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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 50
There are idiots in England too, they want the electricity, but they don't want the cables to supply it cluttering up leafy Surrey lanes.

The majority of these people don't even know the difference between kVa and kV, so we shouldn't let them get up our nose as they are simply stupid with lives so dull they like to shout about things they know nothing about.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
It's very easy to whip up hysteria around any issue with the word "radiation" in it.
That's for sure. So many people only seem to see radioactive waste containers or high-voltage power lines radiating "death rays" when they hear the word. Try telling them that we need certain types of radiation just to live on this planet and they look at you as if you're mad.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
It had to happen didn't it!. [Linked Image]
I think it was last week on the TV,
there was a heap of people out at night standing under some HV lines, all holding up
Fluorescent Tubes.
This is not a new trick at all, in fact as any Radio Ham will tell you, it's the quickest way to check if your transmitter and aerial system are working properly.
I can light up a tube quite well using as little as 25W on the HF bands, so you don't need a lot of Voltage or current to do this.
Try telling them that we need certain types of radiation just to live on this planet and they look at you as if you're mad.
Exactly, after all, that is what the sun does isn't it?.
And the earth also has a powerful magnetic field too (not really radiation though).
My belief is, most people don't really know as much about the Physical Sciences these days as what they should do, this has to be part of the problem causing all this hysteria, that to a certain degree, is basically un-necessary. [Linked Image]

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 50
The real problem is the Gutter press and other "Alarmist" types of journalism.

Most people believe what they read or hear from this part of society, because they are too daft or lazy to look into the evidence themselves..

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
Speaking of gutters,
There was an elderly guy on TV the other night at 7pm (I forget which show it was) that reckoned he had the answer to undergrounding 400kV power circuits.
From what I can tell, it looked like he had a whole lot of metal downpipes and there was a lot of talk about "Skin Effect" with Electric currents.
Now I'm not one to stomp on a good idea, but I don't really think that this guy has done his homework.
He also reckoned he's patented the idea, so I don't know.
Did either of our other NZ sparkies see the news item?.
My understanding of Skin effect, is that it applies only to High frequency currents, with lower frequencies being transmitted through the bulk of the conductor material.
Indeed a transmission system made out of downpipe sections, doesn't sound like my cup of tea.
Jointing and insulating (let alone bending it around corners)it somehow rule this idea out I think.
Oh and by the way, it's cooled by Nitrogen gas. [Linked Image]

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 354
Sounds like this guy is talking about an underground super-conductor made out of downpipe ? ! Was he from Auckland Trumpy ?

The nuclear solution for Auckland (no I don't mean bombing them !) has been talked about a lot lately. I'd like to hear from some of the other members who have nuclear electricity generation. Pros and cons ?

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
Yeah kiwi,
I think that's what the guy was on about.
Mind you, it was rather hard to work out exactly what it was that the guy was building.
I'm not sure where he was from either.
In reality, I think that NZ is going to have to eventually bite the bullet and allow nuclear energy in here.
Alot of people (the Greens mainly) aren't going to like it, but apart from building a few more Hydro stations, we have basically run out of options as far as real Electricity generation goes in this country.
Excepting of course, smaller wind and solar installations for smaller towns, etc.
Nuclear power has made huge leaps in safety and efficiency since accidents like Chernobyl in the 80's and I think that there is a mental stumbling block in people's minds.
There are hundreds of nuclear plants working the world over that are perfectly safe.
If it does come to this, kiwi, the next question will be, where will they site the thing?.
Because if they don't want some ugly powerlines near thier land, they sure as H*ll aren't going to want a nuclear reactor down the road either. [Linked Image]
Surely it would have to be placed in the South Island. [Linked Image]
My only concern about basing a reactor here in NZ, is our suseptibility to earthquakes. [Linked Image]
They don't call us the Shaky Isles for nothing!. [Linked Image]

{Views expressed in this post are only my personal opinion}

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 93
Here in Belgium they introduced the policy to slowly phase them out. At present they account for about two-thirds of the capacity (Belgium is maybe in second place for nuclear after France)

The BIG drawback with them still appears to be the high costs of dealing with the spent fuel and of decomissioning the old reactors. Those costs it seems were hugely underestimated or even overlooked when they were installing the stations all through the 1960s and 1970s.

In my opinion the fuel reporocessing option seems to be worst of all. Costs a fortune to build the plant, requires long-distance shipments of spent fuel etc by plane or boat or train, which seems risky when you consider all the trouble they have been having in Germany lately, and historically at all the sites where in Europe where reprocessing has been carried out (at La Hague in France and in the UK at Sellafield and Dounray) there have always been problems with unwanted isotopes like Technetium and Strontium being discharged into the environment above the maximum levels. Although the reactors themselves generally have outstanding safety records, the reprocessing plants seem to be a nightmare.

My personal opinion: on the whole, although I am not completely against the idea of nuclear power, there are an awful lot of down-sides that are swept under the carpet even after the simple prejudice thing of "oh I don't want one of those by *my* house". The energy companies are doing no favours to themselves or to anyone by not levelling with us on ALL the costs and risks, because the general level of debate always seems to consist of the kneejerk mentioned earlier, counteracted by the pro-nuclear ones who generally downplay the genuine risks or costs when they think that there is a chance of them detracting from the chances of a lot of money being made in installing and running them.

Would you say that in NZ, that there is a lot of leeway to cut down the amount of power that is needed in the first place? I still believe there is too much wastage of power over here (one example: every kilometre of Belgian motorway is lit up as bright as day, all night long. Now, there's really no need, except for proper lighting at junctions and so on, like they have it in France and the UK. There is not a star in the night sky to be seen anywhere from Waterloo, just south of Brussels, right up to the Belgian coast, because the whole sky has that yellowy sodium glow to it)

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline

For a country like NZ or Ireland (similar size and population spread) Nuclear power would make very little sense.

The reprocessing costs, particularly given New Zealand's relative remoteness from any reprocessing centre would be absolutely enoromous and would outweigh any economic gains.

Also, the nuclear industry hasn't really made any great leaps forward in terms of safety in recent years or since chernobyl. The accident at Chernobyl was a combination of odd management structures and a very unfortunate case of human error. The design of the reactors at chernobyl is also very odd and similar units were never exported outside of the exUSSR.

The rest of the world's nuclear reactors are generally quite a lot safer but there has been no major improvement in terms of safety at these reactors in recent years.

In theory, if there was a major catastrophy at any of these plants there could be chernobyl-like problem all over again. Thankfully, most of them (outside of the former soviet countries) are well run.

The economics behind nuclear power are highly dubious too. Most plants operate with enormous indirect state supsidies. The justification for these is that the technology is so dangerous that it is in the public interest to ensure that safety standards are kept as high as possible. Hence, billions of tax payer euros, dollars or yen still pour into the industry to keep it working.

While, yes, it does not produce greenhouse gasses, the byproducts of a nuclear power are perhaps far worse than climate change which we could adapt and survive along side! Nuclear accidents cause damage that could last for millenia and wipe out all life in any given area.

Ireland's east coast is only a few miles away from Sellafield, the UK's largest reprocessing facility, and we've had signifigant problems with pollution and contamination fo the Irish sea... waste being pumped directly into the sea or dumped in sealed containers.. (this has been going on since the 1950s...

There are many better and ecologically sound alternatives that could be used.

e.g. the use of Biomass ... growing plants that can be used in power generation plants and farmed.. The new crops absorb CO2 as they grow, so when they're burned the net increase in CO2 levels cancels out.

Wind and hydro can make some contribution but they'll never be the full answer.

The nuclear power industry seemed to interlink directly with the development of nuclear weapons technology during the coldwar. It was simply a spin-off byproduct of arms developement in many ways. Some of the plants didn't even make sense without the context of nuclear weapons.

... I just hope NZ doesn't go the nuclear route!

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 04-17-2005).]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
Interesting turn this thread has taken. Talking of things taking a turn, the "windmills" are becoming much larger than the original versions. Some are now on the scale of megawatts and what began as the hobby of enthusiats has turned into an engineering challenge. The rotors are HUGE and demand advanced materials. Some new concepts have sprung up, like using DC for transmission of wind power: The rotor is allowed to spin at an rpm which is optimal with respect to the wind speed, independent of the power grid frequency.

The image of nuclear power as "high tech" is fading as wind and biomass are becoming more and more advanced.

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