Sep. 14th, 2013

hushpiper: (telephone game)
I am somewhat lame and have lately been focusing on boring adult things like working and keeping things clean and folding the bajillion clothes I just washed (my god, Matt, why do you have so many t-shirts?). So here, have a few things I've been rolling around in my head:

So, nukes, right? Nuclear power plants, to be more specific. Here in the US--and some other places as well--if you mention the words "nuclear" or "radiation", people immediately think "cancer", "cold war", and "danger". It's bad enough that the first thing the dental assistant says when I'm going in for an x-ray and she's fitting on the heavy lead jacket over me is, "The radiation really isn't dangerous, you know--that's just a myth--but we like to play it safe."

The thing is, the only power plants that produced meltdowns like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are the ones that were built with 70s technology (or earlier). Modern nuclear reactors produce little to no waste (some of the ones they're developing have completely closed fuel cycles--others are capable of using the depleted uranium that is the waste product of older reactors as their fuel), have no negative effect on the surrounding environment, and are incapable of melting down because they fail closed: if they start to overload, the reaction shuts down. This isn't a computer-based shutdown either, which would fail if the computers went offline--the reaction itself can't be sustained above certain temperatures. You couldn't make them melt down if you tried.

It bothers me that, even with my consistent interest in clean and sustainable energy going back to my high school years, I only found out about this a couple months ago. It seems like, since we're at the point where people are talking about not only "peak oil" but "peak energy", and running around clutching their hair trying to find alternative energies, it would be about time for the comeback of the one technology we have that actually has a chance of replacing fossil fuels for most of our energy needs. Right?

(By the way, with regards to the tooth x-ray: even if they'd left the lead jacket off, the radiation I got from that would only be about equivalent to flying from New York to LA and then back again: http://imgs.xkcd.com/blag/radiation.png I'm not too worried about it, to be quite honest.)

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hushpiper: tell her that's young / and shuns to have her graces spied / that hadst thou sprung / in deserts where no men abide (Default)
hushpiper

September 2013

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