Power to the people: Germany’s anti-nuclear movement

For years, Germany got more than 20 percent of its energy from nuclear power. But last spring, only months after Japan’s nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would phase out nuclear energy by 2022.

This radical policy change was motivated in part by the Fukushima disaster, 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.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

 

Comments

  • Asteroid Miner

    Ursula Sladek: You are reciting coal
    industry propaganda. You may be paid by the coal industry, or your
    emotions have been hijacked by the coal industry propaganda over the
    past half century. Everything you said is wrong. Coal has killed
    over two hundred thousand Americans and is still doing so.
    Every time you dis nuclear, you are
    working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot.
    What the coal companies know that most people don’t:

    As long as you keep messing around with
    wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe.
    There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace
    coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked.
    Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so
    far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear,
    the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind,
    solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is
    happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear
    power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year
    old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of
    all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization
    collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens”
    goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit
    and live. Which do you choose? I put quotation marks around
    “Sapiens” because it is not clear that most “people”
    have enough brains to avoid extinction when it is clearly predicted
    and the safe path has been pointed out. Nuclear is the safe path
    and we have factory built nuclear power plants now. A nuclear power
    plant can be installed in weeks. See:http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf33.html
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    Pretend the year is 1850 and your
    doctor has just given you a choice: Amputate your leg or you die
    tomorrow. Anesthetics have not been invented. Will you have your
    leg off sir?
    Your psychological pain is imaginary,
    not real. Get over it and live. Don’t get over it and your
    grandchildren die.
    Nuclear power ends global warming and
    the human race lives.
    No nuclear power causes the coal
    industry cash flow to continue to be $100 Billion per year in the US
    and Homo Sap goes extinct. The choice is yours, unfortunately.
    Power reactors do NOT make
    Plutonium239 that is needed for bombs. Power reactors make
    Plutonium240. It takes a very special reactor to make Pu239.

  • http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com Asteroid Miner

    Coal contains:   URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc.   There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores.   We should be able to get all the uranium and thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using cinders and smoke as ore.   Unburned Coal also contains BENZENE, THE CANCER CAUSER.   We could get all of our uranium and thorium from coal ashes and cinders.   The carbon content of coal ranges from 96% down to 25%, the remainder being rock of various kinds.

    If you are an underground coal miner, you may be in violation of the rules for radiation workers.   The uranium decay chain includes the radioactive gas RADON, which you are breathing.   Radon decays in about a day into polonium, the super-poison.

    Chinese industrial grade coal is sometimes stolen by peasants for cooking.   The result is that the whole family dies of arsenic poisoning in days, not years because Chinese industrial grade coal contains large amounts of arsenic.  

    Yes, that ARSENIC is getting into the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil your food grows in.   So are all of those other heavy metal poisons.   Your health would be a lot better without coal.   Benzene is also found in petroleum.   If you have cancer, check for benzene in your past.

    See:  http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html

    for most of the above.

  • Anonymous

    Nuke proponents, why won’t the free market insurance companies  insure nuclear power? Why are no private companies building nuke plants?

  • Anonymous

    When the UK began privatizing utilities its nuclear reactors “were so
    unprofitable they could not be sold”. Eventually in 1996, the government
    gave them away. But the company that took them over, British Energy,
    had to be bailed out in 2004 to the extent of 3.4 billion pounds.

  • Anonymous

    Are you on the nuke dole?

  • Anonymous

    Are you on the nuke dole?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HZBRYNNNY75ZVEBKQ6VW4FNNAQ brutus

    As long as people want or need more power then they are willing to make by turning a crank, various schemes for turning gravity , combustion or friction into electricity will, occasionally, have accidents.
     For the half century man has used nuclear fission to produce steam to turn turbines, it has proved to be far safer and less toxic then combustion. Combustion,(burning stuff with O2 to make heat to produce steam to turn turbines), is incredibly dirty and toxic and releases billions of tons of CO2 into the air. Nuclear power currently leaves a relatively tiny amount of highly toxic and radioactive residues, which have been handled so far. The ultimate decision as to what to do with it is a political, not technical one.
     Unfortunately, most people  do not understand the difference between an atomic bomb and controlled fission. Most Americans think nuclear power plants can explode now, especially after they hear idiot news reporters claim “Fukushima’s nuclear generating station was destroyed by a hydrogen explosion”. Many are convinced that a hydrogen bomb went off!
        In this, we are responsible for expecting ignorant high school and college students, who don’t know the difference between a neutron, an electron or a mole to be able to make informed and rational decisions about nuclear energy.
     This is an issue where we are not served by polls or democracy. There are only  a small number of people with the technical or educational backgrounds to understand nuclear power but they will not be found by polling the respondents to this otherwise interesting web site.
        We need nuclear energy, whether using thorium or plutonium or uranium. We cannot afford to just “burn baby burn” every drop of oil and ounce of coal because a few fanatics are phobic about radiation.While Exxon and Chevron would love this, it would leave little of the planet undespoiled.
           Statistics PROVE, without any doubt, nuclear energy is safer then any other form of industrial energy production, although there are few numbers representing solar energy, yet.

       If the Japanese and the Germans give up nuclear power,  only  “bad actor” states like Russia and China, the Snidely Whiplash’s of the world economy, will be increasing their nuclear capability. And even if the entire Western World stopped using nuclear energy, the Iranians, Arabs, and numerous other, less responsible countries would use it even more, and they would also be helping themselves to bomb technology and fuel.Do you trust other people in dictatorships run by religious fanatics to be as responsible as Con Ed?
         Nuclear power is safe and can be used without accidents that mar entire counties, as in Japan or Russia,(both Russia and Japan both have a severely inferior sense of  corporate responsibility and neither the Russkis or Zaibatsu are ever held responsible for transgressions against the people-remember WWII and the Gulag Archipelago?).
     However, if we insist on continuing to use technology and equipment made and designed 60-70 years ago, we may get dangerous results from technologically ancient and inferior machines, long past, or near their useful lifetimes.
           No one expects the army , navy or air force to fight wars with 50 year old soldiers, or battleships and airplanes made and designed in 1939 for the Second World War.
    Time marches on: things get old and they break-including atomic reactors. We can build clean and safe atomic power, cleanly and safely. And then our grandchildren will thank us for it and will have the energy available , perhaps to go to a completely solar and wind power driven world. If that pleases them let them have the power to achieve such a dream. Great. But we can’t do it now so let us not foreclose one of the most technologically superior solutions we have for preventing the slow poisoning of our  world, ’till then.
       

  • Erica

    Nuclear…NOT worth the risks!

  • http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com Asteroid Miner

    OUR NUCLEAR FUTURE: 

    THE PATH OF SELECTIVE IGNORANCE 

    by Alex Gabbard 

    Metals and Ceramics Division 

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

    Oak Ridge, TN 

    Abstract

    Well-established trends in world energy consumption indicate long-term commitments to combustion of fossil fuel1. Industrialized nations are currently the major users of coal, but early in the 21st century a shift in usage is predicted such that today’s developing countries will be the primary users. For example, China has large reserves of coal and currently accounts for about 24% of world combustion with plans to increase its consumption to eight times more than 1990 combustion by the year 20202. Global coal resources are projected to provide about 1500 years supply at the current use rate3. Current US energy policy favors fossil fuel for large base-load electric power production, and almost 90% of the coal consumed in the US today is burned at electric power utilities4. Global coal production will continue to exceed the US rate by more than a factor of five5.

    While effects of fossil fuel combustion continue to be studied and debated, US environmental protection and reclamation law, resource conservation and recovery law, along with energy conservation law, pose conflicts in policy direction that selectively ignore various consequences. Although chemical effects of compounds of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur released during coal combustion dominate environmental studies and debates, releases of other constituents such as arsenic, mercury, lead and similar toxins, along with radioactive materials and nuclear fuels, constitute additional topics of interest. Many indicators; suggest that trends in fossil fuel consumption are at odds with the purpose of these laws and their philosophies of supporting ecologically sustainable technologies for the future.

    Background

    Elemental analysis of coal from around the world reveals that it can be composed of as many as 73 elements6. When coal is mined and burned, these long buried elements are released directly into the biosphere. As combustion increases, the quantities of these elements increase in direct proportion. While concerns about fossil fuel combustion has centered primarily on carbon, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, the quantities of radiological and toxicological components are not trivial and are among topics discussed herein.

    For example, 1991 global coal production was 5,100 million tons, up 50% from 1973, and continues to rise. US production that year was 996 million tons7. Analysis of coal reveals significant quantities of radioactive species, including uranium and thorium, that are long-lived parents in natural radioactive decay chains. Coal also contains potassium-40, and each radionuclide in coal accumulates in the atmosphere as a result of combustion. According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) data8, coal contains an average of about 2.08 parts per million (ppm) of uranium, 4.58 ppm thorium and 0.054 ppm potassium-40. Although small concentrations, these components are significant when the vast quantity of coal mined and burned is considered, and more so when collected over a long period of time9.

    Radioactive material flowing from a coal fired utility is a function of the quantity of material originally in the coal. Analysis of US coal samples shows that many deposits contain far higher concentrations than IAEA average values. For example, J. F. Facer showed in a 1979 US Dept. of Energy (DOE) report that some US coal contains in excess of 103 parts per million of uranium10. Consequently, deposits of coal with this concentration release more than 200 tons of uranium per 1000 N We/year compared to approximately 8 tons/year using IAEA average value data. However, the USEPA concluded in its 1984 report, “Background Information Document (Integrated Risk Assessment); Final Rule for Radionuclides”, that coal wastes constitute no significant integrated riskl1. Extensive studies, such as the report by Beck et al12 in 1980, “Perturbations on the Natural Radiation Environment Due to the Utilization of Coal as an Energy Source,” provided analytical data supporting the EPA position.

    In addition to radiological material, elemental analysis of coal for other constituents illustrates that it is a rich source of valuable metals. Table 1 is a summary of 40 elements giving estimated values for annual US utility combustion. While the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses issues of conserving natural resources, the vast quantities of mineral wealth in coal are rarely addressed. Coal “wastes” are not considered “resources”.

    Consequences

    The influence of current environmental, energy and resource conservation laws have little effect on preventing the accumulation of the vast array of coal-borne material in the biosphere. Quantities of by-products released from coal combustion are sufficient to present environmental, resource, energy and economic issues. For example, using 1991 production figures cited above and assuming that all the coal mined that year was burned somewhere, IAEA average concentration data indicates that at least 10,600 tons of uranium, 23,400 tons of thorium, and 275 tons of K-40 were released into the global biosphere that year alone. Summing over a century spanning 1937 to 2037, a length of time that places us currently at more than 60% through, indicates that in the US, as much as 232,400 tons of uranium, 572,000 tons of thorium and 6,030 tons of K-40 will be introduced into the biosphere during that time, mostly during the latter half. Global accumulation of these long-lived radioactive species is predicted to exceed 1 million tons of uranium, 2.8 million tons of thorium and more than 30,000 tons of K-40 by the year 2037.

    Natural uranium contains fissionable isotope U-235 at about 0.7%. U-235 is the nuclear fuel in commercial reactors. Release of U-235 into the biosphere over the specified century totals more than 9,400 tons of this single isotope. As 2% enriched commercial reactor fuel, this quantity of U-235 equals more than 471,000 tons of nuclear fuel, the equivalent of 15,700 reactor loads of 30 tons each. Consequently, the fissile component of the uranium in coal constitutes an enormous quantity of resource energy that is never recognized as a hazard nor utilized as a fuel. Comparing energy values, this amount of U-235 when fissioned equals more than 4.6 billion tons of coal, worth about $78 billion. This wasted energy is the result of selectively ignoring the potential resources of coal. Further, this quantity of fissile material poses nuclear proliferation issues because the material is within the boundaries of any country with coal sources and combustion facilities.

    Like the more common isotope U-238, thorium-232 is non-fissile but is breedable to produce fissionable nuclear fuel as isotope U-233. This process can occur in nuclear reactors and involves addition of a neutron to the nucleus of a non-fissile isotope that then becomes fissile. Because the ratio of combustion-to-fissile energy is approximately 1:5million per unit of matter, the fission energy contained in the quantities of these isotopes of uranium and thorium exceed the energy value of the coal itself and indicate that vast quantities of energy are routinely wasted with coal combustion.

    The radioisotopes in coal constitute a continuing source of radioactive released into the biosphere. Estimates of average contributions total about 4.3 micro-Curies per ton13. Thus, combustion of 5,100 million tons of coal in 1991 released about 22,000 Curies of radioactivity that year alone. Since one Curie equals 3.7 x 1010 nuclear disintegrations each second, this quantity of radioactivity is quite large. Integrated over the century in question, coal combustion is predicted to release at least 480,000 Ci of radioactivity in the US and more than 2.7 million Curies world-wide by the year 2037.

    Table 2 summaries a US Dept.. of Commerce study conducted in 1975 that compared stack emissions from three types of coal fired utilities14. Exhausted fly ash ranged from 2.9 million lbs/year from the electrostatic precipitator station studied to 97 million lbs/year from a cyclone type plant burning lignite coal. Most US power plants are modern with facilities to minimize release of fly ash However, over time, increasing quantities of lignite are predicted to be burned due to reduction in reserves of higher grade coal. Lignite is a high moisture soft coal with constituent concentrations far exceeding higher grades at less than half the energy content.

    Modern electrostatic precipitator plants are capable of operating at greater than 99.5% collection efficiency but can still release 35 lb/year of uranium as just one component in almost 3 million tons of ash vented through stacks. In addition to this radiological species, all the radon in coal is released during combustion. An estimate for average Rn-222 release is about 2 Curies/year for each 1000 MWe coal fired facility15. Though much larger in total quantity, Radon-220 from the Thorium chain has a half-life of 55 seconds and may not make it out of the stack. Materials of all types not exhausted up the stack are collected in ash ponds and waste areas at the facility.

    Coal fired electric power utilities are generally in close proximity to large population centers. Thus, exposures to the surrounding populace can be far higher than from equivalent nuclear power plants, by a factor of 100 as shown in one study16. The quantity of coal required to produce 1000 MWe, about 4 million tons each year, contains about 0.22 tons of the radioisotope K-40. Integrating over the century between 1937 and 2037 indicates that millions of Curies of long-lived radioactive isotopes in the uranium and thorium series, along with potassium-40, will be added to the biosphere by the later date. Quantities of radiological species released beyond the year 2037 are bounded only by the quantity of coal burned.

    Most of the exposure to human beings from natural radioactivity is caused by the mobility of radon. Radon found in the atmosphere is produced largely from the uranium-238 series (Fig. 3) as radioisotope Rn-222. The effects of radon are said to range from insignificant (Beck, et al. Ref. 12) to significant. Bernard Cohen at the University of Pittsburgh compares coal power with nuclear power saying, “If one considers the very long-term effects of radiotoxicity, coal burning is a major killer and nuclear power is a major lifesaver.”16

    Because radon isotopes result from radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, the quantity of radon in the atmosphere increases with increased combustion. One consequence of radon in the biosphere is the increase of radioactive daughters such as those detected in consumer products.  For example, radon decay radioisotopes of bismuth, lead and polonium have been detected in tobacco smoke. The dose rate to smokers produced by this radioactivity has been estimated for 1 .5 pack/day cigarette smokers to range from 1,300 milli-rem/year to 16,000 milli-rem/year17. The first figure is almost 4 times greater than the total whole body dose rate from natural background radiation. The latter figure is over 44 times greater.

    For comparison, the maximum exposure from ionizing radiation for nuclear industry workers permitted by DOE guidelines is 5000 mill-rem/year. Current nuclear industry guidelines using the philosophy of “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” (ALARA) have targeted no more than 500 milli-rem/year dose rate per worker. Thus, the 1.5 pack/day smokers among the approximately 50 million smokers in the US willingly expose sensitive portions of their bodies to at least 2.6 times ALARA goals and perhaps 32 times the exposure permitted nuclear industry workers.

    Table 3 illustrates the naturally occurring radioactive decay chains of uranium and thorium. The quantities of each isotope at any time are functions of original quantities and time since release. Note that radiotoxicity is, generally, associated with half-life. The shorter the half-life, the higher the radiotoxicity. For example, radium-224 originating in the thorium chain is more radiotoxic than radium-226 originating in the thorium-238 chain, and both isotopes are more radiotoxic than plutonium-239. Even though more radiotoxic than plutonium, note that EPA’s assessments of the radiological aspects of coal combustion have concluded that health risks are minimal.

    More Considerations

    Not only does coal contain vast quantities of untapped energy, It also contains similarly vast quantities of useful metals. IAEA data lists aluminum concentration in coal at 26,400 ppm. Thus, worldwide flow of aluminum with the coal produced in 1991 was more than 136.6 million tons that year alone. Magnesium? At 3,419 ppm, in excess of 17.4 million tons of this metal were also in the coal flow streams that year, along with 6.3 million tons of titanium (1,242 ppm), 232,000 tons of vanadium (45.5 ppm) and other useful elements that were simply exhausted as coal waste, whether useful or harmful.

    The latter group includes arsenic, cadmium, mercury, selenium, zinc and other elements in a variety of molecular forms. Based on lAEA data, global additions of these elements via coal combustion during 1991 were 25,500 tons of arsenic, 2,040 tons of cadmium, more than 5,000 tons of mercury, 23,200 tons of selenium, 34,700 tons of zinc and so on for each element in coal.

    Adding release quantities for 100 years of steadily increasing coal combustion indicates that a broad range of exhaust constituents go well beyond atmospheric warming, acid rain and ozone depletion, such as the addition of 3.2 million tons of arsenic predicted to be added to the biosphere during that time.

  • Gerard71gerard

    I had hoped 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

    Who’s free market are you talking about? Certainly one cannot call
    America a Free Market for energy. Free markets all around the world are
    investing in and have already built and insured Generation IV Fast
    Reactors. These reactors are far more efficient, meltdown-proof, an use
    as fuel nuclear waste left over from Generation II and III Light Water
    reactors.

    America has historically been the biggest market
    consumer of Big Fossil fuels like oil, coal, etc. Big Fossils have been
    able to manipulate the American market, lobby our government to
    manipulate licensing regulations, and conspire with their Big Banker and
    Big Insurer friends in order to prevent any competition against Big
    Fossils in America. What happened to the electric car in the 1970′s, or
    electric street cars in most cities, or the Solar Panels on the White
    House?
    With the economic momentum in America behind Big Fossils, it
    is a no-brainer who is behind difficulty for new nuclear to get
    investors in Generation IV Fast Breeder reactors.

    D.S., your
    argument is plain wrong. If you were right, then no free market in the
    world would be able to develop Generation IV nuclear. However,
    hypocritically enough German and American energy corporations ARE
    designing, building and selling both Generation III & IV nuclear
    reactor technology around the world. While Generation IV reactor
    technology has been commercially repressed to benefit Big Fossils in 
    America, other countries are leaving america in the dust. Russia, India,
    China, South Africa, France, and many other countries are already
    bringing Generation IV Fast Breeder technology to the international
    marketplace, and developing very significant safe nuclear energy
    national programs for energy independence from Big Fossils. The lack of
    investment in Gen IV nuclear in America is because the American market
    IS NOT FREE. Generation IV nuclear energy is safe, insurable, and very
    profitable in countries wise enough and educated enough to do what is
    right.

    Many people think nuclear waste and potential meltdowns
    are by definition the flaws with nuclear energy. However, these risks
    only come from Generation II and III reactor designs used in America. We
    have been stuck with this approach; called Light Water Reactors for the
    last 60 years in America. This technology was supposed to be replaced
    with Generation IV fast reactors in the 1970′s. Generation IV reactors
    eat our nuclear waste as fuel, and are so designed that the fuel cannot
    melt down. Given that our 770,000 tons of Spent Nuclear Fuel and
    Depleted Uranium could generate enough energy to replace the burning of 9
    trillion barrels of oil, America could realize abundant cheap energy if
    Generation IV Fast Reactors were commercialized. Big Fossil also stands
    to lose profits equal to 9,000,000,000 barrels of oil sold to the
    American market If Generation IV reactors replace Gen III. This can be
    the only REAL reason why America is not reaping the benefits of
    Generation IV reactors.

    Ironically, America has had a good
    history of research into Fast Reactors for commercial energy production.
    We have been in the lead with the Integral Fast Reactor, Experimental
    Breeder Reactors I and II, Traveling Wave Reactor, etc. All of these
    designs have proven to be immune to the meltdown type accidents like
    Fukushima and Chernobyl. These reactors do not melt down when coolant
    flow is lost, or when coolant is lost. They consume nuclear waste, as
    opposed to producing it. wiki the topic.

    Isn’t it hypocritical to
    claim that lack of government funding or commercial backing and
    insurance behind new nuclear is somehow indicative of problems  nuclear
    has while at the same time Big Oil, Coal, and Gas all receive tremendous
    Government Subsidies, Tax Breaks, etc, etc? Maybe the reason there is
    little banker or insurer backing is because the Big Banker and Insurer
    Money is in bed with the Big Fossil money in America.

    Also,
    please note several American corporations DO BELEIVE GENERATION IV
    reactors to be profitable, insurable, and safe enough to fine buying
    markets around the world. So do Japanese, French, German (Siemens),
    Indian, Chinese, Canadian, South African corporations find Generation IV
    technology worth developing and marketing around the world. Indeed,
    Galena Alaska plans to have a Fast Generation IV reactor installed as
    their electric plant, sold to them by Toshiba; a design called the 4s.

    Except
    for closed, rigged, and manipulated markets such as the Big Fossil
    American market, Generation IV Fast Breeder Reactors are catching on
    world wide. These designs are Green; they get rid of our nuclear waste
    (>99%), reduces radioactivity from >100,000 years to <400
    years, cannot melt down like Fukushima, and with just the American
    supply of SNF and DU, we would have enough energy for centuries.
    Further, this energy could stimulate our economy and make viable huge
    infrastructure investment in an efficient grid, wind, and solar.

    Demand
    Sider seems to know very little about Gen. IV nuclear energy; or is
    invested in Big Fossil in America. Perhaps American arrogance blinds
    some people as to how far behind and backwards our energy policy is.
    After a decade of war in Iraq, and a decade of manipulated Oil costs and
    associated recession, America needs to invest in every kind of
    non-fossil fuels as it can. Our competitors realize how beneficial
    Generation IV Fast Reactors are. It is dangerous to ignore this new
    technology. We will be left increasingly dependent on Fossils and Fossil
    Fuel related warfare to keep our economy going; an unethical and
    war-prone policy.

    Finally, America has a responsability to do
    something intelligent with its 770,000 tons of nuclear waste left over
    from our Generation II and III reactors.
    As one of the biggest
    burners of fossil fuels in the world, our pollution damages the rest of
    the world. Are we so irresponsible, greedy, and ignorant enough to let
    Big Fossils continue to manipulate our energy policy and economy when we
    have centuries worth of process heat and electricity waiting to be
    generated from our nuclear waste stockpile by Generation IV nuclear; a
    technology many countries DO HAVE THE FREE MARKET AND INTELLIGENCE to
    COMMERCIALIZE?

  • Gerard71gerard

    The Green party has been doing work of Big Fossils. Eco-friendly
    organizations have increasingly turned people against nuclear by raising
    fears of the radiation released by operating Light Water Reactors,
    leading to freezes on upgrading nuclear technology and backing for
    cleaner greener nuclear advances. Further, by hyping minute releases of
    radiation, profitable reactors forced to reduce production, or undergo
    politically motivated shut down periods, drive up costs. These costs
    would have been avoided if Big Fossils were not behind the hysteria and
    political lobbyists driving up costs of nuclear.
    By using the
    radiation released by from properly functioning Light Water Reactors as
    an excuse to down nuclear energy, one misses two important points.
    Radiation released from Light Water Reactors is indistinguishable from
    background radiation. This is enforced by the NRC. However, any Coal
    fired power plant also releases radiation in the form of uranium and
    thorium. IF Coal and Oil power plants were kept to the same strict
    nuclear emissions standards applied to Light Water Reactors, most
    (all?)  Coal fired plants and many oil plants would have to be shut
    down.

     The “unprofitable” argument fails for another serious
    reason. 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.

    Overall strategy of Big Fossils is to politically and economically strangle nuclear competition.

  • Gerard71gerard

    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.

    Without
    Generation IV designs, you have to transition directly from fossils to
    wind solar etc. The problem with this is it leaves us burning the
    remaining fossil fuels, fighting over remaining fossil fuels, and push
    Global Warming further along.

  • Gerard71gerard

    Dole means doing and learning nothing while getting paid by the govt.

    People who work as scientists are neither learning nothing nor doing nothing.
    A
    few centuries of burning fossil fuels have shown that with a certain
    frequency billions of peoples’ own bodies become uninhabitable as
    cancer, copd, emphysema, asthma, mercury poisoning take over.

    Are you a Big Fossil on the Big Fossil Dole?