Go Back   Bloggingheads Community > Diavlog comments
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Notices

Diavlog comments Post comments about particular diavlogs here.
(Users cannot create new threads.)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-01-2010, 06:28 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
BhTV staff
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,936
Default Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-01-2010, 08:39 AM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Thanks for bringing Science back to "Science Saturday"!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:53 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkepticDoc View Post
Thanks for bringing Science back to "Science Saturday"!
Yes! And I would say Science and Engineering!

Extremely informative diavlog. John seems to be abandoning his anxieties about nuclear power. There's nothing like reality checks.

Rod did a wonderful job of explaining the ins and outs of nuclear power, use of fission fuels and the business pressures towards and away from this form of energy source.

As a devil's advocate, of course, one would like to hear the counter arguments, from a technical perspective. Is the information accurate? How much of it is a matter of opinion and not facts?

The issue of "blind", "religious" (almost) type environmentalism was well laid out and debunked. It is true that general principles don't always work well, and the environmental movement may have to revise its position on the use of nuclear power.

Looking forward to more comments.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:59 AM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

The real question is: what is the safety record of Nuclear Engineering in France?

Why don't we adopt their approach?

Will rationality take a subordinate role to the "Freedom Fries" mentality?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:10 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkepticDoc View Post
The real question is: what is the safety record of Nuclear Engineering in France?
That shouldn't be so difficult to find out.

Quote:
Why don't we adopt their approach?
According to Rod, it seems that having lawyers making these kinds of political decisions isn't a good idea.

Quote:
Will rationality take a subordinate role to the "Freedom Fries" mentality?
Same as above. Parlez-vous français?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:16 AM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

"un petit peur"
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:17 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkepticDoc View Post
"un petite peur"

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:25 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,077
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Thanks for the Diavlog, very informative. For once, more light than heat.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:47 AM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 210
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Excellent diavlog!

One point of disagreement: although that's a very cool video of the F-4 strike against a containment wall, I don't think it compares at all with the strikes against the twin towers. Here's a composite image of the strike points, and you can clearly see that both aircraft basically vaporized, just as the fighter did.



The towers withstood the impacts, just as they were designed to do. They came down because the extreme heat from the burning jet fuel weakened the cantilever floor supports (the floors were "hung" off the hardened central core - the external walls were non-load-bearing). When one floor gave way, it caused the "pancaking" that destroyed each building.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that a jumbo jet strike would destroy a nuclear facility, only that the F-4 crash does not provide any real assurance that it wouldn't.

Last edited by StillmanThomas; 05-01-2010 at 11:55 AM.. Reason: Clarity
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:47 AM
claz claz is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

this is more like it.I really enjoyed this week.John does great interviews and Rod was fantastic.Straight talking,very informative.Lets face it last week was a load of old ballony haha.More engineers ,less ballony.

Question for Mr Horgan.
When are we gonna see the Louisa Gilder talk on the Stevens Website?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:09 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post

The towers withstood the impacts, just as they were designed to do. They came down because the extreme heat from the burning jet fuel weakened the cantilever floor supports (the floors were "hung" off the hardened central core - the external walls were non-load-bearing). When one floor gave way, it caused the "pancaking" that destroyed each building.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that a jumbo jet strike would destroy a nuclear facility, only that the F-4 crash does not provide any real assurance that it wouldn't.
Knowing nothing about engineering, I still can see your argument, that in order to have some assurance of safety, multiple possibilities have to be tested. On the other hand, if I understood your argument above, it seems that the kind of architectural/ engineering failure that took place in the towers, would be more likely in very tall buildings which are not built to resist external impacts.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:15 PM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,077
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
Excellent diavlog!

One point of disagreement: although that's a very cool video of the F-4 strike against a containment wall, I don't think it compares at all with the strikes against the twin towers. Here's a composite image of the strike points, and you can clearly see that both aircraft basically vaporized, just as the fighter did.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that a jumbo jet strike would destroy a nuclear facility, only that the F-4 crash does not provide any real assurance that it wouldn't.
I don't understand your point. The test does provides excellent assurance that plane crash would not destroy a nuclear plant. I ASSUME your point is that a 747 being a little bigger and with more jet fuel could do more damage. However, there is no reason to believe more jet fuel would destroy the concrete or penetrate it. Nor is there any reason to believe having a slightly bigger plane would make a difference.

I'd also factor in the difficulty of hitting a relativity small, much shorter NP plant vs. the twin towers.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:33 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 210
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
. . . if I understood your argument above, it seems that the kind of architectural/ engineering failure that took place in the towers, would be more likely in very tall buildings which are not built to resist external impacts.
On the contrary, the towers were built to withstand impacts. They were not built to withstand extreme heat, and that's what brought them down.

I know nothing about nuclear plants. I'm only saying that an impact test is not enough. Intense heat can cause systems to fail in ways that were not planned for. But of course, nuclear engineers may do all sorts of heat stress testing. I'm not saying that nuclear plants are not safe. I'm only saying that being safe from impacts is not enough.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:35 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 210
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
. . . there is no reason to believe more jet fuel would destroy the concrete or penetrate it.
Again, it's wasn't the concrete in the towers that failed, it was the steel. I don't know how nuclear plants are constructed and, obviously, they may be very well designed against intense heat. The F-4 crash was an impact test only. It says little or nothing about heat vulnerabilities.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:40 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
On the contrary, the towers were built to withstand impacts. They were not built to withstand extreme heat, and that's what brought them down.

I know nothing about nuclear plants. I'm only saying that an impact test is not enough. Intense heat can cause systems to fail in ways that were not planned for. But of course, nuclear engineers may do all sorts of heat stress testing. I'm not saying that nuclear plants are not safe. I'm only saying that being safe from impacts is not enough.

OK, thanks for the clarification. I agree with the need to look into other possible natural or human made risks for safety. I would imagine that the containment areas are built to withstand heat, at least from inside. I don't know what they do in terms of making the control rooms safe from the outside. I hope we'll get some more feedback on these questions.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-01-2010, 12:43 PM
frontier_sally frontier_sally is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 34
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Great diavlog/interview - very factual and informative. Enjoyed it!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:03 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

I get the impression that there is as much "Nuclear Hysteria" as "Vaccine Autism Fear", we need to be rational and look at the factual evidence.

As an sovereign nation we should work hard at being energy independent, trade with other nations should result if a fair exchange of goods/values.

Our dependence on oil just makes the Saudis wealthy, provides funding to the Islamic fanatics that constitute Wahhabism and will eventually destroy our way of life, either by direct attacks or changing our society because we fear a direct terrorist attack, either way "they" win. If it is not Saudi oil, it will be Venezuela's and Hugo Chavez's cronies.

We need a rational, scientific approach to provide our society with the energy we need to enjoy our modern life. The Republicans have so far succeeded in their "War on Science" and rationality. We could have implemented irradiation of beef to reduce bacterial infection but ignorance prevented its application.

Some independent journalists talk about the "End of Oil", we may be battling the Chinese for other countries natural resources, we need science and engineering education in the USA for US citizens to develop our own resources, many of our universities are training foreign students that will then apply their knowledge in their native countries to make us further dependent on them.

The same philosophy that guided us in the "Space Race" should lead us into the "Energy Revolution", nuclear, solar, harvesting cellulose into ethanol, finding processes that will be carbon neutral or even reduce atmospheric CO2.

Thanks for reading...
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:04 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

This diavlog reminded me of a movie that I liked very much. I usually don't like this kind of movie, but I thought this one was very well done. And it also featured two favorite actors, and an excellent director.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:10 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

You reminded me here about the point that Rod made regarding wars in the last century being significantly driven by the lack of, or threat to, energy sources. His argument that increased access to nuclear power by multiple nations would actually decrease the likelihood of wars and not increase the potential use of nuclear warfare, was very well made.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:13 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: added

John,

I hope you can have a restful sleep now.

O.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:14 PM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,077
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
Again, it's wasn't the concrete in the towers that failed, it was the steel. I don't know how nuclear plants are constructed and, obviously, they may be very well designed against intense heat. The F-4 crash was an impact test only. It says little or nothing about heat vulnerabilities.
Why bring the Twin Towers into this? We're talking about a 100 story sky-scraper built of glass and steel vs. NP plants that are made of concrete and steel. The main safety concerns are different: building collapse vs. escaping radiation and terrorism.

The TT wasn't built to keep things out (like Jet Fuel) or things in (like Radiation). The TT steel frame collapsed due to fire, which in turn was caused by thousands of gallons of Jet fuel getting inside the building - made possible since the outside is made of glass. Since NP are made of concrete and would keep out the Jet Fuel - the point is what?

Anyway, I agree seeing one F-4 crash isn't the whole story.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:25 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 210
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
Why bring the Twin Towers into this?
John Horgan brought the Twin Towers into this right here. I just don't think the F-4 crash shows as much as is claimed for it, since little or no jet fuel is involved, and there appeared to be no inferno after the impact.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:28 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

We all suffer from a little bit of collective amnesia, nuclear research initially was a WAR AND DEATH project, energy generation and biomedical research applications were secondary projects.

We need to have a fresh look at applied nuclear science for human progress, not destruction:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/348/
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:35 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default A couple of links

Rod mentioned the blog Depleted Cranium. (Great name!)

He also mentioned the program of using purchased Russian nuclear weapon material to make electricity here in the US. Excerpt and link to a NYT article elsewhere on this site.

Thanks very much to Bh.tv, John, and Rod for a solid Science Saturday. I agree with Ocean: it would be wonderful to hear Rod come back to discuss his views with someone who has his technical chops but not his enthusiasm for nuclear power. I'm not knee-jerk anti-nuke by any means, but I would like to hear some skepticism -- this diavlog was at times only one step away from "too cheap to meter." Nothing against Rod for being gung-ho, and I don't think he misrepresented anything, but still: nothing is ever as good or as easy as it sounds when a proponent is the only informed voice in the room.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-01-2010, 02:13 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newbridge, NJ
Posts: 2,673
Default Re: A couple of links

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Rod mentioned the blog Depleted Cranium. (Great name!)

He also mentioned the program of using purchased Russian nuclear weapon material to make electricity here in the US. Excerpt and link to a NYT article elsewhere on this site.

Thanks very much to Bh.tv, John, and Rod for a solid Science Saturday. I agree with Ocean: it would be wonderful to hear Rod come back to discuss his views with someone who has his technical chops but not his enthusiasm for nuclear power. I'm not knee-jerk anti-nuke by any means, but I would like to hear some skepticism -- this diavlog was at times only one step away from "too cheap to meter." Nothing against Rod for being gung-ho, and I don't think he misrepresented anything, but still: nothing is ever as good or as easy as it sounds when a proponent is the only informed voice in the room.
There have always been pro-nuclear environmentalists (for example, me since the 1980s), especially so in light of AGW. But people shouldn't kid themselves, nuclear is really hard. France seems to do alright with it. The US not so much. From what I've read Japan has had plenty of problems.

An old dsquared post comes to mind:

Quote:
In my experience, nuclear advocates don't half talk an awful lot of bullshit. Not very many of them are actual liars (unless the context is a leak they are trying to cover up), but there are an awful lot of Walter Mitty characters and chancers in the field. I think that this is a constitutional problem for nukemen, mainly because the lack of power plant building in the UK over the last twenty years means that almost all of their knowledge of nuclear reactors is theoretical (or at best, based on presentations of other people's nuclear reactors) rather than hands-on practical with their own kit. In general, all the problems of nuclear reactors have been solved, in principle. The problem comes when you have to put them into practice, because most nuclear engineering solutions rely on being able to make very big things, machined to incredibly fine tolerances.

(Somewhere in North Wales, there used to be what amounted to a big lead-lined swimming pool, which had a teeny tiny hairline crack which was only noticed when something very nasty indeed began to leak out of it. It is powerfully difficult to weld these things once they are in place, so the main safety response to this problem was 1) a fence, which was moved back a couple of feet every year, and 2) a small laboratory that as far as I know, may still to this day be working hard on the problem of designing a robot that can carry out precision welding in very hostile conditions. While we're on the subject of fun nuke anecdotes, did you know that there are farms in Caernarvonshire that still aren't allowed to sell their lambs, because the Geiger counter still goes click a bit too often?).

Big things are expensive, and fine tolerances are expensive. Nukemen have a really bad habit of forgetting this fact. This is why, in general, nuclear projects tend to go over budget in such an extravagant, life-affirming, joyous kind of way. Also, partly because of the ill-informed criticism that they often get from well-meaning crusties, nukemen are constitutionally inclined to always minimise the dangers of radioactive waste. This habit of mind tends to feed off the first one, in a kind of chain reaction; because they are trying to tell the public that most of the waste from a nuclear plant is basically less radioactive than Cornwall, they find it difficult to admit to themselves or the budget committee that you need to spend millions and millions of pounds on building a special facility to deal with the teaspoonful or two of high-grade waste, which tends to fall into the category "Very Very Very Not Safe".
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 05-01-2010, 02:18 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: A couple of links

Trying to be "fair and balanced":

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...9_nukes19.html

http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/...nob/rep02.html

Last edited by SkepticDoc; 05-01-2010 at 02:21 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 05-01-2010, 02:32 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Heartland Conservative
Posts: 4,933
Default Great conversation

This was just an awesome conversation. Thanks, John, for following up on last week's very interesting exchange with George. You guys raised a lot of interesting points last week, and it was nice to hear them fleshed out in detail this week. And thanks to Rod for sharing with us his invaluable insights.

Note to conservatives: This is what epistemic closure isn't. The hallmark of the intellectual is the ability to refine assumptions and evaluate new evidence. Watch and learn.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 05-01-2010, 02:34 PM
metacodger metacodger is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NY Metro
Posts: 26
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Wow, this diavlog and some of the comments reached me in so many ways, it's hard to know where to begin. I served in nuclear submarines for 6 years (2 in training, 4 at sea), though I was in Sonar and not nuclear trained.

Like John, I had many of the same concerns he's previously expressed about civilian nuclear power, but reading of reported advances over the years, mostly in Scientific American, which has become quite good at explaining these technologies, have eased my concern somewhat.

Rod is such a skilled advocate that I'm just about at the point where I support it. His points about using decommissioned weapons for fuel and the scalability of various fission solutions were especially powerful, IMO. His comment about being offended by the Simpsons reminded me of some folks I served with whose values, humor, and worldview were in some ways quite different from mine, but who I liked and respected.

Here's a useful link for anyone interested in learning more about reactor technology. This particular process has the fascinating added feature of producing Hydrogen. Only basic science is required to understand it:

http://www.physorg.com/news8956.html

Just a side note about describing the twin towers as an engineering failure. I was network engineering consultant for Lehman Brothers working on the 37th floor of the north tower WTC when the first plane hit. It took us about 40 minutes to get out, and my personal view is that the engineers and architects of that building saved my life.

Last edited by metacodger; 05-01-2010 at 02:41 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:16 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

That was wonderful! Never heard anything like it.

Last edited by BornAgainDemocrat; 05-01-2010 at 03:20 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:19 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 210
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by metacodger View Post
Just a side note about describing the twin towers as an engineering failure. I was network engineering consultant for Lehman Brothers working on the 37th floor of the north tower WTC when the first plane hit. It took us about 40 minutes to get out, and my personal view is that the engineers and architects of that building saved my life.
That's an amazing story, Meta. I completely agree that the excellent engineering in those buildings saved many, many lives. I wouldn't dream of calling the Twin Towers an engineering failure. They were a system that was overstressed and ultimately failed (after giving many people time to escape). At some stress level, all systems will fail.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:43 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: A couple of links

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I'm not knee-jerk anti-nuke by any means, but I would like to hear some skepticism -- this diavlog was at times only one step away from "too cheap to meter." Nothing against Rod for being gung-ho, and I don't think he misrepresented anything, but still: nothing is ever as good or as easy as it sounds when a proponent is the only informed voice in the room.
I've been on Rod's side of the argument for many years. But that doesn't mean I disagree with your plea. The public needs to hear more debate on this issue (with knowledgeable people on both sides).
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:59 PM
metacodger metacodger is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NY Metro
Posts: 26
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
They were a system that was overstressed and ultimately failed (after giving many people time to escape). At some stress level, all systems will fail.
Thanks for that engineering insight, and for your comments in later threads pointing out that the problem was heat and not impact. Absolutely right, and a good lead into the suggestions from Ocean and BJKeefe for a follow up on this topic with an expert critic of nuclear power.

I think a good subtopic is Reliability Engineering.

This goes to the heart of safety concerns, though it's a challenge communicating it for a broad audience. It can be a bit complicated in my own field, and I think many times more complex in nuclear power, but if we can get someone as lucid as Rod on the other side, I bet the conversation would be a huge success.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 05-01-2010, 07:18 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,606
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

When I first saw the image I thought he was talking to John Stossel.


(admit it, I am not the only one)
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 05-01-2010, 09:20 PM
consider consider is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 57
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Rob Adams doesn't understand energy and war.

He begins with "You can write the history of world conflicts over the last one hundred years as a battle over the lack of resources." Ridiculous, and Horgan nodded his head...

World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, smaller Middle East wars, several civil wars... had nothing to do with "a battle over resources"

Adams mentions Japan. The Japanese did have access to oil the entire time but struck out in large part to miscaluculating their perception of access (deals with the Dutch), and the U.S oil embargo was only implemented after Japan had gone into Indochina. The attack on Pearl Harbor was planned way before the oil embargo went into effect (days before the attack) as well.

Of course, this example is also from 70 years ago, and modern energy markets makes conflict over oil, gas, etc almost impossible.

"Write the history of world conflicts..." Horgan was asleep for this respose.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 05-01-2010, 09:54 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newbridge, NJ
Posts: 2,673
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by consider View Post
Rob Adams doesn't understand energy and war.

He begins with "You can write the history of world conflicts over the last one hundred years as a battle over the lack of resources." Ridiculous, and Horgan nodded his head...

World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, smaller Middle East wars, several civil wars... had nothing to do with "a battle over resources"

Adams mentions Japan. The Japanese did have access to oil the entire time but struck out in large part to miscaluculating their perception of access (deals with the Dutch), and the U.S oil embargo was only implemented after Japan had gone into Indochina. The attack on Pearl Harbor was planned way before the oil embargo went into effect (days before the attack) as well.

Of course, this example is also from 70 years ago, and modern energy markets makes conflict over oil, gas, etc almost impossible.

"Write the history of world conflicts..." Horgan was asleep for this respose.
Well, sure, war is really about insane militaristic fantasies, but resources are pretty important too. I think WW2 in particular was very much about oil. Germany invaded Romania (still had some back then) and the USSR for oil, and they just missed discovering the oilfields in the Caucuses. At the end of the war Germany ran out of oil. Tanks were stranded just miles from battlefields for the lack of oil. Japan was almost completely dependent on US oil before the war so they stockpiled one or two years' worth of oil.

(What I know about this all comes from this excellent out-of-print book. This paper looks good though.)
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:43 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
I get the impression that there is as much "Nuclear Hysteria" as "Vaccine Autism Fear", we need to be rational and look at the factual evidence.
I wouldn't go as far as to make that comparison. There is no evidence for vaccine/autism link, but there have been a lot of deaths associated with exposure to nuclear radiation and weapons. People are still dying from the effects of the 1945 nuclear bombing of Japan.

Adams made an excellent case for the peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy, but I am still in the undecided column.

If you listen to Adams, all the fear about weaponization (Saddam, Ahmadinejad) is overblown. Why worry? I missed a few minutes, but I didn't hear him address concerns about supposed peaceful purposes turning lethal and nukes proliferating as a result.

Also, I don't agree that the nuclear weapons genie can never go "back in the bottle," as he said. Obama doesn't agree either, and neither do the member nations of the UN, if they are to be taken at their word. There is no reason, in principle, why we can't reach zero nukes, just as we can reach zero smallpox and anthrax weaponization.

Good, safe nuclear energy with no waste site problems, no grave Chernobyl-type risks? I'd love to see it and will support it when I'm convinced it's for real.

One big problem is that the experts in each energy field always make safety promises they can't keep (see today's front page story on the oil spill in the NYT). What "can never happen" often does. A friend of mine who's a geologist and works in the oil fields of SoCal told me what happened in the gulf was a freak coincidence of lots of FAILS. Just like the stock market crash. It's always the perfect storm.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:57 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Argleton
Posts: 1,168
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

The atomic bombs were deliberate actions to kill people through radiation and the massive release of energy from a thermonuclear reaction. Patients have suffered and even died from accidental radiation overexposure, these cases are not equivalent.

Let's see an accurate tally of all the unintended deaths and morbidity from oil/gas/coal vs. civilian nuclear power reactors.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campai...ing-and-energy

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/nuclear

http://www.n-base.org.uk/public/repo...accidents.html

http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear...tion_accidents

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lear_accidents

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lear_accidents

Last edited by SkepticDoc; 05-01-2010 at 11:04 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 05-02-2010, 12:04 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,606
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
...
Good, safe nuclear energy with no waste site problems, no grave Chernobyl-type risks? I'd love to see it and will support it when I'm convinced it's for real.

One big problem is that the experts in each energy field always make safety promises they can't keep (see today's front page story on the oil spill in the NYT). What "can never happen" often does. A friend of mine who's a geologist and works in the oil fields of SoCal told me what happened in the gulf was a freak coincidence of lots of FAILS. Just like the stock market crash. It's always the perfect storm.
If the demand for going forward with virtually anything is zero risk, then we will never go forward with anything. I am among the more risk prone out there in certain areas, the chernobyl type accidents are useful lessons of how not to design a reactor, not an indication we ought never have gone down that path in the first place. Same as plane accidents, or oil spills.

Chernobly literally will not happen again because no one would design a reactor in that manner again, precisely because of the incident. So rest easy, or don't. Be indifferent when the people with no depth of understanding exaggerate the dangers of nuclear and prevent its increased use, and therefore limit baseload power generation to dirty, filthy sources of energy, and increase emissions because of their ignorance.

There is one thing the pro nuclear energy side has always had in its favor. They are right. They have the stronger argument, it just has to be made. So thank you John for bringing Rod on to make the better case.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 05-02-2010, 12:08 AM
cragger cragger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 632
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Fighting over resources was indeed a major feature of the last century, just as it was in times before that. Japan is a small nation highly dependant on outside resources. They were after access to, and control over, more than just oil. Germany was probably after land to expand more than oil, lebensraum in which to create a Greater Germany peopled with Aryans. Toss in some twisted romanticism about reconquering the historic homelands from which Germanic peoples had migrated westward. Wars have often been over land - a resource which was the primary determinant of wealth and power in historic terms.

WWI had a lot to do with control over external colonial empires to exploit for resources and wealth. It was this that led Germany to try to develop a fleet to rival Britain, setting the two on a path of inevitable conflict as Britain could accept nothing less than naval supremacy in order to maintain the far-flung empire it exploited for resources.

The Vietnam War as the US knows it was a takeover from France which attempted and failed re-assert its pre-WWII colonial control and resource exploitation, however much US motivation mutated during the fighting into a simple desire to establish dominance, spun round with isms, dominos, and Nixon's personal demons.

Oil and energy have only fairly recently taken over for land as a primary resource to fight over. The Iran-Iraq war was over an Iraqi attempt to grab territory along the border area important primarly due to oil. The first Gulf War was precipitated by Iraq taking over Kuwait in order to reintigrate territory carved out of Iraq by colonial Britain as a parting gift to previous helpers, land rich in oil to be brought under Iraqi control. US policy in the region, including military policy from the Carter Doctrine beginning in the 1970s through the current conquest and occupation of Iraq has been dominated by oil.

Rhetoric aside, wars are generally over wealth and power (and often more than a soupcon of stupidity), and real wealth involves access to and control of resources of varous types. We can look forward to more of the same as different resources become critical. The additive stupidity never seems in short supply.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 05-02-2010, 12:25 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Science Saturday: Nuclear Energy Edition

Quote:
Be indifferent when the people with no depth of understanding exaggerate the dangers of nuclear and prevent its increased use, and therefore limit baseload power generation to dirty, filthy sources of energy, and increase emissions because of their ignorance.
People would be much more comfortable with nuclear energy if there were no nuclear weapons. So if you're serious about the benefits, you should help abolish the weapons.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.