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No, Chernobyl illustrated the disastrous design of graphite reactors.  The Soviets built these to produce bomb plutonium as well as electricity.  They have channels in the them which, if a fire starts, suck oxygen down inside the reactor to feed the fire.

No country today would dream of building a graphite reactor.  China and India, as they expand their nuclear power, are going to use state of the art designs that are safe and efficient.

Nuclear power supplies some or all of the electricity used by a billion people to light up their homes and hospitals and schools.  In parts of the world without electricity, the average lifespan is 43.

I do not feel that it is correct from my comfortable perch in an energy-rich society to be dictating to developing countries a limitation on their sources of electricity.  However, for their own good, I do feel that they need to be helped not to build more fossil fuel plants--because they will be screwed by the consequences along with the rest of us.

Obviously wind and solar technology would be a great boon to these countries.  Especially in areas off the grid.  But to develop, they require baseload energy, and there are only two main sources:  nuclear, which, relative to fossil fuels, is practically emissions-free, or fossil fuels, which are heating up the planet and creating conditions for mass extinction of species and destruction of a good portion of humanity.

by Plan9 on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 09:25:06 AM EST
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I think we'll just have to agree to disagree about what Chernobyl illustrates. I think you are very naive to assume that the countries currently considering going nuclear won't look at shall we say 'multiple applications' for those plants, and will adhere to safety standards that are going to make it - especially when you consider that nuclear plants in developed nations still have a range of significant safety concerns, especially the older ones.

"I do not feel that it is correct from my comfortable perch in an energy-rich society to be dictating to developing countries a limitation on their sources of electricity."

I just have to pull that out and ask that you contrast it with what you wrote about indigenous people and mining/waste disposal. Your perch seems to have a switch for altering the degree of comfort you feel on certain ethical questions.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 05:01:16 PM EST
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