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Official 2020 US Election: Democratic Party Discussion

Forums - Politics Discussion - Official 2020 US Election: Democratic Party Discussion

jason1637 said:
I read through Bernies climate change plan and looked at other candidates plan. Bernies plan is for sure more detailed but it also has a lot of stuff that doesn't pertain to climate change in there and some of the stuff he outlines I don't think is feasible.

The big differences in my opinon are:

  • Caring for the transition of jobs of workers currently employed in fossil fuel industry (something also AOC has).
  • Going to persecute executives of companies that brought destruction onto the planet. That is a revolution!


3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018

Predictions: Switch / Switch vs. XB1 in the US / Three Houses first quarter

tsogud said:
HylianSwordsman said:

But at this point it's more economic to just go all renewable. Why bother with economically unviable nuclear, when you could invest that money into solar and wind? It's just the more efficient thing to do. We need to decarbonize as fast as possible, we don't have time to waste with nuclear. Eventually, fusion will come around and make it all pointless, but for now, nuclear fission is just a waste.

While I do agree we need to decarbonize asap and that renewable energy should make up for a lot of that, if not all, nuclear can help us out a lot with our ever increasing demand of energy moving forward. We should at least consider it, not explicitly state in the plan not to and be anti-nuclear. How far are we along to making fusion energy viable because I really don't know?

Regarding nuclear fission energy people often talk about reactor accidents. In my opinion (and that of many others) the far bigger and yet unsolved problem is nuclear waste. Uranium-235 has a half-life of over 700 million years. We have no way to store stuff for that amount of time. I have seen no sound solution to this yet.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018

Predictions: Switch / Switch vs. XB1 in the US / Three Houses first quarter

Mnementh said:
tsogud said:

While I do agree we need to decarbonize asap and that renewable energy should make up for a lot of that, if not all, nuclear can help us out a lot with our ever increasing demand of energy moving forward. We should at least consider it, not explicitly state in the plan not to and be anti-nuclear. How far are we along to making fusion energy viable because I really don't know?

Regarding nuclear fission energy people often talk about reactor accidents. In my opinion (and that of many others) the far bigger and yet unsolved problem is nuclear waste. Uranium-235 has a half-life of over 700 million years. We have no way to store stuff for that amount of time. I have seen no sound solution to this yet.

I vaguely remembered this from reading about it a while back but I googled it to check my recollection:

https://whatisnuclear.com/recycling.html

I'm by no means an expert, but my understanding is that the main radioactive product of nuclear fission (U-238) can be recycled to produce Pu-239 which acts similarly to the original U-235 used as a fuel source. This leaves only the fission products of U-235 to be dealt with which have a much more manageable half-life on the order of hundreds of years. 

This is all coming from a site with a rather obvious agenda, so it would have to be double checked, but this matches with my recollection from other sources so I'm inclined to trust it. 



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Torillian said:
Mnementh said:

Regarding nuclear fission energy people often talk about reactor accidents. In my opinion (and that of many others) the far bigger and yet unsolved problem is nuclear waste. Uranium-235 has a half-life of over 700 million years. We have no way to store stuff for that amount of time. I have seen no sound solution to this yet.

I vaguely remembered this from reading about it a while back but I googled it to check my recollection:

https://whatisnuclear.com/recycling.html

I'm by no means an expert, but my understanding is that the main radioactive product of nuclear fission (U-238) can be recycled to produce Pu-239 which acts similarly to the original U-235 used as a fuel source. This leaves only the fission products of U-235 to be dealt with which have a much more manageable half-life on the order of hundreds of years. 

This is all coming from a site with a rather obvious agenda, so it would have to be double checked, but this matches with my recollection from other sources so I'm inclined to trust it. 

Yeah, there are nuggets of truth in it, but it does not mention some stuff.

1. Nuclear fuel is not burnt down completely. The most common fuel used is U-235 (which I mentioned in my post above with the 700 million year half-life). It naturally occurs together with U-238. When the fuel is replaced in a nuclear reactor, usually about 4% are used up at that point, 96% are the original U-235 and U-238. U-238 has an even worse half-life of over 4 billion ears. As U-238 is not very useful in itself and U-235 is even more scarce than it initially was, it makes not much sense to enrich the U-235 still in there for productive use. So most of nuclear waste is actually the biggest part of the nuclear fuel.

2. Only a very small part of U-238 is turned into Plutonium, about 1%. Enriching it for commercial is a lot of expensive work. So if you want to work with Plutonium, you usually not use spent nuclear fuel (that also contains a lot of other isotope-byproducts as result of it's use which make work with it pretty unpredictable), you use special breeding reactors for the creation of Plutonium. But this is also problematic. First of all you have twice the nuclear waste: from the original breeding and then the fission products of the Plutonium-use. In reality it seems not very commercially viable, because mostly the resulting Plutonium stays unused. If that was less expensive, it probably would be done more often. But as it is, the produced Plutonium is mostly also nuclear waste.

3. There is an assortment of other fission products with wildly varying half-life and radioactivity. Besides that also the material used to encase the nuclear fuel also catches neutrons and turns into different isotopes or fissions into other elements. That means spent nuclear fuel contains a wild assortment of different radioactive and non-radioactive elements and isotopes, which is a difficult mess to extract anything useful from it.

Although most of the nuclear fuel is U-238 and in a nuclear reactor it is for months under a constant stream of neutrons only about 1% turn into Plutonium. So this thing described is happening, but not at all an solution for nuclear waste. As I wrote in my initial post, so far has nobody presented a convincing solution for nuclear waste. And I looked into it in the past. So this U-238 → Pu-239 (or Pu-240) works well on paper or a website, but the same people that present it as solution if asked about nuclear waste don't follow that route in reality as it is just too expensive and not commercially viable.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018

Predictions: Switch / Switch vs. XB1 in the US / Three Houses first quarter

And another one bites the dust: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/us/politics/seth-moulton-2020-drop-out.html



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018

Predictions: Switch / Switch vs. XB1 in the US / Three Houses first quarter

Mnementh said:
tsogud said:

While I do agree we need to decarbonize asap and that renewable energy should make up for a lot of that, if not all, nuclear can help us out a lot with our ever increasing demand of energy moving forward. We should at least consider it, not explicitly state in the plan not to and be anti-nuclear. How far are we along to making fusion energy viable because I really don't know?

Regarding nuclear fission energy people often talk about reactor accidents. In my opinion (and that of many others) the far bigger and yet unsolved problem is nuclear waste. Uranium-235 has a half-life of over 700 million years. We have no way to store stuff for that amount of time. I have seen no sound solution to this yet.

One of the main problems here is that everyone goes immediately NIMBY and BANANAS when it comes to nuclear waste.

The basic idea is to bury the nuclear as close as possible to the mantle (aka as deep as possible), and doing so in a geological inactive region. Add to this the aforementioned nimby and bananas and the options as to where to build such a facility are severely limited. There are several in existance, but not many active ones that are considered final repositories. There are however several getting built, like this one in Finland that I know of for instance.

The problem is less that we don't have the structures (bury deep enough and earth itself will take care of it via tectonics), but more that language evolves over time. How to make sure that explorers from, let's say, 1000 years in the future will understand what is written on the storage facility - and how to ensure that they don't dismiss the warnings as some old superstition? Because those two points are actually what's holding up the construction of new facilites right now.

One solution might be the deep borehole storage. Basically they would drill a hole about 5 kilometers deep, so way below anything that could affect the surface or ground water, put caskets with the waste and neutron-absorbing salts one over each other, seal it with a mile or two of concrete and fill up with rocks and finally dirt. Only problem is that you'll need several of those since their storage capacity is quite low. But their location should ensure that nobody goes to check there or try to dig them out - it's just to deep and hard to reach.

Another solution could be to put them into a rocket end shoot them into the sun. But if the rocket fails...

Finally, one way that's getting researched is nuclear transmutation. The basic idea is to transform the radioactive isotopes with ß-radiation  (which are basically the cores from Helium without it's electrodes) into heavier elements, but with stable isotopes. This is also how nature creates the heavier elements in supernovas.

Btw, you listed U-235, which is the main fuel of most nuclear reactors (there are exceptions that run on Plutonium or Thorium, but any reactor running on Uranium uses U-235). If there's some of it left, then the fuel rods will get reprocessed to use it, since only 0.72% of the Uranium is U-235 and thus relatively hard to get. It gets enriched to about 5% for usage in nuclear reactors (30-40% for nuclear weapons btw). No need to store that stuff, since it's exactly what we want for nuclear reactors.

Finally, by far not all nuclear waste is coming from nuclear reactors. The vast majority is actually coming from laboratories and hospitals (mostly from radiotherapy), but is only lightly radioactive. So even without nuclear energy, we would still need repositories for radioactive waste.



Mnementh said:

And another one bites the dust: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/us/politics/seth-moulton-2020-drop-out.html

One of the M&Ms that I was expecting to drop out anytime soon. The other one is Messam, and I still wonder what he's expecting and hoping from it and why he's still running.



HylianSwordsman said:
tsogud said:

While I do agree we need to decarbonize asap and that renewable energy should make up for a lot of that, if not all, nuclear can help us out a lot with our ever increasing demand of energy moving forward. We should at least consider it, not explicitly state in the plan not to and be anti-nuclear. How far are we along to making fusion energy viable because I really don't know?

Well the technology is in its infancy, but we have fusion technology now, technically. It's doing it on a commercial scale that's given us trouble. We're getting close though. Here's a guy named Steven Cowley, explaining it a bit. In the video, he estimates in the 2030s around 9:10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6BLFdBfgfU You'll also note that around 8:24 he mentions "switching it on again in 2013 and breaking all the records." Truth is they didn't switch it on, they just started construction on it in 2013. Here's an article on that: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/one-giant-leap-for-mankind-13bn-iter-project-makes-breakthrough-in-the-quest-for-nuclear-fusion-a-8590480.html You'll note in that article that it explains that this 2030 estimate is actually for the first demonstration power plant. It's estimated that beyond that, we won't see nuclear fusion operating on the same scale as say, coal right now, until the 2050s. If this is all still on schedule, we'll see what's known as "first plasma", the first successful demonstration of the experiment, in the mid 2020s, so pretty soon. Maybe even during Bernie's administration, and if it does, you can bet he'll jump on board the fusion train. Oh, and that's just the public sector. Here's an article on the private sector, which claims it'll have energy on the grid by 2030: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46219656 I don't really believe them, because they're just hyping things up to please investors. I don't believe the Chinese saying they're close either, because they're known to lie to boost their ego. Edit: The editor isn't loading for me and the formatting is getting all fucked up. I apologize for that, but I can't get the editor to load.

That's actually pretty exciting that it can be a really excellent source of carbon-free energy in the future. It seems fusion is a lot more efficient, safe and better for the environment than fission. I had some vague idea of it but I didn't know nuclear fusion energy was a thing we were actively pursuing until this exchange. You learn something knew everyday.



 

I believe in fusion power - the free, abundant fusion power coming from the sun, which strikes the face of the Earth every day with as much energy as it is stored in our entire coal and uranium reserves. Photovoltaics are increasing at an astounding pace with costs falling on the same speed. In less than a decade, it could be the cheapest energy available even somewhere as cloudy and northerly as Germany and Finland.

Of course... lower demand in turn would mean the price of fossil fuels fall accordingly as long as it is technologically feasible to retrieve it. Which is why I was somewhat pessimistic when I mentioned before that India is going to burn most of their coal regardless. The Gondwana coal field is almost as easily available as the coal fields of England and France in the eighteenth century. Ditto for whatever's left of conventional natural gas.



 

 

 

 

 

haxxiy said:
I believe in fusion power - the free, abundant fusion power coming from the sun, which strikes the face of the Earth every day with as much energy as it is stored in our entire coal and uranium reserves. Photovoltaics are increasing at an astounding pace with costs falling on the same speed. In less than a decade, it could be the cheapest energy available even somewhere as cloudy and northerly as Germany and Finland.

Of course... lower demand in turn would mean the price of fossil fuels fall accordingly as long as it is technologically feasible to retrieve it. Which is why I was somewhat pessimistic when I mentioned before that India is going to burn most of their coal regardless. The Gondwana coal field is almost as easily available as the coal fields of England and France in the eighteenth century. Ditto for whatever's left of conventional natural gas.

Like I wrote before, Photovoltaics and Wind alone  would need huge battery storage and an overly robust grid to compensate for the wild fluctuations. And it doesn't care how cheap Solar and Wind energy gets per KW, the higher their amount, the bigger the fluctuations get, and as a result, the more expensive they make the bill. Case of point, the two leading nations in renewable energy from Wind and Solar, Denmark and Germany, are also the countries where electricity is the most expensive.

So until we find a way to cheaply store energy anywhere we need it to in large quantities, we will need to have some other power source(s) for the baseline.

And don't get me wrong, I'm all for expanding renewable energy production. I'm just saying that the tech isn't there yet where they could take over the whole power production and until that point, we need other kinds of energy sources to fill that gap.