Monday, January 21, 2008

History Lesson

Disclaimer: This will be the third post in where I slam a democratic, this is not intentional. To be short: its just more fun watching the Dems debate this time around. It's pack FULL of fireworks (especially lately). Plus...I'm sorry, they just make it to damn easy.

No matter how many times I hear the democratic parties talk about the future of power I still cannot get used to hearing them repeatedly slam Nuclear power, over and over and over and over. I get the feeling that the only reason they slam it sooo hard is that they believe the American public at large is just to stupid to differentiate between Nuclear Power and Nuclear Bomb. I fully believe that if someone brought a power plan to Hilliary, Edwards or Obama and replace a few key words such as:
Instead of
1. Nuclear = Solar combustion or Flux capacitor
2.Reactor = Water Power Plant
3.Fuel Rods = Solid Combustibles
4. Waste = By Product

And leave every thing else the exact same these morons would think that its the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not only would they embrace it, the would fully support and tout this new found efficient , LIMITLESS, energy. It's absurd!

History Lesson:
Why is American politics so polarized on this one issue? I can only speculate.
I think they ever single person who is against Nuclear Power (besides the fossil fuel bastards) because of one or two incidents involving the Nuclear Power Plants: Chernobyl & Three Mile Island. Lets look at these two incidents a little closer.

I will not go into the all the tedious details of why Chernobyl happened. The entire account is available to anyone via wikipedia. Chernobyl happened because of human stupidity. The Russians wanted to know what would happen if turned WATER coolers OFF!! They purposefully conducted a test, which should and could have been aborted MANY, Many, Many times to find out just "what would happened" if the main water coolers were suddenly turned off in the middle of operation. Not only did they turn off the water coolers, and because of how bad they botched this experiment, in the process they also turned off allot of the back-ups and fail safes. Upon reading the actually accounting of what happened in Chernobyl it reads as if they WANTED the damn thing to go critical. After reading the the Russians put that damn reactor through in before it went critical only reaffirms to me, how safe Nuke power can actually be. Its also good to note that the Chernobyl operators who were not Trained or were very experienced violated plant procedure where was the ultimate cause of the disaster.

Three Mile Island (TMI):
Before I talk about three mile island, I have to give everyone a Nuclear Reactor 101 lesson. All American Reactors are what we call "Built to fail." Meaning, if everyone on a power plant was to up and walk out, the reactor would Fail, meaning turn off, on its own accord. We have to constantly give fuel to a Nuclear Reactor in for it to continue running.
Now, I will preface talking about TMI by saying this, even with a half a core meltdown the reactor vessel maintained integrity and contained the damaged fuel. Also, the incident happened over a 16 hours period. TMI shows what happens when equipment is not properly maintained and certain design flaws, which have been corrected, are not completely understood. TMI happened, essentially, because of lack of knowledge available to the operators, a very key pressure valve never closed and the back up water pump valves were closed after a round of maintenance. The operators invloved also thought they "knew" what to do in order to FIX the system. Instead of letting the system fail, like it was suppose to, they decided to keep it running and try to fix it. Boy and Girls, as safe as Nuclear Power is, if something happens let the god damn thing shut it self off. After is off find the issue, fix it and then turn it back on. Even if people have to go with out power for a little while (the company can always buy more power for their grid) I'm not go overly in-depth about TMI except to say that yet again human ignorance and break in procedure was yet again the reason for an incident.

Also, an interesting tid-bit of information. Most of you may not know this, all power plants bid for hours per Kilowatt on the power grid. Because Nuclear power is so much cheaper and far more efficient that some coal plant, a common practice for coal plants is to buy a good portion of their power from Nuke Plants (when their close enough) and use that energy for their market. So even if you live close to a fossil fuel plant, its very possible that some of your energy comes from a Nuclear Power Plant.

/I apologize of any grammar typos that I may have, and probably did, miss but its late and I want to goto bed.

1 comment:

Houston said...

I agree with you(again). Like the MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, was originally nuclear magnetic resonance(NMR). Of course it had to be changed because people are afraid of the word nuclear. Notice that you never hear scientists banning together to prevent nuclear power usage, in fact they support it. The opposition always seems to be made up of actors, musicians, politicians, and (Fill the blank here) other hippie group. Nuclear enery is clean and very safe, but everyone always brings up TMI, Chernobyl, and terrorists. What they fail to see is that coal miners die all the time, the other power plant issues(one blew up in Houston the year I lived there), etc... You can take all of the nuclear waste from all time and it takes less than a football field. Also, we are looking at new ways of using particle accelerators like Fermilab to cause more reactions which will create even more energy we can use AND knock the half-life of the material down to less than 100 years. Not too shabby if you ask me. Anyway, I can go on and on about this subject because I feel very passionate about it, study it(Physics major), and think it is the next step in human technological expansion. Heck, the ion drive that is powering the New Horizons probe to Pluto uses nuclear power.