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  • Is Nuclear Energy Safer Than Wind?

    The supposition that nuclear energy is dangerous is hardly a new story. Although most of the nuclear fear mongering has been subdued through recognition of facts, the anti-nuclear movement continues to spit the same nonsense.

    Nuclear power releases dangerous amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. Nuclear reactors are vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Nuclear power results in nuclear weapons proliferation. Transporting radioactive materials exposes people to unacceptable risk. Something like Chernobyl will happen again. Wrong. All wrong. But that’s not the point of this post. Such myths are debunked here.

    The point here is to highlight the unintended consequences of building windmills. The New American summarizes interesting and alarming findings from the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum:

    139 incidents of blade failure. Failed blades have been known to travel over a quarter mile, and that is from turbines much smaller than those being manufactured today. This type of accident has caused some European countries to require a minimum distance of about one mile (2 km) between occupied housing and wind turbines.

    110 incidents of fire. When a wind turbine fire occurs, the local fire departments (without 30-story ladder trucks) can do little but watch. This isn’t a problem unless the wind is blowing sufficiently to scatter the debris into dry fields or woodlands — or maybe onto your roof.

    60 incidents of structural failure. This includes turbine failure and tower collapse failures. While not now a problem for the public — except having to gaze upon at a bent-over wind turbine — it may well become one as governments, under pressure from environmental activists, encourage marginal- and hastily-sited wind projects in urban areas where such an accident could kill and maim.

    24 incidents of “ice throw” with human injury. These data may be a small fraction of actual incidences, with 880 icing events reported in a 13-year period for Germany alone.”

    The full report can be found here. It’s ironic the 110 incidents of fire are only threatening if the wind is blowing. The whole operation of windmills is dependent upon that variable; maybe that’s why they tend to operate only about a third of the time.

    Does that mean we should stop building wind farms in the United States? Not necessarily. Granted, any loss of life is unfortunate, but car accidents occur every day – that doesn’t mean we should take all the cars off the road or reduce the speed limit to ten miles per hour. Like with anything, wind energy should be based on cost-benefit analysis – an analysis that should be done without subsidies, tax production credits or mandate. All energy sources should have the opportunity to compete in the market, so long as they can stand on their own two feet. Or in the case of wind, a giant, monstrous pole.

    It also means the claim that nuclear energy is unsafe is a relic of the past. Yes, nuclear energy must be safe because one mistake would cripple the entire industry, and worse, it could cost a lot of lives. But nuclear’s track record on safety is better than wind’s and better than most. In fact, no one has ever died as a result of commercial nuclear power production in the United States.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Is Nuclear Energy Safer Than Wind?

    1. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      I can only recall Three Mile Island and Chernobyl for Nuclear Plant Failures. Both of which were blown way out of proportion by the Environmentalists. Chernobyl was a disaster because the Soviets would not allow any outside help.

      Nuclear waste movement is done in special containers that are designed to remain in tact through some of the worst situations that I have ever seen. One of the tests involved parking a tractor trailer with a Nuclear Waste container loaded, on a railroad crossing. Three freight locomotives (3 GE Dash 8-40C's for the railroad aficionados) plowed into the waiting container and truck.

      The lead locomotive was severely damaged, the trailer and most of the tractor was obliterated and the container was dragged with the debris but remained completely in tact. The fake Nuclear cargo was unscathed, proving that the container was in fact close to being indestructible. But I am sure that the Environmentalists would find a fault with the container. It probably violated some marsh mouse's home in it's former life!

    2. Barb -mn says:

      As long as ANYONE can use nuclear for ANY BAD INTENT, man-made global warming is NOT AN ISSUE.

      Use NUCLEAR and use it now! Make sure background checks are intact and remember no discrimination based on RACE, CREED OR CULTURE but on anything and everything else.

    3. Ken Las Vegas says:

      Will we ever wake up we need the energy now wind and even energy off cali coast if they wake up in time the energy is right offshore but we all know the left coast is is to say the least different. What we need is car size nano-lithion ion battery's we could lead the world in this but no we won't. The best batterys would free many millions with electric cars. It amazes me when I talk to people driving vehicles getting 18 mpg hwy we used to be leaders in tech and something as simple as the battery mentioned would save this country trillons of $. It would be nice to put the american stamp on that and be a leader again in this vital area. The Tesla produced in the Bay Area Cali shows the way why doesn't anyone see this. Everything else for the electric car has been developed except the battery too bad Obama and the Dem can't see that. Electric cars Cars would make a world of dif and save more than our gov is giving away this year and yes it is trillions 3-5 my guess. Where is the leadership in this country create the incentive and it will happen not something like the misnamed stimulus they could have done it there but didn't. But look at Fannie and Freddie they managed them and the country into the toilet we find ourselves. OUR cars use most of the energy in this country, let us keep them but electic-ize them and offer converstion for the old cars. The shah if IRAN one said it is a waste of energy to run cars on gas and it only converts 40% to power. Also oil is used for many other things actually most things in our life. We were the 1st country with a huge love affair with the car and still are but lets change to electric. We are 5-10 years behind in giving this to the people and at an affortable price subsidise to start it don't we subsidise with trillions of $ to things not near as important?????????

    4. Martin TX says:

      Thirty years of relatively safe operation has changed the minds of quite a few nuclear opponents, including me. I was a bit of an oddity in the opposition to the Comanche Peak plant because I was an economic conservative and not an ecological extremist.

      That being said, Mr. Loris should realize that nuclear power only exists because of massive government subsidies through the NRC and the AEC, and even more importantly because of the Price-Anderson Act that relieved the nuclear industry of tort liability caused by melt-downs, leaks, water pollution or other accidents. Is he suggesting that wind turbine operators should not be liable for injuries caused by flying blades and fires, or is he suggesting that the egregious Price-Anderson Act should be repealed? If we have a free market it is not clear that another nuke would ever be built.

    5. Justin Passing, Wash says:

      "In fact, no one has ever died as a result of commercial nuclear power production in the United States."

      Navajo uranium miners don't count, I guess?

    6. Edward Jarrett Granb says:

      Great information: This clears my mind up on the stimulus program on buy america. Hast makes waist. As we grow older the world becomes smaller, and we must have global relationships with our neighbors, not just buy america.I think that is called politics.

    7. Fred A. Van Peski. D says:

      Ahh, Three Mile Island; let me tell you about it.

      I had a freind, ( NO LONGER WITH US ), a nuclear physicist whom had worked on the design of the project. We discovered that when it came to high pressure/high temperature weld's we spoke the same language. He confided in me that instead of grinding out the voids revealed by X-Ray's, they doctored the X-rays to reveal no faults. The same faults that caused the disaster. Despite this fiasco, nuclear power is still the most efficient and safest source of energy available.

    8. Herb Indiana says:

      I'm betting a lot more coal miners and oil workers have died doing their jobs.

    9. Jim - Utah says:

      Regarding Ken – Las Vegas

      Good points if you can get by the rambling. Probably needs to get back to reading/writing/arithmetic! As with most comments, the mind travels far faster than the fingers.

    10. Pingback: « RockStarKevin

    11. James-Tennessee says:

      I have lived near nuclear plants most of my life, both in Alabama and here in Tennessee. There has never been an incident that was reported to be harmful or even slightly dangerous, and I was 4 miles from Browns Ferry when it caught fire. These facilities are safe. The rate of cancer is no higher than those places without nuclear plants. The amount of radiation in the surrounding areas is no higher than that of anywhere else in the world. I feel the plants are safe or I would not live so near to them. I say use both wind and nuclear. It is good for the job market. It is good for America.

    12. Pingback: Renewable Wind Energy Resources

    13. Mark, Disney OK. says:

      Wind power, what a concept. A Joke, more "B_ll-Sh_t to appease the tree-huggin eviormental- wacko's. What do we get in return? EXPENSIVE ENERGY…………………………………..

    14. Andy Wilson, Austin says:

      If you truly want energy to compete on a level playing field, then please rescind ALL loan guarantees for nuclear reactors and all tax credits to the fossil fuel industries. Also make each industry pay for the hidden costs of their production, including paying for their pollution. THEN we can see who is truly economical.

      Facts about nuclear: it is the most heavily subsidized of any source of energy in the US (or in France, where it is common, where it is a socialist enterprise run by the government– the ONLY economical way to make it work).

      Wall Street will no longer financing building nukes, as even Moody's is calling them a bad investment risk. The proposed expansion of the South Texas Project is constantly overbudget, with industry estimates to CPS (the local utility in San Antonio) having ballooned 4 or 5 times before they have even broken ground. Independent analyses of the South Texas Project show that electricity generated from the two new reactors will have to cost over 22 cents / KwH. With wind and solar coming in at under half that (even without federal PTCs) that seems preferable.

      With nuclear electricity costing so much, plants will have no choice but to shut down or remain subsidized by local utilities. According to the CBO, OVER HALF of all nuclear loans will default before the reactors can even be built.

      They don't make any economic sense, and I haven't even begun to talk about the amount of WATER they consume…….

    15. Andy Wilson, Austin says:

      @ James in Tennessee – you are lucky. At least a lot more lucky than those folks in Illinois whose water has been contaminated by tridium leaks from Excelon plants. (don't beleive me? Just google excelon tridium and see what is happening) Anybody ever wonder why Excelon threw so much money at Obama? To promote a nuclear renaissance that could be considered "bi-partisan"? Or am I just being cynical?

    16. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      This is a nobrainer!

    17. Thomas Gray South Ca says:

      To, Andy Wilson,

      This is the reason why wind will not replace our current electricity sources, the economy is in the toilet and as you pointed out WHO'S going to loan YOU the money if there's no money for a proven energy resource.

      The fact that the Socialist Dem Congressional members gave cover to Fannie and Freddie over the past decade is THE primary reason we are ——- today. The LIB DEM SOCIALISTS who have led Congress for over two years prevented Republican regulation and oversight of Fannie and Freddie. Criminal is the only description of how The —- Frank, The ——- Dodd, The admitted Socialist Waters, Meeks, The —–Schumer, ACORN Obama, Raines, the CBC, et al were on the campaign dole, encouraged cheap loans so as to enslave those that could not afford homes. They irresponsibly ignored serious numerous warnings from Republicans, the Bush administration, Greenspan, and regulators as to the explosive potential of Fannie and Freddie in collapsing the economic system. The Lib Dem Socialists have their smarmy fingerprints all over today's economic crisis. It's genesis was Carter's Community Redevelopment Act that spawned today's Dems to exploit low interest mortgages.

      Nobody should ever forget the truth in the matter.

      —- file this as facts.—-

    18. john iowa says:

      I vote we nuke all wind generators. They are over-priced , unreliable…….

      wait that sounds like the Washington elect.

    19. Cory, Minneapolis says:

      Did any of you actually read the report? Only one person actually died because of the turbine (versus automobile accidents or hazards that exist with any transportation or building things). They listed vehicle accidents and a suicide as a windmill-related death.

      There are a lot of reasons to complain about forced wind energy, but this report certainly doesn't list them.

    20. Pingback: Benefits And Hazards Of Nuclear Energy

    21. Martin, TX says:

      Cory is correct about the specifics of the report. The overall apples and oranges nature of the article's comparison makes it useless. How many people will be killed transporting nuclear components, fuel and waste? How many construction workers will die erecting these gigantic containment structures? At least these wind turbines can be built and insured without the equivalent of Price-Anderson.

      Although I concede that the nukes have operated more safely than I could have imagined thirty years ago, I still am amazed that fellow free market conservatives are in favor of these huge centrally planned projects. Since when do conservatives favor emulating the Russians, French and Swedes in economic and energy policy.

      Also, it isn't a question of finding one cure all source. Wind is great for extending our supply of fossil fuels, but it isn't very good at being part of the peak load base. We should be developing lots of 5-10 percent solutions and incorporating them into the grid.

    22. Thomas Gray South Ca says:

      Mr Martin, TX,

      What you and others are saying is nonsensical, you are saying install a electric energy source that has not been invented yet,

      and these activist are interfering with our current electric grid to the point that it may soon fail,

      in any event as we lose our current nuclear power plants electricity is going to become very expensive

    23. David, MA says:

      I am in solar, but I have to admit no one is really facing up to the problems of intermittent supply of solar PV and wind. Lots of waving of arms and wishful thinking like "get enough sources and it will all balance out." Last week it was cloudy and windless across the Northeast. Unless you think you are going to send electrical power halfway across the continent, there are plenty of days when you will need every kw of conventional power generating capacity as you would if you never built a single wind farm. So intermittent energy sources won't displace conventional as everyone assumes, they'll just make them more expensive to operate by forcing them to vary their output. (Also spent time studying steam cycle chemistry for EPRI – not baseloading a plant makes it a nightmare for maintenance.)

      Finally, paying solar producers of electricity the same price as the utility is insane. When I send the utility a dollar they spend a large chunk (don't have the figures but believe it was 50% or more) maintaining the grid, and more on other infrastructure costs. Only a small percentage paid for the variable cost of generating that electricity. When you get a dollar for PV generated kWh's none of that goes to maintain the grid. Consider on that day when everyone has enough solar on their roofs to generate all their electricity. So they sell enough electricity to the utility during the day to pay for the electricity they use at night. Their net bill from the utitlity is 0. But the utility will still need to maintain virtually the same generating capacity, and still fix all the lines after the ice storm, etc. but with 0 revenues. A lot of what's pictured for renewables *only* works if they are a tiny fraction of the total capacity, and really begin to break down if they become significant.

      The reality is, is that intermittent sources will drastically drive up prices, won't displace much generating capacity (though they may idle it) and the net result will be that brownouts and blackouts will probably become the norm, and reliable electricity will be viewed as an unsustainable luxury only that bad non-earth conscious generation could have afforded.

    24. Paco-Spain says:

      Hello I am an spanish guy who lives in spain , here we pay millions of dollars to France for buying energy , becouse the "green" people does not want to us to build a new nuclear factory that will give a lot of money to us , will make the people work there and is not bad for the enviroment , our stupid socialist president is acting as what he is , as a fool

      He is making us lose money and is destroying our country . please help !!!!

      Even Obama is better than him

      NUCLEAR ENERGY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    25. Thomas Gray, South C says:

      Sorry Paco, we can't even help ourselves to stop these anti energy activist from putting us all back into the stone age,

      it's like a mental plague that is consuming sanity.

    26. Martin, TX says:

      Hey Thomas from SC, you don't have to call me Mr. Martin since Martin is my first name. All I'm saying is that nuclear proponents and opponents should be honest about the risks of nuclear and its alternatives. This article isn't.

      I haven't suggested installing any energy sources that haven't been invented yet, but I do think at a time when we need more electricity we should use all available sources. We still have a lot of coal. We shouldn't be tearing down hydro-electric dams. Gas is still abundant (we have lots of wells being drilled right in the DFW area). Wind turbines are popping up all over the two states where I have lived (Texas and Minnesota), so I know they exist – albeit with limitations on their dependability. There are other sources (e.g. solar, geothermal and biofuels) that could make small but significant contributions if the playing field were level.

      There are also changes that could be made to slow the growth of demand such a peak load pricing. This would cause consumers to shift the time of their usage, and make better use of existing power plants. I don't want to take Comanche Peak off line either, look at what I wrote, but I don't think it's a good idea to spend 20 billion on the two new proposed reactors.

      If nuclear proponents want to convince the public to start building again they first need to eliminate the ban on reprocessing and open up the Yucca mountain facility that would hold the existing nuclear waste.

    27. Jorn Rash, Costa Ric says:

      USA Radiation Plume Maps

      I am working on a new site nuclearpowerdanger.com I have created some radioactive plume maps based solely on wind. Working on more specific map methodology.

      http://www.nuclearpowerdanger.com/plume-maps/site

      These are existing plumes of radiation caused by "normal" releases.

      My methodology is outlined here

      http://www.nuclearpowerdanger.com/plume-maps/meth

      Jorn

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