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What's that mean, not likely to change? Well, it means there's no nuclear renaissance in this country. We were unlikely to accept a lot of nuclear reactor construction before Fukushima, and nothing unfolding in Japan right now is likely to change that. Still, some folks in Congress like the idea of "clean energy" and figure the spent fuel issue can be kicked down the road, so the debate won't disappear. As if the nuclear lobby would let it.

Let's look at some recent analysis and throw in two recent polls for good measure.

From the Atlantic, we have this observation from the Breakthrough Institute, described as an energy think tank:

Yet lost in the hyperbolic claims of nuclear opponents, the defensive reactions of the nuclear industry, and the carefully calibrated repositioning of politicians and policymakers is the reality that Fukushima is unlikely to much change the basic political economy of nuclear power. Wealthy, developed economies, with relatively flat energy growth and mature energy infrastructure haven't built a lot of nuclear in decades and were unlikely to build much more anytime soon, even before the Fukushima accident. The nuclear renaissance, such as it is, has been occurring in the developing world, where fast growing, modernizing economies need as much new energy generation as possible and where China and India alone have constructed dozens of new plants, with many more on the drawing board.

Absent Fukushima, developed world economies were not going to build much new nuclear power anytime soon. The deliberations in Germany have involved whether to retire old plants or extend their lifetimes, not whether to build new plants. The decade long effort to restart the U.S. nuclear industry may result in the construction of, at most, two new plants over the next decade.

The authors acknowledge upfront that the massive economic disruption ($300 billion to rebuild) and the loss of life (upwards of 21K) were due to the tsunami, not the nuclear accident. And their observation about the third world is borne out in this NY Times headline today:
Panic May Slow Nuclear Energy in China

Nuclear fear has struck in China, a country of 1.3 billion with the world’s most ambitious nuclear power plans, in response to the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

Seems like everyone is coming to the same conclusion. This is from National Journal (same publisher as the Atlantic):
Five Reasons Why Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Won’t Change America’s Nuclear Industry
  • It didn’t happen here
  • Upfront capital costs are sky-high
  • Natural gas prices are low
  • Obama and the leaders in Congress like nuclear power
  • Nuclear waste remains a huge unanswered question
So what do the people say? we have two recent polls, from CBS and Pew, to answer that.

If you check the graphic at the top from CBS, you'll see that current events like Chernobyl (1986) have had a profound effect. 69% of the public approved of more reactors in 1977 in the Jimmy (nuclear engineer) Carter years, 34% by 1986. Public opinion was up again in 2008 to 57%, and now down to 43%.

And those who are okay with it seem to want it built elsewhere. That's reminiscent of Yucca Mountain where in a 2002 Mason-Dixon poll for the Las Vegas Review Journal, 83% of Nevadans opposed supporting the decision to use Yucca mountain as a nuclear waste depository. From the current CBS poll:

More than two in three Americans do say U.S. nuclear plants are generally safe, while just 22 percent say they are not safe. And 47 percent say the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks, compared to 38 percent who say they do not.

But Americans are clearly concerned about those risks. Sixty-five percent say they are at least somewhat concerned about a nuclear accident in the United States, including 31 percent who are very concerned. And 62 percent say they would oppose the construction of a nuclear plant in their community, compared to 35 percent who would support a new plant in their community.

Asked if the government is prepared for a nuclear accident, just 35 percent of

Pew poll on nuclear power 2011
Pew poll on nuclear power 2011
Americans say yes. Fifty-eight percent say the government is not prepared.
Pew has similar overall results:
Not surprisingly, public support for the increased use of nuclear power has declined amid the ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan. Currently, 39% say they favor promoting the increased use of nuclear power while 52% are opposed. Last October, 47% favored promoting the increased use of nuclear power and the same percentage (47%) was opposed.
Offshore drilling opinion
Offshore drilling opinion

Opinion about expanding the use of nuclear power has fluctuated in recent years. However, the current measure matches a previous low in support for increased nuclear power recorded in September 2005 (39% favor, 53% oppose).

And that Pew poll also has a great example of how current events play on people's opinion. Check out this graphic about offshore drilling. Did something happen in the Gulf last year?  I wonder if this is a result of No Child Left Behind, but memories are awfully short these days.

In any case, nuclear power remains in the mix but is a hard sell to the public. The economics haven't changed much after Fukushima, there'll be the (appropriate) reviews of current reactors (Indian Point is still built on a fault line, even after that review), and there'll be a lot of political posturing. But is anything really going to change?

Not likely.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sure . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, Larsstephens
    Indian Point is still built on a fault line, even after that review

    but the relevant question is "is it vulnerable to a tsunami?"

    But since that's a difficult sell fearmongering-wise, the narrative has to be obfuscated mightily or sanity just might break out  . .

    •  how about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive

      diablo canyon?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:18:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least Diablo Canyon is accurated named. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis
      •  Diablo Canyon is 85 feet above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        sea level - which according to my quick metric to dumb-ass measing system conversions, probably puts it out of reach of a 10 meter tsunami.

        (note that a Google search confirms that PG&E agrees with that, but no one at this site probably considers them to be credible).

        •  it's not an 85 foot plateau (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          judyms9, mahakali overdrive

          it's a canyon.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:29:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just did a Google Image search (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and it appears to not be in a canyon per se, but on the sea coast (which is probably why people might be concerned about tsunamis in the first place . . .)

            There's a funky bay in front of it, plus the topography of the off-shore geology, no doubt all combine to attenuate or exacerbate the possible effects of a tsunami.

            If you have some actual information to share on this, I'm all ears . . .

            •  i used to live near it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              there's a road up to it by avila beach. your assumptions are fascinating. no doubt.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:41:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Look, I'm trying to work with you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                here - but you seem dead-set against providing any substantive information that the Diablo Canyon plant is threatened by a tsunami.

                That's all I'm asking for - surely, if you are so concerned about this, you might have a USGS-type link handy?

                •  no, you're not (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive

                  i've been there, it's right by a beach. you have no idea what you're talking about. and check my link just below.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:48:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Beach? There's no beach, only cliffs. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy

                    To anyone who is interested, please check out the images of the plant by doing a Google Images search for "Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant".  The plant is sited adjacent to cliffs that face a small bay opening onto the ocean.  The canyon is the geological feature you see behind the plant where the coastal range begins to rise.  We would be better served in terms of tsunamis if the plant actually WAS in the canyon, but that would make its cooling far more difficult and more likely to be disrupted in the event of a major earthquake.

                    A reasonable person could make an argument about the size of tsunami that could endanger the plant, the probability of that occurring and whether there are mitigation efforts that could be taken to protect the plant.  That doesn't seem to be what is happening here.

                    •  oh my god (0+ / 0-)

                      you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. avila beach is right below it. you drive past it to get to the avila beach entrance. there is literally an entrance called the avila beach gate.

                      the best part of this is that you nuke advocates are revealing yourselves for what you are.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:54:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Look at the pictures. (0+ / 0-)

                        There is no beach below the plant.  Seriously.  There's a cove or small harbor where the tertiary cooling loop intake and outlets are located.  The plant sits on cliffs above that cove.  No beach.  Avila Beach is a few miles to the south of the plant.  8.7 miles to be exact.

                        •  what happens if (0+ / 0-)

                          there's an earthquake or tsunami that does absolutely no damage to the nuke, but takes out the external power grid for a few days.

                          Take us step by step through what happens to the nuke if everyone's lights go out.

                          •  I believe another commenter answered this. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            There is backup generation and onsite fuel storage for the length of time required for the reactor to reach cold shutdown.

                            And it has nothing to do with the topography being discussed.

                          •  oh, it sure does have something to do with it (0+ / 0-)

                            We're all arguing whether a tsunami can kill the nuke.

                            Well, what if the tsunami doesn't touch the nuke at all, but takes out the external power grid for an extended period of time, instead?

                            The other commenter pointed out that the emergency generators would last 3-5 days.

                            What happens after that?

                          •  I get your point, all right. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            And I agree that the adequacy of emergency backup power needs to be reviewed and improved if found inadequate.

                            But that doesn't make a beach appear in front of the plant, which is the specific point that was being discussed.

                        •  the road winds up (0+ / 0-)

                          from a mere sea wall which winds up from the beach. go there and then talk to me about how protected it is.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:39:22 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The plant is 118' above sea level. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            If the road from the south winds upward from the beach then I don't think it offers much of a path for a tsunami.  That winding upward would tend to deflect and diminish the power of the tsunami.

                            There does need to be review of the risks the plant faces from tsunamis.  I think that's a very important task that should be demanded of the operators and the regulators.  But the plant seems better positioned to avoid that threat than other nuclear plants.

                          •  the tsunami (0+ / 0-)

                            doesn't need to impact the plant walls, just flood them. the road stays low until the final incline, and the sea easily could breach it in a massive tsunami. and we aren't even mentioning that sea cliffs from santa barbara to point sur have been known to collapse during regular storms, much less direct hits from tsunami. the plant was built to withstand a 25 foot wave. that's all. do the math.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 04:00:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Diablo Canyon has puny little walls (0+ / 0-)

                  that could easily be smacked over by a tsunami wave. When they built it, they didn't know that it was on a fault line. It was. It is. In California, on the Coast, it is NOT uncommon to have huge monster waves. It's why surfing is popular here. Now, I live in Northern California, but I actually had a friend die in the 80's from climbing on the cliffs and get dragged off by a big wave. I've had a second friend die from walking on the cliffs in a low-grade hurricane about six or seven years ago. We have hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and big ass waves in general. We also very frequently have power outages, which played no small part in Fukushima's problems.

                  And what do we do with the waste? Are we doing what we're supposed to be doing with it (A. No. The Federal Gov't was just reprimanded for storing fuel on site, which is inappropriate, to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds of fuel, moreover).

            •  in fact (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              an unusual event tsunami warning was issued after the japan earthquake. imagine an earthquake closer by. like under it, or just off the coast.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:46:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That links seems to confirm my (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                contention that the tsumani was not deemed to be a legitimate threat since

                All plant safety systems and components remain in normal operating condition and both units are currently operating at 100 percent power

                I'm not saying that the warning shouldn't have been taking more seriously - I'm just asking for credible geological evidence (even computer modeling!) that shows the plant actually is in danger of a tsunami.

                •  wow (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive

                  um. yeah. everything was working normally after an earthquake thousands of miles away. and that pge had it working doesn't say a thing about its safety, anyway, unless you consider pge credible. but again, it's not complicated- it's right by the beach, up just a short incline, astride a major fault line. i think most people can figure it out.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:02:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Thing is (0+ / 0-)

                The Japan subduction zone (love these geology terms*) tends to result in vertical slippage, creating waves far more readily than the horizontal movement of the San Andreas, a transform fault.

                *right up there with pyroclastic flow

                •  not that horizontal movements (0+ / 0-)

                  don't also create tsunamis. and the pacific northwest has similar faults to japan's, and a massive earthquake up here certainly could create massive waves in central california.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:08:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Have you seen the animation of the Japan tsunami? (0+ / 0-)

                    It was a computer model. Basically there were two waves, parallel to the subduction zone, spreading apart, one west toward the shore and the other east out to sea. I don't see how such a wave hugs the coast from the Pacific NW to southern CA.

                    •  it doesn't have to be identical (0+ / 0-)

                      the 1964 alaska quake flooded beach towns in oregon. but as i linked above, strike-slip quakes do carry tsunami risks.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:27:22 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That would be the Aleutian subduction zone (0+ / 0-)

                        ...which does face the Pacific NW. Even so, the wave heights were generally under 10 feet on the Oregon coast, 1500 miles away.

                        There's a reason why tsunamis are such a part of Japanese cultural lore (and in fact why the word we use is Japanese)--they have them, often of catastrophic size. The US--not so much.

                        •  again (0+ / 0-)

                          strike-slip create tsunamis. and we haven't had a major earthquake in the pacific northwest in modern times. that's part of why they're not part of lore.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Cascadia subduction zone (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            strike-slip create tsunamis. and we haven't had a major earthquake in the pacific northwest in modern times. that's part of why they're not part of lore.

                            Luckily, there are no plants on the Pacific NW coast, in a section facing the Cascadia subduction zone.

                            Has a strike-slip tsunami anything remotely like the recent Japan one ever occurred? No.

                          •  we don't know (0+ / 0-)

                            considering we haven't had a major quake in modern times, and are 50 years overdue. but you continue to ignore that strike-slip can cause tsunamis.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:14:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  I actually toured the site as a teen (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OtherDoug, Roadbed Guy

            As I recall, it is quite a ways above the ocean. I'll guess it's safe, but there are factors to consider like the sea bed slope etc.

            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

            by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:50:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  there's a smooth steady incline (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              up from the beach. if it were on a bluff, it might be different. but the even greater risk is from earthquakes themselves.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:06:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I looked at Google maps satellite view (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

                Suggest you do the same.

                My guess is a 40' cliff. And there's an island in the middle of the entrance to the bay which would cause a tsunami to wrap around it - looks to be at least 25' tall by the shadows.

                It's not extremely vulnerable.

                In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:23:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Here's the Google sat view (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

                You can see it full size using Google. The direction of the sun is from the SW - this is an afternoon shot, and I suspect in the winter. The height of buildings can be estimated by the length of the shadow. If we knew the exact date and time I could work out the elevation of the sun and do a little trig.

                Using the cars in the parking lot as a length scale, I'm calling the cliff in front of the reactor as two car lengths, or 40 feet. That long building with the reddish roof is probably 3 or 4 stories, and the reactors themselves behind it are maybe 6 to 8 stories.

                I'm no professional photo analyst but there is no way on earth that that's a gentle slop leading up from the ocean to the reactors.

                In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:31:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that doesn't show the road (0+ / 0-)

                  up from avila beach, which is at bottom right, out of view. it doesn't even switchback, it's just a smooth slope.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:34:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Here's a view from the sea (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayBat, Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

                  taken from the UC Berkeley blog

                  The cliffs are substantial.

                  In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                  by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:36:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  again (0+ / 0-)

                    that's one direction. the road is to the right, out of view. this is ridiculous.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:43:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No, it isn't (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JayBat, Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

                      Sorry, LL. There is no direct path from the sea to the reactor buildings. I looked at a lot of pictures. It isn't there. I don't know what you recall, but off to the right (south) the bay curves back out to the sea and there are still cliffs.

                      Here's a view from the SW.

                      I see a road behind the breakwater but I also see a hill behind the road, and a ~15' mini-cliff on the sea side of the road. Again, use cares in the parking lot for scale.

                      Tsunami therefore has to surmount breakwater, surmount mini-cliff, cross road, surmount hill on east side of road. A lot of energy is lost doing that.

                      Tsunamis will obey gravity and entropy. The water will go toward the lowest path that lets it dissipate the (ginormous) energy it contains. That would be off to the south and east, toward those two small buildings forming an "L" near where the southern breakwater attaches to the coast.

                      Given a sufficiently large tsunami, yes, you can overcome these barriers. Given a sufficiently large tsunami I can drown here in Denver, too.

                      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                      by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:54:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you can get some feel (0+ / 0-)

                        for the slope up to the right, but even that cuts off the bottom of the road. a massive wave could easily flow up that and flood the plant.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:58:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Per USGS (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          JayBat, Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug


                          the building is at an elevation of 118 feet.

                          And waves don't go uphill if downhill works. A wave propagates forward unless it encounters resistance, and then it goes the easiest direction of flow.

                          It's sort of an avalanche in reverse.

                          In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                          by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:10:34 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  wow (0+ / 0-)

                            um- waves go uphill when they hit shore. always. by definition. you know- because shore is above sea level. a massive wave can travel up a steep slope. even top sea walls. like in japan.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:16:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course they can (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            But they don't if they can go downhill instead.

                            The wave will go whatever direction it is traveling until something makes it change directions.

                            First law: Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. [3][4][5] This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force, the center of mass of a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant velocity.

                            And what is the first force acting on wave going uphill?


                            And what does gravity make the water do?

                            Go downhill.

                            Momentum makes a wave continue in the direction it is going. When an obstacle causes it to change directions the preference is going to be to respond to the external forces acting upon it, the largest of which is gravity, and go downhill.

                            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                            by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:27:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            ...the first force, as you put it, was the force of the sea floor motion applied to the ocean water that generated the tsunami.

                            Gravity will act upon the surface of the water but will be subordinate to the initial force applied by the earthquake.

                            Otherwise, how do tsunami ever happen?

                            - bp

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

                            by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:35:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We're talking about the wave hours later (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            reaching the shore of California.

                            Once a wave is in motion it continues in motion until friction or obstacles dissipate the energy.

                            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                            by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:49:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  That is just not so. It's on a cliff. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy

                The smooth, steady incline starts at the top of the cliff.  Please look at the photos of the plant that everyone is referring to.

        •  What about terrorists? (0+ / 0-)

          It's not just tsunamis that can cause problems. It looks like the pools holding the spent fuel rods in Japan were very vulnerable to someone flying an airplane into them and either cracking the walls of the pools or destroying the backup generators. Suppose one of the planes hitting the World Trade Towers had instead hit the Vermont Yankee plant, which I believe have the same design as those in Japan? And you might be able to do the same thing with a bomb made of fertilizer in a small plane.

    •  There are arguments for and against (3+ / 0-)

      an argument against isn't fearmongering. That word is so overused as to be meaningless, particularly since I am not selling anything.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:31:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's vulnerable to an earthquake (4+ / 0-)

      NRC says Indian Point #3 is the most vulnerable US nuke to core damage from an earthquake.

      And it turns out that the nuclear reactor in the United States with the highest risk of an earthquake causing core damage is not the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, with its twin reactors tucked between the California coastline and the San Andreas Fault.

      It's not the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a four-hour drive down the Pacific coast at San Clemente, surrounded by fault lines on land and under the ocean.

      It's not on the Pacific Coast at all. It's on the Hudson River.

      One in 10,000
      The reactor with the highest risk rating is 24 miles north of New York City, in the village of Buchanan, N.Y., at the Indian Point Energy Center. There, on the east bank of the Hudson, Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to

      When they built it they didn't assess correctly the threat to earthquake. The CA nukes are built stronger.

      Tsunami is a red herring in this case. Fukushima could handle the earthquake, but not the tsunami. Indian Point cannot handle the earthquake.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:42:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if it's so safe and cheap . . . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pescadero Bill

      then why can't nukes get insurance companies to cover them 100% in case of any accidents?

      Why do nukes need massive government handouts and insurance waivers just to survive economically (and even then, they still can't compete economically with coal or natural gas)?


      If Wallstreet will no longer shoulder the liability of nuclear power, then Wallstreet may no longer own it. If citizens of countries are expected to pick up the tab on damages nukes will cause in the course of time, then they also get the profits in the meantime of those same power plants.

      No more corporate welfare. Nuclear power will be the first clear and concise line drawn in the sand on this matter.

      Here's what industry pigs are saying in essence to the people:

      1. You will let us build these dangerous freaky death machines that boil water to steam to run turbines

      2. You will give us your money in subsidies and R&D to fund these freaky death boilers even though you don't want them.

      3. You may not develop any other simple, easy and safe methods of boiling water because if you do, we will descend on you like wolves and lobby you into oblivion

      4. You will not complain about how expensive it is to produce energy per KW using nuclear vs cheaper/safer means of boiling water.

      5. You will be responsible for our industry's waste storage for generations to come, all at your expense ultimately.

      6. You will pick up the tab should our method of boiling water become a disaster. You will not complain about this.

      7. And BTW, don't even ask for profit sharing, that is out of the question.

      Obama's industry goons relicensing that plant just on the heels of the ongoing Japanese nuclear tragedy shows his utter disrespect for a keen ally and his dismissive layman's attitude about a lethal power he has very little grasp of.

      This disaster cannot be overstated.  This is just ONE SINGULAR nuclear event that will in all likelihood destroy the livability of Tokyo Japan, has ruined its bread basket and brought it to the brink of a second world country literally overnight.  They can rebuild from a tsunami, they cannot undo radiation.  And now they will have to spend more of their GDP on food imports than ever before.

      Germany is correct to acceleration their decomissioning of nuclear power.

      All it does is boil water to steam and the smart German scientists are done with this dangerous method of an archaic form of power generation.

      Good for Germany!  

      Any politician that promotes nuclear power will not get my support in the next election.  Period.  I dont' care who they are or what message of "hope" they try to sell us on..

      If they want nuclear power so badly no matter how much it costs, ultimately, per KW to produce, they they'd better funnel those profits right into the National Treasury without a moment's hesitation.  We have to pay to deal with it, the power profits are ours by rights.

      •  Nuclear = How To Boil Water the Dangerous Way (0+ / 0-)

        Or alternately:

        Nuclear = How to Corner Profits on Boiling Water by Rendering the Process Difficult to Copy & License.

        The only reason we haven't developed fresnel boilers and geothermal to their full potential is aggressive and incessant lobbying aimed with laser precision at starving these old technologies back out of public view.  The problem with them?  They're EASY TO DO.  And thusly present major problelms with respect to BigNuke cornering the water-boiling market to run turbines.

        Just think the 2000 Chevy Volt forcible recall.  BigOil was not pleased at the public seeing their cleaner, cheaper-fuel competition zipping about on the highways.  So thugs were sent to people's homes who had alread paid full purchase for their volts and the cars were forcibly removed from their possession.  One woman was arrested for resisting if memory serves..

        That's the same deal with fresnel and easy to produce.  So easy to install power plants.  So clean, so free from danger.  So easy to insure, so cheap to produce.  BigDirty cannot compete and so they will NOT LET YOU develop them.

        It's as simple as that.

  •  chu has made clear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the president is still on board. a year ago, he claimed nukes were part of our clean energy future. your mileage may vary.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:15:52 AM PDT

  •  You're right. Status Quo. (0+ / 0-)

    Which should put a stake in the heart of any debate here since those of us on the pro side and those on the con side will pretty much have no influence.

    So is there any way we can push the alternative energy agenda here in the US?  Traction seems to be impossible.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:16:31 AM PDT

    •  The only way thru is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, Pescadero Bill

      ...continued advances in the technology of constructing and operating wind, solar, tidal, etc.

      I used to think the "trick" was making them cheaper than coal and natural gas. Increasingly, the "trick" is to keep plugging away at them as the full spectrum economics of coal and natural gas get progressively worse.

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:54:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Carbon is worse. Nuclear is getting better. (6+ / 0-)
    Even if you count all the deaths plausibly related to Chernobyl—9,000 to 33,000 over a 70-year period—that number is dwarfed by the death rate from burning fossil fuels. The OECD's 2008 Environmental Outlook calculates that fine-particle outdoor air pollution caused nearly 1 million premature deaths in the year 2000, and 30 percent of this was energy-related. You'd need 500 Chernobyls to match that level of annual carnage.
    From the thorium reactor featured in Wired to the modular plant backed by Bill Gates to the pebble bed reactors developed in South Africa and China, a host of new ideas are on the table for the future of nuclear energy.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:17:25 AM PDT

    •  Bullshit. If the energy isn't totally clean, it'll (0+ / 0-)

      eventually kill.

      Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - W. A. Connors

      by Wendys Wink on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:20:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And where does this magical energy come from? (6+ / 0-)

        Every energy source has the potential to kill people. The number of people may vary, as may the cause: the infrastructure may cause accidents, the fuel source and waste may be hazardous over various time spans, the operation of the energy production may be potentially hazardous.  There are ZERO forms of energy on this planet the harnessing of which does not have some risk to someone.

        And many of those risks are context-based: is hydroelectric "safer" than nuclear? Does your answer change if you include the possible failure of Three Gorges which has the potential to directly affect hundreds of millions of people in the event of an accident?

        People claiming any one source of energy is, or can be, clean and pure and wonderful are completely full of shit. Every form of energy production involves tradeoffs in positive and negative effects, with no exception.

        •  Sol, ocean currents, geothermal. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - W. A. Connors

          by Wendys Wink on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:59:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  those are great alternatives (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and I support them but the industries needed to create the panels, or the windmills, or the piping are not clean and never will be.

            Northwatch's point is apt, I think, and I've actually moved toward skepticism for the nuclear energy industry as of late.

            Check out DKos Pennsylvania!

            by terrypinder on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:04:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  carbon footprints (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pescadero Bill

              of nuke compared to renewables.

              Let's take a look:


              Nukes don't appear to be a clear winner.  Indeed they don't appear to be any better than wind or hydro, and not much better than solar.

              Indeed, the carbon footprint for solar is going down, as newer technologies utilize either less silicon or replace silicon entirely.

              If we build 1,000 more nukes, on the other hand, we will quickly use up all the existing high-grade uranium ore and begin using lower grades---thereby increasing the carbon footprint.

              The idea that nukes are cleaner than renewables, is simply not true.

              And, as a few minutes with Google will demonstrate, nukes are not cheaper, either.

            •  Yes, a few people succumb to death by these (0+ / 0-)

              things, but they don't harm the entire population and if done correctly, do not harm wildlife to any great extent.

              Once industries assume clean energy, their products won't pollute nearly as much as they do now.

              As for me, coal, natural gas and nuclear are industries for over-all use are really nasty.

              If we do things right, our footprint should come down to a very manageable point. I agree, that there is no way to be completely clean, but if we can cut it down to 5% or less, we'd all be a lot better off, as would future generations.

              Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - W. A. Connors

              by Wendys Wink on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:48:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it bears repeating that the carbon footprint and (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                cost of renewables and nukes are virtually the same.

                When nukes claim to be "cheaper and cleaner", they simply are not.

                They are cheaper and cleaner than COAL, but so is everything else.

                •  Thanks. That's ALMOST my entire argument. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The other point is that most renewables aren't ready to fill the role of providing dependable baseload or dispatchable peakload power.  Hydro can, but that's really it.  If renewables could do that there would be no need for anything else.  And I wouldn't be arguing with you.

                  •  that all assumes a centralized generation and (0+ / 0-)

                    subsequent transport to the point of use.

                    I'd rather see decentralized generation at the point of use.

                    Like this:


                    •  Distributed solar PV... (0+ / 0-)

             certainly worth pursuing, but it's not going to keep my mother's northern Midwest home warm in the middle of winter.  At least not with the solar PV that we've got in the commercialization pipeline.  It also is not the way to power an industrial economy.  Others have posted about that in better detail than I can, so I'm just going to point it out.

                      Lenny, all of your ideas are worth pursuing.  I don't object to them.  I just think they're all inadequate.  If I though otherwise I wouldn't be arguing with you.  You show me how I can get by without fossil or nuclear in a New Hampshire winter, how I can run an industrial foundry on renewables and I'll be a happy man.

                      •  GM is already building plants run on renewables (0+ / 0-)

                        I'd think a foundry could put twice as many solar panels on the roof as GM is, without going bankrupt.  Just a guess.

                        As for solar not working in the northeast, no kidding. Solar by itself is not the answer.  The answer is a mix of whatever methods work best for the particular locality--wind where it's best, hydro where it's best, solar where it's best, geothermal where it's best, tidal where it's best. Decentralized generation at the point of use is, as I noted, the key towards which we should be working.

                        I don't even have any objection in principle to thorium to take up the slack (although the nuke industry itself seems to have some objections to it, and for now it's just an undeliverable promise)--once the renewables and reduced demand have lowered their necessity to an absolute minimum. And of course I am not at all convinced that renewables won't be able to do the job by themselves.

                        I think that in the longterm we simply MUST reduce our energy use to levels that can be produced by sustainable renewable resources.  Anything other than that is, by definition, unsustainable.

                        But, as I said before, I'm skeptical we will do ANYTHING. We've already demonstrated that as a society we simply aren't interested and don't care.  We won't do anything at all to reduce our fat lazy wasteful lifestyle, we'll continue to burn carbon to maintain it, when our oil runs dry we'll invade a few countries and take theirs, and when it's gone we'll die shivering in the dark.

                        We won't do anything because, deep down inside, we really don't want to.

                        •  You seriously underestimate... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...the power requirements of a foundry.  It's not an assembly plant, OK?  Orders of magnitude more power required.  You're just not going to do that with PV.

                          In terms of the mix of hydro, geothermal, wind, tidal & solar, well, that's not distributed generation at the point of use.  It is distributed generation, so it will require a lot of new transmission infrastructure.

                          But, let me set the usual tit-for-tat aside and say...


                          I think I'm having a fucking aneurysm.

                          We should solicit a bit more info from the thorium advocates here to see what the state of development is in India.  They've got lots of thorium, so are very keen on developing it.

                          A mix of renewables and nuclear, preferable thorium fuel cycle, is what I think makes the most sense.  And I am also skeptical of our ability to change our energy path to make that happen.  I think, despite our arguments we're actually closer in opinion than we realize.

                          •  oh, I don't underestimate it at all (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            As I noted elsewhere, I definitely see the need for some sort of grid remaining for buildings that simply cannot generate all their own internal power needs. Again, those (small) central generating stations would utilize whatever method works best for the area they're in.

                            And yes, as I said, I have no objection in principle to thorium serving part of that remaining grid, if that is what's best suited to the area AND if they are run without regard to either costs or profits (and of course that necessitates government ownership, and the US nuke industry would rather die first, so it simply won't ever happen).

                            I am presuming that a combination of reduced energy usage (and as I said, we can reduce our per capita power usage in the US by half and still match the levels found in some European countries--like Italy) and the energy self-sufficiency of most buildings, would reduce the need for such a grid to a tiny fraction of what it is today.

                            But once again I will point out that thorium simply is a nonsolution in the US, since the nuclear industry itself doesn't even want to build it.  There's simply no point in arguing the merits of whether or not we should build something that isn't going to be built anyway.

                            I'm not reflexively or ideologically anti-nuke--I simply see the same problems with them now as I did back in the 70's, and no realistic prospects of those problems being solved (especially with the types of nukes that the industry IS asking to build).

                            Can thorium solve some of the technical problems that current nukes can't?  Perhaps, perhaps not--but since nobody wants to build them here anyway, it would seem they simply are not a viable solution for us. Ditto for fast breeders, pebble-beds or any of the other wonder-nukes. And of course there are still problems remaining to be dealt with (such as the environmental costs of mining thorium). So far, I'm simply not convinced they are worth the costs.

                            But alas, as I said, I fear the entire debate is moot, since we simply won't do anything to change as a society.  We don't want to. We'll continue to plod along until circumstances FORCE us to change--and then it will be too late.

                          •  I've got to attend to real life. :) (0+ / 0-)

                            But I really want to discuss these things with you A LOT more.  I'll respond to your post in greater length this evening.

                          •  I'll go unfold my solar panel and (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            charge my laptop battery.


                          •  I wish I had that option. (0+ / 0-)

                            It's cloudy and in the 30s here.  I really can't wait for spring to arrive.

            •  There's more to it than that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And it's a point that often gets overlooked. Did you ever notice that whenever any kind of energy production facility comes online, they tend to tell you its power output measured in "families" or "homes" or "households"?

              "This new (X) will produce enough power for 250,000 average homes!" The average American home used (based on 2007 figures) 936 kWh of electricity per month, or 11,232 kWh per year.

              It's useful in that the average person has some idea of what it takes to power their home. It's utterly useless in terms of a civilization's actual energy needs. Let us consider aluminum. It takes, in a modern refinery, about 13 kWh of electricity for each kilogram of aluminum produced, or 13,000 kWh per tonne. (Recycling uses massively less power, but new aluminum is always still needed). The Point Comfort refinery in Texas produces about 2300 kilotonnes of aluminum every year, so the energy requirement for that aluminum is about 29,900,000,000 kWh. Which is equivalent to the energy usage of 2,662,037 average American homes.

              The world's largest windfarm, also in Texas, covers 400 square kilometers, has 627 turbines, and produces enough power for "250,000 average Texas homes". Which sounds much more impressive than "1/10th of a single aluminum refinery".

              And that's an efficient refinery. Some refineries take up to 16,000 or 17,000 kWh per tonne, depending on the efficiency of the facility and quality of the input.

              "Alternate" energy sources require area and size of infrastructure as the trade-off for their lack of fuel requirement, and the areas needed to supply energy-intensive juice has to be massive. You might be able to power your home with rooftop solar cells and a wind turbine or two. Now try doing that for the factory producing your solar cells and your wind turbines.

              Basically, the density of your energy source is directly proportional to the how big your infrastructure has to be to gather it, and that area has costs. They might not be the same costs as those involved in a more energy-dense producer, but there are still costs. The thing that frequently gets overlooked is that what you consider a cost might not be what someone else does.

              Consider: The US Southwest could theoretically produce sufficient solar power for the US needs. You might think that's fine. The people who live there who might not want to see their backyards and natural environment covered with solar panels stretching from horizon to horizon along with the massive towers and powerlines required to move that electricity elsewhere may not be as sympathetic to that opinion.

              •  again, this all assumes a centralized production (0+ / 0-)

                of electricity and its subsequent transport outwards to the point of use.

                I'd prefer to see a decentralized production, AT the point of use, by making each building as self-sufficient as possible for its own internal energy needs.

                That of course would also mean the end of big centralized energy companies.

                •  No, it assumes reality (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The further you go from the ideal locations for alternate energy sources, the greater the area and infrastructure required. See, most people don't conveniently live and work in areas that are ideal for that sort of thing.

                  Someone living in Phoenix could get a lot out of solar power per unit area. Someone in Seattle or New England, not so much. Wind isn't equally distributed either.

                  And it's one thing to talk about homes, as I pointed out, it's quite another thing to talk about the rest of the infrastructure that a modern society depends on.

      •  Solar energy kills: (0+ / 0-)

        (skin cancer)
        (pollution at the PV manufacturing site)

        /mostly snark

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:00:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Failed dams kill people. /nt (0+ / 0-)

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:01:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  false dichotomy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, mightymouse, zubalove, Egalitare

      there are actually clean alternatives.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:22:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not false dichotomy. (0+ / 0-)

        Those clean alternatives are not capable of providing baseload power or dispatchable peakload power.  They may be after we have developed and implemented large scale energy storage and lots of new, low-loss transmission to allow wheeling of power across regions.

        Here's an analogy.  Let's say I wish to travel from my home in New York City to my mother's home in the rural Midwest.  I say "I could take an airplane or drive a car".  You reply, "False dichotomy!  You should take an energy efficient train."  I would really like to do that.  I prefer train travel to the other options.  The trouble is the closest train station to my mother's home is 350 miles away.  The economics of building a train line to her area are not favorable at all.  And if such a line was constructed it would probably be decades before it was completed.  In theory I have more than two choices.  In reality I only have two choices at the present time.

        I really like renewable power.  I think it has huge potential that should be developed.  It can't replace nuclear if we shut down all the plants now.  At some point in the future it may if we make the investments needed to develop power storage and a new continent-wide transmission grid.

        •  absolutely false dichotomy (0+ / 0-)

          It's why "coal is bad !!!!!!" is the crux of every pro-nuker I ever hear.  Including you.

          Aren't YOU the one who told me we need nukes because the Chinese are being killed by smog from coal cooking fires?

          •  Yes, I did point out the hundreds of thousands... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...of coal combustion related deaths in China.  And that makes the argument a false dichotomy in what way?

            Again, did you read the post or just the title.  I explained why I thought it was not a false dichotomy.  Do you care to actually discuss those points or is stomping your foot and crying "YES, it IS!" the only response I'll get from you?

            P.S. I owe you a post about life cycle CO2 footprint for nuclear versus other power sources.  You've already posted one chart that lays out the gist of it.  I've found a lot more that is not all IAEA sourced, but I've been too busy with responses and real life to go through all the info.

            •  it makes it a false dichotomy in that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis

              a few hundred thousands of solar ovens would solve the problem. It is not a binary "coal or nukes" situation.

              The idea that "those people are dying because we don't have nukes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!" is simply idiotic.

              •  And I provided you with links about... (0+ / 0-)

                ...the distribution of coal use.  The bulk is used in urban areas where solar ovens are not practical.  

                The power has to come from somewhere.  There is potential to provide electrical power adequate for cooking and space heating.  The generation available now is not adequate to meet those needs if coal combustion were eliminated.  Adding more nuclear power and improving distribution could replace that coal combustion.  That's not idiotic.  It's a real solution as opposed to solar ovens.

                Do you use a solar oven?

                •  do I use a solar oven? I sure do. Made it myself. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Originally made them as lightweight methods to cook in the woods while camping.

                  And I'm typing to you right now on a solar-powered laptop. I have an old ASUS PC EEE connected to a Tekkeon external battery and a 25w foldable solar panel.  The panel charges the battery; the battery runs the laptop.

                  •  Len, I work on a desktop computer in an (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    office building. I used to work in a machine ship which probably had a load of 12 MWs if not more. NOT in sunny Florida where you live. You can't run an industrial society on renewables outside of places with massive amounts of hydro energy like Brazil, Venezuela and Norway.

           country is planning to do so, either.

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

                    by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:14:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  solar works by sunlight, not by temperature (0+ / 0-)

                      It'll work to some level anywhere there's sunshine.

                      I used my solar ovens when I lived in Pennsylvania, too, while hiking on the Appalachian Trail, in winter. Took a little longer to boil my rice there, but the rice ended up tasting just the same.


                      And as I said, we need to base our renewables on what works best for the particular local area.  Solar in Florida, wind or something else in Pennsylvania.

                      By the way, there are several organizations who are actively providing solar ovens and/or instructions to make their own ovens in areas like Africa, South America, and Asia, so people can cook without depending on deforesting areas for charcoal fires (and throwing CO2 into the air).

                      Here's one:


                      •  Lenny, this is, ... backward (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        and "reactionary" might be a better term. So, our house in'd that solar work for you roasting a chicken in you kitchen?

                        You have to be serious and these 'lifestyle' changes are not going to be accept by many outside the 'lifestyle anarchist' types and the back-to-nature crowd. How does a GE worker living in So. Phili in an apartment keep his family warm in winter or her food cold in a refrigerator? These are simply not serious proposals.

                        And...they are so unnecessary. The people of Africa and Asia want something like a "light switch" power when they want it and when they need it. For a small refrigerator, to cook when the lights go out, and indoors if they choose, to have a decent standard of living as defined by THEIR needs. This is why countries are trying to build national or at least regional grids. Nuclear can do that, especially the smaller modular reaction currently be developed by U.S. companies.

                        I thin there is a certain pathetic quality to someone's politics who thinks home made solar stoves are going to solve the problems of development in Mumbai, Sao Paulo or Lagos. We need to help them lift themselves out of poverty and do so isn't going to be on the backs of what you describe here. I'm sorry.


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

                        by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 01:45:06 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  perhaps you missed the part about (0+ / 0-)

                          using the best renewables for the local area--solar in Florida, wind or something else in Pennsylvania.

                          Nobody's arguing for solar in Seattle.

                          •  ashh, sorry, wrong "solar" (0+ / 0-)

                            Solar ovens are a short-term solution to prevent them from chopping down every tree in sight and deforesting everything. No one, least of all me, is suggesting they are a permanent solution to energy use.

                            Nor am I suggesting everyone in the US adopt my lifestyle. They'd rather die first. (BTW, my lifestyle comes more from my Buddhism than from my anarcho-Marxism.)

                            And as for nukes, I very much doubt that if the US ever builds its 1,000 nukes and is able to happily continue its lazy fat wasteful lifestyle, that we'll donate any nukes to the poor Africans who can't afford to build them.  We'll just let them continue to live in shit. Don't even TRY to argue to me that the nuke industry is motivated by humanitarian impulses to help the poor downtrodden Africans improve their standard of living. It doesn't care if everyone in Africa drops dead tomorrow from lack of electricity.

                            And as for standard of living, the planet simply does not have the resources to give everyone on the planet the fat lazy wasteful lifestyle that we in the US have--nukes or no nukes. That means we MUST adjust our global usage of energy to a level that we can sustainably produce. That means the standard of living for many people will go drastically up. It also means the standard of living for a few people (us) will go drastically DOWN.

                            And of course we would rather die than do that.

                          •  as far as stoves specifically, electricity is very (0+ / 0-)

                            high cost.  It's probably more efficient (in carbon footprint and cost) to use biofuels like alcohol in cooking stoves.

            •  btw, you can post it if you want, but (0+ / 0-)

              as I mentioned earlier I've already seen several studies by several different groups, and they're all within a few percent of each other, so I assume yours will be too.

              •  Lenny, the Chinese do what is needed (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OtherDoug, Recall

                usually, which is why they invest in everything. Solar 'ovens' only work during high solation periods during the day. We are talking about 1.2 BILLION people with 200,000,000 living cities. They have the highest infrastructure of high speed rail in the world, a huge consumer society and modern industry. Solar 'ovens' nor solar anything will allow for this. NONE of these studies take this into account. They are all, at the end of the day, anti-development, anti-raising-the-standard-of-living and ALL rely on MORE fossil fuel usage.


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

                by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:36:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Chinese operate without regard to costs or profit (0+ / 0-)

                  That's why they can build uneconomical things like thorium reactors. Ditto for France and India. The only places nukes have been viable is where they are government-owned and government-run.

                  That, of course, will never happen here.  No matter how wonderfully wonderful our wonder-nukes might be, if they're not profitable, they'll never get built.  Period.

                  Unless we're going to advocate for a government takeover of the nuclear industry. . . .

        •  your analogy actually illustrates a point I have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          b00g13p0p, Laurence Lewis

          long made . . . .  The basic difficulty with our entire electrical system is that it's based on the large-scale generation of power at a central location and then the transportation of hat power outwards to the people who will use it.

          That model works very very well for a large centralized company that wants to generate large profits, but it is extremely poor at generating energy and distributing it efficiently. As any engineer can tell you, the losses just from the transmission process are significant.

          As per your analogy, what we need is NOT a large centralized hub that everyone must connect to. It is far cheaper and more efficient to decentralize the entire grid, and to generate as much power as possible directly at the site of use. We already have the technology, using renewables like solar and/or wind, to make most buildings (particularly residential homes) entirely self-sufficient and able to produce enough power for its own internal use without depending on a centralized delivery grid. In cities around the world, designs are being put into action for entirely self-sufficient skyscrapers and office buildings. And indeed there are now entire manufacturing industrial plants being built which use renewables for nearly all their internal energy needs:

          In the US, few consumers would probably identify GM [NYSE:GM] as an eco-friendly company. But in Spain, the General is acting downright green, planning to cover the roof of its largest European factory entirely in solar panels -- 2,000,000 square feet of them. The 85,000 panels will provide 10 megawatts of green electricity while will be used to build Opel sub-compacts; put into the grid, that would be enough power to supply 4600 households. Whatever the assembly line doesn't sap will be sold back to the local power grid, helping GM recoup some of its cost and invest in solar technology in 19 other manufacturing locations.

          And if the US were to stop being such a fat lazy wasteful society and reduce its use of energy 50% per capita, bringing it to the level currently utilized in Italy or Germany (and those are hardly third world countries), the total amount of power we'd have to produce would be lowered, and meeting those lowered needs with decentralized renewable resources would be that much easier.

          So the idea that renewables can't meet our energy needs, is simply not true.  What renewables can't meet are the needs of a large centralized power company that wants to maintain a large centralized generating facility so it can make large centralized profits.

          And I don't give a damn about their profits.  (shrug)

          •  That's great, but... (0+ / 0-)

  's still intermittent, it still can't meet baseload requirements and it still won't keep me warm in NYC on a cold February morning.  It doesn't matter how much wind blows in South Dakota if there's not transmission capable of getting it here.  And solar PV on my roof here is not going to cut it at 7:00 AM on a cold winter morning.

            Distributed generation is a very interesting idea, but it is usually done with natural gas combined heat and power units.  They're wonderfully efficient, but they're still fossil fuel fired.  Building integrated PV is great.  I've designed and spec'd such systems.  In South Florida where they can generate enough power to make them really worthwhile.  Up here in the Northeast they are a much harder sell.  In the Pacific Northwest it's the same deal.  Distributed generation through solar PV works in sunny low latitude areas.  Beyond that we need a lot of transmission to get wind power to point of use and some sort of power storage to provide power when you get region-wide drops in wind.  Which does happen.

            •  that's why we need things that can store (0+ / 0-)

              electrical energy as it is generated and then release it later for use, under a constant flow.

              I believe we call those things "batteries".

              •  Got lithium? (0+ / 0-)

                I mean in the vast quantities required to make that happen?  Or do you propose using lead-acid batteries?  How much lead do you want to mine to make this happen.

                Really, you should be advocating small scale, distributed, pumped hydro or compressed air storage.  They're not cheap, but they're safer and more abundant than the materials required for batteries.  Seriously, those components would help your argument.  They would still require transmission and build out like we have never seen in this country's history.

                •  there's actually a lot of research into this, sinc (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  electric cars face the very same problem (and of course nukes won't help diddley with transportation-fuel emissionsof carbon--unless we have electric cars).  

                  Some possibilities that are being discussed for buildings are fuel cells, ionic batteries, and flywheel systems.

                  And yes, also pumped-storage hydro.

        •  wrong again (0+ / 0-)

          the keystone group:

          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.

          and jacobson:

          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.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:09:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but... (0+ / 0-)

   those links point out how renewables are going to provide baseload power?  I'll look at the Jacobson article, but that description doesn't give the actual conclusions of his paper.

            And that first link just points out the obvious, that we are not building enough nuclear power if it is going to replace coal and mitigate CO2 emissions.

    •  It's fine by me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, Pescadero Bill, wsexson

      If any corporation wants to build a self-insured demo plant using their own money utilizing these new ideas.

      •  As long as they also put up a bond to pay the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill

        real cost of handling and protecting the waste, as well as get insurance against any terrorist attack to use the demo plant as a dirty bomb.

        The plant needs to prove that it can withstand a direct hit by an airplane loaded with C4 and fuel, or a cruise missle strike, without release of radiactivity.

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

        by HoundDog on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:36:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Real renewable are even better. We (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man, mightymouse

      can acheive our energy cools without great expansion of nuclear.

      The free market in the US has not initiated a single new nuclear reactor in the last 37 years for a good reason.

      It's not even close to being the best choice.

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

      by HoundDog on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:34:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree. Two new plants are under construction (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zubalove, polecat, HeyMikey, OtherDoug

        in Georgia.  Of course, they have benefitted from a government subsidy and loan guarantee.  But the need was there for more base loaded power generation.  I think that is a much better option than building new coal fired plants.  

        Obama would be perfect if he were a Cubs fan.

        by Georgia Liberal on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:40:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you think you have water problems now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pescadero Bill

          Just wait until the impact of the amount of water for cooling those new plants when they come on line.

          Nuclear exacts a high price on many levels in exchange for being "guaranteed base load." Higher than any estimate being admitted right now.

          The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

          by Egalitare on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:04:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  nobody here wants to build more coal plants (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          schnecke21, Egalitare

          Everybody here knows coal is bad.

          That does not make nukes good.

          False dichotomy.  The choice simply is not "either coal or nukes".

          •  One of the hopes is that after the nuke plants (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            come on line, smaller and older coal fired plants can be shut down.   Georgia has a lot of very old coal plants that would be much too expensive to retrofit to make them ""cleaner"  I am not claiming that nuke plants are better, but I would much rather see us building nuke plants than coal plants at this point in time.  

            Obama would be perfect if he were a Cubs fan.

            by Georgia Liberal on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:26:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the problem, though is that most of those nukes (0+ / 0-)

              won't ever be built.

              Whether one is pro-nuke or anti-nuke, the fact remains that any new plants will be tied up in court by legal challenges until God dies of old age.

              I simply don't see them as any sort of short-term solution, and I think by the time they get built (if ever) the rapidly advancing renewable technology will already have passed them.

    •  A nuclear plant backed by Bill Gates? (5+ / 0-)

      So, it will have bugs until Service Pack 2 is released?

      (sorry, couldn't resist)

    •  But current nukes are problematic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They are vulnerable, as we have seen in Japan. The need to keep the spent fuel cool for a LONG time opens the door to all kinds of disasters.

      It's hard to have faith in the nuclear industry .... if there are to be new design reactors it should be run by the government.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:45:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fukushima design is really, really old. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Now a significant minority of nuke plants have that old design. New ones are safer.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:49:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What I like about Pebble Bed Reactors... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, HeyMikey, OtherDoug

      is they can take current spent nuclear fuel and use it, effectively down-cycling BWR waste. That and they're safe when passive. You shut them down and they just sit at a safe (but hot) temperature. When activated, they start generating power and heat.

    •  two points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just because "coal is bad" doesn't mean "nukes are good".

      As for thorium reactors, no electric company anywhere in the USA is even proposing to build one.  Ditto for pebble-beds (and pebble-beds were banned in Germany, where they were developed).

      It's just vaporware.

  •  There needs to be no debate. Bottom line is this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nuclear generation belongs in the stars. Not on the Earth.

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - W. A. Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:18:14 AM PDT

  •  Oh, that nuclear waste problem is a pesky one. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have long suspected that some crafty RW entrepreneur has been bundling it into bags of potpouri and selling it back to US super consumers so it ends up being spread out across the land rather than dumped anyplace where the land or water can be exploited for other things.

    •  the free market in action is a beautiful thing. (0+ / 0-)

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:46:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, nuclear waste! Youi'll notice... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that the nuke cheerleaders here are suddenly, strangely quiet.

      This is the one, fundamental downfall of nuclear power that they can't get around:

      The fuel is itself, death.

      When it's being processed, when it's being transported, when it's producing power, when it's nuclear waste.

      No amount of Shiny Object engineering, or statistical minimalization will ever get around that.

      - bp

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

      by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:58:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's why we need cheap space fight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        toss it into the sun.

        What could possibly go wrong?

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:20:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reprocessing. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't understand what the big deal is.  You reprocess the fuel to recapture the 95% remaining power generating capacity that is left in spent fuel produced by light water reactors.  Hell, you could just repackage it without reprocessing and put it in a CANDU.

        Spent fuel reprocessing is technically feasible and is done in other countries.  A Carter Administration executive order keeps the US from reprocessing spent fuel.  This was done to encourage other countries not to reprocess spent fuel to extract plutonium for nuclear weapons.  Since the Carter Administration countries have entered the "nuclear club" by enriching uranium instead.

        The really nasty stuff that is left after use, the fission products like cesium-137 need to be dealt with.  Some are needed for medical and industrial applications.  The remainder should be transmuted using fast reactors or subcritical reactors.

        Nuclear "waste" is a problem that has a clear solution.  I don't think any nuclear power advocates are shying away from the problem.  Facing up to the problem is actually a positive step for most advocates because it requires development of advanced reactors, something we've been arguing for.

        •  The "big deal" is that... (0+ / 0-)

          ...again, this falls into the category of "It's all just an engineering problem".


          All the problems with nuclear power are all just engineering problems.

          I'm not saying that it (reprocessing, in this case) cannot be done.

          The point is, as with almost every aspect (maybe it's time to stop qualifying that and just say "with every aspect") is that the depth and precision of engineering necessary to successfully reprocess spent fuel are, in and of themselves, symptoms of the fact that the stuff itself is brutally difficult (read: deadly) to work with.

          There's no room for error with the shit.

          Now, some (men) find that exciting: the Big Shiny Object, Dodge Ram Truck school of engineering challenge.

          Awesome, dude: it doesn't get any Bigger or Badder than nukes!

          But the stuff itself -- in all aspects of its nature, at all points of its fuel cycle -- is deaths-head incarnate * .

          That's the problem that no amount of engineering will ever change -- not work-around -- change.

          - bp

          * Note that the fact that other energy sources demonstrably kill people by some means or other is a false equivalency, and does not legitimize nuclear power

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

          by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:49:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Amusing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Note that the fact that other energy sources demonstrably kill people by some means or other is a false equivalency, and does not legitimize nuclear power

            Industry W has the potential to kill a few thousand people in a worst-case scenario, but otherwise is mostly benign in its effects on people and takes up minimal space, can be placed in a wide variety of locations, and reliably produces baseload power with minimal chances of interruption.

            Industry X has a worst case scenario in which the public is unlikely to be affected by an accident, but as a result of it's normal operation causes the deaths of tens to hundreds of thousands per year, can be placed in a wide variety of locations and reliably produces baseload power with minimal chances of interruption.

            Industry Y's worst case scenario for an operational accident is mostly non-existent and normal operations typically don't kill people but the infrastructure requirements in area are huge and potentially have a widespread, albeit low-level environmental impact. It is not a reliable source of baseload and areas where it can be placed to maximize production are geographically limited, requiring a large transport infrastructure.

            Industry Z is typically highly reliable for baseload, but is geographically limited in location, which may require a large transport infrastructure, the potential environmental impacts of the infrastructure can be huge, it is very low-risk in operation, but depending on location the worst case scenario for an accident can be catastrophic.

            Pick your poison.

          •  Yes, I agree, nuclear is death in a shiny package. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Coal is even more death, more widely distributed in a dirty black package.  And renewables are irrelevant until we get some very serious transmission capacity built and storage developed, commercialized and built.

            Regarding your note, if comparing the risks and benefits of nuclear to other sources of power is false equivalency then I don't know how it is possible to make any decisions about anything more complicated than breathing.  Making rational decisions about how to power our civilization requires analyzing all the options available to us, looking at the costs and benefits.

            •  Regarding my note... (0+ / 0-)

              ...the point there is that to find something wrong with any non-nuclear energy source does not solve for the problem that nuclear energy has problems -- some of them deadly over a long period of time -- that can not be solved.

              They can be mitigated against, but they can not be solved.

              But hey! Let's resume this conversation in twenty years in, say, Okuma, Japan.

              If they'll even let anyone near Okuma, Japan in twenty years.

              Looks to have been a pretty prosperous little farming town of roughly 10,000 souls.


              - bp

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

              by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:07:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How about the bottom of an open pit coal mine? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Or the stump of some mountain that has been decapitated for coal mining?  Or the crumbling coffer dam holding back millions of tons of coal fly ash?

                Until renewables have advanced to the point that they can handle baseload, can provide dispatchable peakload, then they are irrelevant.

                The coal and natural gas people will be very pleased.

                •  Renewables have never shut down (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  a coal plant or oil burning plant, in fact they rely on MORE natural gas. That's the reality now. France shut down EVERY one of it's oil burning electrical plants in the 1970s by building 50 plants in 10 years (5 per year). The US actually built more per year. We can easily build 30 plants a year if we ramp up starting now. Alas...

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

                  by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:54:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Reprocess it into new fuel. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Or use newer designs that have a more complete fuel burnup.

  •  More people will definitely die from any delays... (8+ / 0-) nuclear construction, or shut down from operations than will die in the entire Tsunami.

    The fact is that no one is calling for a slow down of the car CULTure, even though tens of thousands of cars are littered all over Japan.

    The car lobby need not break a sweat, nor must the oil lobby.

    Actually the only thing that failed at the nuclear plant, was the dangerous fossil fueled diesel engines.

    It is very likely that all of the nuclear related deaths in this event - played out over many decades - will be less than 100, if even that.  

    The dead from failed sea walls will reach almost certainly 20,000.

    Nuclear energy was, is, and will be until public ignorance and superstition became virial, the largest single source of climate change gas free primary energy, producing about 30 exajoules of the 500 exajoules used by humanity.

    Five decades of mindless cheering for so called "renewables" has not lead them to produce 5 exajoules, and whatever they produce needs gas to operate.

    The media will not cover the dead from air pollution, now numbering 1.6 million per year from outdoor pollution, and 1.5 million per year from indoor air pollution.

    How do I know?

    They don't.

    They won't cover the people killed by droughts and rising seas.

    How do I know?

    They don't.

    If the next major tsunami takes place in seas a half a meter higher, the media will not have the guts, nor the integrity to look into their own responsibility in crying "Fire!!!!  Fire!!!!" in the crowded theater that is our planet.

    The events of the last week further demonstrate to me that humanity is probably too stupid to survive.

    I am always incredulous when I hear the anti-nuke faith based rhetoric, but what I have seen now pales before anything that went before.    This is the worst and most toxic and most unsupportable noise machine on earth.

    I can live and die with that, myself, but it's awfully hard to face my children and tell them that they will be forced to do the same.

    If one talking endlessly about "nuclear safety" and "nuclear dangers," at this point, after a 14 meter wave swept over a nuclear power plant with almost no warning, leading to a significant but managable problem, there is no hope, none whatsoever, that you will be a participant in the exigent hope to give future generations a chance.

    Have a nice day.

    •  Agree with a lot (0+ / 0-)

      but hard to call the problem "manageable."

      You are correct that what needs to happen first is conservation. Using less energy is far more important than shifting from nuke to gas or whatever.

      We need to learn to live on what renewables can provide.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:49:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem IS managable. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Recall, bryfry

        It is especially manageable when compared to the other problems that Japan faces with destroyed infrastructure.

        I've been studying intensively nuclear fuel and technology issues for more than 20 years - inspired to do so because of the events at Chernobyl - practically in every spare minute I've had.

        The more I looked at Chernobyl, the more I understood - this may sound like a paradox but I assure you it isn't - the more I understood how very much humanity needs nuclear energy.

        In fact, most of the radioactivity of concern in this case is I-131.     It's half-life is 8 days.    There is (unsuprisingly) a little cesium-137.   I have written many diaries on cesium in this space, but my favorite, covering global distributions of cesium is this one:

        Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining, Even Mushroom Clouds: Cs-137 and Watching the Soil Die

        It seems to have fallen down the memory whole that at one time, a large fraction of humanity was involved in the deliberate release of radioactivity, including metric ton quantites of plutonium.     Now, I do not wish to represent that I approve of that, but the fact that everyone born after 1945 was involved in it, shows that humanity has managed.    Life expectancy has been rising, dramatically in fact, and not falling in that period.

        I have a wonderful quote from Alvin Weinberg about an event early in his career that he says, rightly, would have been international news were it to occur today.    He died a few years back, at the age of ninety and he said of the event that he left his office and then came back to work.

        There are very few people who have been exposed to 200 microsieverts of radiation, which is actually above most regulatory levels, in Japan.

        Obviously there is some risk to the health of some people, but every single energy operation on earth, including the normal operations of dangerous fossil fuel facilities involves risk, greater risks than we acknowledge.

        Nuclear energy need not be perfect to be better than everything else.   It need not be risk free to be better than everything else.    It need not be completely free of injury or death to all human beings to be better than everything else.

        It only needs to be better than everything else, which it is.

        If there is a shred of rationality in humanity - something I doubt more and more - the events of the last week will make nuclear energy stronger not weaker.

        •  nukes are simply NOT "better than everything else" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse, HamdenRice

          They're better than COAL--but so is everything else.

          If you compare either carbon footprint or cost per kilowatt hour, nukes, wind and hydro are in virtual dead heats, while solar is dropping rapidly to join them.

          •  Um, really, there are MORE rivers left to dam? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry, Deward Hastings

            How horrible!   God forbid a drop of any free river flow to the ocean without generating electricity.

            Granted, no one is paying any attention at all to the collapsed dam in Japan.   Why?   Because they're way too busy trying to prove that more than 5 people out of the 20,000 dead (from all causes) from the Tsunami come from nuclear energy.

            Hydro is only the equivalent of nuclear if one doesn't give a rat's ass about phasing out dangerous fossil fuels - in other words if one accepts the dangerous fossil fuel status quo.

            When the Banqiao dam collapsed in the 1970s because of a natural event, a tropical storm, it killed over 200,000 people - ten times the Japanese Tsunami.

            Where were our "concern trolls" when Three Gorges was being built?

            I wrote how close the US came to a similar disaster - only larger - except that US Corps of Engineers people rushed to a hardware store to get plywood.

            As I noted elsewhere, a recent publication in Science speculates that dams (with the greatest contributor to it being the Zinpingpu dam) caused the earthquake at Sichuan in 2008.

            Science 16 January 2009, Vol. 323 no. 5912 p. 322

            That earthquake killed 80,000 Chinese, and of course is of no interest to anyone, since "Dam" is spelled with a D and nuclear, with an N.

            Solar energy is not, by any standard, as clean as nuclear, even without the huge thermodynamic (which translates into environmental) costs of energy storage.

            Wind power has nowhere near the low carbon cost of nuclear if it is required to produce continuous energy.     A recent publication in Environmental Science and Technology, published by wind advocate Paul Denholm, in his paper entitled "Emissions and Energy Efficiency Assessment of Baseload Wind Energy Systems."

            Denholm claims that the lowest cost "baseload" wind system, CAES has a carbon cost of 100 g carbon dioxide per kwh, four times as high as nuclear.

            Denholm's best case system, predictably, relies on heating compressed air in a Brayton type system, with, um, dangerous natural gas.

            He wrote in 2005, waxing enthusiastic about his gas scheme.   The number of CAES baseload systems operating on an industrial scale six years later is, um, zero.

            That also was predictable.

            The wind industry would die in a New York Minute, faster than a tsunami in Japan without gas.

            If it was so great, every lanthanide mine on the entire planet would be an abandoned open pit, many ironically with radioactive thorium tailings piled half way to the sky.

            The wind industry is not an alternative to nuclear, it is not as sustainable as nuclear, and the rote belief that it is so is a toxic fantasy that produces far more complacency than energy.

            Environ. Sci. Technol., 2005, 39 (6), pp 1903–1911

        •  it's hard to call fukushima "manageable" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it's a big mess. exploding power plants are not what I would call "manageable."

          pro-nuke people need to accept that, and to understand that radiation releases, unhelpful management-speak, captive regulatory agencies must end if you ever want to get anywhere.

          you guys have some points on your side, but when you don't accept the obvious it's difficult to take seriously your other points, which are often more valid.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:07:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Are you kidding? Do you not see a tsunami (0+ / 0-)

    of a change already on the horizon?

    I understand the subtlety of the point you're making.  

    So, to be "fair and balance," let me be unsubtle.

    Regardless, of how the Fukushima inicident resolves, even just the current data, and impact on public opinion has already revealed a number of unacceptable default assumptions, that we have drifted to.

    A "drift to low performance" as they say in systems control thoery.

    I just published a diary on the lack of adequate public disclosure, and the publc's right to know, of information concerning our public safety.  

    Even going so far as to propose additions to our US Bill of Rights, and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    So, I'm surfing right on the top edge of this tsunami, so I'll be happy to share my perspective.    lol

    BTW, I'm having Java Script, wifi, and numerous other disastors with my computer so I can't even get into my just published diary or comments for the moment, I'd appreciate anyone who can give me a rec so I can get on the recently rec board.

    Oh, also, a cool poll.  

    But, anyhow, we are going to have extensive public discussions, on what these radiation "dose-response" curves are that are used to establish what a "safe" level of radiation is.

    My understanding is that these dose-response curves are not "dramatically" kinked right at the "safe level."  These kinds of kinks do not tend to occur in nature.  Yes, they are non-linear, but usually, in smoother ways.

    A "safe level" is a comlicated risk-benefit calculation that I believe can largely be trusted.  I get catscans and dental x-rays.  

    But, also avoid any unecessary exposure to radiation.

    The public is now ready to be educated on this, and there will be much discussion, and some surprises.

    Also, apparently there is a great deal of information that is known, that is not being released to the public.  This is not right, and I am arguing for a public rights-to-know, that is going to create a lot of issues.

    Additionally, we've learned of the existence of 104 similar spent-rod, cooling ponds, in the US.

    The second article in the NYT this morning is about the reviving crisis in US fight over spent fuel rods.  A crisis which, your's truly has been bringing to your attention here sense March 15.  


    I have to go see what's happening in my diary, and maybe even restart my computer.

    So to blog and run.  


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

    by HoundDog on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:32:23 AM PDT

    •  I have completely given up on fission (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      at this point.  Fukushima is the last nail in the coffin for nuclear plants in the US.

      As NNadir explains above, it is the height of stupidity and ignorance, but you cannot fight ignorance of this magnitude.

      So, I give up.

      Putting all my hopes on fusion at this point.  The folks over at Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (emc2) have gone quiet after an infusion of funds by the Navy.  So, I am hoping that is a good sign.

      ITER (aka the money pit in France) may have something someday, but I am not holding my breath.

      •  not supposed ot be a reply to you.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        was supposed ot be a general comments.

        •  Hey Victor, I agree with you about (0+ / 0-)

          nuclear having unacceptable costs and risks.  

          But, don't give up on clean, renewables.  Several credible analyses demonstrate we can produce all the electricity we need with renewables, by 2030.

          BTW, I have just tried to pulish a diary on the NYT article on the radioactive releases to the Japanese ecosystems and the apparent lack of candor, from the Japanese government.

          But, I haven't got a rec yet, so it's not on the recently rec'd list.  I don't know where the comlete list of all diaries is.  

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

          by HoundDog on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:15:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Renewables by 2030? (0+ / 0-)

            You've got to be dreaming.  I know of no credible source predicting we can get all of our electricity from renewables by then.

            Could you provide some links?

            •  I was refering to the Scientific American plan (0+ / 0-)

              which, admitedly does allow existing nuclear, and stop-gap baseload, of natural gas.  Which, although is substantially cleaner than coal, but still produces enough CO2 to be an improvement.

              But, it doesn't really matter what we planner think.  Politically, I beleive the public is not going to allow any of this gap to be filled by nuclear.  

              And, coal needs to be eliminated, which is going to be tough, if not impossible in countries like China, and India.

              So, yes, we will fast involuntary convervation.

              So, we are going to have to do the best we can, and deal with the consequences.  

              We will need a Manhatten project level effort sustained for 20 to 50 years, or whatever it takes.

              Remember the original Manhatten Project was accomplished in just over 18 months was it not?

              Imagine what we could do with that intensity, will, and focus in 2 or 3 decades.

              Conservation, efficiency improvements, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, biofuels can all be pushed to the max.

              The same for other energy use, so we can do some cross-substitutions.

              The Scientific American plan, was criticized for needing 1.2% of the land mass of the planet, but, I think that was an exageration.  

              But, even if true, can be vastly improved with technological improvements.  And, placing windfarms out at sea, where their noise, and other nuicances can be minimize.

              Breakthroughs, in High Voltage Direct Current long line transmission, are reported to reduce resistence loss, by a "factor of six."   I'll admit that seems like a curious way to describe it so probably means something else.

              The basic point was that it was a high level proof-of-concept plan, which I haven't studied carefully, but meant to refute the nuclear industry lobbyists who claim we can't get their without significant increases in new nuclear plants.

              Which, whether you like it or not, does not seem to be in our destiny.

              So, let's do the best we can, and get started.  

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

              by HoundDog on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:43:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Nuclear waste is a huge problem (0+ / 0-)

    with potentially very dangerous long term effects. Money can be better invested in other energy alternatives than nuclear.

    •  Compared to what? Are you claiming that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zubalove, polecat, bryfry, Deward Hastings

      dangerous fossil fuel waste is not a "huge problem."

      How exactly, do you intend to make the toxins and greenhouse gases uniformly distributed all over the earth "non-toxic," easy to contain, and "safe?"

      This is not a function of relative risk, but is rather a function of selective attention.

      There is gasoline, a known and powerful carcinogen distributed all over Japan today, huge quantities of it, leaking from tens of thousands of leaky cars.

      There is no such thing, actually, as "nuclear waste.:   The materials with used nuclear fuel, fission products and actinides alike are almost all extremely valuable.

      It is the failure of the public to understand resources, their fondness for hating science, and their propensity to hysteria, reactionary thinking and irrational fear that has created the concept of "nuclear waste."

      •  Good, we can bury the non-existing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        nuclear waste in your backyard  if you have one.

        •  I would be perfectly content to have used nuclear (0+ / 0-)

          fuel in my backyard.    Afterall,  I understand a great deal about actinides and fission products and have written here extensively on the subject.

          My neighbors would object, but not because they have any special knowledge of the risks.    More likely they have a cartoonish view of the risks, as do most people who know almost nothing at all about used nuclear fuel.

          Now, since we're referring to waste:

          I demand YOU stop dumping your dangerous fossil fuel waste in my children's lung tissue.   You're INJURING them with your irresponsibility.

          Do it right NOW!!!!   This instant!!!!!!


          I thought so.

          Have a wonderful day.

          •  The Reader's Digest Condensed version... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HamdenRice, Celtic Pugilist

            ...of your entire position comes down to two points:

            1) Everything else is bad, so nuclear is good


            2) I'm smart and you're stupid; so I'm right and you're wrong

            Wrap the above in the general strategy of descending into increased sarcasm as you get more and more wound up.

            I've read -- in their entirety -- far more of your comments than I want to admit to, and despite their length (which is often a strategy in itself, isn't it?) this is pretty much what you boil down to.

            Suggestion: why don't you just copy-and-paste what I've typed, above, into your future comments on nuclear power?

            It'd save a lot of disk space on DKos's servers.

            - bp

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

            by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:10:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm curious about something . . . . (0+ / 0-)

            How many of the nuke proponents nukes here, actually work in the industry?

        •  I love that argument (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OtherDoug, bryfry

          Because the average amount of used fuel required to power my home for decades would fit in something the size of a normal thermos.

          Care to guess how much carbon from natural gas or coal production would have to be stored to be equivalent?

      •  This is why almost no one... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...pays any attention to you:

        There is no such thing, actually, as "nuclear waste.:   The materials with used nuclear fuel, fission products and actinides alike are almost all extremely valuable.

        Oh, please!

        Can I get you a bigger shovel? You need any help digging yourself deeper into ludicrous irrelevance?

        - bp

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

        by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:13:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The waste from wind and tide is even worse!!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        b00g13p0p, Egalitare

        A guy who, um, read some articles in the chemistry lab said so and he's smarter than all the nobel prize winners in physics put together!!!

        •  I can tell you from decades... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HamdenRice, wsexson

          ...of direct personal observation, that 100% of the stinky-dead seals I've ever had to smell from a hundred yards away have been beached by high tides!

          And yet the tide cheerleaders will never address this glaring problem in their fantasy land future.

          - bp

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

          by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:49:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Boy, did you pick a bad example (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry, OtherDoug, Recall

          Some of the ways of using tidal energy can produce serious environmental impacts.

          I give you, as an example, the Peticodiac River in New Brunswick. A causeway was built in 1968 across the river to control it's flow and stop the water levels from dropping upriver when the tide went out, similar to dams that have been proposed to capture water in tidal basins and then release it under control to generate power. The result was an ecological disaster which resulted in a river that was formerly over a kilometer wide at high tide being reduced to a few dozen meters and the riverbed silting up, causing fish stocks to crash as their habitat was destroyed. It was ranked as one of the two most threatened river systems in Canada.

          In 2010 they've opened the gates to try and restore the natural water flow, and if it works they want to rip out the causeway completely and replace it with a bridge that would allow a much more natural flow of water.

          The mess that was created killed plans for tidal power generation using this technique.

    •  And, as I said above... (0+ / 0-)'ll find that the nuke cheerleaders suddenly go quiet.

      Oh! No! That's right: it's only an enigeering problem.

      Or a NIMBY problem.

      Or non-problem statistical issue.

      (On that last strategy, a commenter here-abouts was saying that any increased deaths from cancer, or any shortening of lifespans due to the Fukushima disaster were only minor statistical increases and could be ignored.

      I proposed giving him a can of spray paint and having him tag specific individuals who would actually experience his "minor statistical increases" with a red "C" or "L".

      I never heard back from him).

      - bp

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

      by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:09:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about the fact that (0+ / 0-)

    only 2 people died?  And none from radiation?  Don't you think that when this recedes into the news that's going to be a point in favor of nuclear power?  

    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do. " Oscar Gamble, circa 1980

    by Spider Stumbled on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:45:35 AM PDT

    •  more than "mitigated" by radiation getting (0+ / 0-)

      into the food chain, alas. That may pose relatively small risk (no one has died), but it's a big deal, especially for parents of small children.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:48:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and indeed if anyone does die, we'll never know (0+ / 0-)

        They'll die years or decades from now, and no one will be able to point to them and say "that cancer was definitively caused by that exposure". There's simply no way to tell.

        The best we'll be able to do is look at the number of people who have been exposed and see how many of them do actually die of cancers later, and then use all sorts of statistical measures to estimate how many were the result of this exposure.  Those who want to minimize the effects will guess low; those who want to maximize the effects will guess high. But no one will ever know.

        That's why the various numbers for the people killed by Chernobyl and/or Three Mile Island vary so widely, from "zero" to "almost a million".

  •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that until (if) clean alternatives are developed, nuclear energy causes far fewer deaths than do coal plants and do not contribute to global warming.  People freak about 1 or 2 disasters but then fail to connect the far larger number of premature deaths due to respiratory ailments to the source of that pollution.  Numbers-wise, there is no contest between the safety of nuclear vs. coal/fossil fuel.    

    The pleasure of hating...eats into the heart of religion...[and] makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands. - W. Hazlitt

    by rfahey22 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:46:33 AM PDT

  •  What needs to happen FIRST... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is a discussion on the different Nuclear Reactor designs. The American public thinks BWR is the only way to go, and media sources rarely challenge this distinction. Until people start to learn about transverse wave reactors and Pebble-Bed Reactors, no one is going to want a new Nuclear Plant.

    Boiling Water Plants are the larger problem. You move away from them, and the public may come around.

  •  Nuclear Disasters (0+ / 0-)

    Bring renewed commitment to nuclear power.

    Enormous oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico bring new offshore drilling.

    Failed tax cuts and deregulation bring epic economic crisis and commitment to more of the same.

    These are symptoms of a government firmly in the grasp of capitalists who prioritize profit over people and the environment.

    It seems that the "certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or — what is but a legal expression for the same thing — with the property  relations within which they have been at work hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters.

    Then begins an epoch of social revolution."

    The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:47:07 AM PDT

  •  The right answer to nuclear power is ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zubalove, polecat, OtherDoug


    Plants can be built safely, and breeder reactors help with waste disposal problems.

    But you have to be very careful, and being very careful is expensive.

    So it's a case by case situation.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:48:08 AM PDT

    •  about fast breeders . . . (0+ / 0-)

      There is one simple crushing problem with them---the same problem that ALL the hyped up super-duper new designs like pebble bed and thorium have----------->no power company anywhere in the US currently has any plans whatever to build any.

      They're vaporware.

      •  I wonder if experimental reactors (0+ / 0-)

        have been built.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:40:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  pebble beds have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          they're not economical. not sure about thorium. If they are, they're being built in China. That was the last I heard of them.

          Check out DKos Pennsylvania!

          by terrypinder on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:44:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the thorium in South Africa tanked (0+ / 0-)

            economically.  India built one or two that could use either thorium or uranium---they gave up on the thorium.

            As I said before, it's not the anti-nukers who are killing thorium reactors--it's the nuke industry itself.

            Ditto for pebble-beds and fast breeders.  No nuke operator in the US is actually proposing to build any.  No profits in them.

            •  The *entire* nuclear industry in India is (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Recall, OtherDoug, iceweasel

              BASED on thorium, Lenny. It's a complex "3 phase" project that involves building Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (based on the Canadian CANDU design), Fast Breeder Reactors and other designs which will include the use of India's abundant thorium sands in Kerala. More information here:


              They have a huge program of nuclear development (now including tsunami defense upgrades and improvements) and even construct their own components, like China.

              It is not based on the LIQUID Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) unfortunatly, but the Chinese just announced development of their own LFTR project...with money for R&D to develop it.

              The Chinese have a working PBMR (10MWs) and just broke ground on a 160MWs version which they intend to mass produce.

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

              by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:45:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  if they're so wonderful . . . (0+ / 0-)

                why aren't any American energy companies clamoring to build them?

                Ohhhhh, it's because thorium can't compete economically, and the only places that are interested in thorium are places where the government owns and runs the plants without regard to costs or profits, and they don't care about the economics.

                Which of course will never happen here.

                It's economics which are killing thorium, pebble bed, fast breeders, and all the other super-duper wonder-nukes that people here are cheerleading for. You all are fighting a losing fight to get them built here, because the nuke industry itself does not want to build them.  No profit in them.

                •  Why should we let the industry dictate (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  our energy policy?

                •  High cost of reactor design approval. (0+ / 0-)

                  Why should a US company pay to get a new reactor design approved by NRC when they have perfectly good designs sitting on the shelf?  I think that's their attitude, which is generally true, since we have only seen two new reactor construction starts in this country due largely to opposition from folks like you, if your bona fides are for real.  If I were a nuclear industry executive I wouldn't build a thorium plant here either.  I'd build it in China or India, get some good data on performance and then try to sell it here in the US.  Though I'd probably try to sell it in developing countries first, since they are more desperate for power and there's a potential for an expanding market there, unlike the US which is a pretty mature market without a lot of room for growth so long as those coal guys can keep their con going.

                  •  sorry all those regulations are so burdensome (0+ / 0-)

                    for you.  

                    Maybe you can talk to all your government pals (ya know, the ones who continuously tell us how well-regulated and watchdogged the nuclear industry is so it's safe safe safe) to do something about that.

                    Alas, as much as I'd like to claim the credit for the environmentalist movement for killing nukes, I do know that it was simple economics, not us. Nuclear simply could not compete with coal.  Still can't.

      •  Not vaporware, Lenny. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We talked about this before.  The Expirimental Breeder Reactor II operated safely and economically for 30 years.  Saying it's vaporware is completely false.

        It was shut down by the Clinton Administration in 1994 to encourage other countries not to produce plutonium.  Same sort of calculation that the Carter Administration used to stop spent fuel reprocessing.  Neither action has been effective in halting weapons proliferation.

        So, no company in the US is building fast breeder reactors.  They're hardly building any because of the huge cost of getting one to construction thanks to the endless litigation by nuclear opponents.  Why add the burden of getting a new reactor design approved on top of that?  I can understand their point of view even if I don't like it.

        Meanwhile, such reactors are being built in India, China and elsewhere.

        •  yes, vaporware (0+ / 0-)

          A promised good that will never be delivered.


          Oh, and I notice now we're back to the "you environmentalists killed nukes".

          As I told you before, I certainly WISH that were true. Alas, though, it's not.  It's economics that are killing your wonder-nukes, not environmentalists. Your own industry doesn't want them and isn't asking to build them.  They're not profitable enough.

          •  Lenny, India is building 2 of them (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Recall, OtherDoug

            right now. Russia 2 of them. China 1 of them.

            They're coming...just not in the US.

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

            by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:22:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  if they're not coming in the US . . . (0+ / 0-)

              then what's the point in arguing over whether we should have them in the US.

              Which is sort of my point.

              Arguing "thorium nukes solve all our problems" isn't much help when nobody here wants to build the damn things anyway.

              Seems you're arguing with the wrong people---you should be getting your own side, onside, before you argue with the other side over it.

              •  No...its all part of the process... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                we need MORE nukes now as way of developing our infrastructure. We look long term as the Chinese do way past the present generation. At a minimum they are looking 40 years into the future to 2050 AND to 2100. That's serious planning and so all their R&D is oriented toward their energy future. Instead, what get here is windmills and solar collectors will solve our problem. Not!


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

                by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:13:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  agree, though you also have to trust the people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Jody Lanard

      building and regulating it.

      oh, wait...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:22:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

        That is a problem, isn't it? If we can't trust government, we can't trust that a nuclear reactor is safe.

        It's a conundrum for me. For a Reagan-style conservative it ought to cause their heads to explode, if they actually thought about things.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:40:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  bookmark. ty great diary. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  I'm going to put on my skeptical hat (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zubalove, polecat, OtherDoug

    yes, truth, Indian Point is built on a fault. The Ramapo fault (which is actually a zone, and not a singular fault trace) , in fact. It's easily traced on surface maps across New Jersey and New York. But there's no evidence that it's moved in the Holocene (within the last 12,000 years) or that it's even moved since the dinosaurs were dominant.

    I've blockquoted a portion of a PDF that's available at the USGS's website, titled "Data for Quaternary faults, liquefaction features, andpossible tectonic features in the Central and EasternUnited States, east of the Rocky Mountain front"

    (4) Scattered, inconclusive reports hint at Quaternary deformation at or near the Ramapo fault.
    At Ladentown, New York, between the Hudson River and the New Jersey border, pollen data indicate
    possible Holocene downdropping of the southeast side of the Ramapo fault (Nelson,
    1980 #1869).  Sea-level curves from nine tidal marshes along the Hudson River indicate at least two
    episodes of Holocene downdropping of areas southeast of individual strands of the Ramapo fault
    system (Newman and others, 1983 #1870; Newman and others, 1987 #2016). Cores from sediments of
    glacial Lake Passaic contain slump folds, breccias, and small normal and reverse faults, which
    Forsythe and Chisholm (1989 #1824) speculated might be the result of strong ground motion.  Kafka
    and others (1989 #2043) interpreted terrace levels, offset streams, and shapes and locations of
    stream meanders as indicating possible right-lateral
    strike slip on the Ramapo fault in New York State and northernmost New Jersey.  However, four
    arguments counter these hints.  First, none of the cited reports provides evidence of sudden
    offset, which alone can distinguish prehistoric seismic slip from aseismic creep. Second, Stone and
    Ratcliffe (1984 #1987) and Ratcliffe and others (1990 #1943) trenched the updip projection of the
    Ramapo fault at two places.   Neither trench revealed evidence of Quaternary tectonic faulting.  
    Third, as mentioned earlier, kinematic indicators in cored fault- rock show that the most recent
    slip on the Ramapo and related faults was normal, and pre- sumably Mesozoic.  Fourth, the
    present-day east-northeast orientation of S(Hmax) is inconsistent with possible downdropping of the
    southeast sides of the southeast-dipping strands of the Ramapo fault system.

    None of the arguments and evidence presented here can preclude the possibility that the Ramapo
    fault or fault system slips to produce occasional small earthquakes, or rarer large ones whose
    geologic record has not been recognized.  However, convincing evidence for Quaternary faulting in
    the Ramapo fault system has not yet been presented. Accordingly, the fault system is assigned to class C for this compilation.

    I'm not sure why Indian Point rates so high. It's more at risk from terrorists, in my opinion.

    Check out DKos Pennsylvania!

    by terrypinder on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:52:21 AM PDT

    •  It's had more leaks than I can count (0+ / 0-)

      It's had more violations now, if I recall, than Fukushima did. I believe the concern about Indian Point mainly has to do with how many violations it's had. It has had leaks in the liner of unit 2, and the surrounding area shows an increase in some radioactive material. There's elaborate documentation online about this now.

      I used to live like a mile or two from it.

    •  it's not a dealbreaker (IMHO) (0+ / 0-)

      but iirc, it wasn't known when the plant was built, and an example of "whoops, those things happen. " Black swan stuff. Under-appreciated, and underestimated in terms of actual impact.

      So is the above a confidence builder? I think not.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:25:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if they say it wasn't known (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        they're lying. the Ramapo fault has been noted on geologist's maps for a over century. That's worse, I think.

        Unless they're saying the risk wasn't known, thatwould be true. Quake hazard in NY State has only recently been appreciated within the last 20 years or so.

        Check out DKos Pennsylvania!

        by terrypinder on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:41:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  those graphs are depressing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pescadero Bill, OtherDoug, wsexson

    not just for the vacillating, windblown nature of the almighty "American Opinion" on this issue, but because the political Alzheimer's disease it points up.
    Republican malpractice will find itself unpunished because of these graphs.
    BP will go unpunished because of these graphs.
    Wall St will go unpunished because of these graphs.
    every bad actor will go unpunished because of these graphs.
    Why the FUCK do the American people only remember bullshit like "ACORN destroyed democracy" and forget what they actually lived through?

    Sexual orientation is as irrelevent on the battlefield as military rank is in the bedroom.

    by kamarvt on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:53:12 AM PDT

  •  The Changing Sentiments of Nations a.k.a. Scale (0+ / 0-)

    Americans may not be sway en masse by the tragedy still unfolding at the Daiichi plant, as the poll DemfromCT includes concludes.  But, the intransigence of un/unferinformed poll respondents in the US need not throw cold water on the broader goal of limiting if not ending this nation's techno-social experiment in boiling water via fission.

    A source of hope is to be found in the reactions of peoples of other nations, China primary among them.  China and Germany have reportedly brought all nuclear plant making to a halt.  One of the most important outcomes of these governments' reaction is to unambiguously tell the global investment community and the nuclear power "industry" that an increase in the number of facilities is not a given and, more critically, that the rate or pace of any numerical increase can be dented if not stopped by fiat.  Investors are generally allergic to "fiat".

    Mapping the message being telegraphed by China, Germany and other nations and their governments to the fundamental realities of plant funding here in the US reveals a key point of vulnerability for pro-nuke ideologues.  The vulnerability is financing.  It is now axiomatic that plant construction plans in the US will remain nothing more than sketches and propaganda without the US government as a full-fledged partner - underwriting insurance, providing loan guarantees and as a provider of funds itself.  The fact of the US government as a necessary and active participant in nuke plant growth is not at all in conflict with the history of the "industry", but from a global view the death knell of the "industry" is unambiguously depicted in the curtailing of international growth and "efficiencies" earned though scale.  Furthermore, financiers and the financially motivated are highly sensitive to the distinction between a "growth" industry and a "mature' industry and a "stagnant/dying" industry.  Curtailing the extent of the industry's scale is a verdict that markets read as a "black-letter" truth that the "growth" period is over and therefore "smart" money must move or it will become dumb money captured by a low margin, slow return investment.

    Hammering that message - in concert with the dangers as well as the still unaddressed problems posed by waste - completes the triangle which can be a political trifecta!

  •  I think the 'renaissance' in Merica involves more (0+ / 0-)

    getting younger people to get advanced degrees in nuclear power. Not a huge new build-out. Notice how old all of the commentators on the subject are? Why degree in a dead industry?

  •  "Dozens of reactors in Us contain 'substandard'... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    "...Steve Comley, whose group We the People has lobbied for improved nuclear safety for more than two decades says that the extension" (by the NRC of license to operate the more than half of the reactors that are more than 30 years old--a 20 year extension...) "is just asking for trouble.  Comley sees the Japanese reactor crisis as a harbinger of what could happen here--not because of natural disaster, but simply due to old or failing parts..."  

    ...(he) "says that dozens of reactors in the US contain substandard parts"...(he)" presented that information to the media in 1987 after a whistleblower showed him documents about "counterfeit, substandard parts" at 72 of the 113 plants in the US..."

    he NRC responded at that time by launching a 6 year campaign against Comley, accusing him of trying to "topple" the agency.  They also pursued him in court for those six years, before finally dropping the suit.

    The GAO eventually investigated, and "confirmed Comley's claims":

    "...The nuts, bolts, screws, fasteners, fuses, pumps and valves that were in 72 reactors were substandard...the true magnitude and potential risks were 'not known...'"

    ...Rather than force the plants to determine if the faulty equipment had been installed, the NRC modified its procurement procedures to allow for the questionable parts.  It lowered its parts standards and abandoned routine inspections of reactors, an effort, Comley says, to avoid forcing the industry to spend the millions it would cost to close and properly inspect the plants.

    And if these "substandard" parts fail, resulting in some type of disaster--everyone from the plant owners to the politicians to the regulators will respond by saying "No one could have foreseen..."  Maybe the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan will at the least result in reinstating some responsible oversight, inspection and replacement of old or substandard parts--but only if enough people are aware of all the issues, and if they demand transparency, accountability and responsible maintenance using the best available materials, rather than allowing shoddiness for the purpose of increasing profits.

    •  Same difference for suicide-hijacking & 9/11. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Air France Flight 8969 was not hijacked by Binladen veterans on December 24th, 1994.

      Groupe D'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale did not retake the airliner in Marseilles on December 26th.

      There was no threat.

      FAA didn't willfully screw the pooch.

      The SOB who chaired the committee at FAA that screwed the pooch didn't keep his clearances and didn't later publish in an unclassified magazine that FAA and TSA were not checking foreign travelers for a specific type of bomb material.

      And bureaucracy ain't all about cover-up.

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:55:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've seen several articles that say there will be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a renaissance of sorts in the US, but it will be slower to come than in other Countries. It's obviously all conjecture. I think this is MORE reason, for those of us who care passionately about this issue, to organize and be active about nuclear power.

    I'd say much more about this, but I'm 10 mins to going to work. Thanks for the article, but really needs more balance from those saying it could have long term shifts. Also, we need to get the monied interests out of DC, and reform how we finance campaigns, if we ever want to see any real hard shifts here (and in many other places as well).

    EDUCATE the public and they will know more about this issue. Period. Barack Obama had a slender margin of favor with the American people before he was elected as the first AA person with a Muslim name, and yet he wound up in office. It didn't seem likely, but, he played the game. We have to play the game as well to get our interests better communicated to others.

    Tell a friend if you start no where else. Start there...

    I'm starting with the class that I teach today, for example. That's a beginning.

    More, more!

    •  um... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive
      Thanks for the article, but really needs more balance from those saying it could have long term shifts.
      Thanks for the comment, but I am curious. Find me credible links, before suggesting the post lacks "balance"—as if all posts could be all things to all people.  

      Lacking that, your comment suggests the post is flawed because it didn't agree with you.;-P

      I am ready to be educated.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deal! I have to go to work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but have been liveblogging Japan since the disaster there struck. Sorry if my tone was sharp (pre-coffee sharp-tone, laugh).

        I will take you up on that challenge... however, I have to go to work first. Back around 7 pm PST.

        Sorry if that sounded confrontational, DemFromCT. It wasn't meant to, if it did. And I knew I was taking a risk by not providing links. However, I also knew I wouldn't have time to compose a decent reply that was link-rich.

        I'll get back to you on it, however. I saw a good breakdown of this not long ago and have to scour my history list to figure out where.

        •  terrific! (0+ / 0-)

          look forward to it.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:06:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry about the delay (0+ / 0-)

            work lasted very, very late (14-hour day, yikes).

            Wound up seeing these in the news just today, however, and reflect some of the articles which I'd previously read:


            It's highly unlikely that you're going to see any new nuclear powerplants built any time in the future, given the now worsening situation at Fukushima. But knee-jerk reactions to the accident are not what's really to blame for the inevitable decline in nuclear production. Even before this month's nuclear disaster in Japan, the economics of nuclear power were bleak. It didn't seem that way on the surface--62% of the public supported nuclear energy according to a Gallup poll from last year, and Obama planned to dedicate $54.2 billion to building new nuclear plants (that plan is now in question). But according to at least one expert, the nuclear industry never had a chance.

            Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment, discussed his findings about the economics of nuclear power in a testimony this week before the Standing Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada.

            According to Cooper, the nuclear industry is at the tail end of a bubble: a "promotional frenzy" from 2001 to 2005, with Bush's establishment of an $18.5 billion loan guarantee program; a surge in interest (measured by applications for loan guarantees and licenses) from 2006 to 2008; the realization that the industry couldn't deliver on promotional cost estimates; and the collapse of the bubble due to economic forces in 2009 and 2010 (pushed along by low natural gas prices, declining demand, and cheaper costs for low-carbon alternatives, ultimately leading to reactor delays and cancellations). The Japan disaster simply stuck a fork in the already cooked industry.

            After Fukushima, the costs of building new reactors will skyrocket. Cooper believes that this is because investors will view nuclear facilities as being difficult to finish and less attractive than alternatives (i.e. natural gas, coal, wind, solar). Nuclear will also be viewed as creating a significant risk for utilities.

            The Nuclear Regulatory Commission isn't exactly inspiring confidence, either.


            There's a related article here:


            My memory is that I'd read a very similar article in the NYT or the WSJ talking about the US predicting that it would slow down it's production more slowly than other industrialized nations. It was before Germany or Italy made its announcements about moratoriums or program abandonment, and was predicting that Europe would be at the fore.

            I hope this article shows you that these views  sounding a death knell for nuclear power DESPITE public support is helpful.

            If not, I'll go back and find the others. I've been watching this conversation very, very closely.

  •  Public opinion - IMHO- is malleable (0+ / 0-)

    and strongly affected by what's in the headlines at the time of the polling.

    Opposition to nuclear power correlates with opposition to nuclear weapons. Some part of the strong spike in 1986 can be attributed to Ronald Reagan's nuclear saber-rattling.

    His arms arms buildup included deployment of the mobile MX Missile in America, nuclear cruise missiles in Europe, and more underground testing in Nevada.

    The public response included large mass demonstrations (in America and Europe) civil disobedience at the Nevada test site... and protests at nuclear power plants.  Movies (like The Day After) appeared on television to depict the aftermath of nuclear war in America. The story of Karen Silkwood appeared in movie theaters.

    Even if people weren't participating, they were hearing about it on the news. Then Chernobyl happened. Bad as it was, it loomed very large in public imagination because it occurred "behind the iron curtain" where all those ICBMs were pointed at us.

    I'd like to see polling done on nuclear power before and after North Korea's underground test. It would be telling, I think.

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

    by jjohnjj on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:25:00 AM PDT

  •  Lots of the arguments against... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, DemFromCT, Recall

    do amount to fearmongering.

    With the god awful Oil Biz as competitors, expect anything. Still, some FACTS exist, too.

    Edwin Lyman, speaking for Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program:

    "One has to remember that there's still no evidence that the containment structures of the damaged (Fukushima) reactors 1, 2, and 3 have been significantly breached, which is a difference from Chernobyl where the confinement structure was destroyed in the very early stages of the accident."

    There are real problem ahead with these 6 reactors. No question of that. But the containment structures are intact despite earthquake and tsunami damage to pipes and valves.  

    Then there is a claim that one worker had received a "high dose" of radiation. Along with bogus crap on such as that the TEPCO crew are on a suicide mission. Here is the real report:

    The IAEA also had information about eighteen workers at the site which had been exposed to radiation since the accident, including one who got a dose rate of about 0.1 sieverts (106.3 millisieverts), although no medical treatment was required.

    This 106.3 milliSievert dose translates to 106,300,000 nanoSieverts. This compares to the 35,000,000 nanoSieverts that it takes to equal REM dose. 5 REM per year is the maximum recommended annual radiation dose for lab workers.

    One worker caught 3 times the IAEA recommended maximum annual dose.

    Hopefully this guy will avoid collecting additional radiation for years and year. Balance out the risks.

    Measurements of airborne radiation at 15 km. have maxxed out so far at less than 1/1,000th of what happened at Chernobyl.

    Now... resume running in circles, crying that the sky is falling, and swigging vodka ! Or maybe gut it up and read The Guardian:

    Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

    from George Monbiot. No friend of power companies.

    Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:39:38 AM PDT

    •  indeed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think UCS is a great resource.

      otoh see these comments:


      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 08:54:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  oddly, they neglect to mention the storage pools (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ya know, the ones that have no containment whatsoever.

    •  At one point yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...there was an explicit statement about the detection of "neutron beams"  a considerable distance from Fukushima I.

      It caught my eye specifically because that was the first time I'd read that exact phrasing.

      Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has observed a neutron beam, a kind of radioactive ray, 13 times on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was crippled by the massive March 11 quake-tsunami disaster.

      TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear plant, said the neutron beam measured about 1.5 kilometers southwest of the plant's No. 1 and 2 reactors over three days from March 13 and is equivalent to 0.01 to 0.02 microsieverts per hour and that this is not a dangerous level.

      But the measured neutron beam may be evidence that uranium and plutonium leaked from the plant's nuclear reactors and spent nuclear fuels have discharged a small amount of neutron beams through nuclear fission.

      From what I understand of this, this may suggest that something's happened to directly expose nuclear rod material.

      The article does not say over what range of time or geography (other than 1.5 kilometers southwest) they've been trying to detect "neutron beams" but the context seems to suggest that they haven't been doing a lot of it.

      That one article has never been repeated or updated at Kyodo.

      - bp

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

      by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:27:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Diablo Canyon has good natural (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Recall, OtherDoug


    What needs to be looked at, however, is the intake structure which is most of the photos south of the plant. Most tsunamis are expected to come from the West to North West (and all of them have to date). The intake structure...where the primary cooling water for the turbines is drawn in at a rate of about 500k gal/per min, faces South West. That's a good thing. Should we look to see if this can be strengthened? Absolutely. They are, as it happens since I know operators there, already on it.

    The plant that is far more vunerable that NO ONE has talked about to tsunamis...the only thing that can threaten the plant in any serious manner, is San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). SONGS is like right ON the beach. No bluffs, nor break water, no nothing. I'm all for doing what it takes to build a jetty-harbor/break water for 20 meter waves. They need to start this now.

    I say this not because I ever expect a tsunami to hit there, but to alleviate the public mistrust based on ignorance as NNadir has pointed out in...the way he does...and start protecting the plant.

    I've gone swimming that time you could walk almost to the edge of the plant. The sand buts up against the small sea wall there.

    On DCNPP: the fuel tanks for the emergency diesel generators are located above the power plant. They have been extra-strengthened against earth quakes.

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

    by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 09:58:12 AM PDT

    •  what happens if (0+ / 0-)

      there is an earthquake, or tsunami, or hurricane, or whatever, that does absolutely no damage at all to the nuke, but takes out the external power grid for an extended period of time.

      Can you take us step by step through what happens to the nuke without external power?

      •  I'm serious about this request, btw (0+ / 0-)

        It's not snark.

        The Fukushima plant destructed because of loss of power, not from earthquake or tsunami damage.

        What protects American nukes from loss of external power?

        •  Not exactly, Lenny. The tsunami (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          washed away the fuel for the EDGs. That was it, it created the problem. So better tsunami defense-in-dept needs to be drawn up and implemented (higher walls, relocation of EDG fuel supplies, and so on).


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

          by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:40:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I can hear the howls already (0+ / 0-)

            "unnecessary costs !!!!!"  "burdensome regulations !!!!!"  "damn enviro-wackos are killing us !!!!!"  "coal is worse !!!"

            • *seem* to panicing here... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OtherDoug, Recall

              Most nuclear advocates, especially socialist ones like me, are all for more needed regulations. It's not even a choice now, even investor owned utilities will have to adapt or the public will demand they shut down.


              Founder, Marxists Internet Archive

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

              by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 11:33:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  me panicking? Nah. I don't own any of those nuke (0+ / 0-)

                industry companies, so I don't cry when they lose their shirts.

                But again I'm still unsure how it's MY fault that your industry doesn't want to build your wonder-nukes here because they're not profitable enough.

                (BTW, click the link in my sigline for some of my socialist creds. One Big Union, One General Strike.)

                •  I know that's why I listed my own :) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Anyway...what I'm saying is that you oppose nuclear you are also opposing later forms of nuclear since they are all integrated in terms of learning, education, public acceptance, and so on.

                  R&D is opposed by 99% of anti-nuclear activists because they want no acceptance of fission energy at all.

                  I see the success of the currently coming online Gen III (which ARE being built now, including in the US, maybe) around the world. These are safer by several orders of magnitude than the older, 40 years old BWRs currently trashed in Japan (and of which we have 23 operating ones right now).

                  So the transition to a Gen IV/LFTR economy down the road is incrementally tied to the expansion of the current programs, which include the next-gen Gen III reactors.


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

                  by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:24:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I got no gripe with R&D (0+ / 0-)

                    provided that the private industry carrying out the research foots the bill for any and all liabilities.

                    I got no gripe with Gen III or IV research either (though it doesn't seem that the nuclear industry is enthusiastically clamoring to build them).

                    As for their safety and reliability, I heard that very same song and dance from the industry back in the 70's when the currently deployed designs were originally built---the ones that everyone acknowledges now are flawed. So I've seen this movie before, and the last time I saw it, I didn't like the ending. They bullshat us before, so it's not paranoid to wonder if they are bullshatting us again.

      •  aahhhh, this gets to the root of my question . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        On DCNPP: the fuel tanks for the emergency diesel generators are located above the power plant. They have been extra-strengthened against earth quakes.

        My understanding, based on what I've heard, is that US nukes are required to have four hours of emergency generating time (enough to safely shut down the plant, I presume).

        So how long do they ACTUALLY have in the real world?  How many hours/days/weeks/months till those emergency fuel tanks run dry and the generators go down, and there's no power to run the cooling system anymore?

        It seems that strengthening the plant itself against earthquakes/tsunamis/space aliens/whatever won't matter a damn if the disaster leaves the plant completely undamaged but takes out the external power grid for longer than the emergency generators can handle . . . .


        •  Thats a good mature question. I don't have an (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          answer. What I 'heard' is that they have days of fuel.

          This is important because while it's true that no nuclear power plant has caused an environmental disaster directly because of a quake destroying it or a major part of it, 'balance of plant' and outside transmission lines could be destroyed, or at least parts of it, such as the bus work outside each plant that has the transmission banks and distribution banks.

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

          by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:44:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  another great post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dem from CT has consistently been a thoughtful contributor to the Daily Kos for many years.

    he is distilled down the nuclear debate perfectly. In my mind, the big two questions are the ridiculously expensive cost of building a nuclear power plant. It always requires taxpayer assistance and yet the taxpayers do not share in the profits. Secondly, what do you do with the nuclear waste? Dig a really, really deep hole and bury it seems to be the Wiley E. Coyote solution. Inadequate.

    Be involved!

    by ecthompson on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:03:34 AM PDT

    •  ecthompson, lets deal with the second (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      issue first.

      There are, in the US, 70,000 tons of high level Spent Nuclear Fuel, "waste" in common nomenclature.

      What do you think we ought to do with it? I mean, even ending nuclear energy today, the 70k tons do not go away.

      What do you think we ought to do with it?

      Keep in mind there isn't that much. If taken out of their concrete casks or cooling pools, all of it, from 50 years of commercial reactor operations, wouldn't fill a box store of any size.

      your turn...

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

      by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:07:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  shucks (0+ / 0-)


      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sixth reason (0+ / 0-)

    Only godless communists oppose nuclear power and support universal health care.

    •  Seventh Reason (0+ / 0-)

      Only Godless corporate whores support a deadly & costly method of boiling water to steam when many other methods exist.

      Only dumb capitalists see that shrinking the middle class somehow will increase their profits over time.  Where are their consumers?  Oops...forgot about that.  Universal healthcare brings back industry, brings back jobs, brings back tax base, brings back consumer buying power, brings back profits to industry owners.

      Follow the breadcrumbs.

    •  That's me all over. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      - bp

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

      by b00g13p0p on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 10:54:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or Frenchmen!!! (0+ / 0-)

      Uh, hold on.  They're basically a bunch of socialists.  They've got universal health care and 8 weeks vacation.  And nuclear power.  Does not compute.

      •  Don't ya hate it when the left takes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a rational view of energy? Whats Green supposed to do? Hmm... more good news:

        From WNN:

        Groundbreaking for first UAE reactor
        A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the United Arab Emirates' first nuclear power plant at Braka. The 14 March ceremony was attended by South Korean president Lee Myung-bak and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Four AP1400 pressurised water reactor units, built by a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Co (Kepco), are planned for the site, which is close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Formal construction applications for the first two units were filed with the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in December 2009, and construction is expected to begin in earnest after permits have been granted in mid-2012. Unit 1 is scheduled to start up in 2017 and unit 2 in 2018.

        NOT leftists by any means, but enough to get the anti-nukes in a tizzy. 1 started, 7 more to go. Funny thing about that...they have all this, like 'sun stuff' there and yet they though it most reliable and economic to go nuclear. They must be crazy.

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

        by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:03:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you mean leftists like Greenpeace or Sierra Club? (0+ / 0-)

          Aren't ALL environmentalists communists? That's what the coal, oil, mining, forestry and nuke industries all told ME for 35 years  . . . .

          Or is the environmentalist movement just owned by the anti-nuke coal industry. Because, ya know, environmentalists and coal companies have been BFFs for years.

          •  Actually a good percentage are willing (0+ / 0-)

            (Amory Lovins) or unwitting shills for natural gas companies which hate nuclear; their obvious competition. If you look at Germany, the Gerhald Schroader, former Challencor and his Green Party foreign minister in their last gov't, after signing in the nuclear plant phase out legislation, both went to work for competing gas companies, one the Russian Gasprom, the other, an Anglo-Turkish consortium.

            So fossil fuel and 'alternatives' to it are all nicely incestuous politically and financially.

            "Communist" China is rapidly building nukes. "Socialist" Congress party in India is doing the same there. State owned S. Korean utilities are building them there. And so it goes...

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

            by davidwalters on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 01:23:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, as I noted, the only places where nukes are (0+ / 0-)

              economically viable is where they are government owned (whether China or France), and are run without regard to costs or profit.

              And that will simply never happen in the US.

            •  you'd have an awfully hard time convincing me that (0+ / 0-)

              Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are oil or coal or gas industry fronts . . . . . . . . . . .

              Just sayin'.

              Me, I'd be very happy to see a flying saucer come down tonight and scoop up the entire coal, gas and oil industry and carry it off. I have no love for them whatever.

              •  Really? You bet look at SC financials. The oil (0+ / 0-)

                and gas companies are proud of their touting of 'alternatives'.

                Every oil and gas commercial touts solar and wind...of course...the more solar and wind...the more gas is used to back it up.

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

                by davidwalters on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 08:31:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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