Ultimate space simulation software

 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

18 Sep 2020 11:59

I wanted to post more on nuclear and how much better it is than any fossil fuel.  Right now we get about 20% of our energy from nuclear, 10% from green energy and 70% from fossil fuels.  If we could get that 20% nuclear up to 50% or more by 2030, we would be well on our way to achieving our goals of a sustainable future.

Not only is nuclear less of a threat to human health and longevity than fossil fuels, burning coal actually releases more radiation than a nuclear power plant does.

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/ ... ear-power/

Fossil fuels have a host of problems themselves. Thebyproducts from burning fossil fuels are toxic pollutants that produce ozone, toxic organic aerosols, particulate matter, and heavy metals. The World Health Organization has stated the urban air pollution, which is a mixture of all of the chemicals just described, causes 7 million deaths annually or about 1 in 8 of total deaths. Furthermore, coal power plants release more radioactive material per kWh into the environment in the form of coal ash than does waste from a nuclear power plant under standard shielding protocols. This means that, under normal operations, the radioactive waste problem associated with one of the most mainstream energy sources in use actually exceeds that from nuclear energy.

In fact, on a per kWh of energy produced basis, both the European Union and the Paul Scherrer Institute, the largest Swiss national research institute, found an interesting trend regarding the fatalities attributable to each energy source. Remarkably, nuclear power is the benchmark to beat, outranking coal, oil, gas, and even wind by a slight margin as the least deadly major energy resource in application (see Figure 3).

 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... ear-waste/

 

Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.
 
User avatar
Watsisname
Science Officer
Science Officer
Topic Author
Posts: 1976
Joined: 06 Sep 2016
Location: Bellingham, WA

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

19 Sep 2020 03:48

Good info and good sources. Nuclear is indeed cleaner and by sensible metrics less costly to the environment and human life than coal and most other methods of producing energy. It's just that if it goes wrong, it can go very wrong and the impacts are harder for the public to miss (also easier to overestimate because of over-inflated fears of radiation), whereas the impacts from fossil fuel burning are a much slower motion disaster. But nuclear is arguably only getting safer with time, with better designs and operation protocols, which may even dramatically reduce the radioactive waste problem. Coal plants can get some modest boosts to efficiency, but it's still a very dirty form of energy.
 
User avatar
midtskogen
World Builder
World Builder
Posts: 1042
Joined: 11 Dec 2016
Location: Oslo, Norway
Contact:

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

19 Sep 2020 06:28

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post the radioactive waste problem

That problem seems to me as a very manageable problem, one of the least worries.  The waste is contained, it takes up very little space, and we only need a safe place to store it.  The main issue is that it's toxic for a very long time, and the storage has to be maintained.  However, it's not a great engineering problem.

The main issues with nuclear power is cost and the risk of accidents.  The cost isn't really a blocker, proven by actual deployment.  The risk of accidents can't be reduced to zero, whatever the power source, but I think it's difficult to construct a realistic risk/return calculation which is not competitive.

From a somewhat cynical environment point of view in which any human activity is the big evil, nuclear power stands out as a clear winner.  Relatively little land area is required (even counting in the mining for fuel), and if there is a catastrophic disaster, a large area will be unusable for human presence and food production, and the area will be given back to nature.  Even an area contaminated with radioactivity should get higher biodiversity if abandoned by humans than something that humans changed to cropland, pasture or concrete.  Unfortunately and ironically, environmentalists must take a significant share of the blame for why we still rely so much on fossil fuel.  If nuclear power hadn't lost its momentum in the 80's, there would be no big CO2 scare today.

I think wind and solar power have their niches, like fossile fuel also will have even if we went 90+% nuclear, but the way this energy source is promoted because nuclear is taboo, is a disaster to nature.  It's happening in Norway now, huge areas of pristine nature turned into industrial parks, and considering that Norway went to near 100% renewable through hydro for electricity many decades ago, now increasingly neglected because the vastly more expensive and destructive wind power is the hottest talk amongst politicians, the stupidity is unfathomable.  My hopes for the future is that humankind will use less space on the planet, but the opposite is still the case, and even promoted by "green" causes.
NIL DIFFICILE VOLENTI
 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

19 Sep 2020 13:34

Thanks guys!  How do you feel about Thorium?  From what I have been reading it seems to have much less of the problems associated with Uranium?

Reading stuff like this makes me shake my head....people support hazardous behavior like this but still have this illogical fear of nuclear based on what happened decades ago?  This is happening right now.....

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... r-eternity
 
User avatar
Watsisname
Science Officer
Science Officer
Topic Author
Posts: 1976
Joined: 06 Sep 2016
Location: Bellingham, WA

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

19 Sep 2020 14:50

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Thanks guys!  How do you feel about Thorium?

I feel quite positive about it! This PBS Space Time episode has a great overview of the technology and what makes it so much safer, while also reducing the lifetime of radioactive waste that is generated.


There is also this video which does a good job explaining the advantages of Thorium. Yes, advantages, despite the title. Most of the talking points are about political roadblocks for implementing these designs in the US, which circle back to its actual strengths. It seems very similar to the initial hurdles facing the deployment of electric vehicles (well covered in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?)
 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

19 Sep 2020 15:49

Thanks, Wat.  It seems like new technologies always have to overcome initial resistance and fears but humankind eventually does the right thing and adopts them in the end.

It actually reminds me of a sad story I was reading about how the passenger pigeon went extinct, but in the end humanity did the right thing and adopted strong conservation policies because of that awful event.

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/may-ju ... nt-extinct

Intriguing part about that article for me was the genetics project underway to bring it "back" by the 2030s by sequencing its genome.

The story about how they were killed is horrendous.  I consider this a form of genocide and the people who did this should be punished just as harshly.  Too bad none are alive today.

Back then conservatives were actually conservationists too.

Contemporary environmentalism arrived too late to prevent the passenger pigeon’s demise. But the two phenomena share a historical connection. “The extinction was part of the motivation for the birth of modern 20th century conservation,” says Temple. In 1900, even before Martha’s death in the Cincinnati Zoo, Republican Congressman John F. Lacey of Iowa introduced the nation’s first wildlife-protection law, which banned the interstate shipping of unlawfully killed game. “The wild pigeon, formerly in flocks of millions, has entirely disappeared from the face of the earth,” Lacey said on the House floor. “We have given an awful exhibition of slaughter and destruction, which may serve as a warning to all mankind. Let us now give an example of wise conservation of what remains of the gifts of nature.” That year Congress passed the Lacey Act, followed by the tougher Weeks-McLean Act in 1913 and, five years later, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protected not just birds but also their eggs, nests, and feathers.
 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

20 Sep 2020 15:35

Since this is about sustainability too, I should mention I read a bunch of articles on Bloomberg today that talk about how it's great that people are switching from dairy to plant-based milk.  It's great for the dairy industry too, as milk costs a lot for them to produce and then has a limited storage life, so they've been switching to making more plant-based milk too.  Switching from animal farming to more of a plant-based diet is a win/win both for the environment and for our health.
 
User avatar
Salvo
Pioneer
Pioneer
Posts: 378
Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Location: Veneto, Italy
Contact:

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

25 Sep 2020 07:32

Yeah I agree. I drank almond milk for a while but the problem is that you need to put sugar in it or it tastes too much bitter.
Soy milk seems to be a good replacement, I never tried it though!
I don't know about cheese, if you could still use plant-based milk, but still you shouldn't completely replace dairy or the problem would just be the same but with opposite subjects!

For example, being vegan is good for the environment, but I think that a world where everyone is vegan would be unstainable. There should just be a good balance of it.
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.

CPU: Intel Core i7 4770 GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX 570 RAM: 8 GBs
 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

25 Sep 2020 09:51

Salvo wrote:
Yeah I agree. I drank almond milk for a while but the problem is that you need to put sugar in it or it tastes too much bitter.
Soy milk seems to be a good replacement, I never tried it though!
I don't know about cheese, if you could still use plant-based milk, but still you shouldn't completely replace dairy or the problem would just be the same but with opposite subjects!

For example, being vegan is good for the environment, but I think that a world where everyone is vegan would be unstainable. There should just be a good balance of it.

Yeah it's more of a replacement for milk, cheese and butter would still be dairy.  I limit my consumption of cheese and butter though since I have HBP.
 
Challenger
Observer
Observer
Posts: 4
Joined: 26 Oct 2020

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

26 Oct 2020 07:10

Salvo wrote:
Yeah I agree. I drank almond milk for a while but the problem is that you need to put sugar in it or it tastes too much bitter.
Soy milk seems to be a good replacement, I never tried it though!
I don't know about cheese, if you could still use plant-based milk, but still you shouldn't completely replace dairy or the problem would just be the same but with opposite subjects!

For example, being vegan is good for the environment, but I think that a world where everyone is vegan would be unstainable. There should just be a good balance of it.

There is a balance in the world. Since ancient times, man has been a predator. In nature, the same deer do not live long. By the age of 8, the deer becomes practically unviable, as its teeth wear off, it becomes skinny and is killed by wolves / coyotes and other predators. The same goes for cows. We breed them, get milk and meat. If we move away from raising cows in favor of plant foods, we will still deplete the earth's resources. Why? Because plants pull useful plants from the soil. If all people abruptly stop eating meat, hunger will come on Earth after a while, because the soil fertility will decrease, and this will lead to low yields. I am not saying that vegetarianism is bad. I am not saying that everyone is obliged to eat food of animal origin. There must be a balance in everything. It seems to me that humanity is obliged to take good care of natural resources, so as not to provoke mass cataclysms as a result of its activities (for example, mudflows due to deforestation).
 
A-L-E-X
Star Engineer
Star Engineer
Posts: 2186
Joined: 06 Mar 2017

Population Growth and Sustainable Development

26 Oct 2020 08:22

Yes a balance is needed.  I am just pointing out that the way it is done in America is unsustainable and unhealthy.  If the rest of the world consumed meat like America does we'd be out of fresh water within 20 years (also the rate of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and BMI would be much higher, mostly due to high consumption of processed food.)

I also favor free range and organic farming where nutrients aren't depleted and animals are treated humanely and antibiotics, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used sparingly.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest