21 votes

How many people did nuclear energy kill?

14 comments

  1. [11]
    drannex
    (edited )
    Link
    I am so very happy that more and more sources lately are correcting the fear-mongering campaigns of old from the coal and gas industry. Nuclear energy is the only way forward for a carbon-free...

    I am so very happy that more and more sources lately are correcting the fear-mongering campaigns of old from the coal and gas industry.

    Nuclear energy is the only way forward for a carbon-free future on a wide scale. The energy density is the greatest of all fuel sources, produces miniscule amounts of waste, (98% of which can be reused!) and one of the greatest scientific advances of all time.

    15 votes
    1. [10]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      I am fine with continuing to use our existing nuclear power plants, but if we're talking about a carbon-free future, nuclear is no longer a big part of it. Other sources of renewable energy, like...

      I am fine with continuing to use our existing nuclear power plants, but if we're talking about a carbon-free future, nuclear is no longer a big part of it. Other sources of renewable energy, like wind and solar, are cheaper to build and significantly faster to install than new nuclear plants and can easily provide all the energy we need.

      In fact, nuclear fear-mongering isn't what's killing nuclear; it's economics. How to Save a Planet put out a really good episode on the topic a couple months ago.

      9 votes
      1. [4]
        spctrvl
        Link Parent
        That's only true if you disregard the cost of battery storage needed for an entirely renewable grid. Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of energy if you don't particularly care when that energy...

        That's only true if you disregard the cost of battery storage needed for an entirely renewable grid. Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of energy if you don't particularly care when that energy is generated, but without terawatt hours of storage, the cost of which runs well into the nuclear price range, they're only a compliment to a traditional power grid, not a replacement. Sure, down the road, batteries or some other energy storage will get cheaper, but we don't have a whole lot of time, and right now, every one of those wind or solar farms has a carbon spewing peaker plant behind it, that being the most economical solution to the intermittency problem.

        You're not wrong that economics is killing nuclear power, but considering economics is also what's killing the planet, I don't think that's a compelling argument against its expansion. Blindly letting market forces set our energy policy for the last 40 years is what got us into this mess in the first place, I doubt it's going to be what gets us out.

        17 votes
        1. [3]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          We really also need to avoid manufacturing chemical batteries for our power time-shifting issues. Chemical batteries are bad for the environment as well. Physical energy storage is probably going...

          We really also need to avoid manufacturing chemical batteries for our power time-shifting issues. Chemical batteries are bad for the environment as well. Physical energy storage is probably going to be a much better option, and those are as simple as "lift up this big stone" or "pump water into this big uphill reservoir".

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            spctrvl
            Link Parent
            Physical energy storage (or kinetic anyway) has its own issues, namely a volumetric energy density that makes lead-acid look good and necessitates gargantuan facilities and even specialized...

            Physical energy storage (or kinetic anyway) has its own issues, namely a volumetric energy density that makes lead-acid look good and necessitates gargantuan facilities and even specialized geography in the case of pumped hydro, which makes them pretty impactful in terms of land use. I definitely agree that lithium ion batteries need to be kept in their lane, but I think there's room for batteries with more benign chemistries, optimized for cost and low environmental impact, rather than density.

            That said, I'd prefer to sidestep the issue of mass grid scale energy storage entirely through the adoption of fission power supplemented with renewables, as a prelude to a move to space based solar.

            7 votes
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. spctrvl
                Link Parent
                Hydro is really just awful in terms of risk and environmental impact. It was only a generation or two ago that environmental advocacy groups embraced nuclear power as an alternative to hydro.

                Hydro is really just awful in terms of risk and environmental impact. It was only a generation or two ago that environmental advocacy groups embraced nuclear power as an alternative to hydro.

                2 votes
      2. vektor
        Link Parent
        Absolutely. Nevermind that all the /r/futurology - style nuclear renaissance narrative is tied up in not-yet-ready technologies. 98% reusable? Only with fancy LFTR tech. Which we don't have. It's...

        Absolutely. Nevermind that all the /r/futurology - style nuclear renaissance narrative is tied up in not-yet-ready technologies. 98% reusable? Only with fancy LFTR tech. Which we don't have. It's looking interesting so far, but there's still problems with it. Meanwhile wind and solar? We understand those technologies well enough. We already have infrastructure in place to mass-produce these. We can scale these up now, and quickly. LFTR? 10 years at least until we have a working prototype, if you ask me. 10 years from now, you can get a current-gen nuclear plant online if you have your funding and permits in a row today. We want to be done with this shit in 10 years, we don't have that kind of time. An acute crisis of this scale is not the time to do R&D.

        Nuclear was a good gap-filler when it was new in the mid-late 1900s. But then we didn't even realize (collectively anyway) that we'd even need a gap-filler, hence the move to phase out nuclear for renewables never came.

        4 votes
      3. [3]
        RNG
        Link Parent
        I just want to second "How to Save a Planet" for anyone thinking about adding another podcast to their rotation. I usually subconsciously avoid discourse around climate change because A: I don't...

        I just want to second "How to Save a Planet" for anyone thinking about adding another podcast to their rotation.

        I usually subconsciously avoid discourse around climate change because A: I don't need further convincing of its severity and B: it is terrifying to even contemplate. How to Save a Planet really makes me feel... I guess hopeful, certainly not hopeless, we've got a path forward that we just need to really lean into and speed up to stop the worst case scenarios regarding climate change. Society, at this moment, has all the technology it needs to become carbon neutral, all we need to do is implement it.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          The only problem I haven't seen a do-able solution for yet is the plight of the coral reefs. We need to get good at resurrecting dead reefs and do it immediately. We don't want dead, stagnant...

          The only problem I haven't seen a do-able solution for yet is the plight of the coral reefs. We need to get good at resurrecting dead reefs and do it immediately. We don't want dead, stagnant oceans on our hands.

          3 votes
  2. KonstantineBeridze
    Link
    We need to destigmatize nuclear energy. It is key for human survival and energy independence from carbon based energy.

    We need to destigmatize nuclear energy. It is key for human survival and energy independence from carbon based energy.

    8 votes
  3. nukeman
    Link
    Should’ve commented earlier. Nuke sector engineer here. Happy to answer any questions.

    Should’ve commented earlier. Nuke sector engineer here. Happy to answer any questions.

    6 votes
  4. ImmobileVoyager
    (edited )
    Link
    I watched this Kurzgesagt video a couple of days ago. Althoug I did not learned much that I already knew, I found it very good. I would only question the 500 deaths resulting of the panic in...

    I watched this Kurzgesagt video a couple of days ago. Althoug I did not learned much that I already knew, I found it very good.

    I would only question the 500 deaths resulting of the panic in evacuating the Fukushima zone : we must remember that this happened in a region devastated by an off-charts tsunami that killed 26,000 and strained emergency responders. The video should have mentionned that.

    2 votes