Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Anti-nuclear Quote of the Day.

with 4 comments

“Of course it [nuclear energy] isn’t sustainable. When finite resources are consumed, the amount decreases. Clearly consumption of the resource is unsustainable. Didn’t we learn that with fossil fuels and fossil water?”

There’s no such thing as an infinite energy resource.

That’s the second law of thermodynamics.

In a thermodynamically isolated system, there’s no such thing as “renewable energy”.

Sooner or later the uranium runs out, sooner or later the radiological geothermal heat in the Earth runs out, sooner or later the hydrogen in the sun runs out… and sooner or later, the free energy of the universe runs out, and everything in existence ends.

There are no renewable energy resources, and there are no infinite energy resources – there are only those energy resources which are sustainable in practical terms over the foreseeable future of human civilisation on this planet.

In about 2.5 billion years time, the Andromeda galaxy and our own Milky Way galaxy are going to collide with each other and merge together. My astrophysics is a little bit rusty, but suffice to say that things could get a little interesting gravitationally for our solar system.

Planning things out regarding resource sustainability on Earth beyond such a timescale is impossible, and arguably, irrelevant.


4 Responses

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  1. I rather glad that the antinuclear forces have latched on to this as one of their major platforms in the debate. This is because it is not the usual appeal to fear that they used in the past that have been difficult to fight owing to the fact that they were base on a foundation of truth. The fact remains that radiation in large amounts is deadly and we had to argue about how much and how little was safe.

    This tact lacks any logical bases and that put us at an advantage. This is particularly true because we can use against them the same reductio ad absurdum arguments that they have used against us in the past to great effect.


    April 5, 2008 at 8:37 pm

  2. Nuclear fuel is not infinite, but with trillions of tons of uranium in the Earth’s crust, billions of recoverable tons of Uranium in the oceans, and several times as much thorium on Earth, there is no reason why nuclear fuel shouldn’t last for tens of thousands of years.

    Richard Shaw

    April 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

  3. 1 Ton of Uranium causes 2000 tons of radiative and pollutive waste material.

    And fossil fuels are needed for cleaning, preparation, transportation and enrichment.

    Where Uranium comes from: Niger, Gabun, Namibia, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, South-Africa, Russia, Australia. As you can see, most of them won’t have the 6,500,000,000 EUROs. Most of them are politically instable.

    Add the following costs to the energy consumption costs of Atomic Power:

    – Recovery of damages

    – Redevelopment of radioactive wastelands



    July 22, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  4. Tekknorg no offense vut, are you stupid? XD

    “1 Ton of Uranium causes 2000 tons of radiative and pollutive waste material.”

    So we even create 1999 tones of matter, wow.


    July 16, 2009 at 10:36 am

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