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An article in the Telegraph Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for Thorium written two years ago, is even more relevant now that Obama needs a decisive election win in order to be able make real change. He will need the additional seats.
I know a lot of people feel disappointment in the lack of vision in our energy policy and how it is the same old political bashing rather than some real vision. It’s time to get daring with a Kennedy attitude that resulted in the moon landings and great strides in space travel development. Nixon did the same thing when he needed a plan he endorsed the liquid-metal fast-breeder reactor (LMFBR) despite failures and meltdowns. Industry got involved with $200M in investment In June 1971. It’s time to get behind a really important energy initiative. The timing is right to make a real change that will not only help us with energy independence but it could very well save the planet from disastrous change affecting the quality of life everywhere.
Unlike self-serving opponents of anything nuclear science never lies. The truth is read more »
Here’s another one I wrote Last Year
For some people nuclear anything leads to nuclear danger. We are learning that some great benefits have been discovered from the knowledge of elements that are radioactive and the promises can’t be ignored. Is there any sense to equating nuclear energy research and development with nuclear bombs.
What does make sense is to have the awareness of what is good for the current state of proliferation and what is not.
R&D into nuclear energy has been held in limbo by the constant need for the government to reassure the protesters and general public fears that it has their best interests at heart.
As tempting as it is to blame some American presidents for the current state of affairs it really solves very little to finger point. The best any of us can do to allow a positive outcome is to educate our selves about what is good and what is bad about nuclear development.
Some have argued that reducing the number of nuclear weapons will help reduce risk which sounds logical. What steps would be required for such a strategy? Unfortunately the presence of nuclear material from dismanteled nuclear weapons and so-called “nuclear waste” from both the preparation for weapons material and the bi-products of creating nuclear power is an important reality to understand and solve. These substances will not vanish quickly without new technology and as long as they remain they are a potential threat by there very existence.
This is where the resurrection of the Molten Salt Reactor comes into play.
The radioactive material from dismantled bombs and the radio active material from the nuclear waste from power plants can be eliminated through the use of this technology. The success rate of the Molten Salt Reactor is a rare story indeed. It’s brief period of experimentation proved to be a major accomplishment. Because of the relative complexity of the science and that this provides the perfect cloak to hide behind. Molten Salt Reactors were banished like heretics from christianity.
Nancy J. Thorner is a blogger and posted this recently
Recently a number of articles have been published indicating how the U.S. is sitting on the sidelines of a Global Nuclear Renaissance. One of the biggest reasons the U.S. may be sitting on the nuclear sidelines may be because Exelon, PSE&G and other power companies discourage any other nuclear providers from coming in to their markets to inject more cheap, clean nuclear power supply, which would drive down the market clearing price for power from their existing nukes.
The same is true with incumbent big coal-fired plants. Keeping cheaper, cleaner power out of the market is their mantra, so they can keep the prices for their own existing generation high. Instead the companies favor the development of all sorts of subsidized, very expensive green power such as solar and wind by others, which doesn’t drive the market clearing price down and occupies the “greenies” and the government… more
I have quoted DV82XL before since he has many insightful comments. This one was on Depleted Cranium
July 25th, 2010 at 11:52 am
I’m a bit more optimistic. The public opinion of nuclear energy in the US and many other Western nations is quite good and is rising.
Unfortunately positive public opinion, and public support are not the same thing.
One of the major revelations for me on this issue is that real public opinion on nuclear matters is nowhere near what both the antinuclear side, the media, and the governments claim it is. The fact is that very few polls have been done, and even fewer that have be done with the sort of rigour that one would expect for such an important subject. Those that have been done like the Eurobarometer survey carried out for the European Commission’s directorate-general for energy and transport on the subject have yielded surprising results, yet policy in most of the EU on nuclear energy has remained little changed, with politicians claiming that there is no public support.
Much the same in happening in Canada with projects being squashed in the planning stages, even in the face of positive public opinion. Look at the current efforts to build a merchant NPP in New Brunswick, or the attempt by Bruce Power to begin a study on replacing Nanticoke with a nuclear power station, or the stymied plans to build a NPP at the Whiteshell.
In the US its beginning to look as if the best that can be accoplished is that new builds will keep up with old plant retirements, which have been eroding the total percentage of nuclear supplied power for some time now. Nuclear will be lucky if it grows to 25% in the next thirty years, if things continue as they are.
In terms of what has to be done to achieve significant reductions in burning carbon-base fuels, next to nothing is being accomplished and growth in nuclear energy such as it is is little more than token efforts, accompanied by much hand wringing over the collection of false issues (like proliferation, and waste management) that have been carefully cultivated by the opposition to be trotted out whenever there is danger of real progress.
All of the so-called problems are simple creations of propaganda. The proliferation issue has been done to death, as has the radiation issue and the LNT nonsense it’s based on. All of them are false dilemmas, designed to create the illusion of problems where none exist. First and foremost it seems that few understand that the debate is not really centred on technical issues, nor is it centred on public fears as delineated by antinuclear forces. As a consequence there is no “designing around” these perceived issues, in fact attempting to do so only allows the other side to claim these efforts validate these problems.
The waste issue is a case in point. The uncontrolled and persistent wastes from combustion driven energy is by many orders of magnitude a greater problem than nuclear wastes could ever be. Rather than go on the offensive and push this fact at the public, nuclear has tried to fix this non-existent problem by planning, and in some cases, creating ridiculously over complicated disposal sites. The upshot of this tactic however is that first it corroborates the belief that these are necessary, and second, as illustrated neatly by the farce surrounding The Yucca Mountain Repository is the United States, a convenient target for the opposition. Similar efforts are facing organized protests in other countries as well.
How often does it have to be repeated that the reasons given by antinuclear forces objecting to nuclear power are contrived, and they will not accept any ’solution’ – they are not interested in one, and nether is the general public, because in fact they don’t care. Consider this: how often do you see protests at dry-cask storage sites left over from decommissioned nuclear plants? The reason you don’t is that as far as the public is concerned they ARE a solution, and the protesters know that getting people worked up would be a hard sell.
(Even the subject of this thread is contrived to the point of being ludicrous: Even if a nation with a nuclear weapons complex the size and calibre of the ones in Nuclear weapon States could, theoretically build a device with RGP that might, under idea conditions, and a lot of luck, go supercritical, this still wouldn’t be a weapon. An explosive device isn’t a weapon until it is deliverable, reliable, and deployable in militarily significant numbers. The whole argument becomes sterile if this factor taken into account.)
As well, there is not a nuclear industry per se; almost every company involved in nuclear, also have energy interests in other sectors. They will act in their shareholders best interests, and if that means they can make more money building windmills than reactors, that is what they will do. Thus is is a waste of time to attempt to curry the favour of these players. No help whatsoever can be expected from this quarter.
Furthermore, too much hope is being put in the new entries into the reactor market. Even those that are legitimately looking to introduce new designs, face an almost unscalable wall of regulation, and the hostility of those firms that have obtained type-approval for their products, and will not likely stand still if the bar is lowered for newcomers. And like it or not, there are players in the small reactor sector that are more about attracting investment, than they are about bringing a product to market.
In a similar vein, debate about what GenIV design is superior is at best premature, but is certainly becoming divisive. the product cycle for GenIII and GenIII+ designs is not done, and will be twenty years before GenIV technology will be launched. During that time several new reactor types will be tested and it is likely that in the end a mix of designs will be the outcome, rather than one type taking all. At the moment getting new NPP built with existing technology should be the major thrust of everyone’s effort. There is no point drawing knives on each other now over this; it is a very sterile issue.
The deployment of nuclear energy cannot be accomplished by cultivating political support, and looking for a legislative solution. The enemies of nuclear energy simply have pockets too deep and have ingratiated themselves too firmly into government to allow a small group of elected officials to overcome the influence these interests can apply. The only hope is create a groundswell of public support and very few in the pronuclear movement seem to want to do anything more than pay lip-service to this, hoping it seems, that there is some short-cut that will see some ‘Manhattan Project’ launched from the top down to bring about a nuclear revolution.
This is not just the case in the States, but all over the West. If a real Nuclear Renaissance is what we want, it is going to have to be a popular movement – it is just that simple, and anyone thinking there is a short cut is deluding themselves.
NuclearGreen’s Charles Barton writing from his hospital bed
The letter according to Charles Barton ignores the achievements of Wigner and Weinberg and focuses on their authors perceived better choice to winning over government dollars for projects supporting reactors for reprocessing. The trouble is they leave out the best choice according to many and that is the LFTR.
Read to the end. Rod Adams, Kirk Sorensen and Robert Hargraves have comments added
Thorium and LFTR advocate Kirk Sorensen had this to say on his EnergyFromThorium.com discussion “This is so big. So big. This may be the biggest thing to ever happen to the prospects for thorium and the liquid-fluoride reactor. The DOE’s announced their commission, and Per’s on it. Not only is he on it but he is pretty much the only nuclear engineer that I can see on the commission.” He’s talking about one of their own forum members Per Peterson of UC Berkeley who has been appointed to the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future announced today by Steven Chu.
With all that’s been said about the advantages to LFTR and the fact that Per Peterson is a strong believer in this technology it’s not hard to see why it’s a very positive step. It seemed like so little progress was being made in the Obama administration but this makes for a promising return to Alvin Weinberg’s vision.
Weinberg might finally be taken seriously on his pet project of the 60’s and 70’s.
DV82XL explains how Nuclear Power for energy consumption and Nuclear Proliferation have nothing to do with each other.
It’s the tendency the nuclear nerds have to want to share their knowledge that is the Nuclear Energy advocate’s Achilles heel. The best counter argument to any claims by anti nukers is to let the historical record demonstrate that no parallel has ever existed.
At the risk of offending some individuals, certainly not my aim, I’d like to give an analogy. Let’s assume you are a politician and tempted by a beautiful woman to pay her for sex but the woman turns out to be an undercover police woman. You are arrested for taking the bait so to speak. Well, kind of an extreme example but when an anti nuker raises the proliferation issue as a concern to nuclear energy investment or research, by responding at the technical level you are taking the anti-nuker’s bait and you look foolish in the eyes of the frightened masses.
So a jedi or samurai or zen master might suggest you take a breath and relate to the less technical minds rather than the 2% who might have some idea of what you are saying.
It’s the non-technical minds that need winning over.
Make it a history lesson not an esoteric science discussion.
Here’s what I posted on the Spokesman news website regarding an article calling the
Yucca mountain project a waste of money and years of planning and research.