Do you think other countries will follow Germany's lead and disable their nuclear power?
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Nuclear power is safe if handled properly. Like other energy sources such as gasoline, natural gas, oil, and electricity it has its own set of technical properties that must be taken into consideration before it can be used. Until a better, less expensive reactor design is developed countries will not push headlong into nuclear engergy.
Compared to what? If we must HAVE energy to use then we have to look at the energy source and see what it takes to get power from it.
Coal: Many people have died getting coal out of the ground and into the firebox. Miners, handlers (train wrecks, truckers, locomotive engineers) Huge volumes of coal are required to make suitable quantities of energy. Think of how far a nuclear sub could go if it had to switch over to coal!
OIL: Same as above. A war ship like a carrier can use up to 300,000 gallons of oil each day! The logistics of keeping oil fired generating plants running reeks of danger.
SOLAR: Very safe, once installed, but material needs are frought with danger--lumber, steel, aluminum, glass, copper--all have their risks.
NUCLEAR: I think Germany is having a "knee jerk" reaction to the crys of an uniformed minority. What better alternative is there? Except to not use energy. Let them live with the trains, filled with thousands of tons of coal, rolling through their towns, day and night. A nuclear power plant can run for years on one fueling, and when the plant needs refueling, there still remains over 90% of the original uranium, which can be recovered and put into a new core. I'll take the risk of nuclear power!
I Pretty much agree with "Freeze", in the right hands and till we come up with something more "Efficient" and Safe, we need it, My oldest Brother and family lived a stones throw from "3 Mile Island" in Marysville, Pa. when it went, I panicked, he was fine..all was contained, he had also at one time same house was set up with a "Solar Garden" a FLOP, Waste of money..
Current nuclear systems employ a TMR(Triple Module Redundancy) failsafe. That mean two out of three devices have to be saying it is ok to run, basically said in laymans terms. In my opinion, the past designs BWR, and ABWR (Boiling Water Reactor and Advanced Boiling Water Reactor) are sub standard designs. I believe this simply because all types of Plants require maintenance. THat means one of the three devices "WILL" be shut down at some point. Critical system components should be designed to be failsafe, and use force of nature (Gravity, etc.) to operate in the desired method, inorder to be a "Safe Source of Energy". THere is a new design currently being built that employs a large pool of water and gravity in place of feed water pumps, eliminating the possibility of meltdown for several months even if a failure ocured. This would allow enough time to repair the damage and avoid the disasters possible with the BWR and ABWR designs.
To answer your question... Depends on the design. And yes, the Germans are making the right decision for the design of Reactor they currently have. My opinion, is that they should shut it down, and build a new design.
I am sure that if you asked anyone involved with Japan's Nuke Plants if they were safe they would have told you, and maybe even believed, that they were safe. The sad truth is... if humans are involved... then it will never be truly safe. There will always be something they didn't think of or plan for.
As tragic as the JapanTsunami was ... eventually they will recover from that aspect. But what about the Nuke impact of the area? Chernoble is dead FOREVER as far as humans are concerned... that whole area is lost for all time.
In the short term, nuclear power can be made safER than it currently is, but I wouldn't use the blanket term "safe." The disasters at Chernobyl and Japan revealed vulnerabilities that are present in many nuclear facilities around the world. If we only discover vulnerabilities by waiting for major screw-ups, then many, many people will die in the learning process. This is not being handled in a proactive, intelligent way.
In the long term, nuclear power has a very serious safety threat in its waste products, and the people who are making money from nuclear energy are basically choosing to not think about it. Many of these extremely dangerous waste materials will remain both hot and dangerously radioactive for thousands of years, and if stolen, they can be made into very nasty weapons. So far, nobody has found an acceptable solution for what to do with tons and tons of the stuff, so it's simply stored in pools at the nuclear plants. The expensive, not-very-secure storage is rapidly filling up.
Were are you going to bury thousands of tons of hot poison in a place that remains secure from theft, dry, and geologically stable for thousands of years? Who will still be there to guard it from tampering when nobody even speaks the ancient language on the rusted signs that say "Warning: Radioactive Waste. Keep Out"? This will be a curse for future generations.
Nuclear power is safe. Is driving safe? Yes and No! The bottom line is how its is handled.
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