Monday, December 3, 2012

Nuclear Energy Debate Pros And Cons

If you read my blog much you already know that I am not a big fan of nukes, either bombs or nuclear energy. I grew up right next to where they started up a nuclear power plant. I attended the last biology class that had a field trip near the nuclear power plant before they fired up the plant.

The area had a lot of sea life that was unique in all the world. Much of it was only found within a few miles of the nuclear plant. All of the rare sea life is gone now.

Recently I spoke to a man who had a lot of scientific education and who had used some of this in his work careers. He insisted that nuclear power is now safe and that it is the salvation of the human race from the effects of climate change.

I know a lot more about science than the average person, but that isn't necessarily saying much. :-) I am not exactly a rocket scientist. It is possible for me to understand concepts of nuclear physics if the math is left out, however. The nuke fan man razzle dazzled me with physics talk and rattled my convictions that nukes are bad for the survival of the human race. That encouraged me to check out what he had to say. 

I have already given my readers links to TED talks. This is an organization of people who wish to collaborate to help out the progress of the human race by various means. It is just mind candy if you like to learn good new stuff. They tend to stay right out there on the cutting edge of things, too.

Since I first began looking at TED talks, that is where I like to begin learning about things that are new to me or harder for me to understand. That includes physics. Naturally, that is where I went to find out whether nuke fan man was BSing me or not. I don't just take the TED talks as gospel, but they can be a good place to start.

They have this nifty debate that is about the pros and cons of nuclear energy. I found it especially edifying and I expect readers will as well.

Here is the link to this debate:

The guy in the debate who is against nuclear energy is the director of a facility in the UK that does research on nuclear fusion. That is entirely different than the nuclear energy that we are used to.

Nuclear fusion is still a dream for the future. It is the exact opposite process than the nuclear energy that we are used to. Instead of getting energy from breaking apart atoms like current nuclear power plants, or fission, fusion puts atoms together to get nuclear power. 

Nuclear fission, the nuclear power we use now, is very dirty. It makes lots of radioactive waste that can kill people for thousands of years after it makes power for a few years.

Nuclear fusion is not dirty and does not make a lot of waste. The problem with fusion is that people do not know how to do it yet. They don't think we will know enough about it to use it until 2030.

If you watched the debate video, you will notice that the audience was not in agreement about the results. There were a lot more people who changed their minds against nuclear energy after the debate. I believe that means the against side won because of better arguments.

Knowing the guy who was against nuclear power is a rocket scientist, who is working on fusion power, is an extra plus in my mind for the side against nuclear power. I still dislike nuclear power (fission) and think it is harmful to all of us.

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