Ep 27: Nuclear Power and the Environment; What Can Green Do For You?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is Nuclear Power and the Environment: What Can Green Do For You?

Sean and Ryver set the topic for tonight as restricted to the issues with purely peaceful nuclear power

The Philosophers talk about the wide variety of energy production sources

Sean posits that there is likely no perfect single energy solution, and asks what we should do until we figure out something better than what we have

Ryver and Bruce talk about what kind of improvements have occurred in nuclear technology

Sean and Ryver discuss the differences between the somewhat recent event of the Fukushima and the nuclear accident that most have at least heard of, Chernobyl

Sean touches on improvements in the technology to clean up nuclear accidents when they do occur

Ryver and Bruce talk about the parallels drawn in people’s minds between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons

Sean plays devil’s advocate to bring up the risk profile inherent to nuclear energy as opposed to other energy generation options

Ryver responds to Sean’s assessments with brief explanation of the material sciences dedicated to the further development of Nuclear energy

Bruce talks about the risk-reward profile of nuclear energy

Sean posits that we are dedicating resources that could go to developing and improving other energy generation methods

Ryver discusses the benefits of the research being done for Nuclear energy generation to other fields, such as space travel and exploration, to fields outside of nuclear energy

Sean counters Ryver’s point by explaining that without Nuclear power generation, we would not need these better materials and that, perhaps, we should not be investing too heavily into space exploration if we cannot maintain the world we have

Ryver talks about the reasons he views nuclear energy as a positive force, and that this should not stop us from working on renewable resources

Bruce brings up that the best way to manage the risk profile of different energy generation methods is the classic way of managing risk: diversification

Sean drops in the real and practical reason for focusing on fewer means of energy generation, that the research dollar is itself a limited resource.

Ryver talks about how more money in the development of a single technology can reach a point of diminishing returns

Bruce brings up the age of our existing nuclear energy plants, and how if we are going to limit the number of them, we should at least update the ones we have with the new technology

Sean and Ryver go back and forth on the bias towards nuclear power from the business and legislative perspective

Sean steps down from the position of Devil’s Advocate and speaks to how the newest generation of nuclear reactors can be a great boon to less developed nations

Ryver talks about Thorium pebble bed reactors, and how they would be perfect for a great many of these situations

Bruce discusses a few of the geopolitical ramifications of this

Sean and Bruce speak on the sensationalized reporting of the possible effects of nuclear power, and the similarities between this and the construction of the Large Hadron Collider

Ryver expounds on the clean-up efforts around Fukushima and what we are learning and improving on as a result of that

Sean talks about the benefits to our understanding of how the world works that have and can be brought about by nuclear research, and that we may perhaps owe this to future generations

Ryver and Bruce discuss in some depth the effects of our research into radiation on our ability to more safely exit Earth’s atmosphere

Sean and Bruce expand on how the mistakes we make ultimately lead us to greater understanding

Ryver takes the last word to talk about the social and political policy as relates to nuclear accidents and how attempting to cover up problems surrounding these accidents lead to greater lasting harm

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