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Moving Forward With Nuclear

ID 113779354 © Vaclav Volrab | Dreamstime.com

Nuclear gets a bad rap. The word elicits mental images of industrial dystopias—whole populations mangled by radiation living under permanently overcast skies. I may be too young and ignorant to really understand what exactly spoiled the energy’s reputation, but I imagine it was some combination of Chernobyl and the horrors of atom bombs. Whatever the case, nuclear makes people squirm, and that’s really too bad. 

I’m no expert, but I do listen to the experts, and they seem to be in agreement that nuclear, alongside renewables, is the only shot humanity has at mitigating climate change. The world's top climate scientists, from Dr. James Hansen to Dr. Kerry Emanuel, have demonstrated this time and time again. However, despite their good work, many of the world’s eco-warriors still haven’t gotten the message. 

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist from Sweden who boasts millions of followers on Instagram, seems to believe we must sacrifice our 21st century luxuries to save the planet. Hers is a viewpoint that’s been promoted since the 1970s by traditional environmental groups. Under close inspection, not only is it apparent that such a dream  is politically impossible, but it would actually be bad for the environment. Imagine what would happen to the air if everyone in your neighborhood started burning wood chips to keep warm this winter.

Across from the return to primacy types, are futurists who insist renewables represent salvation. AOC and her Green New Deal partners come to mind. They too, however, are wrong. Utility professionals know all too well the limitations of wind/solar when it comes to grid reliability. 

Luckily, a number of public intellectual heavy weights have thrown themselves into the debate on behalf of nuclear. Harvard polymath and best selling author Steven Pinker lobbied for the technology hard in his latest book, Enlightenment Now, and has since made it one of his top talking points. More recently, MIT researcher Andrew McAfee highlighted 4th gen nuclear’s promise in his book More From Less. Let’s hope their sound, evidence-based arguments eventually land.

Henry Craver's picture

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Discussions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 13, 2019 3:33 pm GMT

"Nuclear gets a bad rap."

Don't know if there's a more concise way to put it than that, Henry. Some of it is human nature - when we see news reports of "Black Swan" events like Chernobyl or Fukushima, it's natural to imagine they could happen anywhere or anytime; that invisible radiation released into the environment is far more dangerous than it truly is.

Similarly, we tend to diminish the hazards of what I'll call (for lack of a better term) "White Tiger" events, like climate change - ones which unfold over centuries, of incalculably greater danger to our environment and our descendants.

On Tuesday I'm hoping to make it to the screening of a documentary, The New Fire, about a generation of young engineers and entrepreneurs who recognize nuclear's potential for stopping climate change in its tracks. Like fire was hundreds of thousands of years ago, nuclear is a new source of energy with endless possibilities. Also like fire, it can be dangerous if used irresponsibly - leading me to wonder whether we, as a species, are smart and responsible enough to save ourselves from our own destruction. Your comments give me hope.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 15, 2019 1:35 pm GMT

The bad rap is well deserved and comes from 1. over promising and under delivering with respect to costs and timing of new projects 2. Denial of the waste issue 3. A few major catastrophic events 4. Stiff competition from rapidly developing technologies.

But who knows? The potential for nuclear nevertheless remains. 

 

 

 

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 15, 2019 1:47 pm GMT

Mark-- I'm curious if any of those four issues you cite are more overturnable than others, in your view. 

For example, the promise of SMRs might help overcome #1, and ideally the lessons we've learned from catastrophic events will help keep #3 down, but what are the outlooks on waste? And the competition will surely only get better-- so will that undercut any progress on #1?

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 15, 2019 2:05 pm GMT

Hi Matt- I'd love to see SMRs, or molten salt or, dare I hope, fusion, succeed.  A company in California seems to have a great handle on the waste issue. Ir's called Deep Isolation. I understand they have recently teamed up with Bechtel. I hope the government gets out of the way (Yucca) and the Nuclear industry has a good honest look.
 

For me the biggest hurdle is gaining public trust.  

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 15, 2019 2:46 pm GMT

It is wonderful to hear that someone seem to be getting on the process of the waste. That is highly needed. Let me hear when they are done with Hanford, Sellafield and the more than 250 documented wastelands (including those ones they do not like to talk about - in Congo, in Niger, in Kenya, ...) - then we can begin to discuss the new future of Nuclear. 

As long as we have totally corrupt and xenophobic leaders running atomic powered nations, we will not be able to trust a single nuclear power plant - as its owners are corrupt. 

It is in my view, Mark, very very positive the development happening on the new generations of Nuclear Power stations. It is very great what you write on the waste management. 

However - as we saw on Hanford - and other of these sites (ie. Russia has several such sites leaking their harmful waste directly into rivers leading to the Black Ocean) - what was thought to be safe containers - glass - polymers - stainless steel made of special alloys - becomes "soft" under the bombardment with radioactivity, and shows new properties which are unknown. Therefore - while it is great what they do with "Deep Isolation" - we cannot trust this technology until we have seen how their technology degrades over decades of Alpha, Beta, Gamma and other ray-bombardments...

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 16, 2019 6:02 am GMT

David, name one person who was harmed by waste at Hanford (you can't, because no one was).

Please. You can either succumb to your irrational fear of radiation, or you can understand it - up to you.

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 16, 2019 2:11 pm GMT

I agree that most of the concerns over the site radiation are overblown, but that doesn't mean it's been completely harmless and straightforward and there are of course always some levels of risk. 

For example:

During the past couple of decades, tanks workers have reported "nosebleeds, headaches, watery eyes, burning skin, contact dermatitis, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, coughing, sore throats, expectorating, dizziness and nausea," Ferguson said. "Several of these workers have long-term disabilities."

These are concerns to be taken seriously to ensure radiation does not become a greater issue. But to do so we can't pretend there are no risks or potential harms

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 17, 2019 4:51 am GMT

Matt, there is nothing in this list of symptoms which is consistent with radiation poisoning. Does the public think nuclear workers are idiots? That they aren't wearing radiation badges to confirm they aren't being exposed to dangerous levels?

Ferguson is a trial attorney who sees a lawsuit - a way to sue the federal government to make money. That's all. "Several of these workers have long term disabilities" - of course. 100% bullshit.

"...we can't pretend there are no risks or potential harms."

Instead, we should pretend there are plenty of risks, and potential harms...that's where the big money is.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 17, 2019 1:51 pm GMT

Of course the words of the attorneys involved have to be taken with a grain of salt, I certainly wouldn't deny that. But the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle of 'don't get anywhere near this stuff or you'll die' and 'there's absolutely no problem, I'd let my kids play in this stuff'!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 17, 2019 10:05 pm GMT

Matt, the truth about exposure to radiation is not a mystery, it's not "likely" this or that. It's well-understood, and the possibility of workers at Hanford developing radiation sickness or a cancerous tumor from radiation working in a monitored, controlled environment is far less than being exposed to toxic chemicals while there (which would also explain reported symptoms).

Not to diminish the potential dangers of exposure to ionizing radiation at all, but to put them in perspective. If you've flown anywhere recently on a commercial flight, for example, you were exposed to a far larger dose of radiation (>3µSv/hr) than someone working at Hanford, or even standing outside the front gates of Fukushima-Daiichi or Chernobyl (it's why pilots and flight attendants have an increased risk of cancer).

More than ever policy must be guided by understanding - not imagination.

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 23, 2019 5:55 pm GMT

Dear Bob, 

It is OK that you are a hardliner - "If you cannot prove it, strict proof, then there WAS never any disaster". 

Well, Bob. I do not live in USA, (thank God for that), and I do not have access to any records, as these are - naturally - hidden by the government. 

You, dear Bob, can continue pleading that Nuclear Power is innocent. I tend to think that you may not exist as a person, or, that your identity is borrowed from someone, because your argumentation appears like the argumentation by the Russian Trolls, and the argumentation we saw during Facebook's Advertisements - which were done by Cambridge Analytics. 

Mine is more simple, "Bob" - you have repetitively refused to read messages to you - and you are thundering on with your pretty wrong notion of that renewable has to do with Photovoltaic cells, rare metals, poisonous chemicals, while I have repetitively - I really mean - repetitively - made you aware of that the new Solar power does not at all use any (!) other materials than Glass, Steel, and Aluminium. 

You have systematically refused to address this, as it seem not to be convenient. Instead you ask me to document deaths - which are INEVITABLE - from the nuclear disasters and waste-storages. What when some of the tanks exploded? "Nobody got hurt"? 

So "Bob" - or who you actually are - I do not have any possibility to, either, verifying your credentials - I will give up responding to you - as you are - as Matt Chester said it - standing on "Your method".

I will not succumb to any fear of any radiation. I am pretty cool with radiation at its current levels. But you will suffer in one way or another from refusing to read and understand responses to you. That is your life, your choice. I rest my case. Live well, "Bob".

Sincerely

David Svarrer

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 16, 2019 5:55 am GMT

Mark, what waste issue? Spent nuclear fuel has been safely stored for over fifty years with no harm to people, plants, or animals.

The nuclear "waste" issue is an invention of irrational and unjustified fear. Climate change is not.
 

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 24, 2019 6:51 am GMT

Well. "Bob". I guess that your identity is just a mere foreign paid for "Internet Troll". How can a real human being in all honesty participate in a serious, professional energy forum like Energy Central and promote views like this?

For the other readers in this dialogue, a book "Nuclear Wastelands" was printed some years back and it came with an update too, with hard core documented wastelands from all over the world. 

Your esteemed Troll-hood also forgets that Tjernobyl is a Nuclear Wasteland too. So is Fukishima. The difference between normal wastelands such as Hanford, Sellafield etc. etc., is that the disaster-sites were not originally intended to be wastelands - it was the severe, devastating accidents which caused these power stations to become wastelands.

If you continue your pretty non-scientific and denying-the-facts way of being, "Bob", I will formally request the good site here to drop your access, here. And if it gets to there, and Energy Central will maintain your quite damaging views as "Freedom of speech", then I will drop out of here, instead of wasting time with Trolls.

I guess it is against the formal code of conduct in this forum to support views which - to a prospect detriment of life on Earth of all species - tries to maintain an untruly glorifying and science disproven picture of factual disasters, and to maintain an almost infantile view that Nuclear Power is completely free of consequences.

I would as an example - not like my children to be mislead by such views.

Sincerely

David Svarrer

Renewable Energy Design Architect

Rational Intuitive / Denmark

Michael Monahan's picture
Michael Monahan on Oct 15, 2019 1:51 pm GMT

Henry,

Well put - it bothers me how the adults in the room use 16 year olds to promote their false narrative.

I also ask myself why doesn't anyone press Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden on their stance towards nuclear energy.

All three are on the record not supporting any new facilities to be built - they only differ on existing ones and whether they let them run out naturally or start closing them.

Lastly why doesn't ask the question on where are all the solar panels, wind turbine blades and batteries from the storage facilities going to go?

Take the reliability question off the table - do the math and to be generous lets make believe the sun shines 24/7 - how many 350 watt solar panels are needed to replace a zero carbon 1000MW nuclear plant. Every panel is 17.5 sq ft also.

Mike

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 15, 2019 2:18 pm GMT

Offshore wind projects are approaching the 1000 MW size you mention. Floating offshore wind will exceed it for a fraction of the cost of nuclear. 
And, sorry to repeat this, no generator is carbon free when the whole life cycle is evaluated (includes construction, mining, dismantling, etc.) But wind is by far the lowest carbon emitter on a life cycle basis.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 17, 2019 4:42 am GMT

Wind doesn't exist in a vacuum, Mark. It requires natural gas - a lot of it - to balance its variability and provide power when it isn't available.

Until you're adding the carbon from natural gas backup electricity, it's pointless to compare the carbon footprint of wind or solar with any source of dispatchable electricity. Wind and solar are both useless without natural gas.

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 24, 2019 7:03 am GMT

"Bob".

It would suit your esteemed trollihood to read and study and make yourself professionaly acquainted with the reality of Wind and Solar and other energy sources - such that you would understand that they both - as technology has developed to this point - are able to deliver baseload.

It would also suit you well if you could understand, for instance, that when one combines a plenty of variable energy sources as you call them - for instance geothermal, hydro, wind and solar - then you can out of the combined delivery get very close to baseload without any storage of any kind. 

Some of the largest consumers of heat-energy - cement fabrication - paper mills - clay tile factories - are in the process of testing alternatives which includes large scale heat storages.

From these heat storages - it is possible to produce base load too - and there are in existence - 2019 - at least 3 direct ways to produce this base-load: TEG's, Stirling (ie. Genius, Sweden), and Steam (ie. Spilling, Germany). The internationally renown research and development institute, RISØ (Denmark) have just in March 2019 (I provided links to all these sources in earlier writeups on Energy Central) started a program to end up implementing GWh-sized energy storages to convert the variable sized energy to baseload energy.

Where I work, currently - Rational Intuitive - we are now in negotiations with Geothermal engineering companies both in USA, Canada and Scandinavia, as we will be providing up to 10 MW(e) heat energy, which will be heating up mountains/rock formations, and from thete, the Geothermal engineers will take over and create rock solid (pun intended) baseload from there. Unlike the existing systems which heats up molten salt and all sorts of complex technologies (which have their ups and downs), this makes use of very well known, Geothermal energy harvesting which has been ongoing for 20+ years. It is even easier this way, as the engineering can be done horisontally and not vertically. Thereby one can dig into the mountain from the other side of where the heat is being applied, and thereby at a much lower cost do the "Geothermal thing".

Therefore your very steadfast "Pointlessness" has no merit from existing science, and you are speaking/writing against better knowledge.

Sincerely

David Svarrer

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 15, 2019 2:40 pm GMT

Dear Michael Monahan, 

Let me first refer you to a debate ongoing here on Energy Central: https://www.energycentral.com/c/cp/nuclear-power-2050-updown - such that we do not have to repeat the same.

Secondly - it is not right to "press" anyone on their stance against nuclear energy (or if they have a stance for or against other matters). Why would you use pressure? It is unethical or immoral. 

You are in your short writeup arguing against Nuclear Power in the following way: "let them run out naturally". You are addressing a fact which many within the Nuclear power world do not want to admit to - namely that these facilities become such polluted and contaminated so that they have to evacuate them sooner or later. If this was not the case - then why not build these facilities to last hundreds of years? After all - if my case was not true - that the entire facility ends up as one bunch of contaminated waste - then why not just change the reactor with maybe 25 year interval - maintain the turbines with 3 or 5 year intervals - and so on and so forth? 

And - when now this facility - after 60 good years of polluting the environment with "insignificant" amounts of radioactive waste - closes down - the entire thing cannot be removed. Lookup Hanford if you are in doubt... The "decomissioning" of 9 reactors - will cost USA 115 BILLION USD over the next decades. (Links available via the previous debate here on Energy Central).

You indeed have a point on the solar panels. After some similar amount of years - whether it is 30, 40 or 50 years - these too are worn out - and - where are these to be put? 

Therefore a dispersed and diverse number of 50+ corporates have set out on a journey producing solar concentrator energy by help of systems constructed solely by the use of stainless steel, glass, aluminium and a small computer device. News has it that a pure clock work is coming into play now, eliminating the need of even a computer - rendering the entire construction completely 100% recyclable even under the Cradle-to-Cradle principle. I will come back to you when I have documentation ready on the above (the computerless control system).

YOu are finally putting your head into your own nooze:

You are asking how many solar panels are needed to cover for a 1000 MW Nuclear Power plant? 

I will not give you a response on solar panels. I will give you a response based on 100% recyclable solar concentrator systems, which has reflectors made of 6 square kilometers of plain mirrors (glass and aluminium). 

Well - 6 square kilometer of reflectors will, between 30° Southern Latitude and 30° Northern latitude in any averagely sunlit location, cater for the 1000 MWatt - based on natural solar influx, not 24/7. The energy for the hours and days and weeks without solar influx, will be stored in a heat storage, with the dimensions 100 x 100 x 100 meters, or, 100 x 50 x 200 meter or similar. This resembles a smaller building in any capitol of this world. 

It resembles approximately the volume of Empire State Building - which has been estimated to 1.04 million m³ of volume. 

For the record - the construction of such a size of solar concentrator system will produce 110,000 tonnes of CO2. The construction of the 1000 MWatt nuclear power station will produce some 14 million tonnes of CO2. This based on the same metric - 2 ton of CO2 per USD 1,000. Nuclear power stations cost something in the vicinity of USD 7 per Watt. The solar concentrator solution cost something in the vicinity of USD 0,055 per Watt.

Documentation was made available in the above mentioned, earler discussion here on Energy Central..

Therefore, not in an artificial environment as you proposed - but in an absolutely realistic environment - Nuclear Power is beaten both in terms of cost to build and cost of kWh - by the new generation of Solar Concentrators and their hot-stone storages.

Sincerely

David Svarrer

Renewable Energy Design Architect

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 17, 2019 4:49 am GMT

Let us know when your magical Empire-State-Building-Full-Of-Heat-Storage is ready for action, David - your absolutely-realistic-imaginary environment.

To people working on real solutions to climate change they're just not that important.

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 24, 2019 7:12 am GMT

On the batteries:

I was made to believe from an article I am yet to recover that 99% of all lead cell batteries are recycled, both in terms of the PolyEthylene (casing) and the lead, the 1% missing is due to that recycling is unfortunately not that systematic in the 3rd world countries. 

In the 3rd world countries the sheer value of the lead drives the recycling of batteries. However - the plastic casings (PE) - were often not recycled due to lack of processing capability and professionalism and systematism.

The 1% is furthermore contributed to as a matter of assumption, as the weight figures in the article stated that out of 1,000 tons of lead being produced - and based on the figures of recycling - there was a loss of around 10 tons - it was estimated that parts of it ended at dump sites, causing severe problems with lead poisoning there - and the rest ended up at those more or less structured sites in 3rd World countries, where they cut up batteries, re-melt the anodes/cathodes and refit them into new batteries.

Do you (Michael Monahan) or anyone else have figures or facts from the Lithium / Ni-MH or Ni-Cd battery industry and business and markets?

===

Still on the batteries - I watched a movie on either BBC, Al-Jazeera or CNN, where they described vast lands amounting to thousands of square kilometers where Lithium was to be found in such plenty that the journalist was literally stepping on it. 

Then I read somewhere else - as a critique of Tesla and Elon Musk's vehicle business - that the sources of Lithium in this world are very scarce. Does anyone here in this forum have any knowledge and sources to that effect?

Sincerely

David Svarrer

Renewable Energy Design Architect

Rational Intuitive, Denmark

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 15, 2019 2:19 pm GMT

Dear Henry, 

Interesting view. Have you studied the articles and responses on Nuclear power on this site, within the most recent 10 to 14 days? The entire discussion is up there. 

You can update yourself here: https://www.energycentral.com/c/cp/nuclear-power-2050-updown

The above debate is still ongoing, and maybe you would like to participate. The tone is firm but sober, and largely scientific :-)

On your note above, I have the following comments: 

"Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist from Sweden who boasts millions of followers on Instagram, seems to believe we must sacrifice our 21st century luxuries to save the planet. Hers is a viewpoint that’s been promoted since the 1970s by traditional environmental groups."

This is as you say a popular belief, partially supported by even larger religious groups both within Christianity - and all the way to the Talebans :-)

While Greta Thunberg and her millions of followers are indeed having a serious point about climate change, neither do I agree with that we must sacrifice everything (though some things may need to be sacrificed) - nor do I believe in the following that you write: 

Under close inspection, not only is it apparent that such a dream  is politically impossible, but it would actually be bad for the environment. Imagine what would happen to the air if everyone in your neighborhood started burning wood chips to keep warm this winter.

Well, Henry, political and impossible are two words, which combination in one statement you ought to go deeper into proving the conjoinder of!? Have you considered who would be political, if there are no more humans left on Earth, due to for instance a handful of Chernobyl's, 3-Mile Islands and Fukushima's - not to mention the approximately 97 other larger, or mid-sized other disasters - and not to mention Hanford - where the cleanup after the 1943 - WW2 Atomic Bomb and later decades's Plutonium manufacturing has left millions of tonnes of highly radioactive, dangerous, nuclear waste leaking into the nearby river etc. (documentation shared on the previous link mentioned above).

You mention what would happen if we started burning wood chips to keep warm in the winter - well - 1 billion people (living at the Northern Hemisphere) burning wood chips as a necessity to keep warm - would also mean that a huge chunk of the current 159 PetaWatthours we are consuming every year (Globally) would have been cut off. We would in this scenario likely have let go of vehicles, largely let go of international shipping, international flights etc. - as we would likely in your scenario, be facing some sort of "Stop or Nature willl kill you" ultimatum. Such an ultimatum does not come from politicians - but would maybe be a reality in only 10 to 15 years, if the current out-of-control escalation of temperatures, hurricanes, etc. is anything to go by?

Then as a kind of opposition to this, you mention some - admittedly - prospect utopian views, represented by more than 60+ known "Green Groups" - saying things which you mention as futurists here:

Across from the return to primacy types, are futurists who insist renewables represent salvation. AOC and her Green New Deal partners come to mind. They too, however, are wrong. Utility professionals know all too well the limitations of wind/solar when it comes to grid reliability. 

First I kindly request that you document why they in your view are wrong? 

You mention above that "Utility professionals know all too well the limitations of wind/solar when it comes to grid reliability.

Here I need to assist you a bit, Henry - I work for one of the maybe 50+ companies, world wide who (supported by research by World Wide renown and respected RISØ/DTH (Denmark)) have set out to develop a heat storage based on stones. While RISØ has set out on a more scientific mission, and are working with other renown corporates such as RockWool and some large scale energy providers - we have in our little setting, taken some tonnes of stones - heated them up - mitigated problems - and made it workable. I have - on the previous link mentioned above - in a response to Gary - provided links to this research too. I will - within the next few months - be ready with measurements from our own, hands on implementation of a heat storage with stones - where we heat stones up to 600 degrees, keep them insulated with soil - and then tap the energy into either of 3 systems for power generation: Steam, Heat or TE generated electrical power.

Besides this - and prior to this way of creating a rock solid base-load - larger scale utility providers - are setting out for providing 10MWatt solar heating, where they heat up entire mountain sides - after which they tap the energy as geothermal energy. If the sun does not shine for even weeks - the temperature remains fully utilizable (it falls maybe a maximum of 150 degrees - down to some 450 degrees - also based on the load)... 

Furthermore - in both Norway and Sweden they have decades of experience in water power - and they have successfully implemented pump-up-turbine-back systems (In slang called "Put-back systems" - where they store energy from the new solar and wind farms they are investing in - by simply pumping back water which they can then run through their water turbines. Other countries too have implemented such systems. 

Therefore, your statement, that "Utility professionals know all too well the limitations of wind/solar when it comes to grid reliability" is not true anymore - these Put-Back solutions have been in existence since 20+ years. 

You finally write: 

"Harvard polymath and best selling author Steven Pinker lobbied for the technology hard in his latest book, Enlightenment Now, and has since made it one of his top talking points. More recently, MIT researcher Andrew McAfee highlighted 4th gen nuclear’s promise in his book More From Less. Let’s hope their sound, evidence-based arguments eventually land"

I think I will back Matt Chester (who also writes here), who at some point wrote "This is the point I see way too often missed as people try to back up and defend 'their' technology at all costs (...) " - 

I think, in all humbleness (but firmly), that we need to evaluate too, if a Harvard Polymath and best selling author - or a proponent of 4th generation Nuclear systems (which have not yet been tried out properly..) - are the best to listen to - as they can impossibly bring any evidence forward which are more sobering than the documentation of the most recent 70 years of terrible, terrible, countless nuclear disasters this world has witnessed - and which seem not to stop anytime soon. Fukushima, 3-Mile Island, Tjernobyl are only the top of the iceberg. 

Have you read the book "Nuclear Wastelands" ? It came out in the 1990's (so it is missing out the most recent 30 years of disasters) - and it is a very sobering read for anyone who believes that Nuclear Power is ready to be reaped. 

Don't get me wrong, Harry - the approximately 1.2 million kWh of energy in 1 kilogram of 5% enriched Uranium - is an ENORMOUS amount of energy. And don't get me wrong. We MUST - simply without any question about it - continue doing what we can, to learn to control this energy. If not for anything else - then due to that when we have learned to avoid all of the dangers - it may be the absolutely best form of energy - without doubt. It is likely that we may need Nuclear Propulsion to get to other planets - and it is likely that we could even use Nuclear Power to completely reverse prospect Ice Ages. We could ALSO use Nuclear Power to create vapours blasted into the air to create more chill environments. But one thing is missing in this equation at least for now - and that is, that we simply do not master the technology necessary to make it work for us. 

We are currently discussing Fluor systems, Molten Salt systems and so on and so forth. But until that point where Nuclear power can be utilized without any dangerous waste materials, without suppressing entire countries and populations (ie. Niger, Greenland, USA, Russia etc.), and utilizing it without spreading fear (Nuclear weapon etc.) - we are simply not ready. 

 

 

Saharat Nikornpan's picture
Saharat Nikornpan on Oct 16, 2019 1:54 am GMT

"Same old, Same old" again. ....A sign of deperation. We can keep talking about this issue until we die from each other and the next generations come in and keep on talking. Nothing is going to change. When all renewables are not compatible with our energy needs. They just simply can not take care of our needs any more than whatever it is now. Nuclear is just like burning coal to generate electricity. Maybe more efficiently, that's all. But please stop taking something from Mother Nature to burn for our livings. We all should feel ashame already at this point that we are the ones who take something way beyond than all living organisms are supposed to take. 

Look, guys, there is something much more beautifully than what we discuss here. It is something that Mother Nature has planed for us but we have to work it out. Why is it so difficult to attain this "righteous energy"? Because we are humans with tenuous body structure that needs to be protected and pampered.

The energy that is so clean attainable with out emission. This energy also allows us to decentralize our energy structure. This is what we should be talking about now because it is our future.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 16, 2019 2:08 pm GMT

 Nuclear is just like burning coal to generate electricity. Maybe more efficiently, that's all. But please stop taking something from Mother Nature to burn for our livings.

Isn't that what all energy sources come down to, though? Taking something "from Mother Nature" and finding a way to extract it for usable energy? If you want to move away from that, then I'm not sure really what's left..

 

Look, guys, there is something much more beautifully than what we discuss here. It is something that Mother Nature has planed for us but we have to work it out. Why is it so difficult to attain this "righteous energy"? Because we are humans with tenuous body structure that needs to be protected and pampered.

What exactly do you mean by this? Are you saying there's some as-of-yet undiscovered source of energy we need?

Victoria Hudson's picture
Victoria Hudson on Oct 16, 2019 6:55 pm GMT

Great article and fantastic discussion, Henry. And I agree with you and, like you, am no expert but do understand that nuclear does have a role to play in the future of sustainable, clean energy. One issue not mentioned, though, that has helped promote the "negative" PR around nuclear energy is that the waste appears to often end up in poor, disadvantaged communities. The US News & World Report last week reported on a "Nuclear Waste Awareness Tour" that began here in Vermont.  Posiva's KBS-3 concept of permanent underground storage for spent nuclear waste sounds like a promising solution.

I’m no expert, but I do listen to the experts, and they seem to be in agreement that nuclear, alongside renewables, is the only shot humanity has at mitigating climate change. The world's top climate scientists, from Dr. James Hansen to Dr. Kerry Emanuel, have demonstrated this time and time again. However, despite their good work, many of the world’s eco-warriors still haven’t Nuclear Underground Disposal Conceptgotten the message. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 16, 2019 9:21 pm GMT

the waste appears to often end up in poor, disadvantaged communities

Great point, Victoria. Obviously the goal should be to minimize the risk for potential harm no matter what, but if the risk is anything >0% then having them in disadvantaged communities is just another environmental justice issue to add to the pile, like the location of fracking and its effect on water supplies, air pollution from coal generating plants, etc. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 17, 2019 6:31 pm GMT

Victoria, frankly the members of the "Nuclear Waste Awareness Tour" are idiots. They have no understanding of the danger of spent nuclear fuel, and are fearmongering, ostensibly, because they enjoy the attention it brings.

There is no evidence nuclear spent fuel, (aka "waste"), has harmed a single human, plant, or animal, in the history of civilian nuclear power.

If "Posiva's KB-S concept of permanent underground storage" helps anyone sleep at night, it shouldn't. We don't want to permanently bury spent fuel - it's too valuable. 95% of it is unused, and can be reprocessed into fresh fuel - enough to provide the entire U.S. with carbon-free electricity for 160 years.

Kerry Emanuel, Director of MIT's Oceans, Atmospheres, and Climate Program: "If we want to decarbonize fast, nuclear is essential. Climate risks are far greater than nuclear risks."

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BqbFnLKJae8

Victoria Hudson's picture
Victoria Hudson on Oct 22, 2019 6:44 pm GMT

Amazing! So, why is it that few if any are discussing the value of spent fuel? "... spent fuel - it's too valuable. 95% of it is unused, and can be reprocessed into fresh fuel - enough to provide the entire U.S. with carbon-free electricity for 160 years." I mean, there's always a follow-the-money answer, and clearly there's a huge financial reason why this topic hasn't even made a blip on the radar screen of nuclear energy /climate change mitigation discussions. Thanks.

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Oct 24, 2019 7:22 am GMT

Dear "Bob", 

I have reported you for abusive article writing. 

When you write: "X are idiots" - you are labelling people without tabling any scientific or measurable proof that X are idiots.

When you write: "They have no understanding of the danger of spent nuclear fuel" - you have not proven that they have no such understanding. 

When you write: "X are fearmongering, ostensibly, because they enjoy the attention it brings" - you still fail to document that it is indeed fearmongering - and you have also not documented that the cause of their writing is because they enjoy the attention. 

You have not studied the subject of nuclear waste very well. In Kenya (Britons), in Niger (French), in Congo (Belgians) and other countries, there are documented reports by prize-winning journalists, who have documented the devastations caused for both people and animals and plants. Further documentation is available in the book "Nuclear Wastelands". 

I therefore reported you as I think it would be good if Energy Central reviews your writing and make up their mind if your contributions are actually adding serious documented critique to the existing dialogue (which is indeed good), or if your many ranting articles should rather be considered a nuisance for a serious and sober debate.

With respect,

David Svarrer

Saharat Nikornpan's picture
Saharat Nikornpan on Oct 19, 2019 1:53 am GMT

  Isn't that what all energy sources come down to, though? Taking something "from Mother Nature" and finding a way to extract it for usable energy? If you want to move away from that, then I'm not sure really what's left..

That's what I mean we are taking something from her to burn for our own causes. Don't you think it is despicable? Look what she already gave us that make us feel "Live is Good" We keep taking more and more and bring more humans in to do that. That when we work against her for our own causes. What I introduce here is the way to work with her for our own causes.

Sure I want to move away from that and I know we have to come up with something to supplant before we can move away from that. Now follow what I have to show you

Matt, That is exactly what I mean. It is an uncharted territory that no humans have ever gone in there to explore. That's why I have said we need a new perspective to deal with this biggest problem in our lives, the energy realm. We can't just live on like this. The whole thing in this realm is wrong. Stuff that we depend on as sources of energy and infrastructure of energy. At the mean time the alternative methods to solve are unaccountable for. It's like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. 

 Introducing the system being able to manipulate the power of Mother Nature and her elements to improvise the energy we need unconditionally on every minute around the clock without running costs. This system is named Hydro-Electrenergy. The paranormal creation that deciphers the hidden powers in our surroundings and transpire them out into the spotlight.
    
   It all starts with Mother Nature Herself. Any body of water as it appears is just the water but what can not be seen is the air on top of it. There is no any point of time these two elements stay apart from each other. If there is an exertion or retraction from one side it will affect the other side right away. Both of them have bodies that can exert to move or destroy some object effectively if they are in motion like during the storm. They can move vehicles and destroy structures on their path. But both of them have no shapes. Additionally, They are very fluid with power within themselves. If there is a container with an orifice they both will get in to fit perfectly by themselves. That is a unique qualification allowing the system to create wind flow. She also offers the land for stability of the gadgets. Then there are two powerful forces, gravity and buoyancy as the impetuses.
     
  Gravity is her power that we all have been experiencing since the beginning of life. It is incredibly accurate that we all know it hasn't changed and never will no matter how long we live on. Until it becomes a standard that can be measured in units called weight. The weight brings all of us to the agreements of the interactions in our everyday living and live on happily. That is just one myriad narratives about this power of hers that keep all of us happy with life. In fact, we have already cherished the superb quality of this power through out our lives but at a scratch of its surface. This new perspective can decipher the hidden festivities and transpire them out into the spotlight.
      
   Buoyancy is the force of water pushing things with density lighter than itself upward to the surface. In this case is used as the other impetus that works in reverse direction with the gravity. Now we have two unconditional powers to create controlled airflow in and out of the system.  
   
   Hydro-Electrenergy is the system designed to manipulate all that mentioned to improvise the righteous energy. The system that collaborates with Mother Nature being able to confect her power and elements into a steady flow of electric current unconditionally every minute around the clock. This system is powered solely by gravitational and buoyant forces creating inward and outward pneumatic conditions while moving in and out of water. Thus the airflow is created in and out of the system at all times unconditionally. Then these two-way airflow will pass through and spin the turbine to generate electric current. That is when the steady flow of electric current is induced, making it very compatible with our energy needs. Just like the steady flow of electricity from burning fossil fuels but no green house gases emitted into the air in this case because there is no incineration.

Saharat Nikornpan's picture
Saharat Nikornpan on Oct 24, 2019 1:34 am GMT

That's right Victoria, your post just solidifies what I want to say about nuclear energy. Another point is that if nuclear is the solution on this issue. It has been decades that we have learned that nuclear can release so much needed energy for us. The question is "Why are we still here depending mainly on fossil fuels?" It is certain that nuclear has some darksides and negative aspects. Now another question is why shouldn't we discuss about the new perspective that has only Pros no Cons to discuss against?

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