Climate Changers Endorse Nuclear Power – Why Now?

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Ansel Adams – martyr for nuclear power

Guest essay by Joseph Somsel

Go back and re-watch Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth from 2006 and you’ll find that he never once voices the word “nuclear” although there is a long visual scene of a nuclear warhead exploding and the subsequent mushroom cloud filling the screen.  Early AGW enthusiasts never seemed to acknowledge that if fossil fuels were the problem, nuclear power would be the solution that would work.

But now it seems environmentalists are being told that nuclear power is not so bad after all.  The current movie, Pandora’s Promise (http://pandoraspromise.com/), has as its major theme that nuclear power and radiation are not so scary, really.  This is of course true, reiterating arguments that pro-nuclear advocates have been making for 70 years.

The selling point is that nuclear power will not lead to global climate change. Another webpage from the Breakthrough Institute is entitled Liberals and Progressives for Nuclear (http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/liberals-and-progressives-for-nuclear/). Quoting such luminaries as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, it argues for the coming “Atomic Age,” again, because of the “urgency of climate change.”  Even Al Gore (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/02/notes-from-a-mole-in-al-gores-climate-leadership-training/) seems to be slyly acknowledging nuclear’s possible role.

As a long-suffering nuclear engineer, I have to ask (in a conservative webzine, American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/nuclear_powers_new_friends.html), is it in nuclear power’s best interest to make public alliance with the climate change crowd?  I say no, citing the growing awareness of the “tells” on display, i. e. signs of fraud, we see documented here on WUWT and elsewhere.  “Lie down with the dogs and get up with fleas” is my warning.  Of course, any rational environmentalist SHOULD embrace nuclear just on its relative conventional pollutant profile and would be welcome to say kind words about nuclear – just don‘t ask that the support be reciprocated.

Yet, others in the nuclear power community disagree (http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2013/08/progressives-for-nuclear-progress.html#.Uf7Ly23pySr)  (and here (http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/)) and embrace our new Best Friends Forever (BFFs).   Many are sincere believers in climate change themselves, as I had been until I read the 2001 IPCC technical reports.  Others just seemed hopeful that we might no longer be the pariahs of polite (PC) company.

Yet, my simple question is, should nuclear reactor manufacturers like Toshiba, General Electric, Areva, Bill Gates, Hitachi, Rosatom, etc publicly advertise that their products can help prevent climate change?  Besides the expectation of further public trust deterioration for climate change, one has to look at the companies that would buy a nuclear power reactor. Almost without exception, they also have substantial fossil fuel powered generation assets.

Plus, environmentalists, like revolutionaries, have a habit of changing their minds as to who was good and who was bad.  Probably the most infamous event was when Ansel Adams resigned from the board of directors of the Sierra Club over his support of nuclear power (http://www.anseladams.com/ansel-adams-the-role-of-the-artist-in-the-environmental-movement/).

The Sierra Club had been generally pro-nuclear although they could oppose specific plants on specific grounds, like the Bodega Bay nuke to be build about 400 yards from the surface trace of the San Andreas fault in the bay‘s headlands.  To this day, the foundation diggings are called “the hole in the Head.”  But a tide of anti-nuclear feeling swept over the organization and Adams gave up his seat on the board in 1971 due to the ill will and back biting.

My take-away lesson is political winds change, and so do the policies of environmental groups.  I’d rather nuclear power not get involved.

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167 thoughts on “Climate Changers Endorse Nuclear Power – Why Now?

  1. Joseph Somsel!! That is SO COOL! I “tipped” A-th-y about your American Thinker piece last week and he went one better and got YOU to write directly to WUWT. Hurrah!

    I agree completely with you. Nuclear power has an impeccable safety record and, where it is as cheap as coal or natural gas or other fossil fuels, it is an excellent source of power. Linking arms with pro-CAGW (or pro-“sustainability”) forces with the silent imprimatur that would give to their “cause,” is NOT good. It is best to keep the Fantasy Science Club at a great distance.

    And we do not need such allies-of-dubious-intent. Truth alone will win the battle just fine.

  2. A desire to promote nuclear power is part of the reason the whole GHG eco-nightmare got into the mainstream.

    Margaret Thatcher wanted to break the power of the coal unions. So she promoted the idea that coal was creating dangerous climate change, in passionate speeches to the UN, and founded the Tyndall Centre for climate research (the policies she set in motion is why the UK is one of the major players in the alarmosphere).

    Never in her wildest nightmares did she imagine that the movement would be hijacked by ex-communists, and would be used to undermine free markets and Capitalism.

    Like you say, be careful who you get in bed with. The environmentalists hate all big industry, they are only turning to the nuclear lobby IMO because governments are not taking their phonecalls anymore, and they’re strapped for cash. They’ll turn on the nuclear people the moment they get the opportunity IMO – with no concern over what damage they cause.

  3. In 1979, Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda tainted nuclear power for what I thought would be forever in the movie “The China Syndrome”. How far we’ve come. More importantly, how far have they come? I think not far. The First Gen environmentalists are still out there (James Edward Hansen ring a bell?) and they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore, to drag in yet another hysteria-filled plot. And Hollywood is nothing of not a hyperbole-rich source of societal devolution and embroilment.

  4. The catastrophists are suffering from the ills of the permanent revolution and they are fragmenting. But it simply means that we are a little bit closer to the day a new evil is invented.

  5. Good article. I have had exactly this conversation a number of times and come to the same conclusion. Nuclear power has to make its own case based upon its efficiency and reliability. If it tries to jump on the AGW band wagon for tactical advantage it is asking for trouble because, as you say, the warmistas are fair weather friends and will turn at any time.
    Hopefully after the AGW hoax is exposed the average person might try to distinguish between the sides that pushed the hoax and the sides that exposed it. As a result the extremist ant-humanity eco movement might lose influence and we can get back to doing what we have been doing for the past 10,000 years – Developing.

  6. “Nuclear power has an impeccable safety record”

    Fairly safe perhaps, safer than some other fuels possibly. But “impeccable”, no way. Exaggeration does not help.

  7. Janice Moore. By impeccable safety record are you referring to Chernobyl or Fukashima and the nuclear leaks in the US?
    When someone like George Monbiot endorses Nuclear power on the heels of the Fukashima disaster, their agenda 21 depopulation plan and disregard for human life comes to the fore.
    In essence some form of nuclear energy is the future, the rest energy of matter provide enormous energy potential but when the alarmist movement complete with their paid shills like Monbiot support something you can bet your bottom dollar it’s all about destruction of the economy and control. At the very least it’s about getting rid of cheap fossil fuel energy, that way, once they have replaced fossil fuels with nuclear power they can then stage nuclear leaks/events and shut down those and hey presto, their depopulation, energy-free societal implosion begins.

  8. Watch this vid and then say “Three Mile Island” to a staid old group of 60’s liberals.

    Nobody knows why, anymore, but nuclear is evil. You can take it to the bank of liberal thought.

  9. Co-founder of Greenpeace left the organization because of their irrational opposition to nuclear power. The original organization was against nuclear weapons testing in the ocean, not nuclear power. Nuclear power has a great track record so far for safety. Chernobyl saw 64 deaths, and the majority of those were due to a slow government response. Fukushima is 0 dead, 0 injured, 0 sickened and likely to remain that way with a worst case scenario of three units malfunctioning at the same location at the same time. We have seen conventional industrial accidents claim many more than nuclear power has. If nothing else, Fukushima showed how safe that mode of power generation can be even in a scenario most would have thought impossible only a short time ago. Also note that these units were the oldest nuclear power plants in Japan. Fukushima Unit 1 was the first commercial nuclear plant on line in Japan and was three weeks from final shutdown for dismantling when the quake and tsunami struck. The Fukushima Di-Ichi plants on the other side of town were able to shut down as they were a newer design that used steam turbine pumps and didn’t require external power. This is a great testament to the engineering of even the very first generation of nuclear plants. Modern plants would have survived the incident without any problems.

  10. Jimmi the Dalek (re: 9:18PM),

    “Impeccable” is, if taken to mean absolute perfection, indeed too strong. Thank you for correcting me. Without attempting to find the precise description, I would like to sincerely ask (I’m not an expert in this area): how many serious safety incidents directly involving nuclear plants have happened that were NOT due to either: 1) poor design or construction; and or 2) poor maintenance or ignorance in their proper use? Where and when and what happened in these incidents (just the basic details)? Thanks!

    Hoping you will be willing to give me a meaningful answer to my question,

    Janice

    **********************************

    Re: Germany, until coal and other sources of power are not cheaper than nuclear power (to get it to market), Germany will likely stick with clean coal and other sources of energy, but, when it becomes cost-effective, Germany will do the rational thing: use nuclear power.

  11. Every fuel type has risks .As long as gas, oil ,and coal are in ready supply nuclear power will be a tough sell despite it’s many attributes. Enviro lobby groups are possibly just spending their limited revenue on globull warming conferences and their pay packs as they realize saving the planet won’t be as much fun when you are broke..

  12. Seems to me that just about every nuclear accident occurred because somebody didn’t do a proper risk assessment – example Fukushima – the reactor shut down perfectly, but was reliant on cooling from seawater which came through electrically driven pumps. The mains power failed, and the diesel generators kicked in – all good so far, and then the tsunami took out the diesel generators. However, the tsunami did not take out the reactors – why because they were inside re-inforced reactor vessels. So my question is – which genius decided that the backup power generators shouldn’t have similar protection?
    My point is that the technology existed to avert the Fukushima incident, but somebody did a risk assessment and decided that the probability of two powers supplies failing was too small to require further protection. Trouble is they probably underestimated the consequence.
    So as far as nuclear technology is concerned, I have no qualms that it can be constructed safely. My problem is that the nuclear industry itself keeps hiding behind the technology and doesn’t have in place the proper and sensible risk management protocols.

  13. crosspatch says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm
    Fukushima is 0 dead, 0 injured, 0 sickened and likely to remain that way with a worst case scenario of three units malfunctioning at the same location at the same time. We have seen conventional industrial accidents claim many more than nuclear power has.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ….. not to mention organic food:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Germany_E._coli_O104:H4_outbreak

    …. and that’s not the only one.

  14. Worth noting that more people have died from wind power accidents in the past decade than died from radiation at Fukushima.

  15. In the Guardian newspaper, George Monibot wrote just after the Japanese Tsunami and said if this is the worst that happens with Nuclear then we should move to it. Maybe this has been in the pipeline for longer than we think.

  16. Janice Moore says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Re: Germany, until coal and other sources of power are not cheaper than nuclear power (to get it to market), Germany will likely stick with clean coal and other sources of energy, but, when it becomes cost-effective, Germany will do the rational thing: use nuclear power.

    Absolutely not. Germany decided to close all its nuclear plants by 2022; they’re shutting them down as fast as they can.

    Germany is to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022, placing a heavier reliance on renewable energy sources for its future power demand.

    The announcement comes in the wake of the Fukushima plant disaster in Japan in February, and as the result of a report in to the status of the country’s nuclear power network.

    Eight power stations will be switched off this year, and the remaining nine will be phased out of operation by 2022.

    The decision comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel backtracked in March on an unpopular decision just months earlier to extend the life of ageing nuclear stations in Germany, where the majority of voters oppose atomic energy.

    http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-12582-germany-dumps-nuclear-opts-for-green-power-plants/

    Terrified of Nuclear Energy, Germany Goes for Fossil Fuel

    http://depletedcranium.com/terrified-of-nuclear-energy-germany-goes-for-fossil-fuel/

    WUWT wrote about this in 2011.

  17. FYI for anyone with concerns about the oversight of nuclear power licensees in the U.S.A.. A quick tour of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s site indicated to me that it is highly unlikely any U.S. nuclear plant is going to be able to hide for any significant time behind technology or not have proper risk management procedures. The NRC is thorough, highly knowledgeable, and conscientious. [site link: http://www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/ASSESS/actionmatrix_summary.html%5D

    Just click on home page on the lessons learned from Japan incident on left side bar and then, go to page where EVERY plant in the U.S. is given a specific set of mitigating or other measures to take based on that incident. Well, I was impressed, anyway!

  18. james hansen, uk dept of energy & climate change, george monbiot, fred pearce, james lovelock & more…has no-one been listening to their pro-nuclear talk? renewables (solar/wind etc) were simply included to get the “greens” on board. fukushima derailed the plan:

    5 Aug: Reuters: Exclusive: Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an ‘emergency’
    This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.
    Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co are only a temporary solution, he said.
    Tepco’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone” to grapple with the ongoing disaster.
    “Right now, we have an emergency,” he said…
    The admission on the long-term tritium leaks, as well as renewed criticism from the regulator, show the precarious state of the ***$11 billion cleanup and Tepco’s challenge to fix a fundamental problem: How to prevent water, tainted with radioactive elements like cesium, from flowing into the ocean.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-japan-fukushima-panel-idUSBRE97408V20130805

    5 Aug: Asahi Shimbun Japan: 9,640 Fukushima plant workers reach radiation level for leukemia compensation
    Only four people who worked at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant have applied for compensation for cancer. Their requests are currently under review.
    “The government does not appear to be serious about protecting workers,” said Saburo Murata, deputy director of Hannan Chuo Hospital, who is well-versed in radiation dose management. “It should provide medical checkups on its own responsibility as a way to steadily carry out decommissioning.”
    The health ministry acknowledged it has no system to inform all workers of the standards for workers’ compensation. ***It said it is considering distributing leaflets…
    The number of workers reaching the 5-millisievert threshold for possible leukemia compensation is expected to further increase because TEPCO is planning measures that could expose them to high radiation levels…

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201308050104

    MSM might be silent, but not ene news:

    http://enenews.com/

  19. I started my career as a nuclear engineer. That was in the 1980’s. I thought the time had come for clean limitless power. Boy, was I wrong!!!

    My conclusion is that there is no limit to the stupidity of environmental activists.

    30 years ago the G-D greens we protesting nuclear power because they conflated nuclear power with American Military Power and the cold war nuke threat, IMO. Then, just like now, the greens hated industry, they hated power, they hated human population, they just hated themselves. They especially hared stainless steel.

    Unfortunately, I was always near the top of my class, and I had to tolerate the tyranny of the collective stupid. You know what I mean. If you are on this site, you in some way are ahead of the learning curve and you too simply can’t make other people understand the obvious. You, like me, are condemned to bullied by the brainless masses.

    I quit my dead-end new career in nuclear engineering in 1990s and decided to exploit the stupid while calling them as much. It is working well. Ailing baby-boomer greenies are a real gold mine. They will spend their children’s inheritance for their own selfish wants.

    Nuclear energy was fantastic then, it is better now. What has changed is the hoards of dumb greens from the 1970 are in convalescent homes with oxygen supplies and diapers. It is too hard to protest nuke plants with COPD and arthritis.

    Now, the new generation of stupid hoards think they’ve invented nuclear power as a solution to “CO2 pollution”. Since they learn nothing in school, they don’t know it was industrialized in the 1950s.

    I say fine.

    Let them think they thought of it and let’s get on with it.

    Exploit the stupid hoard’s anti-humanity, industrial hating, self destructive impulses and tell them uranium is made of rainbows and unicorn farts and prevents overpopulation and stimulates marijuana proliferation.

    Cynical much?… Oh yeah… 50 years of living amongst the stupid will do it every time.

  20. Dear Policy Critic,

    Germany may have decided in 2011 or so to shut all its nuclear power plants down by 2022. That was, no doubt, given that Fantasy Science controlled the political agenda to a significant degree, a political move by Chancellor Merkel. She almost certainly understands how safe and reliable nuclear power is.

    Things change. As I said above, for now, coal is cheaper. Nuclear power will be back on line as soon as the political climate is cleared of the CAGW pollution (and that is rapidly taking place — hurrah!). I’m going to guess that by 2014, nuclear power will be back on the table for Germany. Mothballed reactors can be re-started. And, I firmly believe, they will be. Germans may be stubborn, but, once they see the truth, they do not hesitate to act on it. I think the average German is already getting the picture.

    Let’s meet here in January, 2014, and see if I was right! (I’ll buy you a sack of sugar to sweeten you up if I lose, and if I win, you can buy me some non-rose-colored glasses to wear — deal?) #[:)]

    Your ally in the battle for Truth in Science,

    Janice

  21. Not to mention China, India and who are seriously developing Thorium fuel reactors which give Fission Technology Reactors a whole new clean future AND Fusion is inching closer to reality; France went Nuclear in the seventies and apparently is in the top 3 ‘cleanest’ countries in Europe CO2 emmissions wise with over 60 generating stations, sadly the present (and last ) administrations are kowtowing to Brussels and the Euro ecolunatics despite this and building offshore wind farms on the Atlantic coast AND land farms are springing up; I am sure this folly will be realized,but as usual far too late but at least over here the prices of electricity are low compared to Germany and the U.K. I also believe that the Nuclear industry should not get involved with any of it’s ancient detractors, these political advocates are more treacherous than quick sand!

  22. “weather patterns from the past can no longer be used to predict the future”!!

    7 Aug: ABC Australia: with AFP: Climate report warns extreme weather events are now the norm
    The American Meteorological Society has released its annual snapshot of the world’s climate, which concludes disastrous weather events like Hurricane Sandy in the US and droughts and floods in Australia, Africa and South America will become more frequent…
    Last year was a record-breaking year for the world’s climate, with new extremes for sea levels, temperatures, snow coverage and ice melts.
    Arctic ice levels reached record lows in 2012, and the polar region is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, however on a positive note at the other end of the world, Antarctica’s climate remained relatively stable and sea ice cover reached a record maximum…
    Some 384 scientists from 54 countries contributed to the report, covering all aspects of the planet, from the depths of the oceans to the stratosphere…
    ‘Planet as whole becoming warmer place’
    “The findings are striking,” Kathryn Sullivan, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told AFP.
    “Our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place.”
    Michael Mann, a leading US climatologist at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the research, added: “It’s hard to read the report and not be led to the conclusion that the task of reducing carbon emissions is now more urgent than ever.”…
    Scientists say the data should be of concern to people living in coastal areas and that weather patterns from the past can no longer be used to predict the future.
    The peer-reviewed report did not go into the causes for the trends but experts said it should serve as a guide for policymakers as they prepare for the effects of rising seas and warming weather on communities and infrastructure…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-07/climate-report-warns-extreme-weather-events-are-now-norm/4869646

  23. 1/2 of your annual radiation exposure comes from medical x-rays. the other half from naturally occurring radon gas. None of which gets much coverage in the press. The stuff you hear about in the press is so small in percentage terms as to not exist. One might as well worry about the difference between 1 and two flies on the back of a horse.

    Human beings and life in general have evolved to survive and repair radiation damage within limits. The idea that all radiation at any dose is harmful is nonsense. If that were truly the case, then medical X-rays should be shut down long before nuclear power plants. Basements and well sealed houses should have been outlawed decades ago.

  24. pat;
    7 Aug: ABC Australia: with AFP: Climate report warns extreme weather events are now the norm
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well that’s pretty interesting pat. Do you suppose someone forgot to tell the United Nations IPCC AR5 WG1 committee? Because in their draft report they said that extreme weather events are expected to diminish between now and 2100. Droughts and floods predicted to be the same. But hey, that’s only the official literature of the “consensus” scientists. Heh. Do try and catch up with the current literature from both sides. I bother to read it, you should do the same for your own sake, please don’t just take my word for it.

  25. jimmi_the_dalek says:

    Joseph Somsel:“Nuclear power has an impeccable safety record”

    Fairly safe perhaps, safer than some other fuels possibly. But “impeccable”, no way. Exaggeration does not help.

    ===

    That is not just exaggeration, it is to knowingly to make an untrue statement, aka a lie.

    Lying is a great way to start an article criticising others. Guaranteed to boost the credibility of your arguments.

  26. Yeah, I was in university when some idiot physicists decided to run an experiment that exceeded the safety limits of the Chernobyl reactor, and shut down the safety systems to do it. The crass arrogant stupidity… words fail me. But I remember also the rumours that went around campus, one of which was that if the reactor melted down, it would cause all the other reactors in the world to melt down also. No matter how one tried to explain the absolute impossibility of such a thing, people believed it in droves. The less background in physics they had, the more certain they were, though much to my shock and dismay, even engineering and physics students got caught up in the hysteria to some extent. I’ve understood clearly since then the challenges associated with selling nuclear power to the public.

    That said, I agree with the author that jumping on the green bandwagon is the wrong thing to do. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is just trading short term gain for long term pain. History happens in slow motion, but the edifice of CAGW is slowly crumbling. When the collapse comes, anyone hanging onto it, nuclear power included, goes with it.

  27. Dear Greg (re: 10:29PM),

    You mistakenly (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) attribute The Dalek’s criticism (in his 9:18PM post) to the article’s author. I, however, am the one who said that nuclear power’s safety record was “impeccable.”

    Janice

    *********************

    @ David, (didn’t see your 9:24PM post until just now)

    Since The Dalek apparently never read my post at 9:30 directed to him and since I would like to ask the same question of you, I re-post it here:

    Jimmi the Dalek (re: 9:18PM),

    “Impeccable” is, if taken to mean absolute perfection, indeed too strong. Thank you for correcting me. Without attempting to find the precise description, I would like to sincerely ask (I’m not an expert in this area): how many serious safety incidents directly involving nuclear plants have happened that were NOT due to either: 1) poor design or construction; and or 2) poor maintenance or ignorance in their proper use? Where and when and what happened in these incidents (just the basic details)? Thanks!

    Hoping you will be willing to give me a meaningful answer to my question,

    Janice

    Chernobyl and Fukashima would not qualify under my question’s parameters. What safety leaks in the U.S. are you talking about? If you would, please answer my question above. Thanks!

    Agenda 21 is evil — Nuclear power is good.

  28. You can add Ansel Adams’ good friend and Sierra Club president David Brower to the list. I had the good fortune to have a nice chat with David’s son and writer Kenneth Brower (Winemaker’s Marsh) when he visited the Sierra Nevada Field Campus. I somewhat sheepishly told him that I had become more accepting of nuclear power as long as the wastes were kept out of the water, and that I preferred nuclear to energy sources derived craping the surface where all wildlife existed, such wood and biofuels. He said his father originally felt the exact same way and it was really the reason he and Ansel were driven from the Sierra Club. Over the years however Brower became increasingly anti-technology on all levels.

  29. Sincere appologies to Joseph Somsel: for false attribution of “impeccable” comment which came from Janice Moore

  30. A different theory of the new-found respect for nuclear power: Nuclear power is unfortunately, while as safe as ever, back on its heels due to the new economics of power in the wake of natural gas fracking and low-price natgas. At $3-4 mmcf it has hurt coal companies, helped reduce US CO2 emissions, and it has put the nuclear power plant ‘renaissance’ on hold. It’s also sucked the wind out the sails of windpower, and put solar into a shadier spot.

    Who hates fracking? Not many people, but environmentalists seem to. So they cling to ‘why not try this instead’ rather than accepting that natural gas is here for a while. (And its CO2 emissions.)

    So these guys with Breakthrough studied this and actually see natural gas as a ‘problem’ in impeding their hobby horse of ‘clean energy’ (nuclear and CO2-free renewables):

    http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Gas_Boom_Challenges_Renewables_Nuclear.pdf

    Now, it may simply be that 40 years of safe nuclear power is waking some folks up to reality, and since Breakthrough as an organization seems to be pro-technology, ie pro-clean-energy tech, it makes sense to be pro-nuclear power.

    As for this in the breakthrough.org website – “In the words of President Obama, nuclear energy must be extracted from the partisan debates that have impeded US progress on multiple levels” – that must be unintentional humor. Thanks to the basest form of political posturing and pandering (ie palying to an early primary state’s voters), Obama threw away our $20 billion investment in the Yucca Mtn nuclear repository and in the process imperiled the future of nuclear power by leaving it with no permanent repository for nuclear waste. That decision is the most negative thing to happen to the US nuclear industry since 3 mile island.

  31. Goldie says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Seems to me that just about every nuclear accident occurred because somebody didn’t do a proper risk assessment – example Fukushima – the reactor shut down perfectly, but was reliant on cooling from seawater which came through electrically driven pumps. The mains power failed, and the diesel generators kicked in – all good so far, and then the tsunami took out the diesel generators. However, the tsunami did not take out the reactors – why because they were inside re-inforced reactor vessels. So my question is – which genius decided that the backup power generators shouldn’t have similar protection?

    That is partially correct but omits key pieces of information. First of all, at the time that site was selected, the notion of continental drift was not completely accepted science. They had no idea they were building those things right next to a thrust fault in a subduction zone because at the time the site was selected there was no such thing as a subduction zone. Secondly, the plant was designed for such a short lifetime that it was assumed that there would not be a tsunami high enough to breach the sea wall. There had been one in the past but it was thousands of years ago. Thirdly, had the quake waited three weeks, we wouldn’t be talking about Fukushima at all. The entire event of all three of the lower units (the upper plants, 5 and 6 survived the tsunami without incident. Those were the plants planned AFTER we had a better understanding of the geology) was a cascade failure resulting from the hydrogen explosion of Unit 1. The primary issue with Unit 1 wasn’t the cooling pumps, really, it was vent valves. The vent valves were designed to be operated electrically. There was no manual mechanism for venting. By the time they were able to get the vents open (using batteries from their own cars in the parking lots), it was too late, a considerable amount of hydrogen had already built up in the unit. When they vented it, it eventually exploded. You can’t keep pumping water into the unit without venting steam else the pressure builds to the point where you can no longer pump water in. The idea was to pump in water, let it boil, vent replace the vented steam with more water and continue the cycle. When Unit 1 exploded, it cut cables, pipes and hoses to units 2 and 3. Until that point, 2 and 3 were actually in fairly good shape. Units 2 and 3 were slightly newer than Unit 1 and were a bit easier to manage until that explosion, then after that point they were flying all three of them “blind”.

    Fulushima Di-Ni units had steam turbine pumps so they could use their own decay heat to power pumps to circulate cooling water. Those units were on the opposite side of town, suffered the same quake and tsunami as Di-Ichi but did not require generators to run the pumps. Di-Ichi Unit 1 was a GE BWR-3 Mk I while units 2-5 were BWR-4 Mk I units. Unit 6 is a BWR-5 Mk II. Units 5 and 6 are still serviceable and are located on higher ground than units 1-4. Fukushima Di-Ni are all BWR-5 plants. Unit 1 is a Mk II and units 2-4 are Mk IIa

    One of the better sources of information that I have found is this article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/24-hours-at-fukushima/0

  32. If environmentalists want to start backing nuclear because they are afraid of climate change, I’d let them do it. Actually, it’s bloody time they started doing it! However, I’d hate it if anyone in the nuclear industry got in the bed with them. The nuclear industry can say that nuclear power is very good at reducing air pollution. And if the amount of co2 in the needs to be reduced, nuclear is very good at that too.

    I’d absolutely hate it if the nuclear industry adopts CAGW and starts to scare people about co2. That would definitely make people trust them less.

  33. Hey, Greg, good for you. Just for the record, my 10:42PM comment which is still in mo-dera-tion as I write this (I used the word e-v-il — ooops), was NOT the impetus for Greg’s above apology. He had not read my 10:42 comment at 10:46 (nor at 10:57, either!).

    Janice

  34. “davidmhoffer says:

    August 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm”

    The plant was a poor design and had very specific and rigid operating procedures the operators had to follow. Not only was their test risky, to actually enable the test to take place some of the safety systems had to be disabled. They were already on a losing wicket before they started!

  35. Back in the 1950s when Britain led the world in new nuclear reactors the news was all about cheap and effectively unlimited electrical energy for as long as one could imagine.

    That is when the scare stories began.

    The concept of so much energy so cheaply was anathema to authoritarians so they insisted on trying to protect the fossil fuel industry against the new competitor in order to keep control of restricted energy supplies. They cared nothing about the deaths and damage to health amongst the workers of the mining industry and the more general adverse effects of smoky environments everywhere.

    At that time the authoritarians had control of the mining industry through the unions and gradually they generated more and more fear of nuclear energy sources.

    Still, the free democracies prospered even with the necessary energy coming from fossil fuels and over time natural gas and oil gained dominance with the mines becoming less necessary in any event.

    So then the authoritarians found an excuse to turn against fossil fuels in general.

    Meanwhile Britain had lost its nuclear expertise and fear held back development elsewhere.

    Imagine what could have been with successful development of the UK nuclear industry if it had been properly maintained and steadily improved over the past 60 years.

    So now we still have vast reserves of fossil fuels with peak oil deferred indefinitely and vast potential for unlimited energy from very safe and productive modern nuclear reactors with modern technology and safety systems.

    The authoritarians now say we must use environmentally damaging, resource depleting, ugly, expensive and inefficient forms of ‘renewable’ energy just so that they can keep control.

    Intelligence and logic is not a strong point when up against a hidden (but increasingly obvious) ideological and authoritarian agenda.

    For them, the motive is to keep the masses poor and subservient. One cannot have the lower orders being allowed to move about too much. Cheap energy from whatever source is the last thing they want to see since it enriches everyone and not just their elitist clique.

  36. “davidmhoffer says:

    August 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm”

    Ah I see you already mentioned safety systems being disabled. Sorry to repeat what you said.

    I did find out recently that the “Russian Woodpecker” is located in the same city and is in the exclusion zone. Some say the nuclear plant was sabotaged because of the radio transmitter. At the time, the brother of a friend of mine in the UK was a Royal Navy Radio Operator (I am told they can tune in to any signal) in the Baltic Sea I think it was. He said that there was a significant increase in “chatter” on the airwaves after the plant exploded.

  37. Also, I would consider folks read an article from the December 2005 issue of Scientific American. We are being exceptionally stupid in our decision to bury nuclear waste. It can be recycled. First pass through a reactor uses only about 5% of the available energy of the fuel. Proper processing can result in LESS nuclear proliferation, extension of uranium resources, and eliminating the need to ship highly radioactive materials around. A reprocessing plant on site would mean only natural uranium is brought into the site. The waste from this process is only 10% of the volume of current nuclear waste and decays to safe levels in only a few hundred years rather than tens of thousands of years with current waste.

    Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste

    http://www.gemarsh.com/wp-content/uploads/SciAm-Dec05.pdf

  38. Nowhere in the world is nuclear power subsidised per unit of production. In some countries however it is taxed because production costs are so low.

    From http://world-nuclear.org/info/Economic-Aspects/Energy-Subsidies-and-External-Costs/#.Uf_F0Kz_Tfk

    As of 16 January 2013, the IAEA report there are 439 nuclear power reactors in operation[1] operating in 31 countries.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080303234143/http://www.uic.com.au/reactors.htm

    Roll on Thorium!!

  39. “crosspatch says:

    August 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm”

    There is a lot of hype about transport safety issues while transporting fissile material and waste. And as usual, Greenpeace wins the day with unfounded alarmist claims! The locomotive in this clip is (I think) a “Peak” class 45, 133 imperial tons with 3 10 ton cars behind it.

  40. davidmhoffer says:
    August 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm (Edit)

    —————————————————

    I totally agree that we should not hitch the nuclear wagon to the climate change train. Remember the absurdly stupid folk who argued that the Large Hadron Collider should be stopped because it would create a black hole that would destroy Earth. The centre of gravity of mankind is firmly in the stupid zone.

    Too many people think that nuclear power electricity generation is the same as nuclear bombs. They think this because a compliant media has told them to think this. The same media that carries the warmist agenda, the anti fracking message and the supposedly positive aspects of socialism/ Marxism.

    Douglas Adams would call them the B-Ark people, and they are the majority.

  41. “The Candu reactor is proving to be the future of thorium power, as research has found that it can use thorium as a fuel with only minor modifications”. Do a search on Candu reactor and thorium.

  42. @Patrick

    If we were to have processing plants on site with nuclear plants there would be no need for enrichment and no need to transport highly radioactive material around at all. Only natural (or even depleted!) uranium would arrive on site. Using a fast neutron reactor, this would be exposed to the neutron stream and enough of the U-238 would be converted to P-239 to use as fuel with enough P-240 “pollution” to prevent it being used for nuclear weapons. The way current nuclear fuel works is that there is just enough U-235 to fuel a stable chain reaction. Some of the neutrons convert the U-238 to P-239. By the time a fuel rod is considered “spent”, most of the energy is being created by fission of P-239 and most of the U-235 is gone.

    After use, the fuel rods are processed to remove fission products and recover the P-239 and remaining U-238 for manufacture of new fuel rods. Some of the fission products with long half-lives can be exposed to the neutron stream and transmuted to elements with shorter half-lives.

    There really is no need for thorium reactors or other esoteric designs. We have the technology right now to provide abundant and cheap energy for everyone.

  43. pat says:
    August 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    “weather patterns from the past can no longer be used to predict the future”!!

    7 Aug: ABC Australia: with AFP: Climate report warns extreme weather events are now the norm
    The American Meteorological Society has released its annual snapshot of the world’s climate, which concludes disastrous weather events like Hurricane Sandy in the US

    The extra-tropical storm that developed from hurricane Sandy was a disastrous lack of city planning event. If the governors and mayors of New Jersey and New York had listened to the warnings (very like those given to New Orleans) then they would not have allowed building of sub-code homes in storm surge areas (all that property tax persuaded them otherwise), would have built barrages, would have set up flood gates on tunnels and put standby generators above flood levels. It was more politically attractive to be involved in National politics and push through legislation on the size of sodas than to carry out mayoral or gubernatorial duties. In many respects the storm highlighted the lack of emergency planning in the same way as the design of the backup pumps of the only Fukashima plant to have problems. If Hurricane Sandy had come ashore in Florida nobody would remember it now.

  44. Lets be honest here, compared to a lot of other industries the nuclear power industry has one of the best safety records. The only deaths to occur from nuclear power plants was due to people doing stupid crap and not following normal procedures and that includes the bad design at Chernobyl. In the US there has only been 8 deaths and of those, 4 are due to workers electrocuting themselves through stupidity, something which can happen at any electrical generating plant no matter the source. Of the other four, 3 were due to one soldier pulling a rod improperly at an experimental reactor that resulted in a steam explosion. The last one is due to an accidental criticality at the United Nuclear Corp where they were making cores and fuel.

    If it wasn’t for the stupidity that took place at Chernobyl (and soviet subs) the worldwide deaths from nuclear power plant accidents/disasters would be dwarfed by deaths caused by medical use of radiation. There have been 65 deaths as the result of “Radiotherapy” screwups or the dismantlement /disposal of medical radioactive material including 17 in the US. Those last numbers do not even include the deaths from losing the Radiotherapy material either.

    So bottom line: You are more likely in the US to die from radiation poisoning from your doctor that from a nuclear power plant

  45. policycritic says:
    August 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm
    “Janice Moore says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Re: Germany, until coal and other sources of power are not cheaper than nuclear power (to get it to market), Germany will likely stick with clean coal and other sources of energy, but, when it becomes cost-effective, Germany will do the rational thing: use nuclear power.

    Absolutely not. Germany decided to close all its nuclear plants by 2022; they’re shutting them down as fast as they can.”

    That is an exaggeration. We are phasing them out over a decade.
    We could most definitely do it even faster, if that were politically expedient.
    By stretching it over a decade, Merkel can over all this time show the useful idiots of the Green movement that she’s sooo green.

    It will not sway a die hard watermelon teacher but neutralize the “nuclear armageddon” fearmongering agitprop the left block normally relies on.
    Basically Germany had the choice of falling into the arms of the left block or keep 23 very old nukes.
    If you ask me; I’d rather burn lignite than choking under the yoke of the democidal block. There are things going on here that are more worrying than the stupid CO2AGW fraud or the exact price of a kWh.

  46. “crosspatch says:

    August 7, 2013 at 12:34 am”

    The video I linked to is a classic example of the sort of hype that was in abundance in the UK back in the 80’s. From memory, “Windscale” or “Sellafield”, forget it’s name now, re-processed spent fuel rods on site as well as reprocessed waste from other sites both nationally and internationally. I am not sure if this is the case anymore.

  47. There was a very strange piece on NPR(!) last week about a “Fountain of Youth” spring in Florida, which had been shut down because of the high concentration of radium in the water. It has now been re-opened, and Susan Stamberg, the reporter, said “Well, that sign may be scary but it seems a little bit of radioactivity might not be all bad.”

    I almost fell out of my chair, after hearing all the green arguments for the past 40 years that “there is no known safe level of radiation”. I even posted a comment on the NPR web site, but no one has responded.

    I agree wih the commenters who think this is just a ploy by the greens to further de-industrialize. They demonized the dams first, then nuclear, then oil, then coal and generally carbon. Now it is gas that is evil (unless it is produced by fairies), and eventually they will “realize” that windmills kill LOTS of birds and want them all shutdown. (“No one told us about this! It is a travesty! Big wind is killing the earth!).

    Then they will figure out how to demonize the elements in the solar panels and get them banned. They have been practicing this line of argument for a while – Pu, U, Cl,Pb, As,Cr, Cd, Hg, Au and Ag (Money, of course, is pure evil), Al, and now even C. You can be sure that Si will turn out to be deadly too – it does have similarities to C.

    They are just trying to suck people into obeying them.

    And the last thing the nuclear industry needs is a crash program to develop a new type of reactor, or to construct a bunch of reactors quickly. There are not enough people or companies with the right skills to support a big program. It takes time to build up a base of support that has the rigor to build and operate these things properly. The French are re-learning how to pour nuclear-grade concrete after stopping their construction programs for decades. Instead, we should continue to build a small number of gen-4 plants, and steadily increase the construction rate over a couple of decades. We could also start up a few test reactors to gather information about new fuel designs that people think might be promising, but those sort of experiments take at least a decade to conduct.

    Nuclear is a long-term solution. The greens had been very close to really pushing the genie back in the bottle, as the experienced people retired and died, and facilities closed, but they pounced on CO2 too quickly, and nuclear appears to be coming alive again.

  48. Mike Borgelt:

    At August 7, 2013 at 12:54 am you ask

    Where’s Roger Sowell? Or did he have a meltdown?

    He is spouting Off-Topic nonsense about nuclear power on another thread; i.e.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/about-the-unusual-warming-event-in-extratropical-north-pacific-sea-surface-temperature-anomalies/

    I find it hard to believe anyone is really interested in his posts but – since you have asked – I have provided the link to the thread where he is active.

    Richard

  49. Patrick:

    At August 7, 2013 at 12:52 am you write

    “crosspatch says:
    August 7, 2013 at 12:34 am”

    The video I linked to is a classic example of the sort of hype that was in abundance in the UK back in the 80′s. From memory, “Windscale” or “Sellafield”, forget it’s name now, re-processed spent fuel rods on site as well as reprocessed waste from other sites both nationally and internationally. I am not sure if this is the case anymore.

    The reprocessing plant remains at Sellafield (previously called Windscale) but the plant is moth-balled and has not been used commercially.

    The plant was intended for reprocessing of nuclear waste from Japan, but objections to shipping the waste from Japan to the UK forced the Japanese to withdraw from the contract. Hence, commercial use of the plant did not occur.

    Richard

  50. I live in Germany, and while the “Greens” currently have the whip hand, the mood is changing. More and more small towns and communities are mobilising to prevent the building of more wind turbines. Carbon “capture” technology is being planned to allow the building of new coal plants, and more gas plants are planned, but there is another element, subsidising the “wind farms” has caused a massive hike in the cost of electricity, which is also causing a rethink. I suspect that nuclear will come back when the political climate is right.

    Greenpeace, the Green Party (Bundes90/Gruene) and other “environmental” groups have made much of the issue of storage of nuclear waste at Gorleben in Sachsen Anhalt, with a lot of bandying about of photos supposedly “secretly taken” in the facility of rusting and leaking containers. What they fail to say is that these were a legacy of the former GDR (Communist East Germany) and have long since been cleaned up and sorted out with proper storage arrangements. Our neighbours, France, get roughly 80% of their power from nuclear plants and simply ignore Greenpeace (or sink their ships and prosecute their activists) so maybe it is time to start prosecuting the news outlets that continue to promote their junk science and propaganda. Cut off their ability to promulgate their trash and you can solve some of the antipathy.

    The anti-nuclear lobbies in most western nations constant conflate nuclear weapons and nuclear power, most don’t know how a nuclear power plant actually generates the power, and many ignoramuses who support the anti-nuclear campaigns think that each reactor somehow magically generates power by a sort of self-sustaining nuclear explosion. Unfortunately one cannot fix “stupid” and probably 60% of humanity are either ignorant or “stupid” despite being supposedly “intelligent”. In the UK the likes of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament have long exploited this, promoting the concept of Britain being turned into a nuclear desert with less than 6 minutes warning if a nuclear war was started – hence the Labour faction that want unilateral nuclear disarmament. “Better Red than Dead” is their slogan and they are firmly convinced that only by eschewing ALL nuclear weapons and power can we hope to survive. In short, should Iran become a nuclear power, these morons would simply surreder to the Ayatollahs as soon as they threatened a nuclear attack.

    The nuclear industry does need to avoid being “endorsed” by the AGW mob, they can and should make a case for themselves. I do not believe “climate change” can be stopped or reversed by the efforts of mankind. The planet is changing as we speak, it has been doing this for billions of years. Our focus needs to shift to adaptation and nuclear can certainly help us do it.

  51. @pat

    Yes Monbiot wrote in The Guardian about his frustrating talk with the UK Green Party leader, highlighting her nonsensical objections.

    Gradually the environmental debate separates those with rational beliefs from those with irrational beliefs. It isn’t irrational to say there’s a scientific consensus, when various bodies make statements claiming it is so, but it is irrational to reject nuclear “just because” and cling to a little quiet green marxist village ideal, when there’s no evidence that can be made to work. I do oft wonder that whist some survival problems are real, we have many religious types in disguise, taking their atheist but still Judeo/Christian outlook and making environmentalism all about human sin.

  52. noaaprogrammer says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    What will Germany do if most of the rest of the world goes nuclear?
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    We’ll buy the abundant chinese, australian and american coal for a few Nickels a ton, when the other countries in the world will finally have shut down their coal-fired powerplants.

    FYI: Last year alone, six new, huge coal-fired powerplants have been approved here in Germany

  53. “Probably the most infamous event was when Ansel Adams resigned from the board of directors of the Sierra Club over his support of nuclear power.”

    Did anyone else read the linked Ansel Adams article? I didn’t recall him resigning from SC, and see no mention of an actual resignation in the article. I found this, “… Diablo Canyon in California started an internal debate in the Sierra Club that eventually grew into a controversial board election in 1969 and the resignation of Executive Director David Brower.” … ” Adams continued as a Sierra Club director until 1971, when he voluntarily retired after 37 years of continuous service on the board.”

    I spent as much of my youth as possible in Yosemite, from the early Sixties until my last visit in 1969, on leave from the Navy before my Nuclear Power School class convened. I met and walked with Ansel Adams on two or three occasions. But it’s been almost fifty years and my memory fades, occasionally refreshed by repair to Yosemite and the Range of Light.

  54. Answer to Janice Moore:
    August 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Dear Janice,
    despite it’s not my own oppinion, I would bet quite an amount (of sugar of course) of You being wrong:>((
    First, Chancellor Merkel is not alone in the field. If she was, You might be right.
    Second, the average price for a kw/h is already about 27 eurocent, and the majority in parliament and population is still over 80 percent against nuclear power.
    Third, as I experience every day, the germans are not even open to discussion, when it comes to nuclear power and its waste. The next turn-over would be political suicide for Merkel her CDU and any other major party. Please excuse my rusty english, greetings from strike

  55. Here is novel idea how to reduce CO2 footprint for the public transport, further improvement would be to ventilate exhaust fumes through base of the mini-garden.

    Greenies would love it.

  56. Crosspatch is my hero…reading some of the responses reveal the ignorance of many posters. I was going to respond but Crosspatch is a far more eloquent writer.

    Think about what happened at Fukushima…massive earthquake followed by a tsunami. Followed by a hydrogen explosion. The radioactive release was negligible. Heck if it wasn’t such a political issue those plants could be refit and back online in 18 months.

    Nuclear power is a proven technology. It is safe and reliable. Could it be improved? Of course, what couldn’t? I have been an operator at both PWR’s and BWR’s. Done initial start up and commisioning, refueling outages, steam generator replacement and other fun stuff.

  57. Nuclear power is a robust technology, but all things robust fall victim to The Black Swan hiding in the Pareto distribution of natural phenomena. There is a chance of the next Chicxulub object falling on a pile of lithium, thorium, fluorine and beryllium.

  58. The nuclear energy question is starting to be discussed due to the climate sub wars. There are sub climate wars starting to breakout due to engineering and economic reality related to green scam energy vs the extreme warming fanatics’ goal.

    The problem is that green scam energy can only reduce carbon dioxide emission by 10% to 20% without storage systems (Ignoring costs, assuming Western countries have unlimited money, which is silly, ridiculous, Western countries will go bankrupt if they try to meet mandated green energy targets.) …. …..There are no viable storage systems. Carbon dioxide capture is a fantasy based on economics and 40% of the energy produced would be required for the capture.

    Storage Problem – Show stopper for Green Energy
    1) Intermittent sources require power storage or back-up natural gas single cycle power plants (Single cycle natural gas power plant 40% efficiency, Combined cycle power plant efficiency 60%. Single cycle power plant can be turned on/off/on/off/on/off, as is required to provide back up for wind.)

    Wind and solar are intermittent sources. The power quoted for wind and solar is installed capacity not average produced power. Ignoring the green scam cost issue, the maximum reduction in carbon dioxide emission using wind and solar is around 10% to 20% as a massive backup single cycle natural power plants are required. There are two problems the natural gas power plants produce CO2 and a single cycle natural gas power plant is roughly 40% efficient compared to 60% efficiency for a combined cycle power plant.

    Comments:
    1) A combined cycle natural gas plant is 50% more efficient than a single cycle natural gas power plant and costs roughly twice as much. The combined cycle plant cannot however be turned on/off/on/off/on/off as is required if wind power is used. Wind power produced is at the cube of wind speed. The German wind power installation produced power is 20% of the name plate capacity (varying of course from 100% to 0%, 20% to 60% and so on, think of wind speed varying hour by hour, now imagine massive wind farms feeding into an electrical grid with no ability to pass power from region to region), unfortunately the wind blows when power is not required and coal power plants, nuclear power plants, and combined cycle natural gas power plants cannot be turned on/off/on/off, so there is an in your face problem as the amount of wind power in an electrical grid increases. The problem is particularly acute during low electric demand periods when all of the single cycle natural gas power plants are turned off.
    2) Germany requires 4000 km of high voltage power lines to transport green energy from where it produced to where it is required and has constructed 300 km due to public resistance to high voltage power lines. The cost of ‘green’ energy needs to include the cost of ‘smart’ grids (more high voltage power lines and very, very expensive DC to AC and AC to DC convertors) and needs to include the cost of single cycle natural gas power plants. Roughly 30% of the electrical power losses is due to transmission loses and conversion loses. There are engineering and economic limits that limit the distance electrical power can be transported.

    Money Does not Grow on Trees, Western Countries face bankruptcy – Show stopper for Green Energy

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323716304578482663491426312.html

    Going Green? Then Go Nuclear
    We’re environmentalists, but pretending that solar power is ready for prime time is delusional.
    The cost of building and operating the Finnish nuclear plant over the next 20 years will be $15 billion. Over that time period, the plant will generate 225 terawatt-hours (twh) of electricity at a cost of 7 cents per kilowatt hour. …. ….Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh. …. …..In short, solar electricity in Germany will cost almost five times more for every kilowatt hour of electricity it provides than Finland’s new nuclear plant….. …..Over its 60-year lifetime—which can be extended by relicensing—the Finnish plant likely will generate more electricity than Germany’s solar panels ever will. That’s because solar panels only have an expected lifetime of 25 to 30 years and lose about a half a percent of their efficiency every year. Compared over their full lifetimes, the Finnish plant will produce power at a cost of about 4 cents per kwh, while Germany’s solar panels will produce electricity at a cost of 16 cents per kwh. … ….Does that mean we should give up on solar? Of course not. Thanks to several decades of public support, solar panels have gotten better and cheaper. Continuing efforts to develop better panels deserve our support. But the insistence that solar is ready to play a major role in meeting our energy needs today is both delusional and irresponsible.

    Messrs. McKibben and Kennedy, for instance, have boasted that on one day in 2012 half of Germany’s electricity came from solar. They neglect to mention that it was a cool and sunny day over a weekend, when demand was unusually low. The real story is much more sobering. In 2012, solar generated less than 5% of Germany’s electricity despite a decade and over $100 billion spent in subsidies.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/pandoras-promise-wins-nuclear-converts/

  59. Why is nuclear power being promoted as green now?

    The answer is that it has been promoted as green for a few years by Monbiot in the Guardian (and a few others) for one reason only – to save the world from Climate Change.
    The dangers of cAGW have been hyped so much (to permit the use of the Precautionary Principle) that nuclear becomes permissible.

    Think about the Precautionary Principle: The dangers that are to be averted must be an order of magnitude worse than any cost and irreversible – otherwise we wait for the evidence.

    That means nuclear comes into play – so why now?
    Because the pause in temperature rise means the Precautionary Principle is being dusted down and taken out of the cupboard.
    There is no other evidence so they have to say we can’t wait for the “pause” to stop.

  60. insanity…with ***nuclear on the side:

    6 Aug: UK Telegraph: Peter Dominiczak: Lib Dems: ban petrol and diesel cars from UK roads by 2040
    The Liberal Democrats want to ban millions of ordinary cars from Britain’s roads
    Nick Clegg’s party has unveiled proposals to only allow ultra-low carbon vehicles on UK roads by 2040.
    The controversial measures would mean millions of petrol and diesel cars being forbidden.
    Only electric vehicles and ultra-efficient hybrid cars would be allowed on UK roads under the Lib Dem plans.
    However, petrol and diesel vehicles would still be allowed for freight purposes.
    The plans will be voted on by members at the upcoming Lib Dem conference in Glasgow and could become party policy if approved…
    The Lib Dems also want to replace air passenger duty with a “per-plane duty, charged in proportion to the carbon emissions created by that journey”.
    As part of the party’s plans to create a “zero-carbon” Britain, the Lib Dems could also embrace ***nuclear power and shale gas exploration…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/10224801/Lib-Dems-ban-petrol-and-diesel-cars-from-UK-roads-by-2040.html

  61. The end game seems to be to make nuclear as unprofitable as other “green” solution to make them look good by comparison.

  62. “richardscourtney says:

    August 7, 2013 at 1:19 am”

    Maybe not with Japan (Thanks for reminding me) commercially in the period I mention (1980’s), but certainly with the US for military purposes prior to that after all, that was it’s primary reason for construction. Electricity generation was a convenient by-product.

  63. “He that goeth to bedde wyth Dogges, aryseth with fleas.” – James Sanford (The Garden of Pleasure, contayninge most pleasante tales, worthy deeds, and witty sayings of noble princes and learned philosophers moralized, 1573)

  64. sceptics haven’t been paying attention:

    30 July: Fox News: John Roberts: Mini-nuclear plants the next frontier of US power supply — or the next Solyndra?
    A boon to the economy? Or a boondoggle?
    That’s the debate raging over a new nuclear technology that — depending on your perspective — is either a game-changer in electrical generation, or a failure-in-the-making that will fleece taxpayers for a half-billion dollars. …
    In his June speech on climate change, President Obama talked about shutting down dozens of older coal plants, which left open the question of how that electricity would be produced…
    TVA was expected to apply for a construction permit last year. But that application has been delayed until 2015 at the earliest.
    That’s not the only controversial point with SMR’s. The federal government has pledged more than $500 million to help develop the technology. B&W has so far received $79 million for R&D, with the possibility of an additional $150 million…
    That’s not sitting well with the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. It points to the long history of expensive failures in the nuclear industry, backed by 60 years of subsidies.
    Ryan Alexander, president of the group, sees the potential for a nuclear version of Solyndra, the solar power company that went belly up after taxpayers poured a half-billion dollars into the company…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/30/mini-nuclear-plants-next-frontier-us-power-supply-or-next-solyndra/

    March 2012: UK Daily Mail: Nick Enoch: Britain’s (and the world’s) oldest nuclear power station closes … but it will take 90 more years and £954m to clear it completely
    As well as the time factor, it will also cost £954million for the 175 acre site to be completely cleared, with the final stage anticipated to take place between 2092 and 2101…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2108218/Oldbury-Nuclear-Power-Station-closes-90-years-954m-clear-completely.html

  65. another dodgy poll:

    29 May: UK Independent: Emily Beament: 43% back UK nuclear plant subsidies
    Among those who backed new nuclear reactors, almost three-quarters (72%) thought that the Government should subsidise their construction, the poll for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found…
    Nuclear is one of a number of low-carbon technologies benefiting from reforms to the electricity market, under which they will get a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate under contracts drawn up with the Government…
    Without an agreed guaranteed commercially attractive long-term price for the electricity from new nuclear plants, and a suitable source of investment finance, there can be no progress on building new UK reactors…
    More than half (55%) said they supported nuclear because it was low carbon, while half said it was reliable and the same proportion said it provided jobs…
    A recent report by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee warned that the legacy of nuclear waste from previous generations of reactors had been allowed to build up, with the cost of decommissioning Sellafield’s nuclear waste site now running at £67.5 billion.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/43-back-uk-nuclear-plant-subsidies-8634273.html

    24 April: Financial Times: Sylvia Pfeifer: MPs point to £2.3bn annual nuclear subsidy
    The nuclear industry enjoys a subsidy of at least £2.3bn a year and is in line for more public support under government plans to offer guaranteed prices for low-carbon power, a new report says…
    The government, which has repeatedly insisted there will be no subsidy, believes the UK needs to build reactors to help “keep the lights on” and meet tough carbon reduction targets.
    Reforms in the coalition’s energy bill, which continues its slow passage through parliament, include measures to support low-carbon sources of power such as nuclear and wind…

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fda9ea9a-ac29-11e2-a063-00144feabdc0.html

  66. From a Wikipedia entry on grief:

    “Children grieving in divorce

    Denial – Children feel the need to believe that their parents will get back together, or they will change their mind about the divorce. Example: “Mom or Dad will change their mind.”

    Anger – Children feel the need to blame someone for their sadness and loss. Example: “I hate Mom for leaving us.”

    Bargaining – In this stage, children feel as if they have some say in the situation if they bring a bargain to the table. This helps them keep focused on the positive that the situation might change, and less focused on the negative, the sadness they’ll experience after the divorce. Example: “If I do all of my chores maybe Mom won’t leave Dad.”

    Depression – This involves the child experiencing sadness when they know there is nothing else to be done, and they realize they cannot stop the divorce. The parents need to let the child experience this process of grieving because if they do not, it will only show their inability to cope with the situation. Example: “I’m sorry that I cannot fix this situation for you.”

    Acceptance – This does not necessarily mean that the child will be completely happy again. The acceptance is just moving past the depression and starting to accept the divorce. The sooner the parents start to move on from the situation, the sooner the children can begin to accept the reality of it.”

  67. I agree with boballab – the safety record of nuclear is only marred by stupid.

    Chernobyl was no accident, it was practically intentionally done. I have never considered that to count towards the safety record of nuclear power.

    And Fukishima? It’s still amazing that those reactors were in service as long as they were. No matter what anyone says, there were ZERO fatalities or serious injuries, but a lot of tense moments and a few heroes.

    I guarantee there have been more injuries and fatalities on the commute to and from working at nuclear plants than will ever be injured or killed due to reactor operations (at least during my lifetime, and I’m looking to be around another 50 years or so)

    But we KNOW the numbers for people injured and killed in the oil industry, or the coal industry. And the windmill industry.

  68. @ pat. that DM article is rubbish, the 1st commercial Nuclear reactor in the U.K. came on line in 1957, it was a Magnox reactor and I believe it was at Sizewell in Suffolk, it was not the world’s first either, that goes to Russia who used a type similar to Chernobyl which according to the Russian Nuclear Industry started producing electricity in 1948.

  69. The wind of change over nuclear began some time back in some unlikely quarters. The irony of all this is that in the desperate ‘fight against climate change’ (LOL) we are being pushed back to nuclear, burning wood in power stations, gas fracking, dams etc. All formerly highly opposed by greens. They can’t have their cake and eat it. Solar and wind can’t cut the mustard. There it is folks. Oh, and the damage to the environment has probably been made worse by greens. What a joke.

    George Monbiot goes nuclear back in 2011

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2011/04/05/monbiot-goes-nuclear/#.UgInpZzm5hc

    As does Gaia proponent Dr. James Lovelock back in 2004

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/james-lovelock-nuclear-power-is-the-only-green-solution-6169341.html

  70. Good article. However, a nuclear resurgence would require considerable rethinking of how we do nukes. Many of the nukes in the last surge were made exorbitantly expensive by multiple redesigns during construction. My hometown bought in to a “guaranteed” electrical supply by buying into the Shearon Harris plant. The result has been decades of the highest electrical costs in the area because the plant construction was extremely over budget.
    We also have no real solution for handling the waste from nuclear plants. We stopped reprocessing during the Carter administration because the Russians might think we had nuclear weapons or some such logic. We have never decided the long term storage strategy for the wastes, leaving us with potential environmental problems at every nuke site.
    I’m all for nukes, but would oppose any new construction until we solve cost and storage issues. And since some judge decided that long term storage has to be safe for the next million years, the likelihood of a rational nuclear waste policy is about zero.

  71. I’m a little surprised by the lack of comments on the up and coming Thorium reactors which both the Chinese and Indians are currently developing. And doing so using 1960’s American developed thorium technology as their starting point.
    Had the demands for reactors that could produce fuel that could be further processed for nuclear weapons not been one of the major considerations during the late 1950’s and 60’s then it most likely that Thorium reactor technology would have been developed and would by now be the world’s major electrical energy source.
    But with a Cold War on that could turn hot if anybody had at all slipped up and a full blown arms race under way between the western nations and the then seemingly all powerful Soviet Union and it’s vassal states in the east and China with it’s hundreds of millions turning communist with the victory by Mao Tse-tung’s Armies in 1948 plus the Korean war and communists apparently taking over all of SE Asia, the demands by the policy makers were for reactor types that could not only provide power and also run submarines and ships. And as well could also generate nuclear fuel byproducts that could be reprocessed into weapon’s grade fission bomb fuel.
    And so the nuclear technology developers concentrated on the various forms of Uranium powered reactors particularly the Boiling Water Reactors from GE.

    So Thorium with it’s very limited ability to generate anything that could possibly be reprocessed into weapons grade nuclear fuel was put on the back burner and eventually just quietly let fade away as a technology in the mid 1970’s,
    As nc says above, it turns out that the Canadian developed but very capital demanding to construct, the CANDU reactors, can be converted fairly easily to run on thorium.
    The Norwegians under an EU research project have just started running an experimental reactor using Thorium as one of it’s main fuel sources.
    So Thorium which needs a small amount of an ignition fuel source such as Uranium 235 or Plutonium 239 to both start and to continue running [ although a high powered linear accelerator can also act as a non nuclear ignition source, something the Indians are looking at experimentally ] and can burn up the waste fuel products from the BWR’s and other uranium and plutonium powered reactors are likely to become the main power generating reactors
    within the next quarter of a century.
    The Thorium reactor technology that seems to have the most chances of becoming a major power generation source is the passive safety Liquid Fluoride Reactor [ LFTR ]

    http://energyfromthorium.com/essay3rs/

    However there are a couple of very large curve balls in play when it comes to reactor technology advances,
    I am very surprised that nobody has yet mentioned the startling claims made by Charles Case of Lockheed Martins very famous advanced technology Skunkworks in a “Solve for X” presentation earlier this year.
    Charles Case in the Solve for X video presentation has claimed that the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks is in the process of developing a compact fusion power source which they hope to demonstrate by 2017 and have in commercial production by the early to mid 2020’s.

    http://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/5388/Nuclear-Fusion-in-Five-Years.aspx

    If the Skunkworks can pull this off and they have a long record of success in researching, developing and building some very advanced aircraft and space vehicles over the decades past, it will mean that all the end is now within sight of the nuclear and even fossil fuel power generation technologies sometime in the century ahead.
    And mankind will finally have that clean almost radiation free energy source which will never run out. energy without limit, a great dream of mankind since time began.

    As for a real nuclear disaster than possibly ranks close to the scale of Chernobyl and cost possibly hundreds of lives of the political prisoners who were sent in to clean up the disaster without ever being told about the intense levels of radiation involved then just look up the 1957 nuclear accident at Kyshtym in the USSR.
    And it was all due to a monumental stuff up and sheer carelessness by the nuclear researchers at Kyshtym
    The following link is the CIA report on that accident.

    http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/89801/DOC_0000498481.pdf

    Or the UK’s near , very, very near nuclear catastrophe as in a couple of minutes and a few hundred gallons of water difference between a carbon moderated reactor fire being brought under control and a UK chernobyl type reactor explosion and melt down ;
    The Windscale carbon moderated reactor fire of 1957

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

  72. “CodeTech says:

    August 7, 2013 at 3:41 am”

    Add to that the most prolific killer of humans, has been and most likely will remain so, is malaria.

  73. Mr. Somsel, you are wise to be reticent about embracing the weasel of AGW support. They are advancing an agenda, not looking for solutions. They ran into a stumbling block due to Wind and Solar just not being ready for prime time yet. But as Fukishima showed, they will turn on you at the drop of a dime. Their goal is not to replace fossil fuel power, but to eliminate all reliable sources of power. But they have come to realize they cannot do that all at once, so they will set the different sources at each others throats (like they did coal and Natural Gas) and then concentrate on the survivors.

    Politics does make strange bedfellows. Extremism does not. Just wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  74. Bob says: August 7, 2013 at 4:18 am “I’m all for nukes, but would oppose any new construction until we solve cost and storage issues. And since some judge decided that long term storage has to be safe for the next million years, the likelihood of a rational nuclear waste policy is about zero.”

    Who is to say that the Yucca Mountain waste repository will not be safe for the next million years? It is only that we have not used their illogic against ‘them’, and the great expense of bad money thrown after good that Yucca Mountain is not defended. See The Black Swan-Pareto distribution argument above.

  75. “Doug Huffman says:

    August 7, 2013 at 5:05 am”

    I do recall from the 1980’s suggestions for nuclear waste to be deposited as deep as possible in tectonic subduction zones.

  76. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Somsel. Nuclear should stand on its own as a cheap source of energy for generations to come. Backlash, especially by those who feel they have been misled can be nasty.

    As a chemist who worked in pharmaceuticals and plastics, I rather see hydrocarbons turned into useful products instead of being burned.

  77. “When was the last time you saw “China Syndrome” on a TV listing?
    Has it become an un-movie?”

    Actually, ask yourself when was the last time you saw any movie from the 70’s on a TV listing, especially those from the Carter years. (Excepting “Star Wars”, of course, but that’s sui generis) It’s like the entire decade is being flushed down the memory hole, even the Nixon years now that Obama is starting to look and act like a latter day clone of his.

  78. The victors (in the culture wars) write the history and the history of edutainment. Eschew television, embrace printed books for they will endure as long as their readers.

  79. ferdberple says:
    August 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    1/2 of your annual radiation exposure comes from medical x-rays. the other half from naturally occurring radon gas….. The idea that all radiation at any dose is harmful is nonsense. If that were truly the case, then medical X-rays should be shut down long before nuclear power plants. Basements and well sealed houses should have been outlawed decades ago.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Dr. Petr Beckmann (Access to Energy news sheet) managed to get the idea accross that radon gas produced more radiation exposure than a nuclear plant. The Peoples Republic of Taxachusetts promptly passed a law that any house sold had to be radon gas tested and Radon gas Test kit became all the rage. (Rolls Eyes)

    Now Granite Counter tops are being fingered has producing EVIL Radon Gas:

    CBS News: Granite Countertops A Health Threat? “If you have granite countertops in your home, you might consider testing them for the amounts of radon gas they give off, experts say, due to the potential that those amounts are above levels considered safe.”

    Granite Countertops and Radiation | Radiation Protection | US EPA

    Granite Countertops and Radiation | Radiation Protection | US EPA

    Radiation From Granite

    Any type of rock could contain naturally occurring radioactive elements like radium, uranium and thorium. Some pieces of granite contain more of these elements than others, depending on the composition of the molten rock from which they formed.

    If present, these radioactive elements will decay into radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas which may be released from the granite over time.

    http://www.radon.com/radon/granite.html

  80. ***
    As a long-suffering nuclear engineer
    ***

    As a former power-plant engineer, I understand & offer my sympathy. And at a coal plant, I thought I had to deal w/excessive & wasteful bureaucracy.

  81. I didn’t know much about Adam’s environmental activities. But a few years ago, here in Melbourne, Australia, I saw an exhibition of his photographs. They were breathtakingly beautiful.

  82. crosspatch says:
    August 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Also, I would consider folks read an article from the December 2005 issue of Scientific American. We are being exceptionally stupid in our decision to bury nuclear waste. It can be recycled. First pass through a reactor uses only about 5% of the available energy of the fuel….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    If I recall correctly General Electric has a monopoly on the fuel rods and makes bundles of $$$ supply those fuel rods. (Don’t have link bookmarked)

  83. Yet, my simple question is, should nuclear reactor manufacturers like Toshiba, General Electric, Areva, Bill Gates, Hitachi, Rosatom, etc publicly advertise that their products can help prevent climate change?

    All you can do is speak the truth. Nuclear reactors don’t produce CO2 emissions. Others will spin as they will, and in my view there is no predicting the exact way things will spin. Let them make of it what they will.

    My take-away lesson is political winds change, and so do the policies of environmental groups. I’d rather nuclear power not get involved.

    Can it be avoided? Nuclear power is part of the game whether anybody wants to play or not. In my view, any solution (and indeed almost any endeavour on this scale) is going to be subject to politics.
    I guess my view can be summarized this way. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally. Don’t take that away from the blind squirrels; it’s virtually all they’ve got.

  84. Bob says:
    August 7, 2013 at 4:18 am
    “We also have no real solution for handling the waste… but would oppose any new construction until we solve cost and storage issues…..”

    Doug Huffman says:
    August 7, 2013 at 5:05 am
    “Who is to say that the Yucca Mountain waste repository will not be safe for the next million years?”
    ——-
    Take a look at the link crosspatch posted earlier here: http://www.gemarsh.com/wp-content/uploads/SciAm-Dec05.pdf

    Nuclear waste does not need to be waste; it can be used as fuel and should be. The real waste left over after burning waste in a fast neutron reactor as described in the article is very, very small in volume and will only be dangerous radioactive for 300~500 year.

    Yucca Mountain would be a good temporary storage place for this fuel so our grandchildren or great grandchildren can use it. All that need to happen is a change in policy. I sure that will not be any time soon though, but someday maybe.

  85. Gail Combs says: August 7, 2013 at 6:25 am “If I recall correctly General Electric has a monopoly on the fuel rods and makes bundles of $$$ supply those fuel rods. (Don’t have link bookmarked)” I doubt that correct, if only for the variety of fuel assemblies in use. A very common NPP design does not even use “fuel rods”, desiring in stead to maximize fuel surface area.

  86. Thanks. Scientific American is pariah. My subscription was thirty years old when my tolerance for its nonsense was exhausted.

  87. The nuclear power industry funded many of the early climate change advocates in the 1980s. The Carbon Dioxide Information Center was hosted by the Oak Ridges Laboratory and funded Jones, Wigley, Mike MacCracken, etc. Michael Mann’s postdoc was funded from Oak Ridges. So there’s long precedent for an association.

  88. Doug Huffman says:
    August 7, 2013 at 6:40 am
    Thanks. Scientific American is pariah. My subscription was thirty years old when my tolerance for its nonsense was exhausted.
    —–
    I total understand, but this article is good. Scientific even said at the time they were very hesitant to publish it… wonder why.

  89. Want another reason to go nuclear?

    The Navy’s SPAWAR department was just awarded a patent for a LANR/LENR procedure that cleans up radioactive waste.

    http://ecatreport.com/lenr/u-s-navy-received-lenr-patent

    With that objection eliminated, there’s no reason to hesitate on nuclear, unless it’s to go whole hog on LENR, or maybe hot fusion?

    Ah, decisions, decisions… whether cold, split, or hot, nuclear is the predominant answer to a secure energy future.

  90. Probably what will happen is that, instead of their admitting that they were wrong about nuclear power, they will “discover Generation 3 and Gen 4 designs that “are so much safer” (they are, but the older plants were plenty safe enough). They may also jump on board the SMR (Small Modular reactor) bandwagon as “the cat’s meow.”

  91. As a plus for those not worried about CO2, nuclear plants don’t emit anything but steam. No fossil fuel plant can make that claim. There are objectionable emissions coming from fossil fuel plants
    that AGW skeptics would rather not see..

  92. I’m as pro nuke as anyone can be but I see no evidence for this comment in the Ansel Adams article sited
    quote—- “Probably the most infamous event was when Ansel Adams resigned from the board of directors of the Sierra Club over his support of nuclear power (http://www.anseladams.com/ansel-adams-the-role-of-the-artist-in-the-environmental-movement/).”
    The article states
    quote—“But in 1968 increasing differences within the club on the proper management of club policy and finances, as well as the Diablo Canyon question, led Adams to join with other directors and members in a move to elect a slate of directors opposed to Brower. In the 1969 board election Adams headed the successful anti-Brower slate. Defeated as a board candidate, Brower announced his resignation as executive director.
    The Brower fight and the role he felt compelled to play in it were personally painful for Adams . This was probably the most traumatic fight he has ever been involved in. Adams continued as a Sierra Club director until 1971, when he voluntarily retired after 37 years of continuous service on the board.”

  93. Here is a quote I heard years ago from the man who started the People’s Lobby, the first of California’s mass anti-nuclear groups, used to say proudly,
    “The only physics I ever took was Ex-Lax.”

  94. Actually, nuclear websites like world-nuclear-news.org have for some time been pointing out the non-carbon nature of nuclear power. They recently had a article showing how the loss of nuclear production was making it impossible for Japan to meet their target levels of CO2. But the nuclear industry should simply tell the truth : “our plants produce no emissions. If that’s what you want, then we’ve go the plants you need.” No need to go beyond that. Companies always produce what their customers want, even if their customers are dopes. The customer is always right, even when they’re not.

  95. crosspatch says:

    Also, I would consider folks read an article from the December 2005 issue of Scientific American. We are being exceptionally stupid in our decision to bury nuclear waste. It can be recycled. First pass through a reactor uses only about 5% of the available energy of the fuel. Proper processing can result in LESS nuclear proliferation, extension of uranium resources, and eliminating the need to ship highly radioactive materials around.

    The biggest irony is that in such a setup nuclear would be the closest thing possible to actually “renewable” energy.

  96. “Fairly safe perhaps, safer than some other fuels possibly. But “impeccable”, no way. Exaggeration does not help.”
    Vague criticism doesn’t work very well either. Data? But don’t include Comminist-built
    reactors.

  97. Nuclear’s biggest problem is natural gas. Besides being low in carbon, it is a very clean burning and inexpensive technology and there are huge amounts of it! It also doesn’t have the meltdown risk, although it does carry the risks of any flammable substance. The big question is: Are AGW and ocean acidification that big of a problem?

  98. I smell a bait and switch. Remember, the Climate Change activists were pushing Natural Gas just a few years ago–until we actually began developing it.

  99. I don’t have data covering every safety issue over the past 60 years, but I am aware of the
    safety issues with respect to the two largest nuclear accidents in the non-Communist world :
    Three Mile Island and Fukushma . No deaths , no serious injuries, no exposure of the public to
    dangerous levels of radiation. And current generation nuclear plants would never have
    experienced those accidents in the first place. Solar panel safety ? Anyone want to ballpark
    deaths/injuries resulting from 160 million rooftop installations?

  100. Anyone want to ballpark
    deaths/injuries resulting from 160 million rooftop installations?

    My guess is that should another hurricane like Andrew hit South Florida we would see a lot of damage from flying turbine blades and panels. About 100% of wind and solar generation would be completely destroyed and have to be replaced. Andrew damaged one smokestack of one unit at one conventional power plant.

  101. “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” as everyone already knows. Take your allies where you can find them. If you shun potential allies because you disagree with some of their motives, then you act alone.

  102. Doug Huffman says:
    August 7, 2013 at 6:40 am

    The article I posted was from nearly 8 years ago when they weren’t nearly so bad as they are now.

  103. What about Thorium reactors? Why do we not hear about this form of nuclear power. It seems to avoid most of the downside of uranium and be much cheper to construct.

  104. Plus, environmentalists, like revolutionaries, have a habit of changing their minds as to who was good and who was bad.

    Isn’t that true of everyone? The author of the lead piece today admits to having changed his mind about the danger of increased CO2 — what if he changes his mind again?

  105. The political reality is that without Leftists’ support and cooperation for nuclear power expansion, it won’t be possible to proceed.

    To the leftists, sell the fake attributes of zero CO2 emissions/halt global warming/save the world/create new jobs meme, and to the right, sell the real attributes of: clean, safe, cheap, unlimited energy and energy independence.

    Both the fake and real attributes will also appeal to different segments of left and right wing voters, so both political parties make out in the deal.

    I think it’s imperative that the primary emphasis be put on developing Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) as they are inherently: much cheaper, safer, efficient, produce less nuclear waste with shorter half life’s , operate at single atmospheric pressures, don’t need a water source (use gas turbine generators), cheaper to build, Thorium 16 times more plentiful than Uranium, Thorium requires no special processing, Thorium deposits are everywhere and unlimited, etc.,

    Either party could sell a Manhattan-Project LFTR program, with the left selling the economic stimulus/new jobs creation meme, and the right could sell the Sputnik Moment meme of having to catch up with the Chinese who are just a few years away from LFTR deployment that will steal American jobs if we don’t act now…

    I know the US can’t actually afford to do a “Manhatten-Project” LFTR program, but since the US is going to collapse anyway from $20 trillion national/state debt and $100~220 trillion (depends on who you talk to) in unfunded liabilities, we may as well spend $70 billion (equal to just one week of current government spending) on a LFTR program while we still can borrow the money to do it, rather than waiting until after the inevitable collapse, when it will be impossible; at least we get cheap, safe, unlimited energy forever out of the deal..

  106. Here’s the thing: Fuel reprocessing was always our fuel cycle strategy. The Carter administration via executive policy decided that we would not do that and would instead bury fuel after a single pass. The notion came from the naive idea that other countries would simply follow our lead. That didn’t happen. France reprocesses, India reprocesses, China is going on a huge reprocessing program. Even Iran was building a fast neutron reactor as early as 2004. Reagan resurrected the program and began work on a test processing facility in, I think, Idaho. The Clinton administration drove a stake through the heart of it by proposing legislation, that passed through Congress, that banned fuel reprocessing except for very specific government purposes. It would take an act of Congress today to start that process up again.

    Meanwhile, Bill Gates is investing in China on a series of reactors designed to do just this. Our policy of burial after a single pass is wasteful, stupid, and actually MORE dangerous than reprocessing it. In a fast neutron reactor you can “poison” the P-239 with P-240 and make it nearly impossible for weapons use (because P-240 exhibits spontaneous fission, something you do not want to happen in a warhead but is tolerable in a fuel rod and they are nearly impossible to separate).

    Every single member of Congress should read that article (the original one from 2005, not the re-printed one). In fact, every American should read it. It promises cheap abundant power available to all. We could have so much power the electric company would be giving away 100 watt lightbulbs again just to get people to use more of it.

  107. Nicholas Peel says:
    August 7, 2013 at 8:46 am

    There is no downside to uranium. We don’t need the thorium. You take natural uranium out of the ground or depleted uranium from previous enrichment activity and ship it to the site. The uranium never leaves the site after that. It is processed and “burned” at the same location. Thorium reactors could be used for smaller scale installations such as a metropolitan power utility that wants to produce power for its city but that only becomes necessary as long as we restrict larger scale generation. The only thing making the thorium viable is the restrictions on the conventional reactors with reprocessing. Overall, the thorium fuel cycle is less economical than MOX.

  108. With all the cheer-leading here for nuclear power, I’m still waiting for someone to articulate clearly why we even need nuclear power-plants in the first place, when we’ve got so much coalj and other “fossil fuels”.

    The notion that CO2 drives Earth’s climate has been dismissed by all but the most dedicated (to the “Cause”) green zealots. If CO2 does not drive Earth’s climate, it follows that there is nothing to prevent us from burning all the coal we need. And we do have plenty of coal – several hundred years reserves by some estimates, enough to have our cake, and eat it too, despite Gail’s concerns, above:

    I rather see hydrocarbons turned into useful products instead of being burned.

    We have tons of coal, long experience in burning it, and knowledge to remove most of the real pollutants released when coal is burned. But coal has been demonized, and demonization is one of the tricks employed by TPTB to get their way. Control of the MSM allows effective application of this trick.

    Meanwhile, as Mk Urbo notes above, over 400 tons of highly radioactive groundwater is flowing daily into the Pacific Ocean, as TEPCO finally acknowledged recently.

    In my opinion, the nuclear power industry has been one of the major players behind the CO2 scam from the beginning. Of course, it helps to have favorable media coverage to promote the CO2 scare, and ultimately, by default, the nuclear agenda.

    And guess what?

  109. Mr. Huffman and others….

    I realize that my link to Wikipedia does not fully support my claim that Adams resigned from the Sierra Club over his support for nuclear power. However, I knew people personally involved in the controversy who said Adams just didn’t want to be involved with leadership in the Club any longer after the dust-up with all its hard feelings. It was a hard fought and bitter contest within the Club. That’s a second-hand, non-documented reference, I realize, and would welcome a more authoritative history. I thought the portrait was a nice hook in any case.

    As to Fukushima, the weak link mechanically in the safety response of three of the four reactors was a small steam-driven turbine/pump system in the basement. With the internal flooding, its electrical controls were erratic and difficult to manually override. More recent plants in England, Sweden, China, and Taiwan have a new design/component that could be proven to work underwater and with greater reliability.

    US plants underwent a comprehensive evaluation after 9/11/01 that addressed many of the weaknesses later uncovered at Fukushima. Additional backfits are in progress specifically from the lessons learned from Fukushima. Chernobyl suggested fewer improvements on US plants due to the differences in fundamental physics although the Department of Energy did shutdown the one reactor in the country of similar design – it was used for making plutonium and maybe tritium for the weapons program.

    As to my main question about reactor vendors’ claims, acknowledgement of no CO2 emissions is accurate but I still would not want the public mind linked. Of course, environmentalists will complain about ANYTHING. I was once castigated at a party by Greenpeace member over the heavy metals releases into the ocean from the plant I worked at. I had to rebut that the heavy metals came from the runoff from the employees parking lot and not the plant itself.

  110. In my opinion, the 1970’s method of each-utility-re-designs-its-own-plant-every-time, and with it the idea that a-single-pair-of-very-big-plants-is-best is a large part of the problem.

    True, most nuclear plants were “intended” to be pairs, but the (deliberate) construction delays introduced as a hindrance by the anti-nuke industry – and the construction errors and re-designs introduced by the nuclear industry itself, means most are big single “islands” of only two plants or inefficient small single plants like Point Beach, WI.

    Containment design and decay heat removal is much, much easier with smaller plants (under 400 MegaWatts per reactor) than in large 1200 MegaWatt reactors. But, the huge pre-startup and planning and enviro paperwork and plant infrastructure and security and administration and engineering required for ANY size nuclear plant means that the fixed cost/plant cost have to reduced -> which makes big plants the only reasonable ones. Also, when one very large plant goes down, it strains the utility almost to the breaking point for delivery of power: which strain reliability and administration towards restarting, training, QA, etc. The wrong impulse and instinct: shutdowns for refueling and maintenance become “crisis” that happen very very seldom rather than simple regular events that happen continuously with the same crew of plant labor and shutdown labor doing the same job the same way every time every outage.

    Better one small plant shutdown regularly out of a group that remains operating, rather than 1 big one coming down that forces the utility to purchase power rather than generating it.

    So, construction costs go down by a factor 15% for a second plant identical to the first IF done by the same labor to the same design. the 3rd, 4th, and 5th are even cheaper: look at repeated ship construction “learning curves.”

    So, it is better then to have a “star” of five small plants all going to one central very high voltage distribution yard.

    The first plant built is a natural gas cogen plant that immediately begins generating power and starts paying for the transformer distribution yard, and supplies the blackout restart ability to the whole group. (Plus each small nuclear plant gets its own emergency generator as well.) Each of the five plants is built right after the previous work finishes: concrete, steel, piping, equipment crews walk from one job to the next. Each plant gets refueled in order while the others remain up: So you average the same power from the island at all times. Plant outage workers and engineers and test crews remain constant. Training is simplified and uniform at the same facility for all five. Refueling/reprocessing is done for all five without – as pointed out above – moving the fuel off site.

    During an outage, you lose 300 Meg out of 1500 total, but the 1200 Meg remaining is still available all year.

    One spent fuel/waste facility and fuel pool and permanent waste treatment (like vitrification or cask storage until transfer) is needed: not one facility per site as now.

  111. crosspatch says:
    August 7, 2013 at 9:03 am
    “Every single member of Congress should read that article (the original one from 2005, not the re-printed one). In fact, every American should read it…..”
    ——————————
    And most of all everyone on this thread should read it. I just read it again after 8 years, it is eye opening.

    As to thorium I think it should be devolved too, but as you said “there is no down side to uranium”. Waste is just no an issue, with uranium or thorium. Also thorium can be used in a fast neutron reactor as well.

  112. Guten Abend, Strike,

    Your English was excellent. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m still very hopeful, though. I’ll go stock up on sugar. #[:)] Well, on second thought, because you are quite sweet enough, for YOU, I will buy a gift certificate to your favorite online bookstore (since we’ll be calling this in January, 2014 when one needs something happy to do inside the house).

    Greetings from Washington State, U.S.A.,

    Janice

  113. In agreement with RACookPE1978…

    ‘Neo-nuclear’ should be modular, mass-produced off-site, small-scale plants with passive cooling, sited below ground near the areas where the electricity will be used. Besides the passive cooling, another selling point for ‘new’ designs is the possibility of using thousands of tons of nuclear waste as fuel, converting waste with a half-life of hundreds of thousands to just hundreds of years.

  114. Matthew R Marler says:
    August 7, 2013 at 8:43 am

    “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” as everyone already knows. Take your allies where you can find them. If you shun potential allies because you disagree with some of their motives, then you act alone.
    No, not in this case anyway. When you ally yourself with liars and crooks, in a very real sense you condone those acts, and soon enough, begin committing them yourself. Would you really want the Mob as your “friend”?

  115. Modern reactors can passively dump waste heat using evaporation, convection and gravity. The AP1000 design takes this even a step further with some of its design features. In case of a loss of all power and pumping capacity, the steam rising in the containment area will condense on a metal cap which also acts as a heat sink transferring the heat outside of the containment area. In prolonged operation in this mode in hot weather, additional cooling water can be applied to the outside of the cap through things such as an ordinary fire hose spraying on the top of the containment structure. The condensed water runs back down the sides of the containment structure where it is kept on a reservoir/ Water level is maintained in the bath surrounding the inner containment with float mechanical valves using the same principal as your toilet tank and the water gravity feeds that bath when the water level drops.

    No external power and no human intervention is required to dump waste heat for two weeks. After that, depending on local weather conditions, external cooling might be required on the containment heat sink. The emergency cooling system operates mechanically by natural forces so nothing can be accidentally disabled as was done at Three Mile Island.

  116. Dear Steve P (at 9:21AM, 8/7/13),

    Just wanted to affirm that, YES, clean coal, natural gas, and petroleum are still in abundant supply and SHOULD BE USED. The main point of the discussion (with many very good sub-points being made, too) is not that we should now replace coal, etc… with nuclear power, but that in advocating for the option of nuclear power (for the places and times when it is or becomes as or more cost-effective than other power sources) we need not and should not join with the pro-CAGW crowd.

    CAGWers promote nuclear power on the false premise that human CO2 causes global climate change. Thus, to join them in advocating for nuclear power is to incidentally support CAGW.

    Your ally for Truth in Science,

    Janice

  117. I have to agree with Mr. Cobb although I limited myself to just opposing reciprocity.

    Ad hominem arguments will arise even if nuclear doesn’t endorse climate change in return. If the fraudsters are praising nuclear, won’t nuclear be tainted, to some degree? Climate changers are free to endorse whatever fix they will. But ask yourself, did Lyndon LaRouche’s endorsement of nuclear contribute to public support?

    As to small reactors, there is still a VERY strong economy of scale for larger new reactors – I’ve been involved in its precise calculation. How small modular reactors are going to reverse that is a big question in my mind, especially as regulations have yet to be written to govern them.

    BTW, I erred in saying in my comment that I had linked to Ansel Adam’s Wiki page – it was to the Adams Gallery’s posted bio of Adams.

    Ms. Moore – thank you for your compliments.

  118. Meanwhile, as Mk Urbo notes above, over 400 tons of highly radioactive groundwater is flowing daily into the Pacific Ocean, as TEPCO finally acknowledged recently.

    In my opinion, the nuclear power industry has been one of the major players behind the CO2 scam from the beginning. Of course, it helps to have favorable media coverage to promote the CO2 scare, and ultimately, by default, the nuclear agenda.

    Ok, simmer down. TEPCO screwed up and set the bar far higher than they could possibly meet. Nearly all the water TEPCO has stored on site has very low contamination levels, in fact, the contamination levels are so low that it can be legally dumped to sea with no consequence. Actually some of it even meets standards for drinking. But TEPCO said they would remove ALL TRACES of contamination which may prove impossible since the dirt in Japan (and the rest of the world) still contains traces of contamination from the 1945 bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as contamination from atmospheric testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s. So TEPCO has painted itself into a corner here. So far the reporting on the Fukushima ground water is much like the global warming reporting. For example:

    It was not immediately clear how much of a threat the contaminated groundwater could pose.

    They are also very keen on not giving you the numbers you really need to make a decision. For example, Reuters says:

    Tepco said on Friday that a cumulative 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium had probably leaked into the sea since the disaster.

    But they don’t tell you how many liters of water that is so you can gauge how contaminated that water might be. Water with 60,000 becquerels per liter of tritium is allowed to be dumped to sea without treatment. One well reported 11,000 becquerels of cesium-134 per liter and 22,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per liter of water which is well above the normal standard of about 90 that is allowed to be routinely dumped without any special permit but interestingly the well right next to the turbine building where the water is being injected to dilute the contaminated water there was showing only 0.74 becquerels per liter between July 8 and 9, and cesium-134 rose slightly to 0.50 becquerels from 0.49 becquerels. So it doesn’t appear to be coming from the turbine building. But in any case, diluting the water with sea water would make it safe for release. An observation point over 50 meters in shore from the beach shows 310 becquerels per liter of cesium 134 which is not massive contamination. It exceeds the standard for inconsequential release by about 6x but that is still harmless for short term exposure. 60 becquerels per liter contaminated water could be released day in, day out without any special notice.

    This is an attempt to create a news story by again creating fear in people. In fact, in a health report done by the UN, the greatest health impact from Fukushima is likely to be psychological due to reporting such as this that greatly inflates fear in people’s minds by creating an irrational fear of any radiation. What is ironic is that anyone fleeing Japan during the Fukushima event got more radiation exposure on the flight back to the US than they would have got staying right where they were in Japan.

    You do more damage to your body during moderate exercise than these low doses of radiation do. In fact, the damage is done in exactly the same way — through creation of free radicals in the cells. So take an alpha-lipoic acid supplement and relax.

  119. Aesop had a fable about scorpions, wherein the scorpion drowned itself by stinging its victim to death simply because it was his nature to do so.

    Sane citizens and businesses will recognize how that fable correlates to modern-day environmentalism.

  120. This is a topic dear to my heart, but I can’t afford the time to read it all (apologies).

    Years ago, some operations analysts at the aerospace company where I work were looking into the idea of shooting radioactive waste into the sun. They thought it was a perfect solution, notwithstanding the fact that it is more difficult to do that than shoot it out of the solar system, or that there would be launch failure risks. I pointed this out.

    “So what’s your solution, then?” they asked. I took it under advisement and came back with my recommendation: “Just haul it out into the middle of the ocean and dump it overboard.” They were scandalized. But, if you go through the known chemical composition of seawater, it turns out that every cubic kilometer of seawater (and there are a LOT of cubic kilometers out there) already contains over TWO THOUSAND TONNES of transuranic elements in solution…along with 1 gram of radium! (which is actually quite a bit of radium) Someone explain to me how such dumping could change anything. They walked away, scratching their heads. Nature is radioactive. Live with it.

  121. P.S. One of my anticipated Fun Things To Do is purchase a surplus civil defense Geiger counter. Then I can go to my friends’ houses and show them how dangerous their granite kitchen countertops are. (Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, and pitchblende. Pitchblende shows up as the black specs in the granite matrix. It is also uranium ore!) Need I point out how close and frequently we interact with kitchen counter tops?

  122. Ok, lets put this into perspective, shall we? We are talking about some leakage of contaminated water that doesn’t appear to be all THAT contaminated. The US exploded over 200 nuclear bombs in the atmosphere or in the ocean (that, obviously, does not include the over 800 underground tests). And that is just the US, it doesn’t include tests by other countries. If someone were to detonate even a 10kt device in the sea today you would probably be led to believe that babies would be born with six eyes as a result.

    We have a population that has allowed itself to be indoctrinated with an irrational fear of radioactivity. We have a so-called “environmental” lobby that is nothing short of a gang of bullies who have managed to cow otherwise intelligent people. We need to stand up to these people and tell them to take their dogma and stick it.

    I grew up in the 1960’s. I ate a lot of tuna sandwiches. My hair didn’t fall out at 8 years of age. One is at more risk from mercury in the seafood than from radiation. My kids weren’t born with six eyes and their mother grew up directly downwind of the National Test Site. Her mother is still alive, too. My kids have frolicked in the dust of Northeastern Nevada and Southwestern Utah and loved it. Please, stop the irrational fear mongering. Yes, we do need to prevent dangerous levels of contamination but this nonsense around what we have seen so far from nuclear accidents is just plain insane.

  123. Michael J. Dunn says: August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm “Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, and pitchblende. ” Perhaps you mean mica rather than uraninite?

  124. Reply to Richard s courtney,

    Sir, I find it quite enlightening that you tolerate on this thread so many undocumented assertions, in particular those comments written by “Crosspatch”.

    Hypocrite.

    Where is your faux righteous indignation? To quote you, “this is a science blog! You must provide citations!”

    Thank you for the confirmation of your utter hypocrisy.

  125. Thanks, Roger, you just made me laugh… :)

    Kinda sucks seeing people post real data, right? Because those real numbers kinda blow away the hyperinflated arguments of the anti-nuclear crowd…

  126. Roger Sowell:

    re your post addressed to me at August 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm.

    If you dispute the clear and accurate data from Crosspatch then ask him to justify it (I could so I am sure he can). And it is NOT hypocritical of me to respect the data Crosspatch provides when I could substantiate that data myself.

    It seems that your accusation of me being hypocritical is an example of you displaying pschological projection. You post falsehoods and repeat them after they have been refuted by several people (e.g. your false claim that I have made statements in contradiction of the Second Law of thermodynamics). And you make unsubstantiated assertions then have the gall to call on me to defend you when knowledgeable people such as Crosspatch point out why your assertions are ridiculous. Then you call me a hypocrite for not defending you when Crosspatch states the truth which contradicts your assertions!

    Please have the good grace to stop wasting space on WUWT threads with your nonsense. I feel sure that any kindergarten and SkS would welcome your twaddle, so there are places where you could peddle your rubbish without being the nuisance you are here.

    Richard

  127. @Richard Courtney — finally read your generously gallant post concerning a certain mixed-up person and myself on another thread. THANK YOU!

  128. The biggest thing in favour of nuclear power is not that it produces little or no CO2, but that its energy density is orders of magnitude higher than any other fuel. The whole discussion about CO2 and climate change/global warming is irrelevant when it comes to nuclear power. During its whole history, mankind has progressed from less dense to higher density energy sources. Now the environmentalist movement strives to go the other way. From nuclear back to coal, to wind, to solar, to wood, to chicken manure, to water wheels. If you want to make the case for nuclear power, make it on one issue alone: energy density.

  129. I got the data I produced on contamination from both the Reuters reporting, which I assumed came from government sources as well as previous reportage on the subject which had information on allowable release contamination. The data on number of nuclear tests is widely known and available from several sources but this document might prove useful: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/nuclear/nv209nar.pdf

    Is there something in particular that one finds issue with?

    For information on radiation damage to cells, one might have a look here:

    http://blogs.fas.org/sciencewonk/2013/02/back-to-the-basics-how-radiation-affects-our-health/

    Also, recent research has shown that potential health threats from radiation may not be cumulative, particularly for small doses of radiation, as we had earlier supposed. Exposure to low doses may do no more damage to the body than moderate to vigorous exercise. Stuff like this is around if you look for it:

    http://radiology.rsna.org/content/251/1/13.long

    And finally, there are several examples of places where natural fission reactions existed on Earth. The half life of U-235 is 703.8 million years. That means that 700 million years ago, natural uranium had about twice as much U235 as it does now.(1.44% vs today’s 0.72%) 1.4 billion years ago it had four times as much (2.88%), and 2.1 billion years ago it had 8 times as much (5.75%) So going back about 1.5 billion years ago and more, natural uranium had about the same enrichment as current day reactor fuel. A natural reactor would work something like:deposit of uranium gets wet. Water moderates the neutrons and slows them down and a reaction starts. That causes heat which boils off the water and the reaction stops. More water seeps in, reactor starts again. 2 billion years ago Earth was awash in fission products because we had basically open air nuclear reactors running. Life has actually evolved systems to protect itself from radiation though it takes a rather significant dose to trigger those mechanisms. Did you know that people living in an apartment complex made from concrete that was contaminated by Cobalt 60 and gave them a much higher dose than allowed had a much LOWER incidence of cancer than the average population?

    But anyway, example of natural nuclear reactors:

    http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/all-natural-all-nuclear

  130. We will always have a need for hydrocarbons to make plastics, lubrication, fuel for some applications and in the future it may even use as feed stock for food products. We could say it’s just a good idea not to burn our future instead of agreeing with the Green crowd. We both want to go to the same place and that’s clean cheap reliable power and while we have different reasons, they both should result in nuclear power.

  131. @Dena Also paints, pigments, fertilizers, and fabrics come from hydrocarbons. Sure, I agree, we shouldn’t be burning those things up to produce energy when we have a nearly limitless supply already available if we recycle nuclear fuel. All the fuel we have used to date could be recycled and 90% of it put right back into a reactor without another ton of it being mined. All of that DU lying around on the ground in Iraq would be reactor fuel. We could have dirt cheap electricity the the cronies of the politicians just won’t have that.

  132. …is it in nuclear power’s best interest to make public alliance with the climate change crowd?

    Watch your back with that crowd is all I’ll say. Jim Hansen is stridently in favor of nukes, but the rank & file of the climate movement remains NIMBY earth-shoe types who will turn on a dime. Longterm waste handling issues haven’t been adequately addressed, and I think the era of the boiling water reactor are drawing to a close. Unless something else (thorium reactors) comes along, nukes are cooked, post-Fukashima. Sad but true.

  133. Richard S Courtney,

    No, it was the First Law of Thermodynamics that you failed, but then Thermo is not your best subject now, is it? Confusing, aren’t they?

    Such a hypocrite, and in full view of all here.

    You should be ashamed.

  134. Here is an interesting incident to consider on how dangerous intermediate level radioactivity really is. How about building concrete contaminated with Cobalt 60 used in building apartments, schools, stores, businesses… in a development in Taiwan with people living in them continuously for up to 20 years?? Yup, and when the radiation was discovered they actually did a relatively complete study on the people who lived there.

    First link is general information. Second link is the study, and the third link is more information on Hormesis.

    http://ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/taiwan-cobalt-60-apartmt-04.htm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/

  135. There is a fusion plant being built in France right now at a cost of $22bil. Promise? Cheap and plentiful power, no waste, no GHG emissions. I can understand why it’s being built in France.

  136. Along with Crosspatch’s excellent posts, I would like ANYONE to post information on the death rates for cancer in the towns and cities downwind of Chernobyl. Nuclear accidents causing death and disease has been an interest of mine so I tried to follow the results of Chernobyl.

    Let me remind everyone that unlike 3 Mile Island, Fukushima dai-Ichi and the rest of the rational world, Russia actually built some reactors with NO CONTAINMENT VESSELS! The reactor core sat at the bottom of a pool of water that blocked the radiation. When they screwed up their experiment and allowed the water level to fall too far the reactor core overheated and blew CORE MATERIAL INTO THE ATMOSPHERE!!!! (notice no nuclear explosion or China Syndrome even then!!) That’s right, not just small amounts of isotopes, but, CHUNKS OF THE CORE along with a huge amount of vaporized radioactive isotopes!!

    If radiation in lesser amounts is ANYTHING like the alarmists believe the death rates for Cancers and other radiation diseases should be easily identified in the cities downwind and close to Chernobyl! Please show me the actual death rates and NOT the MODELLED ASSUMPTIONS in those cities!! I can’t find it. Maybe you can.

    I remember them tracking the cloud of isotopes around the world on the jet stream and wondering how many would die. Still wondering. Must not have been very many.

    The only solid numbers I found were a number of children in the village close to Chernobyl who hcontracted Thyroid cancer and were successfully treated. Interestingly enough, the cancers were a couple years earlier than expected from experience.

  137. @wws says: 8/7 5:27 am: RE: Last time you saw “China Syndrome”
    Actually, ask yourself when was the last time you saw any movie from the 70′s on a TV listing, especially those from the Carter years. (Excepting “Star Wars”, of course, but that’s sui generis) It’s like the entire decade is being flushed down the memory hole,

    http://www.imdb.com/list/3OARpt_adhI/ (a list of 275 1970’s movies)
    Here are 50 from the list that I remember seeing listed recently.

    Barry Lyndon (1), The Sting, Star Wars, Rocky, Jaws, A Clockwork Orange (1), Network (My personal all time favorite!), Dirty Harry, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Westworld, Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka…, American Graffiti, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, Spy Who Loved Me, Magnum Force, Man with the Golden Gun, Three Days of the Condor, Murder by Death, Silver Streak, Saturday Night Fever, Greese, Patton, The Last Detail (1), Towering Inferno, Day of the Jackel, Jeremiah Johnson, Bad News Bears, Airport 1975, Live and Let Die, Airport, Soylent Green, Blazing Saddles, Rollerball, Heaven Can Wait, Muppet Movie, Tora Tora Tora, The Jerk, Every Which Way But Loose, Smoky and the Bandit, The Cowboys, Dimonds are Forever, Murder on the Orient Express, Mad Max, Rocky II, MASH, Midway, Earthquake, Moonraker.

    (1) I remember my surprise seeing the listing very recently, though I’ve never seen them.

    But you do have a point, wss. Here are other movies from the 70s that don’t get the air play I’d expect.
    The Godfather, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Godfather II, Sleuth, Deliverance, Exorcist, Papillion, French Connection, The Conversation ,
    Dog Day Afternoon, Caberet, Nashville, Apocalypse Now, Paper Chase,
    Kramer vs Kramer, Stepford Wives, The Shootist, Capricorn One, Oh, God!, The Out of Towners, Brian’s Song, Shaft, and China Syndrome.

    That leaves about 200 movies from the 1970’s that do seem to be “flushed down the drain”. Their absence from the airways are not missed by me, including anything by Woody Allen, a bunch of Jack Nickolson, Altman, Hoffman, and Di Nero movies.
    And a bunch with Jane Fonda… Which might explain China Syndrome’s absence.

  138. @Doug Huffman 2:37 pm
    Michael J. Dunn says: August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm “Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, and pitchblende. ” Perhaps you mean mica rather than uraninite?

    More likely hornblende
    an isomorphous mixture of three molecules; a calcium-iron-magnesium silicate, an aluminium-iron-magnesium silicate, and an iron-magnesium silicate. The general formula can be given as (Ca,Na)2–3(Mg,Fe,Al)5(Al,Si)8O22(OH,F)2. No uranium.

    Some granites contain around 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium. By contrast, more mafic rocks such as tonalite, gabbro or diorite have 1 to 5 PPM uranium….. Thorium occurs in all granites as well.[14] Conway granite has been noted for its relatively high thorium concentration of 56 (±6) PPM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granite#Natural_radiation

    Potassium is also a component of feldspars (K-spars, the pink mineral) in Granites and Diorites. Potassium-40 is 0.012% (120 ppm) of all potassium. It’s relative abundance means that about 3/4 of natural radioactivity comes from Potassium-40. http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm

  139. I once worked for the special effects designer for “The China Syndrome.” I got to do a show-and-tell for the Industrial Light and Magic folks working on the second Star Wars sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back.” The images of the explosions were my contribution, having studied nuclear engineering under a plasma guy.

    It is just an afternoon’s work, but it looks GREAT on the resume!

  140. Friends:

    Yesterday Roger Sowell posted falsehoods about me on another thread and I posted a rebuttal in reply. That rebuttal has not appeared despite my stating in that thread that the rebuttal had not appeared.

    Today Roger Sowell has posted falsehoods about me on this thread and I have posted a rebuttal here. This rebuttal seems to have vanished in the ‘bin’.

    I will post my rebuttal again in an hour if it has not then appeared.

    I consider it to be reprehensible that falsehoods about me are published in WUWT threads but my rebuttals of those falsehoods do not appear when I post them in the threads.

    Richard

  141. I made a little money investing in uranium minors when many were pumping it was going to get scarce. If you’re not watchful though, a decent profit can turn into a gargantuan loss in a hurry. It looks really promising, maybe 100 years from now, when natural gas gets expensive. So I’m not looking to reenter this trade. If carbon emissions go out of vogue, uranium and nuclear power could lose demand – regardless of its merits.

    Gold gets low enough, I will be enlightened.

  142. Friends:

    More than an hour has passed so – as I said I would – I am about to again post my rebuttal to Sowell.

    Richard

  143. Roger Sowell:

    I am copying all of your false and infantile post at August 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm to aid everybody in seeing the reality of your behaviour and thus recognising why your posts should be ignored or reviled.

    Richard S Courtney,

    No, it was the First Law of Thermodynamics that you failed, but then Thermo is not your best subject now, is it? Confusing, aren’t they?

    Such a hypocrite, and in full view of all here.

    You should be ashamed.

    I have not “failed” with respect to any thermodynamical law. You have not – and you cannot – cite an example where I have because I have not.
    Apologise for your unsubstantiated smear.

    To answer your stated question, yes, I know you find the subject of thermodynamics “confusing”, but that is a result of your limited scientific knowledge and your complete lack of scientific understanding. I cannot help you with that.

    I have never claimed that “Thermo is [my] best subject” (it is not) but I can assist you to understand thermodynamics if you are capable of formulating questions which say what you want to know. There, I have offered to try to assist you in overcoming some of your severe limitations, and I think that removes any reason for you to think I “should be ashamed” for pointing out those limitations.

    Your post which I here quote is hypocritical and is untrue.
    You posted it for all to see. I have copied it in full to maximise exposure of it.

    I strongly recommend that you ask your Mummy to set a rule on how long you can play with your computer in your bedroom because it is way past your proper bedtime.

    Richard

  144. Thanks for the corrections, Doug Huffman & Stephan Rasey, on my misunderstanding over the source of radioactivity in granite. (I’ve misunderstood that for a LONG time, I guess.) But it doesn’t diminish the mischief when the counter reacts to the counter.

    I should also mention that the results about dissolved radioactive elements in seawater were strictly for transuranics. I didn’t bother to go after potassium-40, which should also be a huge quantity. Or carbon-14.

  145. Crosspatch, can you please advise

    I have been battling the doomsayers and we all dead mob re Fukushima. They responded with that video endorsed by Gorbachev?

    Thanks

  146. Steve P says:
    August 7, 2013 at 9:21 am\

    “….400 tons…”

    Should be 300 tons.

    In my opinion, we have neither the experience nor the knowledge to rule-out long term damage to the human genome through increasing exposure to radiation.

    • Steve P,

      I notice you say INCREASING exposure to radiation. Would you like to take this from the usual alarmist arm waving pie in the sky unlimited term to something realistic?? The genome is self repairing within limits. If you wish to specify radiation exposure past those limits I am sure most of us would agree with you. As is you really haven’t said anything as you provided no numbers as to what is typical NORMAL background radiation, what is approaching the actual genome damage limit, and what we are being exposed to in areas where man has actually increased that background exposure significantly.

      If you actually READ the links I posted earlier in the thread you would KNOW that much higher exposure from Cobalt60 contamination did NOT cause genetic damage in people who lived in the buildings for up to 20 years!!!

  147. Adendum to Stephen Rasey 10:31 pm
    Here are other movies from the 70s that don’t get the air play I’d expect.
    Andromeda Strain (1971).
    Just watched that on Netflix last night. It holds up well for a 42 year old Sci Fi movie.
    But I can see why it doesn’t get much air play… Those lab scenes with the rats and rhesus ARE (not may be) “too intense for children”

  148. Kuhncat,

    Interesting material. Contrast Chen et al and the other arguments for radiation hormesis with the fairly recent press release from the ADA, which begins:

    CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2012 – In an effort to decrease radiation exposure to patients…

    http://www.ada.org/8006.aspx

    I don’t know the numbers. My beliefs about radiation have been based on the linear no-threshold model, which seems to be reflected in the ADA press release, but which have been bashed pretty significantly by Chen et al, and some of the other evidence for radiation hormesis noted in your other links. My beliefs and the LNR getting the dents, making them a little wobbly.

    I recognize the benefits of mental and physical exercise. Use it or lose it. It’s possible this same principle is universal with cells. A cell’s ability to fight back is enhanced after being put to the test, so to say, and what doesn’t kill you does indeed make you stronger.

    I guess the French study gets the last word here:

    “Using LNT to estimate the carcinogenic effect at doses of less than 20 mSv is not justified in the light of current radiobiologic knowledge.”

    –Wikipedia, ibid

    Thanks for your input.

    .

    .

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