Earth Institute: "Japan should use nuclear power"

Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station
Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, has stated in an interview with Ryuichi Otsuka, a news researcher for the prominent Japanese news provider Yomiuri Shimbun, that Nuclear Power is an essential part of the solution to climate change.

According to Sachs;

Q: Nuclear power has various risks, but threats of climate change are much more serious?

A: That is exactly right. Climate change’s danger is great. What scientists tell us is that by the end of this century, if we don’t take strong measures, the Earth’s climate will change to be in a condition unlike anything that humanity has ever experienced — with many more extreme events, with much hotter temperatures, with much more frequency of typhoons, droughts, floods and with the risks of very significant rise of sea levels — which could create catastrophes of many of the world’s greatest cities.

And if opponents of nuclear power say nuclear power should not be used, they have the responsibility to show the alternative. Germany is closing down its nuclear power, but it’s burning more U.S. coal exported to Germany. And I find that really unacceptable. It’s bad not only for Germany but for the world.

And in China, people are suffering massive lung disease and premature death from all the air pollution coming from coal plants. A scientist estimated that more than one million people have died as a result of coal-fired power plants, whereas with nuclear plants, the number of deaths has been very small.

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Jeffrey Sachs has added his voice to the voices of other leading greens, scientists such as Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Kerry Emanuel and Dr. Ken Caldeira, who have demanded political acceptance of nuclear power, to save the planet. Guardian Columnist George Monbiot has maintained strong support for nuclear power, despite a substantial backlash against his stance from fellow greens. Anthony Watts, and other skeptics support nuclear power.

Leading engineers at Google Corporation, one of the world’s greenest companies, have reluctantly concluded that renewable power is not ready for mainstream use. Within the framework of belief that CO2 is an imminent threat to the planet, it is utterly implausible to deny the need for nuclear power to be a large part of the solution.

In my opinion, it is time for greens to demonstrate they actually believe in anthropogenic global warming, by throwing their wholehearted support behind the nuclear option.

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Kurt in Switzerland
April 6, 2015 12:17 am

The Great Green Quandary: how continue claiming that “Climate Change” is the greatest threat facing the planet while simultaneously rejecting all forms of nuclear energy out of hand.

Santa Baby
Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
April 6, 2015 2:25 am

Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” — John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001
The motive is not to stop climate change but to make energy less affordable and less available. And by doing that they hope to destroy the lifeblood of the Western industrial societies, They hate the World so they just want to breake it.

Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 5:38 am

“They hate the World so they just want to breake it”
Holdren is a fan of population control to save the world, so he must not hate it too much?
Maybe he just hates the little people of the world…

Mike Henderson
Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 3:02 pm

Paul, exactly.

Santa Baby
Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 3:11 pm

He does not feel at home in today’s Western world. So he wants a radical change. But first he and Obama needs to destroy or take away the “Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” This, and global Government, is going to create a lot of economic and democratic damage to the Western World isn’t ?

Santa Baby
Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 3:20 pm

They want to make a radical change of the Western World. Cheap nuclear power or any other power source is politically not an option.

Papa Bear
Reply to  Santa Baby
April 7, 2015 7:50 am

If they truly believe that man can leave an indelible mark on the world in such short time frames, they are irrational. Anyone with the most minimal observational skills knows that desperate people will do almost anything to survive. This is obvious with even a simple thought experiment – If you and your family had a choice of cutting down a giant tree for firewood or freezing to death, which would you choose?
If modern energy/power is not affordable for the common person, people will not go quietly into that good night. They will take down every tree and burn it in the least efficient way. When there is a contest between the environment and basic survival, survival will always win.

Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
April 6, 2015 7:03 am

Not a quandary at all. I, and many others, advocate for action on AGW and support Nuclear power as the essential solution to replace fossil fuel fired power generation.

Reply to  warrenlb
April 6, 2015 5:03 pm

Are you and the “many others” in control of the decision making?

Reply to  warrenlb
April 6, 2015 8:12 pm

Do you imagine the word ‘advocate’ has a different meaning than the word ‘controls’?

Reply to  warrenlb
April 6, 2015 9:55 pm

My comment was in regard to your words “Not a quandary at all”. That is why my comment above. I agree that modern nuclear is safe as well as reliable, but as Kurt points out above there are many greens who do not feel similar, thus the “quandary”.

Reply to  warrenlb
April 7, 2015 10:42 am

OK. A ‘quandary’ for some who advocate for action, not a quandary for others who advocate.

April 6, 2015 12:19 am

I support nuclear power as well but not on the back of climate change

David A
Reply to  asybot
April 6, 2015 12:49 am

That is certainly a reasonable thesis. However I think the central message of the post is if one is a strong proponent of CAGW, costal cities flooding displacing hundreds of millions, millions more, the victim of extreme weather of all sorts, etc; then the risk of nuclear, (particularly third and fourth generation), is a clear choice that logic demands one to take.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  David A
April 6, 2015 2:01 am

David A,

[Nuclear] is a clear choice that logic demands one to take.

It should be no secret that I wholeheartedly agree, and that one of my persistent frustrations with others on my side of the fence is that they’re not getting behind it. Which is not to say that attitudes aren’t changing. Sachs’ statement is one of more and more examples I’m seeing of things moving in the “right” direction.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  asybot
April 6, 2015 2:10 am

I don’t understand. If I want a thing done, what matters most to me are my reasons for it. If I need someone else’s consent or assistance to do it, I see nothing wrong appealing to or accepting their own reasons for their support. On such a large issue like nuclear power, I don’t see how it will ever be possible for everyone’s motives to be the same, and it seems rather counterproductive to say, “well I want that thing, but since I don’t like why you want it, nobody gets it”. Which you may not be saying, but for sure it’s what I’m reading into it.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 2:52 am

“I don’t see how it will ever be possible for everyone’s motives to be the same…”
Indeed. Humans gather and cooperate because we agree on something not because we agree on everything.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 6:47 am

Google’s aspirational goal: “…to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant could, and to achieve this in years, not decade.”
Given the costs of nat-gas fired power generation, the qualifier ‘more cheaply’ would likely eliminate nuclear power as an option as well.
Google’s qualifier is wrong, since “costs’ as assumed by Google do not include the external costs of carbon pollution. That doesn’t mean that solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal are complete solutions — they aren’t, each for different reasons. But when the externality of carbon pollution is included, renewables may have their place, with nuclear as the replacement for today’s base load generating capacity of coal and nat gas.
“all or nothing’ is properly called out in many of these posts as wrong headed. The solutions are multi-faceted — but costs must include the cost of carbon pollution — mitigation and adaption — if solutions are to be properly evaluated.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 1:27 pm

Who will rid me of these troublesome externalities?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 5:16 pm

My read on his comment is that we should not rush into something because of a false flag story. From what I have read modern nuclear is much superior to the earlier versions. That is all well and good. There is still the issue of the ever growing waste byproducts. What happened at Fukushima is a good example of the potential problems that may arise. They had a large amount of stored waste product at the facility, because there was no other place to move it to. To my mind we should wait for the next stage of improvements in nuclear reactors, thorium reactors as an example. In the meantime, there is a plentiful supply of fossil fuels to carry us until the right energy solution emerges. Also along this line of thought, it does not make sense to spend huge amounts of money on an inappropriate energy source which will be obsolete before half completed. I would rather see a portion of the huge sum which they are ready to spend put into the nuclear research enterprises to hasten development of the same. That would make proper sense to me.

Reply to  goldminor
April 6, 2015 9:09 pm

moreover, what about the people cleaning the reactors ? In a german novel, the author said that turkish people are employed for that job, after they are given a fair amount of money for going back home, knowing that within five years they will developp a cancer
same for the miners in the country producing uranium

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 9:58 pm

@ garfy…I would think that if your words were true that the news media would have picked up on this story, as it would make for good headlines.

Reply to  goldminor
April 6, 2015 10:44 pm

yes they did – and we are still laughing about it

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 12:02 pm

The positive externalities of CO2 far outweigh the mostly mythical negative externalities.
On the other hand, the negative externalities of the various so called renewable sources are well documented.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 10:39 pm

There is no scientific or technological problem with handling wastes from commercial nuclear power plants – there are only political issues involved. The spent fuel at Fukushima didn’t wind up being a problem either. And I assume you were meaning nuclear when you said it’d be obsolete before being half completed? Where in the world do you get that wrong-headed idea from? Are you not aware that the USA has been reliably getting about 20% of all its electricity from nuclear for many decades, and France about 80% of theirs? Nuclear power has, relatively speaking, extremely small volumes of wastes, and it’s all contained, not pumped into the atmosphere regularly as the power is being generated. A nuclear power plant’s planned life is 40+ years, and that can often be safely extended even on the first ones built, let alone the newer models. There is no way that wind, solar, or hydro will ever make nuclear obsolete – they simply don’t have the necessary energy density or reliability to do so. Nor is it likely that thorium reactors will make older models obsolete either – thorium has it’s own technological issues to overcome yet, and isn’t ready for commercial scale use. Meanwhile Generation III and IV reactors are fully developed, reliable, and more than ready for use – there is no point in “waiting” for more R&D. Here are some articles you and others here might find both useful and interesting:
Advanced Nuclear Power Reactors
What Are The Problems With LFTR Technology?

Rational Db8
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 10:46 pm

Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. There is no expected increase in cancers for anyone from Fukushima – and that includes the vast majority of the plant workers. A handful of those who received the highest exposures working on site during the worst of the disaster MIGHT POSSIBLY MAYBE have a 1% increase in LIFETIME cancer risk – e.g. from the normal 25% up to, possibly, 26%. Note I emphasize that even that tiny increase of lifetime risk is a possibility, not a sure thing at all. Doses just weren’t any where near high enough to cause cancers. And the claim about “cancer within 5 years” is just silly – even when doses are high enough to induce cancer, most have a lag time longer than 5 years before the first would be seen anyhow. And, again, that takes FAR FAR higher doses than anyone at Fukushima received or is receiving.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  asybot
April 6, 2015 4:47 am


Reply to  asybot
April 7, 2015 9:12 pm

In theory nuclear power is wonderful, in reality it’s horrible. Every problem in society is manifested in the workings of nuclear power. To be responsible in Nuclear power, it is almost like arguing with AGW. Why do we need all these rules and regulations? The only reason most people see nuclear with rose colored glasses is because 1. they don’t know about the failures. 2. they minimize the impact of the failures and problems, and 3. they forget, however, the lifetime of the material is many lifetimes. Anybody seen my 100 kilos missing from Pennsylvania? Everybody knows about that, right? Let’s do a survey…

Rational Db8
Reply to  rishrac
April 7, 2015 10:50 pm

Sorry, but in fact working in a nuclear power plant in the USA is literally safer than being at your own home. And many of us are very well aware of the failures – they’re few and far between (or very very minor in nature), and not a single person in the USA has died or even been sickened from radiation exposure from working in a commercial nuclear power plant. In fact when the entire life cycle is considered, commercial nuclear power has proven to be safer per unit energy produced than any other method of generating large amounts of electricity – and that includes hydro, solar, wind, etc. You’ve fallen for bad information.

Reply to  Rational Db8
April 13, 2015 7:33 am

Of course working in a gas or coal fired operation is not free of accidents. However, I’ve never had to worry that at the end of the day if I was going home or not . I’ve never had to worry what kind of genetic damage was done . Things happen. And when things go wrong in a nuclear plant, pretending the damage is small is wrong. Every nuclear plant in this country (US) has the same design flaw that allowed the Fukisima plant to report water levels were normal.
On the one hand nuclear plants are a reality, along with nuclear weapons. And people are going to have to work to make them safer. Then on the other, they are like ticking time bombs and nobody knows when they are going to go off. It’s one thing to work in a classroom designing the bomb, it’s another to handle the yellow cake on the roof. My overriding concern is management. Think arguing about climate change is hard?

Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 12:31 am

“Climate change’s danger is great”
We have had about 18 ice ages, lasting about 100.000 years each, the last 2 million years. Climate change is a fact and the real danger is cooling not warming.

Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 2:54 am

A human being struggles to live a century. It is rare for civilization to last a millennium. The cooling and warming of ice ages is really not that much of an issue until much more pressing concerns are first addressed.

April 6, 2015 12:35 am

Why is geothermal energy so rarely talked about or promoted? I understand the initial invesment is high but aren’t long term benefits more than compensating for that?

Reply to  kalya22
April 6, 2015 2:41 am

Primarily because in all of the areas it’s been tested, it doesn’t work out so well.

Don K
Reply to  CodeTech
April 6, 2015 8:09 am

Primarily because in all of the areas it’s been tested, it doesn’t work out so well.

That’s not exactly true. The Geysers steamfield North of San Francisco has been generating electricity for almost a century at reasonable cost Trouble is that The Geysers is an unusually favorable site with minimal release of nasty chemicals in the steam. But the US does have a number of geothermal plants in operation and currently generates more power from geothermal steam than from solar. (About half of 1% of total US electricity)..
Geothermal would seem an obvious choice for Japan which has virtually no hydrocarbon resources except for some marginal coal fields. But since the Nihonjin are neither stupid nor technologically challenged, I would think that they have evaluated the geothermal option and for the most part it doesn’t play. They do have about 500MW of geothermal in place

Reply to  CodeTech
April 6, 2015 8:44 am :

Five major geothermal power plants exist in Iceland, which produce approximately 26.2% (2010)[2] of the nation’s energy. In addition, geothermal heating meets the heating and hot water requirements of approximately 87% of all buildings in Iceland.

So if you are sitting on the boundary of a couple of tectonic plates , it can be useful . Canada , not so much .

Grey Lensman
Reply to  kalya22
April 6, 2015 3:18 am

Initial investment is very low. Convert existing power stations is cheapest. Ask Iceland

Reply to  Grey Lensman
April 7, 2015 12:05 pm

It’s only low if you don’t have to drill deep holes to get to the hot rocks.

michael hart
Reply to  kalya22
April 6, 2015 4:56 am

Most places in the world just don’t have rock of a high enough temperature close to the surface. And it is no more ‘renewable’ than fossil fuels. It is fossil heat.

Reply to  michael hart
April 6, 2015 6:44 am

but maybe fuel is not of fossil origine but of abiotic origin ?

Ben Of Houston
Reply to  michael hart
April 7, 2015 1:22 pm

While it’s true that it’s very location specific, “not renewable” is a foolish argument, Hart. It’s not 100% renewable, true, but Geothermal energy has a half-life measured in eons (until continental drift removes your site from the hot spot). If you are trying to work on that scale, nothing is renewable because it relies on the limited hydrogen supply of the sun.

Retired Engineer Jim
Reply to  kalya22
April 6, 2015 8:52 am

My wife and I spent a few days at a geo-thermally-powered resort outside Fairbanks, Alaska a year ago. While touring their powerplant, they stated that there are some 200 villages in Alaska with geo-thermal powerplants. The geothermal is much cheaper than flying in fuel.
However, the minerals in the steam are not particularly good for the equipment. At the resort, they have two complete systems installed and switch from one to the other annually, so they can clean/repair the one that was in use. However, they stated that the geothermal was vastly cheaper than getting their electricity from Fairbanks, ~60 miles away.

Reply to  Retired Engineer Jim
April 6, 2015 1:10 pm

Actually, as can be seen in this 2005 report from the US Department of energy ==> , Alaska does have significant geothermal potential. However, with the exception of Chena Hot Springs, geothermal is not developed.
According to the State of Alaska, Village Safe Water Project there are approximately 280 villages in Alaska ranging in population from 25 to 6,000.
Some of them are near sites with geothermal potential. If asked, most of the people in those villages would probably support geothermal power if it would result in lower electric bills, and if the cash to build & operate the plants is provided by the US taxpayers. Step right up, folks!

Reply to  kalya22
April 7, 2015 12:04 pm

There are very few places suitable for geothermal, and most of them are either in national parks, or not close to where people live.

April 6, 2015 12:59 am
What about “thorium” instead of uranium (Edgard Nazare)
if the A320 had crash on “Cadarache” what would have been the result !!

Rational Db8
Reply to  Garfy
April 7, 2015 10:55 pm

Thorium isn’t ready for commercial scale operations yet, and has it’s own technological problems to overcome yet. Uranium fueled commercial nuclear is a fully developed and extremely safe and reliable technology that’s ready to go now (and actually has been in use for many decades quite successfully).
Advanced Nuclear Power Reactors
What Are The Problems With LFTR Technology?

Reply to  Rational Db8
April 8, 2015 4:04 pm

In my earlier comment, I was referring to how building out a trillion or so dollars worth of solar panels as a power source would be a poor use of money, when the system would certainly be obsolete before finished. I was not referring to nuclear.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Rational Db8
April 9, 2015 1:41 pm

Ah, ok, thanks for the clarification – I couldn’t agree with you more on that one!

April 6, 2015 1:10 am

I’ve heard a lot of BS in my day but in light of the triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima this articles premise is criminally insane. Since the Japanese nuclear industry has so far managed to practically distroy the Pacific ocean and poisen the American and Canadian west coasts under no circumstances what so ever should they be allowed to build more nuclear power reactors. These people’s greed knows no bounds. They should be criminally prosecuted for their lies and deceptions and willingness to risk the planet very survival by promoting the myth of global warming and refusing to recognize and admit to the dangers of nuclear ienergy. There are many easier and less dangerous ways to boil water though perhaps not so profitable for those in control.

Joe CIvis
Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 6, 2015 9:57 am

You paint all “nuclear” with the same brush and the same dangers which is not accurate. Thorium reactors are actually a great answer and have greatly diminished risks over “traditional” nuclear, they also do not produce “fuel” for nuclear bombs. You really should read the after action report on Fukushima and you will see that it was a series of human errors or misjudgments that compounded or was compounded by the natural disaster that happened. Also could you point out how exactly the Pacific Ocean has been “practically destroyed”.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Joe CIvis
April 7, 2015 11:11 pm

Thorium is intriguing Joe, but it’s not ready for commercial scale use yet. See the links I’ve posted about it elsewhere in this thread. Also, commercial nuclear power plants don’t produce “fuel” for nuclear bombs either. In fact it’s EXTREMELY difficult to separate out any plutonium or uranium from spent fuel rods that could be used for weapons – there are far too many impurities generated within seconds of a rod first being used in a reactor.

Reply to  Rational Db8
April 7, 2015 11:22 pm

le choix de l’uranium a été fait à l’origine pour rentabiliser les recherches sur la bome – personne ne dit que c’est utilisé maintenant dans le ce but
les centrales au Thorium étaient prêtent dans les années cinquante/soixante – trois savant, un américain, un japonais et un français (Edgard Nazare) le préconisait et ils avaient fait les recherches nécessaires

Reply to  Rational Db8
April 7, 2015 11:24 pm

sorry , read “bombe”

Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 6, 2015 12:19 pm

Lance, you need to go back on your meds and chill. “practically distroy the Pacific ocean and poisen the American and Canadian west coasts” is so far over the top that you’d need a space suit to get over it. Here in California, the only way that we’re able to detect the radiation from the Japanese power plants is because modern radiation sensors are so incredibly sensitive.

Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 6, 2015 12:40 pm

Resort to hyperbole much Lance?
I live close to the Pacific coast. In fact my wife and I took a nice long walk along an extension of it (Alki Beach) yesterday. Guess I missed all the effects of the poisioning. And one would have thought that the Pacific Ocean getting destroyed would have made the news. Damn those incompetent media outlets for missing that story.
How people can focus on Fukishima, which to date has not killed anyone, and forget about the 10,000 – 12,000 dead and missing from the tsunami, not to mention the destruction, is disgusting. One of the reasons I got involved in science education was observing how ignorant most people are whenever the topics of nuclear power and radiation come up. It seems most people prefer to get their information from science fiction movies and not from science.

Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 6, 2015 12:42 pm

Where is your evidence for the destruction of the Pacific Ocean and poisoning of the North American West Coast? I find it hard to believe that Fukushima Daichi would be able to do this when the US detonated numerous nuclear bombs in the Pacific without depopulating the coasts or destroying the Pacific. And if you think the planet is threatened by a nuclear plant, I’d suggest checking out the natural Oklo reactor in Africa. Please calm down – the hyperbole does not help your cause.
By the way, there was another nuclear plant at Fukushima – Daini. It was safely and successfully moved to cold shutdown without incident. Not only that, but the NRC & INPO have already put new standards which would prevent a plant from having water destroy the backup generator. That’s in addition to the many newer designs that have higher safety margins – some of which cannot melt down under any circumstances.

Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 6, 2015 5:19 pm

Lance, tsunami in Japan was something like millenium event. Just watch some videos how water wave looked. It is something like miracle that nuclear power plant held. Nobody died. There is impact, but this will be washed by time.

Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 7, 2015 12:09 pm

I’ve heard a lot of BS in my day, but none of it compares to the load Lance is trying to sell.
Practically destroy the Pacific ocean? Where do you come up with nonsense like that?
This guy actually believes that a 0.001% increase in background radiation levels is going to result in people dropping dead right and left?

Rational Db8
Reply to  Lance Wakely
April 7, 2015 11:06 pm

Stop being so silly and sensationalist. Those plants managed to withstand the 5th largest earthquake EVER recorded, and a 50 ft. tsunami – which wiped out tens of thousands of buildings including some 160 or so tsunami shelters, and killed nearly 20,000 people. And Fukushima was designed over 50 years ago!
The meltdown shouldn’t have ever happened, but even so, there’s been zero deaths or even illnesses from radiation exposures, and none are expected either. What’s more, it sure as heck didn’t “destroy” the pacific ocean – not even right next to the plant itself. And the amount of radiation that’s made it to the North American coastline is incredibly tiny – in fact, it’s a mere fraction of normal background radiation levels and the ONLY reason we can even detect it is because our technology is such that it’s vastly easier to detect even miniscule fractions of normal background radiation than to detect almost any other hazard out there.
And saying that Fukushima in ANY way “risks the planet” is the height of absurdity. Are you not aware that there have been over 2000 nuclear bomb tests, and yet mankind is living nearly twice as long as they did a mere century ago? Commercial nuclear power has proven to be one of the safest industries out there – we’ve gotten about 20% of our electricity from it quite safely and reliably from about 100 commercial nuclear power reactors for many decades now, France has gotten about 80% of their power that way. Japan in fact got a very large percentage of their electricity quite reliably from nuclear also – and NOT using it has plunged the nation into debt in just a few years. This has nothing to do with “greed” and everything to do with making people’s lives BETTER – do you have any clue the hundreds of millions who are SAVED by having reliable, cheap, abundant energy available? And when you consider the entire life cycle, nuclear is in fact safer than coal, hydro, natural gas, oil, wind, solar, etc. That’s unarguable FACT, whether you happen to like it or not.

April 6, 2015 1:11 am

Sachs is not stating facts…
IPCC’s 2013 AR5 report admits there hasn’t been ANY statistically significant increasing trends in frequency nor intensity of: typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, thunderstorms, tropical storms, sub-tropical storms, precipitation, and hail for the past 50~100 years….
There is also overwhelming evidence that the Medieval Warming Period was approximately 2C warmer than now, which historians contribute to huge increases in crop yields from 1000~1250 AD., And the Holocene Maximum was perhaps as much as 4C warmer than now. Accordingly, Sachs is not stating the facts on global temp history as well…
I live in Japan and know Japan must restart its nuclear power plants. Hopefully, Japan will step up its efforts in developing Thorium Reactors, which would meet Japan’s the power and safety requirements.
Sachs’ nuclear power argument to avert Warmageddon is not fact based and is merely wild supposition based on failed CAGW projections.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  SAMURAI
April 6, 2015 6:32 pm

There’s a lot to dislike from Sachs:
The only thing I will give him credit for is a belief in the free market (just with some perverse misconceptions of externalities and realities) and the willingness to slap Krugtard in public.
Oh, and Tokyo ga daisuki desu.

April 6, 2015 1:12 am
Reply to  siliggy
April 6, 2015 4:42 am

Radioactive Mutant Killer Fungus!
We’re doomed!

April 6, 2015 1:13 am

If you believe rising sea levels are inevitable there are good reasons not to support water-cooled nuclear power stations.
You can argue for anything if you believe in an extreme scenario that trumps all counter-points.
And what’s more extreme than the end of the world?

Reply to  MCourtney
April 6, 2015 3:08 am

Sea levels have changed ever since the oceans formed. The reason why Japan has lept away from nuclear is Fukishima which was a tsunami event caused by an earthquake on the subduction zone east of the islands. If the station was built on the western side the nuclear accident would not have happened. Built on the east coast that event was a dead on cert given the subduction zone’s very active nature.
Obviously no geologist was consulted prior to construction.

James Strom
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 6, 2015 5:03 am

Wasn’t there also a design flaw in which the backup generators were located at the base of the plant instead of higher up and out of reach of the tsunami? Presumably they won’t make that particular mistake in Japan again.

Reply to  johnmarshall
April 6, 2015 9:05 am

There were quite a few flaws, but given the plant was an old design, it’s not a surprise. One of the main issues was not only where the diesel generators not placed in a ideal location and were swamped by sea water and various control valves could only be operated by electricity. Plant workers were frantically removing batteries from cars in an attempt to sourse power to drive the valves.

Reply to  johnmarshall
April 6, 2015 5:44 pm

@ James Strom…the only reason for the nuclear meltdown was that they did not have sufficient protection for the backup generators. The reactor damage from the quake would have been only moderate to minor damage except for the cooling system shutting down. That is also an example of man not learning from history and so having to endure a major catastrophe as a result. In the hills behind the city there are markers which were placed there around 4 to 5 hundred years earlier. Those markers tell the story of how far the tsunami came at that time. They were put there to warn future generations of the danger. The future generation gave no heed and a terrible ongoing price has been paid.

Rational Db8
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 7, 2015 11:49 pm

I’m sorry, but that’s just grossly incorrect. In fact there are a number of other nuclear plants along the same coast as Fukushima, including one not much further south than Daiichi (look up Fukushima Daiini) and they all survived just fine without significant damage. In fact some locals fled TO one of those plants for protection from the tsunami, and were allowed in and their lives saved as a result. These plants were designed back in the 50’s, built in the 60’s, and yet they survived the 5th largest earthquake EVER recorded and a 50 ft. high tsunami which nearly instantaneously wiped out almost 20,000 people, tens of thousands of buildings (including, by the way, over 160 created specifically as tsunami shelters!).
And MANY geologists were in fact consulted prior to construction – those plants had robust design for earthquakes and tsunamis – no one believed that one THAT large could occur, however. Not until ONE researcher just a few years ago was looking at the local geology and thought that something almost as large had occurred a few hundred years before. His information and method of generating it was new, and being reviewed by other researchers to decide if it was even accurate or not. I mean, come on, it WAS the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded on Earth, and a resulting 50 ft. high tsunami. The plant was designed to withstand somewhere around a 8,0 earthquake, and a 30 ft. high tsunami.

Rational Db8
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 7, 2015 11:57 pm

@James Strom
James, that was only a “design flaw” in hindsight – the hindsight of discovering that the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded could occur right off that coast, generating a 50ft. high tsunami.
In other words, it wasn’t a design flaw at all. It was a robust design meant to protect the equipment from “tree missiles” (e.g., trees picked up and thrown by hurricanes or tornadoes), and believed to be plenty high enough above sea level such that flooding wasn’t a risk. No one thought a tsunami THAT high was possible. IIRC, they had a 5.7 meter high sea wall, plus the plant was built a good 14 to 15 meters above sea level. In retrospect, if that electrical bus had been on the other side of the plant, it would have been even higher up and wouldn’t have flooded which obviously would have been far preferable. But at what point does reasonable design stop in terms of planning for the worst possible occurrence? I mean, the BEST skyscrapers in Tokyo are only built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake (this one was offshore, but was a 9.0) – so should all skyscrapers be torn down and rebuilt to withstand a 9.5? Or should all buildings be designed to withstand the impact of a large asteroid? I’m exaggerating of course, but only to make the point.

Rational Db8
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 8, 2015 12:02 am

Actually all essential valves could be operated manually also. Electrical activation was clearly preferable, however. They were primarily using the car batteries to operate detection instrumentation inside the reactor core itself (a horrifying thought, a nuclear plant where you cannot tell what’s going on in the reactor vessel!). The problem was the flooded main electrical panel – normally the emergency coolant system generates all the electricity needed to operate essential instrumentation – but it ran through that panel. And the panel placement was quite reasonable for the site – it’s only in hindsight after the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded on Earth happened just offshore and a far more massive tsunami than anticipated as even possible hits that suddenly the panel placement was a major issue.

Rational Db8
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 8, 2015 12:05 am

?? What?? There is no city at the Fukushima power plant. Nor have I ever heard of “markers” supposedly placed to 4 or 5 hundred years prior to show the extent of flooding possible – not anywhere near Fukushima at least. So let’s see your reference for that claim.

Reply to  johnmarshall
April 8, 2015 1:54 am

@ Rational DB8….i clicked on the wrong reply button. Take a look several comments below yours for the answer to your reply to me.

Reply to  johnmarshall
April 8, 2015 5:06 am

My contention is correct. To avoid any tsunami in Japan you need a west coast site. Backup generation would not be vulnerable at all, no risk of whatever earthquake to the east.

Rational Db8
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 8, 2015 4:02 pm

If you bothered to check your facts, you would discover that while large earthquakes are more common on the east side of Japan, they also occur on the western side of Japan too.

Reply to  MCourtney
April 7, 2015 12:13 pm

How does the oceans rising one or two inches over the useful life of a power plant going to make that plant unsupportable?

Reply to  MCourtney
April 8, 2015 1:51 am

@Rational DB8…thanks for pointing out my error. I should have said in the hills behind Sendai, and other coastal communities in the area. That was 4 years ago, my memory did not serve me well. At the time I was blogging at newsvine. A scientist named Physicist_retired started a post on the disaster and I followed that for around 4 months afterwards. It was a spellbinding story. I just found a link to a news story, which I now remember reading back then at the time of the disaster. Here it is….

Rational Db8
Reply to  goldminor
April 8, 2015 10:22 am

No problem goldminor. Thanks for the link – it is intriguing. It sounds as if some (many?) of the monuments didn’t specify that they were the point a previous tsunami had reached, only to “beware of tsunami” after major earthquakes.
The problem, of course, is that such major tsunami are so rare, and the cost to the society of building significantly higher and further from the ocean is massive in terms of time, resources, money… So people decide to take the risk and for the majority, they never have a problem their entire lives. Then a huge one hits, and a large swath is destroyed.
This one in particular was an incredibly rare event – after all, it was the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded…(of course, our ability to measure them doesn’t extend that far back either!). I know that a huge number of people were apparently very worried about a tsunami after this quake – the problem is they didn’t manage to get their family members and get to safety quite fast enough, even though that’s what many were trying to do, and so they got caught.

Reply to  goldminor
April 8, 2015 4:17 pm

Watching the videos of the wall of water sweeping over the land is something I will not forget. Watching some of them where it is clear that the cars and trucks driving down a highway or road are about to be swept away, and the people likely killed almost seemed surreal, as if a scene out of a Hollywood disaster movie. Made me want to shout “watch out”, when all that could be done was to watch and remember.
You are correct that the reactor buildings themselves withstood all of the physical damage very well. My point on the hillside plaques was that if TEPCO had paid attention to them, then they might have built the backup generator buildings more securely.

April 6, 2015 1:20 am

“A scientist estimated that more than one million people have died as a result of coal-fired power plants, whereas with nuclear plants, the number of deaths has been very small.”

But they’re NOT dying from CO2 “poison” are they? Idiot.
If China can’t even make a coal powered station without dumping large amounts of crap into the air, what chance is there that they will be able to run a nuclear installation without spewing nuclear waste everywhere as well?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Mike
April 6, 2015 2:24 am


But they’re NOT dying from CO2 “poison” are they?

He didn’t specify, but no, CO2 isn’t the killer, it’s the particulates.

If China can’t even make a coal powered station without dumping large amounts of crap into the air, what chance is there that they will be able to run a nuclear installation without spewing nuclear waste everywhere as well?

Pretty good I’d say. They’re one of the first adopters of France’s latest design.
Nobody makes coal plants that don’t dump large amounts of crap into the air. Such things are relative of course depending on scrubbers, etc. Only way to make it practically zero is CCS, which is expensive. I would not be surprised to learn that China’s rules on such things are lax relative to other nations. OTOH, air pollution is a major source of civil unrest in China.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 2:43 am

CO2 is not “crap”, though.
CCS is among the stupidest ideas yet floated.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 6:40 pm


CO2 is not “crap”, though.

Technically neither are particulates, however they clearly are more immediately and directly damaging to human welfare.

CCS is among the stupidest ideas yet floated.

I’d rank it between continuing to burn coal and replacing it with nuclear fission, biased toward the stupid side of those two choices.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 2:21 am

On the contrary. CCS is on a “stupid” level with blocking migratory bird routes with wind turbines and voting for 0bama. Twice.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 4:16 pm

Really dumb is playing argument pinball and pretending it passes for cogency.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 12:13 am

@Brandon Gates

CCS is among the stupidest ideas yet floated.

I’d rank it between continuing to burn coal and replacing it with nuclear fission, biased toward the stupid side of those two choices.

CCS is vastly more stupid than either of those options. It’s not even commercially viable and it’s totally unnecessary. Meanwhile both burning coal and using commercial nuclear power has saved countless lives with the electricity generated for use at hospitals, for refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, etc., etc.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 12:45 am

Rational Db8,

Meanwhile both burning coal and using commercial nuclear power has saved countless lives with the electricity generated for use at hospitals, for refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, etc., etc.

I’ll do you one better: made lives possible to begin with. Of the two, coal is far more hazardous. I wouldn’t even call CCS a method of last resort, unfortunately it looks like the path of least resistance (other than doing nothing and carrying on as is) unless we break the political gridlock over nukes.
Even without AGW as a concern, I would be (and have been) in favour of replacing coal with … anything … for some time. It’s the least healthy of all energy options available to us. We can do better for ourselves.

Reply to  Mike
April 6, 2015 2:26 am

Mike, you really are not a fit person to call another an ‘idiot’.

Reply to  Mike
April 6, 2015 4:47 am

The article is about Japan, not China.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Mike
April 8, 2015 12:09 am

China already has 26 operating nuclear power plants. They started building them back in the 1970’s. They’re currently building 23 more, and have some advanced design reactors.–Nuclear-Power/

April 6, 2015 1:34 am

No we don’t need nuclear or any other but hydropower
(concise water meters to apply to )
If we make correction of the mistake there has been on hydropower engineering we wouldn’t need any other sources of power at all. The cleanliest power will be available by cheapest possible way we can think of. Please avoid the most dangerous power source.)
At present we are tapping only minimum hydropower by applying the principle of still water column that it exerts highest pressure at the bottom, so we run only one turbine at the bottom of the running water column. The property applies in standing still water column only. It is a blunder in hydropower engineering.
In hydropower we have the running water condition. The pressure effect in a running water column is uniform throughout, from intake to discharge points. Considering the properties of uniformly running water column, it is possible to uniformly run many turbines in series along a single uniform penstock pipe.
THE CRUX – We have to keep water running consistently to maintain constant rotation of the turbines. The flowing water is the main requirement to tap power. Uniformly running water column has uniform velocity and pressure throughout, from intake to the discharge points (Bernoulli Theory). So we can install turbines at any position of the running water column. And, by maintaining uniformity of the water column before, through and after the installed turbine, the velocity of the water column can be maintained constant.
Consideration of the property of running water column will open the technology of running turbines uniformly in series without decreasing their efficiency. Because there is no difference in the flow of water even after installing turbines, it remains constant. By running turbines; water or turbines or any other factors don’t offer resistance significantly. Flow of water offers no resistance; it is the slickest substance (GBWR). Modern turbines offer little resistance because it is highly efficient, ‘Mechanical Advantage’ is over 97% and anyway, the turbines rotate with the same velocity as flowing water. We need to develop engineering to make turbines for installing by series principle. The present practice of making turbines is for installing only one at the bottom of a running water column. We can make turbines according to our need.
Turbines rotate with the same velocity as running water column. So there is no change in the velocity and discharge rate of water after running a turbine(s). Therefore the turbines don’t decrease the power of running water. So we can install as many turbines in series along a single uniform penstock pipe as space allows. In other words, uniformly flowing water can uniformly run turbines in series. (Series is a technical term in science, engineers are mistaken for cascading system. They think both are same. At present hydropower installation is also by cascading method not in series principle).
Application of the properties of uniformly running water column can open the door for unlimited hydropower theoretically. Only limitation is the space required for placing turbines. This method not only can end the power crisis but will also help to reverse the present climate change as the power will be available to pump water from rivers as much as we need to keep the land surface always moist, recharge ground water, boost rain cycle and eventually reduce sea level rise.
So we must consider the principle of running water column for installing turbines.
Applying the property of standing still water column to a running water condition has been a blunder in hydropower engineering. Considering the fluid properties of water (pressure is exerted equally in all direction) and the nature of gravitational force (at a given point never reduced nor blocked nor shifted) multiple turbines can be installed in series along only one water running pipe. The turbines don’t decrease the power of running water, because the turbine rotates with the same velocity as the running water.
Water meter is a good example of miniature turbine. Many water meters can be connected along the same UNIFORM water supplying pipe in series and run all of them uniformly.
THUS IT IS POSSIBLE TO HARNESS many folds more hydropower than done by present practice, theoretically unlimited.
Engineering works has to be developed differently so that the running water column is uniform before the turbine, inside the turbine and after the turbine.
Hydro power can be installed without reservoir / by runoff type, but making lakes as much as possible will hold water in and on land – will be eco friendly, cool climate, aquatic life, lower sea level rise, water sports, transports, greenery, enhance rain cycle, make water easily available in the nooks and corners etc. From the reservoirs we can install turbines as run off type water supply.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 2:27 am

It’s not ‘G’ or gravity, it is solar power what lifts masses of water up to mountains and hills from where it flows down to have part of its potential energy converted to electricity. You cannot generate power from gravity similarly how you cannot generate power from magnetic field – you need something else to deposit that energy into objects in that field before you can utilize it.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 2:31 am

Re: running hydro power turbines in series. Sounds a bit like a perpetual motion machine to me. Can some hydro engineers comment on this?

Reply to  Fred
April 6, 2015 5:36 pm

Dear Fred,
Not engineers. I am talking a scientist. So I request scientists, especially who knows Bernoulli Theory. Let us talk science not ideas, assumptions, imaginary opinion etc. What I have explained is on the basis of known science. Do the experiment with water meters, you will understand with the results. And also please read the whole of the post, I will be grateful to you if you could find anything wrong.

Reply to  Fred
April 7, 2015 12:17 pm

Each turbine creates an impediment to the water flow in the pipe. The more turbines, the more slowly the water will run. It’s like putting multiple wind turbines back to back. Each subsequent turbine gets less energy than the one in front of it.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 2:39 am

“Therefore the turbines don’t decrease the power of running water.” Perpetual motion?

Bill Treuren
Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 2:45 am


Reply to  Bill Treuren
April 6, 2015 4:34 am

The nuclear industry keeps people like this as far away from their equipment as they can.

Reply to  Bill Treuren
April 6, 2015 10:53 am

Regarding this silly turbine diversion, thing.
Sometimes we encounter nonsense so daft that it barely justifies a rational response. But my advice to the author would be to go back to entry level-science/engineering and start all over again from the very beginning.
Or possibly to consider another subject, altogether.
Environmental science might be an ideal hiding place.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 4:33 am

And if there is a problem keeping the water column running uniformly, then we can install a few pumps to ensure that it keeps running uniformly. 😉
Was this comment posted five days too late?

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 7:35 am

Because there is no difference in the flow of water even after installing turbines, it remains constant.
– Wrong! Status quo don’t exist here on Earth in any kind of energy transfer system, but one can dream. (Do not confuse energy with forces) In short, energy is taken from the water so this causes the water to slow down. In this matter, hydropower share exactly the same fundamental problem as wind power, well witnessed in large and dense wind farms and described on this blog earlier, but you would know this if you understood the principles of power transmission (physics). There are also always inevitable losses in all energy transfer systems, which is converted to heat. Nothing you can do about, as it is the way of nature …
To the water, the turbine wheel is just an obstacle in its path. Compare with you trying to run as fast as possible through a 2½-3 foot high densely grown hedge without jumping … You will tumble over it and your speed will be reduced for sure. The hedge corresponds roughly to a turbine blade and your tumbling to the turbulence which occurs in the water. Learn about fluid dynamics and mechanics, then you will understand better. Any flow (liquid, gas, plasma) through a straight pipe is not as simple as it seems. You will always get some degree of turbulence, regardless of how the pipe is constructed.
Turbines rotate with the same velocity as running water column. So there is no change in the velocity and discharge rate of water after running a turbine(s). Therefore the turbines don’t decrease the power of running water.
– How does the specific turbine wheel and the shaft look like? If you know something nobody else does, you will become rich, unimaginably dirty rich … Also, if your statement is correct (cherry picking à la IPCC), any transport by water or air would be much more efficient than it is in reality. The speed of the turbine wheel is a direct function of the speed of the water together with the designs of both the turbine shaft (volume, shape of inlet and outlet) and the turbine wheel (shape, size, angle of the blades, attachments). Not that many people are able to figure out the design at the kitchen table …
– Well, they occur as it is a question of high complexity. A huge number of experiments in the matter has been performed and further more will be done. There are always things to test and improve.
There are more issues in your writing. There are not too many places around the world that are suitable for hydropower. Partly due to water shortages and partly due to that topography is not suitable everywhere. The first one is obvious. The second one you are writing about, but misses important things. This is not for free either. Eco friendly? Yes and no! The positive thing is the process of manufacturing of concrete generates amounts of harmless plant food (CO2). The negative thing is that these reservoirs require plenty of space, which must be taken from somewhere. This procedure always affects the nature negatively (animals and plants …) regardless. In populated areas, residents must be relocated.
What few people around the world understand, energy can neither be created nor destroyed (consumed). Only transformed (with losses). Energy is everywhere, it’s just a matter of being able to convert to electricity. “Saving” energy sounds in that perspective silly. Inexpensive and easily accessible energy is not interesting for everyone, for others to use …

Reply to  SasjaL
April 6, 2015 9:46 pm

“Compare with you trying to run as fast as possible through a 2½-3 foot high densely grown hedge without jumping … You will tumble over it and your speed will be reduced for sure. The hedge corresponds roughly to a turbine blade and your tumbling to the turbulence which occurs in the water.”
Dear Sasjal,
Too many to reply so I selected. Turbine is not rigid as bush. Turbines rotate similar to floating logs on river. Pascal law, first class lever to lift heavier load on the other end, multiple pulleys, falling bodies gain velocity, rivers flowing water can carry, rivers keep on flowing etc. to draw your attention. By series system, we wouldn’t need reservoir system; though the idea of making lakes and ponds (by making eco friendly) is good to hold water on and in land, so that only excess water is drained to the sea as nature has the system. Water is resistance less, slickest substance (GBWR) and finally request to go through my post. There is no transfer or extraction in hydropower installation – force involved does not change anything into electrons.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 11:00 pm

You missed at least one word of what I wrote … Turbine experts have long time ago tried and rejected your idea due to plain physics …

Reply to  SasjaL
April 7, 2015 12:22 pm

While it is true that the turbine spins at the same rate as the water, it’s also true that because of the presence of the turbine, the water is flowing more slowly than it would had there been no turbine there. The water has to push the turbine blades, and that takes energy, and that energy HAS to come from somewhere.
Put two turbines in the same pipe, and the water has to push twice as hard to make it from the input to the outlet.
The more turbines you put in that pipe, the slower the water is going to run, and the less energy you will be able to get from each individual turbine. The net result is that if you put in 10 turbines, each turbine is only going to put out 1/10th as much energy as an individual turbine would have, at 10 times the cost.

Reply to  SasjaL
April 7, 2015 5:15 pm

(Who are you responding?) In addition to what I wrote above about the very important design[*], the friction in bearings (any kind) and mostly the generator itself will slow down the rotation speed of the turbine wheel. It is not possible to eliminate these “problems” according to the laws of physics … In the rest of what you wrote, the laws of physics applies too, so there you are correct.
[*] Wrong setting (angles) of the blades will definitely cause the turbine to rotate slower.

Bernard Lodge
Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 8:40 am

‘Turbines rotate with the same velocity as running water column’
Of course they do. But, adding an extra turbine into the pipe slows the water flow down. The turbines are still moving with the same velocity as the water – only now it’s slower. Adding any number of extra turbines into the pipe means all the other turbines now run slower. As each existing turbine slows down, it generates less electricity, offsetting the electricity generated by the new turbine added.
As they say in some parts … pull the other leg, it’s got bells on.

Reply to  Bernard Lodge
April 6, 2015 5:31 pm

That would be in ideal world. In reality there is some Vmax of water in stream. Something like terminal velocity during free fall. There are obstacles in stream, stones, friction. In reality water will slow down after turbine, but after some distance it will gain its speed back from gravity. So you can install another turbine with same speed as one before.
And I quite like this idea, such turbines are not impacting rivers, those are still passable for fishes. But I have doubts about efficiency and maximum power of such turbines. It could be easily that with one such turbine you would create energy for 5 households… That means you would need millions of such turbines.

Reply to  Bernard Lodge
April 6, 2015 9:55 pm

How can you slow down the velocity of water by running turbine with the same velocity? Slower before the turbine or after? Please, do the experiment with water meters (not expensive and three will do as I have done) in series. we have to pre-determine the last discharge point and install turbines in between the intake and discharge points without breaking the uniform water column, may be wiser to leave some effective head height undisturbed.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 7, 2015 12:47 am

The water velocity in the turbine pipe has to be as high as possible. In your example, when you have added three water meters successively in the water pipe, you have increased the resistance by a factor of three compared to a pipe with only one water meter. That means that the water velocity in the pipe with three water meters is a factor of three lower than when only one meter is connected. Since the power delivered by a turbine – or water meter – is proportional to velocity cubed, the power delivered by each of the three water meters running at 1/3 velocity is 1/9 of the power delivered by the system with only one water meter. Total power of the system with 3 water meters is therefore 3 x 1/9 – 1/3 of the system with one water meter. The more water meters you connect the lower the water velocity in the pipe becomes.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 7, 2015 12:51 am

The water velocity in the turbine pipe has to be as high as possible. In your example, when you have added three water meters successively in the water pipe, you have increased the resistance by a factor of three compared to a pipe with only one water meter. That means that the water velocity in the pipe with three water meters is a factor of three lower than when only one meter is connected. Since the power delivered by a turbine – or water meter – is proportional to velocity cubed, the power delivered by each of the three water meters running at 1/3 velocity is 1/9 of the power delivered by the system with only one water meter. Total power of the system with 3 water meters is therefore 3 x 1/9 = 1/3 of the system with one water meter. The more water meters you connect the lower the water velocity in the pipe becomes.

Reply to  Bernard Lodge
April 7, 2015 5:35 pm

Basic physics (and math), if you have a given amount of energy in the water and you extract some of it, you have less left afterwards (like 10-1=9, not 10-1=10)

Rational Db8
Reply to  Bernard Lodge
April 8, 2015 12:35 am

And I quite like this idea, such turbines are not impacting rivers, those are still passable for fishes.”

Huh?? Turbines KILL fish and fish or anything else that gets in the turbines damages them and create huge problems. As a result, before each turbine you have to have inlet screens specifically to keep things out of the turbines. Those screens also kill fish. Hydroelectric always has a significant impact on the rivers they’re on – especially any where salmon or other fish migrate upstream. Now they’re creating fish guns that actually grab the fish and shoot them up over the dams to overcome this problem. No joke, they’re amazing to see on the videos you can find online. .

Reply to  indrdev200
April 6, 2015 6:01 pm

It is the mass of the water that drives the turbine. The further the fall via gravity, then the greater the force when the mass reaches those turbines. Once the water mass reaches the first turbine in your system the gravity/velocity effect is used up. Then the mass would have to build up gravitational force again as it flows to the next turbine in the line, and so on down to the end of the flow after the last turbine in your system. The height of the fall is what is important, and is the main point which you miss.

Reply to  goldminor
April 6, 2015 10:02 pm

‘Once the water mass reaches the first turbine in your system the gravity/velocity effect is used up’
how do you know? what do you mean by used up? what happens when used up? so far I know nothing is used up, since the flow of water has to be maintained consistently for generating electricity constantly. G is never reduced nor used up nor shifted nor blocked !!!!! G pulls the mass of water down.

Reply to  goldminor
April 7, 2015 12:19 am

What happens is that the force of the mass has been transferred to the output of the turbine. The work has been done.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  indrdev200
April 7, 2015 10:45 am

The power available to a reaction turbine is determined by the rate of mass flow through it, times the pressure difference across it. Thus, for a hydro plant ideally you want as high a head as possible because that means you can be more economical in your use of water for the same power output.
If you divide your available head between two turbines, the first halfway down the hill and reducing the water pressure to near-zero, then it just means that the second turbine at the foot of the hill only has half the pressure to work with, so each gives you half the total power..Ergo, you cannot get something for nothing. A single turbine handling the whole pressure would probably be more efficient, anyway, IIRC efficient low-pressure turbines are hard to design, high-pressure ones easier.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 7, 2015 12:15 pm

The more turbines that you place in the pipe, the greater the resistance to water flow in that pipe, and the less water will run through the pipe.
Your proposed solution can’t work.

Rational Db8
Reply to  indrdev200
April 8, 2015 12:21 am

Sorry, but it does in fact take energy to turn turbines – you lose water velocity going through them. You cannot just stick them end to end endlessly at all. Nor can you put them at the top of the water either – after all, what happens when drought conditions hit and the water level in the reservoir drops? There is no “design flaw” as you’re suggesting – hydro can’t be used as a perpetual motion machine. Plus, the majority of suitable locations for hydro plants are already used – AND environmentalists scream bloody murder at the suggestion of building any new dams (or installing turbines that kill fish that get sucked onto the intake screens).

April 6, 2015 1:43 am

Key factor in climate system of Nature is Rain cycle, not gases. The best mitigation due to CC is to stop it or control it. We can control climate or present climate change is reversible (B3)
(Updated from time to time, the following list includes only the established known science and facts. No point is my opinion or assumption as GHG / GHE due to gases is imaginary. So if anybody could find any point wrong, I will be very much thankful. Hereby, I also request to state meaningful science instead of meaningless comments.
Dev – As a scientist, I am suggesting this list of scientific facts and theories which prove that the idea of Green House Gas is bogus. There is no such phenomenon as Global Warming. Our atmosphere is still cold during night; it wouldn’t be so if there were Green House Effect due to gases but would remain warm all the time as the Sun always shines on the half of the earth. The Sun never sets from the half of the earth.
So the problem is not Global Warming but WATER because of the Climate Change.
— Retired science teacher educator; earned Ph.D. from Nottingham University (1986), NG7 2RD England, UK, for developing a training program for science teacher –”Radicalization of science education in Nepal.” – development of an innovation, a study in education technology.)
I. CC is man made but not due to gases.
A. GHG / GHE idea is ridiculous fake science. Worst, disgusting, embarrassing fraud in the history of science.
1. Green house. It requires solid transparent materials to form a green house. It is a room (or structure) covered by plastics or glass so that light can pass through. (If you don’t know what is a ‘green house’ please visit a botanical garden or consult science teachers especially biology teachers). we need a green house for green house effect.
2. GASES are freely moving molecules.
3. Gases can’t form green house.
4. Gases can’t be fixed to make walls / roof of a structure like ‘green house’.
5. All matter / gases in Nature can hold Heat, so they can absorb heat like any gas e.g. CO2.
6. Convection method of heat transmission. Heat is always transmitted from higher to lower temperature.
7. O2 is 700 times more than CO2. We need at least 15% O2 in air to survive. in air with less than that would suffocate us and die, excess of other non-poisonous gases like CO2 and N2 does not matter.
8. N2 is 2700 times more than CO2. CO2 is mainly released from power plants than from industries.
9. CO2 is not a pollutant. We carry the gas in our blood since birth and live throughout
the life with the gas.
10. Plants use the gas to prepare food. Then, HOW CAN THE GAS BE A POLLUTANT?
11. If GW were due to ‘green house effect” (GHE), the upper layer of the Troposphere (our climatic atmosphere) should be warmer than the flat land areas because warm air goes up. So the top of the MT. Everest should be hot zone. The earth would have never been colder than the beginning 4 billion years ago.
12. Our atmosphere is not closed like a green house but open to space.
13. Our climatic atmosphere (Troposphere) should be always warm as the Sun always shines on the half of the Earth.
14. It wouldn’t be cold during night (after the sun set and before the sun rise).
15. Minimum temperature is recorded about half an hour earlier than the sun rise.
16. We know it is always colder during night than during sunny days.
17. REFLECTION: gases don’t reflect. They are transparent. Light pass through too small particles.
18. Materials become opaque when they reflect light.
19. Every molecule radiates absorbed heat when the surrounding is colder. It absorbs heat when the surrounding is hotter. All objects at a place try to equalize temperature.
20. Foggy, smoggy, and cloudy days are colder than bright sunny days.
21. Gases are not layered in the Troposphere; it is a homogenous mixture of gases. If it were layered the heaviest gas, CO2 would be at the bottom not on top. Then animals wouldn’t survive. We need O2 to be alive.
22. Gases of atmosphere should be still (no breeze, no wind) to be layered. Breezes, winds, hurricane, tornadoes, convection current or any motion thoroughly mixes all the gases.
23. Molecules of fluids move upwards when heated and downwards when cooled – the convection current.
24. CO2 is transparent, colorless, odorless, and heaviest gas of the atmosphere. It does not make shadow as clouds do.
25. If something does not allow going out means does not allow getting in as well. GHE applies only with the solid transparent materials like glasses and plastics not for the fluids (gases and liquids).
26. Methane is negligible, only traces.
27. Insulation traps heat partly. Gases alone can’t trap heat. Gases can’t work as an insulator in the open space. Our atmosphere is not insulating the earth. it should be air tight for effective insulation. The clothes we put on, the four walls and roofs etc. work as insulator, lesser the passage for air to pass through in and out the more effective is the insulation.
# Physical properties of fluids (gases and liquids) and atmosphere don’t support them on GHG idea at all scientifically. GHG / GHE idea is fake.
B.1 Causes of CC
(Just because you (NASA and IPCC) did not know or could not explain the cause of CC you are creating fake, imaginary, false, spurious and so on science to mislead the world.
Here is the explanation for the cause of the CC. I challenge all the scientific institutions / organizations especially NASA and IPCC that support GHG / GHE idea to prove my scientific analysis is wrong. CC due to gases is impossible instead they are helping the earth to cool down by convection method of heat transmission.)
So they don’t have proofs. My Scientific analysis is 100% proof
So gases are not responsible for global warming but cooling the earth.
Only purpose of the Quito protocol (only a propaganda or misinformation, jargon, cant, hoax and so on.) is for monopolizing the industry by the developed rich countries – saying indirectly to the poorer countries to stop industrialization; and, instead they would support the developing world by donations.
B2. Mistaken Reason for CC –
The main reason for global warming is due to the mistake done by human being for explaining the rain cycle wrong way that it occurs by the evaporation of the sea water. If it were so, now-a-days we should have rains more often than in the old days – global warming and expansion of the sea surface, both are favorable for evaporation needed for rain cycle. Sea surface temperature (average 15C) is not hot enough to lift water vapour to form cloud needed for the rain cycle. If that is possible we will have rains all the time, (even during winter we have that temperature in Nepal on the average). water vapur evaporated from the sea surface must come over land to get lifted as the land surface gets heated by the sun and air moves upward as air current.
We are making more and more land areas drier and drier by urbanization – covering land by concretes, black top roads, deforestation, and expanding deserts. So evaporation from the land areas is decreasing, as a result cooling of the land areas is decreasing significantly. Land areas are hotter than sea surface temperature.
B3. We can control climate or present climate change is reversible
– just by determining how much land surface area of the earth to keep moist. More the land surface moist, the more rain cycle and cooler earth surface.
I shall be grateful to you if you could go through my blog for details and share with your friends.
C. Ozone depletion is not possible
Ozone as such can’t exist as a layer. It is extremely unstable and heavier than O2. It breaks into oxygen atoms as soon as it forms (if not kept pressurized in a closed container).It is formed when oxygen molecules breaks into atoms with heat of high temperature (UV). Stratosphere is tremendously cold zone and extremely low pressure. Ozone formed breaks down into oxygen atoms as soon as it forms and releases heat. Even at sea level at NTP ozone is unstable. So ozone layer exists only in theory. Intermittently forming of ozone will continue until the oxygen is in the atmosphere and we receive UV from the sun. So ozone depletion is not possible. Ozone formation is a step to return heat back to space.
It is not ozone that blocks heat but O2 and in the process O3 is formed to release the heat absorbed by O2
D. Don’t blame CFC (too scarce and too heavy to reach the stratosphere) for thinning stratosphere. In reality, Millions of jet flights everyday are consuming too much of oxygen of the layer.
Copy my list, go to NASA / IPCC and tell them about my challenge. Or, at least talk to your elementary sc. teacher to find out true sc. I will reward you for your efforts.
Present CC is reversible and we can control climate

Reply to  indrdev200
April 7, 2015 12:32 pm

Is there anything you know, that is actually true, or are you just trying to amuse us?

April 6, 2015 2:05 am

I really despair of these people sometimes. And I also despair of those who know that what they say is wrong but refuse to call them out on it.
Unless my understanding of the physics is even more limited than I thought it was a warmer world is supposed to lead to less severe weather events rather than more as the temperature gradient declines.
Only the most extreme and unlikely of scenarios has anything approaching temperatures that will cause any major problems since all other projections are within the range of past history and catastrophic sea level rise is only possible if somebody has found a way of drastically lowering the freezing point of ice.
So why is Sachs getting away with this drivel?

Greg Woods
Reply to  Newminster
April 6, 2015 3:08 am

Because he can.

April 6, 2015 2:47 am

I see this as the right conclusion but for totally incorrect (and dangerous) reasons.
Logic has failed entire generations now. As long as people can’t see the difference between a modern nuclear design and Chernobyl’s inherently unsafe graphite moderated crap, as long as people can look at a tsunami that killed thousands and a sea level reactor disaster that killed zero, as long as people think CO2 at the levels our civilization emits is a “pollutant” and harming the “environment”, then education and science have both failed spectacularly.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  CodeTech
April 7, 2015 4:02 pm

Although graphite has some undesirable characteristics like Wigner release, it is not the key safety issue; zirconium fuel-pin cladding is. Despite being carbon, graphite is surprisingly hard to ignite even under meltdown conditions. Zirconium is also quite hard to ignite but burns with incredible ferocity, and once lit will continue to burn in water or steam, thus it’s almost impossible to extinguish. You really don’t want substances of that kind in a reactor, otherwise if it does overheat you are in big trouble. This is where molten salt designs could be much safer.
Since ‘modern’ PWR/BWR designs still use zirconium alloys they are inherently no better, apart from having numerous safety add-ons which hike the price sky-high and hopefully might stop the zirconium fire from starting. Hopefully.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
April 8, 2015 12:35 am

According to what I’ve read about Chernobyl, the reactor core was ablaze, burning in bright rainbow colors. People who stood on the so-called “bridge of death” received a fatal dose from it. However, I’m well aware that accounts of the incident are less than credible.
I’m not saying that graphite moderation on its own is inherently dangerous, I’m saying that THEIR graphite moderated design was crap. Apparently the control rods were 1.3 meters shorter than required, and the actuation mechanism jammed when they attempted a SCRAM.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
April 8, 2015 12:51 am

The graphite was a problem at Chernobyl, although not the biggest one. The biggest one was the way control rod insertion affected reactivity initially. Even bigger, was plant personnel violating about 6 “thou shalt not ever!” safety regulations all at the same time.
There is no real problem with zircalloy cladding – nor has there ever been a problem with burning cladding that I’m aware of. There are major benefits to it for design and operations compared to anything else available, which is why it’s used so widely. There are also major issues with molten salt reactors which you’re totally ignoring. Yes, those can be gotten around too, but it’s not reasonable to pretend they don’t exist, or to make out like zircalloy is a major problem or issue when in fact it’s not.

Rational Db8
Reply to  CodeTech
April 8, 2015 12:43 am

Well said, CodeTech.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  CodeTech
April 9, 2015 1:03 am

The trigger events at Chernobyl and Fukushima were badly designed control rods and flooding respectively. The major incidents in both cases were explosions. At Chernobyl there were two, the first possibly due to steam pressure, the second and larger one due to hydrogen. At Fukushima all of the delayed explosions were hydrogen-related. The hydrogen was produced by dissociation of coolant water. The most likely cause of such dissociation was zirconium burning in steam.
Zirconium was the metal used in pre-electronic camera flashbulbs. It replaced magnesium in that role because it burned (in oxygen) with an even brighter flame.
The somewhat similar magnesium is used in sports car roadwheels and aircraft components, to name a couple of applications. In those cases its combustion characteristics are considered acceptable since any fire hot enough to ignite the alloy would already have destroyed the vehicle. Rather different from the situation in a fission reactor where a hotspot on an uncovered fuel element can reach ignition temperature, the fire then spreading to other fuel elements, and once going, even burning underwater.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
April 9, 2015 2:14 pm

Operating nuclear power plants ALWAYS produce hydrogen – it doesn’t take burning zirconium what so ever. Hydrogen is being produced by radiolysis of the cooling water itself. It’s basic reactor chemistry. In some accident conditions you can also get a high temperature steam-zircalloy chemical reaction that produces hydrogen – but again, no “burning” is involved, There is no evidence of any “burning” in the Fukushima reactor cores. Melting, yes, burning, no.
“Rather different from the situation in a fission reactor where a hotspot on an uncovered fuel element can reach ignition temperature, the fire then spreading to other fuel elements, and once going, even burning underwater.”
Sorry, but that’s not a credible scenario at all. For example, the TMI core was uncovered for an extended period of time (hours) and over 40% of it melted to slag on the bottom of the reactor vessel, yet there was NO burning zircalloy in the process.

April 6, 2015 3:02 am

@indrdev200 April 6, 2015 at 1:34 am
and here I am thinking that pressure falls along a pipe if liquid is flowing through it….
Who knew we could get perpetual energy and held out on us? It must be the evil fossil fuel companies /sarc
The facts are clear, when water travels along a pipe, it trades pressure for flow.
Yes if you have a 1000 tonnes per hour entering a pipe, you will have a 1000 tonnes per hour leaving said pipe, irrespective of how much work you have extracted from the flow.
However, if you try to extract more energy from the flow, by for example inserting another turbine lower down the pipe, then the conditions that would have allowed the upper/first turbine are now changed. so you can not keep adding turbines and get extra power from the flow/drop.
Due to the cost of these devices it is normal to have ONE turbine per pipe and run it at maximum design efficiency. Of course you can fit a second following turbine and get 50% power from each but you have achieved only a cost increase with no additional electrical power.
Your example: water meters in series, they all work thereby ‘proving’ your concept.
Sorry, if you fitted water driven pumps, water in – water out, your first pump would convert all available energy and discharge its water at such a low pressure that the water would not be able to drive another pump. If you did fit a second pump, the first one would operate at much reduced power.
Also, if you could measure pressure accurately, you would notice that the outlet pressure from the last water meter reduced each time you fitted a water meter.
My example:
One hose pipe connected to a garden tap with a tap/water pressure of 1 Bar (15psi), with a hose of 10 m long (33′) you may get a flow of 10 litres / min. Fit a hose pipe a hundred times longer, you flow rate would fall to
0.1 litre / min.
Flow rate depends upon pressure difference, pipe cross sectional area, length, smoothness etc.

Reply to  steverichards1984
April 6, 2015 4:38 am

In other words, fluids don’t flow unless there is a pressure difference. A pressure difference is, by definition, a pressure drop from the high side to the low side.

April 6, 2015 3:08 am

April 6, 2015 at 12:35 am
Why is geothermal energy so rarely talked about or promoted? I understand the initial invesment is high but aren’t long term benefits more than compensating for that?
April 6, 2015 at 2:41 am
Primarily because in all of the areas it’s been tested, it doesn’t work out so well.””

Reply to  tobyglyn
April 6, 2015 3:50 am

Sorry tobyglyn, I won’t click to SciAm’s site… they are no longer a reputable source for anything of importance.
However, the problem with geothermal is primarily that there are only a few areas of the planet where it’s practical, and the amount of energy that can be extracted is limited. If they pull too much out they cool the extraction zone and have to drill more. Undoubtedly there are small successful projects, but the holy grail of a geothermal powered civilization is just never going to be achieved with our current level of tech.

Reply to  CodeTech
April 6, 2015 5:02 pm

April 6, 2015 at 3:50 am
Sorry tobyglyn, I won’t click to SciAm’s site… they are no longer a reputable source for anything of importance.
However, the problem with geothermal is primarily that there are only a few areas of the planet where it’s practical, and the amount of energy that can be extracted is limited.”
That may be but your original claim was that it doesn’t work out so well anywhere it has been tested – clearly untrue as geothermal seems to work well in Iceland and even the Philippines where it apparently produces up to 27% of national electricity production.

Reply to  tobyglyn
April 6, 2015 9:13 pm

if it does not produce electricity – it may produce heating for houses and flats – and hot water “individualy”

Reply to  CodeTech
April 6, 2015 5:52 pm

Geothermal has proven to be expensive, and even where it works the maintenance costs are extremely high.
My original comment was:

Primarily because in all of the areas it’s been tested, it doesn’t work out so well.

I stand by that. Just because it works in a few isolated situations doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Even wind and solar work well in certain situations, but attempting to go farther on those technologies is a waste of effort at current tech levels.

Reply to  tobyglyn
April 6, 2015 6:21 am

iceland is the outlier in it all.
most other places don’t have the source they have and it has not worked as well.

Billy Liar
Reply to  dmacleo
April 7, 2015 11:06 am

Even Iceland occasionally has some downside to geothermal:

Ed Fix
April 6, 2015 3:23 am

“it is time for greens to demonstrate they actually believe in anthropogenic global warming…”
A demand for a confession of faith. Perfect.

April 6, 2015 3:35 am

Please read up on how a Francis Turbine works. The efficiency at which it extracts power from a flow of water is greater than 90% , and this design has been studied in great detail:
This is the reason that engineers chose to fit Francis turbines at Hoover Dam, and at other hydroelectric dams around the world.

April 6, 2015 3:36 am

If the wind had been onshore at Fukoshima things would look a bit different wouldn’t they….Tokyo evacuated, global economy tottering, everyone else waking up to land contamination realities from nuclear meltdowns…public demand to shut down all reactors and end the bargain with Faust….why is it otherwise sensible climate sceptics lose their critical faculties when they think about nuclear power? It only has to happen once…and with 500 reactors and a 10,000:1 annual risk per reactor, do the maths!
and remember 23 July 2012…..when a solar tsunami of mega-Carrington proportions missed the Earth by nine days of solar rotation… the maths there and count the number of reactors and not one resilient to prolonged loss of electrical grid….
then there is uranium mining on the territory of indigenous peoples….and nuclear waste storage, and then clandestine proliferation risks….like what has pre-occupied the last ten years of negotiations with Iran, and how Pakistan got nuclear weapons, and, oh yes, Israel…under the guise of a civil nuclear programme…..
but heh….simple propaganda saves all that thinking, and allows belief in a SOLUTION….
and green as I am,
I accuse the Greens not just of stupidity on the climate front
but equal stupidity in their belief that renewables can solve humanity’s problems with fossil fuels (which WILL run out!)….

Reply to  Peter Taylor
April 6, 2015 3:46 am

Proliferation is only a factor because of the type of reactors built in the 50s-60s-70s. There are many newer designs that minimize proliferation worries, AND are inherently safer.
Imagine if nuclear power hadn’t been “banned” technology for the last 35 years. Imagine how far along new designs and safeguards could have been. Imagine how much less mining and storage would be required if recycling nuclear waste wasn’t banned. Heck, Bush was working to move to industrial scale reprocessing, but the current regressive thug has stopped that.
It did happen “once”, Chernobyl. And the way it happened was so inexcusably stupid, just like most “accidents” are, it didn’t count. Fukushima was also stupid, and shouldn’t count. That reactor was ancient and was in the process of being decommissioned (if not in the process, then scheduled for imminent decommissioning). The cooling pump problem was a rookie mistake, not unexpected for a 60s design. And why, oh why, did they build it where they did when just a few feet higher would have been safer?

Leo Smith
Reply to  CodeTech
April 6, 2015 4:19 am

They built it (Fukushima) to specifications that were considered entirely adequate. Then. In addition the actual radioactive release was trivial by the standards of when it was built. Most of the exclusions zones are below the radioactivity of most of the rest of the world.
Chernobyl and Fukushima revealed how safe nuclear power was. Very few people died (from radiation) at Chernobyl, considering, and none have died at Fukushima, nor look likely to.

Rational Db8
Reply to  CodeTech
April 8, 2015 1:18 am

CodeTech, I think you’re being far too harsh on the Fukushima design. After all, it survived the 5th worst earthquake EVER recorded, and a 50 ft. high tsunami. Why did they build it where they did? Because no one thought such a severe earthquake and tsunami were possible. It was built some 14 or 15 meters (46-50 ft) above sea level, and there was a 5.7 meter sea wall too, specifically for tsunami protection. After all, even with the meltdowns, it survived and only two people who were in the turbine building basement were killed by the tsunami, where some 20,000 people all along the coast were killed by it, along with tens of thousands of buildings and other industrial facilities totally wiped out, even including some 160 tsunami shelters! And that was after it had produced massive amounts of life saving and life improving electricity for nearly 40 years.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Peter Taylor
April 7, 2015 11:17 am

Peter Taylor
April 6, 2015 at 3:36 am
…why is it otherwise sensible climate sceptics lose their critical faculties when they think about nuclear power?
… talking about yourself again?

Reply to  Peter Taylor
April 7, 2015 12:31 pm

Why would they have had to evacuate Tokyo, keeping everyone inside for a day or two would have been sufficient, and quite probably overkill.
There was no land contamination. Even the inside of the reactor building was fully cleaned up after a few months.
All nuclear power plants are resistant to the loss of the electric grid, so long a tsunami doesn’t take out the back up generator in the meantime. Even in Japanese case, a few minor changes to the design would have prevented the problem.
There are no documented problems with uranium mining.
The only problem with nuclear storage derives from the fact that certain know-nothings have banned reprocessing.
Proliferation risks have nothing to do with nuclear power.
Speaking of simple propaganda, I can’t think of a better example than your own post.

Rational Db8
Reply to  MarkW
April 8, 2015 1:12 am

Oops, I meant to include a link for info on Uranium mining also:

Rational Db8
Reply to  Peter Taylor
April 8, 2015 1:11 am

The wind did blow onshore part of the time, and no, no matter what Tokyo wouldn’t have ever needed to be evacuated. Nor would it have affected the global economy in any way, that’s just absurd.
You badly need to get the risks of various methods of electrical generation in perspective. In fact commercial nuclear power is one of the safest methods available on a per unit energy produced life cycle basis. Uranium mining is miniscule compared to coal mining because of the vastly increased energy density available in uranium compared to coal, and the ease of finding the uranium. In fact while there are uranium mines in 20 countries, 10 total mines produce over 52% of all the uranium used. And comparing commercial nuclear to Iran’s clear attempts to procure a bomb is ridiculous. Commercial nuclear power plants only use 3% to 5% enriched uranium. Weapons require 95% or higher – and there’s a world of difference between managing to get to 5% technologically versus managing to get it much higher. Plus, nations such as the USA, Britain, France, etc., that already have nuclear power offer to sell other countries fuel rods, rather than those countries needing to enrich uranium themselves at all. Iran in fact was offered FREE fuel if they’d cease enrichment – they refused because obviously they don’t care about commercial nuclear power and they’re trying to develop a bomb. Oh, and Israel didn’t get nuclear weapons from a commercial nuclear program either – we helped them.

Leo Smith
April 6, 2015 4:15 am

These issues (cost benefit analysis of energy, and ways to achieve zero fossil society) discussed at length
And may be of interest.

The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 4:47 am

TEPCO has not yet come clean about the extent of the radiation release from Fukushima. The spent fuel pools very nearly went.
The decision to basically permanently store large amounts of spent fuel at the reactor site was terrible from an engineering viewpoint but politically expedient, like launching the Challenger.
With the cores having melted through their containment and the location of the material unknown, ongoing seepage of gigantic amount of radiation, and feeling their way to some kind of decades long multibillion-dollar mitigation and cleanup, are people really ready to say CO2 emissions from gas and coal plants is a bigger threat? Gas and coal seem way safer than nuclear when you consider the five nuclear reactor meltdowns that have occurred in the last 36 years and how much worse Fukushima would have been except a building only half fell down and the prevailing winds kept the accident from irradiating Tokyo.

Leo Smith
Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 4:57 am

The cores have not melted through their (secondary) containment. Relatively small amounts of radioactivity have been released and no one is dead as a result.
The overful fuel ponds were exactly the result of scares about moving and reprocessing and storing nuclear waste. The anti-nuclear element have successfully managed to make reactors more dangerous and far far more expensive than they need be.
It is akin to banning disc brakes on cars because they release ‘hazardous dust’, and then claiming that cars are inherently dangerous.
The sheer hypocrisy of the anti-nuclear element leaves one staggered.

The Iconoclast
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 6, 2015 5:23 am

“The overful fuel ponds were exactly the result of scares about moving and reprocessing and storing nuclear waste. The anti-nuclear element have successfully managed to make reactors more dangerous and far far more expensive than they need be.”
Whoever’s fault it is doesn’t change the fact that the practice is incredibly unsafe. Until the political will is there and the spent fuel is removed, they shouldn’t operate the reactors. Force the choice.
Look, I don’t want people to have to live with less, I want more energy for everybody, especially the energy poor. With current practices fossil fuel-generated energy is much safer than nuclear.

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 6:27 am

Didi you read “the deep hot biosphere” by Thomas Gold ?

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 6, 2015 2:19 pm

Thanks for commenting. It’s refreshing to read, anywhere online, reality.
I’m still encountering (online) the map purporting to be Fukushima radioactivity that was, in fact, the estimated wave height for the tsunami.
Some people just seem to want to believe that we’re destroying the planet. It confirms their narrow worldview, apparently.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2015 1:44 am

@the iconoclast
I’m sorry, but your post is just more sensationalist hype. In fact storing fuel onsite is NOT “incredibly unsafe.” Many many decades of experience with exactly ZERO people being sickened let alone dying from onsite fuel storage proves that beyond doubt. Plus, spent fuel needs to be stored locally in water for at least about a year before it’s moved.
That said, it IS far preferable for it to be in ground level pools. But still it’s proven to be extremely safe. Cripes, Fukushima is a prime example of that – you hyperventilate about it, but in fact there wasn’t a problem with any of the spent fuel pools at Fukushima after withstanding the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded on Earth for heaven’s sake, followed by a massive tsunami. And had they not had the hydrogen explosions, even the building 4 spent fuel pool wouldn’t have been an issue. As it was, there was concern, and that was the extent of it – there was no actual harm done by any of the spent fuel there, even with the the massive earthquake and tsunami that wiped out nearly 20,000 people, tens of thousands of buildings, and even 160 or more tsunami shelters!

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 11:54 am

Aside from rejecting your horror stories about Fukushima, your implied claim that another Fukushima would be likely is rather astounding. Japanese nuclear had a reputation for being short on safety, but it still required a complete grid collapse and an diesel power generator failure in order to cause the accident, an accident that didn’t harm anyone. You claim that was luck, but I claim they had the worst luck imaginable. Since the accident, the Japanese have made nucear plant safety a religion, but quite frankly, all that was required was a few minor changes. In the U.S. Three Mile Island was a big nothing, safety-wise. It is also true that Gen3and Gen 3+ reactors are coming online and highly unlikely ever experience a meltdown, and , even if they did, the new emergency response centers in Memphis and Arizona reduce even further the likeihood of any harm. Chernobyl was a Russian Communist designed plant and can be disregarded as irrelevant in any discussion of nuclear safety in the West (or even Russia these days). Perhaps your biggest error is in comparing apples and oranges- today’s Gen 3+ with Gen 1 and Gen 2 plant designs.
As for new designs, Transatomic Power’s molten salt reactor is not only cheaper to build,cheaper to operate, can operate on a load following basis, is inherently safe,can burn and mostly dispose of nuclear wastes, makes it the ultimate nuclear power plant. It will take over all power production, in my opinion, within the next 15 years.

Reply to  arthur4563
April 6, 2015 7:30 pm
Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 12:56 pm

Perhaps you should do some fact checking on Chernobyl. Other than the first responders who went in to put out the fire and were directly exposed to melted fuel, almost all of the deaths (I believe something around 1,500) were from thyroid cancer, which most medical experts believe could have been avoided had the Russians acted quickly and distributed iodine tablets. Instead they tried to downplay the incident.
What didn’t happen were the deaths of 10’s of thousands as many anti-nuclear groups predicted or the permanent contamination of vast swathes of Russian and Europe. In fact most the residents who lived in the exclusion zone around the plant (which is only a few miles wide) ended up returning to the homes.

Reply to  timg56
April 6, 2015 6:37 pm

There was an interesting story I read last year on the women of Chernobyl. Many of the older women returned to their homes and have lived there ever since. The main reason why they returned was that the quality of life was seen as better there then the new living quarters which the government gave them in cramped apartments. These were mainly women past child bearing age.

Reply to  goldminor
April 6, 2015 8:57 pm

here in France our government told us that the clouds stopped at the borders !!!

Reply to  timg56
April 6, 2015 10:01 pm

garfy that is very fortunate. France has a great history for protecting their borders.

Rational Db8
Reply to  timg56
April 8, 2015 1:52 am

Basically you’re correct, although it’s not even as bad as you’re noting.
While there have been an estimated 2000 thyroid cancers that may have been caused by Chernobyl, very very few resulted in death. As you imply, had the government provided potassium iodide tablets (pennies per tablet, literally!) immediately – and not delayed evacuating the nearby town for a day, most of those would have been easily prevented too. Thyroid cancer is very easy to detect early, and is easily treatable in the vast majority of cases. There are only about 55 total deaths attributed to Chernobyl by any reputable source – most of those the first responder firemen (about 26 of them I believe), one reporter who actually took a photograph of the reactor core itself from on top of the building early on, and then a number of the “liquidators” who started cleaning up the site afterwards – sometimes even picking up actual core fuel fragments by hand. Many of the deaths and especially the thyroid cancers are directly attributable to the gross mismanagement of the event and the attempted coverup by the U.S.S.R. government.

Rational Db8
Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 8, 2015 1:38 am

Excuse me, but there were massive international measurements of the radiation levels – there’s nothing more for TEPCO to “come clean” about. The IAEA, the USA, and any number of others were THERE within days.
The spent fuel pools never came close to “going.” In fact there wasn’t even any significant damage to any of the fuel in any of them. There was concern that the spent fuel pool in building 4 might have sprung a leak, but it turned out that there never was a real problem with water level or temperature in that pool either.
There is nothing wrong from an engineering standpoint with storing spent fuel onsite. It’s done all over the world. There are pro’s and con’s both to onsite storage, and to offsite storage.
The cores didn’t melt through containment. They may have lost a small amount through the reactor vessels, but not melting through containment. You ARE aware that there are multiple levels of containment, right? The fuel cladding being the first which was clearly breached, the second being the reactor vessels which may or may not have been partially compromised, the third the dry wells, the fourth the containment building itself, and the final very minor one the building shell.
Yes, it will be a very expensive and protracted clean up. But even so, even counting TMI, Fukushima, and Chernobyl (which really isn’t fair since Chernobyl was a weapons facility, not a commercial nuclear power plant, and it had a known very risky design too), anyhow, even counting all of those, commercial nuclear power is still the safest method of large scale energy generation on a per unit energy produced life cycle basis. After all, thousands have been killed with dam failures (hydroelectric), thousands killed in mine cave ins (coal), etc., etc.
And you do mean meltdowns in the past 61 years, not 36, right? After all, the first commercial nuclear power plant went into operation in 1954. Plus, Chernobyl wasn’t a commercial nuclear power plant at all, it was a weapons facility built with a known risky design, so it shouldn’t even count. Even so, all of about 55 people died from Chernobyl (many of those likely would have died from thermal burns from fighting the fires, aside from radiation) – and zero were even sickened at Fukushima and no long term effects are expected either, and none with TMI. Wanna start tallying how many have died from dams bursting, or mining coal? Not to mention all the airborn particulates released from coal fired plants.

April 6, 2015 5:05 am

Its a question wider than just Japan.
Does the human race deserve nuclear power?
Do we deserve science and technology?
Do we deserve knowledge?
Do we deserve objectivity and honesty?
Do we deserve self-awareness and sentience?
Use it or lose it.

Berényi Péter
April 6, 2015 5:07 am

The climate connection is BS. And I am sure new German power plants, fired by US coal will conform to the highest environmental standards, releasing only harmless stuff like carbon dioxide and water vapor to the environment. The Chinese environmental disaster has nothing to do with coal fired power plants as such, but lack of proper filters and use of low quality coal for household heating.
That said, it still makes sense to consider nuclear power in Japan. The country is poor on carbon based fuels and has to pay for it on the international market. At the same time they have an advanced economy with all the necessary scientific, technological and financial background to develop &. implement a sensible nuclear solution.
Fissile materials have some 5 million times higher energy density than coal and even a ton of ordinary granite, the default stuff continents are made of contains as much recoverable energy as fifty tons of coal, in the form of its Thorium and Uranium contents. However, energy density of coal is still two orders of magnitude higher than that of so called “renewables” like wind and solar PV. Therefore there is no doubt which technology has the smaller environmental footprint if implemented properly.
A molten salt reactor has a hundred times better fuel efficiency than Cold War Plutonium factories called pressurized water reactors, that is, it produces a hundred times less nuclear waste for the same power output, with next to no long half life isotopes left in it. It has a chemically inert core at atmospheric pressure with no explosive stuff like hot steam in it and nothing to fuel a chemical fire. That’s why it does not require a huge &. expensive “containment building”, so its construction is also much cheaper. It has a thousand times less fissile material in its core at any moment than traditional designs have, so even in an extremely low probability event like a direct hit by an asteroid, environmental release of toxic radioactive stuff is negligible. It does not require active cooling on shutdown and even in an extreme event the already molten core is not subject to “meltdown”, but is drained into a safe underground container specifically designed for that purpose. Last but not least, no weapon grade stuff can be extracted from the process ever (which is part of the reason we still do not have it on a commercial scale).

The Iconoclast
Reply to  Berényi Péter
April 6, 2015 5:29 am

I’ve been hearing about molten salt reactors since I was a teenager and I’m 57 now. Where are they? If these improved solutions aren’t going to really get made then they just serve as salves for for the status quo, oh yeah yeah we have these problems with the occasional stray meltdown but this thing on a perpetually receding horizon will solve them.

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 7:07 am

We’ve had thorium designs since before you were a teenager. But that’s been about the length of time (40-50 years) that people have rejected anything that has “nuke u lar” attached to the end of it.
Right now, the country testing out Thorium reactors is China. Although, I think there’s a test station in Australia being commissioned, too.

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 7:17 am

Géopolitique nucléaire : la bataille sino-russe du thorium …
3 avr. 2013 – L’usage du thorium comme combustible alimentant les centrales … sur les anciens travaux du physicien français Edgard Nazare, des savants …

Berényi Péter
Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 12:56 pm

@The Iconoclast
I’ve been hearing about […]

I have heard a US crew was landing on the Moon in 1969. Where are the Moon bases?
You know who was Alvin M. Weinberg, don’t you? He was fired by the Nixon administration from ORNL in 1973 after 18 years as the lab’s director because he continued to advocate increased nuclear safety and molten salt reactors (MSRs). And that’s it.

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 6, 2015 1:45 pm

Basically, there was a big drive for many new reactor designs – like gas-cooled reactors that can cool using the atmosphere, natural circulation reactors that don’t use pumps, sodium-cooled fast reactors that reprocess the fuel on site, and of course the flavor of the month – the molten salt thorium reactor. These all were actively in development until the economic crisis of the seventies killed the demand for new energy production. Shortly after that, Three Mile Island and the general culture of the 70s made nuclear research a non-starter for politicians. The industry focused on improving the current plants, and they improved both safety and their capacity factor, while the regulations currently make it incredibly hard to design a new plant. Nuclear power takes a long time to get up and running.
In the US, the only real horrible nuclear accident was SL-1. That is why you design redundant safety systems and have more than one control rod. TMI had no fatalities, but the media circus around it made it out to be a disaster on the order of Chernobyl. You act like nuclear meltdowns are as common as oil refinery fires or natural gas explosions – industries that don’t have the nuclear safety culture.

Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 7, 2015 12:38 pm

For the most part, fear of anything with nuclear attached to it has caused development in anything nuke related to grind to a halt for the last 40 years.
MRI’s used to be called NMI (nuclear magnetic imaging) but the marketing types had to change the name because so many patients were freaking out.

Rational Db8
Reply to  The Iconoclast
April 8, 2015 2:02 am

Molten salt reactors have operated since the 1960’s. They’re not just imaginary, not by a long shot.
In the USA, the EBRII first began operation in 1965 and ran for 30 years before it was shut down. Are you forgetting that Carter *(temporarily) put the kabosh on any breeder reactors however? And that the American public was anti-nuclear for quite some time?
I’ve got no problems with integral fast reactors or molten reactors – and they can operate on a commercial scale. Thorium reactors aren’t quite ready for commercial scale operations yet, however.
That said, there’s also absolutely nothing wrong with proceeding with the well proven Generation III PWRs & BWRs, or some of the other advance reactor designs that are ready (or already in use) at commercial power production scale.

Reply to  Berényi Péter
April 6, 2015 6:41 am

concerning coal – did hear about YVAN MAKHONINE ?

Eamon Butler
April 6, 2015 5:14 am

This might be of interest.
Thorium-fuelled Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) offer a potentially safer, more efficient
and sustainable form of nuclear power. Pioneered in the US at Oak Ridge National
Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960s and 1970s, MSRs benefit from novel safety and
operational features such as passive temperature regulation, low operating pressure
and high thermal to electrical conversion efficiency. Some MSR designs, such as the
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), provide continuous online fuel reprocessing,
enabling very high levels of fuel burn-up. Although MSRs can be fuelled by any fissile
material, the use of abundant thorium as fuel enables breeding in the thermal spectrum,
and produces only tiny quantities of plutonium and other long-lived actinides.
Current international research and development efforts are led by China, where a $350
million MSR programme has recently been launched, with a 2MW test MSR scheduled
for completion by around 2020. Smaller MSR research programmes are ongoing in
France, Russia and the Czech Republic. The MSR programme at ORNL concluded that
there were no insurmountable technical barriers to the development of MSRs. Current
research and development priorities include integrated demonstration of online fuel
reprocessing, verification of structural materials and development of closed cycle gas
turbines for power conversion.

Reply to  Eamon Butler
April 6, 2015 6:35 am

Concerning thorium – Professor Edgard Nazare said he was able to build a thorium central and that was in 1965/70 but nobody listen to him and I do not think anybody care for the problem actually – except that in Russia –
Professor Edgard Nazare died in 1996 – in Paris

Don K
Reply to  Garfy
April 6, 2015 8:35 am

Thorium is a perfectly OK — if somewhat oversold — nuclear fuel. (The fissionable in Thorium plants is U233 BTW). Thorium reactors certainly can be built. In fact China is building prototype reactors and India is supposed to bring a commercial Thorium reactor on line next year.
It’s not clear that Thorium offers any particular advantage over Uranium as a reactor fuel for Japan. Japan’s chief technical problem would seem to be the need for a 100% earthquake proof nuclear power plant design. Fukushima Daiichi actually did pretty well considering that it was designed for a far weaker quake than the 2013 Tohoku event. But they know now that much more sturdy facilities are needed. The US and other Pacific Rim countries have much the same problem incidentally, but not as severe as the US has plenty of potential sites on more stable ground nearer the North American Plate interior.

Reply to  Garfy
April 6, 2015 10:20 am

Don K: The key point is that thorium is about 3x more abundant than uranium, so making reactors out of it is a good long-term proposal.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Garfy
April 8, 2015 2:07 am

@ diogenesnj
Actually abundancy isn’t a problem with uranium – there’s about a thousand years worth of it fairly readily available. Not to mention huge amounts if we just reprocess our spent fuel. So that’s not the best argument for thorium.

April 6, 2015 5:39 am

My family have been in Farming for 400 years, my cousins, cousins cousins and on and on. We are still waiting for climate change in our areas where we farm – how come?

Reply to  richard
April 6, 2015 8:08 am

You just haven’t noticed that your crops have been creeping northward several millimetres each year.
Thing is, your neighbour to the south, his crops have been doing the same and you’re actually harvesting what he planted. It all works out, since your northern neighbour reaps some of what you sow.
Of course, if you’re not on flat ground, changes in elevation will wreak havoc with the calculation and further study will be required.

Reply to  mebbe
April 6, 2015 10:59 am

not here in the Uk, the hardest thing is making a profit. Damn price of wheat and barley!!! and the rising cost of everything else.

April 6, 2015 5:49 am

Not only Japan should follow Earth Institute advice to use nuclear, all nations should to reduce fossil fuel use. Wind and solar are unable to do this.

David Bennett Laing
April 6, 2015 6:13 am

No. Just quit demonizing carbon. In a situation in which you’re trying to assess the greater threat, and the contestants are a paper tiger (CO2) and a documented major health and environmental hazard (nuclear), there can be no doubt that the latter wins, hands down.

Rational Db8
Reply to  David Bennett Laing
April 8, 2015 2:11 am

Vs. CO2 you’re right, there’s no contest. If, however, you’re looking for the safest way to generate large scale cheap, abundant, reliable electricity, which is essential for any developed nation, then commercial nuclear power is the safest way on a per unit energy produced over the life cycle of the method used. And that goes for both health and environmental hazards.

April 6, 2015 7:47 am

It turns out that in the 25 years that we have been putting the idea of decarbonization in the public spot-light, we have all gone absolutely nowhere.
Formerly, practically minded scientists, engineers and economists had presided over affairs, and as a result the human race had developed a massive nuclear and hydro base load capacity.
Producing massive quantities of dependable energy at low cost.
Since the 1980 environmentalists and climate experts have become increasingly influential. Unfortunately for the decarbonization project, in general these people have a passionate dislike for large scale hydro and nuclear.
As a result, we now habitually choose the most expensive cuisine items on the menu.
If a wind turbine is not expensive enough already, then try siting it in deep water, 75 miles from the coast.
As we are now doing here in Silly-Land. a.k.a. the U.K.
The ultimate effect of all of the efforts made in the last 25 years all across the globe, seems to have been absolutely nil.
Ever wondered why Russia Today and Al Jazeera are so keen to promote wind, solar and environmentalism?
What a complete joke the whole thing is, when you see the actual data:

April 6, 2015 8:19 am

I’m not against nuclear, but I think that if the government is concerned about “carbon pollution” for the sake of catastrophe prevention, they should be (and should have been) much more interested in the development of Thorium nuclear. Not only domestically but for Iran and other possible abusers of Uranium by-products.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 8, 2015 2:17 am

Any in government concerned about “carbon pollution” need to be removed from their posts promptly and have their heads examined. Then if found to be sane (doubtful), they need several long remedial science classes. At which point they will learn that “carbon” isn’t short for “carbon dioxide” and isn’t at all the same thing any more than “hydrogen” is short for “dihydrogen monoxide”; that “carbon dioxide” isn’t a pollutant at all, but plant food; that historically every time the Earth winds up warmer than present day temperatures, mankind absolutely flourishes; and any time it’s colder, we plunge into famine, starvation, mass migration, warfare, and plagues; and that the body of science doesn’t support any significant anthropogenic global warming anyhow. And until they understand such simple basics, they ought not be allowed anywhere near energy or environmental policy making.

April 6, 2015 8:19 am

So … Greens are now for nuclear power … and you’re a Gaia-raping, science-denying, National Geographic-canceling, right-wing-Neo-Nazi-Tea-Bagging-Heartland-funded-WUWT-posting ass if you don’t think CO2 is THE DEADLIEST POISON EVER?
I have a funny litmus test in my life; my radical environmentalist friend, who has forever railed against nuclear power, and who is now even more rabid about CO2, just can’t get himself to admit in front of me that nuclear power is the way out of his dilemma, at least as he frames it. He knows, rightly, that I’ll have a field day. Oh the integrity …

Pat Kelly
April 6, 2015 9:05 am

Speaking as an engineer, I do view complex hydrocarbons as a gift from nature that needs to be managed carefully. Using them to generate electricity is wasting an opportunity to create compounds of greater need to humankind – like pharmaceuticals. I have always viewed nuclear power as the best way to generate electricity. I think the French understand this best.
Just my thoughts…

Reply to  Pat Kelly
April 6, 2015 9:26 pm

in France, I wonder why the government refused the project of Professor Edgard Nazare in 1970 concerning thorium centrals –
by the french you mean the government, but we are not in democracy – !!!!
somebody said the reason is “war” and atomic bomb !!!

April 6, 2015 9:19 am

A little “design help” for the Japanese:
Three choices for Emergency Diesel Generator siting:
1. Above ground, next to the reactor building on a 4′ tall reinforced concrete platform.
2. Below ground level, in a “trench/bunker….open on top” for catching any nasty oil or diesel spills so they don’t “harm the ocean” nearby ocean that is…
3. In a 4 story armored building, first two floors for diesel storage tanks, can be flooded, no problem..all passive piping and valving controlled from floors 3 and 4.
1. Good for earthquakes, very bad for Tsunamis….wash over them and make inoperative.
2. Hum, floods completely and makes SURE the diesels are ruined and useless (actual Fukashima situation)
3. Equivalent to what the NRC forced the US plants into during the early 90’s. Realizing that “station blackout” was one of the MOST LIKELY CORE MELTDOWN THREATS!
BY the way, little known to the public (but documented on an international nuclear power info site), If it werent for the Russians and this:
And for the Americans with this:
and THIS:
The spent fuel pools on top of the Fukashima reactors would have boiled dry and all the spent fuel
would have melted down.
There was NO HESITATION on the part of SCHWING, the USAF and the Russian Air Force to put all the pieces together and get the “boom trucks” (The three largest ones made, had almost 200′ reaches) to Fukashima to get cooling water in the pools and prevent the GREATEST disaster that could have happened.

Reply to  Max Hugoson
April 7, 2015 4:44 am

The reactors DID melt down…TOTALLY. The Japanese just admitted this last week.
We have a full ‘China syndrome’ event going on right now. TEPCO just admitted that IT CAN’T BE FIXED.

Billy Liar
Reply to  emsnews
April 7, 2015 11:24 am

Apparently the core, when it has melted though the center of the earth, will come out in upstate NY. 🙂

Rational Db8
Reply to  emsnews
April 8, 2015 2:36 am

Then once the core has exited in upstate NY, it will fall upward and continue towards the sun, knocking Venus out of it’s orbit, and shortly after that causing our sun to go supernova!

April 6, 2015 9:28 am

The Earth Institute and Jeffrey Sachs are way behind. Nothing valuable from them.
Here is what has been happening and moving forward as fast as possible:

Bohdan Burban
April 6, 2015 9:34 am

Pull up GoogleEarth and you will note that Japan is positively bristling with volcanoes. Tapping into geothermal energy is a no-brainer but poverty of spirit and a mind-boggling lack of imagination win out every time. Since when did Japan show real initiative in pioneering and innovation, as opposed to copying?

Reply to  Bohdan Burban
April 6, 2015 1:30 pm

Groundbreakers in methane hydrates.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Bohdan Burban
April 8, 2015 2:47 am

Your willingness to castigate and denigrate Japan over their supposed “lack of imagination and poverty of spirit” is gobsmacking. In fact, the tiny island of Japan has some 15 geothermal plants up and running and they generate 5% of the entire world’s geothermal energy production – even though they’ve only got 1.8% of the world’s population. Perhaps your own “poverty of spirit and a mind-boggling lack of imagination” is why you never bothered to check basic facts before posting such tripe?

Tom McClellan
April 6, 2015 9:40 am

Fact check time. Sachs states: “Germany is closing down its nuclear power, but it’s burning more U.S. coal exported to Germany.”
But shows that US exports of coal to Germany in 2014 are actually down slightly from 2013. Ooops.

David A
Reply to  Tom McClellan
April 6, 2015 10:21 pm

Maybe, but what is cogent is, Germany is closing down its nuclear power, and building and utilizing more coal.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Tom McClellan
April 8, 2015 2:52 am

Germany is about the 8th largest coal producer in the world themselves. Regardless of whether they imported more or less from the USA, their coal use is on the increase ever since they started shutting their nuclear plants down. That and renewables are killing their economy and their industry, and that’s even though they’re giving industry heavy discounts on electricity prices compared to citizens.

April 6, 2015 9:56 am

The problem for Greens is that nuclear energy works. Widespread adoption of nuclear energy would allow continued growth of the world industrial economy without carbon-based fuels. This is anathema to the hard-core Greens, who dream of idyllic simpler pre-industrial life.

April 6, 2015 9:58 am

I’ve seen Jeffrey present at professional conferences and there is no real substance there. His style is definitely based on volume of words and not value. There is clearly a substitution of emotion for quantitative value. Lesser named and younger researchers would not get attention by journals with this approach.

Reply to  Resourceguy
April 6, 2015 10:33 am

Fully agree. He always comes up with “Scientists said….” “A scientist found….”. Would he say nuclear is needed in the USA at a conference in the USA? He says what is convenient where he is speaking. The typical in the USA is wind and solar.

Reply to  Resourceguy
April 6, 2015 1:31 pm

Ask the Russians.

April 6, 2015 11:31 am

“the death toll with nucleaar has been very small.” Well, if you reject Chernobyl as a Western nuclear plant,
the death toll would be extremely small. Three Mile Island and Fukushima accidents resulted in zero immediate deaths and none due to radiation exposure.

April 6, 2015 11:32 am

You don’t have to buy into the global warming schtick to have a reason to support nuclear – plain old emission reduction is enough.

Reply to  arthur4563
April 6, 2015 12:50 pm

Yes. meanwhile emission reduction has been successfully carried out in coal power generation as well. We should not “burn our bridges” before being safely across. The scrubber-equipped coal power plant near me does not make anywhere near the smoke it did before it was fitted with scrubbers. Fossil fueled boiler/turbines can respond quickly in cyclical load conditions, and be stored for emergency and sporadic peak demands. Gas and oil turbo-generators provide nearly instant power to avert widespread power outages due to grid overload. Perhaps the molten salt design will address the demand variability issues and not be as limited to base loading as the Uranium designs, but fossil fuels still have a niche for now.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 6, 2015 1:12 pm

I forgot to point out that wind and solar are neither qualified as base load generation or as peaking generation. They only introduce a chaotic load management and a greater need for very flexible load carrying ability. Nukes can’t smoothly supplement solar and wind.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 8, 2015 2:56 am

Gen III plants are better able to load follow than the older Gen. II designs also. Still not to the extent of nat. gas. but far more efficiently and to a greater degree than the previous designs.

April 6, 2015 12:25 pm

If Nuclear power is good enough now for the Iranians it should be good enough for the Japanese and anyone else interested in developing it at this point.

Reply to  Chuckarama
April 6, 2015 1:33 pm

Heh, Iranian Domestic Nuclear Power, the very definition of Energy Insecurity.

April 6, 2015 2:12 pm

The absolute worst place on earth for nuclear power plants is Japan due to tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes.
The mess in Fukushima is completely incapable of being fixed. In the news in Japan this week is TEPCO admitting they can’t see any fix in the future maybe forever.

Reply to  emsnews
April 7, 2015 12:45 pm

The mess in Fukushima has already been cleaned up.
Nuclear plants can and are built to handle earthquakes, tsunamis and they don’t need to worry about volcanoes since nobody is stupid enough to build one inside a volcano.

Rational Db8
Reply to  emsnews
April 8, 2015 2:57 am

I don’t know where you’re getting your information from, but it’s pretty bad.

April 6, 2015 3:31 pm

naturally, Sachs’s CAGW exaggerations and false claims went unchallenged.
anyway, it is for the Japanese people to decide their own energy future.
as for Sachs’s pro-nuclear credentials, he sits alongside Wigley, Hansen, Hoegh-Gulberg, Monbiot, Fred Pearce, Bjorn Lomborg, Carole Browner, Christine Todd Whitman, Mark Lynas, James Lovelock, etc etc in Wikipedia’s “List of pro-nuclear environmentalists”.
indeed, nuclear was always part of the IPCC plan, supported by the IAEA:
1990: IPCC: Climate Change The IPCC Scientific Assessment
Sponsored by WMO/UNEP
Foreword by Dr John Houghton, Chairman, IPCC Working Group I, July 1990
In Scenario C a shift towards renewables and nuclear energy takes place in the second half of next century…
For Scenario D a shift to renewables and nuclear in the first halt of the next century reduces the emissions of carbon dioxide, initially more or less stabilizing emissions in the industrialized countries…
May 2007: IAEA: Climate Change Report Looks at Nuclear Power, Other Options
The IAEA supports the IPCC´s work in various areas, including technology options for the mitigation of climate change…
The IAEA, through its laboratories, Department of Nuclear Science and Applications and Department of Nuclear Energy, supports and contributes to climate change studies. The Planning & Economic Studies Section in the Nuclear Energy Department specifically addresses international negotiations on climate change and sustainable development, and contributes to the work of the IPCC…
as of 2013, according to the World Nuclear Association, over 60 power reactors are currently being constructed in 13 countries, approx 160 are planned and 320 are proposed, so it’s pointless to discuss the Japananese case in isolation.
killing coal remains the main objective:
28 March: UK Telegraph: Christopher Booker: No one is talking about our utterly mad energy policy
Last week, scarcely noticed south of the border, came the news of the premature closure of Britain’s second largest power station. The giant Longannet plant in Fife, with its 2,400-megawatt capacity, can still supply two thirds of all Scotland’s average electricity needs.
The reasons given for Longannet’s closure early next year were partly the crippling cost of the Government’s “carbon” taxes and the additional £40 million it is being charged for connection to the grid…
***But Longannet’s real crime is that the 4.5 million tons of coal it burns each year make it the biggest CO2 emitter in Scotland.
Which is also, of course, why we will hear nothing about Britain’s energy future in this election: because all the major parties are signed up to the policy set in train by Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act committing us to reduce our “carbon” emissions by 80 per cent within 35 years…
The policy on which they are all agreed, set out in the Coalition’s “2050 Pathways for tackling climate change”, centres on three main steps, each more bizarre than the last. Step one is that we should “decarbonise” our economy, not just by closing down the coal and gas-fired power stations that supply more than 70 per cent of our electricity, but by chucking out all those gas appliances 90 per cent of us use for cooking and heating…
When the wind doesn’t blow, the only power to keep our lights on, our homes heated and our electric cars running would be that from those supposed new nuclear power stations.
***At the present rate, with only one new nuclear power plant dubiously in view by 2024, producing electricity four times as expensive as that from coal, not even tens of thousands of diesel generators could produce enough back-up power to keep our computer-dependent economy functioning at all. (Last Tuesday evening, wind was producing less than 1 per cent of the power we were using)…
shortly after Climategate, Fox’s Neil Cavuto interviewed fmr Australian PM, Howard who – like Bush Jr, our current PM Tony Abbott & many Republicans – was constantly mocked as anti-science & a denier of CAGW. Cavuto was nonplussed when Howard failed to take the opportunity to expose CAGW for what it was, as revealed in the Climategate emails, but instead repeatedly used the opportunity to push his long-time personal preference, nuclear energy.
what a wasted opportunity it was. it’s worth reading the entire transcript:
18 Dec 2009: Fox News: Your World w/ Neil Cavuto: Fmr. Australian PM on Global Warming
HOWARD: I think the best way of tackling the issue of global warming is for the world to invest as much as possible, as soon as possible, in finding a technological solution to the challenge.
HOWARD: I think we have to — I think countries that now don’t have nuclear power, including my own, should focus very heavily on nuclear power…
I mean, whatever your view is about global warming, we ought to try and play on the safe side. And the safe side is, at every point, to try and reduce pollution, to try and reduce CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere…
CAVUTO: Well, it might be a focus on the — sir, I’m sorry. It might be a focus on the politics, but, whatever the case, it’s also the focus on a lot of money to address the political concerns.
And it would be a kick in the pants, wouldn’t it, Prime Minister, if, all of a sudden, we discover, if even half of these CLIMATEGATE memos and e-mails that were released, are typical of information that has been hidden from us or lied about, then we could be chasing a goose here that is not real, right?
HOWARD: Well, that is possible.
One of the hexing(sic) things about this issue is that we will all be long dead when we actually know the answer to that question, because, if, in fact, the doomsayers are right, it will be a long time before the ill effects of what they’re predicting are felt by everybody.
If the doomsayers are wrong, and the people who are unfairly described as skeptics are right, it will also be many years before we know the answer to that. So, common sense tells me that what we should focus on is doing things that neither side of the debate can possibly object to, and something that utilizes a clean source of energy such as nuclear power — and it is the cleanest source of energy of all — anything that reduces the polluting impact of the use of coal and gas, things like that, where nobody can really argue…

April 6, 2015 3:57 pm

The economies of both Japan and Germany will not recover until they restart their nuclear reactors.
Some Japanese plants have already been cleared for restart and it is expected that at least two of them will in June.

Reply to  crosspatch
April 7, 2015 4:39 am

Japan’s internal depression began long, long before Fukushima.
People ARE dying of cancers in Japan due to Fukushima. The government refuses to collect any data about this. A huge hunk of the most productive agricultural lands in the main island of Japan has been rendered utterly toxic for human use and plants and animals in the no go zone there are seeing huge levels of mutations and an overall death of the flora and fauna.
And the poisons still pour into the Pacific Ocean and we have no idea how this is causing malign mutations there.
Just one nuclear power plant disaster per 20 years is a catastrophe. We still have virtually no tools for fixing a full meltdown. They still have NO IDEA what has happened to the cores of the melted reactors. It is so violently toxic there, even robots can’t go inside close enough to see what is going on.

Reply to  emsnews
April 7, 2015 12:46 pm

The govt doesn’t collect data, yet you know for a fact that people are dying from cancer.
Where do you go to get all these lies?

Rational Db8
Reply to  emsnews
April 8, 2015 3:04 am

No, in fact people are NOT dying of cancers in Japan due to Fukushima. That’s utter nonsense. And massive amounts of data are being collected by the government. Nor has any “huge hunk of the most productive agricultural lands” been “rendered utterly toxic.”
Lordy do you ever need to start getting actual facts and reputable information – you’re falling hook, line, and sinker for utter bunk.

“Just one nuclear power plant disaster per 20 years is a catastrophe. We still have virtually no tools for fixing a full meltdown. They still have NO IDEA what has happened to the cores of the melted reactors. It is so violently toxic there, even robots can’t go inside close enough to see what is going on.”

Sigh. More grossly false information. One of my best friends was one of the first techs to go into the TMI containment building after that core melted down – and they removed all the fuel and decommissioned it many years ago. That core was 40% or so melted into slag on the bottom of the reactor vessel, and yet it hardly damaged the bottom of the reactor vessel itself. And toxicity isn’t the problem, radioactivity is. Two different animals entirely.
Your claims are, unfortunately, utterly ludicrous.

April 6, 2015 5:26 pm

Perfectly ok for greens to accept nuclear power for the “heavy lifting” in the economy. Welcome aboard! We have plenty of uses for coal that don’t involve burning it for heat or electricity. Natural gas and lpg can, whenever more economical, be used as well. The goal here is to have a post fossil fuel economy that provides for a modern, educated, workforce with a high standard of living on a global scale. That’s the way you avoid ecological disaster with onerous government control at every turn administering “shrinking” resources and choosing who among the public have become “useless eaters”

johann wundersamer
Reply to  fossilsage
April 7, 2015 1:11 am

and: Günther Wallraff’s work shines a light on why
12000 people drowned by the fukushima tsunami, 13000 missed
due to Gaia
– not to technology –
never left /imprinted/ a mark in
‘peoples minds.’
live with it. Hans

johann wundersamer
April 7, 2015 12:39 am

garfy, ‘people cleaning the reactors’ is not a ‘NOVEL’.
It’s earnest envistigation journalism done by
Günter Wallraff – Wikipedia
Hans-Günter Wallraff (* 1.
Oktober 1942 in Burscheid) ist
ein deutscher
Enthüllungsjournalist und
Schriftsteller. Er ist …
Biografie – Recherchestil –
Diskussion um Urheberschaft –
whatever to say about the man –
his work changed europes perceptions.
Regards – Hans

johann wundersamer
Reply to  johann wundersamer
April 7, 2015 1:24 am

my fault –
garfy, ‘people cleaning the
reactors’ is not a ‘NOVEL’.
garfy, ‘turkish migrants cleaning the
reactors’ is not a ‘NOVEL’.
plain truth. Hans

Reply to  johann wundersamer
April 7, 2015 2:04 am

sorry Hans, I did not use the proper word and it was “tête de turc” –
I also went to a lecture by “Günther Schwab” – (‘austrian) – he wrote “les centrales atomiques du diable” – that was in 1978/80

Patrik Hast
April 7, 2015 4:30 am

Venturi scrubbers ftw

April 7, 2015 11:09 am

I think it is best to use nuclear power station because we will be reducing global warming in the atmosphere which is dangerours not only to japan’s population but to the whole world
By using nuclear power station we will also be saving people life whom they are affected by the burning of coal in power station .knowing that nuclear power station is also not save but it’s the best solution to reduce global warming and it also have more facts than coal power station.

Reply to  katlego
April 7, 2015 12:47 pm

What problem of global warming. On net, more CO2 is a very good thing.

April 7, 2015 11:41 am

what do you think will happen to us people if the whole world use coal power station in daily life ,saying that nuclear power station is risks to use??…….

April 7, 2015 11:47 am

Is in it that we are all going to vanish because of acid rains and change in temperature ?…

Reply to  katlego
April 7, 2015 12:47 pm

There never was any acid rain, and what change in temperature?

April 7, 2015 5:42 pm
April 8, 2015 8:48 am

True that.but if we continue burning coal we wiil end up having acid rains

April 8, 2015 9:14 am
April 10, 2015 5:49 am

Responding to MarkW do not you think we have enough carbon dioxide because the world have billions of people and we all exhale carbon dioxide

April 10, 2015 6:31 am

Also knowing that too much co2 is not good for the atmosphere because it can cause global warming which
is a danger not only to japanese people but it will affect the whole world

Reply to  u15058052
April 10, 2015 6:48 am


Also knowing that too much co2 is not good for the atmosphere because it can cause global warming which is a danger not only to japanese people but it will affect the whole world

Not true.
Global warming – as measured for the past 200 years, and as it is predicted for the next 200 years – will only create tremendous benefits to all people living in all lands on the world. The benefits from safe, reliable energy production will improve the lives of 7 billions of people for 400 years.
But inexpensive energy fairly available to all will definitely harm those governments and those government employees and government institutions now getting very, very rich and powerful promoting their catastrophic CO2 = CAGW theories.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
April 10, 2015 8:29 am

Réchauffement climatique : l’innocence du … – YouTube
Vidéo pour “l’innocence du CO2″▶ 5:34
François Gervais “l’innocence du CO2”

April 13, 2015 9:59 am

Until the nuclear industry gets serious about the waste issue, it’s a non-starter. If you look at the entire nuclear fuel chain cycle and STILL claim it to be carbon-neutral, YOU’RE in denial. With WIPP being closed now in the U.S. nuclear waste is piling up all over the country with no place to go. Continuous production of uranium for processing isn’t helping anyone but the shareholders.
And don’t get me started about #Fukushima.

April 14, 2015 7:34 am
with her – no more problem (really I feel for you and for us ) – could be a new girlfriend for “hollande”