Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by SquireJames »

Funnily enough that's exactly what I was talking to my wife about earlier. This whole thing in Japan will, thanks to the media circus it's generated, set back Nuclear power again. As mentioned, no-one calls for Oil or Gas Powered Plants to be banned just because there was an explosion on an extraction rig.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Kogut »

michael blunck wrote: There ARE zero emission technologies available, some of them since decades. The fact, that they aren´t able to "produce the needed amount of electricity" today, is a fake, insofar that those technologies have been hampered by political and economical "decisions". Yet, they exist.
Can you show me "zero emission technologies"? Solar panels - solar panel needs to be manufactured etc

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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by John »

XeryusTC wrote: On the note of money, Japan can cover most of the cost itself I reckon. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without borders) and the red cross on the other hand might not and they will actually need your money, although I am not entirely sure if MSF will operate in a 1st world country.
Yes they do!

One of the strengths of MSF and the RC is their logistics. They have the expertise to set up a modern first class hospital in tents in an area with no infrastructure left. Japan won't be in huge need for the doctors, but their expertise in getting lots of stuff into places with no roads, rails or airports will be highly valuable.

The MSF has some posts on Japan: http://www.msf.org.uk/japan_update_17mar_20110317.news and http://www.msf.org.uk/no_appeal_explanation.aspx

Currently they are working in teams along side local doctors.

Just to expand on their no appeal - one of the biggest problems is when people donate money to be used for a specific event (such as Haiti). By the time you see MCF in the country, they have spend a lot of money on the earthquake - the money was in training and stocking up their stores in readiness. These stores are what get used in disasters - by specifying a donation for an event, the MCF feels they have to somehow spend the money on said disaster. This is a problem because they can't use the money to restock their stores in preparation for the next disaster, which is where they need the money.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Kevo00 »

First of all, I should point out that I read about TEPCO's poor safety record in the Financial Times the other day as well...
michael blunck wrote: By the same standards you could declare lots of technologies inapt. (For example fossil fuels are way worse with all the pollution, oil spills, coal mine disasters, etc.)

Yes, o/c. Some of those technologies are also "outdated", but I don´t think that a coal mine disaster would ever threaten that large number of people as Chernobyl did or like Fukushima does, though on a smaller intensity level, but on a larger zone of influence. And all this was avoidable (o/c, not the earthquake or the tsunami as such, which were obviously not man-made).
Well, actually four times more people died in the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984 than died at Chernobyl, and industrial accidents are far more common in the chemical and related industries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ac ... death_toll There was also a bad oil refinery fire after this earthquake, but mysteriously I haven't heard anyone say we should abandon oil technology. As mentioned above, if you are going to take that attitude, you may as well abandon all technologies - even though we know know that some animals use tools, because the benefits outweigh the risks.

As for the idea that this plant constituted unsafe or poor planning, its very hard to see how they could have legislated for what is believed to be an event with a 1,000+ year frequency, with the last similar event happening in 869AD, far back into the legendary past. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12740649 Similar logic would mean that Christchurch in New Zealand should never have been built, because the history of western settlement in NZ is so short (having started only c. 1840), and there was little knowledge of the severity of the faultline. A recent BBC TV series on prehistoric Britain showed that new research suggests a freak landside in Norway c. 10,000BC set off a tsunami which cut off Britain from mainland Europe - should we depopulate Norfolk incase the same happens again? You have to accept that technology can't overcome everything; nothing is permanent and our existence on this planet is subject to the hand nature deals us. In our home territory on this forum, at least one train was swept out to sea in this tsunami and others de-railed by it, yet I wonder if you would argue that this railway should not have been built because of this risk. Its the sort of risk that probably even insurers don't price.
michael blunck wrote:
Nagyzee wrote: Also could you please propose a cleaner, less dangerous technology that is readily available and can produce the needed amount of electricity?
There ARE zero emission technologies available, some of them since decades. The fact, that they aren´t able to "produce the needed amount of electricity" today, is a fake, insofar that those technologies have been hampered by political and economical "decisions". Yet, they exist.
Um, zero emission technologies are available but they don't come without engineering or environmental risks either. Hydro dams have the potential to generate electricity for huge populations but can also be badly planned in terms of the underlying geology and collapse, often with catastrophic consequences (for instance - yes I know its not a hydro dam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajont_Dam, but its arguably an accident more avoidable than Fukushima). Not to mention the communities and farmland often lost and other environmental damage to natural habitats (think of the Nasser Dam in Egpyt, or the Yangzee Dam projects in China). Highland areas are best suited to reservoir creation but can often contain some of our most delicate natural habitats and best scenery. In the UK we could easily solve our power demand problems by damming up the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and Scottish glens but can you imagine the uproar from environmentalists? Not to mention the loss of some of our most important natural habitats.

On that subject, wind power carries similar problems with it in terms of the destruction of habitats and of attractive natural scenery, which is more important to people than you might imagine. Just look at how angry the Orkney Islanders are about the threat to their landscape, which includes important surviving clues about early settlement in Britain. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-n ... d-12507768 Indeed, the Orkney scheme has already been scaled back. In any case, wind power is subject to variation depending on how much wind there is and at the end of the day doesn't generate much energy.

Tidal power has huge potential, but once more risks upsetting precious ecosystems that exist around shorelines - the UK has long considered a tidal power scheme for the Severn estuary, but such ideas have been opposed because of the likely disruption to bird life and the migration of fish.

At the end of the day, you can't have an entirely clear conscience as you suggest. Renewable technologies can still disrupt the natural environment and existing human communities. Maybe a big boiler sealed in a concrete box doesn't look so unattractive now?
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Nextra »

This is where I would be inclined to bring the discussion to Nuclear Fusion. Pretty much smashing Deuterium and Tritium together which can be extracted from water or even created on our own by throwing neutrons at hydrogen.

It is a renewable source (or at least there is almost no chance of exhausting all of it withing the next billion years) because its fuel is seawater.

It is as small and as reliable form of power in comparison compared to other renewable sources.

We will harness the sun on earth. The only problem with this is that the technology to create this does not exist yet.

Did I mention that the by-products are non radioactive.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Purno »

Nextra wrote:This is where I would be inclined to bring the discussion to Nuclear Fusion. Pretty much smashing Deuterium and Tritium together which can be extracted from water or even created on our own by throwing neutrons at hydrogen.
(...)
The only problem with this is that the technology to create this does not exist yet.
That's only a minor problem :P
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Drury »

Well, it does exist. What do you think, how does hydrogen bomb work?
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by CommanderZ »

Drury wrote:Well, it does exist. What do you think, how does hydrogen bomb work?
H-bombs use a regular nuke to kick-start the reaction.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Drury »

CommanderZ wrote:
Drury wrote:Well, it does exist. What do you think, how does hydrogen bomb work?
H-bombs use a regular nuke to kick-start the reaction.
But still, we have this technology... But it releases all energy at once, that's the problem.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by John »

Nextra wrote:The only problem with this is that the technology to create this does not exist yet.
I won't complain about the simplification (its a good way of describing it to non-technical people), however the technology does exist.

The current "minor" problem is that it consumes more power than it produces. There are numerous experimental reactors across the world which have shown it works. The next big one, ITER in France, should be the first to actually produce a net quantity of electricity. Hopefully the events in Japan will lead to proper assurances that it won't get cancelled so they can just get on with building the damn thing. It's late enough as it is (the joys of international "co-operation").

However, don't expect commercial power generation using nuclear fusion within the next 30-40 years.
Kevo00 wrote:Um, zero emission technologies are available
Not really - if you include the emissions from the manufacture and building of said technologies then nothing is zero emission. Hydroelectric is almost certainly not zero emission - even ignoring the huge emissions from building Dams out of concrete, the turbulence the water goes through causes it to release dissolved CO2.

Even technologies like wind and solar are not zero emission, for the simple reason that your raw materials are never where you want the finished product and need extensive energy to get them into said format. Just look at the effort Toyota goes to for its Prius batteries.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Drury »

John wrote:Even technologies like wind and solar are not zero emission, for the simple reason that your raw materials are never where you want the finished product and need extensive energy to get them into said format. Just look at the effort Toyota goes to for its Prius batteries.
Plus you need to maintenance it when you build it. Wind farms consume tons of vaseline every month. Solar pannels need to be washed very often too. But they still makes much less emissions than, for example, coal power plants. They need to be built and kept in good condition too.

So yes, there is no way of making energy without emissions. But there are ways that produce less emissions than other.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

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John wrote:
Kevo00 wrote:Um, zero emission technologies are available
Not really - if you include the emissions from the manufacture and building of said technologies then nothing is zero emission. Hydroelectric is almost certainly not zero emission - even ignoring the huge emissions from building Dams out of concrete, the turbulence the water goes through causes it to release dissolved CO2.

Even technologies like wind and solar are not zero emission, for the simple reason that your raw materials are never where you want the finished product and need extensive energy to get them into said format. Just look at the effort Toyota goes to for its Prius batteries.
Agreed John, maybe I should have put zero emission in quotemarks. That was pretty much the drift I was going towards, although I didn't know that dams can cause water to release CO2.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by John »

Kevo00 wrote: That was pretty much the drift I was going towards, although I didn't know that dams can cause water to release CO2.
Yes, although I can't actually find a mention on Wikipedia, (which I was expecting, it was an "in" topic a number of years ago, new evidence coming to light etc. etc.). Lots about the methane it releases though.

I can however provide the following from the New Scientist on dams causing water to release methane: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7 ... ealed.html
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by LaSeandre »

Relevant.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by John »

MITNSE wrote:A Japanese government agency has released the results of radiation measurements at dozens of monitoring posts. See the data here: http://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/ ... 7_1716.pdf.

These measurements give doses in excess of background radiation, which is why some may appear low. High measurements at reading point 32 are thought to be the result of a controlled containment venting and a simultaneous fire which carried radioactive particles inland. Over the course of the incident, the general trend has been for weather patterns to sweep radioactive particles out to sea.

As a result of these radiation measurements and the ongoing work, the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency upgraded the event to a 5 on the INES scale. This is the same level as the Three Mile Island accident, and two steps below Chernobyl.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Kamikazi spoon »

Thing is, no government is interested in spending massive amounts of money in a new source of energy, they're just as happy with the current system. All the government is only interested in earning money, by doing so they can charge for emissions and VAT on coal gas and oil etc. How can the government tax energy on wind and solar power? They cant. Green energy is just a political move.

With that the case how come nuclear power hasnt been taken up? It just doesn't make sense to me, because people see the word "nuclear" and people associate it immediately with Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and TMI. It's just not logical to me.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by pavel1269 »

Kamikazi spoon wrote:... How can the government tax energy on wind and solar power? They cant. Green energy is just a political move.
Actually, here in Czech republic, solar power is taxed, just to let you know, that it is possible.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by JamieLei »

Several of my friends now being 帰国させられた (Being forced to return to one's home country). In addition, the ENTIRE UC (University of California) system has cancelled all exchanges in Japan, and my friend studying at Kyoto University is being forced to return. We now life in fear of being forced home by our home universities - not of radiation.
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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

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Re: Japan Earthquake (Fri 11th March)

Post by Voyager One »

And as Michael thought, INES scale level raised 5... Sh**. :(
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