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View Poll Results: Do you think nuclear power is ethically right, or not?

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Thread: Do you think nuclear power is ethically right, or not?

  1. #1 Do you think nuclear power is ethically right, or not? 
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    This is for my Research Project. I'm researching if Nuclear power will be our most important power supply in the future.


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  3. #2  
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    If you read this poll, why not just click yes or no? Can't be too hard.


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  4. #3  
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    You need to be more specific. It is ethical if it is done safely. There is a biiiiiiiiig difference between building an unsafe Chernobyl-style reactor (that doesn't have propper containment and can melt down if its cooling system stops), and building a "Pebble Bed" type reactor that is unable to ever melt down under any circumstances. How you treat the nuclear waste also has a lot to do with it. Do you destroy it safely with neutron incineration, or do you just dump it in the ground somewhere?

    Simply asking "is nuclear power ethically right" is like asking "is driving a car ethically right" or "is building a factory ethically right." The question can't be answered without a lot more information.
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  5. #4  
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    Nuclear fusion reactors will be much better than fission ones, and we will probably start seeing them more and more by the end of the century. The JET fusion plant in UK has already sucessfully produced (and safely contained) fusion power (not sure on exaclty how many W they produced, or for how long though). They have just announced the location for the new ITER fusion plant in the South of France, and it will be ten times bigger than JET, and all scientists/engineers involved are confident they will be able to get reliable sustained fusion from it, based on the results from JET. They forecast that it will be able to produce 400MW of power using only 40MW of input power (I think), and hydrogen fuel.

    The fuel is much safer to handle and transport, as well as being tremendously abundant on Earth. The products are also much safer than all those tropical radioactive cocktails from fission reactors. There will be some amount of radioactivity I believe, but much less than from fission plants. Also there is no risk of a fusion reactor going into meltdown too apparently.

    I'm hopeful that by the end of the century, we'll no longer have to ask ourselves whether or not fission reactors should be used.
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  6. #5  
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    Thanks for the replies, and I agree with Djagkho, if you visit the poll, why not just click yes or no, it's not really a hard thing to do.
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    You may assume that the nuclear power plant is safe - SIL 4 - like the ones that are currently built, or recently have been built, because these are the most common ones. Plus SIL 4 is obliged nowadays.

    SIL is Safety Integrity Level, and 4 is the hightest level.
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  8. #7  
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    I would cast a vote but I don't understand the question. Ethics applies to human conduct, not physical phenomena. Is a sunrise ethical?
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    You need to be more specific. It is ethical if it is done safely. There is a biiiiiiiiig difference between building an unsafe Chernobyl-style reactor (that doesn't have propper containment and can melt down if its cooling system stops), and building a "Pebble Bed" type reactor that is unable to ever melt down under any circumstances. How you treat the nuclear waste also has a lot to do with it. Do you destroy it safely with neutron incineration, or do you just dump it in the ground somewhere?

    Simply asking "is nuclear power ethically right" is like asking "is driving a car ethically right" or "is building a factory ethically right." The question can't be answered without a lot more information.
    You find it ethically right when you think the plant is safe, but greenpeace-people might find the safest plant ethically wrong. So it is, actually, specific enough.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    I would cast a vote but I don't understand the question. Ethics applies to human conduct, not physical phenomena. Is a sunrise ethical?
    Do you mean by that, that there is nuclear fusion in the sun, or was it just the first thing that came up in your mind? We mean, do you, as the people, think that nuclear power is ethically right. Think about: the waste, the risk, etc.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djagkho
    You find it ethically right when you think the plant is safe, but greenpeace-people might find the safest plant ethically wrong. So it is, actually, specific enough.
    I assume that there is some hypothetical level of safety and "eco friendliness" that even a person from greenpeace would accept. Although a person from greenpeace would probably demand a higher level of safety than the average person.

    Like I said, this is no different from asking "is it ethically right to build a factory?" You can't answer it unless you know what kind of factory, what it makes, how well the employees are treated, if the factory pollutes, etc.
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    Djagkho, I hope you are actually reading the above replies for wisdom, not simply viewing them (incorrectly) as criticism.

    The message to you should be clear: you asked a dumb question. Less harshly, you could have phrased it in a more meaningful way.

    You see, there cannot be anything automatically ethically wrong in building a factory with a benign and benevolent purpose, simply because some people claim there is risk. Or because other people are frightened of the principle of operation.

    If ethical problems could automatically be assigned to an operation that involved risk or undesirability we'd have no copper mines, no steelmaking plants, no cattle ranches.

    Rephrase your question. As M advised you. Apply ethics to human conduct not physical phenomena.


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    maybe he's to proud to admit he was wrong
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  14. #13  
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    But that's what I'm saying all along, all powerplants nowadays are safe, nothing will happen to them, so why would you bother whether the plant is safe or not, it doesn't matter.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djagkho
    But that's what I'm saying all along, all powerplants nowadays are safe, nothing will happen to them, so why would you bother whether the plant is safe or not, it doesn't matter.
    Some plants are much safer than others. There are still plenty of old soviet-era nuclear power plants in eastern Europe that increase energy output as they heat up, so if the cooling system fails you risk a meltdown. There's also the issue of what you do with the waste...again, some plants/countries handle it better than others.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djagkho
    But that's what I'm saying all along, all powerplants nowadays are safe, nothing will happen to them,.
    I'd never say that, even though I work at a nuclear power plant. I would say it is safe compared to the risk of other human activities and in comparison to the benefits.
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  17. #16  
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    anyways, would you rather use coal? :wink:
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I'd never say that, even though I work at a nuclear power plant. I would say it is safe compared to the risk of other human activities and in comparison to the benefits.
    I agree. But the problem is that most people want to think of everything in a binary "black or white" way. People don't want to weigh relative risks and benefits, they just want to catagorize something as "safe" or "dangerous" and not have to consider it any further.
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  19. #18  
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    I am considering it any further, and I know a nuclear plant is not 100% safe. But in comparison with coal mines, it is extremely safe. This question is just a small part of my research and the research i'm doing on the safety is not based on this poll. So you all don't need to bother about that.

    But besides, thanks for saying the USSR owns still old plants, I thought they had already been removed.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djagkho
    I am considering it any further, and I know a nuclear plant is not 100% safe. But in comparison with coal mines, it is extremely safe. This question is just a small part of my research and the research i'm doing on the safety is not based on this poll. So you all don't need to bother about that.

    But besides, thanks for saying the USSR owns still old plants, I thought they had already been removed.
    According to this article there are still some operating or at least were as of 2004, but some improvements have been made.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RBMK
    The design issues are important but the real key is safe operation. If you look at what happened at Chernobyl, you had some folks that didn't really understand the reactor design making some last minute changes to the procedure on the back shift, bypassing a number of safety features. Hopefully, that sort of thing isn't happening any more.
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  21. #20  
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    I'll just vote, but yea the question could've been more clear.

    I think what you're trying to find out is whether people have problems with nuclear power beyond any potential safety risks (which I agree are very limited given good management, at least compared to realistic alternatives). Sometimes it's mentioned that the decay rate of atomic waste is so slow that we can't be certain that it wont be a risk in the future: we can manage it well, but how do we know that people 10 generations after us will be equally careful? Well that could be a sensible argument, but again in the face of horrible alternatives (coal fumes, acid rain, global warming, etc) I wouldn't say that this makes the use of nuclear power unethical.
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