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Nuclear After Japan: Amory Lovins

As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror--radioactive fallout--some truths known for 40 years bear repeating.

An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors. The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can't contain 90% of meltdowns. The U.S. has 6 identical and 17 very similar plants.

Every currently operating light-water reactor, if deprived of power and cooling water, can melt down. Fukushima had eight-hour battery reserves, but fuel has melted in three reactors. Most U.S. reactors get in trouble after four hours. Some have had shorter blackouts. Much longer ones could happen.

Overheated fuel risks hydrogen or steam explosions that damage equipment and contaminate the whole site--so clustering many reactors together (to save money) can make failure at one reactor cascade to the rest.

Nuclear power is uniquely unforgiving: as Swedish Nobel physicist Hannes Alfvén said, "No acts of God can be permitted." Fallible people have created its half-century history of a few calamities, a steady stream of worrying incidents, and many near-misses. America has been lucky so far. Had Three Mile Island's containment dome not been built double-strength because it was under an airport landing path, it may not have withstood the 1979 accident's hydrogen explosion. In 2002, Ohio's Davis-Besse reactor was luckily caught just before its massive pressure-vessel lid rusted through.

Regulators haven't resolved these or other key safety issues, such as terrorist threats to reactors, lest they disrupt a powerful industry. U.S. regulation is not clearly better than Japanese regulation, nor more transparent: industry-friendly rules bar the American public from meaningful participation. Many presidents' nuclear boosterism also discourages inquiry and dissent.

Nuclear-promoting regulators inspire even less confidence. The International Atomic Energy Agency's 2005 estimate of about 4,000 Chernobyl deaths contrasts with a rigorous 2009 review of 5,000 mainly Slavic-language scientific papers the IAEA overlooked. It found deaths approaching a million through 2004, nearly 170,000 of them in North America. The total toll now exceeds a million, plus a half-trillion dollars' economic damage. The fallout reached four continents, just as the jet stream could swiftly carry Fukushima fallout.

Fukushima I-4's spent fuel alone, while in the reactor, had produced (over years, not in an instant) more than a hundred times more fission energy and hence radioactivity than both 1945 atomic bombs. If that already-damaged fuel keeps overheating, it may melt or burn, releasing into the air things like cesium-137 and strontium-90, which take several centuries to decay a millionfold. Unit 3's fuel is spiked with plutonium, which takes 482,000 years.

Nuclear power is the only energy source where mishap or malice can kill so many people so far away; the only one whose ingredients can help make and hide nuclear bombs; the only climate solution that substitutes proliferation, accident, and high-level radioactive waste dangers. Indeed, nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection.

Here's how. Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings ("cogeneration"), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world's 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13%, reversing their 2000 shares)--and made over 90% of the 2007-08 increase in global electricity production.

Those smarter choices are sweeping the global energy market. Half the world's new generating capacity in 2008 and 2009 was renewable. In 2010, renewables, excluding big hydro dams, won $151 billion of private investment and added over 50 billion watts (70% the total capacity of all 23 Fukushima-style U.S. reactors) while nuclear got zero private investment and kept losing capacity. Supposedly unreliable windpower made 43-52% of four German states' total 2010 electricity. Non-nuclear Denmark, 21% windpowered, plans to get entirely off fossil fuels. Hawai'i plans 70% renewables by 2025.

In contrast, of the 66 nuclear units worldwide officially listed as "under construction" at the end of 2010, 12 had been so listed for over 20 years, 45 had no official startup date, half were late, all 66 were in centrally planned power systems--50 of those in just four (China, India, Russia, South Korea)--and zero were free-market purchases. Since 2007, nuclear growth has added less annual output than just the costliest renewable--solar power --and will probably never catch up. While inherently safe renewable competitors are walloping both nuclear and coal plants in the marketplace and keep getting dramatically cheaper, nuclear costs keep soaring, and with greater safety precautions would go even higher. Tokyo Electric Co., just recovering from $10-20 billion in 2007 earthquake costs at its other big nuclear complex, now faces an even more ruinous Fukushima bill.

Since 2005, new U.S. reactors (if any) have been 100+% subsidized--yet they couldn't raise a cent of private capital, because they have no business case. They cost 2-3 times as much as new windpower, and by the time you could build a reactor, it couldn't even beat solar power. Competitive renewables, cogeneration, and efficient use can displace all U.S. coal power more than 23 times over--leaving ample room to replace nuclear power's half-as-big-as-coal contribution too--but we need to do it just once. Yet the nuclear industry demands ever more lavish subsidies, and its lobbyists hold all other energy efforts hostage for tens of billions in added ransom, with no limit.

Japan, for its size, is even richer than America in benign, ample, but long-neglected energy choices. Perhaps this tragedy will call Japan to global leadership into a post-nuclear world. And before America suffers its own Fukushima, it too should ask, not whether unfinanceably costly new reactors are safe, but why build any more, and why keep running unsafe ones. China has suspended reactor approvals. Germany just shut down the oldest 41% of its nuclear capacity for study. America's nuclear lobby says it can't happen here, so pile on lavish new subsidies.

A durable myth claims Three Mile Island halted U.S. nuclear orders. Actually they stopped over a year before--dead of an incurable attack of market forces. No doubt when nuclear power's collapse in the global marketplace, already years old, is finally acknowledged, it will be blamed on Fukushima. While we pray for the best in Japan today, let us hope its people's sacrifice will help speed the world to a safer, more competitive energy future.

This essay is the first in Inside NOVA's Nuclear After Japan, a series of essays presenting different viewpoints on Japan's nuclear crisis and its impact on the future of nuclear energy. It posted with the permission of RMI. Read other articles in this series.

For more on Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, watch the premiere of the original one-hour documentary Japan's Killer Quake, which premieres Wednesday, March 30 at 9pm on most PBS stations and will be streaming online after that date. NOVA will also investigate the future of alternative and renewable energy, including nuclear, in Power Surge, premiering Wednesday April 20 at 9 pm. Please check your local listings to confirm when these programs will air near you.

User Comments:

Idealism is fine, but we are dealing with people and their desire for insatiable demands of a wide spectrum of resources, including electricity. Lovins is employed and presumably financially secure so he thinks we all fit his idea of society, but many millions of us don't conform to his paradigm. While issues of nuclear energy are forefront and pertinent because of fear of a disaster at a reactor many of us worry more about where the next dollar and mouthful will come from. An element of realism in the energy debate must consider the economics not only of building and sustaining energy resources, but in providing enough jobs to keep us from living in the street without any need for electrical energy. The dream of renewables relies heavily on the current non-green power sources, and until there is a cataclysmic shift in public opinion all the nice talk in the world will not overcome the capitalistic control over the economic viability of alternative energy sources. Politicians will not stand up until the pendulum of fear swings well away from nuclear, coal, gas and oil to tidal, geothermal and other uneconomic green energy resources. Investors in a democracy will not throw their money at idealistic solutions, but want to know that they will get a return on their investment. In a totalitarian regime a sustainable renewable program would be simple to implement.

Jobs may be available in the future in the renewable energy industry, but the lack of training to obtain skills and knowledge is currently a huge obstacle not being addressed by a society that fails to consider education and teachers worthy of attention. The debate should be more about education than about the fear and consequences of a catastrophe, and whether we will soon see the end of nuclear energy.

=== Glennan, T. K -- Editorial -- Reactor Science and Technology Vol 2 No
3 -- October 1952

Editorial

For those of us who look forward to the day when American industry will no longer be the hired hand of government in atomic energy affairs but will assume a role of equal responsibility this issue of Reactor Science and Technology strikes a hopeful note. I would prefer to use the stronger adjective promising, but I fear it would ill serve the future progress of the industrial participation program to appear overly optimistic at this stage. Formidable problems must be overcome before the seeds already sewn can bear fruit. Yet when we compare these problems to those which have been solved thus far in the atomic energy program, we have reason to believe that given faith, time, sustained effort, money and patience, the goal of industrial nuclear power can be achieved.

The Atomic Energy Commission and its staff, during its early stewardship of the program, speculated at length on ways of bringing industry into the atomic energy picture on a more realistic basis, consistent with our normal competitive private enterprise economy. It remained however for Dr. Charles A Thomas, then Executive Vice-President of Monsanto Chemical Co., to crystallize this thought into a definite, concrete proposal. On June 20, 1950, Dr. Thomas sent the Commission a letter, stating that he believed the time was ripe for industry, with its own capital, to design, construct and operate reactors for the production of plutonium and power. This suggestion was based on the following assumptions: that the long-term military requirements for plutonium exceeded the then existing and planned production facilities; that it would be desirable to reduce the cost of existing and planned production facilities; that it would be desirable to reduce the cost of this metal to the government; that it would likewise be desirable to make use of the large quantities of heat attending the production of plutonium and not being utilized under existing conditions; and, finally, that the most nearly practicable use of such heat would be for the generation of useful quantities of electric power. It was Dr. Thomas's contention that the program he envisaged would accomplish these objectives and, at the same time, would offer industry an opportunity to contribute to the reactor program directly and to earn a profit which could be related to the effort put forth.

Meantime a second proposal, rather similar in objective to the Monsanto approach, had been received from the officers of the Dow Chemical Co. and the Detroit Edison Company. The Commission addressed itself to a serious consideration of these suggestions and arrived at a basis on which it was willing to support the study phase of such programs. A public announcement was issued by the Commission on Jan 28, 1951, setting forth the general policy which had guided the consideration of these propositions and opening the door for further proposals from qualified groups. It was emphasized that in agreeing to such studies the Commission was not entering into any commitment to continue beyond the study phase. This public notice elicited further interest, and on May 16, 1951, it was announced that a maximum of four industrial study groups would be considered for the initial program. By early June agreements had been signed with the four groups, and the studies which are digested in the following pages had been set in motion. A maximum period of one year was permitted for the study. Under terms of the agreement, the contracting parties were to carry out a survey and study of the Commission's reactor development activities: (1) to determine the engineering feasibility of their designing, constructing and operating a materials- and power- producing reactor; (2) to examine the economic and technical aspects of building this reactor in the next few years; (3) to determine the research and development work needed, if any, before such a reactor project could be undertaken; and (4) to offer recommendations in a report to the Commission concerning such a reactor project and industry's role in undertaking it and carrying it out. So much for the background involved. What do these studies show?

It would be futile in this space to attempt an assessment of the conclusions reached. However a few points do seem to warrant comment. First, the sophistication and engineering excellence of these reports stand as a real tribute to the scientists and engineers associated with the Commission's reactor program. Because of their efforts, a wealth of technological data was available, enabling the study groups to move rapidly on their assignment.

Second, all parties concur in the belief that dual- purpose reactors are technically feasible and could be operated in such a fashion that the power credit would reduce the cost of plutonium by a considerable amount. Conversely, all groups agree that no reactor could be constructed in the very near future which would be economic on the basis of power generation alone. The significance of these conclusions should not be overlooked. They imply that there now exists a basis for the creation of semirisk industrial nuclear- power enterprise while the military demand for plutonium continues. In pointing up the many paths by which one can approach this goal, it is interesting to note that each of the groups settled on a different reactor type as holding the greatest promise from the group's particular point of view.

As a final comment on the reports, it should be noted that all four groups wish to continue their efforts into a second phase. This would seem to represent a vote of confidence in nuclear power. Were this concept of a dual-purpose reactor devoid of substance, it hardly seems likely that all parties would continue to show interest in further association with the field.

This now brings us to the vital question: Where do we go from here? As this journal goes to press the problem is being debated by the Commission. No final decision has been reached. Certainly the time is not yet appropriate for a final answer. The second phase of this program, although intended for prosecution at a more specific engineering level and with somewhat greater effort, will still be operating at a relatively low rate of expenditure. It is when we move into phase three, that is, make commitments for the actual design and construction of a specific reactor, that weighty financial decisions must be made. Still it is not too early to start facing these future questions. Among the more critical seem to be the following:

1. Can and will the Commission permit private industry to construct, own and operate a dual- purpose reactor with the electric power generated therefrom to be sold and distributed by a private- investment-owned company?

2. Can and will the Commission make available to private industry the fuel needed for the initial operation of such a reactor and give assurances that continued operation will not be interrupted or curtailed by government order?

3. Can and will the Commission establish a price policy and a contract that will provide for the purchase of the products of a reactor in order that such projects will be economically feasible in the near future?

4. What will be the policy of the Commission on the issue of patents and licenses?

A multitude of other factors also must be considered, such as preferential position, adequate security measures, suitable safety precautions, public liability, and international relations. None of these problems admits to an easy solution.. If such were the case, this whole matter would have been solved long ago because many able minds have thought long and hard on these points.

That difficulties are involved, however, cannot be used as an excuse to ignore or side-step this pressing issue. The declaration of policy in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 places on us a responsibility that cannot be evaded. This policy states that "subject at all times to the paramount objective of assuring the common defense and security, the development and utilization of atomic energy shall, so far as practicable, be directed toward improving the public welfare, increasing the standard of living, strengthening free competition in private enterprise, and promoting world peace. It is by no means certain that "assuring the common defense and security" is completely achieved solely through the ever increasing stock piles of nuclear weapons.

T Keith Glennan
Atomic Energy Commission

============= other items in the issue of RS&T, from the table of contents
=

Monsanto Chemical Company - Union Electric Company: Plutonium-Power Reactor Feasability Study [page 9]

Commonwealth Edison - Public Service Company: Report on Power Generation Using Nuclear Energy [page 29]

Pacific Gas and Electric Company - Bechtel Corporation: Industrial Reactor Study [page 81]

Dow Chemical Company - Detroit Edison Company: Study of Materials-and Power-Producing Reactors [pp105 - 114]

Excellent article. It is important that people realize that nuclear energy is the most expensive dangerous form of energy on the planet and all nuclear plants currently being built are simply a misuse of public funds and tax dollars. Nuclear power can't compete with renewable technologies like solar and wind.
Rand Paul recently proposed a federal budget that would end subsidies to nuclear power plants. Without subsidies and liability waivers nuclear plants will go the way of the dodo bird. This is a very good thing. Why spend more money to have dangerous power sources when you can spend less and have safe power sources?
Support Rand Pauls federal budget, for a cleaner healthier tomorrow.

RE letter from Linda: "Idealism is fine, but we are dealing with people and their desire for insatiable demands of a wide spectrum of resources, including electricity."

Linda, you present a red herring argument. A slower, closer reading of the article would have made this clear. The reason Amory Lovins' many decades of work in the energy field has been so productive and effective has been due to the fact that his proposals are market-based, fiscally prudent, people-focused, highly cost-effective, with win-win-win outcomes for customers, utility shareholders, and society-at-large. A clear example of Lovins-in-practice has existed in California for 3 decades, where the California Public Utility Commission's comprehensive integrated resource planning methodology requires ranking all the options (supply expansion and end-use efficiency) for delivering electricity, natural gas and water utility services according to least-cost and least-risk. End-use efficiency gains turned out to be 5 to 10 times less expensive than fossil or nuclear supply options.

Has the President seen this? Someone needs to get this sort of info in front of Obama's nose and that of his aides. One would hope that they would look at it and consider the consequences of their current policies.

@Sky "It is important that people realize that nuclear energy is the most expensive dangerous form of energy on the planet..."

Coal power has killed more people than nuclear power has and continues to do so. Since coal also is the worst in creating greenhouse gases, it has the potential, unless we do something soon, to exterminate human civilization, maybe even the species, by way of runaway warming.

We are an energy expensive species just by counting the calories we need.

I think we would all like to see wind, solar, and geothermal take over all of our power generation needs. We should certainly get solar and wind on our roofs, off the coasts, and on mountain tops. However, we still need to fix the grid and get over the storage and land use obstacles. Renewables will not be able to create main stay power here in the east.

Wind and solar should not use land that might otherwise be used to grow food. As the west turns to wind blown dune filled desert dust bowl, we are going to need all available land in the east and near the lakes to grow food. Real estate in the eastern US will become extremely expensive.

Nuclear does not take up as much land. In the east, where the demand for power is high and the land limited, nuclear becomes a more financially attractive option.

The technology is there to make nuclear safer. What is needed is regulation and oversight by commercially independent organizations to make sure the utilities don't take short cuts in design, construction, and operation.

I would like to see a world without carbon combustion or nuclear, someday, but it will be a while yet to get there. Our goal should be to get rid of coal and oil combustion ASAP. We may have to use nuclear more until the rest of our power grid, wind, solar, infrastructure is developed.

This is EXACTLY the mindset that fossil fuel (and nuclear...they are really the same) folks pay alot of money to ensure continues. As an architect and planner as well as progressive energy analyst this stuff is NOT hard to implement and relatively in expensive (when you consider that a SINGLE nuclear power plant requires about 12 billion to build).

As far as nuke = green. Forget it. Nuclear is only carbon free if you negate all facets of the mining, enriching, construction of the plants and the disposal of the spent fuel. This logic of carbon-free energy and nuclear power is a red herring. And please feel free to Google where one attains fuel (i.e plutonium & uranium), you'll see that securing that resource availablility has as many if not more than fossil fuels.

And for the record. These fuels are NOT renewable. not rapidly or otherwise.

Feel free to Google the costs of public subsidy as well for all these energy industries in the US INCLUDING the cost of healthcare needs related to the burning, extraction, and refining of these energy resources and you will soon learn "affordability" is in the EYE of the beholder (or receiver of subsidy for that matter).

Add cost of public agencies that must clean up sites (feel free to inquire about how easy it is to actually get industry to clean its own messes up).

Naysayers as yourself (and you are FAR from alone) empower and enable the fossil fuel lobby to grind a halt to the renewable industry that will have the higher yielding job security over the next 25 years (and beyond).

There are two ways to deal with this inevitable energy collapse. Prepare ahead of time and ready the industries, public, and infrastructure NOW or simply wait until later.

It always COSTS more later.

Amory,

I'm sorry, but while I have a tremendous respect for you and some of your ideas (cars with light weight carbon fiber bodies, for example) you're just plain wrong on some of your points in this article. Your mistake about nuclear being the most dangerous form of energy generation has already been debunked.

Here's another mistake you make ... renewables such as solar, wind, and even geothermal will never be adequate to supply what the energy companies refer to as baseload power. They might get us to 50% of what we need (maybe), and we should definitely do that, but there's only one carbon emission free source of the kind of baseload power we need for the future ... and that's nuclear.

Kevin

From my point of view, the man on the street, my perception is that no form of energy production can be fully ignored. Each one needs continued effort to exploit at the proper time. Nonproductive argument on how the research and implementation part of the economic pie should be divided to edge out any the ways of developing power is self defeating.

Granted Nuclear energy has its problems but its development can't be ignored for all times. Alternate or Greene sources are currently the quickest, less risky, and perhaps even cheapest avenues to exploit. The traditional ways of generating energy, and yes by the way my neighbor still heats his home by burning old fashioned wood, have established infrastructures that run very deep. We can't live without those in the near future. The real problem is how do you put an incorruptible system in place that's both competent and unbiased that will make the decisions on how the economic pie should be divided up? In the past a National energy policy as been touted as the way forward but has it worked well enough? Even if a national policy is perfectly implemented it's obvious that energy requirements and attendant problems have become a global issue in nature and a national policy, even a perfect one, will naturally seek its own interests first.

A unbiased policy that encompasses as many nations as possible that will summon the will to cooperate despite hardship, ceaseless effort involved, and constant vigilance to the highest possible standard seems to me to be the best possible way to move forward.

Many of the worlds current conflicts and enduring problems have been about energy. National will and expansionism have constituted the others. It seems to me as an inhabited world we've come to a crossroads where we still have time to work out the problems that will allow us all to survive or can allow that time to slip by and continue fighting until none do...

Why are we arguing about money? Can we produce safe nuclear power or not? There is no question we will be generating nuclear power for awhile. There is no question something will go wrong. It is abundantly clear the experts are not as good as they think they are. As it stands now they are playing with the future of Japan and to some extent the world. If the response to nuclear accidents is as bad as the track record appears, then we need to consider that rather than money as the criteria for whether or not we continue to use it. Right now Radio-logic pollution continues to issue forth from these reactors. The designers and engineers have no realistic idea what to do about it. If money is the reason the reactors were not designed to handle this contingency we should not build them. If not we should not allow nuclear experts to build them. If they do not bury it soon we will be dealing with this problem for millennia.
I guess it may have a good side if we are interested in alien contact. We have a semi-permanent beacon letting them know where we are. I just hope they don't mistake it for a nuclear waste dump.


How many tragedies do we need to experience to get the message that zero risk is better than low risk? The bias of "low risk" is obvious, since it comes from those interested in nuclear energy.

What the author’s describing is effectively the Columbia-effect – “if nothing bad has happened, then it must be safe”. As President Andrew Jackson said, “Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority” – as Ed Viesturs (mountaineer) said, “A mistake is a mistake, even if you get away with it”.

Just because we haven’t had a Fukushima here in the U.S. doesn’t mean we haven’t come close, or we won’t in the future, or that we’re immune to it.

I applaud Amory Lovins and RMI for his efforts.

I really appreciate seeing Amory Lovins' rational analysis of how uncompetitive nuclear power is economically, and how energy efficiency and alterative sources are making a substantial contribution in meeting energy needs. Amory Lovins has been pointing out a safer, saner, better path to our energy future for more than three decades; it is time we listened. It is unfortunate that what seems to bring public attention to the inherent risks of nuclear power and its unfavorable economic realities is a crisis such as what is happening in Japan.

excellent analysis ...no one else that I know of has pointed out that Japan's potential for wind and wave utilization could eliminat ethe need for nuclear power

I share Amory's idealism. He hasn't changed in the nearly 50 years I've known him. But I recently attended a conference on energy use in the US and China and discovered that China is pushing heavily on nuclear and coal (in addition to closing dirty coal plants) and other forms of energy generation in order to support their economic growth needs.

In the US Amory would suggest that our economy is fully mature, hence we can effectively exploit "negawatts".

Renewables such as wind and solar are not counted by bureaucrats because they (correctly) are not reliable sources of energy.

Well, without resorting to nitpicking various points of others commenting - Praises to all for giving this serious thought and caring enough to post a comment.
When we talk about solving climate change, we need to think more strategically. Arresting climate change does not necessarily mean being completely fossil-fuel free, and certainly in the short term we won't have a widespread substitute for our fossil fuel infrastructure everywhere we need it for at least several years, and maybe decades, depending on whether we develop a coherent energy policy or not. But we can certainly get our carbon output down significantly in the short term, through a combination of both end-use and generation efficiency. End-use efficiency is generally understood, at least in concept, but generation efficiency is often ignored. The average electrical generation efficiency in the US is 33% (in other words 67% of the fuel input ends up as waste heat, discharged to atmosphere or bodies of water). The best current technology for new power plants has electrical efficiencies of 48% or even a few % higher. Retooling of existing plants can usually achieve at least 1/2 this improvement, even with solid fuel (e.g. coal). Cogeneration (where waste heat is captured and used productively) has fuel-to-energy output efficiencies of 70-80%+ and the opportunities in urban centers and industrial plants have only barely been tapped. Finally, conversion from coal to lower-carbon fuels does a lot to buy time for a low-carbon electrical system to be built out.
I'll add one more thought for consideration - if we subsidized energy storage research as much as we subsidize nuclear power, the problem of integrating intermittent sources like solar, wind and tidal energy into the grid would be solved faster than you can build a nuclear power plant.

I agree Sky, that nuclear energy is not the way to go. It is kept,for the most part, from the public how expensive nuclear waste is to maintain and dispose of, this is aside from the danger that if the inevitable occurs (hopefully not as disasterous as the meltdown in Japan,still pending) it takes hundreds of thousands of years for the nuclear waste from the meltdown to degrade and become safe again. The water, soil and housing in the area will be ruined forever (I say forever since 800,000 years is a long time). This is not to mention the loss of life that doesn't have to occur. I am not for oil but although the marine life and job loss was tremedous from the last oil spill, it will not ruin the land forever and didn't cause as much of loss of life. It could have been prevented. If we are to run nuclear plants you have to build based on the maximum earthquake that can happen not what they think will happen which to me is a 10.0 if you never want it to happen. Also, without earthquakes the 3 mile island, almost melted down without a natural disaster. They are not safe. It isn't worth the danger. I am glad If Ron Paul is against nuclear power but I have yet to see that statement. Sarah Palin was for nuclear plants and she and Ron Paul are of similar minds to me in that the Tea party was origianlly the Libertarian party with Ron Paul as the head. Now, they call themselves the Tea Party (which is really on the ballot as the Republican party). I am confused but we can agree on an anti-nuclear stand. As for the comments about jobs, nuclear power won't give you a job and also your electric bill won't be lower (the power companies and lobbyists get the kick back from the money saved if any, not us). So, for the few jobs we generate from renewable energy, perhaps the politicians can vote on a bill to fund people's training these fields. I know, as a scientist, that I could easily be cross-trained . The biotech industry has lost lots of jobs here in California so it would be good for the job loss here. I know we need more, but nuclear isn't the answer.
thank you,
mkh9

Dr. Lovins, thank you for this article, the Rocky Mountain Institute and your life's direction and work. You are a vital and driving force to helping us live while protecting our human friendly environment. I look forward to reading Reinventing Fire.

Len, electrical power storage is an exciting subject. One technology that interests me (can't wait to see a pilot) is http://www.isentropic.co.uk/index.php?page=storage .

I see that they are having problems sealing the crack in the reactor and I recently read something interesting in the April 2011 Awake article entitled The sandcastle worm's glue and it says "It contains a unique set of proteins that when combined cause the glue to solidify under water - and Quickly!" further on it says "Researchers have made synthetic versions of the sandcastle worm's glue that have even greater strength than the original." the article is about surgeons finding solutions to fixing smaller bone fragments that are not practical for plates, pins etc. I was just wondering if it might be some help.

Is that David M Koch who underwrites Nova the same Koch who tried to destroy California's clean energy law?
Maybe that's why I don't expect to find anything intelligent on Nova, but only find this excellent essay buried here on the net.

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