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Passions in Poetry

Getting out of the Barrel

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Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

0 posted 02-01-2006 08:03 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

I listened today to an a public radio program where an author
advocated the United States reinvigorating its nuclear power
program as part of an effort to break its dependence on foreign,
(that’s Arab), oil.  The moderator brought up the usual arguments
and alternatives to which the author responded to the first that many
nations, (including France and quake ridden Japan), had already faced
and answered them going forward with their programs, and to the second
by saying, however attractive, alternatives like wind and solar power
only represented at best marginal alleviations from a reality in which
the United States through paying exorbitant prices is now with billions
funding those whose attitudes and purposes toward it are to say the least
distasteful.  Your thoughts.

Member Elite
since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas

1 posted 02-01-2006 10:32 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Oil is far more than just gasoline.  Plastics, some rubber polymers, binding agents, roaddeck materials, building materials, fuels (note the plural), electronics and electrical components.  PCBs (printed circuit board) are found in just about every single electronic appliance, from washing machines to cell phones.  I can't even begin to list off everything which uses some derivative of plastic, and without tar roofing shingles, tar cement, and acrylic sealer, my parent's roof would leak like a sieve.

Problem with nuke power is, of course, the byproduct which is extremely toxic and lethal, with a half-life spanning thousands of years.  Hydro is great, if you don't mind flooding canyons filled with natural beauty and archeological sites.  Wind and solar are good too, but are very expensive and largely ineffective unless there are large arrays of panels or fans.  Out in west Texas, there's hundreds of windmills, and I'm not talking about the 20 footers used for water extraction, but the 100 foot suckers with massive slow turning blades.  Of course, they do clutter up the scenery and the thousands of acres used for wind power can't really be used for anything else.  Even cattle shy away due to the sounds and vibrations.

Guess we could do more research on hydrogen power, but the problem is that hydrogen in a usable form is a byproduct of natural gas extraction, and generating hydrogen produces large amounts of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas.  So H is not exactly green.

I personally would like to see the moritorium on refineries and platforms lifted.  I'm positive that in the 30 years after the moritorium there have been improvements in the safety, reliability, and eco-friendliness of refineries and platforms.  We could have all the oil in the world but without more refineries, there's a finite amount which can be processed daily.

I guess, in time, we could wean ourselves off Arabian oil, since there's vast reserves in Russia, Canada, Mexico, and most of South American, not to mention reserves below the coastal shelf.  Arabian oil accounts for about 1/5 of all oil used by the US.  As for weaning off of all oil, there'd need to be massive advancements in more than just fuel sources.  More products begin as oil than most could ever realize.
Deputy Moderator 5 Tours
Senior Member
since 10-13-2002
Posts 1228
SF Bay Area

2 posted 02-04-2006 02:22 PM       View Profile for majnu   Email majnu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for majnu

I am half nukee. I have worked on part of the Yucca mountain project, I have taken reactor theory, and have also worked in nuclear nonproliferation and anti terrorism - all through DOE and UC.

Nuke power is necessary if we are serious about eliminating our dependance on foreign oil. Note, its not just Arab, we get a huge amount from South America. The thing is those countries are much easier to push around and manipulate. Their leaders only have to be bribed.

Nuke power is safe. The idiotic portrayals in West Wing and The China Syndrome are science FICTION. People always site Chernobyl and US Military Tests as example of the dangers. Neither of these are appropriate analogies. The Soviets, throughout their reign, showed a complete disregard for safety in their R&D efforts. Many in the nuke and intelligence communities were actually surprised that it took so long for the Soviets to have a nuclear accident. US Military tests are certainly responsible for the spread of nuclear waste but the power industry would have much more stringent applications.

The most commonly sited example of nuclear hazards is the 3 mile island incident of 1979 when a Nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania malfunctioned. No one was hurt, the core did not melt down. The dosage received was negligible.

I will site the NRC report:
Estimates are that the average dose to about 2 million people in the area was only about 1 millirem. To put this into context, exposure from a full set of chest x-rays is about 6 millirem. Compared to the natural radioactive background dose of about 100-125 millirem per year for the area, the collective dose to the community from the accident was very small. The maximum dose to a person at the site boundary would have been less than 100 millirem.

More importantly, after that incident the NRC went crazy with regulations and inspections. It makes the FDA and SEC look like a bunch of indulgent nannies. Nuke power will be regulated and safe.

The other concern people have is waste. I suggest they read about Yucca mountain.

In regards to terrorism and proliferation concerns. Full military escort of the material would eliminate any threat.

Timid thoughts be not afraid. I am a Poet.

Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020

3 posted 02-04-2006 08:05 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

majnu, what objective/scientific literature can you direct us to about Yuccca mountain?
I am, and will continue to be concerned with not only the plants, but the handling, shipping and storage of nuclear waste. I don't have as much trust as you apparently in all those documented 'safeguards' and laws.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

4 posted 02-05-2006 01:47 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

One thing is certain: so long as the
United States relies on Arab oil for
its energy needs those countries,
(and their policies), will have a choke
hold around its economic neck.
And that choke hold will influence
American decisions, events, and lives.

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334

5 posted 02-05-2006 12:09 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“Oil pumped for $5 a barrel and sold for $70 is called stealing resources.”

“The only mystery is not how bizarre the news will be from the Middle East, but why the autocratic Middle Easterners feel so confident that any would pay their lunacy such attention.

The answer? Oil and nukes — and sometimes the two in combination.”

“So take the dependency on oil away from Europe and the United States, and the billions of petrodollars the world sends yearly to medieval regimes like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and the other five billion of us could, to be frank, fret little whether such self-pitying tribal and patriarchal societies wished to remain, well, tribal. There would be no money for Hezbollah, Wahhabi madrassas, Syrian assassination teams, or bought Western apologists.

The problem is not just a matter of the particular suppliers who happen to sell to the United States — after all, we get lots of our imported oil from Mexico, Canada, and Nigeria. Rather, we should worry about the insatiable American demand that results in tight global supply for everyone, leading to high prices and petrobillions in the hands of otherwise-failed societies who use this largess for nefarious activities from buying nukes to buying off deserved censure from the West, India, and China. If the Middle East gets a pass on its terrorist behavior from the rest of the world, ultimately that exemption can be traced back to the voracious American appetite for imported oil, and its effects on everything from global petroleum prices to the appeasement of Islamic fascism.”

“Yet if billions of petrodollars continue to pour into such traditional societies, as a result they will never do the hard political and economic work of building real societies. Instead their elites will obtain real nuclear weapons to threaten neighbors for even more concessions, as they buy support at home with the national prestige of an "Islamic bomb." Saddam almost grasped that: Had he delayed his invasion of Kuwait five years until he resurrected his damaged nuclear program, Kuwait would now be an Iraqi province, and perhaps Saudi Arabia as well.”

So no one can claim later to be surprised . . .
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