Nuclear Energy
#1


We have serious power shortages in India, is Nuclear energy with the latest technology the answer?
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#2
I haven't seen the video, but I think that nuclear power is a lot cleaner than fossil fuels and should be used extensively. After the accidents in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, there is a lot of fear about nuclear power, but I think most of it is baseless. France and Japan stand out as good examples of nuclear power done right.
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#3
Nuclear energy is great and the government should be doing more to further it. But in the general scheme of things, it is only one approach and is by no means the most important one. For a country like India with poor infrastructure and a diverse population, diversification of energy solutions is the answer to our energy problems. This is already happening and will continue to happen.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#4
(06-Jul-2010, 11:31 PM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: Nuclear energy is great and the government should be doing more to further it. But in the general scheme of things, it is only one approach and is by no means the most important one. For a country like India with poor infrastructure and a diverse population, diversification of energy solutions is the answer to our energy problems. This is already happening and will continue to happen.

Ajita what is that diversification of energy solutions that is being carried out in India. I live in Bangalore and suffer plenty of power cuts everyday so would like to know more.
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#5
(07-Jul-2010, 04:59 PM)Sajit Wrote: Ajita what is that diversification of energy solutions that is being carried out in India. I live in Bangalore and suffer plenty of power cuts everyday so would like to know more.

smile Sajith, I had a more long-term idea in mind when I referred to diversification of energy sources. But yes, it is a very cool subject to get into. I'm no expert on the subject, but it is closely related to the area that I have chosen to get into business in. So, I have done some research.

Very generally, the trend is as follows: In energy production, transmission and consumption, we are slowly but surely moving away from a centralized grid model to a diverse array of localized networks, spreading out the risks and minimizing the potential disasters in the system. This is facilitated by improvements in communication and augmented by innovations in technology.

This may seem counter intuitive given the growth of the centralized grid in rural parts of the country, but that growth is more localized (in 'type') than we realize. If India is to become as well connected in energy, transportation and communication as the West, we must localize our operations. India is already extremely diverse in energy solutions, but with new technology coming in and the new business-friendly environment in India, we are set for an explosion of energy solutions, provided the government provides the right incentives with the long term goals in mind.

I could say a bit more about this depending on your area of interest. For example, we can talk about investing in energy stocks, which would go in one direction, or about anticipating what the next new technological advancement will be in the field of solar photovoltaics, which will take us down another road.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#6
I used to work on a steam power plant and the failsafe model there was just mind boggling. With clever transducers and intelligent computers, UMS (Unmanned Machinery Space) was possible. What this means is that, provided the essential machinery are in good working order, the power plant can run itself for a definite period of time without human intervention. And all this in a retrofitted World War 2 model steam plant.

Of course, no system can be 100% failsafe, even the coal fired plants we have now, but I think nuclear plants are statistically safer than coal fired plants. I'm no expert in the subject of nuclear plants either, but reading from the news, the advances being made is just phenomenal. As for the nuclear waste, research is being done, according to Bill Gates in one of his TED talks, to reuse Depleted Uranium 238. Not sure of the specifics but the possibility seems promising.
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#7
(10-Jul-2010, 08:55 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
(07-Jul-2010, 04:59 PM)Sajit Wrote: Ajita what is that diversification of energy solutions that is being carried out in India. I live in Bangalore and suffer plenty of power cuts everyday so would like to know more.

smile Sajith, I had a more long-term idea in mind when I referred to diversification of energy sources. But yes, it is a very cool subject to get into. I'm no expert on the subject, but it is closely related to the area that I have chosen to get into business in. So, I have done some research.

Very generally, the trend is as follows: In energy production, transmission and consumption, we are slowly but surely moving away from a centralized grid model to a diverse array of localized networks, spreading out the risks and minimizing the potential disasters in the system. This is facilitated by improvements in communication and augmented by innovations in technology.

This may seem counter intuitive given the growth of the centralized grid in rural parts of the country, but that growth is more localized (in 'type') than we realize. If India is to become as well connected in energy, transportation and communication as the West, we must localize our operations. India is already extremely diverse in energy solutions, but with new technology coming in and the new business-friendly environment in India, we are set for an explosion of energy solutions, provided the government provides the right incentives with the long term goals in mind.

I could say a bit more about this depending on your area of interest. For example, we can talk about investing in energy stocks, which would go in one direction, or about anticipating what the next new technological advancement will be in the field of solar photovoltaics, which will take us down another road.

This is based on similar principles I guess ? Local energy servers? smile

http://www.bloomenergy.com/
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#8
An Interesting article that I had come across:

Possibilities for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?

Quote:Pick up almost any book about nuclear energy and you will find that the prevailing wisdom is that nuclear plants must be very large in order to be competitive. This assumption is widely accepted, but, if its roots are understood, it can be effectively challenged.

Recently, however, a growing body of plant designers, utility companies, government agencies and financial players are recognizing that smaller plants can take advantage of greater opportunities to apply lessons learned, take advantage of the engineering and tooling savings possible with higher numbers of units and better meet customer needs in terms of capacity additions and financing. The resulting systems are a welcome addition to the nuclear power plant menu, which has previously been limited to one size - extra large.

Sounds interesting. If the technology is feasible, they are looking at providing power for remote places which are off the grid and replacing aging thermal power plants with the nuclear reactors.
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#9
Guys, I have a few questions and points regarding nuclear energy:

1. Nuclear nuclear energy is characterized by hidden costs. As a small example, when nuclear fuel is transported, heavy police and military deployment is needed, and these costs aren't factored in. As another example, governments spend millions to lobby with other countries to get access to nuclear fuel and sometimes offer economic incentives to other nations in return to fuel supply. There are several such hidden costs. Do the economic advantages of nuclear energy outweigh the hidden costs?

2. I have read that the only material required to build a nuclear/dirty bomb that isn't easily available in the market is the nuclear fuel itself. The know-how needed to build a dirty bomb is also available in the open domain. The question is: will promotion of nuclear energy increase the possibility that sometime, somewhere, some nuclear fuel gets into the wrong hands? I have read somewhere (source unverified) that there have been several instances of nuclear material being lost at sea and in the ex-USSR states. Has anyone heard about this, and if yes, is it true?

3. Is it true that the incidence of cancer among the people in the region where nuclear material is extracted is higher than normal? Secondly, do people working in nuclear plants show a greater incidence of cancer?

4. There are political aspects to international trade of nuclear material which makes the issue more tricky. As an example, the Indo-US nuclear deal, for example, has paved the way for a Sino-Pak one. This has obvious implications. Will not an increase in nuclear energy lead to further complications in the international political scenario? Should this be an impediment to us moving towards greater reliance on nuclear fuel?

5. Nuclear plants take decades to be built (I do not know if this is a part of the design or a result of bureaucratic delays). They are heavily subsidized and as I mentioned before, are prone to a lot of hidden costs. Are there alternative energy sources that could match nuclear energy in terms of the economic viability, or is nuclear energy the best we have at the current juncture?

Note that I am only being a skeptic, and I do not per se think nuclear energy is bad, given how well France has managed what it has. However, given India's context, is it the "right" source? I am open to all sides of the arguments as long as it makes sense. Please enlighten me on this.
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#10
Here is a TEDTalk about two sides of the issue.

Aditya Manthramurthy
Web Administrator & Associate Editor
Nirmukta.com
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#11
(23-Jul-2010, 01:52 PM)donatello Wrote: Here is a TEDTalk about two sides of the issue.


Thanks for posting this Thumbup
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#12
I am currently writing an academic paper on nuclear energy and its future. I found an interesting study (trustworthy):

"The overarching finding of this study is that a zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power and without acquiring carbon credits from other countries. In other words, actual physical emissions of CO2 from the energy sector can be eliminated with technologies that are now available or foreseeable. This can be done at reasonable cost while creating a much more secure energy supply than at present. Net U.S. oil imports can be eliminated in about 25 years. All three insecurities – severe climate disruption, oil supply and price insecurity, and nuclear proliferation via commercial nuclear energy – will thereby be addressed. In addition, there will be large ancillary health benefits from the elimination of most regional and local air pollution, such as high ozone and particulate levels in cities, which is due to fossil fuel combustion."

http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/summary.pdf
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