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Re: I thought of an initialy regulated industry!... (fwd)

Jim Choate wrote:
> > 
> > Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 14:47:34 +0000
> > From: Michael Hohensee <[email protected]>
> > Subject: Re: I thought of an initialy regulated industry!... (fwd)
> > The latter does not necessarily follow from the former.  Consider the
> > example of natural gas and gasoline.  You don't get to conclude your
> > argument that easily! :)
> And you don't get to try such short ones either....
> What specificaly is there about the relationship between natural gas and
> gasoline that leads you to believe that the comparison of lethality between
> the waste products of a coal plant vurses a nuclear plant is such that the
> waste of a nuclear plant is more lethal because there is more toxic
> byproduct and it is in higher concentrations?

Absolutely nothing.  That's my point, not yours --or at least not the
point you made in your previous post.  I had assumed that the flaw in
your previous statement was so obvious that my fairly simple example
would make it crystal clear to you, but it appears that I was
incorrect.  Let me try again.

You said:

> A 1000MW coal plant produces approx 300,000 tons of waste product per year.
> A nuclear plan produces .5. This means the concentration of the chemicals in
> the coal plant are much lower by many orders of magnitude than the nuclear,
> hence making the nuclear waste more toxic by a great deal.

And I say:

This is not a valid argument.  You are saying that since the volume of
nuclear waste is so much less than the volume of the waste produced by a
coal plant, "the concentration of the chemicals in the coal plant [is]
much lower by many orders of magnitude than [that of] the nuclear
[plant]."  For one thing, this comparision is entirely meaningless,
since the waste from coal and nuclear plants is entirely different,
comparing their "concentrations" is impossible.

Of course, what you really meant to refer to was the concentration of
toxic chemicals in the aforementioned waste products.  Yet even your
implied argument is flawed.  You are assuming that there is a constant
unit amount of toxins produced per unit of power generated.  This is an
entirely baseless claim, and is easily refuted.  For example, take the
case of natural gas and gasoline.  Burning gasoline yields carbon
dioxide, water, and various pollutants.  When you burn natural gas, on
the other hand, you get carbon dioxide and water.  Clearly, there is no
power:toxicity ratio at work here.

Take it further. Burn hydrogen.  You get water.  Hydrogen produces much
more energy per unit mass burned than gasoline, yet produces no toxins.

Now, is it clear why the statement you made above is nonsensical?

Michael Hohensee