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I work in nuclear power and I am obviously a pro-nuclear kind of person, but I am a political anomaly in my company because I am a Democrat.  My plant is in Matagorda County, Texas, which is the double whammy because not only are Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn my Senators, but the plant is the congressional district of Ron Paul.  

I work in training, so it is beneficial for me to get all of the industry newsletters.  One letter I get is from NEI or the Nuclear Energy Institute.  There was an article recently about a Senate hearing concerning Energy research and development.    As I was reading this article, one part really struck me, and I thought I would share it with you.  The conversation in the Senate was between the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, and the Senators in the committee and the subject quickly turned to a discussion about the viability of Yucca Mountain.  The primary questioner from the panel was none other than John McCain.  Here is an excerpt from the article that contains the part that made me laugh out loud.

Chu affirmed that he and President Obama do not support continued funding of the used fuel repository at Yucca Mountain, preferring in the short term the current practice of storing used fuel at nuclear energy plants. In the long term, the administration supports research into used fuel reprocessing, he said.

However, Chu said that European and Japanese reprocessing methods carry a proliferation risk and, further, it might take as many as 20 years to develop a method to mitigate this concern. McCain said he "couldn’t disagree more" with Chu’s assessment, calling current recycling technologies safe and usable.

This sounds funny to me.  Let’s compare.

Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy-
Education and Experience - He received his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from the University of Rochester, and his doctorate degree from University of California, Berkeley in 1976, during which he was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He remained at Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher for two years before joining Bell Labs, where he and his several co-workers carried out his Nobel Prize-winning laser cooling work. He left Bell Labs and became a professor of physics at Stanford University in 1987, serving as the chair of its Physics Department from 1990 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2001. In 2004, Chu was appointed as the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, during which time he also accepted a position as a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

John McCain – Senator from Arizona
McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. McCain came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel, he did not always obey the rules, and that contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899). He did well in academic subjects that interested him, such as literature and history, but studied only enough to pass subjects he struggled with, such as mathematics. McCain graduated in 1958.

So, McCain has the nerve to tell Secretary Chu that the assessment made by a Nobel Prize winning physicist is not valid because John McCain says so?  This is the incompetence that is plaguing our country and this is why I have so much hope for the Obama Administration.  Integrity, intelligence, logic, and competence is the order of the day.  It is time for dinosaurs like McCain to pack up their bluster and step aside.  Revenge of the Nerds is a reality.

Originally posted to rickrocket on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:39 AM PDT.

Poll

Do you think it is sad that John McCain is a leader in the Republican Party?

32%43 votes
4%6 votes
0%1 votes
25%34 votes
27%36 votes
8%11 votes

| 131 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  heh let's have them debate... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gustogirl, wader, rickrocket, sullivanst

    but this is so typical.  For months we have had politicians and political operatives all over the news telling us what will work and what won't, and never do we hear from the experts.  The ones whose testimonies would be accepted in court.  Then we get the talking heads moaning about bipartisanship, when all we get from them is partisan after partisan.

    ugh.

    We would never shoot nuclear weapons at Decepticons.

    by gooners on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:44:24 AM PDT

  •  McCain is happy to be a tool (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, rickrocket, sullivanst

    Amazing opportunist.

    Good at Talking Points.

    Not smart enough and doesn't CARE ENOUGH to separate industry propaganda from scientific evidence.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:45:21 AM PDT

  •  John McCain: "I know how to do physics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, beltane, rickrocket

    my friends!"

    One equal temper of heroic hearts,/Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

    by dlh77489 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:51:15 AM PDT

  •  What sign will you wave? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rickrocket

    I sez: confuse 'em all.

    Hold up a sign that says something like:

    EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

    or

    "Square deal"
    [that was Teddy Roosevelt's line]

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:51:43 AM PDT

  •  Credentials (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mcrab

    I don't know Steven Chu or John McCain, but I do know that a mere comparison of selected portions of candidates' c.v.s is not a way to make a compelling argument, even when the subject is the disposal of nuclear waste, a subject which is not only scientific, but political, as well.

    My personal experience with scientists (and I am one) is that many of them lack common sense; and frankly, the thought of a bunch of academics driving the decision-making in this country is scary.

    Revenge of the nerds is not what we should be seeking; rather, we need a group of decisionmakers that are willing to do the analysis that is required to make a reasoned decision.  

    And while this isn't exactly on point, I like it so much that I'm going to say it anyway:  You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    I'm starting to feel America again.

    by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:59:55 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sullivanst, Relevant Rhino

      but if you look at Wall Street, you also have the scientifically empowered quants doing a great deal of damage.  Not because of their lack of common sense, but because of the overgrown frat boys that call themselves bankers grabbing up their tools and shoving them back into the lockers as thanks.

      The way I tend to look at whether a scientist should drive a conversation is whether or not the one with the "common sense" even considers the science.  The science is the ground truth and non-negotiable.  The politics is about what to do about the consequences of that ground truth.

      If the politician dislikes those consequences so much that they are willing to ignore the science, then they need to get the hell out of the way.

      •  Not sure I understand your first paragraph (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OdinsEye2k

        In any case, this issue, like most, is not as cut and dry as the diarist would have us believe.  

        Science does not exist in a vaccuum; I can't think of any scientific research that is free from outside forces, be they political, financial, or personal.  Publish or perish, get the funding, be the first to the patent office, get the promotion, etc....
         
        To suggest that science is the "ground truth and non-negotiable" is a false premise and a dangerous one, at that.  Consider the simple example of the safety of eating eggs:  eggs are good for you, eggs are bad for you, eggs are ok.  I think it was in a Woody Allen movie that in the future, scientists find out that smoking is good for you.

        Scientists have blinders and bisases just like everybody else.  Those making decisions involving science must recognize this fact and weigh it into the decision.  Checks and balances are imnportant even here.

        I'm starting to feel America again.

        by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:54:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point of the 1st paragraph (0+ / 0-)

          is that the scientists may have enabled the damage, but very often when you look at the "nerds" as causing a disaster, it was their management that made a poor decision even though data were available to point to the correct decision.  For example, non-statisticians playing around with Value at Risk as if it was a magic bullet and not mixing it with other metrics such as worst-case scenarios and sector-wide risks.

          "Consider the simple example of the safety of eating eggs:  eggs are good for you, eggs are bad for you, eggs are ok."

          Yes, but that is ongoing science with a complex set of interactions that the community has yet to come to consensus on.  You're not going to find that with radioactive half-lives or fluxes.  And when things are uncertain, that uncertainty is somewhat quantifiable.

          Perhaps scientists need training to become good decisionmakers.  That's probably true.  But it probably takes a tenth of the time to teach a scientist to make decisions as it does to teach a decisionmaker to really grasp the science.

          But, when "common sense" is essentially guessing from the gut and experience, and the expert view is a more nuanced and rigorous form of that experience, I have a hard time finding the first superior to the second.

          •  You don't give enough credit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OdinsEye2k

            to intelligence, instinct, and experience.  

            You don't need to know all the science to make decisions about science; e.g., many a lawyer has slammed many a doctor's incompetence, bias, and self-interest clothed in a long list of scientific credentials.

            Good decision-making is part analysis, but a lot of it cannot be taught.  You can teach science, but you can't teach instinct, common sense and experience.

            I'm starting to feel America again.

            by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:38:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  At some level, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shesk

              the guy that always guessing right is like an "expert" coin flipper.  Just because the past ten flips have gone his/her way, does not mean that the eleventh will turn out.  There is no way for this individual to explain a strategy that will continue to pick the correct flip.

              "You don't need to know all the science to make decisions about science; e.g., many a lawyer has slammed many a doctor's incompetence, bias, and self-interest clothed in a long list of scientific credentials."

              True, but this lawyer will also have relied a very great deal on other doctors to show where decisions that have been made are non-standard or not rigorously linked to the body of practice and theory.  Then links can be made to incompetence or self-serving.

              But, to some degree, the lawyer, judge, and juries will be bystanders to the pugilism between two (or more) experts, attempting to judge which is the more competent based on a great number of factors that may have very little to do with merits of the arguments themselves.

              At the end of the day, complex decisions will involve a synthesis of a number of domains of knowledge.  However, someone with the most commonality with those domains will probably be the best able to make analogies from their experience to that of the experts advising them.  When many of those domains are scientific, I would posit that a trained scientist (even if trained in another domain) is better trained to make that leap than some general manager type.

    •  Here's some common sense for you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, rickrocket

      Large stockpiles of separated plutonium are a proliferation risk.

      It doesn't take a genius to work that out.

      McCain's a moron.

      And have the imbeciles in charge for the last eight years hasn't worked out so well, now, has it?

      I think it's time to give smart people a chance again.

      I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell
      -5.38, -6.41

      by sullivanst on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:49:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Small stockpiles (0+ / 0-)

        at multiple sites near multiple metropolitan areas put huge populations of people at risk.

        I don't know whether McCain's a moron, and I wouldn't necessarily say that the guys who ran roughshod over the country for the last 8 years were stupid: they did manage to get in charge and prosper for 8 years.

        Yes, we need smart people, but the people with the multiple degrees should not be given power solely on the basis of their educational credentials.

         

        I'm starting to feel America again.

        by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:02:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What risk? How is this 'risk'? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rickrocket, sullivanst

          No person has EVER even gotten sick from spent nuclear fuel 'stockpiles'. All of it exists in secure reinforced parts of our nuclear fleet with some shipped off to various national labs in New Mexico and Tenn.

          People should understand, part of Chu's points, I suspect, there isn't that much of it! This is not coal ash spewed across the country side. The whole, entire, radioactive amount of this metal wouldn't fill up ONE Costco. It's the best managed "waste" in the world.

          David

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:09:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Case and point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sullivanst

            "People should understand."  The flu virus is so small it can't be seen (how many could fit into a Costco?), and yet it is capable of killing thousands.  When you say that no one has ever gotten sick from spent stockpiles, you really mean that there is no EVIDENCE of anyone ever getting sick.  "Best managed" doesn't mean much if the baseline is no management at all.

            See the point?  We need people to analyze, not just roll over and accept, be it scientific "facts," political ideology, or expertise based on academic credentials.

            I'm starting to feel America again.

            by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:23:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Shesk, this is not a scientific (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rickrocket

              method at all.

              I say that coal kills 10s of thousands a year. I can, if pushed, give you dozens of links (see under google "dirty coal"). The same cannot be said of nuclear.

              You are wrong. The facts stand until YOU can offer evidence that nuclear SNF/waste has killed or injured. The fact that there is no evidence it has is indeed the proof that it doesn't. That 'it could' or 'has maybe-we-just-don't-know' is not how science functions. It is as valid as saying "well, you know that fact that there is no evidence that the highly toxic brew left over from making solar cells MIGHT kill millions is evidence that we should not use or manufacture PV...". this is EXACTLY what you are saying.

              David

              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:35:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How about "no". One should always (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shesk

                "question". The bottom line is that do we want to do a planetary experiment to see how much CO2 we can pump into the atmosphere to see if it DOES effect the climate? No. I think there is climate change. I think CO2 contributes to it. I think we ought to put less of it out there. OK?

                David

                Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:06:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm admittedly ignorant on the subject (0+ / 0-)

                so I won't comment on it.  That said, just because a given scientist told me that the climate was changing would not stop me from looking at the evidence in some detail, as well as the bias of the purported expert, before making any decisions based on the statement.

                Scientific opinion has a way of becoming "fact" by virtue of public support, which is often achieved through pseudo-scientific persuasion.

                I'm starting to feel America again.

                by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:35:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Given the nature of climate change (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Shesk

                  and climate change science, one should always have a healthy "skepticism" as new evidence roles in, one way or another. For example, some are saying that the last 10 years actually shows a relative drop in planetary temps.

                  David

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 10:34:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Chu was pointing out the European/Japanese scheme (1+ / 0-)

          which involves large stockpiles of separated plutonium, and its eventual recombination into MOX.

          And also its occasional transport by sea. In fact, there's a British ship with about two tons of MOX on board somewhere on the high seas right now on its way to Japan. The presence of a naval escort and an armed guard on board the transport ought to tell you that the authorities in France and Britain take the risk of hijacking seriously.

          So I guess John McCain "couldn't disagree more" with the precautions the French and British (you know, the people with actual experience at reprocessing) deem necessary.

          I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell
          -5.38, -6.41

          by sullivanst on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:35:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Hijacking". Really? Where would they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan, rickrocket

            take it? And who is "they". This is terror mongering. The escort is because they don't want anyone to mess with it, I understand. But it's mostly PR. Since people have irrational (read that IRRATIONAL) fears about this.

            The only reason ANY Pu-239 (and this stuff is useless right now since it's mixed with other crap that prevents it from being used in a bomb) is shipped at all is because Japan is not ready yet with it's own fuel reprocessing to handle this load of Pu-239. They ship it once ever 8 years or something like that. Hardly a risk.

            When Japan complete's it fuel cycle, they will not be shipping plutonium all over the place. That would be dumb as it makes perfectly good fuel. And that is the point, they want to turn it into fuel. That's a "good thing" not a "bad thing". We should do it in this country. Not that anyone testifying could articulate this at the hearing!

            David

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:39:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  David (0+ / 0-)

              Your comments of, "You're wrong," and "irrational fears," are exactly the problem with putting scientists in sole charge of decision-making on science matters.  I'm sure Linus Pauling would have screamed up and down - look at the EVIDENCE! - when someone told him that Vitamin D, not C, had the best potential to treat the common cold.

              We can argue the science ad infinitum, but we're not talking solely about science here.  

              I'm starting to feel America again.

              by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:03:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Shesk, I think you "wrong", as in (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shesk, rickrocket

                "You are wrong". I don't quite get what is un-PC to state this. I've looked at the history, facts, etc and conclude you are wrong.

                I think it's basically "irrational" which, in this case, is certainly more subjective on my part. Most fears of radiation and plutonium come from this generalized public reaction which, quite honestly, is based on ignorance. And ignorance that is overblown, fertilized, and emphasized by the organized anti-nuclear movement.

                Perhaps I shouldn't of accused YOU in particular of this. I may of been overstating the case... in your case. But to the degree you, like Greenpeace and other reactionaries who, at the end of the day, promote fossil fuels, then the "ignorance" is better than saying you consciously promote fossil fuel (which I'm sure you don't THINK you do).

                The choices are few. Nuclear can shutdown coal. Both Hansen AND Chu have noted that the issue is NOT renewables but CARBON. The "renewables" crowd has totally bent the discussion so that we will use more carbon producing generation because all the renewable plans require it. That we stopped building nuclear meant we, the U.S., built 200 coal plants since the 1970s. So, I think the stakes are pretty big and why I was disgusted with the testimony the other day.

                David

                Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:12:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  So now you're saying (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shesk

              that there's so much fuel that you couldn't possibly put it in a small, fast vessel? Especially when you're dealing with people who have proven that they are willing to undertake missions which inevitably entail their own deaths, and therefore wouldn't be concerned about breaching the storage containers and exposing themselves directly to the nuclear material.

              You contradict yourself.

              There's enough plutonium on the ship to make about 225 warheads if you managed to re-separate it.

              Besides, it's not even necessary to extract weapons-grade material from the MOX. Just blowing it up in a dirty bomb in a city center would cause enough panic to cause mass casualties (remember the stampede in Iraq that killed over 1,000 people when someone screamed 'bomb' even though there was none?)

              It's notable that the shipment is going around the Cape of Good Hope - when the Suez Canal would reduce the distance traveled considerably. They obviously don't want the ship anywhere near the mid-East or Somalia... and with good reason. It's actually also part of the security strategy to keep far enough away from land so as to be out of range of helicopters and small vessels unless they're launched from a mother ship. According to PNTL's "it's all safe we promise you" story, the ships always travel in pairs, and are heavily armed against attacks from both sea and air, with top-of-the-line electronic surveillance equipment. The precautions taken completely belie your assertion of a lack of risk.

              I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell
              -5.38, -6.41

              by sullivanst on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:14:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So how, exactly, do dirty bombs work? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joffan, bryfry, rickrocket

                Since radiation is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, how would anyone know whether a bomb was dirty or not? Would your town evacuate entire city blocks if someone phoned in a prank dirty bomb threat to your nearest school rather than a garden variety fake bomb? If someone yelled "dirty bomb!" in a crowded theater would there be more stampede deaths than if someone just yelled "bomb"? If your local news interrupted the regularly scheduled programming with a late breaking news story that a dirty bomb had been exploded in your city would you be one of those that panicked in the streets and trampled over your neighbors to get the heck out of Dodge?

                Since there has never been a dirty bomb attack (that we know of), it is all speculative as to how people would react to one. My guess is that immediately following such a bomb that smokers diagnosed with cancer within 10 miles of the blast will blame it on the bomb and every schmuck developing male pattern baldness who starts to see a few extra hairs in his comb will wonder if he has radiation sickness.

                •  dirty bombs (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joffan

                  don't really hurt anyone unless they are near the blast.  They are a psychological weapon.  yeah, there would have to be some decon work afterwards, but no one would even get sick from the small particles that might be released by the blast.  The horrible fear of anything radioactive by the public is the weapon that is used against the victim, not the actual exposure to the radioactive material.  

                  Just imagine all the kneejerk reactions to something like that.  I shudder at the thought.

                  •  Well, since I don't have an irrational fear of (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joffan, rickrocket

                    radiation, I guess a dirty bomb would be wasted on me. I could see a certain segment of the population over-reacting, like the people who stocked up a year supply of canned goods and toilet paper in the days leading to Y2K or the ones to flocked to the army surplus stores to get gas masks and biohazard suits during the anthrax scare. But I suspect most people watching the newscasts would be more pissed than pissing their pants.

    •  here is more common sense for you (0+ / 0-)

      When you are discussing the disposal of nuclear waste, which is purely and absolutely a health physics discussion, who knows more?  A Nobel Prize winning physicist or a politician who only graduated college because his father and grandfather were Admirals?

      If you are a scientist, you should know the answer.  

      Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy because of his knowledge of the subject matter, not because he did someone a political favor.  

      Who knows more about physics than he does?  I know two people for sure that do not.  Me and John McCain.

      The issue of nuclear power is only political because the current power producers (coal and natural gas) have large budgets for lobbyists and PR to try to protect their market share.  It has nothing to do with public safety.  

      If it was about public safety, we would shut down all of the coal plants, outlaw cigarettes, and only make cars with a top speed of 55.  As always, it is about money.

      •  I don't disagree with you... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shesk, rickrocket

        I applaud a real scientist who is not only a renewable energy expert but a nuclear advocate as well. I think he knows a lot more than McCain.

        David

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:04:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't disagree either (0+ / 0-)

          I think we need to give scientists the respect that they deserve; we just can't defer to them completely, and certainly not based solely on academic credentials.

          I'm starting to feel America again.

          by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:17:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BTW...the thing about Chu, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shesk

            he's actually got quite a lot of applied experience in solar technology. Running a lab, especially the one at UCB, is real hands on experience. And, he's familiar with the economics as he was an advisor to several Silicon Valley enterprises as a tech consultant. He needs to project more confidence.

            David

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:19:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mcrab

        No, McCain does not know the science in the depth that Chu does.  Yes, we need to listen to the scientists, duh.

        The point is that many science-related issues require more than a scientific viewpoint to be decided. Science doesn't exist in a vaccuum, scientists are not infallable nor are they immune to outside influence so you can't put the scientists in charge of all science-related decisions.

        I'm starting to feel America again.

        by Shesk on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:14:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What would be really good is for (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shesk, Mcrab, rickrocket

          Chu to take an hour and really lay out the energy perspectives touching on all the issues: the grid, renewables, nuclear spent fuel abatement, reprocessing, nuclear, wind, solar, efficiency, conservation, transportation fuel, etc. The whole thing. 1 hour would be VERY concise. It's better than having Obama make sound bites.

          David

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:17:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  yea science!! End of Message. No Text. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rickrocket
  •  Large 'stock piles' of plutonium (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, rickrocket

    do not exist. What does exist are highly pure Pu BOMBS that are being downblended to provide our fuel for half of all nuclear power in the US (courtesy of the former USSR). Now all we have to do is our our 13,000 bombs and the world will be a better place and THAT will help lower the nuclear holocaust potential.

    Having said that, IMO, neither of them did well. Its almost as if Chu wasn't prepared to make his case. Of course, he wasn't allowed to, either, being cutoff by McCain.

    First McCain: he's a shill for the nuclear industry. I'm saying this as some one who ONLY blogs about nuclear energy (supportive of it) on the DK. His motivation is "The Industry" and profit for them, not the intrinsic worth of nuclear power. We don't need people like that pushing nuclear energy. SNF sitting around in "pools of water" (which come out within 10 years anyway) is NOT the issue. It's dry cask storage space in secure parts of the plant. He simply doesn't understand what the issue is and his staffers filter stuff they get from The Industry and it comes out all stupid like.

    Chu was not clear. He did not come out with a definitive "we need to develop reprocessing". He said we "have time". Yes, from the point of view of having to shut down plants, he should of flanked McCain by saying:

    "The Administration is for continued development of nuclear energy. We see it's value right now and want this to continue. Additionally, we will start the process of reprocessing by launching a plan over the next 2 years to rebuild our reprocessing infrastructure as part of a broader plan to prepare methods of SNF disposal and reduction".

    Clearly I should of been the one to testify, but I can't, I'm out looking for work :)

    David

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:06:47 AM PDT

    •  Safety (0+ / 0-)

      I agree that nuclear power could conceivably be safe, but we are now dealing with a corporate culture that can't be trusted to handle peanuts safely.

      I really don't want to trust the 'cut costs at all costs' crowd with managing nuclear waste.

      Whether it's the the threat of accidental exposure or intentional sabotage by terrorists, the corporate moguls of today seem too profit-driven, reckless, and, frankly, too sociopathic to be trusted with such a potentially catastrophic process.

      •  What you say would be true...if was. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, rickrocket

        That we can't trust the people who run nuclear plants should be contextualized with some facts that they are NOT run safely. There is little (or no) evidence that this is the case. Nuclear power plants are operated by these utilities...but they are 'run' quite literally by the NRC and the rules as set by them, not the Bd. of Directors of the utilities. This is why the risk is so small that "bad things can happen".

        We we do know is that coal is the enemy, as Dr. Jim Hansen of NASA has repeatedly, and increasingly, emphasized. Since nuclear is one of the safest power sources in the world, we need to expand it's use, and reduce carbon out put. Please not I stated "carbon" and no CO2. CO2 is included (Hansens climate concern noted) but includes, more to the point particulate, the stuff that IS killing people right now, to the tune of over 20,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Nuclear kills no one. Given the risks, and our choices, we need to move toward nuclear as fast as a possible and phase out coal and natural gas.

        David

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:31:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you really have no clue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan

        about how the nuclear industry works.  If you could see the day to day operations of an actual plant, you would realize how wrong your assumptions are.

  •  Of course, McCain knows physics. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rickrocket

    He has been taking one each morning for years, now.

    I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all -- William O. Douglas

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:44:53 AM PDT

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