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View Diary: China approaches reprocessing commitment (11 comments)

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  •  I think China is the place to watch (0+ / 0-)

    if one wants to divine the future of nuclear energy.  They have a huge, growing, and insatiable demand for energy and are running into resource limits, especially in terms of clean air.  China is choking on coal emissions.  So, they have every reason in the world - squared - to make a solid go at nuclear energy.  

    The US, on the other hand, seems to be doing everything it can to knee-cap, choke and slow-down any real progress in the nuclear power sector - and has been doing so since Carter.  To wit, US regulations that demand that plants and waste repository emissions must be engineered, and guaranteed under force of law, to not expose anyone to radiation levels beyond amounts 10x's SMALLER THAN WHAT WE GET FROM NATURAL SOURCES.  This is patently ludicrous and I don't know what other industry has to meet those standards.  

    Such requirements cannot be for reasons of health protection because people are exposed to radiation levels 10-100 times more than these regulated levels naturally (depending on where you live) and study after study has been unable to show any increased risk of pathology.   These regulations do nothing for public heath protection, but do everything to increase cost of nuclear energy and slant the political landscape against it.  

    Using occam's razor, I would say these regulations are so tight, even though for no benefit to public health, because the people who wrote those regulations wanted it that way.  

    Why? I don't know, but one thing is clear: American political & economic elites have not wanted nuclear energy to thrive.  Not now, not for any time over the past 30-40 years.  

    I am willing to make a prediction.  Once China starts delivering huge amounts of cheap, clean energy to its economy using mass-produced next generation nuclear technologies, call it a new nuclear prosperity, only then will the vested interests in the USA, those whose vast fortunes flowed from Big Oil / Gas, relinquish their choke-hold on nuclear innovation and growth.  It will take that kind of a threat to national security, of being economically eclipsed by China, to overcome their power to prevent the ship of state from turning away from Big Oil.  

    Such is the importance of plentiful, cheap energy to national economies.

    The USA will be forced to play catch-up.  I just hope we wake up and smell the coffee and leave fossil fuels sooner rather than later and make full use of the millions-to-one advantage of nuclear fuels over burning fossil carbon.

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 05:28:18 PM PDT

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