Nuclear Power: Menace or Blessing?

Thanks again to Scott Berkun for the topic.

Given the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, I thought this question was worth writing about.

Personally, I don’t mind nuclear power. My problem with it, besides the inherent danger of an outside agency (terrorist, tsunami, earthquake, or idiots in government who don’t want regulations on it) mucking about with it, is the waste byproduct.

This waste is the real danger of nuclear power. No nuclear plant is “clean” energy, but the spent fuel rods are just plain dangerous. I know some people will say they can be contained safely, and I truly hope they are correct, but if the radiation were to leak into the water table, then we’d be in a serious mess, then.

So, is it a menace or a blessing (and, yes, “blessing” might not be the right word here, but hopefully, you get what I’m going for)? It’s neither. I view nuclear power as a stopgap measure to gain electricity until we figure something else out.

Maybe that new solution will be solar and wind. These are truly clean energy sources and produce nothing but light to see by and a cool breeze on a hot Summer day.

About WonderGoon

WonderGoon is seeking enlightenment and questions everything.
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6 Responses to Nuclear Power: Menace or Blessing?

  1. Skatha says:

    I agree that we need to find a better way to store or otherwise get rid of the spent fuel rods because clearly the method chosen and most often utilized will come back to bite us in the ass every time.

    I do not believe the nuclear components used to create energy are the same as the stuff used to make bombs so the threat from terrorists would only be to destroy a facility in the same manner that the earth quake just wiped out the plant in Japan. Thus far they seem disinclined to target such areas.

    I would honestly rather see us focusing more on wind/solar/hydro energy. When I went to England last summer, I saw plenty of wind turbines on land and know there’s a big “farm” of them out in the Irish Sea. I think we could do something like that as well. I know California has some, but they need far more than they have.


    • WonderGoon says:

      I agree that we should focus on wind/solar/hydro power. Would be much better for the environment and not really a high priority target for terrorists, either, except to deprive us of power. Certainly, except in the case of hydro, wouldn’t really cause any large scale environmental dangers, either. Safer all around.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. storydad says:

    The problem with the ‘green’ energy sources is footprint, efficiency, and effectivness.

    Nuclear power is by far and by an order of magnitude the cheapest, cleanest form of energy generation known to man. That’s including the handling of the nuclear waste, but excluding disasters like Chernoble or the recent one in Japan.

    To generate even a tenth of the power of a standard nuclear reactor that would fit in my back yard, you would need square miles of mirrors for a solar plant, thousands of wind turbines, or a couple more Hudson Dams. These are not without their costs or dangers either—-this land is now unusable for other purposes, and in the case of solar as effectivly destroyed as if by strip mining, wind turbines have a problem killing birds, and if the one Hudson Dam we built ever breaks, the devestation will be immense.

    Fortunatly, not every community needs the power output of a nuclear reactor, and power can only be effectivly transmitted so far. I believe the answer to the issue is in both more capable electric motor systems and batteries, and more efficient energy collection methods than currently employed by the green sources.


    • WonderGoon says:

      Green technology is, except for solar panels, relatively new. As such, there is going to be a “settling in” process which will lead, eventually, to cheaper, more efficient components that will deliver energy just as clean, if not more so, than nuclear plants. Therefore, my statement that nuclear power plants are a stopgap measure is pretty well accurate.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. storydad says:

    “Green” energy such as wind and hydro have been in use for centuries. Even in terms of electrical energy Wind, Hydro and Solar have all been in use longer than nuclear. All of them have major hurdles before being able to meet our needs, and while friendlier, none of them are exactly good for the environment.

    I am not saying you are wrong. The problem of the fuel disposal is a large hurdle, and one that may ultimatly have no practical solution, other than grinding it up and redistributing it back across the globe (that’s where it came from, we didn’t make it, we mined and refined it).

    Who can say but next tuesday someone will figure out how to make flubber and our worries will be over. Tesla’s dream of energy transmission has made strides of late, and may one day solve much of the issue with solar power by moving it into orbit, minimizing both the footprint and ecological impacts from the matierials that make up the plants.

    I believe research on all fronts is the answer. Despite the severe environmental impacts of the technology, I favor improved batteries and a variety of electrical generation techniques for the forseable future.


    • WonderGoon says:

      Thus illustrating that my original statement is still accurate: Nuclear power is a stopgap measure until better, greener, methods are developed and refined.


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