Ecologic Meeting October 27, 2014

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Nuclear Power


General Points

  • We don't have the luxury to say no to this
  • Risk society - If we don't invest, we won't know how it'll turn out, but if we do, there might be a lot of negative effects
  • Social justice issues - Workers' rights (does something seem cheaper because workers aren't being paid enough?)
  • Comparisons to fossil fuels and comparisons to solar/wind/etc it will look different
  • Government influence
  • Very little new research; most done in 50s. Reactor designs also from 50s. Safety could be improved using newer designs.
  • Lockheed Martin developed new design for fursion reactor. Many others have done so, as well.
  • "Fusion's been twenty years away for the past forty years."

Alternative Energy

  • More deaths in solar industry than in nuclear industry -- casualties in mining for minerals used in solar panels. Greenwashing.
  • Rare earth metals used in solar panels aren't renewable. Maybe different solar panels could be designed.
  • Regardless of what energy source we use, we'll still need to mine for lithium.
  • Though maybe we'll discover or develop a different material instead.


  • If we produced helium, that would be good.
  • We already have a lot, we just use it for balloons. Also medical devices.
  • Many other uses -- crystals, diodes.
  • Is the amount produced by fusion more than trivial?

Old Reactors

  • Old reactors are dangerous. Should we shut them down? But it's a large amount of sustainable power, especially in France.
  • Older reactors might actually be safer, because the design has been proven safe, plus we know it's not defective. People are cautious about building new ones.
  • Some old reactors (such as in Eastern European countries) were designed to be cheap, and aren't as safe.
  • Closing of nuclear power plant in Vermont because it's old and expensive to operate. It had provided 35% percent of the energy consumed by Vermont.


  • Fukushima wasn't that bad (editorial note: yes it was). Safety measures weren't in place.
  • But exposed people have a higher risk of cancer. Apparently it's only about 6% higher, though.


  • Jesse
  • Elizabeth
  • Sarah
  • Brendan
  • Karel
  • Natalie
  • Alex
  • Fiona
  • William
  • Nate