un-skinned-alive

Recycling Nuke Waste

8 posts in this topic

Has anyone heard of MOX, PUREX technology or any other idea about how to recycle nuclear wastes? I have been doing superficial reading on sites such as this:

http://chemcases.com/nuclear/nc-13.htm

I think this is exciting because people always use nuclear waste as grounds for socialism. Here the obvious lesson is that man's mind must be left free for the most complicated issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this is exciting because people always use nuclear waste as grounds for socialism.  Here the obvious lesson is that man's mind must be left free for the most complicated issues.

Our opponents are after much more than socialism. They use the nuclear waste issue as an excuse to forbid man's survival by conquering nature (atomic power) or to prevent good men from defending themselves from evil men (atomic weapons).

If you debunk this issue, they will simply create another bogus issue. The real issue, is that they are opposed to human welfare and especially to the welfare of good men.

Instead of retail skirmishes over bogus issues, I prefer to combat all of them wholesale by challenging their faulty view of man and ethics and presenting a positive alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone heard of MOX, PUREX technology or any other idea about how to recycle nuclear wastes?...

The best way to learn more about nuclear energy and nuclear waste processing would be to go to a library and get an introductory text on nuclear engineering, or else buy one.

To answer your query briefly though: the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants contains not only fission products, but also newly-formed plutonium and also still contains uranium-235 that hasn't fissioned yet. In other words, it contains elements that can be extracted and made into more fuel.

"Purex" refers to a chemical process that has been used since the 1950's to separate uranium and plutonium from the fission products in nuclear waste. It takes advantage of the differing solubilities of uranium and plutonium compounds of various oxidation states, in different solvents.

"MOX" is short for "mixed oxide". It refers to nuclear fuel that is a mixture of plutonium and uranium oxide.

None of this is new. The barriers erected against nuclear energy today (e.g. by environmentalists) are not technological; they are political and philosophical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our opponents are after much more than socialism.  They use the nuclear waste issue as an excuse to forbid man's survival by conquering nature (atomic power) or to prevent good men from defending themselves from evil men (atomic weapons).

If you debunk this issue, they will simply create another bogus issue.  The real issue, is that they are opposed to human welfare and especially to the welfare of good men.

Instead of retail skirmishes over bogus issues, I prefer to combat all of them wholesale by challenging their faulty view of man and ethics and presenting a positive alternative.

That's such a great point, naturally. My understanding of the universality of the principle "man's mind must be left free" was if nothing else completed by my superficial investigation of this issue. I honestly considered the nuclear waste issue as a possible exception to the principle. That's why I think it is exciting. I guess it was a eureka moment for me.

Still, I think having a playbook of major issues on hand to be able to show the practical consequences of morality is helpful. For instance, "Here is the solution to that major problem, practically, and since that was your major objection, and it has now been obliterated, we are better able to discuss why this piece of pettiness is reflective of a greater moral mistake." Do you think that any discussion of praxis (ie a well thought out and easy to refute "major issue" like nuke waste) is destructive to the goal of positing an ethical alternative? If you have the time, can you be clearer as to why you think that?

I ask this because it takes them time to come up with their bogus issues and as long as we don't waste too much time, we can have most of these issues down and covered in a way that leaves them almost constantly on the run. Wishful thinking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you think that any discussion of praxis (ie a well thought out and easy to refute "major issue" like nuke waste) is destructive to the goal of positing an ethical alternative?

I am unsure what you mean by "praxis" here. The Greek word praxis means "action." But my unabridged dictionary notes that an extended meaning of praxis is "practice" -- as distinct from theory. It can also mean application or examples. How are you using the term here?

I am also puzzled about how a particular issue can be both "well thought out" and "easy to refute." Would you explain?

Finally, do you really mean issue, or do you mean position on an issue? Slavery was an issue in the 1800s. Pro-slavery was one position, and anti-slavery was another position. If you mean position on an issue, then one that is well-thought out would be difficult to refute, at least the first time, wouldn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you think that any discussion of praxis (ie a well thought out and easy to refute "major issue" like nuke waste) is destructive to the goal of positing an ethical alternative?

Making practical arguments helps ONLY when you are dealing with an honest person who is making an error of knowledge. I tend to assume honesty to start with but I look for other evidence too.

I try to assess if their objection is based on values or hatred of values. If their objection is "What will happen to a [good person] who might suffer unjustly?," that's one thing. If they complain that "[somebody I hate] will benefit," that is quite another. There's a big difference between "What about the poor starving children?" and "What about the filthy rich with their fancy clothes and houses?" I always walk away when I hear the latter.

If a person seems honest, before I lauch into my counter-arguments, I do something that has saved me a lot of time and effort. I just ask, "If I could show you that [some false idea you accept] isn't true, would you then agree that [my basic point of view] is right? Honest people say, "Sure" and think about my arguments. Dishonest ones just get louder and raise more objections.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am unsure what you mean by "praxis" here. The Greek word praxis means "action." But my unabridged dictionary notes that an extended meaning of praxis is "practice" -- as distinct from theory. It can also mean application or examples. How are you using the term here?

I am also puzzled about how a particular issue can be both "well thought out" and "easy to refute." Would you explain?

Finally, do you really mean issue, or do you mean position on an issue? Slavery was an issue in the 1800s. Pro-slavery was one position, and anti-slavery was another position. If you mean position on an issue, then one that is well-thought out would be difficult to refute, at least the first time, wouldn't it?

1. By praxis, I meant practice as distinct from theory. Do you think that the extended definition is a corruption? I would like to know because I'll stop using it if I find that it is.

2. The position is refuted and the refutation is what is well thought out. It should have read like this "...discussion of praxis (having a well thought out refutation of the anti-capitalist positons on "major issues"). Sorry for the confusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a further point about making practical arguments. If the person you're arguing with is a pragmatist, then even if he accepts your argument on the particular issue you're trying to persuade him on, he won't be willing to apply it in any wider context.

For example, I once heard this story in a lecture by Peikoff. An Objectivist and a leftist were arguing about whether the steel industry should be nationalized. The Objectivist finally won the argument, and convinced his opponent that indeed the steel industry should not be nationalized. But the response was something like....

"OK, I agree that the steel industry shouldn't be nationalized, but now what about the coal industry?"

Such a person will raise an unlimited number of scenarios and ask you to in effect prove the same thing all over again.

So I don't think it's very productive to try to anticipate all of the objections of a pragmatist, because you'll never be able to think of them all.

The way I look at it is, if there's some particular subject I'm interested in and I can make a good practical argument, then I'll do it, if I have reason to believe that the listener is honest. But even if I win, my victory will have at best a more limited effect than if I persuaded somebody on a more fundamental point, such as why environmentalism is evil in the first place - in principle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites