This is the first Open Thread of 2011.
The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the broad theme of the blog (climate change, sustainability, energy, etc.). You can also find this thread by clicking on the Open Thread category on the cascading menu under the “Home” tab.
I like to kick of with a conversation starter on these threads. One ‘argument’ that is often pushed when anti-nuclear activists protest against the deployment of nuclear energy is that there is a risk, however minute, of some catastrophe. A recent example comes from the painfully unoriginal regurgitation of memes that was posted on Climate Spectator last week, “Behind’s Nuclear’s New Face“, where the author said:
One 1000 MW reactor generates about 20 tonnes of spent fuel every year. This is enough to poison millions of people, and will remain deadly for over 100,000 years.
One can only presume that she imagines this might occur via some magical intervention that allows for the complete aerosolation and dispersion of the fuel — a super-Chernobyl perhaps? The mind boggles…
But what caught my eye was one of the comments in response, where commenter “Maxwell Smith” said:
Julie is happy to put all eggs in the one basket, or maybe two baskets (solar and wind power). Another volcanic explosion the size of the Tambora (Indonesia) volcanic expolsion would virtually shutdown solar power generation for 2-3 years.
It’s an interesting take — especially because it’s a sound bite, and in debating situations, they are very useful. After all, if we relied largely on nuclear energy and intensive food production via mega-greenhouses etc. in the future (powered by nuclear heat, electricity, synthetic fuels and desalinated water), we’d have a much greater chance of getting through another such ‘supervolcano’ event with most of the human population intact.
Anyway, look forward to the comments on this, and just about anything else you want to raise, on climate change or sustainable energy…