adverts on TV now as well - although I still believe they're not doing enough, quickly enough.

When are the majority of people (and governments) going to realise that we can't blindly carry on using up the Earth's resources like this without endangering not only our own species but every other living thing on the planet? It really saddens and frustrates me to see the downward spiral that we seem to have got ourselves into. :(

I know the people on this forum have their heads screwed on with regards to the environment etc. - I just wish there was something concrete we could do to educate other people who might not even have thought of stuff like where their rubbish bags go when the bin men take them, or how much energy they could save by switching lights off and taking the tv off standby.

Sorry, rant over - :bom: - up the Green Revolution!

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:01 pm
by shiney
OK, you are all gonna have me thrown off the forum.

I don't like the idea of nuclear power, but big industry uses tonnes of power, we all use lots of power. It's very difficult to tell people that they should cut down on their energy use, even though a few power cuts now and again, would get them thinking how much we take it for granted!

So, for the moment NE does it's job. I have also to admit my brother works in a nuclear power plant (as a private contractor) and the security and safety measures are extremely strict. I couldn't believe the procedure to going into work and signing back out!

Here at home we do have energy saving ligh bulbs here and switch of unecessary stuff when not in use and do our bit for the environment.

France is powered by nuclear energy. We buy it from them because we don't make enough power ourselves. I would happily have solar power if the government gave me enough grants to do it.

People winge about wind turbines, I would love to see more of them. I think they are a fantastic idea. I would prefer to see wind turbines than a nuclear power plant, but sadly I think nuclear power staions are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Will you let me stay? Please? I like it here. :wink:

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:27 pm
by greenbean
It is very easy to jump on the anti nuclear bandwagon and there are excellent reasons for doing so. Safe disposal of the waste is the main problem. However, considering the realistic alternatives, nuclear power will have to play a big part in supplying energy for now. Like Shiney, I have had insight into a Nuclear Power Plant and Health & Safety is their biggest priority, I also live near Grangemouth where BP bring in their oil and gas to be processed - if Grangemouth blows up (and it would only take one match) much of Scotland is gone, me included. From what I know, wind farms do not produce enough energy to be a viable alternative by themselves, although there is a wee village near me called Fintry where the villagers have got together and are now getting the village electricity supplied from a small wind farm. I hope that someone will discover a new alternative way of producing clean safe energy soon. I have a much bigger problem with nuclear weapons and the storage of such in Scotland (Faslane).

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:43 pm
by Andy Hamilton
Nothing wrong with saying that Nuclear energy is here to stay, that might be true I just wish it was not.

Personally I think that if there were more places like 'Fintry' then there would be no need for Nuclear power. Surely we could at least all run our heating off solar panels on our roofs? Localised energy could definelty be the way forward, perhaps even looking at methane converstion. One person a day creates enough methane to boil a kettle, so an office block of people might create enough to power all the lights, solar panels would power the rest of the electricity needs, is it feasable?

If I owned a big business I would certainly be looking for ways to cut cost, surely suppling your own energy could save a fortune after an initial investment?

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:56 pm
by greenbean
This website seems quite informative.

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:18 pm
by Andy Hamilton
greenbean wrote:
This website seems quite informative.
That does seem pretty usefull, good find.

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 4:27 pm
by Chickenlady
Nuclear energy is not sustainable long term because nuclear waste can never be properly disposed of. We have to look at alternatives.

I would like to lead by example and get solar panels fitted. This is not financially viable yet, so in the meantime I am energy saving and buying my electricity from a 'green' supplier.

Wind farms aren't the only way. If all new houses were built to be really energy efficient, they would barely need heating anyway, and could generate a lot of their own energy through solar panels and, if space, a small wind turbine.

Sizewell is near enough to me to be a concern, as is the now defunct Bradwell power station. Big business may use a lot of power, but it also wastes huge amounts! How many times have you passed empty offices of an evening with all the computers and lights still on?

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 8:13 pm
by Haddock
I live on a new housing estate here in Germany. Approx 50% of the houses have solar for pre heatng water, and there are quite a few with Electric solar as well. I would have loved to have solar on my roof but as the costs started escalating during the building phase, some savings had to be made. In retrospect I really wish we had saved else where and had the solar.

What we did have done is have a rain water harvesting system installed which we use for flushing toilets, running the washing machine and watering the Garden (must say that having this underground water tank was mandatory :shock: )

Germany seems further along the way with solar. Local church and supermarket have solar on the roof as well, and hopefully If I can save the cash I would like to have electric solar on the roof as well. But maybe it'll take a few years.

I'm against nuclear power because of all the risks involved, but unless EVERBODY gets their s!*t together very quickly, its a necessary evil if people want to run fridges, TV's etc

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 8:17 pm
by shiney
You lucky thing to have so many green things in your home.

That's fantastic. :cheers:

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 10:16 pm
by Muddypause
It was once said that the nuclear industry would provide us with unlimited cheap energy; instead we got unlimited cheap bombs. Even the waste is a timebomb - we simply have no idea what to do with it, yet go on producing it, shipping it around the world, tying it up with international politics.

What we hear little about is what is involved in extracting the raw materials from the ground. I don't know much about the current methods of extraction, but there has been a miserable histroy of it being mined by poor and disenfranchised people who subsequently have a short lifespan - I think it was the Navaho Indians in America who bore the brunt of this a few years ago.

I gather a major producer these days is Australia - got any info, Nev?

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 5:58 pm
by Andy Hamilton
alos the dene tribe in Canada bore a brunt, it was there that the uranium used for hyroshima was mined.

I had not really given much thought to the mining side of things, just bad news all round really nuclear.

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 8:59 pm
by Muddypause
Andy Hamilton wrote:alos the dene tribe in Canada bore a brunt, it was there that the uranium used for hyroshima was mined.
"Without being told of the deadly hazards of radiation, our men carried radioactive ore and our families and children have been exposed to radiation for over 60 years...

"Deline is practically a village of widows, most of the men who worked as labourers have died of some form of cancer."

That says it all, really. The real cost of this 'clean' energy has been much higher than we have ever been told. It's outrageous.