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View Diary: New Nukes: Obama will name Steven Chu his choice for Energy secretary (124 comments)

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  •  Nobody's perfect. (8+ / 0-)

    He's infinitely better than anyone in that position in the past 8 years. Just being pro-nuclear power doesn't mean we're suddenly going to build hundreds of plants. Who's going to pay for them?

    •  True enough be we can hope, yes?> (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plan9, Arken, A Siegel, Mcrab

      Nuclear power plants have to be self-supporting...as all of them are basically. The Production Tax Credit only extends out to the first 8 GWs or first 6 plants. Then it stops. Wind/Solar have it for their life time. I'm thinking we equalize it by ending all these PTCs or we apply them to all non-carbon sources of energy: wind, tital, geothermal, solar and nuclear.

      David

    •  My hyper informed (0+ / 0-)

      teenager, told me of a newly developed type of nuclear reactor over dinner last night, after I mentioned Chu's nomination.

      Apparently, these things cannot overheat, reprocess the nuclear waste into reusable uranium, which loses only about .04% of it's usable value with each generating cycle, thus making mining the non-renewable uranium less of an issue.  If President Obama is able to negotiate a nuclear disarmament, as he wishes to, that could be a source of uranium for this new generation of nuclear power plant.

      Not an eternal solution, but a good, mid-longish (50 years?) term alternative while other technologies are developed, and brought into production/economies of scale.

      I never thought I'd see the day I'd think nuclear power wasn't such a bad thing, but if this this new technology(forget what she called it) can be brought online, it seems it might be worth a shot.

      Never get the mothers too angry.

      by pvlb on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10:22:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It still doesn't address the environmental impact (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        randallt

        Even low-level radioactive waste is dangerous and we already have a lot of problems with disposing it.

        •  Most low level nuclear waste--98% of it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9, LookingUp

          is from the medical and other industries, not nuclear. High level waste can safely be reprocessed or geologically made safe.

          David

        •  Coal=low-level radioactive waste (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mcrab, greenmama

          Dr. Chu in a WSJ article:

          Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE—he’s really, really not a big fan. "Coal is my worst nightmare," he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.

          If coal is to stay part of the world’s energy mix, he says, clean-coal technologies must be developed. But he’s not very optimistic: "It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal," he concluded, given the sheer scope of the challenge of economically storing billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions underground.

          Worried about radioactivity? Coal’s still your bogeyman. Dr. Chu says a typical coal plant emits 100 times more radiation than a nuclear plant, given the flyash emissions of radioactive particles.

          We need Chu if only for the tabloid headline: "Bam Taps Chu for Energy".  

          The IPCC predicts average global temperatures to rise enough by 2050 to put 20-30% of all species at risk for extinction.

          by Plan9 on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 01:02:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Informed teen talking about Integral Fast Reactor (0+ / 0-)

        Or perhaps the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor or maybe even the Gas Cooled Fast Reactor.

        Each one of these has been demonstrated with an operational prototype. The "passive cooling" capability of the IFR design was successfully tested in front of an audience in April 1986. That timing was rather unfortunate; it was pushed out of the public consciousness before the results were written up by the accident at Chernobyl with a completely different kind of reactor.

        The point is that there are numerous options that meet the description that your teenager shared with you. Scientists and engineers have developed a wide range of improvements on the first/second generation nuclear technology. The basic science is still quite young; after all, my still very lively mother was already 9 years old when Fermi first proved that a self sustaining fission reaction was even possible. On a technology time scale, that is like being alive at the same time as the guy who first brought combustions (aka fire) indoors.

        I was once a hyper informed teen who talked with my parents about the wonders of nuclear fission - Dad was a utility electrical engineer whose company was building its first plants in South Florida at the time. I have now spent almost 30 years studying the technology and operating small plants underwater - I am very confident that the advanced technology is worth more than just a shot. As Steve Kirsch, a well known Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur and philanthropist and another recent convert to atomic technology, wrote in a recent op-ed, it is possible that nuclear fission is the technology that can "can save the planet".

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