Should the potential meltdown in Japan put the brakes on nuclear energy development in the United States?

 

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bvtkinne

March 31, 2011 - 1:30pm

I worked in both naval nuclear power & civilian nuclear power for 45 years, operating, repairing, testing, evaluating performance, etc. US Nuclear Power (both Naval & civilian) is as safe as we want to make it. There is no way to plan for ALL possibilities, instead we plan for proabilities.
The workers both employees & contractors all work to keep the general public safe.

legionjack

March 31, 2011 - 2:03pm

It's sure that we can NOT burn oil or coal forever. For the human race to continue, we must have some other source of energy. Without that, we will not continue as human. Wind and solar power, while clean and somewhat unlimited, can not provide the level of energy we need. If we outlaw nuclear, then it will never be safe. We must continue to work on the safety problem. We have to learn from the current and past mistakes.

Tim Foor

March 31, 2011 - 2:26pm

It is still, by far the Most Efficient form of creating Electrical Power.
We just have to remain Diligent and keep the JackAsses from Imposing More Outlandish Restrictions.
We also cannot be held Accountable for the Mishap in Japan.
By ONLY relying upon Primary, Secondary & Alternate (3rd)Systems, have exhibited they're NOT enough.
REMOTE Tap-In Locations for a 4th, or even a 5th System Tie-In Point, maybe necessary.

boucains

March 31, 2011 - 2:42pm

Like bvtkinne, I was also trained by the best nuclear school in the world. While the Navy can spend what it takes for reactors that can withstand the stresses of submerged mobile battle, the civilian industry must be constrained by cost vs. benefit. This is true in both the plant hardware and the plant employees. The problems come when the employees become more afraid of the boss than the reactor. A Navy Reactor Operator (RO) will tell anyone NO - including the vessel's Captain (scary!) - if NO is the right answer. The RO at TMI should have trusted his gauges (which indicated a classic LOC situation), sounded the alarm for a Loss of Coolant Accident and stopped the emergency while there was still time. The press coverage of a sudden loss of power to ANY number of homes will always be better than the press coverage of a core meltdown. Any manager who says "you caused us to lose X dollars" should be replaced by one who says "Thanks for acting to save our $100 Billion investment".

boucains

March 31, 2011 - 3:19pm

The Fukishima plants didn't fail from an earthquake or tsunami, they failed because a single worker left his post and the emergency generators ran out of fuel. Only after tsunami damage prevented the restarting of the generators did their real problems begin. From the few clues we already have, the actions went downhill from there. Any Navy RO will tell you that adding any kind of water the temperature of seawater to a reactor core will *increase* the core power output in heat, not cool it down. The explosions at plants 1 & 3 came on the heels of seawater cooling attempts, and I bet they were steam explosions, not hydrogen. Plant 2's explosion was certainly hydrogen - you could see the fireball. The steam explosions would have come at the very worst possible place - inside the core structure and the contamination of the coolant water would have been extreme - as has been noted. Bottom line: Reactors only need a human brain WHEN the mechanical failure occurs, not IF it occurs.

Infracat

March 31, 2011 - 5:35pm

There are promising studies in reactors including liquid-fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR) which can go a long way toward removing the operational dangers and the dangers of long term waste storage. Obviously more work is needed to perfect a commercial solution. I would like to see effort toward perfecting one of these approaches and then standardizing on a limited number of designs to reduce production, maintenance and licensing costs.

bobajabob

March 31, 2011 - 6:27pm

I have no problem with newer, better designed nuke plants as long as they build them within 250 miles of the destination of the power produced and they must build them without taxpayer subsidy. If we have to subsidize it to make it work, let's do wind, solar, geothermal, Bio-Mass or any other renewable resource : if a windmill falls, how many birth defects will it cause?

boucains

April 1, 2011 - 1:28pm

Windmill failures vs. birth defects is a function of the number of Swiss milk maids in the evacuation zone at the time of the failure. Of course, for the formula to work you must define "birth defects" to contain the set of postpartum failures caused by direct contact with the aforementioned windmill at the time of the failure as well as the probable number of fetuses that would have reached full & normal gestation in direct relation to the affected milk maids.

You DID ask.

kramer

April 1, 2011 - 12:25am

I feel we have had a harness on America to long. We have held Her back with the use of this great power source for our future. We've been given this to long ago, With this country to be on top. The brake lights was due to mistakes on (TMI)and fear. The mistake to be learned from that was communication and information. Our (NRC) has resovoled this years ago. The highest concern with US Nuclear Plants is safety. Compared to other Countries. The knowledge we dont use hold us back from our future. Future of other greater possibilities. We lack advancements for now in: JOBS, HEALTH, Millitary, & The Dependency of other Countries. France has one of the best examples nuclear energy. They have used this resource at a greater scale then anyone else. Where is our (NASA) space programs?? We need to unlesh everthing we got and use it. The world needs it, Our future should be look at what America DOES!!! Because right now we are America, That says thats good enough. I work nukes PF/wLU.123/USN VET

cycbercyclops

April 1, 2011 - 9:27am

Granted, nuclear power is a clean power source, but, it can also be used for weapons. Until we can figure out how to safely use up the spent fuel rods, and do not have to transport them to some vulnerble location, other safer sources should be examined, solar, sea-tides, wind, Etc.

Arthur J Breaux III

August 30, 2011 - 6:27pm

In order to comment on nuclear power usage in the United States, it seems that one must have at least been in the field. I have served in the US Navy as a nuclear power plant reactor operator and am currently acting as a nuclear power plant repair supervisor. Nuclear in the US is safe. The new reactor designs such as the AP 1000 Westinghouse is safer. The AREVA French double containment reactor design with the core capture containment is even safer. We would be best positioned to reduce our dependance on oil by aggressively pursuing a means of power that can provide enough right now to supply our needs. Solar and wind are too little and are false economies. Nuclear is the only viable option until we can develop something that can provide more or equal power. It makes sense also, since US plants are storing waste on their own sites, rather than depending on one flimsy repository such as Yucca Mountain. Also, nuc waste is not as damaging as petroleum is, based on current evidence.

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