Need to Know, October 21, 2011: The nuclear question

This week's host Maria Hinojosa

In the midst of our country’s energy crisis, this week’s episode of Need to Know explores the highly debated subject of nuclear power. Is it a safe, cost-effective alternative to our current sources of energy, or do the risks outweigh the benefits? We also look at the story of Ursula Sladek, a German anti-nuclear activist who helped persuade the German government to completely abandon nuclear power. Maria Hinojosa is this week’s host.

Check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

The nuclear option

Professor Richard K. Lester, who heads MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tells Need to Know that despite Japan’s Fukushima disaster, now is not the time for America to give up on nuclear energy.

Power to the people

This spring, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her country would be the first in the world to completely abandon nuclear power. This radical policy change was motivated in part by the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor plant, but it also has roots in the work of another German woman, Ursula Sladek. From her small corner in the Black Forest, anti-nuclear activist Sladek showed her country — and the rest of the world — that it’s possible to entirely replace nuclear power with renewable energy sources.

The case against nuclear

Maria Hinojosa interviews Damon Moglen, Climate and Energy Director for Friends of the Earth, who says nuclear power will not solve our country’s energy and environmental problems.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

 

Comments

  • Judgefidler

    ABSOLUTELY!!! Nuclear power is strong, but it is too risky! Its like drilling for oil in the Gulf! No, definitely a BAD idea!

  • Brymer10

    Nuclear Energy is safe. We need more of it NOW!!

  • DuaneDesign

    Nuclear energy is still a piece of production pie.  There will never be a completely unequivocally safe source.  We are on a active planet.  If we never take risk we might as well still be in caves saying let’s not go anywhere and fire is too risky.

  • Mardan99

    Nuclear power is the way to go, but we must proceed cautiously and deliberately.  Our coal resources will carry us over until nuclear takes over.  Coal is an abundant, safe and secure source of energy.  The global warming controversy is complete malarkey.  But coal should be used to produce liquid fuel for transportation, replacing petroleum in that function.  

  • Wmhorlacher

    Nuclear power is too dangerous not only for those living now, but future generations of children.
    One disaster could destroy  not only  thousands, but millions would face death, life long illness and  or loss of homes and jobs.
    Positively green

  • Glreter

    The segment on the German woman who bought up the local grid was good.  The segments on the pros and cons of nuclear were at the 5th grade level.  I would like see the pros and cons of nuclear discussed at an adult level.  Yes, it may get technical, and yes it may go over the heads of some, but give your viewers the benefit of the doubt that they can attempt to understand the issues at a higher than the 5th grade level.

  • Lawrence_leach

    Interesting how all those who oppose nuclear energy turn on their power daily with no responsbility for how it is produced. All energy sources have their costs. I would much rather live next to a nuclea power plant than a wind farm. Solar isn’t ever going to make it because the sun don’t shine when we need power in the winter in Idaho.

  • Alosipher

    Nuclear power is lie !!  So lets discuss this issue like adults as the poster above wants us to. 
    1. Billions and billions of dollars to build.
    2. Lack of investor support.
    3. Waste disposal and storage, huge piles of of nuclear waste all over this country and no place to put it permanently.
    Wind, solar and biomass could supply this country’s energy needs if we could a lethargic congress to subsidize them like they do big oil.

  • Ehhub

    When a truly safe way of disposing of the waste is found, and when plants can be proven safe against accidents/earthquakes/sabotage, then perhaps we should again embrace nuclear.  In the meantime, especially in the western states, we have such abundant sources in solar, wind, tides.  If our people, aka our government, had the will to put the equal amount of money into these truly green sources, they are readily available, truly renewable and will never cause huge environmental disasters.

  • Chuck Denk

    One way another, nuclear reactors to generate electricity are going to be used. I’d rather see new, more efficient, safer reactors built so that the nuclear reactors that have been operating beyond the period of time granted by the first license granted will go offline as if the had actually been replaced.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HUZJHQXTRJEUKKF2LXUQP5Z5OQ norcalguy101

    I just finished watching the patent falshoods stated by Damon Moglen.  Mr. Moglen should be investigated for conflicts of interest as he most assuredly must be vested in “green” technologies to make such outrageous clamins against nuclear energy.

    Fukishima was a result of not taking the threat of a more devastating tsunami than previously believed.  Such a situation is an anomaly amongst the tens of thousands of reactor years of safe nuclear power generation.

    The nuclear waste issue is not a technological problem.  Reprocessing of the existing fuel rods would leave us with a supply of nuclear fuel that will last for eight (8) centuries!

    There are already safer, less expensive nuclear power generation designs that far surpass the earlier generations of nuclear reactors that will make nuclear power safer and cleaner than the reactors of today.

  • Davidmurton

    Unless we are able to develop dark solar cells,we will not meet any reasonable reductions on co2 emissions

  • Anonymous

    On Friday October 21st, NPR’s Science Friday interviewed Amory Lovins about his new book “Reinventing Fire” and his 30 years of work transitioning the U.S. from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy. They’ve looked extensively at all the Energy Scenarios. Lovins has repeatedly been against nuclear because both the costs to build and run are extensive, plus there’s already 60,000 tons of nuclear waste in just the United States stored all over the country. Would encourage everyone to go to the NPR, Science Friday site, 10-21-2011 and listen to the interview, then go to the rmi.org site and get the last issue of SPARK Newletter. Also Lovins previous book covered the 7 areas that have to transition from dirty fossil fuels to renewables. Of the 7 areas, 4 have already reached the tipping point and Amory sees the U.S. completely off oil and coal by 2050. He is the co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, CO. He lives in a 5000 sq. ft. house paying $5.00/month for electric and raises bananas in his greenhouse. He’s a Theoretical Physicist, that has worked for 3 decades consulting in the energy field. They retrofitted the Empire State Building for max energy conservation. He’s one of the MOST knowledgeable people in the field and NEED TO KNOW should be talking to him.

    Also in the month following the Japan nuclear disaster, Harvey Wasserman did an extensive nuclear report for  The Washington Spectator laying out all the details about Japan’s nuclear disaster in March 2011 and then said, “If the same situation had occurred with the two nuclear plants in California, that are also near faultlines, all of California would have been evacuating and the entire rest of the U.S. would have been under a significant nuclear cloud. The U.S. is capable of generating 6 times the current electrical useage just from wind power in states like South Dakota, Kansas, and Texas where the wind is reliable. Lovins also talked about what happened with Solyndra as their technology was superior and China came in and undercut the price with an inferior technology. There are 8-16 million Green Jobs available in the United States which the Obama Administration has been trying to get off the ground since 2009, only to be thwarted by the GOP, as they have repeatedly worked to thwart this RECOVERY.

    Lovins was also part of a company called FORGE, which uses a nanocarbon-based polymer to make car bodies. It has 10x the strength of steel and is very light weight. So someone can lift a vehicle fender with one hand, but it tends to not dent at all with impact. There will be 5 all-electric  vehicles coming out that have this type of very safe, very light car body. Volkswagon will have one out by 2013 that gets over 100 miles per charge, uses less batteries. Plug them in at night, when electrical energy draw is lowest and go two days. It also helps cut the cost of the vehicles.

  • Austin Hornbuckle

    There are some activities and needs of the human condition that our leaders in government just don’t get.  Why should I invest in nuclear power?  Yes it is a bad idea.

  • Patricia

    Nuclear power is the solution to replacing the 45 percent of US energy that comes from coal. An electrical grid that will accomodate wind and solar as well as their electrical storage problems means they are not practical for replacing all current power sources.I have lived near a nuclear plant for 30 years and  feel that any risk is far outweighed by the benefit of not breathing air polluted by burning coal.

  • Bob G.

    I felt the program was way too biased against nuclear technology.

    There was no discussion of really how green sources of power could in the foreseeable future replace all the megawatts that coal, petroleum and nuclear sources of energy provide if we are to be both CO2 non-productive as well as nuclear free.

    There was no discussion of the cost of petrochemical and coal based energy sources in terms of health and other human costs (cancers,wars,unpleasant political bedfellows, pollution,green house gases, mining disasters, etc.) associated with these technologies and the urgency to replace them. 

    There was just the claim “nuclear is bad” and “we can solve the problem with conservation and green technologies”, but no numerical argument to substantiate this claim in terms of a practical time frame for conversion.

  • Clifrost

    Nuclear power is both viable and safe, along with clean burning coal.  Wind and solar generators are not reliable, nor capable of providing necessary electrical energy. I would certainly live within five miles of a nuclear generating plant.

  • Walter Ward

    Not another tax payer dime for development of nuclear power plants in the United States! If the electric power industry wants to build any more, let them and their investors carry the risk. Not a single U.S. nuclear power plant has ever even broken even economically if the taxpayer subsidies are subtracted and the long term waste storage liabilities are included in the cost / benefit equation. If we commit even a fraction of the taxpayer subsidies given to the nuclear industry for the past 50 years and the oil industry for the past 90 years towards wind, solar, and other renewable energy solutions we can solve the U.S. energy problems and perhaps pull the economy out of the doldrums in the process. There is already a perfectly functional nuclear power plant located 93 million miles from the nearest elementary school, and that is the one that the entire planet should be making more effective use of.

  • Anonymous

    We’re in serious trouble because of 3 decades of lies by Dirty Fossil Fuels and the GOP about Global Warming.  Norfolk, VA already has millions of dollars of damage from sea level rise. Within a decade Manhattan, New Orleans, and San Francisco airport will be under water, followed by Tampa, Miami, Sacramento and other cities on the coast and large rivers. We’re talkint TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars of damage, which can still be prevented in the enxt decade. But just as the GOP spent 3 decades lying about deregulation and derivatives stuffed with junk damaged the economy for the 3rd time, 3 decades of lies about Global Warming is going to make the economic meltdown of 2008 look like a cakewalk. The atmosphere only tolerates 350 parts per million of pollution, which we’ve long since passed and are at 394 parts per million in 2011. That means everything is melting, as the pollution acts like a blanket and holds in the heat. Plus the permafrost is melting and it contains 10x what is already in the atmosphere. The U.S. and China each need to get to 80% renewable by 2025 to keep the tundra from melting, the Greenland Ice Sheet from melting, and Antarctica from melting. Also as the oceans grab 94% of the heat, they grab 30% of the acidity of the carbon dioxide, which means the oceans are turning into vats of acid already too acidic for fish larva to survive off the coast of Oregon. 20% of the human food supply comes from the oceans.
    RESOURCES
    **NPR, Science Friday 1-22-2011, 3-4-2011, 8-5-2011, ocean acidification
    **PBS, Need To Know 2-25-2011, 6-24-2011; all the damage to Norfolk, VA, talk to Mark Hertsgaard
    **PBS, NOW 2010 on the Mukldees Islands going under water
    **NOVA, Secrets Beneath The Ice, released Oct. 2010, if just 01% of Antarctica melts all the coastal cities on the planet are in trouble, but actually it looks like sea level rise will not be 19 feet but 60 feet
    **NPR’s, PRI The World, 3-8&3-9-2011
    **The Heat Is On and Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan–Dirty Fossil Fuel’s Disinformation Campaign since the 1980s backed by GOP because GOP is 90% owned by large multi-nationals
    **The Climate War by Eric Pooley, Dirty fossil Fuel’s Disinformation Campaign backed for 3 decades by GOP
    **Storms of My Grandchildren by Dr. James Hansen one of 3000 Climate Scientists who have studied climate Change for 50 years and are frustrated that corrupt companies like KOCH Industries who funds and scripts the TEA Party pour hundreds of millions of dollars into corrupt Rt. Wing think
    Tanks who produce phoney-baloney studies to discredit Global Warming so BIG OIL can sell more product.
    **Science As A Contact Sport by Dr. Schneider, colleague to Dr. hansen, also frustrated at the Disinformation Campaign the GOP and Dirty Fossil Fuels has created
    **Field Notes From A Catastrophe–the terrible damage in Alaska by Elizabeth Kolbert
    **HOT: The Next 50 Years On Earth by Mark Hertsgaard

  • Carlos

    You need to check the use of solar panels in Germany before you make such statement. Germany is further north than Idaho. It more in latitude with Canada and the sun don’t shine there very often eather however they are using solar. So check it out!

  • Jake keim

    I am for Nuclear Power. There is no real alternative, so lets get practical for a change,. jake keim

  • Ravioli

    Since Yucca Valley has been shut down, where does the U.S.A. bury the nuclear waste?  HELLO???

  • Ravioli

    Sacramento, CA is not on the coast; sorry!

  • Ravioli

    Yes, Lawrence_leach is uneducated when it comes to solar energy; GET INFORMED!!!

  • Ravioli

    Please ask Japanese citizens in Fukushima how safe nuclear energy is; get back to me on the results of the survey.

  • Anonymous

    Private companies refuse to insure nuclear power plants. Who does insure them? You guessed it!

  • Pragmatist001

    There is the issue of “baseload”.  In the case of hydropower and geothermal, it is possible to do 80% renewables.  If in the dessert or southwestern states, probably solar thermal is an option (with lots of transmission lines).  But what happens if you are not blessed with such resources?  The sun doesn’t always shine.  The wind doesn’t always blow.  Because of NIMBYism, people (including environmentalists) don’t like long transmission lines to get a balance from a portfolio of renewables. (Add to this the cost of new transmission line infrastructure.)   Storage is expensive, even for over night, much less a week where it’s possible that you can have a week where it’s cloudy.  Americans are used to reliable, “on demand”, electrical energy.   For those who claim they can go 80% renewables, I’d like to see them demonstrate it,  AND demonstrate it can be generalized.  Start with lots of small and varied communities.

    The problems of nuclear can be summed up with the following:
    1.  High initial capital cost
    2.  Proliferation risk
    3.  Waste management.
    Despite the publicity scares, compared to coal, it is still tons better in terms of its historical record.  This is true even with today’s light water reactors, which only use 1% of the energy from fuel, leaving a huge waste problem.  (Burning up more of the fuel is part of the solution to dealing with waste.)
    The above problems are not inherently unsolvable or unmanageable, esp. if one considers the use of Thorium reactors.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/09/11/is-thorium-the-biggest-energy-breakthrough-since-fire-possibly/ .   Costs can be dealt with by simpler, passive, safer, smaller  uniform modular factory designs and manufacturing rather than custom and on site.  Proliferation and waste can be dealt with by  burning the fuel more efficiently, burning more of it up, including the “waste”.  We can dispose of material from our nuclear weapons also by burning it as fuel.  We need new innovation in nuclear.   Unfortunately, historically, because the United States needed nuclear weapons, it took the uranimum route instead of thorium (which is non-fissle).  Mastering a new fuel cycle, developing a new type of reactor (even if safer) is at least 10-20 years off.  However, as a high density baseload type of energy, is is more promising than fusion.  

    So I support trying to max out on renewables and efficiency.  But long term we also need some innovation on nuclear.   We need to get pass the stale arguments of the past.

  • SempreValente

    I agree. We have well over a hundred nuke power plants in operation for decades already, and not once h ave they caused any disasters or deaths, including the 3 mile Island incident. The hysteria against nuke power is purely anti-industrial and anticapitalist. These hysterical school girl types are only delusional, but have a poor grasp of basic math and physic.

  • Gina Mills

    You said “Fukishima was a result of not taking the threat of a more devastating tsunami than previously believed.” and that is not true.

    The initial earthquake caused the meltdown and it would not have made a difference had the diesel fuel tanks had not been washed away by the waves.

    The tsunami is used as the cause to divert attention away from the fact that the Earthquake is the real issue. This is done so that our own nuclear plants here in the US located in earthquake zones can defend themseloves against the public by saying we are not located by the sea.

    “norcalguy10″, what do you propose we do with all the earlier generations of nuclear reactors that we currently operate here in the US that are in earthquake zones?

    Do you think the earlier generations of nuclear reactors in use here in the USA can stand up to mother nature and the laws of statistics?

  • Gina Mills

    So your claiming we have well over a hundred nuke power plants and they have caused no deaths or disasters even including the 3 mile Island incident?

    Well I am so proud of our safety record. Really horrible bad things have happened to people in russia and japan resulting in the future deaths of millions but I am so glad we got it right here in the USA.

    Despite the fact some of our nuclear plants are in earhtquake zones and every plant is aging and relies on older technology the people in the USA have no accidents and no deaths.

    The USA just seems to have some element of safety that the poor people in Japan could not figure out and that is why they lost half there country. Russia is also bad.

    But I do have one questions for You, what are you going to do about your food supply?

    Granted, it is a fact that the USA is the best and safest use of nuclear power because as you claim they never had any deaths and no disasters, But other countries that are poorly run like Japan are a problem. The accident in March 2011 is dropping radiation on the food you eat here in the USA.

    So my point is don’t tell me about the stupid safety record of the USA on nuclear power when it takes just one accident any where in the world to affect our children.

    Oh and by the way there were a large number of deaths due to three mile islland but it was covered up and hidden.

  • Gina Mills

    There is no global warming due too what we do on this planet. It is a natural cycle that can be seen even on other planets due to the sun itself. We are at the end of this current cycle so the effects of warming are more dramatic but the earth has started to cool.

    Don’t waist your time on this and look at other issues that could kill you like nuclear plants that are poorly run due to profit and greed.

  • Eddy

    Here in Texas we are in a long-term drought and the safety and operation of a nuclear power plant ensures that it is provided with vast amounts of water to operate.  Texas is also the state that takes all of the other states in the U.S.A.’s nuclear waste for disposal.

  • Phil Simpson

    I was disappointed with the clear bias against nuclear power exhibited in the program. The interview with Prof. Lester was of a clearly adversarial nature. In contrast, you essentially gave Mr. Moglen, Friends of the Earth, a bully pulpit for his viewpoint by not questioning any of his statements.

    The Black Forest segment was a nice piece of “feel good” journalism, however, the whole basis of the Sladek’s fear of low levels of radiation are unfounded. As an aside, I recall seeing a natural spring identified as “Radon Wasser” for those wishing to take the “cure” along the path by the Triberg waterfalls.

    If you really want to provide a truly informative and intellectually honest program you should investigate the whole basis of low dose radiation effects. Today’s accepted norm of a linear-no-threshold (LNT) radiation dose response is questionable at best. I recommend the following as a starting point. http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-work/education/radiations-big-lie/?utm_s

  • Bob G.

    If you want to take a survey, poll the GIs fighting what are basically oil related wars in Iraq and Afganistan about how safe war is. In the poll, throw in the fact that even though we freed them from Saddam, the Iraqi government is throwing us out of the country now and making more deals with the Chinese for oil than with us,

    Or ask the families who lost relatives or friends in the 9/11 attack, an attack basically related to our oil policies in the mid east, about how they feel about the dangers of relying on foreign oil.

  • FUSION

    Very concerned over this segment. The NEXT major energy source for the next 1,000 years for the Planet is just a few years away and it was not mentioned on this program. FUSION is on the verge of reality at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. The worlds largest laser has been built to ignite fusion by 2013. The first FUSION power plant is scheduled to open in Europe by the end of this decade.

    Clean, efficient, renewable, low cost fueled (Sea Water) FUSION Plants are our best source for electricity. They are just a few years away and NEVER mentioned on this prorgram……..
    The Oil & Gas Conspirarcy is Alive and Well. Even on PBS.

  • Gerard71gerard

    The tsunami and earthquake destroyed so much Japanese infrastructure and transportation, and diverted all aid towards helping the traumatized and panicked Human Beings in crisis. Yes, pipes ruptured at Fukushima. However the overall accident could have been greatly minimized if there had been means of getting emergency aid to the reactor earlier.

    Do you think the earlier generations of nuclear reactors in use here in
    the USA can stand up to mother nature and the laws of statistics?

    The next generation of reactors can stand up to mother nature and the laws of statistics.
    Because this issue seems to be couched in a zero sum fashion, it is hard to get at the truth.
    Our nuclear proponent failed to mention Fast Reactor technology, leaving the audience uninformed about its potential and us stuck thinking that his version of nuclear energy is the best nuclear energy can do. Then, our anti nuclear specialist claims that there is no solution for our nuclear waste problem and that new nuclear energy is way too expensive. This is doubly wrong. Not only are we responsible for 770,000 tons of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Depleted Uranium, we have the Fast Reactor technology to actually convert this enormous quantity of nuclear waste into enough electricity and process heat to displace the burning of 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil. Within 300 years our nuclear waste problem could be history. These designs are small, inherently safe, and very economical. Contrary to our anti nuclear specialist, we cannot afford to ignore the economic stimulus and energy security benefits this ignored technology could provide. The insane costs behind funding and insuring this new technology is politically motivated. Our anti nuclear specialist points out how banks, insurers, and difficulty getting federal backing have created a perfect storm whereby nuclear energy research and investment has been stifled. We could have begun seriously phasing out our legacy reactors in the 1970′s, as had been planned.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Awesome! Thorium reactors are one variety of Fast Neutron Spectrum reactors that eat up nuclear waste, squeezes a hundred times more energy from nuclear fuel than Light Water Reactors, and can do this without the risks of our presently 60 year old designs. Also, I believe your Forbes article also pointed out terrorists could frag a thorium reactor without causing a meltdown.

    I feel like I can finally stop writing because of your input on thorium reactors. India and China are very very interested in thorium reactors and fast reactors in general.

    Check out what I posted before I saw the complete program? These comments have not migrated to this page for some reason, even though I am responding to the same program.

    I hope the complete program will introduce the Integral Fast Reactor
    technology that the U.S. and Russia have demonstrated since the 1970′s.
    Fast Reactor technology employs a fast neutron spectrum capable of using
    our stockpile of spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, and yes, thorium
    as fuel. These reactors are inherently safe. A nuclear meltdown is only
    a risk for our aged fleet of what are called “thermal boiling water
    reactors, or thermal pressurized water reactors”; a sixty year old
    approach employing forty year old technology. If the nuclear plants at
    Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima were of the Fast Reactor
    variety, inherent safety features would have shut down the reactors
    without need for any human interaction. No Accident. No meltdown.
    Really! This super safe approach has been successfully tested as
    recently as April, 1986 in the U.S. Experimental Breeder Reactor 2.
    South Africa, Russia, India, and China are all investing in Fast Reactor
    technology. The question is not weather we should invest in or phase
    out nuclear energy. Rather, we should quickly decommission all of our
    legacy “thermal” reactors and replace them with the new generation of
    inherently safe Fast reactors. If America took this seriously, its
    burdensome stockpile of spent nuclear fuel and depleted Uranium could be
    converted into electricity and process heat by newer Fast Reactors.
    Indeed, this supply of energy could replace the burning of 9 trillion
    barrels of oil.

    and this response to another comment:

    Bill Gates has argued that we will need Generation IV fast reactors to
    bridge the economic and technological hurtles holding us back on solar
    and wind. I am very excited about renewable sources, and see them as the
    end goal. China has the labor, research money, and foresight to be
    leading the world in wind and solar. How can we keep up?
    Importantly, China is also pouring tremendous resources into the next generation of Fast Reactors.

    One
    asset America has is a tremendous supply of Spent Nuclear Fuel (70000
    tons) and Depleted Uranium (700000 tons). The best thing to do with this
    stuff is to use it up as fuel in Generation IV fast reactors. This
    nightmarish quantity of nuclear “waste” can be converted into enough
    energy to replace 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil (which is 4 times more
    oil than what is believed to be left in the planet). That energy could
    act as a sort of stimulant to our economy, pay for serious advances in
    wind and solar, and help free our economy from the stranglehold of
    paying more and more for everything on account of ever increasing oil
    prices.

    Also, if burning nuclear “waste” in Fast reactors becomes
    the safe approach, then it is possible to radically reduce the overall
    volume and radioactivity of the end fission products. Rather than having
    to baby sit 770000 tons of SNF and DU for 100,000 years, fast reactors
    can bring   the overall radioactivity to levels below background
    radiation within JUST 300 years.

    and i think the last comment response:

    Actually, it would be far more lucrative to use our stockpile of nuclear
    waste and depleted uranium as fuel in the next generation of nuclear
    reactors, known to the educated specialists as Fast Neutron Spectrum
    reactors, a.k.a. Integral Fast Reactor, Traveling Wave Reactor, or Fast
    Breeder Reactor. Currently problematic commercial nuclear reactors use
    something called the Once Through Fuel cycle. This technique only uses
    99% of the energy in uranium. America has 70,000
    tons of spent nuclear fuel a.k.a. nuclear waste, and 700,000 tons of
    depleted uranium.
    This so called waste still retains 99% of the
    energy to be had, and it can be had if Fast Reactor Technology is
    adopted in America.

    One of the causes of continual worldwide
    recession and future military conflict will be the growing demand for
    diminishing fossil fuels. While we are sitting on enough nuclear
    weaponry to destroy life on Earth, America is stalled on the question of
    advancing clean safe nuclear energy. In the meantime, we let our
    ancient fleet of problematic 1950′s reactors become the reason we do not
    invest in or develop the safe reactors of tomorrow. I fear we will not
    progress much farther past Peak Oil without the help of the next
    generation of nuclear reactors to bridge the gap from fossil to wind and
    solar. We could fight a nuclear war over fossil fuels or win the peace
    with abundant, safe Fast Reactor Technology.

    I hope you and others found my outsider comments interesting.

  • Gina Mills

    You copied my question back to me “Do you think the earlier generations of nuclear reactors in use here in the USA can stand up to mother nature?”

    No I do not, if the unsafe nuclear plants we have here are not decommissioned soon, sometime over the next 20 years there will be a serious accident that will cause great loss of life and economic damage. 

    If there could be a sharp crack down at the EPA and the NRC the public could be swayed to go further, don’t change them out and then another disaster will happen here in the USA that will be as big as Japan. Push for change in leadership and in the way the NRC, EPA and FDA are held accountable.

    Good luck, we could be your supporter in the future but we know from the poor leadership at the NRC that death awaits the masses due to the nuclear power from the older plants. 

  • Paul Tiffany

    As an expert in LASER related technology, I’ve been watching the progress of the Lawrence Livermore Labs “experiment” in fusion for over forty years.  This interminably long project is a candidate for one of the least successful engineering projects ever.  Apparently, the funds for Lawrence Livermre Labs that are directed at the design of nuclear weapons has a higher priority. 

    There is no fusion plant anywhere near commercial status for decades.  In fact, many nuclear engineers have made it clear that they are not even close to achieving a feasible design, facing problems that do not even have proposed solutions.

    Funding for fusion energy generation has been dwindling, not increasing.  That does not bode well for any future industry.

    Fusion energy generation plants are a beautiful dream, but at best are decades away.  I wish it weren’t true.

  • Paul Tiffany

    As a scientific investigation of alternatives, this show was embarrassingly bad.  Besides simple errors like describing the radiation cloud around Chernobyl for 125,000 miles (around the globe five times?), there was a much more serious problem of confusing advocacy with science.

    If there were one good example, it would be the interview with Dr Lester @ MIT.  If he were a scientist, he would not be an advocate, but would be presenting all the alternatives.  When he kept saying that we must wait for renewable energy with wind and solar specifically mentioned and no mention of others such as geothermal and bio-fuels, that was the first sign of bias.  When he kept saying and the interviewer parrotted it back:  We must wait for wind and solar to “scale up”, this should have been investigated and challenged.  When he excluded radiation as a pollutant, his commentary became outrageous.  When he said no one has died as a result of the Fukishima disaster, he left out that many are expected to die over the years.  Credibility:  zero.

    The issue is incremental addition of energy production.
    Which is less expensive?
    Which is most practical?
    Which has the least damage to the environment?
    Which has the least pollution?

    All answers would side with the renewable energy sources.  I’m not an advocate per se, but let’s get the evidence straight.

    I was waiting for one of the hundreds of scientists to point out that the costs of renewable energy production are usually compared inaccurately, making them look more expensive than fossil fuel alternatives.
    We don’t have to wage wars to protect renewable energy sources as we do with oil supplies.  How many trillions of dollars have been spent to protect our foreign sources of oil?  Unscientifically and moving to the political realm (where the decisions are made), why did Dick Cheney get the United States to invade oil-rich Iraq, after previously stating that adventuring in Iraq would be one of the dumbest things the United States could ever do?  Did Halliburton’s profiteering have anything to do with that decision?

  • Paul Tiffany

    That does not mean that all forms of energy generation are equally safe.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Obviously, you disdain all scientific evidence to the contrary, but then are you even aware of the scientific evidence, or do you just listen to the commercials?

  • Paul Tiffany

    I’m not an advocate of nuclear fission generated energy, but let’s not go overboard with nuclear winter scenarios.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Agree with your fifth-grade level presentation of  non-existent alternatives.

    It doesn’t have to get all that technical, but an eighth-grade presentation of the scentific and experiential evidence regarding the cost/benefits of various forms of energy production is entirely feasible.

    Even a mention of the relative costs of the various forms of energy production is called for, including the renewables:  wind, solar (mirror and photovoltaic), geothermal and bio-fuels.

    How about the non-existence of clean coal?  How about the exorbitant costs of protecting oil-supply lines?  Then, there’s the pros and cons of natural gas.

    There was so much missing in this disappointing show.  Grade:  F.

  • Paul Tiffany

    What’s your objection to a wind farm?

  • Paul Tiffany

    (and geothermal and tidal)
    The petroleum companies that have spent hundreds of millions in advertising for decades their phenomenal lack of success in finding commercially-viable alternative sources of energy have been very successful in blocking such development.  They keep claiming that these alterenatives are more expensive, but conveniently exclude the cost of protecting our foreign oil supply lines.

    (Maybe I’m just some wacko conspiracy theorist…)

  • Paul Tiffany

    How would you deal with the two trillion dollars plus estimated to clean up nuclear (fission) waste?

  • Paul Tiffany

    How do we get to the French nuclear system where they use breeder reactors to consume most of the nuclear fission waste?  Why is the United States nuclear industry and government so opposed?  Oh, it produces potentially weapons-grade plutonium?  Let’s all run around waving our arms in the air!  Maybe the French are not subject to terrorism.  That must be it.

    Our expert scientific advocate (an oxymoron) proposed burying the waste deeper.  Great.  That solves everything.  Thanks for the great advice.

  • Paul Tiffany

    So, why aren’t we reprocessing that nuclear fission waste for fuel now?  Does all of the waste radioactive material get reprocessed or consumed in this ideal world?

  • Paul Tiffany

    It’s not just the GOP that has been blocking green technology.  For decades, the petroleum and lately the coal industries have spent millions of dollars in advertising and campaign contributions to hawk their extraordinary lack of success in finding alternative sources of energy despite their “extensive” research at about one percent of their advertising and bribery, er, contributions budgets.

  • Paul Tiffany

    It’s too bad that such an opportunity to elucidate the situation was wasted.  Then, there’s us, the few who realize that there is much more to the picture.

    Maybe the producers will pick up on this and consider doing a two-hour show at an eight-grade level and better attempts at providing a balanced picture.

    Creepily sad…

  • Paul Tiffany

    You might want to include other forms of renewable energy, although wind is a special form of solar energy – geothermal, tidal and bio-fuels.

    The problem is that the fossil-fuel industry has convinced nearly everyone that their sources of energy production are cheaper than renewable energy.  They’re not, if all of the costs are factored.  But, let’s not confuse simple facts with ideology.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Sacramento is on the coast?  Is this a prediction?

    Global warming is just one of the arguments for switching to renewable sources of energy.  Saving money is another one of them, IF all the known costs are factored into the equation. 
    Determining the present and future costs of global warming to our economy is fraught with potential dispute for decades.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Renewable energy sources include geothermal (very effective in some areas of the country), tidal – along the coasts and major lakes, and bio-fuels – anywhere.  These can be used to balance out the diurnal problems of wind and solar to some extent, although a smart electrical grid is the long-term solution.  This is where the federal government could provide the most benefit.  Like the federal highway system (now in disrepair), a federal (actually continental) electrical grid would be a major part of the solution to our eneregy problems.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Seems like you have your own bias, going against accepted policy on radiation exposure that was developed over decades.

    I suppose the hundreds of people expected to die in Japan and in and around Russia over the next few decades from radiation exposure would be very interested in these treatises on “low-dose” radiation.  Biologists who study mutations would also not be in the slightest interested.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Nice to see that you have an open mind, listening to all the opinions and reading all the source material.  Very succinct!

    (Why are you even commenting here?)

  • Paul Tiffany

    An electrical grid for alternative sources of energy is not practical?  Even in this terribly biased show, it was apparent that the current grid worked well in one area of Germany.  You’ve been listening too much to T-Bone Pickens who pushed wind farms, then “discovered” to his dismay that there is no electrical grid to support them.  Funny how the biggest holder of natural gas reserves suddenly reverted to pushing natural gas (again).

  • Paul Tiffany

    Because?

  • Paul Tiffany

    Actually, quite a few of the nuclear plants are located near the coasts.  They all need copious amounts of water for cooling.

    However, you are right about the earthquake hazard vis-a-vis the tsunami.

    Probably more important in the United States is the trillions of dollars required to clean up the nuclear fission waste.  Maybe that’s a minor issue.  “Professor” scientist-advocate (oxymoron) Lester seems to think that can be solved by burying it deeper.  Yeah, that solves all the nuclear waste problems.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Let’s include geothermal and bio-fuels in the mix of renewable energy.  Geothermal is a decades-old proven technology (although not available everywhere) and bio-fuels have proved very promising, if we can just get the research away from the petro-chemical companies with different agendas.

    As far as waste, there are commercially-viable and currently practical ways to eliminate most of the nuclear fission waste.  France has very little because it is reprocessed for fuel, an alternative rejected by the brilliant and innovative minds in the United States.

    Why would be bury potentially extremely valuable nuclear fuel?  It’s lunacy.

  • Anonymous

    Why won’t the free market fully insure these things? Will a proponent of nuclear power please answer?

  • Paul Tiffany

    You’re a wacko conspiracy theorist!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself – I’m kidding!

    Military intervention to protect our oil supples is a phenomenal cost not typically included in the cost comparisons of different sources of energy, but it is significant and changes the analysis of cost/benefits completely.  All of the renewable sources of energy – wind (a form of solar), solar (mirrors and photovoltaic), geothermal (decades-old technology), tidal and bio-fuels.  Of course, the petroleum and coal industries loath real, scientifically-based cost comparisons.

    Afghanistan has oil?  I thought their main industry was derived from poppy fields?  Maybe you’re referring to al Qaeda’s ties to Saudi Arabia (our real attackers on 9/11) with some vested interests in oil.

    Maybe we’ll have better luck with oil supplies from Libya (now going almost entirely to Europe) after Dick Cheney failed in his attempt to get control of Iraqi oil supplies.  I wonder what the Iraqis are going to do with Cheney’s Oil Control Center, a billion-dollar whale of a building also known as the US Embassy in Baghdad (but not used for such)?

  • Paul Tiffany

    Much safer than coal and much cleaner…

  • Paul Tiffany

    Coal is ranked as the most polluting and deadly of any of the forms of energy production, way ahead of the others.

  • Phil Simpson

    Yes, you are correct, I do have a bias.  It is based on a 30 year career spent as a “radiation worker” and a degree in nuclear engineering. However, I do not “go against” the current regulatory policy – I am, in fact, required to abide by and enforce the existing regulations. 

    What I cannot abide by is scaremongering. What about the unfortunate tens of thousands of lost lives not to mention the hundreds of thousands of lives effected for the worse directly by the tsunami? They are the truly forgotten, pushed off the front pages by Fukushima.

    It is silly to be spending billions of dollars and foregoing beneficial technology to make what can be insignificant risks even smaller. The money is better used to reduce real rather than perceived risks.  For example, roughly 50,000 lives are lost on US streets and highways every year. How many thousands of those lives might be saved by spending just a few hundred million more on highway safety each year? What’s that make a life worth?I suggest viewing the chart at this site to put radiation exposure into some perspective: http://lowdose.energy.gov/pdf/DoseRanges.pdf .  Note in particular how natural background radiation varies. The highest natural background dose rate at 200 mSv in Ramsar, Iran is about 70 times the US average of 3.1 mSv. Even in the US, the dose rate varies by a factor of 2. If one believes LNT, you can reduce your risk of death from radiation induced cancer by up to one half simply by moving. Would I move? No, I would not. One half of inconsequential is still inconsequential.But, back on point, I suggest everyone learn more about radiation in general and the LNT and other low dose radiation exposure hypotheses in particular. The following site provides a neutral overview: http://www.andrewkaram.com/andy/pdf/Radiation%20health.pdf Knowledge eliminates unfounded fear and makes for reasonable discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Why won’t the free market invest in these things?

  • Bob G.

    No market is the reason.

  • Paul Tiffany

    You are right.  I was just yanking your chain with your implication that radiation exposure from nuclear accidents (and bombs in the past) is inconsequential.  In a comparison with other forms of energy generation, nuclear energy has far less deaths and disease.

    However, the nuclear fission waste is a ticking time-bomb that keeps getting bigger.  The trillions of dollars needed to clean up the mess hasn’t been forthcoming in sixty years.  Until that problem is solved, expansion of nuclear energy production is severely hampered.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Can you rephrase that?  Texas is in a long-term drought, but it is ensured with vast amounts of water to operate a nuclear power (energy) plant?

    This nuclear waste disposal in Texas:  Is it a big secret?  Can we slip you a few bucks and you’ll dump it for us?

  • Paul Tiffany

    Eddy says we dump it all in Texas.  That explains a few things.

  • Paul Tiffany

    Of course, if you include the costs and deaths involved with military adventurism to protect our foreign oil supply lines, you may be correct.  It’s hard to compare against the mine collapses, black lung, cancer and other nasty diseases from billions of tons of coal ash.  Then, there’s the acid rain, better in recent years, devastating in the past.  Chinese coal burning is not only killing their people by the thousands, but much of it wafts around the globe, especially the West Coast of the United States.

    Then, if you include carbon dioxide as a pollutant…  Well, we don’t have to get into arguing about global warming, even though the scientific community has had no controversy over that issue for years, despite the claims of people who don’t want to hear the truth and try to create controversy where none exists.  There are still a couple of people left who don’t believe that birds are descendents of the dinosaurs and a few more who believe that homo sapiens co-existed with dinosaurs..

  • John Hamilton

    This segment is a good example of the weakness of this show. The argument in favor of nuclear power was presented as one side, while the argument against was “the” other side. Left out of this discussion was the underlying assumption that humankind must and will consume every increasing amounts of energy infinitely into the future. Why is this an unquestioned truth? Because we’re us, and we say we have to to this. Our technology has to become increasingly complex and energy using, because this is what we do. No question. 

    In as real a sense as there can be, this is an attitude and path not just to failure, but doom. There is no possibility of infinite growth with or without nuclear power. Implicit in the assumption of infinite growth of output is the sub-assumption of infinite growth of population. Pack the planet with people forever. Make them so thick that nothing else can fit. Make population as thick as stadium crowds everywhere.

    This of course is an absurdity, but it is the logical conclusion of an infinite growth path. Prosperity for the greatest number by generating endless growth.

    Maybe endless growth is not a given, carved in stone, presented on a burning bush. Maybe increasingly complex technology is not a given. I have plenty of modern conveniences, but am a Luddite compared to what most people in the tech-o-sphere have, and my life is plentiful and happy. I don’t have an I-Pad, I-Phone, I-tunes, Wii, or any number of gadgets that are supposedly necessary in order to live a decent life. People have lived fulfilling lives for thousands of years without any of these conveniences.

    Maybe the problem here is that in defining yourselves as investigative reporters you fail to recognize the vulnerability of that stance. One can fall into a trap of complacency, limiting one’s inquiry to easy categories of discussion. In mainstream, and not-so-mainstream circles the impossibility of infinite growth is an ungoodthinkful topic.

  • AdamSmith

    World population growth is expected to peak at around 9 billion people; large parts of the world are already at zero or negative population growth. It turns out, women don’t necessarily enjoy being pregnant all the time. Do your own investigating and see population patterns around the world. My figure is from the U.N, but most projections are around 9 billion. Also, restrictions on trade would ease environmental damage a lot. Petroleum fueled shipping of bridges, cars, and everything else around the world just to avoid local environmental and labor laws is not very smart. It’s now usually cheaper to discard and buy new, rather than repair, recycle,or reuse due to cheap sourcing of durable goods.

  • AdamSmith

    Again, I plead with you nuke proponents; why won’t insurance companies insure nuclear power? Won’t free market investors invest in them? Most defenders seem to mock solar, wind, geothermal, etc due to these alternatives’ relatively small reliance on subsidies. Nuclear power has always required MASSIVE government aid and acceptance of the cost of externalizations associated with it. When’s nuclear going to “fly solo”?. If anything, nuclear is becoming less market feasible, not more.

  • Gerard71gerard

    I like and think renewables are the way to go, but the same lack of market commitment, in terms of big investors, is preventing a full scale thrust in this direction. The same banks, insurers, and lobbyist groups who are against renewables  are also against nuclear. Who benefits. Both advances in solar and nuclear have been continually repressed as long as the bigger money is in coal, oil, and natural gas. In the 1970′s America reached a grave nuclear turning point. The technology present in today’s Light Water Thermal Reactors follows a 1950′s design; known for nuclear waste and three major accidents. However, an alternate approach has also existed since the 1950′s involving Fast Neutron Flux design. In the 1970′s, the U.S was going to transition from Light Water Reactors to the newer Fast Reactors, but this technology was buried. This is too bad because Fast Reactors can get 100 times more energy from mined uranium than today’s 60 year old Light Water legacy reactors. Fast reactors are also capable of using what we call nuclear waste as fuel. Finally they are inherently incapable of suffering melt down accidents like the one at Fukushima. This was demonstrated in 1986 in The Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, in which loss of coolant / loss of coolant flow accidents were induced, without scram (safety insertion of control rods to conventionally shut down reactor) , and the reactor shut itself down within 300 seconds. It is too bad this technology was shelved, in favor of sticking with the older nuclear technology associated with so many problems.

    America could be much further along in renewables if the big money was behind it.
    America could also develop Fast Reactors if the big money was behind it.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Absolutely.
    If one is all for the environment and pro solar and wind, they would fall in love with Fast Reactors.
    99% of all our nuclear waste, (spent nuclear fuel) and all our depleted uranium could be converted into enough energy to power America for centuries using the little heard of Fast Neutron Spectrum reactors. These reactors are 100 times more efficient than present Light Water Reactors, and cannot melt down like Chernobyl or Fukushima. No conspiracy. Check out the Traveling Wave Reactor, or the Integral Fact Reactor, Generation IV designs.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter ended the recycling of spent nuclear fuel in the 1970′s. This was a bad idea, resulting in a 70,000 ton stockpile of SNF. The reason was supposedly anti proliferation.
    In spent nuclear fuel there is about 1% P239, which is used in nuclear bombs. I am against nuclear bombs, but this was a fishy reason. The recycling process of the day was called PUREX, and is capable of isolating the P239 in SNF, and it was feared that this could lead to more bombs. In reality, American Defense Contractors and the Defense Department have manufactured tons and tons of weapons grade P239 since the beginning of the Arms Race, using secret Plutonium Breeder Blanket reactors. If P239 from recycling spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear electric plants could be diverted to weapons programs, then the Defense Department would not have had to manufacture as much P239 to begin with. By not recycling this fuel, weapons programs just make more with additional breeder reactors.

    Today, it is possible to recycle our spent nuclear fuel and actually convert the P239 into energy without risk of proliferation. Generation IV reactors can convert  into energy 99% of American SNF left over from our 110 or so Light Water Reactors.

  • Gerard71gerard

    One of the problems with our legacy reactors is that each one varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and from individual plant to plant. This is an economic boondoggle, driving up the costs across the entire industry. The French have the right idea, many of their reactors are identical. This brings in an Economy of Multiples, driving down plant construction, maintenance, and staffing costs. Also, this leads to much increased safety as the entire industry’s  professional operators are all focused on one set of design issues and leads to maximum experience with this design.

    Yes, the proposal by the pro nuclear expert to bury waste deeper sounds like an anti nuclear rap.
    We could be using our nuclear fission waste to generate enough energy to replace the burning of 9 trillion barrels of oil, leaving very little waste or reactivity behind.

    Why is this not the practice points to where the economic muscle and momentum is coming from.

  • Gerard71gerard

    You are right.
    Our earlier generation of reactors, the same reactors we have today, are all a 1950′s recipe. They should have been phased out 30 years ago, all of them, and replaced with inherently safer designs capable of consuming our stockpile of nuclear waste, depleted uranium, and even extra weapons grade fuels. The Greens have been the pawns of Big Oil in keeping the hysteria against a newer, cleaner, safer, and 100 times more powerful nuclear energy.

    I believe the transition to Fast Reactor technology was politically ended to benefit the fossil fuel industry. By insuring that the inferior, wasteful, dirty, and scarier nuclear energy of yesterday remains the standard, one has to wonder if this policy is intended to crush public interest in new nuclear R&D. Has this not happened in Germany in response to Fukushima?

  • Gerard71gerard

    Wind, solar and biomass could supply some of our energy needs, but too little too late.
    The same lack of investor support for a newer cleaner safer nuclear is the same lack of investor support for wind, solar, etc.

    Also, taxpayers are paying billions to Big OIL, Big Coal, and Fossils through government subsidies. Their lobbyist have also repressed the technology that cold get rid of our nuclear waste because transmuting nuclear waste in Fast Reactors could get 100 times more energy from mined uranium than was produced from our old fashioned nuclear designs.

  • Gerard71gerard

    You need to check out Fast Reactors. They can supply electricity when wind and solar can’t. Its not one or the other, we will need it all to keep the future peaceful. 

  • Gerard71gerard

    Solar does have promise. It also has problems. For one, power density to costs ratio cannot ecoomicaly compete as long as there is so much oil and coal left to fight over; which has a much higher power density to cost ratio. Solar needs nuclear to bridge the gap. we can close down all our dangerous, waste producing nuclear reactors and replace them with Fast Nuetron Spectrum reactors that actually consume nuclear waste and produces energy. GOOGLE THE EXPERIMENTAL BREEDER REACTOR-II.

  • Gerard71gerard

    LINGUINI, INFORM THYSELF. There is more than one nuclear energy. Fukushima is an example of a 60 year old technology. New nuclear technology is called Generation IV. These reactors cannot melt down like Fukushima, and converts waste from our current Generation III Light Water reactors into energy. 

  • Gerard71gerard

    Russia fought a losing war with Afghanistan TO GET TO OIL SUPPLIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

  • Gerard71gerard

    An electric grid is an electric grid. Electricity does not know how it is produced. The German example is kind of like a community going off the grid, with their own grid. However, they are only supplying electricity to 250,000 people. Where do the get energy driving, transport, and heat. Surely this is not all electric. Their system is still fundamentally fossil based. Worse, the Fukushima incident is causing them to abandon nuclear energy in total. This is tragic, because the  nuclear energy of tomorrow, Generation IV Fast Reactors, uses nuclear waste as fuel and produces 100 times more energy from uranium than Fukushima style reactors. And they are safe. Google them.

  • Gerard71gerard

    There is a truly safe way of disposing of the waste, by using it as fuel in super safe Generation IV Fast Reactors. Nuclear transmutation within a Fast Neutron Flux can yield 100 more times the energy from left over spent nuclear fuel than was produced from that fuel in Fukushima style Light Water Reactors.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Fast Reactors all day long!

  • Gerard71gerard

    We need a serious effort to educate people about Generation IV Fast Reactors.
    I found the pro nuclear expert uninformed about nuclear energy. Burying the waste deeper instead of reprocessing if within Fast Reactors, where we could safely get another 100 more times the energy than Thermal Reactors?

    And the anti nuclear argument was visciously deceptive. I could write a book on his lies.

  • Gerard71gerard

    The entire program was deceptively pro Fossils, even the German part. It is dangerous to make promises about renewables. If renewables cannot meet our energy needs fast enough, while there is a closing of nuclear development, then oil and coal wins. False hopes in developing renewables fast enough will not protect the world from Fossil Fuels. Fossil Fuels does not want a clean nuclear because a clean nuclear could make renewables much more possible.

    Generation IV nuclear energy IS GREEN because is consumes nuclear waste and can provide base load energy to complement other green energies.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Dude, not all nuclear energy is equal. Today’s Light Water Reactors are what you are basing your opinion on. These reactors are inefficient, wasteful, produce waste, and can have accidents. However You may not know about Generation IV reactors, some of which are already being built. These Fast Reactors produce 100 tomes more energy and uses the waste from Fukushima style reactors as fuel.

    If you care about the future children, please read up on the INHERENT safety features of Fast Reactors. These designs cannot melt down like Fukushima. This was proven with the EXPERIMENTAL BREEDER REACTOR II in 1986.

  • Gerard71gerard

    no. coal should be left in the ground. We have the technology to get much much more energy from our stockpile of nuclear waste; called Generation IV Fast Reactors. google them and learn some cool stuff.

  • Gerard71gerard

    I hope the complete program will introduce the Integral Fast Reactor
    technology that the U.S. and Russia have demonstrated since the 1970′s.
    Fast Reactor technology employs a fast neutron spectrum capable of using
    our stockpile of spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, and yes, thorium
    as fuel. These reactors are inherently safe. A nuclear meltdown is only
    a risk for our aged fleet of what are called “thermal boiling water
    reactors, or thermal pressurized water reactors”; a sixty year old
    approach employing forty year old technology. If the nuclear plants at
    Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima were of the Fast Reactor
    variety, inherent safety features would have shut down the reactors
    without need for any human interaction. No Accident. No meltdown.
    Really! This super safe approach has been successfully tested as
    recently as April, 1986 in the U.S. Experimental Breeder Reactor 2.
    South Africa, Russia, India, and China are all investing in Fast Reactor
    technology. The question is not weather we should invest in or phase
    out nuclear energy. Rather, we should quickly decommission all of our
    legacy “thermal” reactors and replace them with the new generation of
    inherently safe Fast reactors. If America took this seriously, its
    burdensome stockpile of spent nuclear fuel and depleted Uranium could be
    converted into electricity and process heat by newer Fast Reactors.
    Indeed, this supply of energy could replace the burning of 9 trillion
    barrels of oil.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Bill Gates has argued that we will need Generation IV fast
    reactors to bridge the economic and technological hurtles holding us
    back on solar and wind. I am very excited about renewable sources, and
    see them as the end goal. China has the labor, research money, and
    foresight to be leading the world in wind and solar. How can we keep up?
    Importantly, China is also pouring tremendous resources into the next generation of Fast Reactors.

    One
    asset America has is a tremendous supply of Spent Nuclear Fuel (70000
    tons) and Depleted Uranium (700000 tons). The best thing to do with this
    stuff is to use it up as fuel in Generation IV fast reactors. This
    nightmarish quantity of nuclear “waste” can be converted into enough
    energy to replace 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil (which is 4 times more
    oil than what is believed to be left in the planet). That energy could
    act as a sort of stimulant to our economy, pay for serious advances in
    wind and solar, and help free our economy from the stranglehold of
    paying more and more for everything on account of ever increasing oil
    prices.

    Also, if burning nuclear “waste” in Fast reactors becomes
    the safe approach, then it is possible to radically reduce the overall
    volume and radioactivity of the end fission products. Rather than having
    to baby sit 770000 tons of SNF and DU for 100,000 years, fast reactors
    can bring   the overall radioactivity to levels below background
    radiation within JUST 300 years.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Actually, it would be far more lucrative to use our stockpile of
    nuclear waste and depleted uranium as fuel in the next generation of
    nuclear reactors, known to the educated specialists as Fast Neutron
    Spectrum reactors, a.k.a. Integral Fast Reactor, Traveling Wave Reactor,
    or Fast Breeder Reactor. Currently problematic commercial nuclear
    reactors use something called the Once Through Fuel cycle. This
    technique only uses 99% of the energy in uranium. America has 70,000
    tons of spent nuclear fuel a.k.a. nuclear waste, and 700,000 tons of
    depleted uranium.
    This so called waste still retains 99% of the
    energy to be had, and it can be had if Fast Reactor Technology is
    adopted in America.

    One of the causes of continual worldwide
    recession and future military conflict will be the growing demand for
    diminishing fossil fuels. While we are sitting on enough nuclear
    weaponry to destroy life on Earth, America is stalled on the question of
    advancing clean safe nuclear energy. In the meantime, we let our
    ancient fleet of problematic 1950′s reactors become the reason we do not
    invest in or develop the safe reactors of tomorrow. I fear we will not
    progress much farther past Peak Oil without the help of the next
    generation of nuclear reactors to bridge the gap from fossil to wind and
    solar. We could fight a nuclear war over fossil fuels or win the peace
    with abundant, safe Fast Reactor Technology.

  • Gerard71gerard

    When is the government going to let Coal and Oil fly solo? They get billions in taxpayer subsidies. This is arranged by Coal and Oil lobbyists. These same lobbyists have prevented nuclear energy from developing by rigging insurance regulations, denying banlking backing,  and by PREVENTING government backing for new nuclear progress.

    In truth, Generation IV nuclear energy is 100 times more efficient then today’s 60 year old legacy reactors. This technology uses nuclear waste as fuel, so we can actually get centuries worth of electricity from our nuclear waste stockpile. These reactors are not capable of melting down. This all was demonstrated in 1986. Check out the Experimental Breeder Reactor II, and Fast Reactors to learn something new.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Do not get radiation from from nuclear accidents and nuclear bombs confused.
    There have been over 1000 nuclear bomb tests releasing far more radiation than fukushima.

    Nuclear waste is not e ticking time bomb. Nuclear waste cannot explode.

    Actually, it would be far more lucrative to use our stockpile of
    nuclear waste and depleted uranium as fuel in the next generation of
    nuclear reactors, known to the educated specialists as Fast Neutron
    Spectrum reactors, a.k.a. Integral Fast Reactor, Traveling Wave Reactor,
    or Fast Breeder Reactor. Currently problematic commercial nuclear
    reactors use something called the Once Through Fuel cycle. This
    technique only uses 99% of the energy in uranium. America has 70,000
    tons of spent nuclear fuel a.k.a. nuclear waste, and 700,000 tons of
    depleted uranium.
    This so called waste still retains 99% of the
    energy to be had, and it can be had if Fast Reactor Technology is
    adopted in America.

    One of the causes of continual worldwide
    recession and future military conflict will be the growing demand for
    diminishing fossil fuels. While we are sitting on enough nuclear
    weaponry to destroy life on Earth, America is stalled on the question of
    advancing clean safe nuclear energy. In the meantime, we let our
    ancient fleet of problematic 1950′s reactors become the reason we do not
    invest in or develop the safe reactors of tomorrow. I fear we will not
    progress much farther past Peak Oil without the help of the next
    generation of nuclear reactors to bridge the gap from fossil to wind and
    solar. We could fight a nuclear war over fossil fuels or win the peace
    with abundant, safe Fast Reactor Technology.
     

  • Hgjghhhh

    There is a huge reason to mock solar and wind power that has nothing to do with subsidies:  they are intermittant, not reliable.  Enough said.

  • Anonymous

    They are more commercially viable than nuclear, however.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot the government’s military involvement in petroleum, since they are the world’s single largest consumer of it. The rest of your comment is really just a plea for EVEN more government money for this nonviable technology. Do you work for the government? Seriously. It’s pertinent here.

  • Anonymous

    “America could be much further along in renewables if the big money was behind it.”

    I totally agree. However, there is more private money behind solar, wind, and geothermal than nuclear, and nuclear has had a  LARGE running start.

  • Anonymous

    Bingo!

  • jan

    I suggest we build the next nuclear plant next to Professor Lester’s house.  

  • Freedog70

    Look – it’s very simple – if we can get the same results w/o endangering life and the environment – why not do it? – No brainer!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    I have explained why.  In most of the Western countries, anti nuclear activity by morons who don’t understand the issues have made nuclear power “radioactive” to the uneducated public.
    Private companies don’t want to spend money they may lose because these groups will  “Shorehamize” their projects.
           A nuclear project is begun and all of a sudden,  hundreds of anti-nuclear demonstrators appear, and often canvas whole states, spending money like water,(this is money from big oil  and coal company sluch funds), to convince the voters or at least homeowners that they will die in an immediate nuclear holocaust or radiation disaster if such a plant is built.
    These are  fabrications and hyped up exaggerations of minor accidents which may have happened in the past but which are not going to happen again. Nuclear power deaths since the second world war are about 25 in total. Lower than any other power generating system/
        The nuclear power builders would like to build more plants but the expense is such, that if they have to fight a black ops and wet-work war with Exxon and Shell oil , they will want  government aid to level the playing field.
       If you had to dispute your house with an army tank division, wouldn’t you just grab your family and move?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    Guess what? Geothermal energy is produced by nuclear fission. Solar and Hydro power and wind power are produced by the unregulated thermo nuclear blast furnace called the sun. Were the Earth not protected by it’s own atomic powered magnetic field we would be dead. Atomic energy is the ONLY thing between humans and extinction on Earth.
    Surprise,

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    Demand sider and Bob G are probably listening to Rush Limbaugh. The fact is as I have previously explained. The Oil and Coal and numerous “Green” ecological groups, run by long haired, dope smoking hippy commies are against ALL nuclear power development. Billionaire private industrialists don’t want to lose their money like they did at Shoreham, and other places, when both the GOP and Hippie Commies banded together to ensure people voted against any politician who would’nt help crush the Shoreham nuclear plant. It worked very well.
    SO STOP ASKING THE SAME STUPID QUESTION!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    I don’t know but maybe they meant 125,000 square miles which is around 350 by 350 miles. The area has mostly recovered now as even PBS shows. While it is claimed no one lives in the zone, this is not true. The place teems with lush life and is becoming a veritable paradise! Yes, there is some radiation left , especially around the plant that was never properly sealed but it has not stopped the locals from  running the other nuclear generators next to it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    few people , if any have died from radiation  in Japan’s Fukushima accident. Government  there don’t want the public to remember that  this was a natural disaster from a tsunami , which the government had insisted, for decades, it was totally prepared for. If there is any fault it is Tepco’s sloppy and inferior Japanese style  of doing business in conjunction with government regulators, who they pay off, and the government’s for insisting Japan was tsunami proof.
       Something similar was bound to occur in the zaibatsu controlled Japanese business community. In Japan, also, it is never in good taste to or proper business etiquette to question a superior, ever. Anyone who questioned Tepco nuclear engineering was fired.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    Actually, this another myth. The problem of nuclear waste in the US is a pain in the ass.
      But storing radioactive waste in casks at open air sites is the least harmful of solutions until new reactors come on line, capable of consuming  waste or of producing less of it. Thorium may also one day be used alongside Uranium as fuel to make power at lower prices and with less opprtunity to turn Pu into bombs and without waste.
       Of all human problems on this planet, nuclear waste is among the smallest and least harmful in  physical size and actual effect. CO2 and methane boil off from the sea floor, resulting from the warming of the oceans and then adding to it, is about 1000,000,000 times more dangerous and is the most overwhelming issue in  size,  and location affecting our lifestyles and actual existence.
         If all the nuclear waste on the planet got dropped on the mid ocean ridges it would have little effect other then to make anti-nuclear fanatics angry and frightened.
         Many  people wash their hands 100 times a day, sure they will die of any number of awful diseases if the don’t. This doesn’t make it so.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    Eddy: What was it you meant about about  Texas. . . ? Takes other states where? What are you talking about other then the drought exacerbated by global warming. . . ?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    And I invest my own $ in them because I have faith in smart people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    Nuke waste is stored in the open air in casks. It is not anywhere nearly as dangerous as most believe. Many people in America and elsewhere get more radiation exposure from their houses then they ever do from nuclear power.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DIW2APZATLZTRV5WRF552CTIME sig k

    And it’s too late. Even if we do go all “green” and/or nuclear, we won’t forestall much damage and death from rising water. Although, Manhattan is so valuable it is possible that government and private property owners might band together to try and mitigate some of the effects of sea level rising.
         I would hate to be an oil, gas or coal executive in the US or Holland and lowland areas of Europe. They will be treated like Gaddaffi in Libya or like  Royalty was by the French revolutionaries, if they are lucky.

  • Gerard71gerard

    How is clean burning coal possible?

  • Gerard71gerard

    Why the sarcasm?

    What are you getting at, that we should abandon nuclear energy?  I know you can read all my posts about how we can get rid of our nuclear waste by using it in new Generation IV Fast Reactors; and that we should decommission our legacy Light Water reactors.

    Fukushima does not change the fact that there is a newer, SAFE nuclear energy 100 times more efficient than present plants.

    If one ignores Generation IV Fast Reactors, or uses Fukushima to scare people into abandoning all nuclear energy, then BIG FOSSILS can continue to dominate energy.

  • Gerard71gerard

    There is such a thing as green nuclear.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Too many people do not have a realistic understanding of radiation levels vs. safe doses.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Do you work for big oil?
    Nonviable? The science and history of Fast Reactors proves you wrongo, friendo.

    Go ahead and prove me wrong.

    Even South Africa has this technology. We even have this technology. Check out the Experimental Breeder Reactor II, the Traveling Wave Reactor, or the Integral Fast Reactors. China has plans to build 30 of these reactors. India already have Thorium based versions of this Generation IV technology. Really! Wiki it!

  • Gerard71gerard

    Your point seems to be “there is little money behind new nuclear, therefor it is not a good choice.”
    Do not put the cart before the horse.
    Everybody knows why there is so little market money behind new nuclear, because the Big Fossil Money keeps it that way. Big Fossil Money stands to lose the most if Generation IV reactors are commercialized, which is exactly why Big Fossil Money has a history of strangling it. I think you are unfairly biased. Stop using this backwards argument over and over again, its a pure case of blaming the victim.

  • Anonymous

    “According to the World Health Organization, the Chernobyl nuclear
    disaster will cause 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer among young
    people living in the areas most affected by the nuclear disaster.
    Specifically, the rate of thyroid cancer in adolescents aged 15 to 18 is
    also now three times higher than it was before the 1986 disaster took
    place. The incidence of thyroid cancer in children rose 10-fold in
    children who lived in the Ukraine region.

    The most dramatic rate increase is in children who were 10 or younger
    when the Chernobyl accident occurred, and most specifically, those who
    were under 4. Researchers have found that in certain parts of Belarus,
    36.4 per cent of children who were under four when the accident occurred
    can expect to develop thyroid cancer. This rate is higher than earlier
    estimated, and is far above the rates for those exposed to radiation in
    other parts of the world.”

    Or it could just be that they can read.

  • Anonymous

    I work at a medical device company. Now, would you PLEASE answer my question? Do YOU work in the nuclear power “industry”?

  • Anonymous

    So, really rich people don’t want to insure or invest in them because they find them a bad risk and are unpopular. What makes you think I want to, then? One more question. Do YOU work in the nuclear power “industry”?

  • Anonymous

    Have you read about the increased amount of thyroid abnormalities and cancers in CHILDREN? My source isn’t some “hippies”; it’s the World Health Organization and The IAEA.

  • Anonymous

    Let me correct your first sentence:

    “few people , if any have died from radiation  in Japan’s Fukushima accident YET”.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Read about Fast reactors and be enlightened.

  • Gerard71gerard

    I would cash in our 770,000 tons of SNF and DU. $720,000,000,000 could be infused into the American economy if Generation IV Fast reactors were used to convert nuclear waste into enough electricity and process heat to displace the burning of 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil (and that is at only $80 per barrel).

  • Gerard71gerard

    I suggest you read up on my posts.

  • Gerard71gerard

    I have answered this question several times. Why do you keep asking it?

  • Anonymous

    OK, I’m in. When that one burns out, we’ll build another one; 93 million miles away.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of South Africa:

    Break-In at Nuclear Site Baffles South Africa – New York Times(2007)

    (this facility, Pelindaba, was attacked in 1983, as well. Koeberg in South Africa was also attacked. In addition, PMBR in South Africa,, considered
    one of the safest nuclear plants, is being mothballed due to zero investor or customer interest. Cost to S.African taxpayers :
    $936,542,544.42)

  • Anonymous

    Nuclear has had TOO much faith in people they thought were smart. I have faith in Democracy; the NRC, by not allowing cross examination or public input for nuclear plant licenses, clearly has too little faith in the democratic process.

  • Anonymous

    ANTI-CAPITALIST???? Private investors and insurance companies wouldn’t touch those things with a 10 thousand mile foot pole

  • Gerard71gerard

    I worked in the nuclear Navy with reactors so advanced beyond today’s legacy, 60 year old designs that I am not allowed to write about their advantages.

    Did the Koeberg attack lead to a Melt Down? NO. Whats your point?
    Did “Break-In at Nuclear Site Baffles” lead to a meltdown? NO. Whats your point?

    1. Lack of funding is politically manipulated by Big Fossil’s Big Money, including lack of investors,  insurers and licensing.

    2. Please do not attack my integrity with your loaded questions about any financial motives in the nuclear industry. Often a liar thinks everyone else is a liar. your continuous
    characterization of nuclear proponents as liars might betray your own
    mode of thinking, and motivations. I will not dignify your attack with an explanation of any kind.

    3. However, seeing how you admittedly DO NOT work in nuclear energy,
    perhaps You should learn about the science and join the educated
    discussion. Open your mind.

    Chernobyl was gereration II design, Fukushima is generation III design. Their failings are not an argument against Generation IV Fast Reactors, which actually convert nuclear waste into energy, and cannot melt down like Fukushima.

    Are you a paid coal advocate? Do you enjoy having your integrity attacked?

  • Gerard71gerard

    Because it is not a FREE MARKET, IT IS A MANIPULATED MARKET. I GUESS YOU JUST CANNOT READ MY POSTS ANSWERING ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND THEN SOME. you may be a pawn of big coal and oil, otherwise you would have learned something from my posts.

    You need to read my posts about the real reason nuclear energy has
    suffered from lack of backing; because Big Fossils, their bankers,
    insurers, lobbyists, and bought politicians have suppressed clean
    nuclear energy. Everything wrong with our 60 year old reactors;
    meltdown, waste, cost are all the consequences of Big Fossils fear of
    competition, greed, and abject disregard for the damages caused by this
    corruption. We could have all kinds of green energy, but this also has
    been crushed by Big Fossils. We already have reactors that are 100 times
    more efficient, uses nuclear waste as fuel (getting rid of that major
    drawback to our legacy reactors), and cannot melt down. Check out Fast
    Nuetron Spectrum reactors, or fast breeder reactors, or travelling wave
    reactors, or fast integral reactors.  But these have been repressed in
    order to benefit Big Fossils.

    Lets not be hypocritical. Big Fossils gets billions in govt taxpayer
    subsidies. This money is then used to prevent govt from giving the same
    help to renewables or to help develop Safe nuclear energy.

    here is a world of difference between our Legacy, 60 year old Generation
    III reactors and the reactors of tomorrow. Ironically, we could have
    adopted Fast Reactors commercially 30 years ago, which means we could
    have shut down our Fukushima style reactors 30 years ago. This is too
    bad. Fast reactors, as far back as 1986, are proven to be immune to
    meltdown and major loss of containment; see the Experimental Breeder
    Reactor II.

  • Gerard71gerard

     The “unprofitable” i.e. “market” arguement fails. Again the lack of funding comes from Big Fossil influence; the folks
    with the greatest capacity to strangle Generation IV designs, and the
    most to lose if they are developed commercially. There is plenty of
    backing for this technology in countries that are Wise enough to look
    forward.
     
    Both your arguments are cases of blaming the victim. We
    have been stuck with the older and scarier nuclear energy for the last 
    60 years because Big Fossil Fuels have manipulated insurance law,
    politicians, banks and insurers. Their intent was to freeze nuclear
    energy in its adolescence, so that rare accidents and nuclear waste
    become the reason to shut down all nuclear. This is common sense. Read
    the history.

    Further, I am an advocate of replacing our Light Water reactors with
    Generation IV designs. What went wrong with our 60 year old nuclear
    approach is not evidence of what can go wrong with Generation IV
    designs. It is the exact opposite.

    Generation IV designs are not pie in the sky.
    Generation
    IV designs can dispose of our nuclear waste. Therefor, instead of
    paying to guard nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years, Generation IV
    designs save money.
    Generation IV designs can produce enough energy
    to replace 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil (four time more oil than is
    believed by scientists to be left still in the Earth) from our stockpile
    of SNF. 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil, at say $80 per barrel, leaves us
    with $720,000,000,000. THAT is how much money Big Fossil stands to lose
    if Generation IV designs become industrialized. It is more than enough
    to buy all the Solar, Wind, and Geothermal as we need.

    Every other country with nuclear experience is investing in Generation
    IV designs except America, (and now Germany) is going forward with
    Generation IV designs.

    Generation IV designs are the only means
    of A) getting rid of our nuclear waste, B) Replacing Big Fossils, C)
    providing the bridge energy until wind, solar, geothermal  become more
    economically viable, and D) do all this without risk of meltdown.

     It is
    presently very unprofitable for nuclear energy to have to guard and
    secure its nuclear waste; of which we have 70,000 tons of high level
    Spent Nuclear Fuel, and 700,000 tons of Depleted Uranium left over from
    our Light Water Reactors. This cost is often used as an argument against
    nuclear; with the conclusion being that nuclear is too expensive. This
    conclusion is dangerous because it ignores Generation IV Fast Reactors;
    which can convert 90% of our nuclear waste into vast quantities of
    energy. These safer designs (Proven in 1986 Experimental Breeder Reactor
    II) can save us the costs of guarding and disposing our SNF and DU with
    conventional means; processing and geological. Further, because
    Generation IV Fast Reactors can get 100 times more energy from the same
    SNF than produced from the original Nuclear Fuel (low enriched uranium
    about 1.5% to 5% U135) when first used in a Light Water Reactor, Fast
    reactors would be many times more profitable than present day, legacy
    Light Water Reactors. Also, because these designs are inherently safe,
    insurance costs and license costs SHOULD be much lower. Yet by applying
    Light Water Reactor license and insurance costs to newer Fast Reactor
    technologies, cost is artificially driven up. Lets not blame the victim
    of the “too costly” argument.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Do you work for coal and oil? Green nuclear, known as Generation IV Fast Reactors, has suffered the VERY SAME lack of market support as Solar, Wind, Geothermal. Otherwise, according to your hang-ups, we would be surrounded by windmills and solar panels. The same oil and coal people who have a history of killing green alternatives are behind killing Generation IV technology. Your bias is telling.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Chernobyl is the past, Generation II reactor technology. Generation IV nuclear energy cannot melt down like Fukushima. Your argument is based on what is wrong with 60 year old, legacy designs, and does not describe the super safe, 100 times more profitable reactor designs that we could have had since the 1970′s.

    Your concern about children getting cancer should focus on the one million coal realated deaths per year in China. What about those cancer rates in coal country America?  I am all for solar and wind, but they suffer from the same Big Fossil repression of their technology in a manipulated insurance, investment, and licensing market.

  • Gerard71gerard

    thanks for the sarcasm. There is a difference between doses that can damage you and levels above background radiation. Of course the levels from Chernobyl and Fukushima are high, but my point was that many minor nuclear accidents may read levels above background level, but that is still several orders of magnitude below radiation levels that will hurt you, or cause cancer. My idea was to point out the difference between slightly informed hysterical reactions to slightly above background levels of radiation and an understanding of how much radiation above background radiation is still safe. Get it?

    Biologists would point out that more ‘mutating’ radiation is released by burning fossil fuels than properly running Generation III reactor designs, a 60 year old approach. Given that Generation IV reactors cannot melt down like Fukushima, and that they can actually eat up our nuclear waste as fuel, the responsible thing to do would be to replace our generation II &III reactors with Generation IV designs. Which is the thing to do if you are worried about people getting cancer.
    Otherwise, keep burning Fossils and people will keep dying worldwide.

    All-or-Nothing thinking is a symptom of a tired or lazy mind. Thanks for inferring that I do not care about those hurt by Chernobyl or Fukushima. I also care about all the people Big Fossil Fuels are going to kill, or get killed, before it is used up.

    It is too bad Big Fossils are against competition from Wind, Solar, and green Generation IV Fast Reactors.

  • Gerard71gerard

    A million Chinese will die because of burning Coal this year.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Actually $25 Billion has already been set aside by Government to deal with the waste. However, you forget that the best way to get rid of this waste is to use it as fuel in Generation IV Fast reactors, where the left over fuel could yield 100 times more energy than it did in our traditional, 60 year old Light Water Reactors.

    Because our stockpile of nuclear waste can be used as fuel, tremendous economic benefits can come to our economy. We have centuries worth of this fuel, enough to replace the burning of 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil. At $80/barrel, that’s $720,000,000,000 worth of economic stimulus for our economy, potentially freeing us from recession caused by diminishing Fossil Fuel supplies.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Grammar?

  • Gerard71gerard

    Again, blaming the victim. Big Fossil’s Big Money will never let a much more competative technology get off the ground, less it lose its chance at selling the last of the fossil fuels.
    I have left comments for you several times regarding the lack of funding, insurance, and licensing orchestrated by Big Fossils. Are you a Big Fossil. Can’t you read about the differences between reactors like Fukushima and the 60 years newer, 100 times more efficient, nuclear-waste-destroying Generation IV Fast Reactor of tomorrow?

    Private investors and insurance companies LOVE Generation IV designs, as evidenced by investors and insurers in India, Russia, China, France, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, Canada and in the future, America.

  • Gerard71gerard

    ha

  • Gerard71gerard

    Absolutely on target! The fact that China is buying the majority of the Iraqi oil is just icing on the cake. Who won the war in Iraq? Saudi Arabia, Defense Contractors, Blackwater, and the Bush-Bin Laden family connection. Oh yeah, China gets the Iraqi oil.

    All the more reason to transition to Generation IV Fast reactors, and let the rest of the world fight over what is left of oil supplies worldwide.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Somebody said the German solar power industry peaked output at 12.1 GW, which is more than Fukushima’s previous production.

    Great, but…Can these solar panels produce this energy when the Sun is down? Can
    they provide this peak 12.1 GW all day and all night long? If Germany is
    so far ahead with solar, then they stand to profit from solar
    technology. I say go for it, I love solar and wind alternatives.
    However, if Germany is committed to selling solar worldwide, would it
    not be a great sales ploy to shut down their nuclear in the wake of
    Fukushima? It is a great publicity stunt. Hypocritically, they
    unfortunately also shut down Siemens’ Generation IV  Liquid Metal Fast
    Breeder reactor. This is funny because Siemens is ACTIVELY selling
    Generation IV reactor technology to China, and around the world.
    Comercially, Germany is not really planning to abandon Generation IV
    Fast Breeder Technology; as Siemens is a German, yet international
    corporation capable of doing whatever it wishes in open markets around
    the world; regardless of the motives in mainstream German politics.
    Germany is selling and investing in Generation IV Fast Reactors through
    Siemens.

    The nuclear option: Should the U.S. invest more, not less, in nuclear energy?

    October 21, 2011

    If the United States wants to go green, do we need to invest more in
    nuclear power — and not less? President Obama seems to think so. In
    February of 2010, he announced $8 billion in loan guarantees to build
    two nuclear power reactors in Georgia — the first to begin construction
    in this country in more than 30 years. This past spring, even after the
    nuclear disaster in Japan, he once again embraced nuclear power.
    Is the president right to include nuclear energy as part of a broader
    strategy that also has to take into account the nation’s energy
    security, consumer costs and public safety? We visit Cambridge, Mass.,
    and MIT, where Need to Know reporter Win Rosenfeld met recently with Dr.
    Richard Lester. He’s one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for
    nuclear power.

    Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

    Last modified: October 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm
    Tags: Fukushima, nuclear energy, nuclear power
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    demand_sider 10/30/2011 07:04 AM
    “Germany’s solar panels produce more power than Japan’s entire Fukushima complex”

    Germany is the world leader in installed solar photovoltaic panels —
    and they also just shut down seven of their oldest nuclear reactors.
    Coincidence? Maaaaybe… Anyway, it’s worth noting that just today,
    total power output of Germany’s installed solar PV panels hit 12.1 GW –
    greater than the total power output (10 GW) of Japan’s entire 6-reactor nuclear power plant.

    Grist.org 22 Mar 2011 12:52 PM

    (AND they’re insurable)

    1 person liked this.

    Gerard71gerard 10/31/2011 11:00 PM in reply to demand_sider

    Can these solar panels produce this energy when the Sun is down?
    Can they provide this peak 12.1 GW all day and all night long? If
    Germany is so far ahead with solar, then they stand to profit from solar
    technology. I say go for it, I love solar and wind alternatives.
    However, if Germany is committed to selling solar worldwide, would it
    not be a great sales ploy to shut down their nuclear in the wake of
    Fukushima? It is a great publicity stunt. Hypocritically, they
    unfortunately also shut down Siemens’ Generation IV  Liquid Metal Fast
    Breeder reactor. This is funny because Siemens is ACTIVELY selling
    Generation IV reactor technology to China, and around the world.
    Comercially, Germany is not really planning to abandon Generation IV
    Fast Breeder Technology; as Siemens is a German, yet international
    corporation capable of doing whatever it wishes in open markets around
    the world; regardless of the motives in mainstream German politics.
    Germany is selling and investing in Generation IV Fast Reactors through
    Siemens.

    Gerard71gerard 10/31/2011 10:44 PM in reply to demand_sider

    Solar is great, yes. Yet, can these solar panels get rid of 99%
    of our nuclear waste by converting it into energy in Fast Breeder
    Reactors; without risk of meltdown? As I am 100% for green energy I am
    all for solar and wind. Yet, Where-in-America is the market, investors,
    and insurers for Solar? If Germany can do it, why not America? I
    understand that President Obama is taking heat for the $500,000,000
    federal funding package for Solindra’s Failed Solar Boondoggle. Folks
    complain about the notion of federal backing for safe Generation IV
    nuclear, or even for the building of two new Light Water Reactors in
    Georgia, and they also don’t seem to like federal backing for companies
    like Solindra. If America wanted to, Generation IV reactors could
    already be converting our 770,000 ton supply of Spent Nuclear Fuel and
    Depleted Uranium into enough energy to replace  the burning of
    9,000,000,000 barrels of Oil. If one is truly GREEN, you cant afford to
    ignore the new Generation IV Fast Reactors. German, Russian, Indian, and
    Chinese energy corporations have been developing Generation IV Fast
    Breeder Reactors since the 1970′S (Even earlier in Russia). (Chernobyl
    was a Generation II design, and should have been shut down).  We already
    have enough SNF and DU to last for centuries, if transmuted or
    fissioned in Generation IV Fast Breeders. These same designs can also
    help with nuclear weapons proliferation, as weapons grade uranium and
    plutonium can also be used as fuel. This could really stimulate the
    economy and make Solar and Wind more possible. As the cost of everything
    rises as Fossil Fuels diminishes, it becomes harder to put economic
    muscle behind solar in America, which is one partial reason we are not
    seeing big support for wind and solar in America without a lot of
    federal aid. So if it is o.k. to send federal money to Green solar and
    wind, would it not also be a good idea to put money behind Generation IV
    nuclear?Also remember that Germany is a Social Democracy with much
    more taxes and government regulation of business than in America. They
    also have a Green party unlike anything in the American puppet show.

    Germany Should shut down their old reactors, and replace them with Fast Breeder Reactors.
    Germany
    has experience with Generation IV Fast breeder reactors, and Siemens
    sells Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactor  to the rest of the developed
    world; the very same Generation IV Liquid Sodium Fast Reactor that was
    shut down in Germany in response to Fukushima was built by Siemens
    because they intend to sell Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactors far into
    the future.  If a company like Siemens can build and sell Generation IV
    reactors, I guess the argument that Generation IV is too expensive and
    unprofitable is clearly not really true. So they must be profitable
    after all.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Even developing countries like India and China are investing in Generation IV nuclear reactors. These Fast Breeder designs cannot melt down, no Chernobyl no Fukushima accidents. America and Russia have been working with Fast Reactors as far back as the 1950′s and 1960′s. These designs consume as fuel left over Spent Nuclear Fuel from our Generation III Light Water Reactors. Google the Experimental Breeder Reactor II for more awesome details, including why they cannot melt down.
    In fact, in 1986 American scientists deliberately tried to cause the Experimental Breeder Reactor II to have an accident similar to Fukushima to prove they were safe. Total loss of coolant and total loss of coolant flow accidents were induced WITHOUT the normal emergency control rods being inserted into the reactor to slow down the fission reaction. Without any other safety features, and without the help of the control rods, the reactor reached an equilibrium state within 300 seconds. No meltdown. The fuel cannot approach temperatures greater than the melting point of the materials that keep the fuel isolated.  This may seem contrary to common opinion about nuclear energy; but one must remember that common opinion about nuclear energy is based a 60 year old design approach which has not changed much to this date here in America.

    India and China have successful Fast Reactor experience, and are building an entire industry surrounding commercial Generation IV Fast breeder reactors.

    Here is poor China’s Generation IV program:

    China began research on fast neutron breeder
    reactors in the mid- and late-1960s . During its basic research period from 1965
    to 1987, China’s research focused on fast reactor technology such as fast
    reactor physics, thermodynamics, sodium technology and small sodium facility.
    During this initial period about 12 experimental setups were established, and
    one sodium loop was constructed. This included a 50 kg 235U zero-power neutron
    setup. On June 28 June 1970, this device reached criticality.  The
    engineering goal for the applied basic research phase of China’s FBR
    program (1987-1993)  was to successfully construct a 65 MWt (25 MWe)
    experimental fast reactor.  Further developments were made in sodium
    technology, fuel and materials, fast reactor safety, and reactor design. A
    preliminary foundation for a fast reactor design was established, and
    approximately 20 experimental setups and sodium loops were built.

    Currently, the initial experimental validation phase focused on sodium loop
    technology. Two sodium loops were imported form Italy:  ESPRESSO (sodium
    flow rate 110 m3/h, maximum sodium temperature 650oC) and CEDI (sodium flow rate
    320 m3/h, maximum sodium temperature 650oC.)   The primary conceptual
    design was completed in 1992 and the final design  was completed in 1994. 
    To test the concept of the design, a zero-power simulation experiment was
    conducted at the Physics and Dynamics Engineering Institute in Russia.  
    It was not until January 1998 that construction work  began on the
    country’s first fast neutron reactor.  The
    China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) , in cooperation
    with the Beijing Institute of Nuclear Engineering, is constructing the FBR with
    Russian technical assistance.  On 8 September 1999, Russian Prime Minister
    Vladimir Putin signed a Cabinet ordinance to cooperate with China in the
    construction of a FBR.  The draft agreement was approved by the Russian
    Cabinet on 22 April 2000.

    Under China’s national high tech “863″ project, a pilot commercial station,
    is being built in Fangshan county near Beijing.  According to the
    Xinhua News Agency,  it is scheduled to be operational by 2003. 
    China’s original plans included building a 65 MWth (20-25 MWe) experimental
    reactor by the year 2000 at a cost of about $103 million.  China plans to
    use this reactor to provide the technical foundation for its long-term program
    of commercial FBR development.
    In December 2003, German Chancellor Gerhard
    Schröder and a large business delegation including
    Siemens CEO Heinrich von Pierer visited China. 
    During this visit, delegation members discussed the
    possibility of China’s import of Siemen’s Hanau Fuel
    Element Factory, a mothballed mixed oxide (MOX) fuel
    fabrication plant.  The plant was reportedly
    intended to generate the fuel necessary to power China’s
    planned fast breeder reactor. 

    Here is poor India’s Generation IV Fast reactor program: January  2010 (LAST YEAR)

    India’s prototype fast breeder reactor, due to
    go critical next year, paves the way for the country’s ambitious plans
    for nuclear energy. By Baldev Raj, S.C. Chetal and P. ChellapandiA
    fast neutron spectrum reactor has the flexibility to operate as breeder
    to achieve net creation of transuranics, as convertor to balance the
    transuranic production and consumption and as transmuter to convert the
    long lived minor actinides and other radioisotopes to short lived ones.
    These features enable uranium to be used 60 times more efficiently,
    reduce the toxicity of high-level waste and time it takes for the waste
    to reach natural radiation levels. Therefore, several fast reactors have
    been built and operated worldwide, accumulating about 390 reactor-years
    of operating experience to date.

    Fast breeder reactors (FBR)
    will be essential if India is to achieve its target of a 25% (300GW)
    nuclear share by 2050, given its limited uranium resources. FBRs will
    play a role in the second phase of India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power
    Programme, formulated by Dr. Homi Bhabha. Stage one involves the
    deployment of natural uranium pressurized heavy water reactors. It will
    be followed by concurrent deployment of FBRs burning plutonium to breed
    U-233 from thorium. The FBRs will be followed, in the third stage, by
    Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs) capable of utilizing India’s
    abundant thorium resources.

    If
    China, Russia, Germany, France, India, South Africa, and America have
    all successfully been developing Fast Breeder Reators as far back as the
    1960′- 1970′s, What possible reason would explain America abandoning
    its advanced Generation IV Fast Reactors while the rest of the big guys
    on the block are moving forward? Siemens isn’t opposed to helping the
    rest of the world get Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactors, neither are
    German stock holders of Siemen’s. The Fukushima accident is tragic. An
    ACCIDENT WITH GENERATION III Light Water Technology like Fukushima
    should not become the reason to abandon the nuclear-waste-eating,
    melt-down-proof, vastly more efficient Generation IV technology. China
    and India are not making any mistakes by going ahead with Fast Breeders.
    Given that America has a history of being the largest buyer of oil in
    the free world, America has its political and social momentum wraped up
    in trying to burn the last of the Fossil Fuels before it will take
    seriously Solar, Wind, or Generation IV Fast reactors seriously; which
    is why our own successful Experimental Breeder Reactor II was shut down
    for no sound reason.

  • Gerard71gerard

    This is all great, and promising. I agree that we should retire our fleet of commercial Generation III Light Water Reactors. However, Is this scientist aware of the one flaw in his nuclear argument? While we need to shut down all of our Generation III Light Water Reactors, as we were supposed to in the 1970-1980′s, they should be replaced by Generation IV Fast Breeder reactors. You mention the nuclear waste stockpile as a drawback to nuclear. However, there is more than one nuclear approach. The American model uses 111 or so Light Water Reactors like the plant at Fukushima; called Generation III nuclear.  This is a legacy “recipe” which was conceived  in the late 1950′s-1960′s. We all know what can go wrong with these designs, as they have not changed fundamentally in sixty years. Nuclear waste and potential for meltdown accidents are the problems with Generation III reactors. Today, a newer, cleaner, radically safer (cannot melt down) and much more efficient commercial nuclear energy is on the horizon, called Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactors. These designs are proven to use nuclear waste as fuel and can get rid of our nuclear waste problem within 300 years as opposed to more than 100,000 or more.
    America was fully invested in research on the next Generation IV Fast Breeder reactors, had proven the technology with the Experimental Fast Breeder II in 1986, and was de-funded for no good reason. Instead, our 60 year old legacy reactors were given another 30 year extension in the 1970-1980′s. This is why public opinion is against nuclear in America; as the American public believes that nuclear waste and meltdowns are by definition problems with nuclear. However, not enough of us know about Generation IV Fast Breeder reactors. This is too bad. Americans would benefit from Generation IV nuclear by giving America the means to convert our 70,000 tons of Spent Nuclear Fuel into enough electricity and process heat to replace the burning of 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil. Indeed, Fast Breeders cannot melt down. The fuel itself cannot melt itself, even if a 9 Richter Scale earthquate trashes the plant’s cooling system.

    Russia, India, China, Canada, and other countries are investing in large fleets of advanced Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactors. Even Germany, through Siemens, sells Generation IV technology.

    We need Gen IV to complement other Green alternatives, reduce dependence on Fossil Fuels, stimulate the economy by building a Fast Gen IV industry, convert our Gen III nuclear waste into vast quantities of energy, provide increased national security, avoid cap-in-trade costs related to Fossil Fuels, produce more energy without emitting Greenhouse Gases, and be able to realize these benefits without risk of meltdown.

  • Gerard71gerard

     Also, the rest of the world DOES have the market, insurers, and banking to lead the way with Generation IV Fast Breeder technology. Russia, India, China, and others are smart enough to see the benefits of melt-down-proof reactors that converts nuclear waste into vast quantities of electricity and process heat. The American situation is up side down.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Big Fossil Insurers and investors and lobbyists in America ARE CRAMMING Clean Coal (an oxymoron?), Oil (Saudi Arabia won the war in Iraq- but that is another story.), and Natural Gas (Fracking calamities, explosive gasses coming from people’s water faucets), right down America’s throat.

  • Anonymous

    Sacramento is on a large river as the post said. Sea level rise will force the river flows backwards and out, flooding any large cities on those rivers. It really wasn’t that unclear.

  • Anonymous

    Your buying into the Right Wing phoney studies as KOCH Industries, the $100 billion/year, oil conglomerate who funds and scripts the TEA party and corrupt Corps like Exxon pour hundreds of millions into corrupt Right Wing Think Tanks to produce phoney baloney studies. They also bought off meterologists, like Fred Singer, who has been owned by BIG OIL for 3 decades. We’re not at the end of a cycle. Nothing is cooling as I clearly pointed out in the piece. You need to pursue the research and stop buying their lies. THE HEAT IS ON and BOILING POINT by Ross Gelbspan and THE CLIMATE WAR by Eric Pooley has exposed the Right Wing corruption.

  • Anonymous

    The GOP is 90% owned by large national and multi-national corps including BIG OIL, BIG FINANCE in an unholy alliance the Karl DECEIT Rove created in the 1980s. The 100 million Right Wing Fundamentalists are married to the GOP on one side to supply the votes, the corrupt corps who own 90% of GOP on the other side, supplying the funds. The Fundamentalists have been working since the 1980s to undermine Separation of Church and State and create a Christian Theocracy in U.S. using Book of Leviticus as Rule of Law.(REPUBLICAN GOMORRAH by Max Blumenthal, NPR, Fresh Air interview with John Hagee 9-19-2006, also Bill Moyers Journal on PBS 11-30-2007, Conservatives W/O Conscience by John Dean and Barry Goldwater–2006). A good place to start, but just the tip of the DECEIT. The Corps teamed up with ALEC at the State Level and are meeting with GOP Lawmakers behind closed doors telling them what they want passed at the State Level.
    RESEARCH YOU’LL FIND HELPFUL
    8-26-2011 interview on NPR, FRESH AIR with Jane Mayer, Terry also talked to Jane again September or Oct about how KOCH Industries is planning to corrupt 2012 by eliminating millions of legitimate minority votes in places like South Carolina, under the guise of “voter Fraud”. NPR, All Things considered covered again, Wed, Nov. 2, 2011. Mayer is continuing to track KOCH Industries corruption, just as Jeremy Scahill continues tracking Erik Prince former owner of Blackwater, who thinks he’s on a messianic mission against Islam, as do the other 100 million Fundamentalists who make up Rt. Wing. Prince is in the UAE setting up for war w Iran per plans made in the last months of 2008 w the Neocons, who dominated the Bush-Cheney Administration. Rick Perry’s campaign is being advised by Rumsfeld and the Neocons on foreign policy and Rove was running Perry’s career since 1989, although there seems to be rift. There were 11 million votes for John Kerry missing in 2004 determined by a dozen math experts, after months looking at the numbers. What happened was statistically impossible. (Was The 2004 Presidential Election Stolen by Stephen Freeman, answer yes). 2000 was also corrupted. See HBO “Recount” released in May 2008. Only 200 votes separated Bush and Gore and using Bush’s instructions for Texas on chads would have allowed Gore to win. Rove and Baker did everything to stop the full state recount. Gore won, Washington Post reported on 11-26-2001 in an article titled, “Countdown”.

    It’s a Campaign of DECEIT with an entire Infrastructure of DECEIT entering its 4th decade–corrupt Rt. Wing Think Tanks produce phoney studies as corrupt corps pour hundreds of millions of dollars into them. Corrupt Front Groups and Foundations funnel millions that can’t be traced which is why it’s important to get Citizens United overturned. Corrupt Media outlets dominate 95% of Talk Radio and outlets like FOX which are full of Pundits who are psuhing the HIDDEN AGENDA of Christian Theocracy and permanent War. (Washington Rules by conservative Andrew Bacevich, and SourceWatch on the Project For A New American Century–PNAC which was created by the Neoconservatives in 1997, also VP Cheney and Rumsfeld for uS World military domination and using private military like Blackwater to fight US wars in Mideast to justify the Dept of Defense Budget. That plan was drawn up in 1991, called The Wolfowitz Doctrine making Mideast next target after Soviet Union collapsed. It just goes on and on and on, all pretty well documented. GOP is 90% owned by national and multinationals. Public Citizen and other Watch Dog groups track that.