Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Power, Part 2

I'm continuously amazed to hear people advocate for nuclear power generation. It strikes me as a singularly bad idea.

Even if we could do it safely - i.e., if we could guarantee no more Chernobyl's or Three Mile Island's - there's still this enormous unanswered question about waste disposal. As far as I can tell (and I spent nearly two minutes asking Google for information) there is frankly no good plan for effectively dealing with the waste products from nuclear power plants. Seriously, as far as I can tell, nobody has a good plan.

One website helpfully points out "There are many new waste disposal technologies which could prove to be somewhat of a solution to the problem of nuclear waste." Could? Somewhat? Um, maybe we should figure that out before we build any more reactors.

The best we can come up with is "Long Term Storage," (the US's preferred method) which is a bit insane given the multi-thousands-of-years timeline required. Can we really keep something secure for even two thousand years, let alone 20,000? Maybe we could resurrect some ancient Egyptians and have them build nuclear containment pyramids? I suspect "long term" really means "my kids and I will be dead before anything bad happens." For people thinking and talking about thousand-year timelines, they seem horribly short-sighted.

Maybe I'm missing something here - and if so, I'm sure someone will point it out. That's why I'm thinking solar & wind are the most logical alternatives, not nuclear.

This page from About.com has loads of additional information on this topic.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

Totally agree! I suspect you also have the WIRED article about Nuclear waste disposal. Its not good. I still don't see why we can't do more with Solar, Wind, and others. As mark said, so many folks would be willing to go at it if they could just get over the initial investmanet cost. This is true for cars and infrastructure. So how about this: there are tons of philanthropic multi-millionaires out there. Why not convince them to give some of their contributions to any American resident who wants to install green technology to run their houses/cars. This might jump start the neccessary market share that would bring down the price for this technology which would start an avalanche and make it more profitable for companies to develop this technology.