If you believe wind turbines are happy magical devices that deliver free energy...

Just to be clear: I do believe wind, solar and other renewable energy sources are necessary and most countries still have potential to increase their share and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Just don't tell me 100% wind and power is possible.

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@kravietz what are you intending to say with these pictures?

@kravietz So there are a few days a year it might get too cold and they freeze up, or certain arctic regions they dont work... ok... your point? They are still fairly effective means of generating green energy, but they arent the whole of the solution.


Wind and solar are one of the least effective sources of energy available, both in terms of their capacity factor, material inputs and surface power density.

Regarding what I wanted to say through these pictures:

@kravietz I've done a lot of research on the numbers around these energy sources and none of that is remotely true other than surface power density which is a rather useless measure for most situations


Surface power density "useless"? Come one... If you need to occupy 250x larger area to obtain the same amount of energy I think it's very relevant, and practically makes it useless in high-density areas.

Capacity factor "not remotely true"? Come on... PV peaks 13% in UK, wind 40% for off-shore.

So you not only occupy larger space for the actual generation, but then need to double that for low CF, and then tripe for storage.

@kravietz but that's the basic problem, science in #renewableEnergy is concerned about (although in discussions it's mostly limited to classic energy storage and not other solutions like #PowerToX or even intelligent consumption control, sociological approaches...). So it's not like people working on renewable energy are not thinking about.


Yes, I've read studies of numerous 100% RE models with a simple assumption like "we just need to add 1 TWh of storage per year".

I absolutely don't mind the RE innovation as long as it doesn't turn into overzealous tribal war where low-carbon nuclear power plants are shut down... and replaced by fossil gas plants "because we need 24/7 electricity", as Germany and Belgium do all the time.

@kravietz i also don't mind if somebody would find a sufficient method of storing or taking care of the nuclear waste, it produces. ;)


You should really have done some actual research before using these decades-old Greenpeace cliches!

The reality of nuclear waste storage is simple and boringly safe:

1) it loses toxicity fast (down to 7% after 100 years)

2) it's produced in amounts so tiny that it can be stored in absolutely safe conditions

The photo below shows the whole 40 years of waste from the whole Swiss nuclear program:


@kravietz you heard of the federal German research program about nuclear storage, right?

Also, if you wan't to help me "getting up to date with the topic", why not poste some links to resources instead of posting a picture without context?

I'm honestly interested to change my mind if you can convince me by citing scientific sources i cannot find valid arguments against, or at least can name some trustworthy sources that present a different result.


That's absolutely not a problem as I have a massive library on that subject:

If you prefer YT then there is this video with a very strong scientific base about general radiation risks -- and their perception:

If you prefer reading, there's this series of articles:

@kravietz i'll have to take some time to look through that, as, on first glance, not everything is about nuclear waste. I think that's the point where our opinions differ.


If you're interested specifically in the topic of waste I can recommend this podcast

Also the Deadly Sins article deals specifically with the topic of waste too:

And this video from Orano processing plant in France:


If you prefer a book, then there's "Whole Earth Discipline" by Stewart Brand (2010)

@laufi @kravietz Uranium reactors are an offshoot of the nuclear weapons industry. They provide alternate fuel production pipelines that aren't subject to weapons treaties. This is why despotic regimes always have nuclear "power" programs based on that design.

They're inefficient, expensive, and dangerous precisely because they're primary purpose is *not* to provide cheap, clean, safe power.

The US military had 2 thorium salt test reactors in the late 40s or early 50s (can't recall the exact dates), but after years of research, they just couldn't find any way to get usable amounts of plutonium out of the decay chain, so they shuttered the whole program.

Don't blame nuclear power for the faults of nuclear weapons.

@anonymoose @laufi

> alternate fuel production pipelines

You can't make plutonium in a VVR reactor either 🤷‍♂️

Most notable example on the proliferation topic is Iran - but I did check its history and it comes out their nuclear *weapons* program was completely independent from nuclear *power* program, they were totally separated and existed without any dependencies on each other.

Israel is another example of country that has weapons, but no civilian reactors.

@anonymoose @laufi

> hey're primary purpose is *not* to provide cheap, clean, safe power

This is by all means true about RBMK reactors. There's maybe 10 RMBK reactors in the world and all of them in Russia.


Then we as society are already dealing with much more toxic waste produced by other industries... and we basically just deal with it safely thanks to modern science and engineering, no issues.


Where we are today, especially in the EU, is a completely ridiculous situation where a country practically run by people calling themselves "Greens" has one objective - to shut down all low-carbon nuclear power plants as soon as possible - and at the same time it's building new fossil gas pipeline, coal and gas power plants, because their 40% wind & power simply cannot deliver.

@kravietz i agree, that having german NPPs shut down, while france is running old, dangerous NPPs does not make sense from a conceptual point of view. But unfortunately Europe is not at the point where we agree on a common plan of action. But i have to say i am way more worrysome about nuclear power, since my current stance at this topic is, that we do not have a way of safely storing nuclear waste long term and it can pose great dangers when being weaponized or spilled.


Of course, it's your right to be more worried about a very unlikely possibility of spill from one of ~450 high-safety NPP running worldwide, than about the very likely and massively negative impact of climate change.

@kravietz I'm worried about climate change. I just argue that there is not just one way of solving the problem and i do not prefer a way that, in my opinion, creates another problem we have to deal with afterwards.

@kravietz i don't talk about the spill in NPPs, I'm talking about the spill in storage sites, like it has happened in Gorleben, Majak and other places.


Mayak is primarily plutonium processing facility, unrelated to civilian nuclear program, so it's unfair to link these two. After Chernobyl Russia had pretty good history in terms of nuclear industry safety even though it runs over 200 reactors.

Regarding Gorleben and 2017 Mayal leaks these have been too inflated beyond imagination - I mean the doses released in both were very small and had no biologic impact.


My point here is that due to improvement in detection and widespread monitoring network we are now able to detect trace amounts of isotopes, and any such case hits the news immediately with people scared to death about some kind of fall-out.

In reality, majority of the ionising radiation we receive during our life is natural and nuclear industry, including all past atom bombs exploded, nuclear accidents etc contribute <1% to that.

So the problem *is* massively inflated.

@kravietz @laufi Which country in Europe is run by the "Greens", really? Of course Greens aren't in favour of nuclear energy. But it's not their traditional position to be. The reason nuclear energy plants get shut down is that their traditional defenders - the conservative right - have lost faith as well. Nuclear power is *expensive*, at least when constructed using western wages and safety standards.

@michiel @laufi

> not their traditional position to be

You're partially right here - there are numerous people who identified themselves with green movements, like Stewart Brand or Zion Lights or a number of Greenpeace founders, who were pro-nuclear or became pro-nuclear over time. There are groups in the UK like Greens4Nuclear.

@michiel @laufi

Majority of the "environmental" activism organisations sadly joined an anti-scientific movement initiated primarily by Jeremy Rifkin ages ago, probably because it sold better.

This is why you have Greenpeace hiring Seralini for GMO reports and Greenpeace Energy in Germany selling fossil gas and preferring it over nuclear against all available scientific evidence, including IPCC 🤷‍♂️

I'm sorry, but this statement is as unscientific as you claim activists to be. Instead of disproving the precise claims of these people you accuse them of being related to a movement (which you did not prove btw). Even if it is like you say, this does not mean their claims are wrong (logical fallacy of guilt by association).

Aside from that: By directly providing sources for your claims in context, you can make a focused discussion easier.

@kravietz @michiel
And I have to add, that using Greenpeace, a strongly hierarchical organization, as a representative example for calling all activists that do not agree with nuclear power unscientific is a bit of a small sample for the whole movement. There are bigger organizations like e.g. Friends of the Earth who call a lot of well recognized scientists their members and have high scientific standards (with the exception of a few wavies that had to be cast out).

@laufi @michiel

All of their arguments come down to a number of false claims:

* we can't deal safely with nuclear waste
* nuclear accidents kill thousands of people
* nuclear power is very expensive
* nuclear power has very high greenhouse gas intensity

All of these are easily falsified by data. When confronted with data they usually simply ignore it 🤷 Or simply pretend it's not there - for example, find nuclear CO2 emissions on the infographic below:

But none of the claims you're talking about are visible in this infographic. You might be angry at their social media team for not including nuclear power, but that's a whole different topic. So let's start easy with the topic we disagree on: do you think there is a safe place to store highly radioactive nuclear waste? If yes, where do you think, this place is?

@laufi @michiel

And if you read the lead, you will notice that even Germany right now runs *two* deep geologic repositories.

Fortunately, they only store extremely toxic arsenic, mercury and cyanide waste which doesn't lose toxicity over time, so it's fine.

One of those listed is Gorleben. Did you hear of the incident with this storage site?

@laufi @michiel

Yes, I did. One of the flagship "nuclear disasters" in Germany.

So would you still consider this kind of storage safe? The incident is one of the reasons Germany started a program on finding long term storage in Germany, as the storage deemed safe turned out to be geologically unstable and the containers were damaged by leaks of water.
The government is of the opinion that a place for long term storage is still missing:
Unfortunately I only have the German website here, i'll take a look for an English version.

@laufi @michiel

Are you suggesting that because Germany is unable to find *any* safe site for radioactive waste it's going to cancel all X-ray and radiation therapy for cancer in future as well? Because this was the waste that was kept in Gorleben and leaked.

I am suggesting that we have no place to store nuclear waste safely for long term (as Gorleben and the research motivation of BGE for finding one show) and therefore should not create more than necessary.

@laufi @michiel

1) Forget "nuclear". Industry produces thousands of tons of toxic waste, which needs to be stored. So you need storage anyway and a single nuclear power plant produces around 30 tons per year, a tiny fraction.

2) Nobody says you need a storage in Germany - that was the whole point of EU, wasn't it? Send it to France, Finland or Russia for storage.

Germany has no problem with outsourcing fossil gas extraction to Russia an after all.

Yes, we have a problem with that! Just because our government acts differently does not mean, we agree. The thing about outsourcing resource extraction is, that states are interested in doing extraction for money. Taking others waste is a bit less attractive, unless you pay a lot.

The other problem: who guarantees that they will have equal or better safety precautions? I agree this should ideally be done globally.

Politics unfortunately are complex and unreasonable.

@laufi @michiel

It's not politicians, it's us. People generally want everyone to be vaccinated... but guess what happens to a politician who proposes that local vaccination is slowed down to share some of the doses with a less privileged country?

As nobody does it, we can't really tell. Most of the people think way worse about others than about themselves. But people are usually pretty decent. So it's not like I can force governments to work together on waste storage and I also can not do it myself. All I can do is vote, discuss and annoy people. And maybe advocate solutions.

@laufi @michiel

I'm however intrigued why did you raise the topic of Gorleben? 🤔

@laufi @michiel

So as you can see, any news mentioning the topic of "radioactive waste" needs to be treated with extreme caution.

First, people don't understand that nuclear plants are not the only source of waste. Medicine and industry produce them just as well.

Not to mention coal mining, oil and gas mining, rare earth metals mining - basically anything you extract from the ground and concentrate usually contains uranium, radium, europium etc.

@laufi @michiel

There's also other highly toxic waste, just as this chemical waste kept in K+S mines. It way more dangerous than even high-level nuclear waste.

Why there are no protests, no alarming articles?

There are. Friends of the earth Germany has been suing K+S for contamination (allthough this is usually about less dangerous chemicals). Again I unfortunately only have German sources here:

@laufi @michiel

The reason there are no protests is because the waste, be it chemical or nuclear, are generally safe there for millions of years.

Even if there are leaks (as in Asse), they happen at depths of hundreds of meters underground (950 m in case of Asse), the amount of leaks is tiny and it never reaches surface.

And again, this applies equally to chemical and nuclear waste, with the exception that the latter loses toxicity over time.

I'm not against taking the storing problems of toxic chemicals seriously. But that does not mean I'm automatically not caring about the storage of other dangerous materials.

@laufi @michiel

Careless storage is bad and this is precisely why we have the whole state supervision.

However, toxic waste is byproduct of any industrial process.

Want to manufacture PV panels, plastic windows, insulation foam and a billion of other advanced goods?

They all release toxic waste that has to be dealt with.

The only alternative is to outsource their production to less economically privileged countries where waste will be simply buried or dumped into rivers.

I'll ask a friend to provide resources about that but I had the opportunity to attend a lecture on improvements for recyclable PV. Did not understand most of the details, as I'm no chemist/environmental engineer.

@laufi @michiel

The problem with these debates is that it's presented as an opposition of "clean wind and solar" versus "dirty coal and nuclear" (fossil gas is somehow forgotten thanks to PR efforts of Gazprom, see below).

Nothing in advanced engineering is clean.

PV, wind, coal and nuclear all require thousands of tons of steel, alloys and rare earth metals. All mining releases toxic waste, including radioactive - especially rare earths, which are often co-mined with uranium.

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