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Thread: Nuclear power, the debate

  1. #1 Nuclear power, the debate 
    Forum Freshman AdmiralFloyd's Avatar
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    What is your view on current use of fission power and/or possible future uses of fusion power. could it be safe? could it be economical? could it be enviromental? is it any of these things already?


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    Since you started this thread, I ran into this and thought it might just fit right in with your subject...

    Frozen talks over fusion reactor warm up

    11:02 10 May 2005
    NewScientist.com news service
    Maggie McKee

    Europe and Japan have taken a significant step towards finalising the highly contentious plan to build the world's largest nuclear fusion facility, thawing negotiations that have been frozen for 18 months. But the countries have not yet settled the most crucial question of where to build the reactor.

    The ambitious project, called ITER - International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor - aims to lay the groundwork for using nuclear fusion as an inexhaustible and clean energy source. But progress on ITER ground to a halt in December 2003 because its six member parties could not agree on where to locate the premier facility. The EU, China and Russia lobbied for Cadarache in France, while the US, South Korea and Japan supported the Japanese town of Rokkashomura.

    Both France and Japan continue to vie for the project's main site. But representatives from the EU and Japan apparently thrashed out a deal in Geneva, Switzerland on 5 May outlining the responsibilities of the country that will host ITER and those of the country that will miss out on the reactor.

    Source and full article here
    Evidently talks are proceeding on the next generation for fusion. As far as fission goes, one has to only look at the article I posted earlier to see part of the problem with fission, namely what to do with the byproducts. The fission process itself is unstable if not carefully watched, monitored, and controlled, leads to disaster. Yes I know that there are triple redundancy safe-guards. I also know from working in non-nuclear applications that those types of safe-guards are never 100% safe and effective.

    Fusion should be far more safe in the sense of byproducts to deal with. It is the safety aspect that truely worries me. I don't think the economics are going to be a problem as it seems those sort of talks on who is going to host this facility are already in progress.


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    Forum Freshman esoterik_appeal's Avatar
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    http://www.thescienceforum.com/the-n...issue-449t.php

    that's my plan.

    new reactor cores are built from graphite, which radiates heat faster than it absorbs it, so a meltdown is virtually impossible.
    i found my calling today. it was in my pocket.
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    Forum Freshman kestasjk's Avatar
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    It is safe economical and environmental..
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    It is safe economical and environmental..
    Since when is it environmental.....?? What do you do with all that radioactive waste that takes billions of years for the half lifes. It may be economical but, fuck economics over the environment and safety.
    All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
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    Safe? Ask the folks that still live around Chernoble how safe they feel it is when things go wrong. You don't have to stop with just talking to the locals either. Go on past that small area to other countries. Once contamination is out of containment it is in the enviroment for what is essentially forever. No design is 100% foolproof, no matter how it is billed. The elements that make the radioactive process work are also stressful on the equipment that processes the fluids.

    The economics are also debatable in the sense that the waste must be cared for forever too; at least compared to our life spans. Very few companies are going to have the stablitily over the long haul to plan and take care of such wastes considering the timespan involved. All it takes is something unplanned for and you have an economic disaster. On such a scale it will bankrupt any corporation to clean the damage, (if it can be contained) and the fines that would follow that would be submitted by the governments. In many cases that could be easily many countries. Add to it the instability of worrying about some terrorist using such as a target of oppurtunity or as a primary target and you have all the makings of major problems that no corporation could stand to pay for out of pocket. No matter what sort of fine, cleanup costs, ect. there are still the unconsidered costs to health and human suffering that would follow any "mistake".

    I guess my viewpoints of what is safe and economical might not jive with what the industry considers.
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cleft
    Safe? Ask the folks that still live around Chernoble how safe they feel it is when things go wrong. You don't have to stop with just talking to the locals either. Go on past that small area to other countries. Once contamination is out of containment it is in the enviroment for what is essentially forever. No design is 100% foolproof, no matter how it is billed. The elements that make the radioactive process work are also stressful on the equipment that processes the fluids.

    The economics are also debatable in the sense that the waste must be cared for forever too; at least compared to our life spans. Very few companies are going to have the stablitily over the long haul to plan and take care of such wastes considering the timespan involved. All it takes is something unplanned for and you have an economic disaster. On such a scale it will bankrupt any corporation to clean the damage, (if it can be contained) and the fines that would follow that would be submitted by the governments. In many cases that could be easily many countries. Add to it the instability of worrying about some terrorist using such as a target of oppurtunity or as a primary target and you have all the makings of major problems that no corporation could stand to pay for out of pocket. No matter what sort of fine, cleanup costs, ect. there are still the unconsidered costs to health and human suffering that would follow any "mistake".

    I guess my viewpoints of what is safe and economical might not jive with what the industry considers.
    My point exactly, thank you cleft. Right on..
    All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
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    What is your view on current use of fission power and/or possible future uses of fusion power. could it be safe? could it be economical? could it be enviromental? is it any of these things already?
    It's safe. It's environmental. It's NOT economical. Nuclear reactors require billions of dollars to create and you need 10000 reactors for large-scale production.
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    Chernobyl was a dump of a reactor, you can hardly use that as the standard for future reactors. It was an unsafe wreck. And even if it were up to safety standards of the time, that's no reason to think that safety wouldn't improve as technology and understanding does.
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    it was also 3 days before the russians were forced to admit that the reactor was in a melt down and ask for help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by funzone36
    Nuclear reactors require billions of dollars to create and you need 10000 reactors for large-scale production.
    This is nonesense. Please seek to justify it. 25% of Scotland's electricity is being produced from two nuclear reactors. Two old, inefficient reactors.
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    "To produce enough nuclear power to equal the power we currently get from fossil fuels, you would have to build 10,000 of the largest possible nuclear power plants."

    http://www.energybulletin.net/2311.html

    All information gathered from the above link.
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  14. #13  
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    Funzone would you try to be more precise in your posts. There is a difference between large scale production and power equal to that currently derived from fossil fuels.
    I would not have been so disparaging of your claim had you phrased it accurately.
    That said it is still faulty. The author of the quote is talking about all the power currently derived from fossil fuels. That includes all the automobiles, airplanes and ships. The amount required from power stations is considerably less than that total.
    The author may be a professor of physics, but he appears to be unaware of the potential size of current nuclear power stations.
    He is also being rather precious in assuming that all the hydropower and the growing use of wind, tidal and other alternative energy sources will not continue.

    You suggest that oil is cheaper. Consider this: http://www.uic.com.au/nip08.htm

    A pertinent extract:
    French figures published in 2002 show (EUR cents/kWh): nuclear 3.20, gas 3.05-4.26, coal 3.81-4.57. Nuclear is favourable because of the large, standardised plants used. This was before the recent substantial increase in fossil fuel prices which would tilt the economics very much in favour of nuclear.
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    French figures published in 2002 show (EUR cents/kWh): nuclear 3.20, gas 3.05-4.26, coal 3.81-4.57.
    That is only nuclear power generation. I was referring to the cost of constructing a nuclear power reactor vs. the cost of extracting oil.
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    Not a relevant comparison. For nuclear the fuel costs are lower, the capital costs are higher. Fossil fuel costs are rising and will continue to rise. Nuclear capital costs would fall with increasing numbers of power stations. I am not seeking to prove that nuclear is cheaper, merely that it is on a par with fossil fuel costs and does not have the environmental impact when properly managed.
    Earlier reference was made to the effects of Chernobyl. Lets mention, then, the 5000 miners who die in China each year to deliver fuel for their power station.
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    Quote Originally Posted by funzone36
    "To produce enough nuclear power to equal the power we currently get from fossil fuels, you would have to build 10,000 of the largest possible nuclear power plants."

    http://www.energybulletin.net/2311.html

    All information gathered from the above link.
    as opposed to how many fossil fuel plants we have around the world currently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby
    as opposed to how many fossil fuel plants we have around the world currently.
    Which I was too lazy to google for also.
    As noted earlier the 10,000 number is a contrived one.
    Note that approximately 25% of Scotland's population is served by just two antiquated plants. Five million people. Let's call it one plant per million people. In theory that calls for 6,000 plants to supply everyone in the world with their power needs. But Scotland uses way above the global average power per capita, since it is a) a developed nation b) bloody cold.
    There is simply no way in which the 10,000 number holds water - whether of the normal or heavy variety.
    A back of the envelope calculation suggests that with modern plants and recognising even projected energy usage growth we could provide all the energy needs with under half that number. And, as noted before, that takes no account of any of the alternative energy sources - Norway, for example, gets 99.9% of its energy from hydro-electric schemes; or the continued use of some fossil fuels; or the phasing in of fusion; or improved efficiency of power usage; etc.
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    Yes. In the future, nuclear will be cheaper. But oil is currently cheaper.

    Nuclear fission is not renewable because uranium and plutonium will eventually run out. Something will have to replace it once it runs out.

    Nuclear fission won't stop peak oil since it only accounts a few percentage of total energy production.

    You must also know that nothing will replace oil's products. (plastics, synthetic rubber, fertilizers, pesticides, etc...)
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  20. #19  
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    then we'll move to fusion which can supply us for many thousands of years. safe, clean and ruthlessly efficient.
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    Still decades before commercialized. Still won't stop the issue of peak oil. Still won't stop economic collapse.
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    we have enough power from fission to last us until it is comercialised.

    there was another thread on this somewhere on this site talking about solar power and nuclear power. i think it was in the buisness and ecconomics section.

    besides if things do fall into chaos the insurance industry will be kept buisy.
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    we have enough power from fission to last us until it is comercialised.
    Do you have some site to back up that opinion?

    How can you pay for insurance when so many people are going to get unemployed?
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  24. #23  
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    true.

    there are many sites, but it's a god damm hot day down here right now so i can't be stuffed doing a thorough search.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium...d_distribution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear...Fuel_resources
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    "At the present rate of use, there are 50 years left of low-cost known uranium reserves"

    But, that's only for present rate. The rate will increase if we demand more nuclear energy. Yes, we can use breeder reactors but:

    "Up to this point however development of breeder reactors has not been successful."

    All information was taken from your source:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear...Fuel_resources
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    low cost and known are 2 key words that stand out.

    not many people go looking for nuclear materials as for some reason they are considered to be inherintly evil of deathly radioactive.

    and it wouldn't be the only source used obviously, solar power.

    and honda have already been advertizing on Australian tv there hydrogen powered car, the city of perth have been trialing hydrogen power on there bus system.

    its a lacking motivation thats the problem.
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    low cost and known are 2 key words that stand out.
    What makes you think that there are still more undiscovered uranium reserves?

    And obviously, everyone wants cheap energy.

    Solar:

    "If you want to gather enough solar energy to replace the fossil fuel that we’re burning today—and remember we’re going to need more fossil fuel in the future- using current technology, then you would have to cover something like 220,000 square kilometers with solar cells."

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4287300/

    Hydrogen fuel cell:
    " If we were to build a similar infrastructure to deliver hydrogen it would cost $200 trillion."
    http://www.energypulse.net/centers/a...y.cfm?a_id=940

    its a lacking motivation thats the problem.
    Actually, even I am not confident about these alternative energies since they have so many problems and drawbacks.

    Given enough time, alternative energies do have potential for the replacement for fossil fuels. But time is what we are short of. One fossil fuel, conventional oil, will likely peak by 2008 and conventional oil will likely be exhausted by 2040. As it has been proven that alternative energies is still decades or a century away, time is what we are short of. That is why I think alternative energies will not replace fossil fuels anytime soon. With the global peak of conventional oil, we will have to convert coal or natural gas (both will also peak) into conventional oil. Coal and natural gas are still fossil fuels. Our dependency on both of them will increase CO2 emissions.

    Alternative energies is not entirely new. Some of them existed 30 years ago. Are they globally commercialized for large-scale production yet? No.
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  29. #28  
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    Funzone, it is clear that we differ in our view of the nature of and solutions to the energy crisis. I think part of this is due to your pessimistic view of several of the basic facts. Here are some examples:
    Quote Originally Posted by funzone36
    What makes you think that there are still more undiscovered uranium reserves?
    This struck me as a truly bizarre question, but then I have some knwoeldge of igneous and metamorphic petrology, and a passing knowledge of the mining industry.
    Of course there are undiscovered uranium reserves. Do you honestly think we have discovered every uranium deposit on the planet? That would be truly remarkable if we had:
    a) There will be smaller pockets associated with existing reserves that have gone undiscovered as yet. How can we say this? It has been true of every other mineral reserve developed to date.
    b) There are areas where, because of remoteness or politcial unrest, no serious search for reserves has been carried out. Indeed the efforts to discover uranium deposits have been very low key in comparison with the efforts to discover oil and gas reserves. This is quite well considered in this link.http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/uranium.html

    This also ignores the possibility of improved extraction techniques that will make existing sub-marginal deposits commercially viable.

    "If you want to gather enough solar energy to replace the fossil fuel that we’re burning today... using current technology, then you would have to cover something like 220,000 square kilometers with solar cells."
    This is a prime example of the way statistics can be used to distort the facts. 220k km^2 sounds like a large area - it isn't. For example it is barely 12% of the area of Libya. At present between 2% and 3% of Libya is taken up by arable land and towns and cities. The rest is desert.
    And you have ignored the fact that although today's solar cells are inefficient at converting solar energy that this efficiency has been steadily improving for decades and will continue to do so.

    Hydrogen fuel cell:
    " If we were to build a similar infrastructure to deliver hydrogen it would cost $200 trillion."
    I shall just ask a single question here. Why in the name of the Great Aardvark of Alpha Centauri would we choose to do something as dumb as building a similar infrastructure for a radically different power medium?


    But time is what we are short of. One fossil fuel, conventional oil, will likely peak by 2008 and conventional oil will likely be exhausted by 2040.
    Two fallacies here:
    Your figure for the date of peak oil is almost certainly out by at least a decade.
    There is no way that conventional oil will be exhausted by 2040. The figures simply do not stack up.

    Understand, I am not denying the reality of peak oil, or the seriousness of the issue it presents. I am seriously questioning your doom-and-gloom, the sky-is-falling, technology will not ever improve attitude to the issue. In my opinion it is unrealistic, faulty and just plain wrong.
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    Your figure for the date of peak oil is almost certainly out by at least a decade.
    Actually, peak oil might be earlier than 2008. I'm just taking the best-case scenerio.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/featu...464050,00.html

    I am seriously questioning your doom-and-gloom, the sky-is-falling, technology will not ever improve attitude to the issue. In my opinion it is unrealistic, faulty and just plain wrong
    Technology will not help us and that is not wrong. Take a look at the service checklist.

    "Sustainability – is it sustainable for the long term?
    Bio-diesel depletes the soil unless we put some NPK back (which is also difficult without accruing an energy loss).
    Gas conversions to cars will just use up the LPG faster.
    A "hydrogen economy" based on natural gas will just bring "peak gas" forward that much quicker, etc.

    Energy Payback — the EPR. Do you get more energy out of a device that went into making it in the first place? Have you counted all the energy costs that go into the new energy infrastructure?

    Tar sands and shale oil are incredibly energy expensive means of producing fuels. (And would again contribute to the global warming crisis.)

    Rare materials essential to some renewable schemes would limit the worldwide deployment of that scheme.
    EG: Electric Vehicles (EV’s) hold great promise, but what are the world’s current Lithium reserves and how many generations before we experienced “peak Lithium?”
    EG: Fuel cells use plantinum, and after just a few years of a fuel cell transport system we would reach peak platinum.

    Volumes — are most often too low.
    EG: All Australian wheat into ethanol = 9% of liquid fuels and no bread! This alarming statistic takes into account the fact that we grow enough wheat for roughly 100 million people (we only consume 20% of our wheat for our 20 million Australians.) This statistic comes from Bruce Robinson of the STC.

    EG: Biodiesel... even if we managed to grow biodiesel crops without modern fertilizers and pesticides (through biofarming methods such as "crop and cow" rotation) there is just not enough arable land to grow the quantities we need. We would run out of land for food!

    Some potential energy volumes are vast (just 40 km by 40 km of solar PV is all Australia's energy needs) but we have left it too little too late. In other words, our current volumes of energy from these sources are far too low... below 1% of worldwide electricity supply.

    Even if there is a vast potential energy source such as solar, the following questions pretty much prevent it running what we are currently running.

    Implementing the Infrastructure — is the fuel compatible with the current infrastructure? What are the issues in implementing the new fuel at filling stations? Is it easy to transport? Can it be stored easily? How energy dense is the fuel — and will you burn 90% of the fuel just to transport it to the filling station? How long will it take to implement? What other time factors are involved in converting filling stations over?

    Cheap — What is this alternative going to cost society? We are not running out of oil, we are running out of cheap oil and it is throwing us into a crisis.The costs for a solar to hydrogen fuel system would currently bankrupt any nation — we may as well use the original solar electricity to charge EV’s rather than bother wasting energy making Hydrogen. What the alternative costs is extremely important, and is the basis of the peak oil crisis.

    Even supply of energy — Is the energy supply constant?

    The sun doesn’t shine at night, and the wind does not blow for long periods. We need a system of energy that is reliable, or the power grids start to fail. How do we adapt to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources? What backup energy mechanisms are there? How expensive is this, and how do we adapt society to live in the new realities of more expensive energy?"

    http://eclipsenow.org/facts/service-checklist.html

    No working alternative energy pass that test.

    You need to know the EPR and ERoEI of alternative energy. None of them compares as good as oil.

    http://eclipsenow.org/facts/alternateenergy.html

    7 questions you need to ask about alternatives:

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/fre...questions.html

    Thorough information about the limits of alternative energy.

    http://socialwork.arts.unsw.edu.au/t...LE-ENERGY.html

    Another site :

    http://wolf.readinglitho.co.uk/subpages/renewables.html

    ***********************

    I was once like you. I once thought technology could solve our problems. But once you research about the limitations about it, you begin to understand why they won't help us.

    Renewable technology is not bad. It's just that they can't replace oil or fossil fuels. Life will never be as advanced like now.

    Don't think fossil fuels will last long since people HATE global warming.

    http://www.livescience.com/environme...te_change.html

    Think the sky is not falling?

    "So who are these nay-sayers who claim the sky is falling? Conspiracy fanatics? Apocalypse Bible prophesy readers? To the contrary, they are some of the most respected, highest paid geologists and experts in the world. And this is what's so scary."

    http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/peak_oil.html
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    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    The Ultimate Plan:

    Hydorgen for Fuel Cells made through electrolysis with electricity coming form new, state of the art, efficient, and safe nuclear power.
    Pierre

    Fight for our environment and our habitat at www.wearesmartpeople.com.
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    Would it be disasterous if a natural disaster demages the nuclear plant?
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    Fusion is the Future...
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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    I don't like the radioactive waste it produce and how it is being dispose of. I'm for solar and wind. For those that don't get either sun or wind, why not have a solar satelite that can be transmitted to land by some means. Also magnetic energy.
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  35. #34  
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    the renewable energy sources available are inviable if we wish to continue today's energy use. Two choices are open reduce energy usage dramatically causing knock on effects ot quality of life and our economy or invest in other souces until viable green souces are created. I choose the 2nd option as i can never get a match to work first time round so life by candlelight would be frustrating at the least. Nuclear power is our only choice as far as non green souces go it is the least polutive and has a fuel source millions of years long. It does although carry the greater risks. Chernobyl is still felt today in the cancers of the generation growing up in the fallout. One thing must be made clear it was a result of Soviet mismanagment, misinformation and design faults that the carbon tipped boron rods exploded the reactor to unwitting technitions who were not to blame for this incident not some inherant instability in nuclear reactors. If everything is done as it is supposed to nuclear power is an answer for at least for the next century or until a better source is found. Although the chances of everything going as it should is not perfect the reasons for chernobyl can be attributed to the political situations of the world at the time in the end we need to realise that nuclear power for all its faults and disasterous risks is our only choice and we should be looking at ways in which to reduce the risk and ways in which we can replace it with a better source as at this moment none exists.
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