"Nuclear power is a potential safety threat, *if* something goes wrong. Coal-fired power is *guaranteed* destruction, filling the atmosphere with planet-heating carbon when it operates the way it's supposed to". (Bill McKibben)

Same for fossil gas, by the way.

@kravietz Nuclear power is guaranteed destruction as well… Creating nuclear waste lasting for centuries and other than CO2, we don't even have a remote idea on how to get rid of it.

And no, hiding it in the ground is not a great answer as all temporary depots have shown.

I think we have to come up with better solutions there.

@sheogorath @kravietz What nonsense. Long-living nuclear waste is only created in the countries that don't have the full cycle nuclear energy. Spent fuel can be reprocessed and the remainder is a bunch of short-lived isotopes. This cycle also uses fuel many times more efficiently. It's only a choice made by the governments.

@pro @kravietz Do you have an example for a country which runs a "full cycle" for nuclear power?

@sheogorath @kravietz France does full cycle. USSR had the technology and utilized it, but they were notoriously environmentally irresponsible in general, so they still produced long-lived waste.

@pro @kravietz So, I just spend some time reading about full cycle nuclear power strategy and the first thing that sticks out is: Even for the "little" amount of nuclear waste that France produces, it has no final destination.

And another point I came across, due to the "statistics being an asshole the risk of an incident increases drastically with every new power plant, The incidents of Fukushima and Chernobyl were no exceptions, they were statically "expectable".


@sheogorath @kravietz Oh puleeeeze. Coal, wind, and solar kill way more people than nuclear. It's laughable.

@pro @kravietz I don't know of any coal, wind or solar energy incident, that made it impossible for humans to live in an area as big as Chernobyl.

I mean if you want to live with the risk, fine, go ahead. But please somewhere not even remotely close to me? like further away than Chernobyl, because we still had their nuclear cloud over here and are still recommended to not collect mushrooms in the forest, due to this nonsense.

@sheogorath @pro Here are some case studies of fatal accidents in solar industry cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DE

And obviously, we should not panic around that because *every* human activity can potentially result in harm and death. Keeping them safe is a task for healt & safety. The problem is that accidents in nuclear industry are singled out and presented as something immensely dangerous and deadly, when they are not.

@kravietz @pro I think the major difference is 1st party impact vs 3rd party impact.

The number of people that are at least subject of a nuclear incident is by a magnitude of hundred thousands when not millions higher than the number of even hundreds of solar or wind industry incidents.


And we can safely expect another incident within the next 15-20 years.

@sheogorath @pro

> than the number of even hundreds of solar or wind industry incidents

But not hydro incidents, right?

In a few recent years there were further dam failures in Brazil and in Russia.

They killed ~200 people.

Have you ever heard about them?

@kravietz @pro True, those can happen, and they do happen, but considering the environmental impact and the regulations that those project have regarding cleanness of water in Europe mean even the worst incident won't cause a wasteland. Like with a Tsunami people will die, people will flee but as soon as it's over they will come back and start living there. That not so much the case directly around Chernobyl or Fukushima even after decontamination.

@sheogorath @pro

This is precisely engineers do comparisons such as this one to objectively compare mortality of various energy sources against a normalised units.

@kravietz @pro What they don't calculate: Area destroyed by incidents, which is the major problem I'm pointing out.

The problem with nuclear power are not direct death numbers, but the long term environmental impact. From deformities, to reduced life expectations to no longer usable land areas. I'm not sure which study you are quoting, but I don't expect them to calculate those impacts in there.

@sheogorath @pro

This is all covered by medical research after nuclear accidents. In case of Fukushima there was 1 fatality, in case of Chernobyl - 200 (over 20 years). All that included cancer, early death, birth defects etc.

In many cases suspicious diseases are blamed on nuclear without conclusive evidence, as it was with a spike of leukemia near Sellafield nuclear processing plant in UK back in 80's. Media were quick to jump to conclusion that the plant is KILLING OUR CHILDREN!!! etc

@kravietz @pro The WHO talks about slightly different number around a few thousand that are impacted in form of cancer but with no clear diagnose whenever this is caused directly due to radiation of due to bad lifestyle. (That's the ugly thing about radiation)

And a lot of cancer cases were solvable by surgery but people have to take meds for their entire life. The mortality itself is not really the full picture of the problem with nuclear power, as I mentioned before.



And is it a full picture with coal? This is why it's important to compare objectively rather than single out one industry.


@kravietz @pro Keep in mind, I'm not advocating for more coal. I'm talking about reducing coal as well. Renewable energy is what I'm advocating for.

When it comes to coal, we also have the whole mining process, which has a huge and negative impact on the environment. But even there I consider the impact of those things lower than the impact of a nuclear power plant incident in Germany. Be it due to natural disaster or human error.

What we need to do is getting this Bureaucracy sorted out.

@kravietz @pro Anyway, it was definitely an interesting discussion we had. I really enjoyed it. Even when it just made me even less certain about the world wide usage of nuclear power. The MIT even suggests that there are 4 major incidents in the timespan from 2004 to 2053 (and at least 1 with Fukushima was there).

It's a weird piece of technology. As someone who hates gambling, not really my world. Still hope we can all figure this energy/environment problem out together quite soon :)

@sheogorath @kravietz The real issue is that solar is junk from EROEI standpoint, while wind is a plain hoax (no matter what lies the German media posts about it). Wind cannot even produce enough energy to re-create itself twice, and solar can do 5 at the most. So neither of them can support a civilization that has computers and dentistry. In short, there is no alternative to nuclear, even if we had to store nuclear waste -- which you now know only needs to happen for a small fraction of the used fuel. Even if we had a Chernobyl every 10 years, there's NO ALTERNATIVE. What's so damned hard to understand about it?

People are too used to magical thinking about the forces of market and science and they expect improvements in solar to narrow the gap to oil's EROEI of 30 (as I mentioned, wind is a hoax and we don't even need to consider it). I'm just going to tell you right here that it cannot happen.

Remember that making solar practical for supplying the grid by buffering it with energy storage actually tanks its EROEI.


Can you provide references for wind & solar power consumption at - I guess - manufacturing phase and EROEI? Obviously, in discussions about German energy policy these are rarely raised...


@kravietz @pro at least this study doesn't seem to support the indicated statement: festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weis

And similar studies I got through a quick scan using google scholar, don't suggest anything else either. There is a positive EOREI in wind energy, it's just not as big as other renewable energy sources and way below fossil fuels. But that's no surprise.

@sheogorath @pro

Looking at real world examples: Rampion off-shore wind farm in UK has 116 towers that occupy 70 km2 (!) and has nominal output of 700MW. In case of off-shore wind, that can be utilised up to 40% due to intermittency.

Nearby Dungeness nuclear power plant has just one block of 600MW that can be utilised up to 95% and occupies maybe 1 km2.

This, in my opinion, is a huge difference...

@kravietz @pro well, the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl is 2,600 km2. So given that an accident happens, which due to statistics as already mentioned we have to expect, that's quite some space for wind power.

I mean, I have an IT background and look a lot into backups. And looking at that tells me: By default calculate the worst case scenario. And as mentioned, it's not unrealistic that an incidents appears.


You're comparing apples and oranges.

Germany is *already* hitting its limits of land available for wind farms, and to move further with renewables it would need to occupy further thousands of km2.

And if you are indeed considering "the worst scenario" indeed, then you need to also look into possibility of mass gas explosion at power-to-gas and hydrogen processing installations that can destroy whole cities, hydro dam collapses and house fires caused by roof solars.


@kravietz @pro First of all: We have quite some space left, especially in Bavaria. Which is at the same time the biggest energy consuming state in Germany. The Bavarian government actively blocks wind power in order to "keep the landscape view intact", that's not running out of space, that's denial. Fun fact there: They recently changed the minimum distance from housing for wind power form 1km to 2km. Against the recommendations of the scientific service and external experts.


Blocking building of new nuclear plants in Germany is "denial" and "against science" too, yet it's effective.

It's funny how you complain about irrational arguments being raised against renewables, while raising the same irrational arguments against nuclear. Clearly, karma works :)


@kravietz @pro My personal argument against nuclear power is quite simple: Due to the mentioned worst case scenario, I simply don't want to live close to one.

And since I'm with Kant that I should only do stuff where I can accept that it would become a universal law, I don't want to anyone else to have to live close to one. That again means, there would be no one to operate it, which is a quite bad situation. So I ask you: Is that irrational?

@sheogorath @pro You're singling out *one* technology and applying "worst case" scenario just to it, that is in addition completely exaggerated in the context of today's technology.

But you ignore climate change which will be more destructive than any nuclear incident, ignore coal waste, gas leaks, rare earth mining, physical constraints of renewables etc - but to nuclear you apply a battery of unjustified fears - so yes, this *is* irrational :)


@kravietz @pro As I already said, for climate change, the "weapons to use" are renewable energies. And we see in many places that they work, they even work great with a low risk factor. (Take Sweden as an great example, even when they are into water, instead of wind power)

I don't ignore coal waste, I'm also there on the side of renewable energies. (I would prefer to not live close to a coal power plant, but I could still image doing it) and for rare earth mining, we have to work on that.

@sheogorath @pro Please go to electricitymap.org now and check what energy mix Sweden *actually* is using :)

@kravietz @pro looks not to bad to me, and when looking at Germany, I think it gets even greater. Yeah, there is coal power in there, but it's already a minority.

It makes me quite optimistic that we win this fight against climate change without further nuclear energy. We we want to go for something, the it should be gas power plants for the simple reason, that they are easy to turn on and off, to improve the energy mix.


Are you sure you looked at the right country? First, Sweden runs on nuclear. Second, it has a lot of hydro because of *low* population density that lives mostly in the south and thus has plenty of free space.

Mainland European countries have high population density and limited land. This is precisely why they have been investing in energy sources that occupy little space - coal, gas and nuclear.

And this is also reason why Germany faces opposition against wind farms.


@sheogorath @pro

Fossil gas results in CO2 emissions so it's exactly the opposite thing to do when you're trying to prevent climate change.

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