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Thread: B.C.'s Peace River Site C hydroelectric dam

  1. #1

    Default B.C.'s Peace River Site C hydroelectric dam

    I thought this was interesting in light of the real risks and negative views regarding new pipelines....

    Here they are putting a lot of ecosystem permanently under water (In different measures 5,500 hectrares is 55 square Km, 13+ thousand acres, 20 square miles or so, so it's a lot of valley forest land etc. to destroy.) So questions. I see the land around Ft. McMurray being a rather homogeneous ecosystem but I see B.C's valleys as containing rather unique ecosystems. Am I totally wrong in that view? Also, I see a potential pipeline leak as being environmentally disastrous and causing long term environmental damage but nothing on the scale of permanently flooding an entire valley causing a bit more complete and total environmental destruction than an oil spill. However, is flooding a valley just moving the ecosystem uphill from where it was?




    B.C. green lights Site C dam to power future energy needs
    THE CANADIAN PRESS, DECEMBER 16, 2014

    excerpt:

    "The dam would be the third on the Peace River, flooding 5,550 hectares of land over an 83-kilometre stretch of valley..."
    ...

    "Last spring's joint review panel report weighing the project found the dam would cause significant adverse effects on the environment and wildlife, as well as aboriginals, farmers and other users of the Peace River valley.

    But the benefits are clear and the alternatives, few, the panel appointed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority said in its 471-page report...."
    ...

    "BC Hydro's environmental impact report issued last year concluded a diverse range of wildlife species, including birds, bats, butterflies and fish destined to suffer habitat destruction from Site C, but the utility has plans to reduce and prevent harm to area wildlife and ecosystems.

    Among Hydro's measures to reduce the potential loss from its proposed project are..."

    http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/n...eeds-1.1685356
    Last edited by KC; 17-12-2014 at 02:58 PM.

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    Seeing that this could potentially affect Alberta's environment (the Peace River, and the area of the province named after it), perhaps we need a transmission line from this dam to the oilsands or to Edmonton and Calgary?
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    I drove through the area on a motorcycle a few summers ago, and it truly is beautiful. It would be sad to see a lot of it underwater, but at the same time, what's the alternative? Generating that kind of energy from natural gas, oil, or coal would be far more environmentally destructive, and nuclear is a complete non-starter with most of the population these days. Wind and solar aren't viable base load power sources at this time, if they ever will be. It's not perfect, but it seems a lot better than the alternatives.

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    ^Reservoirs can be beautiful albeit in a different way. One of my favourite drives is beside Abraham Lake along the David Thompson Highway, with the sun reflecting off the torquoise water. Lake Minnewanka and the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes are reservoirs and all quite beautiful.

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    ^ The water is pretty, but a slightly closer look at Lake Abraham shows the highly artificial nature of the reservoir, with rapidly eroding unstable shorelines and unnaturally large "beach" areas at low water. In BC, some dams were constructed so hastily that the logging industry didn't even have time to cut the trees before the reservoirs were filled. Hopefully they don't make the same mistake this time.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^ The water is pretty, but a slightly closer look at Lake Abraham shows the highly artificial nature of the reservoir, with rapidly eroding unstable shorelines and unnaturally large "beach" areas at low water. In BC, some dams were constructed so hastily that the logging industry didn't even have time to cut the trees before the reservoirs were filled. Hopefully they don't make the same mistake this time.
    Yeah, I recall stories that you couldn't boat or canoe in some areas as the trees would let lose and rise to the surface like spears.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    I drove through the area on a motorcycle a few summers ago, and it truly is beautiful. It would be sad to see a lot of it underwater, but at the same time, what's the alternative? Generating that kind of energy from natural gas, oil, or coal would be far more environmentally destructive, and nuclear is a complete non-starter with most of the population these days. Wind and solar aren't viable base load power sources at this time, if they ever will be. It's not perfect, but it seems a lot better than the alternatives.
    Conservation maybe? Fewer glass walled condo buildings, etc.

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    Conservation is good, but North Americans still need to get over their irrational, paranoid fear of nuclear energy.

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    Nuclear energy comes with its own set of challenges, not all of them based on paranoia.

    Conservation should be a top priority. However, there will still be a need for more electricity generation as more transportation infrastructure switches to electric to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, for example.

    All electricity generation comes with negative impacts. This includes renewables where opposition to large solar arrays and industrial wind turbines is increasing. Morever, as Marcel points out, solar and wind are not suitable for base load (or peak load) generation now or for the forseeable future.

    Technologies and environmental standards for dam and reservoir construction have significantly improved since many of the old dams in Alberta or BC were constructed. Should the Site C Dam and reservoir be built, it will be to a high standard.

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    I travel in that area extensively, the drive between Chetwynd and Fort St John is absolutely stunning. This dam will be downstream from the village of Hudson Hope.
    The area that will be flooded is mostly marginal farms, and some scrub bush and marshland.
    There are some interesting rock formations in the river at Hudson Hope but I think these will be upstream of the resevoir.
    Overall, I think the resevoir will be an improvement in appearance when full, not great if it's empty.
    I strongly encourage anybody to make the drive. The scenery is nicer than anything in Western Canada but the rockies.

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    ^ Yup, gorgeous up there, and an area that not a lot of casual visitors go to
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Conservation is good, but North Americans still need to get over their irrational, paranoid fear of nuclear energy.
    Here here. Nuclear power is immensely safe, and the generation 3 and 4 nuclear reactors are getting to the point of producing no waste. It's the only viable, environmentally safe option as far as I'm concerned. You only have to look at how France, who almost entirely uses nuclear power, has one of the most reliable, cheapest, and lowest polluting electrical grids in the world.

    And historically conservation is not the answer. We've actually made huge strides in household energy efficiency and reduction, but have simply shifted the demand in new ways. For example, I think few people realize their smartphones use about the same energy in a year as a refrigerator does, once you consider the power it takes to run the network and servers for it. We do great work to save energy, but then end up just using it in other ways.

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    ^ agreed, especially on the last point.

    50 years ago, a 60amp service was standard in new homes.

    Nowadays, it's 200amps

    Our stuff has gotten more efficient, but we've got way more stuff now
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    ^ I understand that it is better to oversize your electrical service than undersize it and the marginal cost of going from 100 A to 200 A in new construction is small, but it would take an awful lot of electronic gadgets to tax even a 100 A service. If your heating appliances are all gas powered (furnace, water heater, range, clothes dryer), even 60 A is still plenty.

    ^^ No waste is overstating things, there will always be fission products that will need to be sequestered for a few hundred years, but doing so is easier than properly cleaning up after any sort of fossil fueled generation. People seem to have difficulty wrapping their heads around the time scales of nuclear energy. They worry about "what to do with the waste" when the "waste" from yesterday's reactors could be the fuel for tomorrow's reactors. There doesn't need to be a firm plan yet - the spent fuel rods will be stable for a hundred years or more and the longer you wait the easier the reprocessing gets as the short-lived, highly radioactive fission products decay away.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph60 View Post
    I travel in that area extensively, the drive between Chetwynd and Fort St John is absolutely stunning. This dam will be downstream from the village of Hudson Hope.
    The area that will be flooded is mostly marginal farms, and some scrub bush and marshland.
    There are some interesting rock formations in the river at Hudson Hope but I think these will be upstream of the resevoir.
    Overall, I think the resevoir will be an improvement in appearance when full, not great if it's empty.
    I strongly encourage anybody to make the drive. The scenery is nicer than anything in Western Canada but the rockies.
    The thing is, when it comes to the environment, it doesn't have to be scenic to be important. Eg. Marshland isn't generally valued but I imagine it can be ecologically important to the area. However, if you're going to flood the whole area... a generation later no one will care in the slightest.

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    Its just water, there will be a lot of life in that deep lake too. One thing about nuclear that Im afraid of in todays world is terrorism. Causing a dam to burst would be terrible, a refinery to burn up awful, but damaging nuclear installations .......

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    ^... Would be very difficult and no worse than any of the other things you mention. The largest ever loss of life related to a power generation mishap was a Chinese dam failure that killed hundreds of thousands. The only nuclear related incident that killed people on that scale was the bombing of Hiroshima. The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 killed tens of thousands, but the reactor meltdowns and explosions that followed killed only a handful.
    If you are a terrorist, there are much softer targets than a nuclear powerplant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^ I understand that it is better to oversize your electrical service than undersize it and the marginal cost of going from 100 A to 200 A in new construction is small, but it would take an awful lot of electronic gadgets to tax even a 100 A service. If your heating appliances are all gas powered (furnace, water heater, range, clothes dryer), even 60 A is still plenty.
    Even without gas appliances, really. We have a 70amp service to the house currently, and we're running central a/c in the summer, all electric appliances including a giant power sucking Sub-Zero fridge, we've consistently got three computers running and all the other modern doo-dads, haven't tripped a breaker yet since we've been in the house.

    I will need to upgrade this spring as I want to trench power to the garage, and I need two 20amp circuits.. one for a compressor and one for my little MIG. So I'll need a new panel and new feeder, but that's a little exceptional and most could likely do without.

    I think it has more to do with current code than anything. 200amp does seem excessive. I have a 150amp panel at the house in Parkdale and there is WAY more power available for that little house than you could ever reasonably use
    Last edited by 240GLT; 19-12-2014 at 09:06 AM.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Its just water, there will be a lot of life in that deep lake too. One thing about nuclear that Im afraid of in todays world is terrorism. Causing a dam to burst would be terrible, a refinery to burn up awful, but damaging nuclear installations .......
    Life... Well maybe not. I read somewhere that the water behind a dam is often quite dead.

    On nuclear, pick up a copy of Command and Control. It deals with nuclear weapons accidents but is still insightful in terms of maintaining complex systems.

    Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
    http://www.amazon.ca/Command-Control.../dp/0143125788


    Also, when the Fukushima reactor failed, they interviewed one of the original scientists that determined the placement.



    "We thought we had taken adequate precautions for a tsunami but what happened was beyond our expectations." - Prof. Akito Amoto




    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Rumour has it that Japan is going to gather up all the designers, builders, and executives and offer them a free tour of the plant.


    I vote this for Quote of the Century:

    "We thought we had taken adequate precautions for a tsunami but what happened was beyond our expectations." - Prof. Akito Amoto

    or this

    "We are not in a position where we can be optimistic." - current Japanese Prime Minister

    see about the 2:20 min mark
    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/wor...ner.nhk?hpt=C2

    Japan's Prime Minister: Nuclear Situation Grave
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...ituation-grave
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...reply&p=357707
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...reply&p=443389



    In The Public Interest: An Unacceptable Risk, Two Decades of "Close Calls," Leaks and Other Problems at U.S. Nuclear Reactors
    Johanna Neumann, U.S. PIRG Safe Energy Advocate, 03/29/2011

    "Since 1979, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rated 17 instances at nuclear power plants in the U.S. as a "significant precursor" of core damage, meaning the risk of a serious accident increased dramatically. There have been four of these instances since 1990. For example:..."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann..._b_842165.html



    ~
    Last edited by KC; 19-12-2014 at 11:09 AM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Its just water, there will be a lot of life in that deep lake too. One thing about nuclear that Im afraid of in todays world is terrorism. Causing a dam to burst would be terrible, a refinery to burn up awful, but damaging nuclear installations .......
    There's very little risk. The idea of a nuclear reactor becoming the next Chernobyl is pretty much an impossibility today.

    The chernobyl reactor was already a very out-of-date design when it was built, and the reactor was basically contained in a quonset, which allowed the radiation to escape. Even old reactors in North America use extremely thick concrete containment, and current / future designs are becoming even safer. The Experimental Breeder Reactor II in the US, for example, cannot experience a meltdown due to a negative feedback loop in the design (they've even tried to force a meltdown on it and it wouldn't).

    The idea of terrorists stealing nuclear material to make bombs is also pretty much a James Bond fiction. There's very little fuel and waste to steal in a modern plant, and the safety containment alone (not to mention security) makes them very inaccessible. If you were a terrorist, there's much cheaper, easier ways to cause havoc.

    Although hydro power is emissions-clean, it does cause huge environmental impacts upstream and downstream that can very difficult to predict and will never be undone. The damming of the Colorado River, for example, ended up having massive environmental and social effects throughout the United States. Often at extreme financial cost in the long-run.
    Last edited by halocore; 19-12-2014 at 02:18 PM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by halocore View Post
    There's very little risk. The idea of a nuclear reactor becoming the next Chernobyl is pretty much an impossibility today.
    Isn't that what they said before Chernobyl and Fukishima? If it is so impossible, why is Ontario requiring iodine pills to be handed out to residents living near the plants? You trust infaliability of engineering / humans / worn parts replacement, etc,. a lot more than I do. Not to say, I don't think a hydro plant is hugely environmentally damaging, almost as bad as all those Beaver dams causing global warming (per that thread).

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by halocore View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Its just water, there will be a lot of life in that deep lake too. One thing about nuclear that Im afraid of in todays world is terrorism. Causing a dam to burst would be terrible, a refinery to burn up awful, but damaging nuclear installations .......
    There's very little risk. The idea of a nuclear reactor becoming the next Chernobyl is pretty much an impossibility today.

    The chernobyl reactor was already a very out-of-date design when it was built, and the reactor was basically contained in a quonset, which allowed the radiation to escape. Even old reactors in North America use extremely thick concrete containment, and current / future designs are becoming even safer. The Experimental Breeder Reactor II in the US, for example, cannot experience a meltdown due to a negative feedback loop in the design (they've even tried to force a meltdown on it and it wouldn't).

    The idea of terrorists stealing nuclear material to make bombs is also pretty much a James Bond fiction. There's very little fuel and waste to steal in a modern plant, and the safety containment alone (not to mention security) makes them very inaccessible. If you were a terrorist, there's much cheaper, easier ways to cause havoc.

    Although hydro power is emissions-clean, it does cause huge environmental impacts upstream and downstream that can very difficult to predict and will never be undone. The damming of the Colorado River, for example, ended up having massive environmental and social effects throughout the United States. Often at extreme financial cost in the long-run.
    Security? You mean like the security we place on Parliament Hill - since we've known for years that it's a prime terrorist target? Yet some mentally ill guy just runs right through the front door.

    Drones, missiles, truck-bombs, etc. might blast a stockpile beside a plant and freak out a few people. Or they just fly a plane into the side of a plant.

  23. #23

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    Because, like Chernobyl & Fukishima, the reactors in Canada are Generation II-style & not the more recent Generation III & Generation IV reactors.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Happily ignoring the ignorant rather than getting in a battle of wits with unarmed opponents.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Drones, missiles, truck-bombs, etc. might blast a stockpile beside a plant and freak out a few people. Or they just fly a plane into the side of a plant.
    Thorium is far safer than anything we've got going today & alleviates much of the possible accident & terror plots.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium..._nuclear_power

    Also, keep in mind that coal isn't exactly radiation-free either.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...nuclear-waste/
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Because, like Chernobyl & Fukishima, the reactors in Canada are Generation II-style & not the more recent Generation III & Generation IV reactors.
    So you think the Nuclear watchdog wouldn't have ordered that iodine pills be handed out, if thes perfectly engineered and impossible to fail new generations were the plants in Ontario?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/...ticle19304623/

    It is proposing the tablets be pre-distributed within the “plume” area of radiation, of about 10 kilometres, for a selective portion of the population. In the Greater Toronto Area, that means about a quarter-million people.
    I don't, because like me, I suspect the watchdog realizes nothing is infalible when it comes to people and their machines.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Because, like Chernobyl & Fukishima, the reactors in Canada are Generation II-style & not the more recent Generation III & Generation IV reactors.
    So why the Iodine pills?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/...ticle19304623/
    Because they live next to reactors of a style, safety & technology level inconsistent with the current, far safer, generations of design. Just because we CAN build much safer reactors now does not make old reactors safer & as reactor safety systems are intrinsically part of the reactor design as a whole, modern safety systems are not readily backported to older designs. They live next to Generation II plants. Nobody builds Generation II plants any more. Discussing the foibles of Generation II plants when we'd never build a Generation II plant in Alberta seems to just be fearmongering.

    It's like saying you shouldn't buy a Ford today because Pintos in the 70s exploded when you hit them.
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  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Because, like Chernobyl & Fukishima, the reactors in Canada are Generation II-style & not the more recent Generation III & Generation IV reactors.
    I should have been more clear in my tenses that I was referring to modern / future facilities. Though I will point out that even with older facilities, there are big differences between Chernobyl and Canada's reactors. Chernobyl had no way to contain the radiation of a meltdown. The CANDU reactors are build with very strong containment.

    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Security? You mean like the security we place on Parliament Hill - since we've known for years that it's a prime terrorist target? Yet some mentally ill guy just runs right through the front door.

    Drones, missiles, truck-bombs, etc. might blast a stockpile beside a plant and freak out a few people. Or they just fly a plane into the side of a plant.
    First off I think it's a far stretch to compare the security on parliament (which is by definition an open-door public building) to that of a nuclear power plant. And sure any scenario is possible, but those are pretty wild circumstances. As has been said, they are way, way softer targets for a terrorist to go after.

    And ultimately what's the greater risk? The statistically extremely, extremely remote chance of a terrorist attack that in all likelihood, in a modern nuclear facility, would hurt very few people, versus the tens of thousands of known deaths every year world worldwide and environmental harm that is caused by coal power generation?

  28. #28

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_CANDU_reactor

    This, or derivatives, would be what we'd likely have built in Alberta.
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  29. #29

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    I don't get the big attraction some people have to fission reactors, asides from the risks, they aren't renewable needing nuclear fuel, they leave behind waste that requires storage for thousands of years, and they aren't economic (requiring massive government subsidies, which is why there have been none new built by the private sector in North America for years).

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    I don't get the big attraction some people have to fission reactors, asides from the risks, they aren't renewable needing nuclear fuel, they leave behind waste that requires storage for thousands of years, and they aren't economic (requiring massive government subsidies, which is why there have been none new built by the private sector in North America for years).
    Yeah. Solar and wind may not be cheap yet but up front they offer a lot more financial and engineering flexibility compared to the massive up front risk of nuclear... and then ongoing risk of nuclear.

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    ^^Uranium and thorium are not renewable, but a small amount can produce a very large amount of energy, and that energy is available when it is needed. For solar and wind to have a large share of the total generation capacity they will need backup, either from massive batteries that still need some R&D (see sodium sulfur battery) or natural gas generators. Hydro can provide some load balancing, but storage capacity is limited and that mode of operation results in rapidly changing river flows and reservoir levels, which has negative environmental impacts of its own.

    Nuclear is expensive, but even the massive cost overruns on many of Ontario's reactors did not contribute as much to the high cost of power there as subsidies for solar and wind. Wastes need to be stored for hundreds of years, not thousands, as most of the radioactivity remaining after about 300 years is from heavy elements which can be used to fuel future reactors. By that point the fission products are less radioactive than the uranium ore that was used to fuel the reactor.

  32. #32

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    In a half century or more that these plants are around technologies and the lack of them could present a whole new set of unexpected issues.

    Britain's atomic power plants 'could be attacked by drones'
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-9938086.html

    New Mexico nuclear waste accident a 'horrific comedy of errors' that exposes deeper problems
    http://www.theecologist.org/News/new..._problems.html

    Seismic Faults Pose Risk to California Nuclear Power Plant / Sputnik International
    http://sputniknews.com/us/20141203/1015469442.html
    Last edited by KC; 21-12-2014 at 12:30 AM.

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    Chernobyl used graphite as the neutron moderator. The operators disabled the safety systems while running a power test. when the reactor went critical, it was so hot the graphite caught fire. On top of that, no concret containment, so when they poured water in to douse the fire, the radioactive steam and particles vented.

    All of Canada's nuclear power plant reactors are based on the CANDU design and use concrete containment. They also use Heavy Water (di-Deuterium oxide as opposed to the regular di-hydrogen oxide) as the moderator to slow the neutrons. The safety systems are fail safe with multiple back ups.

    I took a trip once to see the mighty Peace River past Dawson Creek to Fort St. John then on up to Hudson's Hope and the WAC Bennett Hydro Dam. It is impressive! A must see. That valley is amazingly picturesque. Would love to fly an aircraft low level through it.

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^^Uranium and thorium are not renewable, but a small amount can produce a very large amount of energy, and that energy is available when it is needed.
    I just think when add up all the various accidents, employee saftey issues, constant maintenance, nuclear waste storage, and huge subsidies required, it doesn't make any sense unless you plan to use the by products to produce nuclear weapons. This is the true face of an atomic power plant, a uranium mine, not so different from fossil fuels coal or oil sands:



    http://cjme.com/story/sask-benefit-c...greement/66340

    One of many cases recently of workers being injured or killed, this time by leaking nitrogen at a nuclear plant, and this is a "super safe" brand new plant under construction in Korea. It also raise the specter of hackers breaking into the control systems, I can live with somone hacking into a gas power plant, but a nuclear one?:

    http://o.canada.com/news/3-s-korean-...struction-site
    Last edited by moahunter; 30-12-2014 at 04:52 PM.

  35. #35

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    what about hackers breaking into dam control systems? Lets open all these taps full blast.

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    what about hackers breaking into dam control systems? Lets open all these taps full blast.
    Downstream flood response is something that can be better planned for because of the known parameters whereas a nuclear issue creates a far, far broader range of potential iterative outcomes depending on response, climate, etc.

    New research into safer nuclear fuels though may someday make nuclear very safe.

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    there have been at least 55 major dam failures in the past 50 years and hundreds of small ones.

    that includes more than a dozen major failures in the us and several in canada so it's not just a third world problem.

    the worst killed 26,000 people immediately with another 145,000 dying from subsequent famine and epidemics as 11 million people were displaced.

    most of them are due to "human" error in the original design or subsequent maintenance (or lack thereof).

    security however is also becoming a greater concern:

    "Iraq's largest dam is at the epicenter of fierce fighting between ISIS and the Kurdish Peshmerga. But whoever ends up holding the dam will face a serious challenge just ensuring that the neglected dam does not fail.

    Kurdish forces currently hold the Mosul Dam, according to the dam's director. However, even if the Kurds maintain their control over the dam, the dam's structural flaws and poor state of maintenance present a serious risk to all of down-river Iraq.

    The Army Corps of Engineers found in 2007 that the dam had an exceptionally high probability of failure. If the dam were to collapse, it could kill an estimated half-million people from flooding, power outages, loss of farmland, and eventual drought. According to the New Yorker, the capital of Baghdad could see about 15 feet of water."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/mosul...#ixzz3NUo5afyt
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    /\Speaking of security I was very surprised at the security I've encountered visiting dams this year. I went to the Hoover Dam this spring and the security guard took a short look through my car.
    When I went to the Bennett dam in BC there was a guardhouse about a kilometer away from the dam, the guards questioned me about why I wanted to look at it, they also looked through my car and recorded my name and licence plate number.
    I was very surprised that the security in BC was much more serious than that in the U.S..

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    there have been at least 55 major dam failures in the past 50 years and hundreds of small ones.

    that includes more than a dozen major failures in the us and several in canada so it's not just a third world problem.

    the worst killed 26,000 people immediately with another 145,000 dying from subsequent famine and epidemics as 11 million people were displaced.

    most of them are due to "human" error in the original design or subsequent maintenance (or lack thereof).

    security however is also becoming a greater concern:

    "Iraq's largest dam is at the epicenter of fierce fighting between ISIS and the Kurdish Peshmerga. But whoever ends up holding the dam will face a serious challenge just ensuring that the neglected dam does not fail.

    Kurdish forces currently hold the Mosul Dam, according to the dam's director. However, even if the Kurds maintain their control over the dam, the dam's structural flaws and poor state of maintenance present a serious risk to all of down-river Iraq.

    The Army Corps of Engineers found in 2007 that the dam had an exceptionally high probability of failure. If the dam were to collapse, it could kill an estimated half-million people from flooding, power outages, loss of farmland, and eventual drought. According to the New Yorker, the capital of Baghdad could see about 15 feet of water."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/mosul...#ixzz3NUo5afyt


    Residents below aging B.C. dam warned: in case of major earthquake, get out in 10 minutes or die

    Dec 29, 2014, National Post
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/12...inutes-or-die/

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph60 View Post
    /\Speaking of security I was very surprised at the security I've encountered visiting dams this year. I went to the Hoover Dam this spring and the security guard took a short look through my car.
    When I went to the Bennett dam in BC there was a guardhouse about a kilometer away from the dam, the guards questioned me about why I wanted to look at it, they also looked through my car and recorded my name and licence plate number.
    I was very surprised that the security in BC was much more serious than that in the U.S..
    Yeah it's like airports checking everyone's shoes but loading unchecked cargo... some nut could likely float a barge full of dynamite right up to one without anyone blinking.

  41. #41

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    Site "C" impacts below. But our pipelines are so evil because they "might" leak and "might" do a lot of damage. Killing a valley eco-system and altering hundreds or thousands of kilometres of downstream eco-systems is ok though.

    Of course, this immediate and massive destruction may enable BC to sell us hydro so we can shut down our dirty coal plants which over a hundred years or more will slowly contribute 0.01% (or some such impact) to a warmer earth.

    With it's impacts on Alberta too:



    Peace River delta: The Peace River delta is a huge freshwater delta located downstream in Alberta where the Peace River meets the Athabasca-Slave River system at the west end of Lake Athabasca. It is of international importance and has been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site. The wetlands of the delta have already been significantly affected by the WAC Bennett dam because of alteration of the river’s natural flow regime. No environmental assessment was carried out when that dam was constructed in the 60’s. It is unclear how serious the effects of the new proposed project will be for the delta as the necessary environmental studies have not been conducted.


    source: see below


    Peace River Site C hydroelectric proposal, northeastern British Columbia


    Site C, a mega hydroelectric project is planned for the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. The proposed dam would create a reservoir stretching more than a hundred kilometres (LINK) along the river and its tributaries. It would flood critical wildlife habitat, prime farmland, and historical and First Nations cultural sites. It will likely have detrimental effects on the Peace River delta, a United Nations World Heritage Site downstream.

    Wildlife habitat: The section of the Peace to be flooded forms a critical ecological link in the south to north Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Conservation Initiative. Hydro development threatens to sever this link for species such as the grizzly bear. The Peace River Valley provides the only breach in the Rocky Mountains and hence is an important east-west corridor for wildlife. Wildlife have already been drastically affected by development along the Peace, especially by the WAC Bennett dam and its huge reservoir which were constructed farther upstream in the 1960’s.

    Peace River delta: The Peace River delta is a huge freshwater delta located downstream in Alberta where the Peace River meets the Athabasca-Slave River system at the west end of Lake Athabasca. It is of international importance and has been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site. The wetlands of the delta have already been significantly affected by the WAC Bennett dam because of alteration of the river’s natural flow regime. No environmental assessment was carried out when that dam was constructed in the 60’s. It is unclear how serious the effects of the new proposed project will be for the delta as the necessary environmental studies have not been conducted.

    Farmland: Only a tiny fraction of British Columbia is suitable for agriculture. Much of the Province’s food is imported. One would have thought that the protection of the Province’s prime farm land would be a top priority. Think again! The portion of the Peace River Valley that would be lost due to flooding by the Site C dam includes a large area of class 1 and class 2 farmland, which is considered the best in northeastern BC.

    There is fierce opposition to the Site C project from environmentalists, farmers, and First Nations.

    In October 2014, a federal-provincial Joint Review Panel granted environmental assessment approval of the project.

    In November 2014, local First Nations filed a law suit to stop the project due to the devastating effects which it would have on their traditional lands. Alberta First Nations filed a separate lawsuit claiming that the downstream effects of the project on the Peace River Delta have not be properly considered.

    In December 2014, the BC government approved the project.

    In May 2015, Heritage Canada National Trust designated the Peace River as one of Canada's 10 Most Endangered Places because the Site C project will destroy many First Nations traditional and sacred sites, other historical sites, wildlife habitat and prime farmland.

    The site C project, which was first developed nearly half a century ago, and has been rejected in the past, must be rejected once again.




    http://www.canadianecosystemsallianc...ic-development



  42. #42

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    Not saying that the Dam is a good thing, but that's not an un-biased source there. In the area of the Dam the river valley is much like the north saskatchwan in Edmonton - what will be flooded is the valley, not the agricultural land above. Likewise, the reference to the Y2Y wildlife corridor is perhaps even less valid than when a non-existant CANAMEX highway was used to prioritize some alberta highways. It's nothing like the actual migration corridors that really do need to be protected.
    There can only be one.

  43. #43

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    I know little of it so must rely on what pops up in google. (Just trying to make a point that dams and hydro aren't so great either. We have our so called "dirty oil" that gets international condemnation and the supposed environmentally-more-friendly entities get to "fly under the radar" despite the damage they do. The global environmental movement has essentially taken its eye off local, discrete and dramatic ground level environmental destruction to put all its focus on air pollution.)


    One to read below. Interesting comments and speculation about the impacts on the agricultural land above. (BTW, agricultural land also represent eco-systems that have been eradicated. We need farmland, but as we lambast oil-sands development, we shouldn't forget how much is destroyed to produce food, a lot of which gets discarded. Ever leave food on your plate or let it go bad in the fridge?)


    Impact of Site C Dam on B.C. Farmland Far More Dire Than Reported, Local Farmers Show
    By Sarah Cox, January 7, 2016


    http://www.desmog.ca/2016/01/07/impa...l-farmers-show
    Last edited by KC; 09-09-2016 at 12:14 PM.

  44. #44

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    World's wilderness reduced by a tenth since 1990s
    By Helen Briggs, BBC, 9 September 2016

    Excerpt:
    ...
    James Watson of the University of Queensland, Australia, and the US Wildlife Conservation Society in New York said wilderness areas "are completely ignored in environmental policy".

    "International policy mechanisms must recognise the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late," said Prof Watson.

    "We probably have one to two decades to turn this around."

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37307519
    Last edited by KC; 09-09-2016 at 07:45 PM.

  45. #45
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
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    I still remember this cover gracing the store shelves when I was 15. How much have we learnt or changed since 1989?


  46. #46

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    Well, I see the other headline is about the HUD scandal, so clearly in answer to how much have we learnt or changed? It's nada.

  47. #47
    I'd rather C2E than work!
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    Wanting to stop the making of electricity in the west by stopping coal fired thermal plants and hydro dams will leave us no choice but to buy from Quebecs extensive hydro power facilities in the future. A deal to send hydro power to the west in exchange for oil to the east perhaps ?

  48. #48

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    We can hope for carbon capture technologies to save the day.

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