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Italy Votes To Abandon Nuclear Power 848

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-progress-the-boot dept.
ElementOfDestruction writes "Italy has joined Germany in halting the production of energy from atomic power generation. This differs from Germany in that the Italian decision was made by a public vote, rather than a government mandated shutdown. 57% of Italian Households voted in this public measure. While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?"
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Italy Votes To Abandon Nuclear Power

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  • by DMiax (915735) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:42AM (#36435762)

    There is more to this decision than simple "anti-scientific" feelings.

    First of all there is the trust we can have in people managing these beasts, i.e. zero. Our administrators are not the ones with public safety in mind. Google some info about two years' ago earthquake to see how well regulation on constructions works.

    Second and related, public works in Italy (and many private ones) are often just a way to throw money at your business friends. It is unlikely that something so big will be done in the most efficient and quick way. Most probably it will never recover the expenses, if it ever gets built.

    Third there is the timing problem. We are late to the train. Other countries alread recovered the initial expenses and only have to keep mantaining/improving. They can undercut us easily and we would end up buying from them anyway. (also notice we did not have plans for an erichment plant, so we would have to buy enriched uranium...)

    Fourth and related, the plants will arrive in no less than 20 years. Then this is essentially a bet on the price of uranium in 20 years. With many developing countries building plants I think this bet is a losing one...

    But yes, I am stupid and I only want to slow progress down, laugh at me.

  • Re:Terrible question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by klingens (147173) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:46AM (#36435822)

    Tell this the swiss. Their centuries old tradition of direct democracy was wrong all along!
    I'm sure they will gratefully adopt only representative democracy so they can be saved from their abject poverty and misery.

    PS: it's likely the Swiss will stop using nuclear power in the near future as well.

  • Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:46AM (#36435826)

    Sorry, if you have a logical argument as to why this is preposterous, please feel free to cover it. I'll add credentials to the above quote just for good measure, so you're aware of the source of this statement and why he may be in a position to make such a statement:

    Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment
    Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
    Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary
    Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

    David W. Keith is a Canadian environmental scientist. He is director of the ISEEE Energy and Environmental Systems Group at the University of Calgary. He is a geoengineer and published research scientist. He is noted for his work in carbon dioxide air capture, and has been featured on Five ways to save the world on the Discovery channel.[1] In 2006 Keith was selected by Canadian Geographic as Environmental Scientist of the Year and Time's Heroes of the Environment (2009).[2]

    By all means, please now back up your statement that his comparison is bankrupt with some form of proof. I think given the scale of air pollution, mining dangers and associated health issues and such makes his comparison quite a reasonable assertion.

  • Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:50AM (#36435904)

    "Last week’s E. coli outbreak in Germany - potentially traced to an organic farm - was more deadly than the largest nuclear disaster of the last quarter-century."
    -
    "According to World Health Organization statistics on E. coli deaths, in just the past two years, more people have been killed by the disease than all fission-related events since the dawn of the nuclear age - even if you include the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

    To put it into perspective.

  • by apetrelli (1308945) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:56AM (#36436010)

    Not true, Italy had four nuclear power plants:
    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia_nucleare_in_Italia#Centrali_elettronucleari [wikipedia.org]
    (sorry, Italian Wikipedia, English one has not such a table).

  • by hmbJeff (591813) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:57AM (#36436022)
    Nuclear is, at best, a faustian bargain--awful, but arguably less awful than a few other choices.

    While many Slashdotters happily wave away its real-world problems (waste, decommissioning, uninsurability, capital intensiveness, fuel supply, terrorism, non-distributed grid model, construction lead time and yes, slight potential for massive damage to life and property in a large geographic area) as irrelevant, many others are less sanguine. And that is not just because they are idiots--they look at the factors, weigh them and draw different conclusions.

    And there are alternatives that might well be better. A recent study [thinkprogress.org] by the California Energy Commission that looks at estimated costs of 21 types of energy generation facilities estimates that a gen-3 Westinghouse AP1000 1,000 MW Pressurized Water Reactor would generate electricity in 2018 (the first year any of them could be expected to reach operational status) for between $0.17/kWh and $0.34/kWh.

    The cost of solar PV today is already competitive with the high end of that range, and is dropping at a rapid pace [thinkprogress.org].

    This comes on the heels of another new report [bee-ev.de] showing that the free-market insurance costs for nuclear would add from ($0.20/kWh) to a staggering $3.40/kWh.

    If costs are the same or lower for renewable energy technologies that have numerous benefits and far fewer risks, why would rational people choose nuclear?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:44PM (#36437910) Homepage Journal
    http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/chernob_report2011webippnw.pdf [nirs.org]

    http://wn.com/Victims_of_Chernobyl_disaster [wn.com]

    you can find many other sources that paint a precise picture. you will also find many researches (mainly by anglo-american think thanks) downplaying, even nullifying chernobyl.

    the truth can only be seen locally, if you have friends, neighbors in the areas affected.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=youth+cancer+rate+around+black+sea+chernobyl&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a [google.com]
  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @02:38PM (#36439438) Homepage

    No amount of backup power would have saved Fukushima.

    The whole story still is not out yet, but all three operating reactors at the time of the quake experienced major cooling loss prior to the tsunami. It's been publicly reported about Unit I. But it is also the case for II and III, and this truth will come out in time. It is in the details of the IAEA findings. They will be forced to report it as soon as they get workers into Units II and III to actually view those RPVs. I *do* find it amazing that they completely melted down, and the RPVs remained mostly intact, and contained the molten fuel. They were able to cool it somewhat with the seawater, I guess.

    Bottom line is, all three units did not withstand the quake that they were designed and certified to withstand. The tsunami was a fortunate side-effect, to cover-up this fact.

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