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On Thursday, President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear plants. Let's hope it's more than talk. Germany is rescinding its plan to extend the operating lives of its aging nuclear power plants. China is freezing and reviewing plans to build new nuclear plants. Switzerland has suspended approval of three new nuclear plants. New England is considering reconsidering what to do now that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has relicensed a plant in Vermont that is similar in age and design to the one now in crisis in Japan. Another similar plant, in Iowa, was relicensed just in December. Earlier this past week, President Obama clearly still supported expansion of nuclear power, while the White House said they will learn from the crisis in Japan. Presumably, that learning will include not repeating this:
Speaking at a town hall meeting in October 2009, Obama specifically cited Japan as a model for America's nuclear renaissance. "There's no reason why, technologically, we can't employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way," Obama said. "Japan does it and France does it, and it doesn't have greenhouse gas emissions, so it would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way."

Well, he still has France. Sort of. But Stupid? The real stupidity would be in trusting anything the nuclear industry says or does. With Japan still in crisis, the nuclear industry has been quick to assert that it can't happen here, and that the Japanese plants were old and poorly designed. And never mind that the industry has been extending the lives of and relicensing similar plants here. The industry always tells us their designs are safe. They told us that about the plants now in at least partial meltdown. They tell us that about the similar plants that are being relicensed. They tell us that about new plant designs. Of course, the design of the Japanese reactors had been criticized as potentially dangerous as long ago as 1972. But back then they assured everyone that it was all okay. Now the same industry that assured us that these reactors were all okay wants us to believe that the new reactor designs are all okay. We can trust them, this time.

This is an industry with a long record of cover-ups of dangerously damaged facilities, and cover-ups of safety violations, and unreported radioactive leaks, and inadequate waste storage protections, and napping guards, and more radioactive leaks, and more radioactive leaks, and on and on. WikiLeaks even comes into play, with the revelation that in December 2008 an official of the International Atomic Energy Agency specifically warned that seismic safeguards at nuclear plants were outdated and inadequate. Which was dutifully ignored by the typically dutiful media, the industry, and governments. Which may be the real but unintended meaning of the president's words about nuclear power, that we can "do that in a much more effective way."

But the worst part of the president's statement was the entire framing. Because proponents of nuclear power latched onto climate change as their latest, greatest rationale for continuing to support a failed technology, and the president clearly buys it. The argument usually boils down to the idea that there is no other energy option that can replace fossil fuels on a timetable sufficient to meet the impending climate crisis. But what that argument's purveyors fail to mention is that the likelihood of nuclear power itself replacing fossil fuels on such a timetable is no greater than that of much cleaner alternatives. First is this, from Reuters, from a couple years ago:

Nuclear power would only curb climate change by expanding worldwide at the rate it grew from 1981 to 1990, its busiest decade, and keep up that rate for half a century, a report said on Thursday.

Specifically, that would require adding on average 14 plants each year for the next 50 years, all the while building an average of 7.4 plants to replace those that will be retired, the report by environmental leaders, industry executives and academics said.

Twenty-one new plants a year, for 50 years. Over a thousand new plants. If that sounds like an impossibly enormous number of plants to build, that's because it is. And the authors of the report cited by Reuters bring a wide variety of expertise (pdf):

Twenty-seven individuals from organizations spanning a broad ideological spectrum, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and GE Energy, spent nine months on the report, called "The Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding."

The report itself can be found here.

But if building a thousand new plants over 50 years isn't bad enough, the story gets even worse.

While the report also supported storing U.S. nuclear waste at power plants until the long-stalled Yucca Mountain repository opens, 10 dumps the size of Yucca Mountain would be needed to store the extra generated waste by the needed nuclear generation boom.

A 2008 DOE estimate put the cost of building and operating Yucca Mountain at $90,000,000,000. As in $90 billion. As in 10 dumps that size would cost $900 billion. And siting the repository at Yucca Mountain has been so controversial for so many years that, very much to its credit, the Obama administration's Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a 2009 Senate hearing that Yucca Mountain no longer was even considered an option. In July of that year, the Democratic Senate voted to shut it down. This vote, of course, hasn't stopped Republicans from trying to revive it. But whether or not they succeed, let's also try to find 10 more for the additional waste. And then let's try to fund them. The onus will be on us. At a price approaching a trillion dollars just for the waste. And as for the plants themselves?

Despite the propaganda, and even compared to other energy sources, nuclear plants are staggeringly expensive to build, operate, maintain, and decommission. Recent estimates, extrapolated to the cost of building over 1,000 new plants, puts the total at somewhere in the vicinity of an extremely inefficient half a trillion dollars, if not even more. Add these estimates to the cost of waste storage and the price tag comes in at over a trillion and a half dollars. And given the industry's track record, those numbers certainly will rise. A lot. This reality didn't stop the Obama administration from pushing $8,300,000,000 in new loan guarantees for the industry, despite a Congressional Budget Office report that concluded:

CBO considers the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high—well above 50 percent.

This report makes providing those loan guarantees just a bit curious. And even more curious was the administration's desire to increase the total amount of loan guarantees to a staggering $54 billion, with an estimated default risk that would make those loans nothing more than subsidies—as in corporate welfare—which long has been the only means of keeping the nuclear power industry on life support.

And if all of that isn't bad enough, it gets still worse. As reported on the Bio-Medicine website:

Physicist Joshua Pearce of Clarion University of Pennsylvania has attempted to balance the nuclear books and finds the bottom line simply does not add up. There are several problems that he says cannot be overcome if the nuclear power option is taken in preference to renewable energy sources.

The president's assertion that nuclear power doesn't have greenhouse emissions ignores some critical factors.

However, it is the whole-of-life cycle analysis that Pearce has investigated that shows nuclear power is far from the "emission-free panacea" claimed by many of its proponents. Each stage of the nuclear-fuel cycle including power plant construction, mining/milling uranium ores, fuel conversion, enrichment (or de-enrichment of nuclear weapons), fabrication, operation, decommissioning, and for short- and long-term waste disposal contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, he explains.

Multiplied by a thousand, if we are to build, operate, maintain, and decommission enough plants to make any impact on climate change—which would be undermined by the very process of building, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning the plants.

Pearce's research was published by the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, and can be found here.

And taking it one step further was Professor Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University:

The best ways to improve energy security, mitigate global warming and reduce the number of deaths caused by air pollution are blowing in the wind and rippling in the water, not growing on prairies or glowing inside nuclear power plants, says Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford.

And "clean coal," which involves capturing carbon emissions and sequestering them in the earth, is not clean at all, he asserts.

Jacobson has conducted the first quantitative, scientific evaluation of the proposed, major, energy-related solutions by assessing not only their potential for delivering energy for electricity and vehicles, but also their impacts on global warming, human health, energy security, water supply, space requirements, wildlife, water pollution, reliability and sustainability. His findings indicate that the options that are getting the most attention are between 25 to 1,000 times more polluting than the best available options. The paper with his findings will be published in the next issue of Energy and Environmental Science but is available online now. Jacobson is also director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford.

On Tuesday, Secretary Chu reiterated the president's continued support of nuclear power:

"The president and the administration believe we have to be looking very, very closely at the events in Japan. We have to apply whatever lessons that can be and will be learned from what has happened and what is happening in Japan," Chu explained. "Those lessons would then be applied to first look at our current existing fleet of reactors, to make sure that they can be used safely and… how as one proceeds forward, any lessons learned can be applied."

If any lessons are learned, it will be that one proceeds forward without nuclear power. Nuclear power is no solution, rather it is part of the problem; and given the risks of nuclear power, the time, effort, and money are better spent elsewhere.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this reads like a primer for oil and coal lobby (19+ / 0-)

    try to kill of anything that can replace oil and coal.  People went insane with the Iraq war, but attack anything that can replace oil.

    •  That's a huge deal. (16+ / 0-)

      They did absolutely nothing to develop the industry further over the past 40 years.

      If they had worked on further safety and disposal technologies, they might be building their plants right now.

      Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:12:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we've done little about energy since then period (11+ / 0-)

        what a waste.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:27:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed Lenny Flank, in fact they are worse. (10+ / 0-)

          Last week, US expert Albert Alvarez, warned us that the spend fuel rods in the cooling ponds were a much bigger threat for large radiation leaks.

          1. The often contain up to 50 million curies of Cesium 137, compared to the 6 million released in the 1987 Chernobyl event.   This is because they often accumulate all the used rods on the site for 30 or more years.

          2. This cooling ponds are usually not in the containment buildings, so are exposed to possible terrorist assualt, with planes, or rockets, or can be made vulnerable by hurricaines, tornadoes, earthquakes, and ice storms, disrupting their cooling supplies.

          3. The do usually have a 30 feet margin of extra water cover, which would usually take days to weeks to boil off, but if an explosion, or damage to the pond wall cracks the can expose the rods, as has apparenlty happened in Unit 4, in Fukashima.  After 4 hours the zirconium cladding can erupts into fire, releasing radiation.  

          4, We apparently have 103 or more such ponds in the US.  That are going to need much more expensive protection from terrorism.  A dirty bomb waiting to happen.  These costs are not included in the side by side comparisions of electrical gerneration cost.

          See (Albert Alverez March 13, 2011 HuffPo)

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:07:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going to make a guess why (8+ / 0-)
        They did absolutely nothing to develop the industry further over the past 40 years.

        If they had worked on further safety and disposal technologies, they might be building their plants right now.

        The cost of improving safety and disposal for the existing nuclear power industry got in the way of profit objectives.

        ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

        by Seldom Seen on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:16:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They have. (9+ / 0-)

        Generation IV nuclear reactors are significantly safer and generate less waste than older designs.

        The nuclear industry, like most others, can't be allowed to regulate itself, but thing like thorium reactors could go a huge way to solving our energy problems (until we can get onto renewables and/or fusion.)

        Power generation, like healthcare, is something that should not be in the hands of for-profit private corporations.

        •  that depends on the design (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, PreciousLittle
          Generation IV nuclear reactors are significantly safer and generate less waste than older designs.

          The pebble-bed concept, which many here swear by, produces MORE waste.

          Anyway, it's not the amount of waste that matters--it's the fact that we don't have anywhere to put it.

        •  Generation IV (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OtherDoug

          No generation IV reactor has been built, and none of the technologies is expected to be available until 2030 at the earliest.   And that's before the 10+ year process of actually getting one built.  We'd have to put renewables into service to wait until Gen IV reactors became available, not the other way around.

          For that matter, very few Generation III reactors have been built - and none in the US.  The recent "renaissance" of new nuclear reactors to be built in the US (which has largely collapsed due to capital economics and falling electricity demand) was entirely of Gen II reactors - the same type with all the problems of the Japan reactors we're seeing in the news.

          Fast Breeder Reactors, which burn almost all of the fissile material rather than the 3% and solve most of the nuclear waste problems have been built by many countries and then decommissioned as economically non-viable.  I don't think any are currently operating.  The US also is putting a lot of pressure against these because they are easy to weaponize.

          Thorium, which India and China are excited about, has a process fairly similar to the FBR method and share some of the concerns with economic viability.  They are still in the research phase and there aren't any producing significant commercial power.  India is designing their reactors so they can burn either uranium or thorium and opting for uranium for the time being because it's more economically viable.  Again, maybe in the future, but not available now.

      •  Plutonium has a half life of 24,100 years (9+ / 0-)

        and is one of the deadliest poisons on the planet. * An amount less than a grain of salt cannot be tolerated by the human body.*  No container can last 24,100 years.  It will take 10 half lives for plutonium to decay down to ground level radiation.

        Also, plutonium is used in atomic weapons.

        Before 1940, plutonium only existed in trace amounts around natural decaying uranium.*  Now there is about 2,000 tons of plutinium.

        *CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics

        There is no disposal technology to eliminate nuclear waste.  Just getting containment that will even last  few thousand years is unacceptable both morally and ethically to dump onto a generation down the line.

        •  The only way to dispose of it is to ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OtherDoug, Norm in Chicago

          consume it via fission...In a nuclear reactor. Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuels containing Plutonium are already being burned in commercial reactors. Also, Fast burning breeder designs with the axial blanket removed have been proposed as a means of consuming the excess weapons grade Plutonium. Although, most experts think this would take hundreds of years to accomplish.

          "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

          by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:38:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the downside is that any reactor (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mimi9, PreciousLittle

            containing uranium also produces new plutonium.

            •  Integral fast Reactors can (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erush1345, jedc, OtherDoug

              consume Plutonium and thwart nuclear terrorism by “denaturing” and burning excess nuclear weapons materials of nuclear weapons states. This could be done several times faster than in the current generation of reactors and the used fuel burned in the IFR. Every scrap from the nuclear weapons programs can be fuel. Enriching uranium will be unnecessary in a mature IFR economy. Construction of a uranium enrichment facility or a PUREX type of facility would be prima-facie evidence of a nuclear weapons program.

              Efficient use of fuel requires reprocessing for re-use and return to the reactor, repeating the cycle over and over again. Over ninety percent is burned. An entirely new process, (pyroprocessing) was developed for this. Its product is primarily plutonium, in a mixture of several other elements. The mixture is well suited to fuel the fast reactor, but not weapons.

              "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

              by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:55:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  alas (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PreciousLittle

                the uranium that is present will still produce plutonium, and the step of reprocessing that plutonium itself can be used to produce weapons-grade material.

                And in any case these design-table nukes are decades away from actual construction. (Not counting the court cases that will tie them up for decades before anything is even approved.)

                •  Very difficult... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  erush1345, OtherDoug

                  to process plutonium containing Neptunium and americium into nuclear weapon material.

                  The electrochemical energies unique to each element, and the degree to which they differ, dictate what’s possible. The energies of the higher actinide elements such as neptunium and americium, highly radioactive, are so nearly the same as plutonium that they will not separate from it in the process.

                  These radiologically troublesome elements will always be present and the product will also be heavily diluted with uranium. Processing operations require high temperatures and are conducted remotely, in-line, and under very pure inert gas. This isn’t a process that can be done “in a garage.”

                  So any Plutonium that could be extracted would be contaminated with highly radioactive gamma emitters. This precludes anybody stealing it in a suitcase, assembling a bomb or sneaking it into a port.

                  "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                  by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:59:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  What about innovative designs? (9+ / 0-)

        These anti nuclear arguments seem a bit "straw-man" to me. First let us consider that we are talking about outdated, 40 year old pressurized water reactors that are very prone to failures due to coolant loss (extremely hot water water at ~5000 psi tends to escape as steam when there is a problem). Gen 3 designs are currently being built (Westinghouse AP1000), and are a step up. These reactors are passively cooled water systems that are much safer that the currently deployed designs. There are even more innovative designs, (Gen 4 reactors) passively cooled by convection of molten metal and molten salts. Since they are passive, and operate below the melting point of the cooling medium, they are inherently low pressure and there is no danger of explosive release. Because most of these new reactors are "fast fission" they can actually be use to more completely "burn" the fuel so the resultant waste is radio active for a shorter period of time. Also, they could be configured as a breeder reactors and recycle/create more fuel, reducing the amount on-site spent fuel storage. They can be sealed, tamper resistant, and factory built to minimize proliferation risk. I could go on about the Thorium fuel cycle, but that would fill pages. These new designs are the future of nuclear energy. Unfortunately, we probably will not see these reactor designs commercially for 10 to 20 years (or never... if we panic now).

        More information on a proposed design (SSTAR) with a prototype predicted by 2015.

        https://www.llnl.gov/str/JulAug04/Smith.html

        Lets not kid ourselves about solar power. Solar cell production produces toxic chemical waste. And I cannot imagine the vast forests of wind farms it would require to meet our energy needs. If nuclear power is out of the question, guess where industry will turn? To the cheapest alternative: natural gas via wide spread hydraulic fracturing. In that case, prepare for the destruction of every watershed where natural gas exists. As an American who lives on the Marcellus shale deposit, that would be a tragedy beyond my worst nightmare. I am for a careful well balanced approach to our energy future in which safe nuclear power is included.

        "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

        by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:24:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and how many decades do you estimate it would be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PreciousLittle

          before these gee-whiz super-safe (remember that's what the industry said about the LAST ones, too) reactors can be built by the thousand and put online . . . .

          (Not counting the inevitable court battles that will tie them up for decades first.)

          •  Which is why we need to start working on them now. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Nucleo, aseth, OtherDoug
            •  that's great, but you didn't answer my question (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PreciousLittle

              So I'll ask again:

              How many decades do you estimate it would be before these gee-whiz super-safe (remember that's what the industry said about the LAST ones, too) reactors can be built by the thousand and put online . . . .

              (Not counting the inevitable court battles that will tie them up for decades first.)

              After all, if you want to tell us that wind and solar and all that can't be done fast enough, you must then have some idea how short a time all these new super-duper nukes will take.

              Unless of course  . . . . . . . . . .

              •  I didn't answer because it's a false choice. (6+ / 0-)

                We can, and should, pursue wind power, solar power, and nuclear power. There is no reason why can't promote all three.

                •  oh, but I do see a reason why we can't do all thre (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mimi9, PreciousLittle

                  Because two of them are already immediately available, are already comparable in costs to coal, and don't present any unsolved storage problems.

                  Nukes fail on all three of those, even without the potential risk of accidents. That's why nukes died thirty years ago.

                  Why waste our money on a technology that has already failed in the real world?

                  •  I'd ask you for evidence to back that up, but even (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    erush1345, Johnny Nucleo, OtherDoug

                    your own sources said that nuclear power can help us fight climate change.

                    •  funnier and funnier (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PreciousLittle

                      Living in caves and eating roots and berries would also help us fight climate change. That doesn't mean they are good ideas.

                      (As for "your sources", I have no idea what you are refering to---what "sources" would that be, do you think?)

                      And speaking of "evidence", I'm still waiting for you to provide some.

                      Cradle to grave, show me the numbers.

                      Show me, in black and white, how much better nukes are.

                      put up <----------------> shut up

                      •  Here you go. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Johnny Nucleo, OtherDoug
                        I am not saying here that nuclear power will play no role in the fight to stay below 450 ppm of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and avoid catastrophic climate outcomes. Indeed, I have been including a full wedge of nuclear in my 12 to 14 wedges “solution” to global warming here. It may, however, be time to reconsider that, since it is increasingly clear achieving even one wedge of nuclear will be a very time-consuming and expensive proposition, probably costing $6 to $8 trillion and sharply driving up electricity prices.

                        You read it closely enough to leave out the part that supports nuclear energy when you quoted it.

              •  Gen III is being built now in China (Of Course)... (5+ / 0-)

                Gen IV....Maybe 2030 we will see them. Other countries are advancing the technology (most of which we invented by the way).

                I would love to see solar and wind do it all. It will take about 3500 sq miles of solar cell area in Arizona to power the country. Not sure how long that would take to build or what we would do at night.

                The point is if we ban the technology because we fear it. We will never see these new designs. If will didn't stop building reactors in the 80's, we could have had gen IV reactors now. Instead we burn fossil fuels and slow boil ourselves.

                "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:25:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  about the solar (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PreciousLittle
                  I would love to see solar and wind do it all. It will take about 3500 sq miles of solar cell area in Arizona to power the country.

                  That is a fraction of the total area taken up by rooftops in the US.

                  There are very few buildings, particularly residential, that do not have an area of rooftop sufficient to power that building's internal power needs.

                  And there are now designs for even skyscrapers and office buildings that are self-sufficient and produce all their own internal power requirements, through solar, wind, and/or others.

                  This would be particularly effective if we cut our wasteful profligate use of per-capita energy down to a level more comparable to the other industrialized nations.

                  Not sure how long that would take to build

                  The technology is already commercially available. If the typical lifespan of a building is 30 years, and if we required all new buildings that are constructed to have the capacity to produce X percentage of its own internal power needs, we could equip every building in the US in thirty years, and we could begin today.

                  or what we would do at night.

                  Plug in to our storage batteries, I would presume. I'm not aware of any commercial solar roof system that does not come with a battery bank to run the house at night or during cloudy weather.  Are you?

                  •  And when that happens, I'll stop advocating (4+ / 0-)

                    for nuclear power, but until then, we should pursue all of our options.

                    •  I haft to agree... (5+ / 0-)

                      Reality dictates that it will come down to two choices: More nuclear, or more natural gas via hydraulic fracking. I fear the latter much more because I've seen the denuded landscapes left behind by big gas drilling first hand. and it's not pretty.

                      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                      by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:19:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  nukes failed three decades ago (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PreciousLittle

                      Why sink money into something that's already proven incapable of surviving economically?

                      •  Because I don't think that we should let (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        erush1345

                        the markets decide our environmental policy.

                      •  These aren't youre dad's nukes... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        erush1345, quotemstr

                        We are talking about advanced designs that can help de-proliferate the planet of weapon fuel, and make power. A win-win in my book.

                        "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                        by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:49:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  oddly enough . . . (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          PreciousLittle

                          that is precisely what they said about the brand-new designs thirty years ago.

                          I've been listening to nuke industry promises since 1976.  They never fulfilled a single one.  So forgive my skepticism about their latest round of glowing promises.

                          •  The reactors they were comparing themselves to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            were even worse. The Windscale plant was just a fucking insane design.

                          •  and yet when it was built . . . (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            the nuke operators fell all over themselves to tell us how safe and cheap they were.

                          •  Holy shit! They overpromised and underdelivered? (0+ / 0-)

                            The fact that you may have been naive enough to take their claims at face value doesn't mean that the rest of us can't make good decisions.

                          •  The problem is that we are still... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            erush1345

                            operating those 1976 reactors. We stopped building and innovating because oil once again became cheap, and uranium was found to be much more abundant than originally thought, so the price plummeted. Innovative designs were not economically viable. We stayed with what was easy to build at the time. We wanted nuclear weapons, that favored more thermal (PWR) reactors. The problems with pressurized water reactors have always been know. Economic pressures prevented action.

                            We are returning to concepts that were abandoned even though they were superior. The fact remains that a reactor that is cooled by molten salt or metal is inherently meltdown resistant because simple convection cools it. No pumps, no valves, and no high pressure.

                            Thorium is the fuel of the future for nuclear power. Consider that one ton of Thorium has as much energy as 200 tons of Uranium, and 3.5 million tons of coal.  It is predicted that the US has the largest thorium deposits in the world. The Thorium in our current coal ash waste alone would power the US for hundreds of years. The superior thorium fuel cycle was not chosen because it did not generate weapon material.

                            Don't judge industry safety by looking at the Model-T of reactors.

                            "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                            by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:54:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I judge industry safety by looking at the (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            plants that are currently blowing up.

                            The plants we have 104 of in the US.

                            The plants that the nuke industry wants to recertify for another 20 years (and some want to run at 20% or so above their design capacity).

                            Whatever you have on the drawing board is nice (assuming it works as advertised, unlike every other plant that has been built), but it ain't real world yet. And indeed may never be.

                          •  I agree with you.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            That the current pressurized water designs are seriously flawed and need to be replaced. (super heated water at ~5000 psi tends to flash into steam and leave when there is a problem, leaving the core uncovered....duh!!) They were easy to build, so we built them. I just wish we spent more time and money over the last 30 year improving things. We are getting to it now, but it is late and all those nuclear tea kettles are getting old. I just don't want to scrap it all because of the current inferior design.

                            "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

                            by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 06:29:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I want to scrap all of the inferior designs (0+ / 0-)

                            As for your drawing board stuff, we'll see when it reaches reality if it works as advertised.

                            Given the history of the nuke industry and its many paens to safe and cheap, I'm skeptical.

                          •  We also pulled the plug on fast breeder reactors. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rclendan

                            Those designs deliver what many of the Gen3+ and Gen4 designs offer.  They produce plutonium, but as has been pointed out above, adding trace actinides can poison the plutonium fuel for use in weapons without reducing the energy output substantially in power reactors.

                          •  that would mean reversing the US policy of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            "no reprocessing".

                            Not very likely.

                            And as I have noted before, any new nukes, of whatever design, will be tied up in courts until God dies of old age anyway, before a single shovelful of earth is turned at any construction site.

                            Nukes failed three decades ago for economic reasons. And those economic reasons will kill them again. Whatever the design, the fact remains that nukes are economically unviable unless they are owned and operated by a government that doesn't care about cost or profit, or unless they are massively subsidized and given insurance waivers by a government.

                            The free market already killed nukes. And there's no economic reason to think they will be resurrected.

                            Like them or not, nukes are simply a nonstarter.

                          •  But you just pointed out... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            quotemstr, Recall, rclendan

                            ...that economics didn't kill EBR-II, the politics of non-proliferation did.  It kept running until 1994.  I think that non-proliferation requirements could be met and accepted by the global community with the actinide additions that have been mentioned previously.  That plutonium would be more difficult to turn into bombs than would regular uranium ore.  It's worth pointing out, also, that those countries that have gone nuclear in recent decades have done so using uranium enrichment, not plutonium production.  Elimination of fast breeder reactors has not done much to stop proliferation.

                            I'd point out that nuclear didn't die 30 years ago.  The plants kept running and producing power.  The free market didn't force their closure.  Really, it's difficult to make any sort of free market argument about power production anyway, considering that all means of production are subsidized in a wide variety of ways.  It's incredibly complicated to just stack up the various subsidies, much less the costs that are allowed to remain external to the pricing mechanism.

                            Your point about the fate of any new nuclear reactor being tied up in the courts also makes any economic argument moot.  If what you say is the case then no economic force will ever come to bear on such a plant.  Finally, the risk of endless litigation is one of the reasons why loan guarantees are required for construction of new reactors.  Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear organizations have been very effective in using the courts to slow any change in the nuclear reactor fleet, keeping new reactors from being built.  By doing that they've kept a lot of the old reactor fleet from being upgraded.  I know I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but that complete and total opposition is one of the reasons that those old reactors are still online.  Despite the desire of many nuclear supporters to see them replaced with newer, safer designs.

                          •  the environmentalists beat you (shrug) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            Sorry about that.

                          •  I wish they were as successful against coal. (0+ / 0-)

                            And I guess you're not interested in responding to what I wrote in that post, either.

                          •  I wish we were too (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            I'd throw a big party if the entire coal industry, from mining to power plant, went out of business tomorrow.

                            As for responding to your post, I saw nothing that I felt any need to respond to.  All your new designs are just paper.  Just vaporware.

                            No need to discuss the merits of something that doesn't even exist yet.

                          •  The EBR-II ran for 30 years. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Recall

                            It's not vaporware, it's really well established technology.  That reactor was substantially safer than other designs of that era, many of which are still in operation.  Its performance indicated that it would be a more economical reactor design if commercialized.  The only issue was non-proliferation which I and others have pointed out can be dealt with at the level of fuel processing.  

                            I really am disturbed with the way you respond to these points.  You find ways of sidestepping every argument. without actually addressing what is being brought up.  The most egregious example was involving deaths from coal combustion.  But this exchange highlights that behavior as well.  The bulk of my post was about the EBR-II, which you apparently think never advanced beyond the drafting board.

                          •  well if they're so great (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            the industry would be clamoring to build them.

                            Seems to me you are arguing with the wrong people.  You need to get your own side, on-side, first. Then you can deal with us on the other side. I don't see any need whatsoever to argue over something that doesn't even currently exist anywhere, and may never be built anyway. Particularly when it doesn't appear to be the anti-nukers who are stopping them, but your own side.

                            And if "Chinese people die from cooking fires!!" is a legitimate reason why we need nukes, then this entire debate has crossed into lala-land.

                          •  Listen, over 400,000 Chinese die each year... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Recall

                            ...from indoor air pollution, most of it from coal use, and you don't seem to be the least bit concerned.

                            If building nuclear power plants, extending the power grid to rural areas and facilitating a move from direct combustion to electric for space heating and cooking can reduce that I find it hard to argue against it.  The fact is that is what the Chinese are doing.  Trouble is their demand is so pressing they are building a ton of coal powered plants at the same time.  Also quite a bit of renewable, some good (solar, wind), some bad (Three Gorges Dam hydro).  

                            That's not lala-land and I am beginning to get really offended by your derision.  Like I mentioned, my wife's family are first generation immigrants from mainland China.  They still have lots of family in Guangzhou and Shanghai.  These issues may seem a distraction to you, but they are pretty central to how I and my family view things.

                            In terms of the EBR-II and other breeder reactor technology, yes, there is resistance to it in the industry.  There is also resistance to any reactor from the anti-nuclear activist community.  Simple fact is nothing has gotten built since 1986 and that's largely the fault of the anti-nukes.  Why should industry try to get something innovative built when even previously approved reactor designs can't get built?

                            A final couple points.  

                            Pro-nuke doesn't equate with industry.  There is a clear division within those who support nuclear that aligns with support for light water reactors and advanced reactors.  I don't consider the commercial nuclear industry to be on my side.  They are almost as hostile to change as the anti-nukes.

                            Anti-nuclear groups do not have a monopoly on the label environmentalist.  There are environmentalists who are pro-nuclear.  I am pro-nuclear only because of my concern about global climate change and the need for rapid action to address it.  I won't yield my own claim to the title of environmentalist because of that support.

                          •  don't give me the "not concerned" crap (0+ / 0-)

                            And if you want us to support the building of gee-whiz new nuke designs, it might be helpful if you get your own industry to actually propose to build them, first.

                            Seems to me you're arguing with the wrong people---WE are not blocking your super-duper new designs, your own industry is.

                            So go have at them.

                          •  It's not "my" industry. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Recall

                            I don't work in the industry, I just think nuclear power needs to be a part of the mix.  And any advocacy I do to promote GenIV reactors doesn't do much if Greenpeace and other anti-nukes block any new reactor construction.  The bunker mentality of the industry and the absolute opposition by anti-nuke groups maintains a status quo that keeps unsafe reactor designs operating long past the point when they should have been retired.

                  •  Very few grid connected systems have batteries. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    quotemstr

                    I've spec'd them for residential projects.  It's really only used for off-grid solutions.  The commercially available systems use lead-acid batteries that require a lot of maintenance.

                  •  Rooftops? Rooftops?! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OtherDoug

                    What a terrible suggestion. Even good progressive people will scream bloody murder if someone forces them to install solar panels on their roof, and for good reason. Also, what do you use for power at night? Sure, you can use solar thermal at dedicated plants, but nobody is going to want several tons of molten salt on top of his house.

                    •  I think that building integrated PV... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...can make sense, but it's much more like demand reduction than true production.  BIPV can be economically viable if it can offset costs of other building products, such as roofing or windows, or if it can provide additional passive solar benefits, like awnings above south facing windows, frit in skylights, etc.  Still, it's maximum output is not aligned with peak power demand in almost all areas.  And its performance in a lot of areas like the Northeast, upper Midwest and coastal Pacific Northwest is really, well, sad.

                      Solar thermal for hot water heating is good in a lot of places, too.  Much more cost effective.  But that's really a demand reduction idea.

                      •  there is no single magic solution (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        PreciousLittle

                        No source, not even nukes, are the magic silver bullet.

                        What we will need is a mix of many different methods, each suited to a particular area. I would like to see us decentralize electric production down to the building level, and make each building supply as much as possible of its own internal energy needs, whether through solar, wind, or whatever else works best in the area.

                        There will be, of course, some things that simply can't produce enough energy on their own to operate (factories and such). So we'll still have to have some sort of central (but as small and close as possible) generating facility. Again, that should use the method that is best suited for its area. (And the closer it is to the point of use, the less wastage we get through transmission loss.)

                        Alas, the loss of big centralized electricity generation also means the end of big centralized electric companies (and their big centralized profits).  Which is why it will probably never happen.

                        And of course we all must collectively cut our wasteful use of power. We can reduce our per capita energy usage by half and STILL have the levels found in Germany or Italy (which are hardly third world countries).

                        But alas, we will never reduce our wastage of power until we simply have no more.  We'd rather die than give up our fat lazy lifestyles.

                        In the end, I fear we will do nothing at all to change--and Mother Nature will then change things for us.  Whether we like it or not.

          •  Just build fast breeder reactors now. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rclendan

            Use the design of the EBR-II.  As much as I am intrigued by advanced designs there are tried and proven reactor designs that could be implemented immediately.

        •  nice comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OtherDoug
    •  Truthful promotion -- not (12+ / 0-)

      Hey Lenny,

      Were the promotion of Nuclear power based in the truth, then it would be still a reasonable strategy.

      But given that these models of reactors were NEVER safe, in the event of a power outage.

      They lied, I believed.

      Now, again daylight. I no longer believe.

      You were right.

      Ugh. --UB.

    •  But advocates have made huge strides (13+ / 0-)

      in mental gymnastics.

      1. All energy generators are dangerous.
      2. Nuclear has a great track record.
      3. Coal plants emit more radioactivity in fly ash.
      4. Disposing of radioactive waste is only a conceptual problem, it will be solved and the spent rods are safely stored in on-site pools.
      5. Small amounts of radioactive nucleotides are not harmful. We can always inject our cows with chelating agents.

      Answers:

      1. I suppose a wind turbine can lose a blade and conk someone on the head, maybe. Contrast that to encasing a huge radioactive hulk of a destroyed nuke in sand and concrete and counting the cases of cancer in the general population.

      2. Until the reactor loses coolant and the fuel rods start to melt, which happens way too often.

      3. OK, so lets get rid of coal plants, I'm fine with that. I don't need to monitor the released radiation from Wind or Solar.

      4. Disposing of spent fuel remains an unsolved liability. Storing them onsite clearly is a danger. Factor the cost of the unknown technology required to store these toxic radioactive materials for centuries. Can't do that, eh? Then don't do nuclear.

      5. Keep your radioactivity out of my kid's milk and spinach, and I don't mean please.

      •  as an aside, back in my Greenpeace days (11+ / 0-)
        3. Coal plants emit more radioactivity in fly ash.

        I was helping to fight a cement kiln in Pennsylvania that wanted to use toxic waste as fuel in its cement kiln (what a stoopid idea THAT was). One of the company execs liked to say, in his stump speech, that "fly ash has fewer toxins in it than peanut butter". So when we had the opportunity to share a stage with him during a debate, when he mouthed this line, one of us immediately popped up with a peanut butter sandwich we had smeared with fly ash, and invited him to prove it by eating it right here in front of everyone.

      •  Alvarez suggest that a terrorist attack such as (11+ / 0-)

        crashing a Cessna airplane, drone, or rocket ladened with C4, or fuel, into one of the 104 unprotected spent fuel ponds in the US could release about 9 times the radiactivity released in Chernobyl. (50 million curies of Cesium 137 compared to 6 in Chernobyl.)

        As a point of reference, this morning's NYT has an article about the desolate Chernobyl area, 200 square miles of which have been rendered uninhabitle even today, and for and indefinite future.

        If you look at a 200 plus square mile areas around the 104 US spent fuel ponds, you will notice they are in a lot of high real estate value areas.

        But, wait!  the Price-Anderson Act limits the liability of the nuclear industry to about a billion and half (I think, I'll check later)

        Another hidden subsidy, these Exxon side by side comparisions of the cost of nuclear electricity do not include.

        BTW one of the Japanese reactors contains MOX fuel which include plutonium, which has a half life of 24,000 years so needs to be excluded from the environment and terrorism for 250,000 years.  

        Much longer than the human species has been on earth.  

        One of my students from the Idaho National Labs told me they were doing research in how to mark nuclear waste repository, with primordial symbols that would scare away treasture seekers who no longer spoke english or perhaps even any human language.

        The longest continuous civilization on earth so far has been China at 5,000 years.  

        Nuclear -- safe, clean, inexpensive?  NOT!  

        Don't even think about it.

        Yet, the nuclear lobby has convinced Washington to put a $36 billion subsidy to restart the nuclear industry in the proposed budget compromise.

        Rep Ed Markey is trying to take this out.  Please call his office for support and find out how to help.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:19:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unless you ride a bicycle to work, farm your own.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quotemstr

        food, and are pedaling a stationary bike to power you computer get off high horse, because here in the real world we need energy, and it is about choosing the most practical source of energy, while minimizing the costs. Where do you propose we get the energy to produce your beloved solar cells and wind turbines. do you have a power plant that is powered by self-righteousness???

        •  I'm 2 out of 3 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PreciousLittle, denise b

          Having voluntarily given up my car almost ten years ago, I now bike or walk everywhere I go; I used to bike six miles for work every day, but now I work out of my home.

          And I'm typing to you right now on a solar powered computer. I use a foldable 25w solar panel and a Tekeon external battery to charge my phone, charge my camera batteries (I'm an amateur film-maker) and charge my laptop. My electric bill averages about $30/month--most of that goes for the fridge and for the filter/lights on my aquarium, I assume.

          I do grow a few veggies on the windowsill (I live on the second floor and have no backyard), but of course I would not consider that "farming my own food".

          And I often cook my lunch in a solar oven (made from an old pizza box and some tinfoil) just for the fun of it.

          I am an extremely non-materialistic person. And I don't miss it in the slightest.

        •  btw (0+ / 0-)

          does self-righteousness produce your beloved nuclear power plants or the uranium/thorium fuel that runs them?

          Just asking.

    •  Me too, and until this I was in the "we have (7+ / 0-)

      to use nukes to help stop global warming" camp. This accident, which once again points to the limits of design and technology and human mismanagement in the face of financial loss and crisis makes me want to push very strongly for a soft energy and energy efficiency path. However, as long as commercial interests are in charge of policy making, and as long as we opt for a more materially comfortable lifestyle, nuclear will be "necessary".

      “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

      by the fan man on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:24:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for coming back to the side of light and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PreciousLittle

        goodness.

        Too many Democrats have been duped into going over to the dark side.

        :-)

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:21:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm curious (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aseth

        If we could create reactors that did not produce spent fuel rod waste and had no risk of explosion or melt down, would you consider supporting their development?

        Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

        by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:12:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sure (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          protothad, PreciousLittle

          as  long as the nuke industry agrees to assume ALL the costs, and doesn't get a dime of tax money to bail out their private economic interests.

          If it's really safe and cheap, then let the industry put its money where its mouth is, instead of expecting US to pay for everything.

          Deal?

          •  I would take that deal (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345, aseth

            The thing is, the current nuclear industry is very invested in the old uranium fuel cycle with all its problems.  It will likely take outside players to fund development in a new direction.  It will also take some initial government research grants into things like Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors to get things moving.  This could be done rather easily by re-allocating dollars from the disposal of our only stock pile of U233 and instead us it to kick start a thorium fuel cycle.  With government movement, we could begin the process of starving the uranium based nuclear industry and moving us in a safer direction.

            Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

            by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:28:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and again I ask (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PreciousLittle

              why should we taxpayers be funding the expenses of a privately-owned, for-profit industry?

              If the taxpayers are being asked to PAY for all this, why should the taxpayers not then get to OWN it? Why the hell should private owners be allowed to privately profit from something they didn't even pay for?

              "The industry assumes all the costs" means they assume ALL THE COSTS.

              If it's all really as cheap and safe as the industry keeps telling us, then why aren't they willing to pony up and put their money where their mouth is? Free market, and all that.

              Or does the nuke industry know something about the actual costs that they don't want to admit openly . . . . . .

              •  That is not how research has EVER worked (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erush1345, Johnny Nucleo

                Publicly financed research has always lead to private investment, and that is a good thing.  It is particularly good when the intellectual property is held in public trust for many to use rather than locked up in patents that are never fully developed by the patent holders.  For example, you can blame a lack of public investment in medical research for the monopolistic control big pharma has over most of our medicine.

                Private investors are unlikely to invest in new reactor designs until more research is done on them.  That means money will continue to go into the older, more dangerous designs simply because they are the known quantity.  Similar dynamics exist for solar, wind, bio-fuels, and many other new energy technologies.  Fantastic advances have come out of publicly funded university and government research labs. These are driving a new generation of solar panels, low resource bio-fuel production, etc.  Those advances would come much more slowly if left completely to the private sector.

                Do you also advocate taking all the public research dollars out of wind, and solar?  By your own reasoning, shouldn't they also be left completely to the private sector?  Personally, I would like to see public investment in a whole variety of energy alternatives.

                Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

                by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:33:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  evading the question again (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PreciousLittle, denise b

                  No one is talking about "research".  We're talking about taxpayer funding for subsidies, insurance liability, and nuclear waste storage sites to store waste, to a privately-owned, for-profit business that wants to push the bill onto us because they "have no interest" in paying to clean up their own mess that they profited from.

                  So quit waving your arms, quit changing the subject, and just answer the goddamn question:

                  Why should taxpayers have to pay the operating and insurance expenses of a for-profit privately-owned industry?

                  Take your time.  I know there's simply no good answer, so feel free to think carefully before you offer another arm-waving piece of bullshit.

                  •  Please re-read my original post. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    erush1345

                    I've never said I support the entire package of subsidies to the nuclear industry, only that we should not let our zeal to kill those subsidies cause us to also kill vital research.  That has happened too many times in the past.  I only advocate that we do not treat this as an all or nothing question and instead look at what aspects of the nuclear problem should rightly be funded.  The bill that is currently being discussed also contains funding for research into waste disposal and safety improvements, much of it though public DOE labs.  Killing the entire bill would kill the efforts to solve the waste problem, just like it did at ANL more than a decade ago.  You can choose to leave that problem entirely to the private sector, but that is a decision to live with poison in your back-yard.  I've seen this happen before.  Because of the emotional reaction to all things 'nuclear', the research that scientist are doing to try and reverse decades of damage is killed in the crib.  We end up perpetuating the status quo, and more and more waste piles up at the plants.

                    That does not mean I support massive subsides to the nuke companies.  By all means kill that part of the bill.  I simply advocate saving those parts of the bill that actually fund the research that makes sense.  If you want to fund that via increased fees or taxes on the nuclear industry, I would support that.

                    You may not believe this, but I am your ally.  I want to get rid of the current nuclear industry.  I want us to stop producing huge piles of toxic waste.  I want to find a way to safely dispose of the mountain we already have.  I want all our future energy production to be safe and clean.  I just don't have your faith that the private sector will do that on its own.   That is why I advocate fixing the current bill rather than throwing it out completely.

                    Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

                    by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:59:24 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Good points protothad (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  protothad, OtherDoug

                  Also, the construction of a nuke power plant is a massive undertaking in the 10's billions range, with years of construction, not to mention getting operational to start making back the money. Its prohibitively expensive for the private sector, and if you want to add development of new technologies, I would much rather build a coal plant from the perspective of an investor, considering that it is tried and true.

        •  Sure. I think nuclear techology is still (0+ / 0-)

          very crude, I mean, we're harnessing the power of the atom to boil water. (Solar pv at least isn't an exercise in creating heat, it's solar radiation to electric current.) Given that, newer designs are much safer, passive cooling can handle residual heat, reactor vessels are more durable (the reactors in this accident held up to some pretty big explosions). Dry cask waste storage is a reasonable short term disposal method. No one really wants a long term waste site in their state.

          The problem as I see it, is that with many more nuclear reactors slated for production, the odds of an accident increases. There will never be another Chernobyl, but there could easily be more accidents of this type given the intransigence of the industry and financial priorities. Short of a mythical totally safe, no waste nuke, I think there is room for nuclear energy. I'd would just rather the emphasis be placed in the direction of solar and wind and, I'd like the nuclear industry decommissioned. No lobbyists to spread money and bullshit on the hill, no happy pr talk. That's a dream I know.

          “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

          by the fan man on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:26:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where's my flying car?!? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quotemstr, OtherDoug

            I am just saying relative to your comment of using nuclear power to boil water and power a turbine as being crude, if you had an appreciation for the complexity involved in producing a power turbine you would not think its a crude technology. The Egyptians had Chariots 1000's of years ago, and the car is basically the same thing, engines are even rated in Horse Power.

          •  Why do people mock water boiling? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OtherDoug, davboyce

            Steam turbine technology is fantastically efficient, and the less-crazy variant of solar power, solar thermal, uses it to generate electricity. Geothermal uses turbines to generate electricity. PV cells degrade over time and are expensive to manufacture, requiring all kinds of rare and toxic substances. There's nothing wrong with "boiling water" to generate electricity.

            •  Solar thermal and geo thermal are heat to (0+ / 0-)

              heat transfer. Yes you have to concentrate solar, but it seems we are missing something by using fission to boil water. Solar pv and nuclear components both degrade over time, both use rare and toxic materials. Solar panels don't meltdown and materials research brings new hope for panels that are not reliant on rare metals.

              “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

              by the fan man on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 03:10:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Additionally not crude. (0+ / 0-)

            The first steam engine was about the 1840's, nuclear power was first possible in the 1940's, the first turbines were in the 1940's-50's with the dawn of the jet age, and these plants that you are talking about in japan are built in the 1970's. The use of nuclear power to heat water is FAR from crude.
            Unless you think that you could build one of these in your backyard. (I would like to see you try.)Nuclear Turbine

  •  I'd be in favor of keeping nukes. (6+ / 0-)

    But locating them all in red states.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:04:15 AM PDT

    •  I'd be in favor of keeping nukes if (21+ / 0-)

      the operators all agreed to assume ALL THE COSTS themselves, without a single dime of subsidies or insurance waivers. If there is any sort of accident, the company is on the hook for the entire cost of it.

      The nuke operators keep telling us how safe and cheap their plants are. Let them put their money where their mouth is.

      And of course they won't. They don't even believe their own propaganda.

      •  oh, and those costs also include (17+ / 0-)

        storage facilities for the high-level waste, all the cleanup costs for the uranium and thorium mining operations, and the cost of decommissioning and dismantling the nuke at the end of its lifespan.

        If the nuke industry can't live without massive government welfare, then it doesn't deserve to live.  Free market, and all that.

        •  But Lenny Flank, the economic of nuclear (5+ / 0-)

          are so bad, the free market has not initiated a new nuclear plant for 37 year according to Ed Markey.

          Now they want $36 billion of additional loan gaurentees to their profits, to restart the American nuclear industry.  But, they want to accept zero risk.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:27:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Funny you mentioned thorium (7+ / 0-)

          We currently already mine a lot of thorium while mining other rare earth metals, and actually throw it away right now because we don't use it in any modern reactor.  Using thorium would actually solve all the issues we currently have with contemporary uranium reactors.  The thorium fuel cycle burns up almost all its fuel, leaves no spent fuel rods, and what it leaves behind is far less toxic and decays much faster.  There is no risk of explosion or melt down in a liquid fluoride thorium reactor.  There is no need for the massive concrete pressure chambers or complicated cooling systems, so they would be less expensive.  We could probably mass produce them in an assembly line on the scale of a jumbo jet plant, and for about the same cost.

          Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

          by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:40:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  $36 billion (26+ / 0-)

        Obama's budget includes $36 billion in guarantees to the nuke industry.  Another case of profit to the private sector, but liabilities to the public sector.  I think that $36 billion ought to go.  The Republicans want $60 billion out of the budget.  That would be most of it right there.  (Toss in "faith based initiatives" and "abstinence education" while you're at it...)

        Gingrich's Congress pretty much killed Superfund by ending the polluting industries' payments into the program.  What limited cleanups there are now get paid for the the taxpayers, once the polluter files bankruptcy.

        exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

        by Land of Enchantment on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:15:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not to mention the burden of the (9+ / 0-)

          medical costs if a large number of people are injured by an accident.

          •  Agreed Land of Enchantment. Would you rather (5+ / 0-)

            take disabled people off Medicaid, close libraries, fire teachers, or give $36 billion in loan gaurentees to the nuclear industry.  (This would guarentee their profits even if the plants were never built.)

            Outrageous.

            We need to call all our politicians ASAP and raise a stink about this.

            How do we get all of our action team folks fired up about this?  I've been worried about all week.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:21:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  BTW scientist have documented the increased (5+ / 0-)

            numbers of cancers and mutations in the areas surrounding Chernobyl.

            But, sadly, and tragically, all the future generations of children born with mutation, will not incur extra medical costs, if they have no health care.  

            None of these "external" social costs are included in the nuclear industries deceptive unit costs comparisions suggesting they are marginally viable, after all of these enormous subsidies.

            We need a Manhatten Project style urgency to shifting our energy economy to renewable alternatives.  Remember we did the Manhatten project in 18 months.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:30:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Its more complicated than that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, OtherDoug

          Much of the 36 billion goes toward disposal of existing waste and research toward newer, safer technology.  Throw out all if it, and you are voting to keep the status quo at our current ancient nuke plants including the massive on-site storage of waste.  I'm not saying all that spending is a good idea, but lets be sure we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

          Case in point.  I remember years ago when Argon National Labs had a project researching the processing and elimination of existing spent fuel (that really nasty stuff will otherwise stick around for many tens of thousands of years).  It had real potential, but was killed because it had the tag 'nuclear research' attached to it.

          Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

          by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:24:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  could you explain to me why (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            protothad, PreciousLittle
            Much of the 36 billion goes toward disposal of existing waste and research toward newer, safer technology.  Throw out all if it, and you are voting to keep the status quo at our current ancient nuke plants including the massive on-site storage of waste.

            (1) why the taxpayers should be expected to foot the bill to clean up the waste mess created by a privately-owned for-profit industry, and why the nuke industry shouldn't be paying for its own goddamn mess?

            and

            (2) why the nuke industry went ahead and put up nukes like mushrooms all over the country when it knew there was nowhere to put the resulting waste?

            •  Its simple really (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Recall, erush1345, aseth

              Answering the second question first.  We put up nuke plants everywhere because we wanted the bi-products to make nuclear weapons.  That's it.  Our current reactor designs are horribly inefficient at producing energy (compared to other known designs), but they are really good at breeding weapon grade uranium and plutonium.  After investing heavily in reactors for bomb fuel, momentum just carried that design forward.

              As to why the public should invest in solving the waste problem... the alternative is to leave it entirely to a private sector that has no interest in doing it.  I am not saying we shouldn't extract the cost from the industry as much as we can, but when it comes to investing in the TECHNOLOGY of waste disposal, that will have to be done by the public sector, or it will not happen.  I'm just being a realist here.

              And these are all reasons why I support the funding of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor research.  It pretty much eliminates the problems of spent fuel waste and potential disasters that come from traditional uranium reactors.  We still need to deal with all the waste we've built up in the mean time, but good grief why are continuing to make more of it!?

              Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

              by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:42:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  alas, you didn't answer either question (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PreciousLittle
                (1) why the taxpayers should be expected to foot the bill to clean up the waste mess created by a privately-owned for-profit industry, and why the nuke industry shouldn't be paying for its own goddamn mess?
                As to why the public should invest in solving the waste problem... the alternative is to leave it entirely to a private sector that has no interest in doing it.  I am not saying we shouldn't extract the cost from the industry as much as we can, but when it comes to investing in the TECHNOLOGY of waste disposal, that will have to be done by the public sector, or it will not happen.  I'm just being a realist here.

                If the private industry sector has "no interest" in cleaning up its own fucking waste that it made profits from, then please explain to me why they should be allowed to build the damn things in the first place. Instead of taxpayers paying to clean up their mess, why should taxpayers not just shut them down so they don't make any waste for us to keep paying for?

                "I'm going to build this plant and make lots of money while I generate lots of toxic waste--but ya know what, I don't really feel like paying to clean up my own mess that I'm making, so here, you pay for it instead."

                It boggles my mind that you'd even attempt such an argument with a straight face.

                (2) why the nuke industry went ahead and put up nukes like mushrooms all over the country when it knew there was nowhere to put the resulting waste?
                Answering the second question first.  We put up nuke plants everywhere because we wanted the bi-products to make nuclear weapons.  That's it.  Our current reactor designs are horribly inefficient at producing energy (compared to other known designs), but they are really good at breeding weapon grade uranium and plutonium.  After investing heavily in reactors for bomb fuel, momentum just carried that design forward.

                The US military did not design any of the commercial electric-generating nukes, none of them were ever intended to produce weapons or weapons material, and that is not what they were designed to do.

                Nor even assuming they did, that does not explain why a privately-owned for-profit industry put up nukes all over the place without anywhere to store the waste they knew would be coming.

                Try again.

                •  You misunderstand my argument (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  erush1345, aseth

                  I am not advocating the building of new uranium reactors, and I agree the constructing the ones we have was a mistake.  I would love for the nuclear industry to clean up its own current mess, I just don't realistically see that happening without public intervention.  I wish every criminal could be counted on to make full compensation for their crimes, but here in the real world that doesn't always happen.  That shouldn't stop us from working to heal the damage.

                  The fact is eliminating the current waste problem requires an investment in technology and infrastructure that currently does not exist.  Nuke companies have no profit motive to fix the mess they've already made.  The time to force that change was before the plants were built.  The best we can do is slap an additional tax on them to recover the cost of implementing disposal, and yes, I support that.

                  But this the thing, you CAN NOT trust them to research disposal practice on there own, no matter how much you order them to do it.  They just have no incentive to actually do it.  The only method that will work is develop disposal via public DOE labs and then FORCE it on the nukes via regulatory fiat.  Nevertheless, the research end of disposal must come through public investment, or it will not happen.  Period.

                  And yes, our current generation of nuclear plants are pretty much direct descendants of the military technology.  It was the same companies contracted to build them, the same scientists and engineers.  The regulatory framework was shaped by the understanding and experience that came from the early cold-war weapons reactors.  This is just a stone cold fact of history.

                  There was a time that thorium reactors were seriously considered.  We even built a couple of research reactors (one of them ran for five years).  But because they had no utility toward creating weapons grade fuels, government money was not put into their further development.  That left a shortage of industry experience to carry forward a commercial reactor program, despite the many advantages of a thorium fuel cycle.  Its that simple.  The government spent billions developing solid fuel uranium reactors for cold war use.  Since that's what they new how to build, and had existing plans already on the books that could be adapted, that's what G.E. and Westinghouse went with when they shifted from military to commercial implementation.

                  I sense you have very strong feelings over this topic, and I can certainly understand why.  Nevertheless, I encourage you to read up on liquid fluoride thorium reactors and the place they hold in the history of nuclear technology.  If nothing else, it might give you an even better understanding of how screwed up our nuclear industry is and the role the military had in that.

                  Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

                  by protothad on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:06:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  How much does that $36B loan guarantee (0+ / 0-)

          actually cost?

          There must be some data out there on that . . .

      •  Internalize costs? :D (9+ / 0-)

        Lenny,

        GOP/TPers do not have in their mind set the principle of "internalized costs."

        Their whole program is to externalize costs on the customer, neighbor, client state, colony, slave...

        No? :D

        Ugh. --UB

      •  I'm still on the fence about nuclear (10+ / 0-)

        ...but I agree on this.
        If this country cannot have a "single payer" insurance program for health care, there's no reason the the electric power industry should have one for its nuclear plants.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:20:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's the problem with all non-renewables (8+ / 0-)

        Fossil fuels and nuclear are horrible about internalizing their costs. If they actually did that and the prices reflected it, we would have moved to renewable sources a long time ago.

      •  no. There is no price that can be named for the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, esquimaux, PreciousLittle

        potential of lost lives. It is not OK to kill people and destroy the planet for dirty, expensive electricity and gobs of money. Not the lives of rich people or poor people, black, brown, yellow or white. There is no mitigation for nuclear desolation.

    •  Naw, they'd use them as breeder reactors... (7+ / 0-)

      and given the history of Neo-Confederates...

      Don't give them the means to destroy the world for their damned "principles."

      Ugh. --UB.

    •  Radioactive material released into (10+ / 0-)

      the atmosphere doesn't know the difference between a red and blue state.

    •  Entergy Corp is headquartered in Louisiana (5+ / 0-)

      and owns and operates Vermont Yankee and Indian Point in NY, both of which have had serious problems, including radioactive leakages.

      As I live just south of Vermont Yankee about 40 miles, this does not sit well with me.  

      "Let the bastards freeze in the dark” (or “Let the Yankee bastards freeze in the dark” or “Let them freeze in the dark") and “Drive 80 mph and freeze a Yankee” (or “Drive 90 mph and freeze a Yankee” or “Drive fast and freeze a Yankee") were bumper stickers that were popular in Texas during the 1973-74 energy crisis.

      Swap "glow" for "freeze" and you'll understand my concern.

  •  My biggest problem with nuclear power (14+ / 0-)

    is that it's in my back yard and refuses to go away.

    Seriously, what is the NRC's job other than as a rubber stamp?

    "The first rule of pillow fight club is do not talk about pillow fight club." --Keith Olbermann

    by Julie Waters on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:04:52 AM PDT

    •  the key lies in "Regulatory" and what that (4+ / 0-)

      means for control and coordination of the economy; corporate capture of the policy regime cannot (ever) stand

      Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

      by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:11:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nuclear technology can be managed safely... (4+ / 0-)

        ... but not by Soviet socialism, and not by market capitalism.

        We need a new science of government before we commit to a nuclear future.

        Back during Three Mile Island, there was talk about having all civilian power reactors run by the Navy, similar to the way that the Army Corp of Engineers manages rivers and flood control infrastructure.

        Of course, the Army Corp was in charge of the levies that failed during Katrina.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:07:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  see Finland, a highly industrialized mixed economy (0+ / 0-)
          The Finnish public is among the most nuclear power-friendly nations in the EU: in a 2008 survey, production of electricity by means of nuclear power was supported by 61%, clearly above the EU average of 44%...Finland built an extensive welfare state and balanced between the East and the West in global economics and politics. The country tops continuously the international comparisons of national performance. Finland ranks the best country in the world in the 2010 Newsweek survey based on health, economic dynamism, education, political environment and quality of life. Finland has also been ranked the second most stable country in the world and the first in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity rating. In 2010, the World Economic Forum deemed Finland the 7th most competitive country in the world. Finland is currently ranked as having the 3rd highest graduation rate, percentage of graduates to the population at the typical age of graduation, in the OECD Factbook 2010.

          note that "soviet" is usually a 'bagger talking point

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

          by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:21:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And the French attempt (2+ / 0-)

            to build a reactor in Finland has been an economic disaster.

            We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

            by badger on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:04:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Finland's energy ambitions (0+ / 0-)
              Finland has four nuclear reactors producing about 30% of the country's electricity, with a fifth expected to be functional by 2013.

              Bioenergy is also a crucial element in the country's energy sector, supplying almost 20% of total primary energy consumption.

              The National Action Plan for Renewable Energy Sources (RES) has aimed at a 30% increase in the use of bioenergy by 2010, according to Finland's Renewable Energy Policy Review in 2009.

              Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

              by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:16:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Julie (6+ / 0-)

      I'm with you.  I live in MA, just 8 miles from Yankee, and follow closely the New England Coalition.  Have actually been thinking about moving as each year brings more and more trouble at that aging plant.

      Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

      by jarbyus on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:27:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They keep telling us that government (8+ / 0-)

      is inept, that regulation is bad and that regulators impede "progress".  Now when nuclear is under siege, they say that government is tough, the regulations are really good and that the regulators are all powerful.  Can't have it both ways, boys.

  •  All current forms of energy... (14+ / 0-)

    have their negative aspects, even hydropower.

    Massive dams destroy ecosystems, displace people and exterminate whole species of wildlife.  

    I'm sure that people in Vermont enjoy their "clean" hydropower from Quebec...because they've never driven North to see the damage those massive dams cause to huge swaths of our planet.

    Of course we need to find other solutions, but whatever solution we choose is going to have negative impacts on the environment in one way or another--we have too much energy to produce.

  •  Nicely put, although the timetables are more (4+ / 0-)

    uneven as are their development(s) and of course in terms of risk and the events in Japan there's new meaning to the concept of "half-life"

    The argument usually boils down to the idea that there is no other energy option that can replace fossil fuels on a timetable sufficient to meet the impending climate crisis. But what that argument's purveyors fail to mention is that the likelihood of nuclear power itself replacing fossil fuels on such a timetable is no greater than that of much cleaner alternatives

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:07:36 AM PDT

    •  Weirdly, I think that constructing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook

      a nuclear plant and drilling a fruitful well for oil have a lead time of about 20 years.

      Does it take that long to put up windmills or install solar systems?  I don't think so.

      •  It takes very long to put up windmills (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

        NIMBYism is totally alive and well in that arena . . .

        And about installing solar systems, yeah that's probably a good if idea - again if you have a good location to suggest.   I once calculated if New Jersey were covered in it's entirety, that's be sufficient to supply the USA with power. . . . (and who'd miss it?)

        •  Almost every roof in America? (3+ / 0-)

          I don't hang out on mine at all.  Most people don't.

          And given the choice between windmills and a nuclear plant, I think most people would go for the windmills.  

          •  Yes, I did another back of the envelope (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aseth

            calculation and if the $3trillion we spent on useless wars over the past decade had instead been spent on this , pretty much every roof in the country could now be covered with solar panels (except where HOA prohibit it, of course).

            That wouldn't entirely solve the country's energy problems but it for sure would be like what they say about 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean.

            And about the windmills, if nothing else, Nantucket and the surrounding waters should be filled to the max, I heard the wind blows quite reliably there . . .

  •  I Would Live 100 Miles Away From (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puffin

    a nuclear plant, but that is as far as I would want to be.  I think that one of the biggest problems is where do you store nuclear waste.  Nobody want to live by a nuclear waste site.  I think that the US could have nuclear plants but they should be on a small scale and has so many safety options that you could shut the plant down immediately.  These enormous nuclear plants is not the way to go.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:08:13 AM PDT

  •  That greenhouse gas emissions quote... (4+ / 0-)

    ....was kind of picky.

    Doesn't fabricating and installing wind mills contribute to global warming too?

    You can dig into the energy costs of  building and servicing any type of alternative energy solution and say "it's not greenhouse gas-free."

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:09:10 AM PDT

  •  Solar has promise! (9+ / 0-)

    There appears to be a Moore's law at work on solar cell technology.  This writer suggests that we will reach the cost point of current electric generation quickly.

    And, given the 20-year time frame for nuclear coming on line, why wouldn't you put your efforts into cleaner, more sustainable power generation?

    •  Photovoltaics are probably as cheap right now (11+ / 0-)

      if you factor in (1) all the environmental consequences of coal, oil, and nuclear including massive accidents like the nuclear meltdowns of the plants in Japan and (2) the massive subsidies that have been provided for decades to coal, oil, and nuclear.

      The nuclear, oil, and coal industries have been fighting against solar and wind alternatives since the 1950s. The Reagan administration did everything in its power to destroy the burgeoning solar and wind industries in the 1980s including removing the solar collectors on the roof of the White House that President Carter had installed. If those industries had been encouraged and subsidized as much as coal, oil, and nuclear, they would surely be the cheapest source now. And conservation of energy has always been the cheapest "source" of energy -- we still have lots of waste in the system that could be cheaply eliminated.

      •  Yes, if you include the external cost left out (0+ / 0-)

        of nuclear, these alternatives seem to already have a cost advanages and their costs curves are going down, while nuclear continues to escalate
        James' has a diary this morning discussing Concentrated solar thermal power, which are even better than photovoltaics as they continue to produce power at night after the sun goes down.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:56:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Every one should look at the Solarreserve Tower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      already in the Mohave Dessert and the places already available  for likewise production.

      The cost of nuclear power plant production never factors in the cost of removing  the highly destructive waste because they still don't know how to do it.

      The fact the two reactors bookending Los Angeles county never had to have an earthquake plan is more than ridiculous.

      We could get most of these towers up for the cost of one nuke plant.  

      The deal is let's face it.  Somebody is going to loose a lot of money and the new tech will never make the kind of money the old tech did.  That is really what information and lack of it is all about.

  •  You'd think that... (22+ / 0-)

    ... having been burned, big time, in their experience with BP, the Obama admin. would be a little more cautious about accepting industry pronouncements uncritically.  You'd think.

    Meanwhile, there's a newly reported miles-long oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico:

    The Coast Guard said in a news release that it received a report of a three-mile-long rainbow sheen off the Louisiana coast just before 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. Two subsequent sightings were relayed to the Coast Guard, the last of which reported a sheen that extended from about 6 miles south of Grand Isle, La. to 100 miles offshore.

    Could we please, at least, strike down local-level bans on clotheslines?  At least?  If Congress can suspend habeas corpus in the name of national (and/or energy) security, is it too much to remove obstacles to people using clotheslines?

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:11:33 AM PDT

  •  I think this makes a strong case as to why nuclear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Recall, Hyuga, jmcgrew

    energy has a lot of problems and would therefore by much worse than wind, solar, etc. However, I still don't see any reason to believe that nuclear energy is even close to as problematic as fossil fuels. Nuclear power may be expensive and dangerous, but fossil fuels could cause runaway warming which could turn the earth into another Venus. If less of our energy were to be obtained from nuclear power, some of it would come from better energy sources, but some of it would end up coming from fossil fuels, and the cost of that is far too great. With the crisis of climate change, any energy source that allows us to get further away from fossil fuels is worth using.

    •  This planet will never be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Friend of the court

      Venus. It is quite accustomed to shifting climate, as its climates have historically shifted around quite a bit. We could change our ways and stop contributing to the speed of the current shift, but that wouldn't necessarily stop the shift from occurring anyway. Hell, we've a moral obligation to stop killing ourselves and other species with our filth even if there were nothing we can do to slow the change.

      Then, about the time our accumulated tonnage of high level nuclear wastes (if we never build another nuke and shut the others down completely over the next 20 years) is finally decayed to the point where it won't kill people quick if it gets out, this ol' earth may be covered with glaciers again. That's been known to happen too.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:50:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  According to Head of NASA's Goddard Institute for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, northstarbarn

        Space Studies, James Hansen, we are on a trajectory for runaway climate change that would turn is into another Venus. There are three key reasons why this is the case: The sun is brighter than in the past when there were high levels of greenhouse gases, past estimates of green house gasses appear now to have been on the high side, and the green house gasses are being added to the climate much faster than happens naturally.
        http://www.sindark.com/...

        With such dangers from greenhouse gases, nuclear waste pales in comparison.

        •  We'll have nothing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Michael91

          to worry about. Life here will be long gone before the surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead. Of course, a cosmic billiard ball could always blast us into a closer orbit, but I doubt any humans would survive that long enough to notice the difference. A few billion years hence our own sun will swallow us whole. I doubt any humans will be around for that, either.

          10,000 years. Do you know what your planet's climate will be like in 10,000 years? I don't know about you, but I'm sincerely doubtful I'll live that long.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:49:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, we will be dead, because climate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Recall, Joieau

            change would kill us. That's the problem. This isn't far into the future we are talking about; the warming is already starting and will continue to speed up quickly if we don't take drastic action.

            •  You know, for people (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              who like to protect their highly questionable industry by accusing everyone who doesn't trust it (or them) of "panic" and "fear-mongering" and being too stupid to be allowed to live, there sure seems a lot of panic and fear-mongering about global warming being tossed around.

              We aren't in danger of becoming Venus. Not in our lifetimes, our children's lifetimes, not even our great-great grandchildren's lifetime. The comet it would take to knock us into a closer orbit would kill everybody well before we got there. Our great-grandchildren may see the last of the glaciers in their lifetimes, but humans will still be here. And they'll still be producing whatever food they can produce in the new situation. As is true in all generations, those who don't move uphill when the water rises and/or can't get food to eat or clean water to drink, will die. Such has always been the case. And even in the highest imaginable human civilization death will still be universal in all generations.

              So. The question is what kind of civilization (if any) people will have in the multi-thousand year future. Not something I'm particularly concerned about. Uniformitarianism was never a realistic way to approach or understand our existential conditions on this planet, our unrealistic desire that nothing ever change was never going to control nature or the future. I'm not big on bequeathing to the people 5 or 10 thousand years in the future a deadly load of concentrated radioactive crap that absolutely isn't going to help them survive. Just so I can toast bagels in the morning. YMMV.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:46:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  When did I ever accuse nuclear power opponents (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Recall

                of panic, fear mongering, or being too stupid to be allowed to live? All I've said is that your priorities are misguided as climate change is a much larger threat than nuclear power.

                Just asserting that runaway climate change isn't possible doesn't make it so. James Hansen is a highly reputable climate scientist and makes a compelling case that the runaway scenario is likely on our current trajectory. Maybe he's right, and maybe he's wrong, but when a voice like James Hansen says its likely, I think the runaway scenario is certainly a possibility. Even if we ignore runaway climate change as a possibility, climate change still will cost many lives and is the largest threat humanity faces. Sure a comet could kill us in the near future, but it's incredibly unlikely. On the other hand, we know climate change is happening.

                •  Sorry, Michael. I've encountered (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive

                  handwaving from apologists for two solid weeks about coal, fracking, global warming and any possible thing they believe justifies nukes. I do not believe any of it justifies nukes.

                  I have been a big believer all my life that it is a strong moral obligation that we not destroy the planet that gives us the opportunity to live. Even though that planet can destroy us at any time. That means not blowing the most ancient mountains and abundant ecosystems on the planet into rubble just so we can burn more coal. That means not poisoning the air or water we depend upon for life. And if we have any responsibility at all to future generations, it means not bequeathing them a fatal load of radioactive garbage that could threaten them directly thousands of years before it doesn't matter anymore.

                  Until and unless we find leadership willing and able to do something meaningful about capitalism's worst excesses and planetary destruction, all any of us can do about the situation is choose to tread lightly on the earth. You do know the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases (and water pollution) is livestock, don't you? My family stopped eating meat nearly 40 years ago. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for humanity in general to wake up and smell the flatulence. Choose to live healthier, less polluting lives.

                  We all die in the end. Always have, always will. All any of us can do is what we choose to do with our own time here on planet earth. There is simply no point losing sleep over what choices people a thousand years from now might make. That'll be their own karma, not mine.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:47:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  We have recreated CO2 parameters that haven't (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Michael91, erush1345

                existed since humans evolved. We don't know if we can live in this wonderful new world of yours or not.

                •  Funny. I'll bet there are (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive

                  quite a few very tired, hungry and overstressed Japanese citizens in the northeast of that country who don't know if they can live with your wonderful old nukes or not. Right now.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:49:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The last time CO2 levels were as high as they are (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    erush1345

                    right now, sea levels were 75-120 feet higher.

                    That's four times larger than the tsunami that just hit Japan. If we don't beat global warming, they're not going to have any ground to live on.

                    •  Garbage. (0+ / 0-)

                      My house is sitting at 2,000 feet. It's not going to be under water when the ice melts. I figure most reasonably aware humans will move to higher ground when the water rises.

                      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                      by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:29:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Specifically, where you live. (0+ / 0-)

                        Hope you have a couple billion guest rooms.

                        •  The vast majority of the land (0+ / 0-)

                          mass in this country is well above 120 feet. Heck, most of the land mass in Japan is above 120 feet. That's a simple matter of looking at an elevation map. They have them on Teh Google. This sort of insanely ridiculous fear-mongering with Waterworld overtones is not going to save the nuclear industry from its own very, very serious issues.

                          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                          by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:04:39 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So you don't think that 120 feet of sea level rise (0+ / 0-)

                            would be a big deal? That's why you oppose nuclear power?

                          •  Sea level rise due to (0+ / 0-)

                            melting continental (plus Greenland) glaciers caused by global warming is measured in millimeters per year. The most pessimistic projections are right about 2 meters by the year 2100.

                            Now, while major cities and ports will have to be abandoned and/or moved to higher ground over the next few hundred years, anyone who drowns because the water rose less than 10 millimeters in a year's time is in the running for a Darwin Award (or is the slowest moving sloth ever). Honest, human beings are intelligent enough creatures to be able to outclimb a couple of meters a century. There will be many social and economic issues people in the future will have to deal with, but mass drownings from a few millimeters of sea level rise a year won't be one of them.

                            This line of bunk is not a good one for defending nukes. You'll need something better (at least, for the good old college try). And I oppose nuclear power for many reasons, not the least of which are its insane waste issue, its drastic overkill (it's just boiling water), its vast and criminally-tinged expense, and its dread dangers to humans and other living things.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 08:48:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  he sounds like a kid with no understanding of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joieau

                            what global warming actually is or what it will actually do.

                            He seems to have the comic-book view that it will all happen within weeks and it will kill everything everywhere.

                            Back in my days with Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, we tried to educate people like that, but alas it too often didn't help--they tend to have soundproof heads.  So we just thanked them for their enthusiasm, let them help out as much as they could, and made sure they were never near the press or the public so they couldn't open their mouths and make us all look stoopid.

                            (shrug)

                          •  The scientific literature backs me up on this. (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.sciencemag.org/...

                            Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years

                            Aradhna K. Tripati1,2,*, Christopher D. Roberts2 and Robert A. Eagle3

                            Published Online 8 October 2009
                            Science 4 December 2009:
                            Vol. 326 no. 5958 pp. 1394-1397

                            ABSTRACT

                            The carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere has varied cyclically between ~180 and ~280 parts per million by volume over the past 800,000 years, closely coupled with temperature and sea level. For earlier periods in Earth’s history, the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) is much less certain, and the relation between pCO2 and climate remains poorly constrained. We use boron/calcium ratios in foraminifera to estimate pCO2 during major climate transitions of the past 20 million years. During the Middle Miocene, when temperatures were ~3° to 6°C warmer and sea level was 25 to 40 meters higher than at present, pCO2 appears to have been similar to modern levels. Decreases in pCO2 were apparently synchronous with major episodes of glacial expansion during the Middle Miocene (~14 to 10 million years ago) and Late Pliocene (~3.3 to 2.4 million years ago).

                          •  no shit, Sherlock (0+ / 0-)

                            Now underline the part where we end up like Venus.

                            (sigh)

                            You have utterly no understanding whatever of what you are yammering about.

                            I see no need to waste any more time on you, Junior.

                            Have a nice summer vacation.

                          •  Oh, whatever will I do (0+ / 0-)

                            without your helpful and constructive words of wisdom.

                      •  through most of earth's history (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Joieau, erush1345

                        temperatures have been warmer and sea levels have been higher than they are now (Florida has been, for most of its history, a string of islands surrounded by a shallow sea).

                        Life got on just fine.  It didn't sterilize the planet.

                        And in any case, those sea levels won't rise all at once like a tsunami. They'll rise gradually over a period of years, perhaps decades. It's simply not going to come swamping in and drown us all.

                        Too many people, it seems, have a third-grader's understanding of what global warming is and how it will happen. It will not kill life on earth.  It will not even wipe out the human species. It will, however, cause a lot of social, economic and political disruption that will no doubt result in a lot of dead corpses.

                        The reality of global warming is bad enough.  There's no need to drag in all sorts of silly horror stories.

                        •  Well, if you're defending (0+ / 0-)

                          a godling who is busy visiting mass death and destruction on populations at this very moment, you need all the help you can get from hyperbole. GW just HAS to be scarier than nukes, or people might decide we don't really need them.

                          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                          by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 06:22:46 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Because there's no way it could actually be true? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            If you have reasons to think the science is wrong, I would like to hear them, but the fact of the matter is that we have the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are higher than they've been in the last 15 million years.

                          •  You have no grasp of (0+ / 0-)

                            the science, and every time you post that becomes clearer. I assure you that you and everyone who will ever know of your existence will be long, long dead before global warming manages to melt the Greenland glaciers. You may see the last of the summertime northern ice cap, but no amount of melting of that ice cap will raise sea levels one millimeter - it's floating, already factored in. So are the Antarctic shelves offshore. It's only land-based glaciers that can add to sea level, plus the volume increase as the water warms (warm water takes up more space).

                            And projections - yes, the SCIENTIFIC ones - are that this occurs over centuries, not months as you seem to believe. I personally suspect the glaciers will melt much faster than most of the current models project, even I am talking centuries. I'm just not talking millennia like they are.

                            There is just so much water on (attached to) this planet. It's got a nifty cycle it goes through, but no significant amounts are ever added. The water can be bound into ice, or it can be free. Either way, it's still just so much water. It cannot flood all of the land to create Waterworld, no matter what you may have read in Genesis.

                            CO2 is an issue partly attributable to our filthy energy habits and greed, which has served to deforest much of the world's oxygen replenishment zones. That can be turned around at any time the people of planet Earth decide it must be done. All that green leafy stuff produces oxygen, while 'eating' CO2. And by the way, there's only so much carbon and oxygen on this planet too. We will never be Venus.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 12:30:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I know this sounds crazy ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug
                            I assure you that you and everyone who will ever know of your existence will be long, long dead before global warming manages to melt the Greenland glaciers.

                            ... but I actually care about leaving the planet in good shape for future generations.

      •  Our planet has always had radioactivity ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, Hyuga, Michael91

        ... but that doesn't seem to matter when it's your pet issue.

    •  No, here is a plan from Scientific American (0+ / 0-)

      that generates all electicity production by 2030 with renewable clean alternatives.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:28:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That it's possible for all energy to come from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jmcgrew

        renewables is not enough. Just because it's possible won't mean it will happen. Do you really think the oil industry is just going to go out of business by 2030? If more energy is generated through nuclear power, some of that energy will come out of what would have been generated by renewables and some of it will come out of energy that would have been generated by fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels are the dominant form of energy, I would guess most would come out of what would have been energy generated by fossil fuels. Since the cost of fossil fuels is so large, nuclear power is worth it.

        •  Nuclear power is not even close to being worth (0+ / 0-)

          it.  

          The international intelligence community is alarmed to learn how easy and devastating a terrorist attack on the radioactive spent fuel rods at Fukashima would be.  

          Each cooling pond can constains up to 50 million curies of Cesium 137, and dozens of other radioactive isotypes. The ideal dirty bomb.  

          This dirty bomb is already in place.  Just load up a Cessna, rocket, or drone, with C4 or fuel, and fly it right into the pond, displacing it's water, and igniting the spent fuel assemblies, and spreading up to eight times as much radioactive fall out into the ecosystem that the 1987 Chernobyl incident dit.

          The US apparently has 140 or more such site vulnerable to such attacks.  One at each of the nations nuclear plants.  

          What no-fly zone perimeter is necessary to prevent such an easy attack in the United States?   It has to be large enough that a pilot on continuous stand bye alert can fly in and successful intercept the attack plane.

          Then, we need time for Identification Friend or Foe, IFF, protocals, so we don't accidential shoot down, an off course, or confused innocent civilian.  

          At several hundred miles an hour, we might be shocked these no-fly zone perimeteres might have to be 100 miles, which is totally impossible without a complete disruption to military, and civilian aircraft.

          IMO, anyone who would produce any additional radioactive waste, until we can handle the current emergency, should be arrested and detained in Guantonamo.   This might be the one use of the Homeland Security laws allowing secret detentions for non-specified offenses, I would support.

          We can probably adapt batteries of Patriot missle systems connected to rings of zepplen based low altitude radar arrays.  

          But, it's going to be so damned expensive and dangerous  no serious scientist, politician, academic, government servant will every reccomend or allow another one to be build.  

          We already have our non-proliferation, and anti-terrorismg groups trying to damp down anymore talk of encouraging, or perhaps, even allowing certain foreign countries to build anymore.  

          But, how to we tell Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, UAE, Tunesia, and Algeria, they can't have new nuclear power plants, if we are using them.

          The need to be banned from planet earth, and existing ones phased out as soon as possible without subjecting our economic system to a major discontinuity.  

          And, watch if you don't quickly see folks who are now advocating, quickly forget this, and start pretending they were always against it for all the obvious reasons.

           at several hundreds of miles per hour  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:42:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A bunch dirty bombs being created is not nearly as (0+ / 0-)

            devastating as the consequences of fossil fuels which will cause major catastrophes such massive flooding, drought, and famine which will likely lead to a lot of conflict. In addition, climate change has the potential to become runaway climate change and turn the earth into another Venus. So yeah, nuclear power is worth it.

            •  It's not an either or, Michael91. (0+ / 0-)

              If we wind down the current ones only has we add renewable, clean capacity, we can meet all of the worlds energy needs by the year 2030, according to the recent Scientific American article.

              Look what we did with the Manhatten Project. Was that 18 months?  All of WW2 took less than five years, for us.

              With and Appollo like efforts we can do much better than the SA article.

              And for less expense.   We simply can not afford to generate any additional radiactive waste, until we figure out how to dispose of it safely.  Which we already know is going to be vastly more expensive than the meager funds put aside for it.

              It's time to add a disposal tax, and security protection tax to existing production to better reflect the real cost science it showing us exist.

              We do this and the argument is over.  Because even without these the market has spoken.  Not one new reactor initiated in 37 years.  

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:03:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And we have to get rid of the coal. (0+ / 0-)

                It will be the biggest economic infrastructure conversion in the history of the planet.  

                And, it is likey to cost well over $100 trillion over 5O to 100 years by the time we are through.

                But, this will be part of a great economic revitalization.

                I heard that day before yesterday China stopped construction of 18 nuclear plants.

                I agree we've got to get them to stop new coal, and oil plants as well.  

                The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:05:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Sure we could accomplish this with renewables (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erush1345

                but the question isn't do we have the capability to, it's will we. Looking at what has happened with climate change legislation politically over the last few years even with huge congressional majorities, why do you think we would be able to create an all renewable economy in 20 years? If it's so tough for us to make progress now, why make it any more difficult by constraining one of our options, nuclear power?

                •  Why do you think it will be harder to get (0+ / 0-)

                  this much additinal renewable in 20 years, but easier to fill this gap with nuclear, given the current, and expectable political atmosphere of the next 20 years, after Fukshima, Micheal91?

                  Even with the enormous subsidies and freed from liabilities, and having to pay close to the expectabe cost of decomissioning, and containment of the waste, there has not been a single new nuclear plant initated in 37 years.

                  And, Ed Markey last week introduced a bill to send iodine-potassium pills to every citizen within 20 miles of an American nuclear plant.

                  These utilities have to present themselves annual to state and local rate commissions.  Do you really think they want to put such a large amount of capital and political goodwill at risk.  

                  Please be clear, I'm not blocking the initiating of new plants, the free market is.  

                  We're going to have to extensive congressional hearings about the Fukahshima incidents before any new plants will be lisenced.

                  So, we are going to need to have to do the best we can, with the other options.

                  If you want to do some gambling, I'll admit that I'm not going to bet a lot of money that we will reach all of our goals, but we have to get as close as possible, as we will pay a big price for shortfalls.

                  We can't allow the gap to be filled with coal, so we might have to have "involuntary conservation" which is going to be painful.

                  The natural gas industry is jumping up and down, saying they will be happy to quickly pick up the slack, but this is not good, for global warming, only just not as bad as coal.

                  And, the biggest problem is not the US, but China, India, and other fast growing economies of Asia.

                  The history of technological innovation favors their situation, because unlike us, they don't have to replace extensive infrastructure with extremely vest political interests.

                  They have bigger opportunity for new clean investment, and it is possible they will be capable of being  more objective about it than here.  

                  Our political leaders are highly influence by an extensive, and well funded oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries.  

                  And our political system is cripple.

                  For example, the ROC determined the competitiveness of their industries were being hindered by health care expenditures, so they implemented a full nation-wide single payer system in one year.  

                  And, then refocused their attention on how t maximize their profits.  

                  The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                  by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:04:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm certainly not advocating the nuclear power (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HoundDog

                    be the preferable solution, just that along with other energy sources that aren't fossil fuels it be advanced whenever possible. Of course if we have a choice between say subsidizing nuclear power vs. subsidizing solar, I would pick the solar in a heartbeat.

                    •  Well, this is good to hear Michael91 (0+ / 0-)
                      if we have a choice between say subsidizing nuclear power vs. subsidizing solar, I would pick the solar in a heartbeat.

                      The past is over.  We've already got the current plants, we can't afford to turn them off until we have replace them.

                      But, let's think with a clear mind about additional committments.

                      Let's make the most intelligent choices, with the big picture whole system in mind, and also analyzed of the entire life cycles of all related streams like nuclear waste.

                      And, also let's allign them to the best of our abilities with our national security interests.

                      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                      by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:09:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's the link to the Brookhaven National Labs (0+ / 0-)

                        Report to the NRC on the dangers of these cooling ponds.

                        On average, spent fuel ponds hold five-to-ten times more long-lived radioactivity than a reactor core. Particularly worrisome is the large amount of cesium-137 in fuel ponds, which contain anywhere from 20 to 50 million curies of this dangerous radioactive isotope. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 gives off highly penetrating radiation and is absorbed in the food chain as if it were potassium.
                        In comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl accident released about 40 percent of the reactor core's 6 million curies. A 1997 report for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by Brookhaven National Laboratory also found that a severe pool fire could render about 188 square miles uninhabitable, cause as many as 28,000 cancer fatalities, and cost $59 billion in damage. A single spent fuel pond holds more cesium-137 than was deposited by all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Northern Hemisphere combined. Earthquakes and acts of malice are considered to be the primary events that can cause a major loss of pool water.

                        In 2003, my colleagues and I published a study that indicated if a spent fuel pool were drained in the United States, a major release of cesium-137 from a pool fire could render an area uninhabitable greater than created by the Chernobyl accident. We recommended that spent fuel older than five years, about 75 percent of what's in U.S. spent fuel pools, be placed in dry hardened casks -- something Germany did 25 years ago. The NRC challenged our recommendation, which prompted Congress to request a review of this controversy by the National Academy of Sciences. In 2004, the Academy reported that a "partially or completely drained a spent fuel pool could lead to a propagating zirconium cladding fire and release large quantities of radioactive materials to the environment."

                        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                        by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:13:32 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  alas, most of this is simple nonsense (0+ / 0-)

              You have a third-grader's view of what global warming is and what it will do.

  •  Does the diarist disagree with civilization? (9+ / 0-)

    For a huge number of reasons, a global civilization with a population of seven billion people could not have developed without nuclear reactors and nuclear power and we cannot remain one without some version of it -- hopefully far more regulated and advanced than what we see at Fukushima.

    To discard nuclear power is to envision the death of this civilization of 7 billion people, along with many or most of the attendant human beings.

    Now it could be argued that the global population is too much, and that would be something I would agree with, but I would never wish anything as savage as depriving them a power source in the name of an orgy of fearful neo-ludditism that would, essentially, kill many of them outright.

    •  "orgy of fearful neo-ludditism" ? (8+ / 0-)

      Dude, get a grip.  Fear of nuclear accidents is not on the same level as fear of automatic looms.

      •  one person's sabotage is another's shoe fetishism (3+ / 0-)

        it's all about technology and its relation to (re)production as labor value

        Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

        by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:31:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sabotage etymology (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive
          That it derives from the Netherlands in the 15th century when workers would throw their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of the textile looms to break the cogs, fearing the automated machines would render the human workers obsolete. However, there is no contemporary source verifying either this behaviour or a source verifying the word being used in this sense before the 19th century.

          That it derives from the French sabot (a wooden shoe or clog) via its derivative saboter (to knock with the foot, or work carelessly).

          That it derives from the late 19th-century French slang use of the word sabot to describe an unskilled worker, so called due to their wooden clogs or sabots; sabotage was used to describe the poor quality work which such workers turned out

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

          by annieli on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:47:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Looms! (2+ / 0-)

        Where?

        WHERE!?!?!?!?!?!

        Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:34:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nuclear power can continue without this type of (14+ / 0-)

        nuclear accident.  But it's not the accident that is being attacked in the post but the use, ENTIRELY, of using nuclear power.  Fear of an entire technology is ludditism.

        Moreover it is a front page post which is fear based.  It is not based on research as to what is humanly possible but only on base extrapolation which would NEVER BE THE CASE.

        This, in my view, is irresponsible.  If the diarist says humanity should discard the use of nuclear power entirely, it is the diarists task to research what that would entail.

        Attack the industry which is irresponsible, say it has not lived up to its promises -- look at the regulations, insist on the utmost safety, even shut down plants that don't achieve their safety standards -- these I have no issue with.  Indeed, to not look at safety in the most stringent terms would be equally irresponsible.

        •  well, I'm all in for the orgy.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          as long as everybody's clean.

        •  Already been done. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess, PreciousLittle

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/...

          The fear is not luddite either AndyS.  

          Albert Alverez, one of the top US experts says, fire in the spent fuel rods can release more radiation than Chernobyl.  50 million curries, compared to 6   See HuffPo March 13, 2011.

          Former CIA director Woolsey, formerly a big advocate of civilian nuclear reactors, is apparently pulling back due to concerns about proliferation, and terrorism.

          The amount of radioactive waste we much protect from terrorists, is apparenlty nearly impossible.

          We must not generate any more of it for national and global security reasons alone.  

          Even if it were really economically viable, which it is not.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/...

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:34:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  People seem to forget... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jmcgrew, quotemstr

          This accident was not caused by nuclear power.  It was caused by a massive, unpreventable earthquake.

          An earthquake, by the way, that was five times stronger than anything the nuclear plants in Japan were built to withstand.  And yet most of them continued operating without much of a hitch.

          This one only ran into problems when its cooling systems lost power due to the tsunami.  And even so, the overall damage caused by the incident will be trifling compared to the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, and yet this gets all the focus?

          And because of this somehow we should stop building nuclear reactors in places like Germany?!  Give me a break!

          Attacking the industry is one thing.  I, like most, think that energy production should be controlled by the state and should not be for profit.  But attacking nuclear energy as a whole is irresponsible and ignorant.

    •  ??? (11+ / 0-)

      Wow...now THIS is an example of hysteria:

      To discard nuclear power is to envision the death of this civilization of 7 billion people, along with many or most of the attendant human beings.

      Those nuke advocates who, with some reason, criticize excessive fear mongering and hysteria among anti-nuke circles have GOT to come out against this pro-nuke fear mongering and hysteria. You are being as much a fearful Luddite as anyone you criticize, opposing moving on to better technology in favor of something developed in the 1950's-1970's.

      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

      by mole333 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:26:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, let's see. (8+ / 0-)

        X-ray machines become hugely expensive and out of reach for many people

        No more of many different kinds of medical scans (because of the necessity and lack of the isotopes).

        Entire avenues of medical research would be shut down - not just made more difficult, but totally impossible.

        So too with many avenues of just ordinary scientific research.

        More important even than that (not to say those things are unimportant and we would quickly discover just how important they are), is the power utilization curves for society.

        Do you believe, as some people seem to here, that it is possible to both reduce electric power consumption through conservation and to replace such power sources with new renewables?  While ignoring the absolute need to grow power consumption in certain areas, just to keep even with the basic needs of a growing global population?

        The equations of entropy don't lie.  It's not just about consumer consumption of electric power.  It's about a hundred things that are exponentially hard to control about a huge global civilization.  When natural resources run out, it is necessary to recycle.  Those equations are not amenable to "conservation" arguments.  The equations of turning chaos back to order do not obey green thinking paradigms -- the power needed is the power needed.

        If you were to do as the diarist advocated -- and I will admit we are a long way from actually doing that, you would quickly discover that both the technological and energy gaps created would be UNMANAGEABLE for a civilization of many billions of people on this planet.  We both would be deprived of the tools and the energy to cope with the numbers of people we have.

        •  And, in any event, the diarist nor anyone (5+ / 0-)

          who argues this point: "We should do without nuclear power" ever goes into the kind of analysis necessary as to what their assertions would actually MEAN for humanity.

          I am not advancing any particular argument except that totally discarding nuclear power would be to ignore consequences that would be extreme for civilization.  It is for the advancers of these incredible arguments to support their statements with a responsible look at the dearths their "alternative" offers.

          •  Then all you have to do (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            brasilaaron, shaggies2009, vacantlook

            is explain how we can build out nuclear quickly enough and with a price tag we can afford to replace all of the fossil fuel plants. My guess is we can't.

            When someone can demonstrate, with realistic numbers, that that's possible, I'll be willing to accept nuclear. The few times I've gotten nuclear advocates to start quoting those kinds of numbers, they've basically proven it is, in fact, impossible for nuclear to be a realistic solution.

            We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

            by badger on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:21:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  perhaps you are not aware that those things are (6+ / 0-)
          X-ray machines become hugely expensive and out of reach for many people

          No more of many different kinds of medical scans (because of the necessity and lack of the isotopes).

          Entire avenues of medical research would be shut down - not just made more difficult, but totally impossible.

          So too with many avenues of just ordinary scientific research.

          not produced in commercial electric reactors.

        •  It's very clear, in reading more... (5+ / 0-)

          ...of your comments than I really wish I had, that you're very adept at lots of verbose, well-crafted paragraphs that ultimately don't communicate anything.

          The equations of entropy don't lie.  It's not just about consumer consumption of electric power.  It's about a hundred things that are exponentially hard to control about a huge global civilization.  When natural resources run out, it is necessary to recycle.  Those equations are not amenable to "conservation" arguments.  The equations of turning chaos back to order do not obey green thinking paradigms -- the power needed is the power needed.

          uh... yeah. OK. Whatever.

          And make no doubt, I'm more than intelligent enough to make sense of what you're saying, if what you're saying made any sense.

          - bp

          "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

          by b00g13p0p on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:51:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Gross exaggeration... (2+ / 0-)

          1. most of your medical and scientific claims have nothing to do with nuclear power plants whatsoever.

          2. Even if they did, the impact of those medical advances, though important, certainly are not responsible for modern civilization. And civilization would not collapse with massive die off without them.

          3. Energy usage...50% of our energy produced goes to waste, according to an article from Nature about 2 years ago or so. Now we can't get down to 0% obviously, but that is a HUGE area for improvement.

          4. Energy production: every calculation I have seen from a nuke advocate underestimates wind and solar potential (I assume wind and solar advocates overestimate, so I assume something in between). Furthermore I have NEVER seen a nuke advocate take into account methane from waste, an area with huge potential.

          5. The time lag is 5-10 years before we will get even 1 kWh from a new nuke plant once ground is broken (or is it once approval is, well ,approved...not sure). So we just wait in the meantime? We can start replacing energy use with wind, solar and methane from waste RIGHT NOW. Not 5-10 years down the road.

          6. Even if the rest of what you say is true, that STILL does not in any way, shape or form lead to civilization collapsing with a huge human die off if we abandon nuke power. That is just plain hysteria and I bet you know it. All it does is make your position seem laughable, and I suspect you'd do better with out that kind of fear mongering.

          Finally, was talking about this with my wife, who is a climate scientist. She works with some top scientists (NASA and Columbia scientists). I tend to be more open to nuke energy than she. According to her her associates were discussing this very issue and many (I realize not all) top climate scientists think nuke energy is not the answer.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

          by mole333 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:00:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (6+ / 0-)

      Ceap oil is what led to our over population, not neuclear power.

      http://blog.sustainablog.org/...

    •  too funny (5+ / 0-)

      Maybe we can form some death panels to decide which people die without nukes.

      /snark

    •  Excuse me? (7+ / 0-)

      Nuclear electricity is just a bit more than 40 years old. The most densely populated regions of the planet are also the poorest and least developed - they had their billions before they had a single nuke, and most don't have a single nuke to this day (and will never get one).

      100 years from now all but a scant handful of the ~7 billion humans alive on the planet right now will be dead. More nuclear plants dumping radioactive nastiness on them won't make a single one of them live a single minute longer. That's just a fact. But our nuclear waste will still be seriously deadly 5,000 years from now, and THOSE people will never have enjoyed a single 'tron out of the deal.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:56:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Initial overburden does not an argument make. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hyuga, quotemstr

        There are many people -- and I would tend to agree with them, that say we have too many people on the planet right now to be sustained over the long term, with whatever technology.

        The issue then becomes a HUMANE scaleback of the population or making such a thing possible (as possible as possible? heh.)

        And I would agree with getting rid of plants that could melt down and in your words "spew radioactive nastiness" on people.

        You cannot make people live one second longer if we are all doomed in the manner you suggest ;).

        But we can certainly doom ourselves earlier, if that is the goal.

        •  Funny you should mention (3+ / 0-)

          a doomsday goal. That is the very reason we got saddled with nuclear technology in the first place.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:52:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  AndyS, the scientific evidence is that renewable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          give us our best chances.

          We are going to face resource limits if we do not put the breaks on population growth.

          Demographic Transition opptimists suggest this will happen naturally.  But, probably not fast enough to avoid significant depopulation scenarios, and discontinuities.

          But, nuclear will not help in this regard, and may actually significantly make it worse.

          While, experts argue whether the ultimate sustainable carrying capacity for planet earth is 9 billion or 16 billion, the overlooked fact, is that higher try to press against, or test this limit, the lower will be the average material standard of living.

          Already, the US consumes 23% of the worlds non-renewable resources, with just 5% of the worlds population.

          Some of what we are experiencing with the growth of China and India are just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what is ahead.

          In a free market, we should expect wages, and consumption to equilibrate.

          This could mean another 50% to 80% drop for Americans.

          But, it could also be a golden age, if we figure out how to distrubute material and non-material wealth.

          But, this is a different discussion than nuclear power's role in our future.  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:43:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  that's absurd (8+ / 0-)

      humans develop the technologies we use. they are capable of innovation they can invent and develop alternatives. Even wind and solar are not the only thing humans are limited to as an alternative either. I'd say those who tie the fate of civilization to the current market and structures that are killing the planet are the fearful ones.  

    •  That's precious. We could have negated the (7+ / 0-)

      need for every nuclear plant in the US through  energy efficiency back in the seventies. Utilities were (and still are) paid to sell power, not conserve energy. Manufacturers of appliances and motors balked at new efficiency standards and still do. When Reagan came in, every measure devoted to making us a more energy efficient society was scrapped. This is a very old song.

      “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

      by the fan man on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:31:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your premise is nonsense on its face. (6+ / 0-)

      The vast majority of the human beings alive on this planet do not benefit in any way whatsoever from nuclear power.

      It's arguable that their descendants, however, will be very negatively affected by it.

      As with fossil fuels too, I'll quickly add, just to cut off the false equivalency you're likely to jump to.

      - bp

      "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

      by b00g13p0p on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:43:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's what some people actually want. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Friend of the court, erush1345

      A "thinning of the herd".

      If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate de-resolution. That will be all.

      by SpamNunn on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:50:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about the Orgy of (3+ / 0-)

      unregulated gluttonous consumption? You are buying the right wing Overton Frame that More is Better, because you assume the current gluttonous personal consumption as a right.

      It defies all natural laws and economic laws in the long run. Time to wake up and find that sweet middle spot. Not all the energy you WANT, but all the energy you actually NEED. That is variable, according to one's belief system and desire to join the mass of people who want to save the future.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:51:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong AndyS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brasilaaron, vacantlook

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/...

      See also Jerome Paris last night.

      And Jamess this morning.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:29:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some do suggest that the discovery of infinite (0+ / 0-)

      energy will lead to the destruction of humanity due to a population explosion and crash just like bacteria in the petri dish. Infinite electric power is our growth medium.

      IMHO...It's the concept of sustainable economic growth that is the problem. We seem to think we can increase activity forever without consequences.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

      by rclendan on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 01:16:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As long as we continue a growth at all ... (12+ / 0-)

    cost economic policy we have no choice.  The growth at all cost policy envisions an ever expanding economy or death scenario so we have no choice but to build nuclear power plants.  Nobody says what we are going to do with all the waste generated any more than they are saying that we can stop mountain top removal, pollution of ground water, CO2 production or fracking.   I see no possible solution until we develop a sustainable economic system, if that is at all possible (and with the greedy corporate leaders we have, it is pretty well neigh to impossible.)

    Oh well, humans were an interesting experiment anyway-  back to the drawing boards!

  •  This (23+ / 0-)

    is yet another example of the corruption of our politicians.

    The taxpayer pays to finance the building of the plants.
    (There is no money available in the downturn from the criminal banks.)

    The taxpayer pays to insure the plants.
    (No private insurance company will touch them and if a plant radiates your neighborhood you get no money for your house that you won't ever be able to live in again.)

    The taxpayer pays to store the waste for 30,000 years.
    (3x the recorded history of man.)

    And the private corporation takes the profits from the electricity they sell the taxpayers.

    If we are on the hook for everything shouldn't we be the owners?

  •  Fukushima update (4+ / 0-)

    People call me rude. I wish we all were nude. I wish there was no black and white. I wish there were no rules.

    by kestrel9000 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:15:58 AM PDT

  •  Drive 55. Conserve. (13+ / 0-)

    The ONLY way out of our energy and global warming disaster for the next 10 to 20 years is to do the easy and cheap and fun DIY method. The simplest solution is always the best one:

    Dont drive over 55. Dont accelerate. Get a bumper sticker that says so.  Stay off the brakes and coast to lights. Buy a new, or better, used, 35mpg vehicle. Put a continuous read out of gas milage on the dash. Buy a bike for short trips and exercize. Caulk the house. Insulate. Install double pane windows and door seals. Close off unused rooms until you need them. Install a white metal roof.  Do a cheap rooftop water heater to preheat water into the standard water heater. Carpool and campaign for commuter trains for commuters.

    50 percent of our energy use is pure waste. I know, because I live 17 miles from my job, and in the past three years, I have done all the above and saved 50 percent of my energy costs. Its brilliant. Its fun. It works. Its simple. It saved me money. It has made my lifestyle MORE comfortable,not less comfortable. Its so obvious it is being ignored.

    Do the easy stuff. We can do the hard stuff later. Its time to come to our senses, get off our own asses,  and see how real reality is.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:16:37 AM PDT

    •  Where do you live? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quotemstr

      Your name includes Oregon, but seriously, if I drove 55 everywhere here in Oklahoma, I'd never get anywhere.

      •  Nah. I ain't buying it. (7+ / 0-)

        I live 35 miles from Portland. Believe me, the spaces out here are big too. And yet, driving 55 means I leave 10 minutes earlier than driving at 75, and still have time left over when I get there. And I save 50 percent on gas. It's not that hard, and its not inconvenient. It does irritate the V-8 gas hog SUV's behind me, but then again, I get a lineup of people who understand what I am doing, as of this year, and fall in behind all comfy-like and mosey on to work or to town.

        We could drive the cost of oil down tomorrow to 75 bucks a barrel. Reduce demand, reduce price. Its so simple and so easy.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:26:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My commute (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cynic in seattle

          I have a commute of 50 miles one-way (which sucks.)  It's mostly interstate, though, so I can get to work and back in somewhat reasonable time, but driving 55 on I-35 would be crazy and hazardous.  I do drive a Toyota Yaris, though, so I get excellent mileage.

          •  You are doing almost everything you can (0+ / 0-)

            and that is to be really applauded. This issue cannot be legislated or mandated, and it shouldnt be, since there are so many widely different circumstances, but one thing is certain:

            We can race each other for the maximum use of energy, competing for the award of "quickest extinction possible," or we can create a competition in the other direction; maximum penny pinching and smug self-complimenting holier than thou conservation. Both are fairly unattractive, but at the moment, I will take the smug self-serving self-righeous attitude to save the planet. When I conserve, I am holier than thou, and I will throw that down to anyone who is listening.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:48:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is that for a lot of people (7+ / 0-)

          changing their lifestyle is just not acceptable...

          Remember what Cheney said, "The American way of life is non-negotiable." And unfortunatly for many, even on the left, the thought real, meaningful change is just too painful to contemplate.

          Sad really...Life could be so nice if we all just slowed things down and conserved. But we are too busy "growing"... To what no one really knows...

          Edward Abby said it best, ""Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell"

          •  Well, I understand that. (5+ / 0-)

            But one of the main causes of American depressive attitudes is this "La La La I will look the other way" in the face of reality. We have to change that. We must individually confront our fears and the fears implanted within us. Shame does work. I intend to shame anyone who is a glutton for energy, and I dont care if they hate me for it. They are wrong and I am right, and that is the nature of reality. I welcome their hatred.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:52:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In winter, turn the heat down to 62 at night ... (0+ / 0-)

              Put a duvet or sleeping bag on your bed. Turn the heat OFF when the house is empty during the day. Keep it at 66-68 when you're at home. Use a small SPACE HEATER in the room(s) where you spend most time hanging out. CLOSE DOORS in cooler parts of the house that you don't spend a lot of time in.

              I started doing this five years ago and my fall-winter-spring heating costs were reduced by 50%.

      •  We've lost all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, PreciousLittle

        sense of time. I don't drive much I walk or bike and I have noticed that my sense of time has changed. Our society operates on a frantic level of speed. It's not even really efficient, it's artificial and geared for maximum consumption, not designed for human livability or quality of life.   You'd get somewhere you just wouldn't get there in a time frame that's built around speed and burning gas.. Maybe people will need to restructure how they organize and build their communities and their infrastructures. Progress needs to redefined, burning stuff including time isn't sustainable and it doesn't really make your life any better, on any level.

           

      •  Well. That's interesting. (0+ / 0-)

        When I use Google Earth to take a look, it appears that Oklahoma and Oregon are just about the same size,

        And, oh! look: Oklahoma: 69,898 square miles; Oregon: 98,381 square miles

        So it would seem that your Oklahoma is a wee bit smaller than Oregon.

        Admit it: you just don't want to slow down.

        Or should I say "You just don't want to slow [your single-occupant pickup truck or SUV] down'?

        Let me take a wild guess and bet that'd be more accurate.

        - bp

        "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

        by b00g13p0p on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:01:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK and OR, same size, but different in (0+ / 0-)

          terms of how cars have affected/predetermined land use and urban planning -- population density, where people live and work, plus availability and efficiency of public transportation vs. individual travel by car.

          Off-hand, I'd say Portland is much more more practically conducive to non-motorists than Tulsa. That discrepancy pretty much pertains to each of the respective states as a whole.

    •  Conservation is overhyped (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

      Residences use only 22% of US energy.
      Light trucks and cans use 58% of transport energy which is 27% of total US energy or 15.6%.
      Conservation has limited effect.
      We need cleaner sources of energy.

      •  big box places (5+ / 0-)

        factories; school buildings; office buildings; warehouses; malls; etc.  These need conservation steps to be taken most of all.  Big profits or lack of funding or apathy or simple laziness are the reasons.

        Poverty exists in direct proportion to greed.

        by jcrit on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:47:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  too funny (6+ / 0-)

        If residences cut their power use by 50%  and light trucks and cars are reduced 50%, what would the effect of that be on total energy consumption?

        The real reason why conservation doesn't work is because people simply are unwilling to inconvenience their cushy lifestyles, and would prefer that we find new ways to allow them to live profligately and wastefully. After all, most other industrialized nations live just fine on HALF the per capita energy usage that we do.

        We need cleaner sources of energy.

        We already have them.  We simply don't want to pay for them.

      •  And building more efficient transportation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, jmcgrew, PreciousLittle

        Like high-speed rail and light rail instead of freeways. And of course if people lived close to work that would save vast amounts of energy.

      •  If I accept your figures... (3+ / 0-)

        50 percent of 22 percent is 11 percent. (Residential savings)
        50 percent of 15 percent is 7.5 percent.(Private transport)

        We are already at 18.5 percent. (Citizens individual savings)

        50 percent of Commercial buildings: A Huge number.
        50 percent of Commercial transport: A Bigger number.

        Forgive me for not spelling out Commercial energy use in my post, but even if we do NOTHING about Commercial energy use, 18.5 percent sounds pretty good to start with.

        I stand by my common sense ground-up democratic call to action, and I reject your minimizing the idea as typical right wing selfishness.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:01:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  An 18.5% reduction would reduce energy (0+ / 0-)

          back to 1990 levels(Kyoto) which is NOT adequate.
          I drive a 45 mpg hybrid.
          I work in the field of energy reduction for buildings.
          You are not being realistic so you call names.
          We need clean sources of energy to begin with.

          •  And I find your handle Counterproductive (0+ / 0-)

            You work in energy conservation, and yet you are so "sophisticated" in your  quantitative analysis that your efforts don't pencil out. You are posing for "radical chic" effect I believe, which is verified by your handle.

            Conservation does work, it will save the planet, and it will not damage the economy or our personal comfort.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:58:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You know what uses 10% of US Energy? (0+ / 0-)

        Water, wastewater, and other environmental treatment.

        •  Actually nuclear provides 10% of US energy (0+ / 0-)

          Your statement is complete nonsense.

          •  Relax (0+ / 0-)

            Stop being threatened by every fact that doesn't fit within a preconception.

            The reason I raised the issue is to express just how much energy we need to survive as a nation now, and that most people don't realize where their energy goes.

        •  NoFortunateSon.. (0+ / 0-)

          I have no idea what your point is. Stop pumping water for drinking? Stop wastewater treatment? Stop.. what?

          This is a Limbaugh rhetorical move. Pull a totally irrelevant and senseless, not to mention meaningless analogy out of your ass and pretend to be all smart and stuff. Only the stupid buy into this kind of argument, traditionally called "The Straw Man" argument. Deal with that line of reasoning.

          Any response to that?

          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

          by OregonOak on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:42:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pivot towards the sun, wind, earth heat and tides. (9+ / 0-)

    Invest in green technology and development.
    Unplug the corporatocracy
    Move from disposable consumerism to a sustainable, renewable economy.
    Control population growth.

    The way forward is so clear yet for those in bed with corporations ,

     it is so hard to see.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:17:13 AM PDT

  •   I agree wholeheartedly! (12+ / 0-)

    Ian Welsh pointed out something the other day which shocked me; he said that under Federal law, any unfortunate occurrences with regard to nuclear plants are only insured by the industry up to around three hundred million dollars. I will have to reread it for accurate numbers and the name of the law, but the externalized costs associated with plant failure are remarkable.

    So where are the so called "free marketeers" when it comes to the unusually poor cost benefit ratios represented by nuclear power? I guess we are all socialists when it comes to the big money industries like energy, and they are quite unapologetic about it.

  •  There is nothing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, erush1345, jmcgrew

    to replace it with, that will supply the same amount of power. Until there is, those who advocate how terrible nuclear plants are, are p*ssing in the wind. Windtowers and solar, cost more in terms of carbon footprint, money, and vastness. The only way they could ever replace nuclear, is if they number in the millions and millions, taking away from agricultural land, natural resources (forestry) etc. Be honest. There is no alternative to nuclear energy right now.

  •  But I thought... (8+ / 0-)

    I thought nuclear plants would bring us all ponies and unicorns!

    The pro-nuke lobby has some points. Namely that oil and coal are as destructive and dangerous overall as nukes (I keep wondering whether all those refinery fires in Japan will cause more harm than the nuke plants). However...

    Nuke advocates exaggerate the benefits of nuke power, ignore the costs and dangers of mining and transportation, downplay the waste issue, intentionally underestimate the possible contributions of wind and solar, completely ignore methane from waste power, and generally try to convince us to trust the nuke industry's dedication to safety. Overall I feel we have better places to place our money than overpriced, subsidy driven nuke plants. I don't know that we can be shutting anything down yet, but we need to focus on solar, wind and methane from waste.

    Also, BOTH sides tend to ignore energy efficiency. Better energy efficiency is the cheapest and best way to cut carbon usage.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:19:45 AM PDT

  •  NOPE (11+ / 0-)
    On Thursday, President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear plants. Let's hope it's more than talk. - L. Lewis

    Got to agree with Matt Damon here, "I no longer hope for audacity with President Obama."

    The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:19:56 AM PDT

    •  Yes, but his Energy Secretary Steven Chu (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stewarjt

      says he is not willing to take the $36 billion loan gaurentee subsidies for the nuclear industry out of the current budget proposal.  

      This could get more than half of the $60 billion the GOP is looking for.

      Instead, they continue to slash much needed social programs and investments, including funding for research and development of alternative energy.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:51:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If nuclear power is NOT going away - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willkath, mojo workin, OtherDoug

    and it's not, then one of the first technological problems to address, IMO, is how to address a loss of containment when electrical power is not available.  Improvisation is great in comedy, not so much in nuclear f***ups.

    The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:21:15 AM PDT

    •  Thinking along those lines too. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaggies2009, ZedMont, OtherDoug

      Skipping over the disturbingly long list of comparatively minor nuclear plant accidents, does anyone else see the similarity between the Gulf oil disaster and the Japanese nuclear disaster?
      Mega-industries, in each field, never developed disaster scenarios with ultimate safeguards. Drill a hole in the ocean five miles underwater, and there's no plan. Light up a nuclear reactor, and there's no plan.  
      And that's just disaster management. Never mind the obvious consequences of resource depletion and toxic storage.
      As horrific as these two disasters are, we continue to lean toward shortsightedness and a reliance on blind luck.

  •  US has wind in north sun in south (8+ / 0-)

    The U.S. has massive potential for development of renewable energy. It can be developed far faster than nuclear plants can be built.

    That should be our focus, but, please, lets make sure we retire coal plants. Nuclear is far safer than coal.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:24:21 AM PDT

  •  Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in California (17+ / 0-)

    1. On the Pacific Ocean front? Check.
    2. Thrust fault just a few miles off shore? Check.
    3. Local faults on land within 20 miles? Check.
    4. Millions in population living within 150 miles downwind? Check.
    5. Operated by power company that just negligently (allegedly) killed customers with gas pipeline explosion? Check.

    It could never happen here.

  •  I am a supporter of modern nuclear power. (8+ / 0-)

    Plants which are outdated need to be closed, however cleaner, safer nuclear power is a reality. I think the closing of the plants in Deutschland was a real knee-jerk reaction.

    Maine is more than just a state: it is an ATTITUDE.

    by commonmass on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:28:50 AM PDT

    •  they still generate to much dangerous radioactive (0+ / 0-)

      waste for which there is still no acceptable solution.

      The risk of terrorism with dirty bombs, and weapons proliferation, with associated education, infrastructure, people is too great for many of the unstable areas of the world, according to some former CIA leaders.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:56:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Props... (0+ / 0-)

      ...for the strong declaration.  I'm in complete agreement with you.  There are a lot of much safer reactor designs and fuel cycle choices out there.  The big question is will they ever be allowed to come online?

  •  Had the mental energy, fiscal resources (8+ / 0-)

    and institutional support directed to developing nuclear power been directed, instead, to clean energy initiatives, this planet would be in such better shape.  The capital, both intellectual and fiscal, invested in Japan's nuclear power program reveals much about human problem solving and ingenuity.   Japan, one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, has provided the world with a useful lesson:  all the intellectual capital in the world cannot substitute for a concomitant failure of the human imagination.  One without the other is essentially the same as having neither.  Let us learn our lesson from this tragedy and learn it well.  

    I prefer this brand of Socratic inquiry, actually: WTF is wrong with you?

    by lightiris on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:29:12 AM PDT

  •  Worst Idea Ever (6+ / 0-)

    No it is NOT time to end nuclear power. Its only the beginning, and naysayers dont make it any easier. You wanna keep pushing your pipe dreams of cold fusion and zero point energy, and demanding nothing else?

    Have fun in your prehistoric stoneage hell.

    The rest of us are going to be busy actually IMPROVING things and trying to find NEW WAYS.

    You and your ilk are welcome to go back to the fetid mud pits that all those who cant understand long term progress should go.

    People like you would decry a dyson ring for blocking the sun. Sheesh. get with it, stop playing stupid games. we need to IMPROVE, not ABANDON.

    THis is an area where those not in the no should have no voice. So, shut it. Until you can tell me how to power the world without fission reactions, your voice has no point but to confuse.

    "It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!"

    by kamrom on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:30:00 AM PDT

  •  Amen. n/t. (5+ / 0-)

    Ancora Imparo." ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:32:07 AM PDT

  •  need to look at the entire picture (5+ / 0-)

    how do we satisfy our energy appetite or reduce it with less dangerous stuff?

    Right now we are doing a bunch of life-threatening things, the worst of which is filling the sky with CO2 from fossil fuels.

    It's fine to look at the weaknesses of nuclear power. It sucks. But the only sensible correction is to change our energy path altogether. It's too easy to see us shying away from nuke only to substitute fossil fuels. That is a bad bargain.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:34:00 AM PDT

  •  Thanks LL, best diary that I've read in (7+ / 0-)

    awhile here.

    And America, itself, is also not totally united toward nuclear, at present. After Fukushima, the giant nuclear plant near NYC was condemned by Governor Koch and others due to its massive health risks. It will likely be closed (Indian Point Nuclear Plant). Four other plants in Illinois are also now being reviewed.

    Thanks for explaining that coal isn't the answer either. I have many good studies from people saying that's the usual dichotomy which is presented, and it's a false one. Moreover, there's a myth that due to global warming, we need nuclear energy, when apparently we're 25 years out in building "enough" nuclear plants anyways. So it's seen as a lack of political will.

    This is good, but this needs to be International, and the US shouldn't be the regressive battleground. Just because we have so many damned Republicans doesn't mean we always have to be at the end of the world's big, red-roped, "PROGRESS"-line, does it? I swear they'll be the end of us if we aren't careful.

    America, you're lagging.

  •  Follow the money.... (8+ / 0-)
    Backers of a Bellevue-based project to build a new type of nuclear reactor are raising its public profile amid signs that the Obama administration is growing more open to nuclear energy.

    In recent weeks, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates — who is providing financial backing to the TerraPower project — has sung its praises in public presentations and interviews as an energy source that does not contribute to global warming. TerraPower says it has made progress in computer modeling and design work and is moving toward seeking out partners to develop its plans.

    TerraPower — which was born at Intellectual Ventures, a firm headed by former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold — is one of several projects looking to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s recent embrace of nuclear power.  [more http://www.techflash.com/...

    From Open Secrets, Obama's top 2008 donor list is pretty interesting.  It could explain his love affair with Wall Street and the nuclear power industry.  

    University of California  $1,385,675
    Goldman Sachs  $980,945
    Microsoft Corp  $806,299
    Harvard University  $793,460
    Google Inc  $790,564
    Citigroup Inc  $657,268
    JPMorgan Chase & Co  $650,758
    Stanford University  $580,904
    Sidley Austin LLP  $574,938
    Time Warner  $547,951
    National Amusements Inc  $541,251
    WilmerHale  $524,292
    UBS AG  $522,019
    IBM Corp  $518,557
    Skadden, Arps et al  $510,274
    Columbia University  $503,566
    Morgan Stanley  $490,873
    US Government  $479,956
    General Electric  $479,454
    Latham & Watkins  $467,311

    If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

    by dkmich on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:37:06 AM PDT

    •  From the same people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      that brought you the "Blue Screen of Death" It's not just a metaphor anymore - it'll really kill you.

      I'm sure Gates and Myrhvold know a safe, reliable system when they see one - they've just never thought building one was more important than profits.

      We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

      by badger on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 10:43:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The nuke industry has serious ties to Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      I remember reading about his cozy relationship with Illinois-based Exelon,, which also employed Axelrod and Rahm.

      "'Things would be a lot worse without us,' is not a winning campaign slogan." Barney Frank

      by cassandraX on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:12:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This has me concerned as well: (8+ / 0-)
    David Lochbaum, a former nuclear engineer and director of the nuclear safety program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the threat to eastern U.S. nuclear plants is not earthquakes or tsunamis; It is terrorism similar to the attack on New York City’s World Trade Center towers a decade ago.

    “Existing nuclear plants, with the possible exception of Seabrook in New Hampshire and Three Mile Island Unit 1 in Pennsylvania, are not likely to survive a plane impact,” he said.

    There must be some asshole somewhere looking at events in Japan and thinking about all the American targets.  Not trying to be a fearmonger, but nuke plants are definitely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

    I also live about 40 miles south of Vermont Yankee which leaked the tritium into groundwater and the CT River last year.

    Great diary (are frontpagers called diaries?  meh).

    bookmark. ty.

  •  Nuclear power is a lot like the banking sector. (13+ / 0-)

    Take risks, earn profits, stick taxpayers with the bill for the inevitable clean-up.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:38:20 AM PDT

    •  Except in the case of the banking sector (0+ / 0-)

      There isn't people from other planets coming here to clean up the mess.

      "Commercialization is more destructive than any nuclear bomb."
      - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

  •  supply side uranium (10+ / 0-)

    This article could have been written yesterday.  The threat to the land and water of the Four Corners Sacrifice Area is as dire as it was in 1983.  Nuke lust also includes the Grand Canyon area, and involves the water supply for millions of people.

    But it is also worldwide:  Kyrgez Republic;  also South Africa

    The whole world is being contaminated- for generations- by the concentration of radioactive substances.  This matters, unless you're just waiting for armageddon, in which case, just join the Tea Party.

    Poverty exists in direct proportion to greed.

    by jcrit on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 08:41:37 AM PDT

  •  A CO2 free world (7+ / 0-)

    If you care about global climate change but are against nuclear power, you need to seriously consider whether your fear of extremely rare nuclear disasters is blinding you from advocating the ONLY technically feasible solution to a planet-crippling problem.

    Nuclear power is extremely, extremely, extremely safe.  The site itself is safe.  When a disaster does occur, the damage is frequently less severe than many other industrial disasters.  And that's what it is - an industrial disaster, of the same category as the Union Carbide disaster that killed 20,000 in India in the 80s.  When a disaster does occur, the effects are localized.  A worst case scenario nuclear disaster barely has regional effects.  Yes, it's scary, but that's because you're thinking of nuclear weapons.

    Coal and oil is a slow, insidious, planet-wide disaster.  It kills everywhere, silently.  It's effects are perverse and pervasive, on our environments, markets, and politics.

    I am ALL FOR solar and wind, biomass and geothermal - everything and anything that provides a consistent and clean source of power.  But we could have a CO2 free world by 2025 if we invested heavily in the newest nuclear power plants, which are orders of magnitude safer than the designs that have given us Chernobyl and the like, and produce orders of magnitude less nuclear waste.  If the renewables could get us there in such a short time frame, I'd favor their exclusive use.  But the simply can't.  And given the choice of the small risk of regional disaster or the guarantee of a planet-wide apocalypse -- gimme the nukes.

    •  If it is so safe (7+ / 0-)

      why won't the insurance industry insure the plants?

      •  And the high cost of insurance is not factored (6+ / 0-)

        into the cost per KWH.

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:06:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Tch... commenter joined a week ago to (6+ / 1-)

        advocate for Naderite solutions for the Democratic Party's what-ails-you. He reads like a walking brochure. Some of his phrases are stock phrases. He doesn't pass my smell taste at all.

        •  So very welcoming (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

          I don't advocate solutions for the Democratic Party because I don't care about the Democratic Party, I care about building a more progressive society, and since I've actually read some history I know that the Democratic Party produces progressive change when they are forced to from the outside, not from within.  Politics aren't about winning elections, they're about affecting change.  I don't accept the current narrative of "ever to the right!"  Clearly you do.

          Read The Democrats by Lance Selfa for a good point of view on this.

          As for the fact that I joined a week ago - who cares?

        •  So what? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thenewyorkdolley, quotemstr

          He signed up on March 9.  The insidious nuclear power sockpuppets are not psychic.  They couldn't have known that this was coming and prepositioned their avatars in all necessary fora.

          The accusations of sockpuppetry, being "industry hacks" and "paid shills" is really getting obnoxious.  It's been used in this thread already to try to delegitimize a commenter whose pro-nuclear opinions irritated an anti-nuke commenter.

          MO, you and I have had civil interactions previously.  I know that you're capable of being civil even with someone whose opinions you radically disagree with.  I honestly think such accusations are beneath you.

        •  HRed for conspiracy theory (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          fcvaguy
      •  Insurance doens't cover oil and coal, either. (6+ / 0-)

        Most of our oil freakups are uncovered...no insurer is covering the gulf spill or the environmental degradation or the global warming or the various wars.  Nobody insures against the sicknesses caused by particulates. Most of the cost is simply someone else's environment and enuninsured.

        We're just used to that, while we expect a radiation leak causing a chance of cancer in twenty years to be a coverned claim.

        Even black lung...government program.  

        If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

        by Inland on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:17:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

          Of course, don't bring up logical, evidence based argumentation in this thoroughly emotion based thread.

        •  I am not overly enamored of coal and oil either... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          They ALL kill and they ALL destroy our planet... Between oil, coal or nuclear...there is NO "lesser evil"....

          But I am really concerned that nuclear power is seen as some how "better" than fossil fuels... that, IMO, is insane.

          •  Oh please, forgive me for being (0+ / 0-)

            "throughly emotional"...  

            •  It's seen as better (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jmcgrew

              Because it doesn't contribute to climate change or release deadly particulate pollution into the atmosphere.

              I think climate change is the most significant threat the species faces, and judging on that criteria it is better than coal and oil.  If there are things you value above that, you're calculation of "better" will be different than mine.

              •  Nuclear power contributes a lot to (0+ / 0-)

                climate change.

                How do you think we get uranium? It is mined using oil. It is transported using oil. It is refined using oil.

                It is put into a reactor that was also built from metals that were mined and transported using oil. Then the reactor its self is transported.

                All of the materials used in the building of the plant has to be mined or cut down and made into the elements with which to build, all using oil. Then they are transported using oil.

                I could go on but I hope you get my point. A nuclear power plant is not polution free.

                And once it is up and running...it is to damn dangerous to control. I don't care what the MegaCorps are selling...they LIE all of the time. Trust is earned, and I wouldn't trust any one of the nuclear cheerleaders to feed my cat, let alone build and operate any more of their nasty plants.

                •  It's true (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Recall

                  That nuclear power plants are constructed using materials mined and transported via oil.  It's also true that any renewable energy source will be made the same way; of steel mined from the earth, transported on trucks and trains, assembled by industrial machinery, etc...  There's no free lunch no matter what type of machine you build.  A solar panel uses rare metals mined in third world countries, a wind turbine is made of smelted steel, etc.

                  By compared to coal and oil as a source of pollution in the generation of power, nuclear is a vast improvement.  And it can be implemented now, whereas a world running on renewable energy is still decades away given our current trajectory.  We can't wait decades.

                  •  show us (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SaraBeth
                    By compared to coal and oil as a source of pollution in the generation of power, nuclear is a vast improvement.

                    Show us some numbers.  Let's compare them side by side--the entire process, from mining/drilling through manufacturing and constructing and then to dismantling the old plant and disposing of it.

                    The industry's arm-waving assertion is one thing.  Hard numbers are another. And given the industry's penchant for breathlessly claiming "we're emissions-free!!!!" by dishonestly not counting much of the entire process, I'm more than a little skeptical of that arm-waving assertion.

                    Let's see some hard numbers.

                  •  I second Lenny Flank's request.... (0+ / 0-)

                    show us the numbers.

                    And by not-advocating for nuclear power does NOT mean that one is all for coal and oil. THAT is a red herring that is so old it smells.

                    And if we "can't wait decades" then nuclear isn't what you want. It takes AT LEAST 10 years to get ONE nuke up and running...

                    •  I of course have already seen the numbers (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SaraBeth

                      so I know why no one wants to post them . . . .

                      ;)

                      •  Oh! Do share! :-) n/t (0+ / 0-)
                        •  there are actually several available on the Net (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SaraBeth, Thenewyorkdolley

                          and they all pretty much agree with each other. There's actually a good graphic at Wikipedia:

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                          Coal is, of course, far and away the largest carbon footprint. Oil and natural gas are not far behind.

                          The various proposed "low-impact" energy sources are all much lower than those three.  Of solar panels, wind, hydro and nuclear, solar has the highest footprint, but that is already changing, as new panel technology reduces the amount of silicon used and lowers its footprint, and also as electrical storage technology gets better and better. Nukes, wind and hydro are all clustered next to each other at the bottom--the differences are pretty slim, and which one outranks which probably depends on how they are specifically measured (different studies have them in different orders, but all clustered at the bottom).  But more nukes means that the high-grade uranium ore will get used up quickly, and the lower-grade ore that remains will raise the carbon footprint significantly (most of nuclear's carbon output happens during the mining process, and during the dismantling of the old plant).

                           So the bottom line is that nukes, hydro and wind are pretty much interchangeable in terms of carbon footprint. Solar is still a bit higher than the others but is falling, while nukes would begin to climb if they remain uranium-fueled. I don't recall ever seeing a study on thorium-fueled reactors--I don't think anyone takes them seriously enough to do such a study. Since thorium is mined in the same way as uranium, though --indeed thorium is a byproduct of uranium mining--I don't see any reason offhand why the numbers will not be basically the same.

                          This ranking factors in only carbon footprint--it does not factor in costs, subsidies, environmental dangers such as groundwater pollution or long-term waste, or speed of deployment, or anything else.

                          The claim that nukes are a clear winner, is simply not true. They beat coal, but so does every other proposed method. They are basically in a dead heat with wind and hydro, although as the technology for renewable sources continues to improve, nuclear might not keep up for all that long--unless there is a major improvement in safe green mining. The nuke industry knows that, which is why when they talk about "zero emissions", they are deliberately and dishonestly excluding the carbon footprint of the mining and cleanup process and dismantling/storage process (which of course they don't pay for anyway).

                          As for cost per kilowatt-hour, natural gas is the cheapest, followed closely by coal. Wind is pretty close to coal and beats it in some studies, while hydro varies widely depending on its location--from roughly the same as coal to about twice as much as wind. Nukes are about twice that of coal, and solar panels are a little higher than nukes.

                          Some of those rankings will change over time, some quickly. Much of the high cost of solar, for instance, is in the silicon, which is expensive to process. Newer panels use less silicon, so their price will drop--and research is also being done on using artificial silicons, which are expected to drop the price to something comparable to coal or gas. If nukes continue to use uranium fuel, the switch from high-grade ore to low-grade will push that price up a bit. Newer technical methods of obtaining natural gas will probably lower its price.

                          So once again, nukes simply are not the clear winner that the industry claims.

                          •  Indeed. Propaganda is a powerful tool, eh? (0+ / 0-)

                            And when a windmill goes down or a solar panel fails - the surrounding countryside is not poisoned for decades and people don't die of radiation poising...

                          •  Holy cow (0+ / 0-)

                            You just proved almost all of my points!  Thank you for doing this research!

                            So nukes are on par with wind and hydro, and a little ahead of solar, in terms of carbon footprint.

                            They also can be built anywhere with access to fresh water, while renewables have to be built in places with access to the renewable resources.  In practice this means putting solar farms in Arizona and wind farms on in the great plains - but then you have to totally re-engineer the power grid to be able to transmit power thousands of miles with minimum energy loss, which is a HUGE expense.  A nuclear plant can be built into the existing grid with no additional expense.  It may be that you envision a distributed generation system in which each man will somehow be able to purchase and maintain his own personal renewable power source.  If that is the case, please let me know, because that's an f'ing awful idea.

                            You like to talk a lot about the lifecycle costs of nuclear power, but you never mention that renewable energy bears many of the same costs - mining, refining, transporting, assembly, maintenance, decommissioning.  There is NO FREE LUNCH, thanks to the laws of physics.  Any and all industrial processes will have environmental impacts, and that includes the production of tens of millions of solar panels or wind turbines.

                            Finally, you attack everybody as if they are somehow anti-renewable.  As I have stated elsewhere in this thread, I am extremely pro-renewable power.  I pay a higher rate to purchase wind-generated electricity for my home because I believe so strongly in renewable energy - my money is where my mouth is.  However, renewable sources are simply not sophisticated enough to meet our current and rapidly expanding energy needs and won't be for a long, long time -- especially given our anemic investment in them.  In the mean time, tens of million of lives can be saved by GETTING OFF OF COAL AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.  As quickly as possible = nuclear.

        •  right----taxpayers do (0+ / 0-)

          Of course when a coal plant blows up, it doesn't make an area half the size of New Jersey uninhabitable for decades.

          It's comparing pebbles to Jupiter.

          •  Neither does (0+ / 0-)

            the explosion of a nuclear device.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still cities, you know.

            •  years ago when I worked in a pet store (0+ / 0-)

              I had a customer come in for a fish setup. Together we picked out a tank, filter, thermostat heater, and came to the light hood. I pointed out that the incandescent light bulbs in the hood (fluorescents weren't available back then) would produce quite a bit of heat. To which the customer asked "Won't that dry out the fish's scales?"

              I thought that was the single stupidest thing I ever heard any human being say.

              Until this:

              Neither does the explosion of a nuclear device.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still cities, you know.

              Did you notice all the dead people, by any chance?

          •  Coal plants kill while operating normally. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Recall, erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

            I think that's sorta the point: nuclear plants...or I should say, ONE nuclear plant...made an area uninhabitable because it was badly designed and badly operated.  

            But coal plants don't need to blow up to make areas as large as new jersey uninhabitable.  They do that while operating perfectly well.  See global warming.

            And of course, comparing muckups to muckups, there's more people killed in coal mines this year than would ever be killed by Chenrnoby.

            But by confining the examination to blowing up of the generation plant and only blowing up of the generation plant, sure, you win.  Coal plants don't blow up.

            Except when they do.

            http://www.powergenworldwide.com/...

            If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

            by Inland on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 12:44:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They have meltdowns, too. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erush1345, jmcgrew, quotemstr

              They're called mine fires.

            •  comparing the effects of a coal plant accident (0+ / 0-)

              with the effects of a nuclear accident is like comparing pebbles to Jupiter.

              It's ideology, not reality.

              But please, by all means, go ahead and tell me how many people have died worldwide and what area of environment has been destroyed as the result of uranium mining and tailings.

              •  See, you limit risk to "accidents" only (0+ / 0-)

                and only "accidents" at the end generation plant.  

                You ignore all the mining deaths and greenhouses gases and particulates in the air.

                I don't know why you do that.  But I'm going to guess: you're much more likely to be downwind of a nuke plant than in a coal mine.

                But please, by all means, go ahead and tell me how many people have died worldwide and what area of environment has been destroyed as the result of uranium mining and tailings.

                How's that global warming thing going?  Is the danger over yet?

                If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

                by Inland on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:16:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  not at all (0+ / 0-)

                  Indeed, I'd very much like to know how many people have died from uranium/thorium mining--including both miners and the people with contaminated groundwater from the tailings dump.  Then multiply that number by ten if we're going to build 1,000 new thorium reactors.

                  Then see what number we get.

                  It seems you're oddly uninterested in that number . . .

                  •  You've got to compare the entire process. (0+ / 0-)

                    Coal mining is dangerous.  Coal mining is environmentally destructing.  Coal generation, amazing, produces radiation.  Coal leaves tailings.  Coal creates particulates.  Coal causes global warming by producing greenhouse gases.

                    You'll admit nuclear power doesn't create greenhouse gases, right?

                    Now...show the savings in lives, money and environment that outweighs that.  

                    If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

                    by Inland on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 06:35:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  gee, that sounds familiar . . . (0+ / 0-)
                      Indeed, I'd very much like to know how many people have died from uranium/thorium mining--including both miners and the people with contaminated groundwater from the tailings dump.  Then multiply that number by ten if we're going to build 1,000 new thorium reactors.

                      I'm still waiting. Let's go ahead and compare the whole process.  Cradle to grave.  Mining to dismantling of the old plant.

                      All of it.

                      Let's see some numbers.

                      •  But global warming calls for SOME nuclear. (0+ / 0-)

                        We've already agreed...I think....on global warming, so it would seem to call for nuclear energy.  So I'm waiting for you to find something that's in the negative column, something that would justify increased risk of global warming.

                        I mean, I could look all that up, but it seems that you're less interested in the facts than in making me do work for facts you're going to ignore.

                        If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

                        by Inland on Mon Mar 21, 2011 at 05:20:56 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't think global warming requires any (0+ / 0-)

                          And you've shown me nothing to indicate otherwise.  All you've done is declare "if you don't want nukes than you want to kill us all with global warming !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                          It's just as idiotic as the Repugs declaring "the Dem health bill wants to kill your granny!!!!!!!!!!" or the Dems decalring "if you oppose this HCR bill then you want unemployed people to die !!!!!!!!!!!!"

                          Show me some facts.  Show me the costs (social, economic and environmental) for the entire nuclear process, from mining the thorium/uranium to dismantling the old plant and storing its waste.  Then show me the comparable numbers for the entire coal, solar, wind and any other process we can think of.

                          Show me the numbers.

                          put up <---------> shut up

                          •  Particulates (0+ / 0-)

                            Kill an estimated 1,000,000 people a year.  So moving to nuclear tomorrow morning would save 1,000,000 lives a year.

                            I can't find the link where I read this though!  So instead, I'll give you this link, which shows it kills 9,000/year in California.  You can extrapolate that into a gargantuan number.  That gargantuan number is the number of people whose lives could be saved by nuclear power, per year, if it replaced coal and gas as a means of providing power.  Global warming aside, it would be a huge boon to public health.  Can you show me a link that uranium mining, processing, and water vapor exhaust kill more than 9k a year in Cali?

                            http://yubanet.com/...

                •  BTW, I don't feel like repeating yet again (0+ / 0-)

                  that the environmentalist movement has been fighting global warming and the coal industry for half a century now.

                  So your idea that "anti-nuke" must mean "pro-coal", much less "global warming denier", is simply idiotic.

                  As an organizer for Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and a longtime environmental activist (going back to the late 70's), I'm quite willing to bet that I did more in a week to fight coal companies and global warming than you have all your life.  (shrug)

                  So don't patronize me.

                  •  Shrug. (0+ / 0-)
                    So your idea that "anti-nuke" must mean "pro-coal", much less "global warming denier", is simply idiotic.

                    No, you're not "pro coal", in the sense that you'd like to simply ignore the problem of sources altogether.  

                    But people are going to readily discard doing without, meaning that the only real choices are choosing among alternative methods of producting electricity.   All the action is going to be methods and making choices, and not in being against everything.  If you don't care to be part of it, don't waste my time.

                    If you want a link, I'll look for a link. If you really want it. Just ask.

                    by Inland on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 06:41:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  What's that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca

      *sniff sniff...

       

      •  I'm not sure... (0+ / 0-)

        ...What sniff sniff means?

        •  It means that, when one looks at.. (2+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          trashablanca, mahakali overdrive
          Hidden by:
          quotemstr

          ...your profile, its extremely brief history here, and the consistent pattern of your comments, one could begin to suspect that you're just parroting boilerplate opinions from somewhere else.

          Another description might be that you represent a deliberate agenda which, although it might represent your personal beliefs, was probably developed independently of you, and you only adopted it.

          Some might say "not original work"; others might go so far as to call this "plagiarism".

          I won't speak to your motives, but your output seems to follow a pattern.

          i.e. you don't pass the "sniff test".

          - bp

          "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

          by b00g13p0p on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:17:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can you name for me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345, jmcgrew

            One human being who came up with all of their opinions on their own without adopting them?  This is a blog dedicated to a POLITICAL PARTY for Christ's sake -- everyone here is adopting for a baseline of the discussion the point of view of the Democratic Party, including you!

            My output follows the pattern of advocating for what I believe in.  Could you tell me what specific adopted opinions I'm spouting that include both independent progressivism and nuclear power?  What party or blog and I nakedly stealing this points of view from?

            It's a sign of arrogant childishness to think that only people who share your opinions developed them of their own volition.

            •  There is a vast difference... (0+ / 0-)

              ..between synthesizing a [political] philosophy out of -- for sake of discussion -- 50 years of watching and listening to American political discourse, and adopting a monolithic position because it offers glib answers, answers that can be parroted without any need to ever present supporting background.

              By way of example.

              That comment of mine is the direct result of a synthesis of observation and analysis that I myself have conducted. And, where needed, it provides links out to expand upon what I'm saying

              It was not something I was spoon-fed by some movement, only to regurgitate it later.

              - bp

              "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

              by b00g13p0p on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 11:40:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Why is this HRed? (0+ / 0-)
            The only solution (0+ / 0-)

            To this kind of perpetual cave-in is to form a Labor or Socialist party to challenge the Democrats from the left.  Historically, the only thing the Democrats will respond to is the threat that our votes will go somewhere else.  So long as we accept the "lesser of two evils" argument, our hopes for a better world are going nowhere.

            Would it suck to have President Gingrich in 2012?  Sure.  But ask yourself which of Bush's boneheaded or immoral policies have been reversed?  We out of Afghanistan?  Is Guantanamo closed?  Did we re-organize the economy to set it up for a fair distribution of growth in the future?  There's only one political party in the US, the Business Party.  It has two factions, but they march to the same tune.

            Until progressive think long term and look for solutions outside the Democratic party, we can expect this regularly.  We should take our lumps now and withhold our votes -- it's the only hope for a better tomorrow.

            by Thenewyorkdolley on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:16:23 AM EST

            The Newyorkdolley is not a Democrat if this comment, the user's first, is to be believed.