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Talk:Safety of energy sources

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Disagreement[edit]

A {{delete}} tag was placed on the page with this comment by an anon user User:J.M.Pearce (I misread the history - oops):

This is largely unverified pseudo science-it reads like semiliterate anti-renewable propaganda not really appropriate for appropedia. E.g. that a risk of solar power is "Electricians working on Solar installations also can face additional risks because functioning solar panels are producing live current as long as they are in sunlight." It would be silly to say that one of the risks of a natural gas fired power plant is people working on power lines could be electrocuted from it. Electricians working on anything that produces electrical power need to be careful.

I've moved it here and left a {{disagreement}} tag instead. If the page is inadequate or wrong, it should be improved. It's an important topic and needs to be covered. Also note that there's already a prominent warning that the calculations are unverified.

Re E.g. that a risk of solar power is "Electricians working on Solar installations also can face additional risks because functioning solar panels are producing live current as long as they are in sunlight." It would be silly to say that one of the risks of a natural gas fired power plant is people working on power lines could be electrocuted from it. The two are not equivalent. Power lines from a natural gas plant do not carry power unless (A) the lines are connected and (B) the plant is operating. It would be appropriate to find more detail about the risks - how serious it is and how to avoid it.

All modern inverters (for PV) have auto safety features so if there is no power on the line - no power from the PV feeds back into the grid - so it is exactly the same as a natural gas plant or any other kind of power plant. --Fixer 04:24, 8 June 2012 (PDT)

Re "reads like semiliterate anti-renewable propaganda" - note that coal power ranges from 34 to 365 more deadly than rooftop solar according to these estimates, and that additional risks of nuclear are listed.

Please feel free to improve the article, and/or mark specific claims with the {{fact}} tag, and/or make a more specific and detailed critique here. --Chriswaterguy 15:07, 6 June 2012 (PDT)

I just realized that the original delete tag was placed by Joshua Pearce, with a lot more knowledge than I have on PV and nuclear - I'll place a lot more weight on his opinion than on the anon editor who I thought placed the tag. Now Fixer has weighed in against it also, so I'm in the minority. My preference is still to remove errors - the topic itself is important, and I think the questions raised are worth answering (even if the answer to a question turns out to be along the lines of "That's false, and here's why..."). I'll have another go at reducing problems in the article. --Chriswaterguy 08:07, 19 June 2012 (PDT)

About the big differences[edit]

Just looking at the difference between nuclear and coal, two points to note:

  • I don't know how accurate the figures are, though - they might be relying on low-end estimates for highly fuzzy figures around the impact of Chernobyl.
  • It does seem plausible that conventional coal power is vastly more deadly than other forms of energy. When operating normally, coal supposedly released more radioactive material into the atmosphere per unit energy than nuclear power does - which makes complete sense because a properly operating fossil-fuel operated power plant emits the waste products of the fuel into the atmosphere, whereas nuclear power doesn't. This is likely to change with (controversially named) clean coal technology. Even when the emphasis is on carbon capture and storage, other pollutants generally need to be removed before the carbon dioxide can be removed, especially the corrosive acid gases, NOx and SO2. --Chriswaterguy 23:26, 7 June 2012 (PDT)

Deletion or correction[edit]

Personally, I lean away from deleting the article. Deleting it leaves no spur to improve the information here; but the blog post which is being critiqued will remain where it is; and if it's egregiously wrong (as some editors clearly believe) that's an imbalance in favor of error. I see no problem with assessing the blog's calculation on Appropedia, as long as it's done well and with rigor. (And of course, there's no reason to mention a specific erroneous blog post, if it's really without merit - the calculations/claims can be debunked without giving a specific link.

I rewrote the warning - as progress has been made on the calculations, they're not completely unverified, but "calculations need further verification". Rather than "someone needs to" (who will someone be?) I made it "they need further assessment and recalculation" (meaning it to be an invitation to help out).

I'd rather avoid saying that only peer-reviewed sources should be used. It's not a standard we use elsewhere on Appropedia - there's an argument for that, but we haven't discussed it. And sometimes good value comes from non peer-reviewed sources. So I made it: "For data, priority should be given to peer reviewed literature."

If there's a consensus (or at least a strong general sentiment) in favor of deletion, it can be removed to my userspace. But leaving it here (with the warning intact) gives more chance for the treatment of this important question to be improved. --Chriswaterguy 07:55, 19 June 2012 (PDT)

I've made these edits as well as leaving the comments above, since the {{delete}} tag was re-added. I'm still strongly for keeping the article - there are other more problematic articles on Appropedia. Wiki pages evolve, and we shouldn't expect them to always fit our own convictions, IMO. So, do we userfy it, or keep it here and remove the delete tag? --Chriswaterguy 05:35, 23 October 2012 (PDT)