Meet the Green Nuclear Engineering Graduates who Want to Save the Planet from Climate Change

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. By marya from San Luis Obispo, USAFlickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to NPR, since 2001 there has been a surge in young people graduating with nuclear engineering qualifications, who are driven by the desire to convince their fellow greens to embrace the nuclear path to a zero carbon future.

As Nuclear Struggles, A New Generation Of Engineers Is Motivated By Climate Change

June 15, 20185:01 AM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
JEFF BRADY

The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since a low point in 2001, and many are passionate about their motivation.

I’m here because I think I can save the world with nuclear power,” Leslie Dewan told the crowd at a 2014 event as she pitched her company’s design for a new kind of reactor.

Dewan says climate change, and the fact that nuclear plants emit no greenhouse gases, are the big reason she became a nuclear engineer. And she is not the only one.

The reason that almost all of our students come into this field is climate change,” says Dennis Whyte, head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

If you are concerned about climate change, or concerned about the environment, you should be very concerned about the future of [Three Mile Island],” says David Fein, Exelon’s senior vice president of state governmental and regulatory affairs.

TMI parent company Exelon announced last year it will close Three Mile Island Unit 1 in 2019 unless there are policy changes that would make the plant profitable again. A different reactor on the site near Middletown, Pa. — Unit 2 — was involved in the country’s worst nuclear accident in 1979.

Fein is among those who argue that nuclear plants should be recognized as clean energy and paid for the public benefit of not emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants. It’s a strategy that has worked in other states: Illinois, New York and — most recently — New Jersey.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/15/619348584/as-nuclear-struggles-a-new-generation-of-engineers-is-motivated-by-climate-chang

I’m good with green nuclear engineers. Even if they are wrong about climate change, at least their vision for the future makes economic sense.

France proved in the 1970s that you can go full nuclear without ruining your economy. France kept costs down with mass production, by churning out standardised nuclear modules and by large scale reprocessing of spent fuel.

I suspect the green nuclear engineers may have trouble convincing some of their fellow travellers. On the other hand, maybe its the old style watermelon greens who are out of touch, who foolishly believe there is any chance of convincing Generation Z to give up all their electronic toys and embrace a repressive shivering cold green dictatorship for the sake of the planet.

I suspect these green nuclear engineers will find a receptive audience with a younger generation of greens who are used to unlimited convenience and lifestyles of profligate energy expenditure and long distance travel, who view their green parent’s low energy vision of regimented communities living off the land like medieval peasants with something between incomprehension and disgust.

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HotScot

Been banging on about this for a while.

We are not the status quo. A new generation is emerging which is asking questions, and another after that. When they realise they, and their parents, were hoodwinked by AGW there will be a serious backlash.

AGW is a trend, another fashion that our youth will rebel against. The green cult will be swept aside by pragmatism, just as Carnaby street defied the world with the mini skirt and California with weed.

There are young ambitious politicians in the wings now, desperate for a policy to launch themselves onto the public stage, and AGW is boring. It’s the chant of the middle aged and our youth want something new to make their name.

AGW won’t die of scientific rigour or political will, it’ll naturally go the way of the horse and cart, Sunday church, family TV time, no sex before marriage. It will be consigned to the bin of adolescent boredom and youthful rebellion.

HotScot

Lattitude

They”ll get bored with that too, or their kids will.

“Mummy, Mummy, what did you do for fun when you were young?”

“I walked a lot, I cycled, I didn’t have sex, I didn’t try alcohol, I was a virgin till I met your Dad, I read the bible, I didn’t eat McDonalds, I didn’t stay up late…….such fun, and you should be the same as me.”

“Yea right Mum, booooooring”

Duncan Smith

What I see with my own kids, the internet precludes all said interactions/digressions. Cannot have sex by yourself (why leave the house?), cannot buy drugs if you never meet a dealer (why leave the house) and standing outside a beer store hoping someone over-age would buy you beer takes too much effort (why leave the house).

sycomputing

Duncan:

I’ve seen a few articles recently claiming that this generation of young’uns are abstaining from sex, drugs and alcohol. Perhaps your observations are true for more than just than a statistical outlier.

I, for one, sincerely hope so, since I did all of the above as a young man (i.e., sex, drugs and alcohol) and am none the better for it. If only I’d spent more time reading and studying the great works of the ancients, e.g., the Bible, rather than toking my way into Stupid, I’d be much farther along doing so than I am now that I’ve realized how much more valuable is wisdom than even the finest gold (including, but not limited to, Acapulco).

ThomasJK

I believe we have seen ample proof that ignorance and stupidity really can be weaponized.

ThomasJK

A parasitoid is an organism that lives in close association with its host and at the host’s expense, and which sooner or later kills it. Parasitoidism is one of six major evolutionary strategies within parasitism.

Ellen

When I was young in the Sixties, I did sex, drugs, and alcohol – in moderation. The “great works of the ancients” I read were mostly the Norse sagas and eddas, though some Thucycides got mixed in, along with Adam Smith and company. These days I am living a content and comfortable retirement – well, except for the arthritis. I’ve lived an interesting life. I’m not sure I’d *want* to be much further along.

syccomputing

“I’m not sure I’d *want* to be much further along.”

Congratulations to you, Ellen, if you’ve reached the pinnacle of where you wish to be in your pursuit of that which you have pursued!

DonM

Sex, drugs, staying out all night were/are cures for short term boredom (for a lot of kids). The internet is a cure for some of the boredom … so less sex/drugs/etc.

agw zealotry (and social warriorism) is practiced as a lifestyle, to convince themeselves that they aren’t useless. There will always be useful idiots available ….

Notanist

Therapist here, in South Florida where the temptations of the street are as beguiling as anywhere else, yet the most common complaint I get is from single moms wanting help for their teenage sons who do absolutely nothing all day but stay home, smoke pot, play video games and watch porn. Their generation grew up being taught from birth that the world was going to end because Climate Change, so what’s the point, right?

Fredar

@Notanist

You are assuming that they are doing that because of climate change alarmism. But like this comment thread shows, young people did sex, drugs and rock&roll long before climate change became a thing.

From my personal experience when I was teen over 10 years ago, people did the same thing. But nobody talked about climate change. I didn’t even know it was a thing.

Every single generation has complained about the youth, conveniently forgetting that these old people were the same when they were young.

Of course, it’s like news. People complain if their children do nothing. They don’t complain if they are hard working and ambitious.

syccomputing

“Every single generation has complained about the youth, conveniently forgetting that these old people were the same when they were young.”

I used to make that argument as well…then things like this happened (and the many that have gone before it), which never happened when I was young:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/us/school-shooting-santa-fe-texas.html

Something wicked this way comes.

Tom Halla

There is a faction among the greens that endorse renewables mainly because they cannot maintain industrial society. Their vision is a small-is-beurtiful, Arcadian Socialism.

HotScot

Tom

But it’s not the greens that matter, it’s their children, and their children’s children that matter, as they constantly remind us. But when those kids are armed with the education the world is obsessed with, they will ask why they are dressed in rags, grubbing for food when they know how to build a nuclear power plant to alleviate their suffering.

Green is getting old as we speak, and kids don’t like old, you didn’t, I didn’t, they won’t.

Javert Chip

HotScot

You’re scaring me with your “armed with the education the world is obsessed with” comment. I assume that’s some kind of gender studies particle physics where strange quarks are given full equality.

Just my personal opinion (as a retired hiring manager), but “peak real education” appeared to be somewhere in the 1950-1980s. After that, few wanted a degree that required real intellectual effort.

I’m having a hard time believing “thirst for knowledge” is coming back in fashion. Hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

Patrick MJD

“June 16, 2018 3:31 pm
Javert Chip

Just my personal opinion (as a retired hiring manager), but “peak real education” appeared to be somewhere in the 1950-1980s. After that, few wanted a degree that required real intellectual effort.”

So true! Read an article here in Aus about young 25yr olds leaving university with degrees and not being able to find a job. The article focused on a man who did a degree in “Landscape Architecture” and after 50 job applications over 12 months, less than 1 a week, could not find a job.

Susan

I was listening to the radio and a man was complaining that he had signed on with a business training programme that required him to work for the company for two years or pay the fee for the course. He didn’t like the job they found him and walked out and is complaining about having to pay the fee, especially since the course wasn’t worth it. He already had a First degree and a Masters in ‘Business’ – you’d have thought he might have learned about these things! No wonder he hadn’t found a job on leaving Uni.

DonM

Chipper,

If I was a manager/choreographer for the Rooskie social sabotage program, I would have been arguing very hard to commit as much resources as possible towards the goal of loading the HR departments with as many socialist friendly agents (and as much goofy guidelines/requirements) as possible.

The (very few) HR people that I have known didn’t fit the mold of the above conspiracy theory.

As an HR expert can you tell me, where the hell did the diversity bandwagon come from?

HotScot

Javert Chip

I’m not sure the thirst for knowledge is coming back, but education simply to get a job is paramount in the UK.

How do I know? Because our former socialist PM Tony Blair insisted that 50% of school leavers would go to university. To achieve that objective all sorts of insane degrees were dreamed up and former Polytechnics (kind vocational education facilities) were allowed to become universities and offer the wack job degrees.

Consequently, we have a raft of generation X and snowflake kids who have a useless degree, expect a well paid job, and utterly refuse to flip burgers.

Instead, they occupy our welfare facilities by various means, including becoming pregnant, suffering mental illness, PTSD from the babies, and any number of other illnesses they can find not to work.

The worst of it is, our generous, giving, supportive socialist government made them pay for their degrees (hitherto higher education was free in the UK) in the form of a government finance agreement, but no one is paying the student loans back.

The NHS is inundated with ‘sick’ degree qualified unemployed, and we wonder why it’s under increasing financial strain.

Gamecock

Given the sharp decline in nuclear energy production in the world, I see a nuclear engineering degree right up there with art history.

This post is about people with nuclear engineering degrees saying there should be more nuclear energy. O-h-k-a-y.

Patrick

The real Green believers didn’t reproduce for the sake of Gaia, and so we have the children of pragmatists, conservatives, and outright social parasites (the Goreacle did manage to breed) to determine the destiny of the next generation.

There’s a whole bunch of headwind for them to face, but such is the fate of the Fourth Generation when dealing with the Third Generation Rule.

J S

They don’t have children. Not having children is a way to save the planet, remember? Ha!

Sparky

100% dead nuts on. The are also ZPG redux with antipathy for mankind. Baby licenses anyone? X-Maoists have lots for sale🙃👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

jorgekafkazar

That faction will never endorse nuclear. This only makes sense if they are not anti-carbon, but anti-energy. They should be locked up in the loony bin.

Ian Macdonald

“Their vision is a small-is-beurtiful, Arcadian Socialism.” Well, that was what being green was about when I supported the cause. Which would seem to be the antithesis of having an unelected global government which dictates your every action, industrial junk covering the landscape, smart meters spying on you, etc.

joelobryan

When Al Gore converts to Amish life and adopts a Horse&Buggy lifestyle, then I’ll begin to accept that the climate is in crisis.

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Rud Istvan

Interesting post. IMO misses some important skeptical nuances. All nuclear is not created equal. Gen 1 (Chernobyl and Fukushima Daichi) no good. Gen 2 better, as 3Mile Island 1 was contained. There are almost no gen 3 outside China, the exception is US Foglte 3 & 4 at more than 2x over budget and many years late, bankrupting nuclear Westinghouse parent Toshiba. The MIT grad quoted in the post obviously works for a Gen 4 startup.
Now, I am all in favor of same. Let them progress to the point where we can pick a design or two, build nationally funded pilot reactor plants, and shake things out. That will require major regulatory reform of the NRC. Perhaps Trumps second term. He has bigger fish to fry in his first.
Details in essay Going Nuclear in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Steven Fraser

Perhaps something like the X-prize, but with a bigger upside would do it:

Get the 4 top Billionaires to Fund the prize, $250 million to the top four finishers, 2 with A grid-scale, scalable solution, and 2 with a ‘corporate’ solution, that could function for a town, a company, or for a colony on another planet. Seed money, awarded based on conceptual design, $ 5million.

The billionaires receive tax deductions for their contribution, fully expensable.
The winners are judged on the power production, character of the reactant supply chain ( uranium, thorium,… whatever), plan for waste disposal, ‘uptime’ design ( think system high-availability or SLA) operational cost budget, waste heat plan, tectonic hardening, load balancing, production ramp-up time, etc.

Companies sign up, and have to do their initial RFP/plan to qualify for the 5 mill. Up to 20 companies can apply by the deadline, which is announced publicly as 90 days from ‘go’. The 20 best proposals get the 5 mill funding for design, due in 1 year from award.

Judging at the 1-year milestone eliminates 1/2 the designs, 10 survivors. Companies that make the first 20 can consolidate effort for the competition round 2′, which is working prototype, installed at a neutral location i.e., Oak Ridge National Lab, , between 1 and 2 years later, and generating between 5 and 20 GwH at 98.5% uptime for 90 days.

2 winners of each category ( grid-scale and town/corporate/colony) are chosen, and made available to the country as ‘approved’ systems for ‘fast track’ implementation.

How about that? You think Bezos, Zuckerberg, et al would go for it?

Latitude

Musk would for sure…..then we would have the worlds first self igniting nuclear plant

Roger Knights

How about a Kickstarter program?

Red94ViperRT10

I think the U.S. jumped immediately into over regulation with the very first nuclear reactor built. And after 3MI they 64ed-down. Strongest indication of this is after 60+ years of research, design and construction the regulators apparently approve only one type of design, and it’s essentially only the second generation commercial design. Innovation has been strangled and the body disposed of without a trace. Then look at how long it takes to get one through the approval process, and the ridiculous cost overruns. Every time. If the U.S. is to receive safe affordable reliable nuclear energy the regulators must be removed. At least greatly dialed back.

michael hart

Well I’m good with ‘green’ nuclear engineers too. People can legitimately have many different motivations.

But they should also have the wit to be able to justify it for its genuine value, not for one that is the result of other peoples’ political views combined with shoddy scientific climate modelling. I want the best minds available building my nuclear reactors, not fellow-travellers along for the carbon-free ride.

John Harmsworth

I agree 100%!

Patrick

Back in the ’80’s, I believed in CAGW, because I was young and trusted my elders. Only after having survived a half-dozen failed Doomsdays did I really sour on it. Now, after hearing their crap for 30 years, I gladly mock those fanatics at every turn.

Louis Hooffstetter

Same here. I was in grad school back then and had to read a lot of scientific journal articles. When I started reading articles published by climate ‘scientists’, I was appalled. I couldn’t believe any legitimate scientist would dare publish such tripe, much less believe it.

John Harmsworth

Once I put the nuclear reactor in my VW I found people just got out of my way very quickly! In fact, the whole neighbourhood cleared out!

Geoff Sherrington

In 1971 I drilled a 3m deep hole in the floor of the lab of which I owned a part and installed a small nuclear reactor. It used an accelerator to ignite the D-T reaction and emit a flood of fast neutrons that were used for neutron activation analysis. Such was the attitude to nuclear then that we did not even have to fill in forms for bureaucrats to strangle us with.
No person was harmed in the making of that lab.
……..
It was my ambition then to engage with nuclear technology and help build and own a modest reactor for electricity production. In those days, free enterprise was allowed to prosper, but as time went on, it was regulation that mostly prevented my aims.
The high value of nuclear electricity then, before the time of the rampant, ignorant greens, had nothing to do with greenhouse hypotheses. It was all to do with competing economics. The rear, turbine ends of nuclear and coal reactors were similar, the front ends had cheap, compact uranium fuel compared to bulky costly coal.
That is still the case today.
So grasp these simple truths, budding engineers, and proceed with your nuclear aspirations based on economics, not on greenhouse arm waving.
Geoff.

Walter J Horsting

Seaborg.co 250MW thermal Molten Salt Reactor 2025
The Seaborg MSR is a 20′ unit, weighing 30 tons, and having 250MW thermal (at 700C) – Game changer in SMR-MSR size: cuboid of 2.4mx2.4mx6 m, and 30 tons
Development Time line aligned with standard IAEA reactor development method
• 2014-2016: Pre-conceptual Design Phase 1
• 2017-2018: Pre-conceptual Design Phase 2; €1.5 Million Euros EU Grant and €900k
• 2019-2020: Conceptual Design Phase; €10 Million Euros
• 2021-2024 Technical Design Phase; €50 Million Euros
• Ready to build reactor blue prints

Delivered cost for 250 MW thermal MSR in 2025 in the €50 Million to €70 Million depending upon manufacturing scale.

saveenergy
Curious George

Promising yes – but still pre-conceptual.

commieBob

Delivered cost for 250 MW thermal MSR in 2025 in the €50 Million to €70 Million depending upon manufacturing scale.

That’s 200 euros per kW, or 232 USD. That is simply not credible.

Here’s a document that gives construction costs for various generation technologies. The cheapest is Advanced Combustion Turbine at 648 USD per kW.

Being able to build nuclear at a third the cost of any other technology would be incredible. If it were true, you wouldn’t want to build anything else.

The linked document refers to overnight capital cost. That’s what it would cost to build if you could build the generator in one night and not incur any financing costs.

ralfellis

Err, Commi, that is not how you work out the cost. You amortalise the development costs over 50 years, and quadruple it to include running costs. Or about 200 million.

You then add up the generation in kwh, not in kw. About 75,000 million kwh (with some downtime alowances).

Answer about 0.25 cents ler kwh. Or very affordable.

And if you want to double those lifetime costs, to include decomissioning, about 0.5 cents per kwh. (Because fuel costs are negligable.). But I am sure you might find other costs to add into that……

RE

Red94ViperRT10

“…0.25 cents [p]er kwh. Or very affordable…” in what currency?!?! My current bill waiting to be paid comes in at USD$0.08/kWh, no demand charge because I’m a residential customer. So if you are discussing USD and want to build in the southern U.S., you need to reduce costs >67%. That might work in Australia, however.

Jim Masterson

>>
. . . path to a zero carbon future.
<<

As in no carbon-based lifeforms? What a stupid concept.

Jim

+42

davidgmills

Thorconpower.com

Business model: To build 100 1-gigawatt plants a year in a shipyard in South Korea. All plants are molten salt cooled reactors placed underground after being barged to the site.

BernardP

My only problem with nuclear energy is that plants seem to have a short useful life of about 40 years, after which they have to be decommissioned of refurbished at exorbitant cost.

Alan Tomalty

If you work out the economics they actually are cheaper than natural gas plants. The cost of fuel is negligible and they can be refurbished to extend them to 80 yr lifecycle.

flow in

does that include the costs of cleaning up after each accident? I’m sure Fukushima or Chernobyl are no longer in the black…

George Daddis

I don’t agree with subsidies for “preferred” forms of energy and I thus disagree with the suggestion that nuclear plants should be “paid” for the “public benefit of not emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants.” Sounds like a subsidy to me.
What these young engineers should advocate is for rational regulation of the industry; no one wants an unsafe plant but the current regulations are way over the top and have strangled this form of energy.

Alan Miller

Ah the naivety of the young. Someday they will learn that the so called greens are driven by greed for money and power – CO2 was just an end to an evil means.

sailboarder

If China builds the next gen reactors first, and on a large scale, then they will put them on ships/barges, and park them 10, 20, 30, 30, 50, 100, 200 km off of coastal cities and sell power under contract at 5 c/kwhr.

Game over for wind, solar, natural gas and old style nuclear.

The USA is ceding its technological future to the Chinese, unless of course, Trump decides to ‘make the USA great again’ and kick some butt to make it happen at home first.

As for safety.. the US already has nuke ships and subs and has sailors sleeping by those reactors.. safety is not a problem.

Hocus Locus

unless of course, Trump decides to ‘make the USA great again’ and kick some butt to make it happen at home first

Here’s my attempt, from April 2016. And the concerns about natural gas raised in my 2017 letter to Perry seem to have been touched upon with the proposed 90-day rule benefiting coal/nuclear/hydro [voted down by FERC] and more recently, a leaked memo reported by Bloomberg that suggests they will try to invoke the Cold War Defense Production Act.

Smart Rock
Hocus Locus

Icebreaker reactors, 70MW electric is small town not city/grid scale… I believe nuclear-as-solution must be 1+GWe to be scale-able without bankruptcy or infeasibility due to preposterous multipliers.

The scale cost function can break down if the unit size is small enough for transportable modules one can fabricate and integrate in a factory environment. I’ve experience in the oil industry, and in some cases the cost per barrel per day can be 1/2 for a smaller unit. For large units the key is to build them to be transportable by river barge, and have the site within a few Km of the river bank. There’s also an option to build skids to fit a wide load on a two lane road, but bridges and turns have to be considered. The same approach can work offshore, but that requires much more detailed engineering.

I’m not a nuclear power expert, but I would try designing a 350 to 500 MW reactor which can be installed next to an existing coal burning plant, place it together with heat exchangers to transfer steam to the existing plant to see how the first unit shakes out. This will save $ in the generation kit and help debug the concept at a much lower initial cost.

Patrick

China is only beginning to realize that they will have problems beyond their worst fears, and their window for fascist (for real) conquest closes in 20 years. Not by models, but by demographics.

India will likely be ready to take over by then…

cwon14

Rent seeking via another virtue signal not backed by empirical proof, AGW is speculation and a left-wing political system not science.

Rob

Somebody should tell them that the world needs saving from lunatics, not the global warming scam.

Nik Lobachevski

If these new nuclear engineers have been so easily snookered into accepting the AGW non-science, then is it reasonable or wise to trust their scientific/technical ability to design, build, and operate nuclear reactors for power generation?

To accept the AGW non-science, one’s understanding of basic chemistry, basic physics, thermodynamics, statistics, and the scientific method must be flawed. Command of these subjects is essential for nuclear engineers.

Kaiser Derden

any supposed nuclear engineer who believes in AGW is the last person I want running a nuke plant … if you can’t see the bad science for what it is then I doubt your skills with a real engineering system like a nuke plant …

Dalcio Dacol

While I think that nuclear power is a good thing I do think it is essential that humankind continue to enrich the atmosphere with extra CO2 for the benefit of all living beings on the planet. Geological processes continue rob this essential nutrient from the oceans and atmosphere.

So how high do you think you can push CO2 over the next 200 years?

William

The flys in the ointment in this story are the timescales involved, and the conflicting intellectual and industrial trends in our society.
On the one hand we have these kids who want to be nuclear engineers. Good for them.
On the other hand our society is steadily destroying our industrial and intellectual base, and regressing to the point that in the not too distant future our society will resemble that of the middle ages agrarian society. Look at the state of our schools and universities.
By the time these kids are in a position to do anything other than dream about a nuclear future, we will be incapable of even cutting the bolts to hold it together.
The industrial infrastructure required to build our current nuclear plants took hundreds of years to develop. That infrastructure is degrading in a steady downward trend.
We do not have the the political environment to allow building nuclear plants; the development of such an environment will take similar hundreds of years to develop. But by that time, our industrial capability to act on that will will have disappeared.
So, assuming a hundred years from now, a decision is taken to build new nuclear plants, it will take another hundreds of years to develop the infrastructure to build them. That is assuming we have managed to rebuild the intellectual train which is required to teach the engineers of the future what they need to know. Ie: STEM from kindergarten to graduate school
In other words, by that time these kids will be dust in the wind. And their great-grandchildren, who will be the ones required to build these plants, will be unable to even spell the word “nuclear” as they sit around their campfires.
Yes, I am pessimistic, but I am observant of the world around me.

Cool-Engineer

Yes, I agree that they will find out that they are wrong about AWG, but good on them for enbracing nuclear energy.

Rob

The world needs saving from lunatics and crooks. . Not the man made global warming scam.

ossqss

What non-fossil fuel could even come close to replacement for global energy needs? Burning trees and dung in the renewable category? That is what most of that is BTW! Nope, still puts out CO2 for those counting.

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Ian Macdonald

Which underlines another piece of Green disinformation – They will claim that they have achieved 13% renewables penetration, and on that basis demand more money for wind turbines. What they won’t say is that most of that 13% is NOT from wind!

J Mac

Ye Gods! Are we supposed to believe these millenials are driven to study nuclear engineering because they are afraid of CO2? CO2 that is present at 20,000 ppm in the alveoli their own lungs and 5000 ppm in their every exhaled breath? That is their motivation???

I’d say the motivation ought to be the fact that we are running out of oil in a hurry, and that eventually natural gas and coal will be in a similar shape. Nuclear energy in significant amounts will be badly needed by 2050 to cover the gap, unless the world gets controlled by socialists/communists, in which case the economy will not grow, most people will be fairly poor, and energy consumption will be much lower.

honest liberty

That is the true aim.
Georgia guidestones. 500 million.

John Robertson

More power to these kids,I hope they are as smart as they are currently gullible.
Nuclear power has been stagnated by hysteria for long enough.
Canada is a classic example we have 3 coasts yet cannot afford to keep our aging icebreakers refuelled in the High Arctic.The Russian nuclear icebreakers mock our claims of sovereignty, not to mention the high cost of resupplying the tiny hamlets that we maintain,all powered with diesel gensets.
I find smart kids are easily gulled, thankfully they grow up.

Matthew R Epp

It took a tax evasion charge to convict Al Capone and incarcerate him. If it takes a foolish belief in climate change to bring on a nuclear power Renaissance, then to quote the penguins

“Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave”

Ian Macdonald

I’m good with nuclear so long as it’s a design that doesn’t use water for primary cooling or zirconium fuel cladding. Those have been the recurring factors in all the nuclear accidents so far.

Trevor

As I understand it IT WAS NOT THE DESIGN that caused the problem at
EITHER Three Mile Island OR Chernobyl………….it WAS HUMAN ERROR.
They “tinkered with something that WASN’T BROKEN ”
………………right up UNTIL IT WAS !
It seems that as soon as something FOOL-PROOF is invented
……………NATURE comes up with a BETTER FOOL !
Our BEST HOPE FOR THE FUTURE is that our offspring
DON’T fit into that category !
THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO is encourage MORE PEOPLE
to undertake HIGHER EDUCATION at better INSTITUTIONS
that DON’T “GREEN-WASH” them before they mature into DECENT ADULTS !
“WE” are responsible for the “greens”……”we” didn’t do enough POLITICALLY
to undermine and oppose them and INSIST that “they” teach “OUR” values
to “our” children. Neglect ? Maybe. Mainly “just busy earning a crust! ”
Probably “we” thought that , as they were trained and “we” were not ,
that they would DO THE RIGHT THING !( Conservative ,Balanced , Sensible )
and unfortunately “we” LEFT THEM TO IT ….and that is how it has turned out !
WHO KNEW ?
Fortunately , a new “awareness” has begun to emerge as MANY of the
people who post on WUWT have indicated.
Since the LEFT is relentless in their pursuit of the delusional Socialist UTOPIA ,
it behoves “us” to be JUST AS RELENTLESS in opposing them ; getting them
FIRED from their schools , colleges and universities , administration and
political power-structures so that our WESTERN CIVILISATION can
prevail and “our” values of FREE SPEECH , FREE ENTERPRISE , INDIVIDUAL
RIGHTS and PRIVATE OWNERSHIP continue to provide the BEST of
everything that the World has ever experienced !
“We” NEED to be involved with ALL the “ecological groups” , the Feminist
Movements and The Human Rights and Social Justice Groups and STEER
THEM ALONG SENSIBLE , REASONABLE AND ATTAINABLE PATHS
COMPATIBLE with DECENCY and OUR WESTERN CULTURE
and NOT allowing them to become “weaponised” against “us” and
“our” value systems !
It would ALSO be of benefit to opt for SMALLER and LESS INTRUSIVE
GOVERNMENT and allow them to get on with GOVERNING and DEFENCE
and FOREIGN AFFAIRS and those “big issues” that “we” shouldn’t have to
worry about !
ps…….Apologies to all those who find that THIS has little relevance on WUWT
but I think that WUWT is one outlet where these ideas may just resonate !

Ian Macdonald

The trigger event at Chernobyl was an idiot with greater authority than the engineers who knew what they were doing, telling them to do something they knew was dangerous. The issue here is related to people with no actual job experience becoming ‘managers’ – a syndrome which the West suffers from in spades.

The cause, though, was a fundamentally unsafe design. The guys operating it knew this and made allowances. The ‘official’ giving the fateful order did not, and blew the thing up.

Its important for personnel to refuse orders unless they conform to established policy or the change has been documented in writing and approved by a senior engineering authority. The Soviets lacked adequate operating systems. This happens when the regulator and the owner are the same entity, the workforce is defenseless because it lacks basic rights, and there’s no free press to investigate problems. It’s one reason why communism causes so much enviromental damage and the workers suffer more injuries and deaths.

philsalmon

Let’s hope the drug-addled and ageing brains of the baby-boomers don’t take that opportunity away from them. New clarity of thinking will lead to correct non politically biased decision making on energy.

Tom Abbott

Why take cheap shots at Baby-boomers? Stereotype much?

Milton Suarez

Hay una mínima posibilidad de que se produzca un accidente nuclear,pero si se produce las consecuencias son desastrosas.
Esta casi listo un novedoso sistema para generar Energía Eléctrica,abundante y barata,no produce gases de efecto invernadero,no contamina,funciona las 24 horas del día los 365 días del año,no afecta a nada ni a nadie,es EXTRAORDINARIO.

philsalmon

Just now I’m reading “Death Traps” by Belton Cooper, the historical novel about his experiences as a member of the maintenance / ordnance unit attached to the third armoured division in its WW2 campaign from Normandy to Germany. (The Brad Pitt film “Fury” was based on this book.) Handicapped by a main battle tank with armament and armour grossly inferior to that of the German tanks they faced, his unit fulfilled the enormous task of repair, replacement and re-supply of the fighting divisions. What is remarkable in his account is the ingenuity of the engineers in solving engineering challenges in repairing shot-up tanks, pulling vehicles from deep mud and keeping the fighting divisions supplied and mobile. They were continually innovating, even using nose cones from the shells that took out a tank to repair that same tank. Damaged vehicles were creatively cannibalised and even new hybrid vehicles created.

One senses that this inferno created a generation of creative engineers that would drive forward innovation in commercial sectors such as automobiles, aircraft etc for a generation after the war. It was certainly true that the vast number of pilots trained in WW2 were the mainstay of civil aviation until the 80’s, when their mass retirement caused a near crisis in pilot recruitment.

It is a hopeful sign that the nuclear sector is attracting youthful idealism. At least some in the new generation are realising that negative Luddite dystopia and catastrophist fantasies will solve nothing.

Ivor Ward

My big concern is that the modern version of degree class thinking and competence seems to be limited to the ability to Google it and read and plagiarize Wikipedia. Perhaps the search term, “How to be a Nuclear Engineer” may not be enough to create a new generation of nuclear power .

I mentor engineering students in an elite program in a Spanish university, and I don’t see trends towards a softer curriculum. They do have a very Darwinian system, only 60% will move on to second year. 20% will drop engineering or move to a different school, and 20% will go to the non elite level section.

Roger Knights

Maybe Homer could mentor them.

MattS

And France has very high electricity costs…

Anyway, we need to get CO2 up to 1000 ppm at least, so we should burn as much coal and oil as we can dig up.

Tom Abbott

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/04/04/19297/

“But Foster’s study shows that if humanity sticks to business as usual, by next century, Earth will have more carbon dioxide than at any time in the last 50 million years. That’s roughly 700 to 900 ppm”

Current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are about 420ppm so if we continue to burn fossil fuels we will roughly double the current number. The Estimated Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of CO2 is about 1.5C or less, which means if we double CO2 that is about how much additional warmth will be added to the atmosphere accourding to the Greenhouse Gas Theory.

So burning our fossil fuels without restraint will only result in a minor temperature increase, and there is a chance that ECS is much lower than 1.5C, so we have nothing to worry about.

CO2 levels have been much higher in the past and have not led to any runaway greenhouse effect as the alarmist predict will happen if we add a couple of hundred ppm to the atmosphere now. History shows they are wrong. It’s not going to happen.

David Dibbell

Eric says, “I’m good with green nuclear engineers.” Hmmm. I agree in so far that if support for nuclear energy can be the common ground for policy direction, that is desirable. But I cringe at the idea of nuclear engineers who fail to see the misconception of the “heat-trapping” narrative about CO2. Heat is not trapped inside a nuclear core, and it cannot be trapped on the surface of a planet with a mobile atmosphere, flooded and spritzed automatically with natural refrigerant.

old construction worker

‘TMI…2019…. plant profitable again. Amending the AEPS is one of many potential solutions… Other option….. zero emissions credit program.,…’ Interesting. Three Mile nuclear plant opened in1974. So why has Three Mile Nuclear Plants be come unprofitable? I bet they can’t compete with subsidized wind and solar power plants. The solution should be to stop subsidizing wind and solar power plants.

Hasbeen

I worry about the quality of the courses these people are doing, if at the end they do not have enough math to see the impossibility ofCO2 causing any serious global warming.

If they do have the math it appears they are dishonest enough to want to use the global warming scam to promote nuclear generation.

What a sad, sad, indictment of our society! Young and intelligent students are so imbued with the global warming religion that they wish to devote their lives to a false hypotheses. Let’s hope the warmunists get due retribution for this evil deception!

That’s simply good news. Having young newly qualified people disseminating facts and physics about nuclear’s superiority in evry green and technical way must be a great way to confront the pseudo science of the delusional greens, and disprove their propaganda to anyone who checks the facts..

arthur4563

Claiming that AGW its the motivating force for most, or even very many, of those developing Gen 4 nuclear reactors is dead wrong. The biggest pluses for devices like molten salt reactors are 1) low cost, 2) quick build in factories and little site preparation, no need for cooling lakes nearby,
inherently ,3) walk away safe – physically incapable of doing any significant harm. 4) Load following capability – these plants can ramp power up and down quickly and don’t herefore require additional peak load powergenerators, like natural gas. Cost of power generated should be cheaper than any other technology. 5) These plants can be safely located ANYWHERE – in cities and towns, etc. 6) They have a very small environmental footprint.

Tom Abbott

More power to these new nuclear engineers. Nuclear is the future.

Even Hansen is onboard with nuclear. In fact, I bet a lot of alarmists will get onboard eventually when it becomes obvious that unreliable power generation such as wind and solar, is not going to get the job done. And that time seems to be rapidly approaching.

Coach Springer

In Illinois, it required new subsidies to keep 4 plants open and “compete” with subsidized wind. This should not be any model – but a lesson. Supporting anti-global warming as a motive for this ensures competing for subsidies as the primary task instead of producion of cheap, reliable and reasonably clean energy.

Robert W. Turner

I’m pretty sure most or all of the Green Cult leaders are fully aware that nuclear will power our world in the future, but providing clean and reliable energy or “stopping” climate change isn’t their actual goal in the Climate Crusades. Their goal is to become filthy rich by skimming money from wealth redistribution schemes where they get to act like the “good” guy because they’re “helping” poor nations. They have stated this in only a slightly less frank manner.

Roger Knights

What I’ve read is that only a minority (25%?) of greens are adamantly anti-nuclear; the rest have gone along with them to avoid fracturing the anti-carbon crusade.

Quite the paradox:
Smart enough to be a nuclear engineer
Dumb enough to believe “carbon this or carbon that.”

Sarastro

The future lied in new designs of aneutronic nuclear fusion reactors which may be close in hand.

Fusion energy using new principles and designs (NOT tokamak designs) is on track to be commercialized by the Early Twenties… Dense Plasma Focus (DPL) produces no ionizing radiation at all. The Hydrogen- Boron fuel supply is essentially unlimited. Operating Costs are ultra-cheap producing inexpensive electricity (1 cent a kWhr) because DPL Fusion directly produces electricity by induction, without turbines and boilers

How it works

video/211492763

Reaching ignition

video/212111841

Complete Album of Videos
Device video:

video/211492763
LPPFusion.com
UC San Diego Collaboration with LPPFusion
https://cer.ucsd.edu/_news-events-articles/2017/news-LPPFusion.html

Marcus

???????????

Sarastro

Marcus
Not sure where this diversion is occurring. I refer you to the LPPFusion.com website to find the videos posted there. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Sarastro

The links to this post were sabotaged.

They should be:
How it works

video/211492763

Reaching ignition

video/212111841

Complete Album of Videos
Device video:

video/211492763
LPPFusion.com
UC San Diego Collaboration with LPPFusion
https://cer.ucsd.edu/_news-events-articles/2017/news-LPPFusion.html

There’s no “sabotage” the links between posts are identical.

Sarastro

I can assure you Anthony that the links I posted don’t lead to Gansta’ Rap videos… You can confirm that by opening the links I originally posted which I just emailed you.

I don’t know where the snafu is occurring ….

TBeholder

Old good client-side malware? Let’s try:
https://lppfusion.com/where-can-you-get-aneutronic-fuel/

David Paul Zimmerman

Leaving this here as this article is more relevant to the topics I brought up.

I wish there was some other term than lefties to describe the political tendencies of the liberal. I am left handed and have to keep reminding my self that you are not talking about me.

My own personal thoughts on energy production is that we really need to build more nuclear fission plants. I also would like to see the use of Thorium based fission with a “tabletop” fusion generator based on the Farnsworth–Hirsch fusor design that would provide fast neutron bombardment that is easily controlled by adjusting a voltage.

Our current Uranium/Plutonium breeder reactor designs were meant to provide usable material for constructing nuclear weapons and were not really focused on electricity production. I expect the Japanese and Chinese to outpace the USA in this area. The Japanese due to their ability to refine and perfect quicker than the USA and the Chinese due to their use of existing coal to fuel their economy and provide the means for them to devote research and refinement towards nuclear fission development.

I wonder how much Thorium gets thrown into discard piles after the coal is mined in the USA?

Sarastro

Someone is sabotaging links to LPPFusion that I included in my post. How it works

video/211492763

Reaching ignition

video/212111841

Complete Album of Videos
Device video:

video/211492763
LPPFusion.com
UC San Diego Collaboration with LPPFusion
https://cer.ucsd.edu/_news-events-articles/2017/news-LPPFusion.html

Khwarizmi

You keep posting the same vimeo link. I just scoured vimeo to see if I could find an LPP Fusion video with “ignition” in the title. “No matches” Same for “How it works” – no matches.
Here are the video results for LPP fusion:
► edited to delete link to search results, because vimeo converted the link to an embedded video having no relevance!)

Note that, as with the LPP Fusion wesbsite, there are no updates since 2015. Perhaps Mr. Lerner has run out of money?

Anyway, when you see that the wrong videos turned up not just once but twice and thrice, you could have use the new edit function to clean up the big ugly gangster-rappin’ mess you left on the page, with an explanatory note saying,
“Hey, my videos came out wrong on this 2nd/3rd attempt, so I deleted them.”

Test embed for LPP fusion video on VIMEO (vimeo reference number 90680315):
► test failure (nothing embedded using iframe)
test #2 direct link to Sarastro’s referenced video number:

Bingo – no problem. So what are you doing wrong?

Sarastro

All the videos on vimeo can be found by searching under LPPFusion… the “how it works” title is one I added for clarity in the posting and naturally would not be found by using that as a key word with Vimeo.

Your claim that LPPFusion.com has not updated in three years is complete nonsense. There are updated postings from March- April on the cover page and news button. Somehow you seem managed to miss these postings.

LPPFusion has just raised almost a $1M via crowd sourcing so your speculation about a funding deficit is as wrong as is your ability to load a webpage.

betapug

In the wide world beyond the green filtered, uncurious NPR vision of McKibben schooled Middlebury Enviro Journo Fellow, Molley Samuel, a lot of Gen IV nuclear engineering is going on.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/advanced-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx
As some of these projects are already at the prototype testing stage, well beyond Dewan’s computer modeled but “obviously incorrect based on basic physics,” design which ended up when tested, confirming that “their claims were completely untrue”, she is probably not going to save the world.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603731/nuclear-energy-startup-transatomic-backtracks-on-key-promises/
Will Peter Thiel get his money back?

Here we see the right hand of the Green Movement wrestling with the left hand of the Green Movement. This is good news, as “Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workmate”.

Kevin

Nuclear power is diabolical.NOT green because it needs uranium mining for fuel and the waste is far from biodegradable and poses the biggest health threat long term to the entire planet!! Thorium reactors at least dont have a run away effect like fukashima…

Duster

This is good news in its way. The trouble is, we really need that CO2. The satellite observations of increased primary production particularly around desert margins is evidence of this. And anyone trained in geology and ware of the steady decline in available carbon knows there is a limit on how scare carbon can get without dire consequences.

Steven Zell

It would be GREAT if there was a class of young nuclear engineers, and if they could figure out how to build nuclear reactors with a capital cost competitive with natural-gas-fired turbines, so they should buckle down and get to work.

If they are really politically motivated, they will have to overcome the objections of the Jane Fonda generation that instilled fear of all things nuclear because of the Three Mile Island burp that inspired the “China Syndrome” movie, and the NIMBYists who always want nuclear wastes buried “somewhere else”.

They should also be careful about voting for Democrats, since it was former Secretary of State and wannabe president Hillary Clinton that took a Russian bribe to give away 20% of our uranium supply, which would have been useful in American nuclear reactors.

J S

If you truly believe in climate change due to carbon emissions, a massive shift to nuclear energy is the only rational and humane choice to make at this point. That’s why I am baffled at the foot dragging or outright resistance to it on behalf of the True Believers. When I drill don on them they will eventually admit they know their chosen policies will cause most of the world to die – they are just sure they and their family will be part of the few who won’t. Given the lifestyle choices of most of the people I know who believe these things, I have severe doubts they would make it through a return to stone age era.

A contributing cost of a nuclear electric generating plant is the “seismic” testing of separate components. I worked at a testing lab that was certified to test valves to nominal seismic values at the time. IIRC we shook a manual valve in 3 axis at up to 1.5 G and up to a low Hz (can’t remember the parameters). It was funny to watch a valve designed to handle high pressure and flow to be shaken by itself. The valve never failed in testing.