Category Archives: Action List

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Energy and Climate Change Conference will have many of our supporters present.

Dr. Alex Cannara and Dr. Bob Greene will be going to what sounds like an important conference in Virginia with two sessions where they each take turns as moderator with panelists many here will know.  Both take place Wednesday,  Jan. 28th.
Morning Session:

S28. Nuclear Energy as a Non-Carbon Energy Option with moderator Dr. Bob Greene
Should we be re-evaluating Nuclear Energy as the prime tool to stall Climate Change?

Afternoon Session:

S40. Nuclear Energy: Technologies for 2025 and 2050 and Advancing Nuclear-Energy Options with moderator: Dr. Alex Cannara

See Alex’s post

See Conference Details

jan26-29-conference

Action List

Recent power outages are outrageous.

Not sure what is worse. Sitting alone at a table for two in a very noisy bar waiting for my phone to charge or going home to a dark apartment with a flashlight and candles.

I am sitting at one of the noisiest bars in Toronto. I am here on a Sunday night because the power is out for the 4th time in 3 years. Yet this bar, across the street from where I live has all its power all day. Why do the stores along Bloor on both sides all have power? The power infrastructure in Ontario is seriously out of date.

The temperature is hovering around freezing but will get colder tomorrow. Many of the locals have so much ice on their cars that they gave up on de-icing.

I spoke to Steve Foster, my new friend from Barrie, who has power yet 300 thousand others need to wait a few days while Christmas is around the corner.

Steve said his city has no visible power lines (meaning they have been wisely buried underground). Why we continue to suffer 19th century style inconveniences has to do with mismanaged government at all levels.

Extreme weather is no longer a freak event. We should expect these events to happen. I see no reason why we should suffer or worse, have our lives threatened. The cold, if not prepared for properly, can be lethal.

We also need to update our power facilities so that they don’t flood in extreme weather like what happened July 2013. What is really ironic is that I’m sitting right across from a wall of 100 year old enlarged black and white photos of my neigbourhood. If it was 1913 I might have electricity right now.
1913_photo_king_yonge

Our times have changed considerably. Yet we still have power lines above ground through most of Toronto. We need to change our grid infrastructure. Forget about “smart” grids. Let’s start with reliable grids. We now know that power lines are vulnerable to ice storms.

hydro-quebec
A series of Hydro-Quebec high voltage towers near St-Bruno, Que., south of Montreal that collapsed after a severe ice storm hit the southwest Quebec January 1998. The storm left over one million households in the Quebec Provence without of electricity. Jacques Boissinot/CP PHOTO

Toronto’s first electric company started up 130 years ago. It ran on boilers. 20 or so years later Niagara Falls generated power to the city. 60 years after that nuclear power was added. But 50 years of nuclear and we still have power lines above ground.

How much business is lost on account of power failures? Each year the US loses over $100 Billion due to power failures. Ontario’s losses must be in the $billions. Besides robbing us of our rights to normal comforts we also lose business. Our power infrastructure is also expensive because we are forced by law to include wind and solar energy into our grid. We need to subsidize the unreliable, “natural gas” dependent so-called “renewables” because of a perceived need for an all of the above energy mix. Our energy bills are higher because of this idealist yet proven to fail method of powering the grid. Germany now has the highest electricity rates in Europe because they have decided to go green and discontinue nuclear energy. Germany has been forced to increase the building of coal plants to make up for the lost nuclear energy. Italy no doubt will face the same consequences. Just like California who shut down San Onofre Nuclear Plant over irrational fears over a possible accident. An interesting fact is that worst ice-storm in Ontario’s history did not affect the nuclear plants at all.

With three levels of government having elections in the near future it is now a good time to put pressure on them to upgrade our power system. i.e. put power lines underground and make the power stations flood proof and allow new build of nuclear to replace the plants that will be decommissioned because of age.


For those interested in an analysis of Ontario’s challenges
click here –>check out Scott Luft’s excellent blog. <-- click here

 
Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Why is there no public support to reform nuclear energy regulatory policy?

First there needs to be a perceived need for reform. What this blog is about has everything to do with raising awareness. So although the answer to the title question might seem obvious the polls indicate higher than 50% support for nuclear energy. Learning the obstacles to a sustainable energy future is  much too low a priority for most people. The opinion that nuclear energy needs to be a part of the energy mix is not widespread enough.

The idea of the NRC is to be an objective unbiased watchdog that provides guidelines and enforcement of regulations to safeguard against possible contact or release of radiation to all citizens. There are political forces which interfere with that objectivity and bias. I don’t want to condemn the NRC as operators but more in the way that the organization is structured and how far it deviates from it’s original reason for being. This post explores the consequences of too much scrutiny and built-in punitive fees that only apply to nuclear creating an unfair advantage to the alternative energy sources. I get a little resistance from some of our own pro nuclear community when I post on this topic. I think it has to do with the feeling that the NRC is so far out of the public’s radar that it is a waste of time to write about it. Still others see regulations as black and white and that the politics around the institution are not the fault of NRC members. Of course it is not their fault and my concept of deregulating is not just about the regulations themselves.

I see climate change as a very serious issue. But perhaps the best solution to that issue is nuclear energy. Nuclear is good for preventing climate change from going totally out of control. Why? Because it produces zero emissions. But it will be a race with time to gain acceptance and implementation. The hurdles are understanding the economics, the myths surrounding it and paying attention to the new and improved design concepts.

Acceptance is largely slow to take hold because of the negative view of anything nuclear that started way back at the beginning of the arms race during the cold war. We fail to fully understand that so many of the false impressions are due to the uninformed public. There is a massive amount of unnecessary hysteria over the idea of radiation. Radiation in small doses can be beneficial. We know that. Yet some people sick with cancer still refuse radiation treatment for fear of the consequences.

The fact is that many cancer patients survive because of radiation treatment. The effects of radiation are not permanent. They use radiation in some food purification. How is it that these mundane processes don’t get in the news but nuclear reactor accidents are the big apocalyptic events that make news everywhere.

Yet nobody has died from radiation at a commercial plant since Chernobyl. Now I’ve started that can of worms, Three Mile Island and Fukushima are the only other known nuclear accidents that had major public reactions yet no illnesses appeared as a result.

Keep in mind that there are more reasons than climate change to use nuclear and promoting new nuclear plant designs because they not only are a game changer economically but also environmentally, industrially and medically. The NRC has a lot to do with the economics. And the economics have a lot to do with whether nuclear energy benefits industrial or medical technologies.

Species extinction is tied to ecology imbalance. We are witnessing the biggest environmental changes in several millennia. That means we have new weather patterns that cause floods and drought along with rising sea levels and fresh water shortages. Besides emitting no CO2, new nuclear plant models can be used to desalinate water. Do the forest fires start from a shortage of fresh water? Could fresh water be pumped to farms and forest lands while we get cheap clean electricity? Why not.

I know there is a very strong influence from climate deniers and fossil fuel industry to oppose climate change believers. Of course nuclear energy is too strong a competitor. These same people oppose nuclear energy and try to confuse the issues based on general public ignorance on all things nuclear, especially nuclear energy, purely for profit gain.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been both beneficial and harmful to the cause of nuclear energy and are also unknowingly prolonging climate change. The best way to eliminate CO2, other greenhouse gas emissions and toxic chemicals is to replace coal plants with Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).

It is a complex subject and requires strong investigative skills to determine how much of what the NRC does is simply by the book and how much is guided by corporate and political forces. What drives NRC policy change? Despite the odds, over 100 Nuclear Power Plants have survived and continuously benefited our country by replacing potentially very harmful green house gas and pollution from coal plants across the USA.

In 2006, there were 1493 coal-powered units at the electrical utilities across the US, with the total nominal capacity of 336 GW (compared to 1024 units at nominal 278 GW in 2000). The actual average generated power from coal in 2006 was 227 GW (2 trillion kilowatt-hours per year), the highest in the world and still slightly ahead of China (1.95 trillion kilowatt-hours per year) at that time. (source Wikipedia.) There are still way too many coal plants.

How can the country proceed to build electric cars with a clear conscience knowing that the batteries will be charged by the 45% electric energy sources that are the worst polluting machines on the planet.

“an incredibly important problem that continues to get worse with every day in
which humans consume 80 million barrels of oil, 16 million tons of coal, and about
300 million cubic feet of natural gas all while releasing the resulting waste products
into our shared atmosphere and bodies of water.” – Atomic Insights (recent post by Rod Adams)

For instance there are a couple of recent law suits against the NRC for extending the length of time for storing spent nuclear fuel (“nuclear waste”) on site of the nuclear power plant (NPP) from forty to sixty years.

I have a strong bias for reforming the NRC. I believe they are preventing innovation. The biggest hurdles for innovators are barriers like the fact that they must pay $50 million for the application process which most of time gets rejected. This leaves only the existing companies like GE and big utility companies who can afford to apply for NRC approval Unfortunately I also believe that Obama has chosen the wrong advisors with people like John Holdren and Ernest Moniz and Steven Chu. Chu is more of a conservationist and his area of nuclear expertise is focused a very different field of atomic science than nuclear energy.

Dan Rather in his recent broadcast Rather somehow got the right questions but limited his people and point of view to the opinions of mainstream nuclear “has beens”.
see http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/2011/03/pragmatic-view-of-nuclear-renaissance.html

Some people think the NRC deserves credit for the success of improved conditions in Nuclear Plants and there excellent safety record but credit should also go to the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations and the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Much of the damage to nuclear energy’s image was because of public and political pressure after Three Mile Island and the fictional China Syndrome movie.

For this story to be effective you need to be convinced that Nuclear Energy is the answer to the worlds energy needs. I can not convince you in this email. I can give you excellent sources on where to begin:

CanadianEnergyIssues.com   (Steve Aplin)  –  DeregulateTheAtom.com   (Rick Maltese) – AtomicInsights.com   (Rod Adams)

Thanks
Rick Maltese

from Toronto, Ontario Canada which has the biggest per capita consumption of electricity produced from nuclear power in North America. Only surpassed by France (my own educated guess).

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

The Human Erosion of Progress and Will

Erosion is a process of gradually losing earth to natural processes like wind and water but I am referring to a different erosion and that is the general understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.)? I first stumbled on this combination of words, and it's both convenient and ironic acronym, in an article about education in New Mexico.

What does this erosion mean to our futures and does it matter? How do we even recognize the moments when the best technological solutions are put on hold in favor of what will bring in a quick profit and excite share-holders? Cornering prices in the energy market has been a strategy by the natural gas utility owners. My thoughts move to fracking for natural gas. It is rapidly growing worldwide. There has been very little time to get a true estimate about the damage that fracking causes. Apart from the damage to the local environment there may be cumulative damage to the atmosphere. Methane is said to escape to the atmosphere which is a much worse green house gas than CO2.

What about learning complex science? Is Nuclear Physics so hard to learn? How much do we need? It is complex but what you need to know is not so far away or hard to find. So between truth and fear lies a lot of fact finding to clear up the misconceptions about nuclear. Once the truth comes out then we can see how the big energy players care more about profits than the environment. Getting a grasp on the science will also help to lighten your view of what is possible and what is not. Common myths like "all radiation is dangerous" can easily be seen to be false by looking at data and knowing that radiation is everywhere.

Most people know that when we disturb nature we affect the way nature reacts. Examples are abundant. If someone accidentally introduces an insect or a fish from another land or habitat and that creature has no natural predator or enemy keeping their populations in check, it will sometimes result in the loss of crops and/or other forms of life. The ease of human mobility and their careless behavior can have a devastating result on other species and on the general survival of healthy vegetation. It is an unfortunate mistake and in the past such actions were forgiven. The popularity of beaver fur hats in the 1700's was the driving force behind much of the early exploration in Canada. But trapping caused a dramatic decline in the beaver populations. (See wikipedia's list of human caused transfer of invasive species.) Again these human caused activities were mostly done unknowingly.

It is beginning to be imperative that we take responsibility for the damage we cause to nature and our planet Earth. Pleading ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse in the information age. It's sounds like a cliche but you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution.

Travelling has become very easy, too easy. But with travel comes responsibility. We travel great distances by planes, trains and cars for business and pleasure and we tolerate gas fumes and inconvenient traffic jams using up fuel that pollutes the air without much consideration of its cumulative effect. The environmentalist will seriously consider finding work close to home or finding a home close to work. The idea of providing incentives for living closer to the workplace is pretty rarely implemented. Housing near employment centers is usually more expensive. Cooperation of employers with employees needs to improve to make a difference.

Do electric cars make sense if the charging of the cars relies on energy created by fossil fuels? So you electric car supporters need to support nuclear because it keeps cars going without affecting the air quality. Nuclear energy can through process heat in high temperature reactors also be a solution for producing hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

How we erode progress has just as much to do with turning a blind eye as it does with willful ignorance.  The kind of human failure I'm talking about has to do with many human traits including greed and self-indulgence. In addition this failure is also determined by the limits of how we practice capitalism. The traditional idea of each home having a "bread-winner" is still very prevalent among couples and families. The idea of being pragmatic and driven to provide food and shelter has a "noble" origin and harmonizes well with the idea of what defines success. The mansion on the hill does you no good if you are caught in a mudslide due to extreme weather.

Who's to blame for this decline in awareness, the apparent complacency? Not everybody, but almost everybody. Seriously.

The wealthy 1% are more to blame. The old idea of the nouveau riche and the bourgeoisie had some traits in common, traits similar to what we now call the 1% and they live up to their reputation as shallow and greedy with a false sense of self importance.

And in the middle are banking and financial institutions. While the 1% are busy controlling what they can to maintain their advantage over keeping the wealth the banks and financial institutions are allowing inflation perpetually which could be argued is the worst influence.

The less wealthy 99% are to blame for masochistically taking the abuse without fighting back and if they do fight back it's for the wrong reasons and often contribute to the noise by fighting for causes that do more damage than good.

I think of Greenpeace protests against nuclear plants. They occasionally succeed in delaying construction but what is just as bad or worse is that they promote the notion that nuclear energy is scary allowing natural gas and even coal to dominate the base load power. They really do meddle and they have outlived their welcome to those who have a more enlightened view of what is needed. The recent arrest of Greenpeace activists by Russian authorities is a perfect example. They wanted to draw attention to the offshore drilling for oil. Their arrest had many thinking they deserved it. Oil independence is not such a crazy idea and groups like Greenpeace need to pick which companies they protest more thoughtfully. What about coal and natural gas?

Another example is the unwillingness of so many protesters to actually try to understand the science and relative value both economically and environmentally is another example of the human failure. Two nuclear reactors in the US were recently shut down due to market driven factors. Kewaunee in Wisconsin and Vermont Yankee were forced out of business partly because of the existence of cheap natural gas. But the other factor is lack of public awareness. Too many people see the closing of a nuclear power plant as a victory. I am one that feels both angry and sad that fear of radiation, and I mean any radiation is very much part of the North American psyche. There is a huge difference between reality and perception. We need to close this gap.

The reactions to the Fukushima accident has endless claims of insane apocalyptic scenarios. The truth is far calmer than most people think. Robert Stone asks the right question when he says: "Is everything you know about nuclear energy wrong?" His documentary Pandora's Promise which opened in Theaters last June and will be airing on CNN in November (Nov-7 at 9pm) is a great eye opener. The documentary film asks the right questions. The premise for the film is about how it's featured guests who, being once anti nuclear, changed directions to support nuclear. Most of what we think we know about nuclear is wrong. I think the film succeeds in getting viewers to think and to gain a much needed perspective on the subject.

There is an arrogance that accompanies fear. The damage to US reputation abroad has been heightened by the arrogant treatment of muslims and the countries that contain terrorists of muslim heritage because of their connection to the 9/11 twin tower tragedy. The flames of fear were stoked by war mongers who encouraged war for profit. The reckless thinking of profit for the short term sounds like a serious case of greed and that might explain why the separation between rich and poor is increasing. Possibly the rich sense a future where entitlement will be the only way to escape the misery that the planet will become.

But what about "will"? What should an individual do? Anonymity is both a condition and an excuse for bad behavior. We witness this daily in car traffic. People feel anonymous behind the car steering wheel and raising a finger or showing our dark side is not so uncommon. Is the same effect occurring by remaining passive to concerns like fracking, natural gas pipelines, coal plant operation? In other words anonymity is making us less responsible. Nobody will confront our horn blast or finger gesture as we rapidly drive off in another direction. Is it a similar hiding that we do by being unnoticed? Hiding behind the wheel and hiding behind your anonymity in front of a TV screen or computer screen is a convenient way to be ruled out of the loop when action is needed.

But our condition is still easy to understand. The continual battle to make ends meet in the face of constant inflation and loss of employment opportunities. But there is a connection between our lack of involvement in the process and the never ending spiral. We keep using credit cards and living beyond our means giving the bank reasons to keep up their penalties and fees. Why not join a credit union which has fewer fees and penalties. I know you need to pay off the debts first.

So our collective inaction adds up quickly and we let democracy lose to whoever makes the most effort to manipulate the system. Brush up on your STEAM and when you are ready you can start making a difference.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Not Wanted on the Voyage and The Future of Nuclear

I asked myself “What did I learn?” from the Oct. 9, 2013 first Future of Nuclear Conference. I volunteered my services as a camera operator and wannabe contributor. The conference was better attended than I had expected. Many key players were present. Over 80 mostly nuclear industry people although I did spot a couple of anti-nuclear people I had met before.

Tom_Mitchell_Oct-9-13

After watching several speakers who delivered their talks without much enthusiasm I found myself wanting to shake things up a little. After all Ontario is the unsung hero of energy systems in the world. Why not shout and boast about our successes of reduced coal, increased nuclear and renewables (however subsidized) and as a result cleaner air and thriving economy? I found myself wanting to remind everyone of the misplaced praise given by the anti-nuclear movement to German initiatives when Ontario is actually proving to be a much more successful model.

The facilities at the MaRS centre are first rate. The microphones, screens, comforts all very pleasant. Henry Vehovec, the conference organizer, did a nice job of scheduling and promoting the event.
I think my biggest wake-up call from the whole event is that everyone present has there own agenda. This was evident from the response to my grassroots concept that I was promoting the “Energy Reality Project.” I had a one pager attempting to be as concise as possible outlining what the project was about. I had a few responses but it was the lack of enthusiasm that tipped me off that I was too obviously not a big enough player to be taken seriously. Perhaps their lack of response was the result of conditioning after 30 years from road blocks to nuclear.

After a couple of years of doing conferences I find that the few in Canada that I have attended leaves me thinking we are too insular and lacking in PR and ambition. The two Thorium Energy Alliance conferences I attended in Chicago had far more visible enthusiasm.

Tom Mitchell from OPG gave a slow and low key speech that had an off the cuff delivery. It was hard to tell if he actually was using notes. But, there would be few places he could speak where the audience would have been as attentive and interested in what he had to say. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve it. He does manage the largest utility company in Canada. OPG runs Pickering and Darlington and owns the Bruce reactors which combined provide 60% of Ontario’s electricity and that is in addition to a mix of hydro, gas, coal, biomass and wind.

I walked away from the conference realizing that the nuclear industry in Canada (mostly Ontario) is in desperate need of revitalization. Very much like the house of commons proceedings I see a large group of individuals who appear to be powerless and frustrated at their lack of influence over the few that actually have power. What’s worse is that the power is in the hands of those who do not understand the important role that nuclear energy provides.

Little did we know that the following day that the Globe and Mail would drop the news about Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals announcement to cancel the two new nuclear builds in Darlington. The possibility of new builds are what had attracted speakers from Westinghouse and Babcock and Wilcox to the conference to make their presentations. The stranglehold on nuclear energy is even worse in the US. David LeBlanc of Terrestrial Energy Inc., during his talk about molten salt reactors and his own IMSR, commented that he has been telling his US counterparts seeking to sell their nuclear concepts to try Canada which has a more reasonable regulator in the CNSC. I had heard this from David before but it somehow had more significance with the presence of CNSC’s Director General of Nuclear Power Generation, Greg Rzentkowski.

I hope you were not expecting a detailed report. I can simply say that there will be a video of the numerous talks.

I learned a few things from Tom Mitchell’s talk and maybe more from his Q & A.
They (OPG) cannot do any major planning. They are dictated to by the Ministry of Energy. They are more like property managers and utility operators. That was my impression. He spoke about being open to partnerships. I asked him later are they open to partnerships outside Ontario and he said yes.

Here are the people who spoke:

  • Michael Delage(General Fusion)
  • David LeBlanc(Terrestrial Energy)
  • Greg Rzentkowski(CNSC)
  • Rosemary Yeremian(Strategic Insights)
  • John Luxat (McMaster Professor)
  • Krista Hill(Nuclear Law)
  • Cedric Jobe(Ontario Ministry of Energy)
  • Ron Lewis(Westinghouse)
  • Ron Oberth(OCI)
  • Thomas Snyder (Babcock and Wilcox)
  • Jim Burpee(Canadian Electrical Association)
  • Milt Caplan(MZ Consulting)
  • Paul Dinner(Mindfirst)
  • Shobhit Shanker (consultant)
  • Marina Freire-Gormaly (Graduate Student at U of T)

John Spears covered the event – Nuclear industry faces critical decade – OPG Chief

So I’m not giving a play by play but the event was a success and will leave a lasting impression for those who attended. The information and learning are what drives people like myself to attend these conferences and I did learn a lot. However, not everyone there was like me. The walkaway value to those looking for contacts to further their careers were at least given 3 chances including lunch to meet and mingle.

So now that a few days have passed since the event I reflect back to the unexpected Ontario government announcement to cancel new builds in Darlington. I thought about one of the bold comments made during one of the panel discussions. That was something to the effect that if CANDU does not work harder on marketing abroad that it could be fated to go the way of the Avro Arrow and RIM Blackberry. But something else lingered. It was a feeling of belonging to a group that were “not wanted on the voyage.” No matter that nuclear energy could well be the one technology that could prevent catastrophic global warming. When it comes to predicting doomsday I’ll remember that humans are quite possibly not up to the task of recognizing a solution that stares them right in the face. There are times that I have started to feel too old and somewhat ignored by peers and younger people who can’t relate. So in another sense I feel “not wanted on the voyage” of other people too. But I don’t give up easy. I expect next years Future of Nuclear Conference to go even better and have high hopes for Toronto becoming an energy hub that will attract international attention.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Carnival #177: Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers

Atomic Insights
Post from the original nuclear blogger himself Rod Adams
    Rod Adams is making a career change. For the foreseeable future, he is going to write books and articles for a living. This career move has been a long time in the making. During Rod’s first interview for a nuclear-related job, Admiral Rickover asked him, “English major? Why are you an English major?” Rod responded “Because I like to read and write, sir.” He followed up with “Write? Have you ever written any books? I have. Three of them. Have you read any of them?” Rod response was “Not yet, sir.” Rod’s done the promised reading, now it’s time to do the writing.

Deregulate the Atom
Post from Rick Maltese
    What is the future of nuclear energy? A conference with a Canadian perspective which is truly an Ontario perspective. And Canada has reason to be proud and reason to boast about Ontario’s success.

Yes Vermont Yankee
Post from Meredith Angwin
    Entergy announced that it will close Vermont Yankee next year, and opponents began having parties. In response, plant supporters have written letters to the editor: “Count me out of the party.” By publicly expressing their sadness that Vermont Yankee is closing, supporters show that anti-nuclear sentiment is NOT universal.

Canadian Energy Issues
Post from Steve Aplin
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced Monday that it is unequivocal that the planet is warming up and that man-made carbon emissions are responsible. Steve Aplin wonders why the mainstream environmental lobby, which has used the IPCC report to criticize governments for inaction on climate change, continues to oppose nuclear energy, the only proven large-scale zero-carbon electricity generation source.

Nuke Power Talk
Post from Gail Marcus
    At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reflects on an “offer” made by Sir John Armitt to break the financing impasse for Hinkley Point C in the UK by using an approach similar to that used for the construction of the facilities for the 2012 London Olympics. Since he made that offer, hints are emerging from the UK that some solution has been found, although it is not clear yet what the solution is. Whatever emerges in the case of Hinkley Point C, the financing issue remains a serious challenge for new nuclear plants, so Gail finds it encouraging that people are thinking outside the box.

ANS Nuclear Cafe
Post by Rod Adams
    Some observers assert a long future of low natural gas prices in North America and an enormous ramp-up in electricity generating market share for gas. However, Rod Adams reminds us that gas is a volatile commodity, in more ways than one, and points to some factors indicating an impending end to the current low-price gas glut. In light of these factors, short-term thinking and planning – which is leading to increased natural gas dependence and has contributed to the puzzling shutdown of perfectly operational assets like the Kewaunee and, next fall, the Vermont Yankee nuclear plants – may not be very smart.

Next Big Future
Post by Brian Wang
    Some coal is high in fluorine and also has iron pyrite. The combination is deadly – when burned it make hydrofluoric acid. Coal pollution is getting deep into food and water in China where it cannot be washed away. It is damaging teeth and bones of many people. Excess fluorine consumption can often cause dental fluorinosis, a condition in which excess fluorine is deposited in the teeth, discoloring them. In more severe cases, fluorine deposition in the bones can lead to osteofluorosis, which can cause disfigurement, deformity, and chronic pain.

The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary
Post by Leslie Corrice
    Many in Japan believe that the Fukushima accident was the third nuclear bombing of their country, albeit self-inflicted. If it were up to the people of Hiroshima, the confusion between reactors and bombs would be a thing of the past. But it isn’t, and the residents of the city to first suffer a nuclear weapon don’t like it one bit.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Future of Nuclear Conference in Toronto Oct. 9th

Future of Nuclear, a Conference that will be held in Toronto, Ontario, on Oct 9 in the beautiful Mars Center on College Street, just east of University Ave.

ONTARIO is home to the largest-capacity nuclear plants in the world supplying 12,500 Megawatts to the province. Sixty percent of our power is nuclear. Our CANDU reactors have an outstanding performance record for safety and reliability. With AECLs privatization two years ago there are new opportunities for renewed global growth reaching beyond the existing plants in South Korea, India, China and Argentina. Ontario’s workable energy mix is the new green standard, with nuclear playing an important role while science progresses forward.

See what science and technology hold in store for energy innovation and solutions. The keynote speaker will be Tom Mitchell, the CEO of Ontario Power Generation. His keynote responds to MIT Prof. Richard Lester’s call for action against the climate breakdown:

    “If the world is to avoid the most harmful effects of rising greenhouse gas levels while still meeting the demand for abundant, affordable, reliable energy, nothing less than a fundamental transformation of current patterns of energy production, delivery, and use will be necessary. This historic transformation to a low-carbon energy system will almost certainly not be achievable without a large-scale expansion of nuclear energy globally, along with very rapid scale-up of renewables and major advances in energy efficiency in both developed and developing economies.”

Also on the roster is Canadian visionary and inventor, physicist David LeBlanc, founder and director of Terrestrial Energy Inc. He will update us on his new Generation-Four reactor which he envisages will be operational in less than a decade. We are making significant gains in eliminating coal plants and reducing fossil fuel emissions. Future reactors will go even farther by converting existing nuclear waste into fuel and providing process heat for industrial use never before available.

The media turmoil in the wake of the Fukushima disaster is giving way to a calmer, more reflective climate where a less polarized discussion of nuclear options and a more holistic perspective of energy in all its forms is taking place.

I hope to see you at the conference. You can become a pathfinder and help Canada be a leader of an emerging safer nuclear renaissance. Join me for a full day’s conference on Wednesday, Oct 9.

See details on their website FutureOfNuclear.com, where you can register. Hope to see you soon.

MaRSmars-logo

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

More Clarity about Fukushima from Rational Rod Adams

I have been going to Hiroshima Syndrome for reliable updates on Fukushima but sometimes a post by a nuclear professional who only makes occasional posts about Fukushima can state what you need to know in a more succinct manner. Rod Adams of Atomic Insights does just that. Here are some highlights from Fear Mongering Over Water Leaks at Fukushima Dai Ichi
I am no expert so I like it when people like Rod explains
“there is no reason for anyone to be concerned that “contaminated” water from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is going to cause them any physical harm, now or in the future… Those nutty activists would have to be very patient people, because they would have to drink that water for many years before any negative effects might show up… Fish swimming in the harbor have nothing to worry about; people who eat fish that swam in the harbor have nothing to worry about; people who decide to swim in the harbor would have nothing to worry about…If someone drank two liters per day of the water that we are supposed to be afraid of for an entire year, their committed effective dose would be just 3 mSv; it would slightly more than double their annual background dose. If the entire amount of that water entered the Pacific Ocean, it would contain less than 0.00002 grams (0.02 milligrams) of strontium-90. Now can you see why I am not worried and why I think you need to stop worrying? Of course, I expect that most of the people who have made it this far were never worried in the first place, but you might have family, friends or acquaintances who have been losing sleep in fear of the Blob – in the form of water leaking from Fukushima – coming to get them. One more thing – the most recent stories have included concerns that additional groundwater is flowing onto the power station site an might become contaminated on its normal path to the ocean. Remember what I wrote earlier; a limited amount of radioactive material does not get any larger just because more clean water is added.”
Read the “full story here.”
Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Great Comment by EZ on AtomicInsights.com about subjective interpretation of nuclear units.

Rod Adam’s had a guest posting recently and I saw this comment as he often has brilliant comments of his own but one of his followers, Evan Zwack who uses EZ, made this great observation to the level of art.

“The thing that has gone the farthest in convincing me that the fears about nuclear power are overblown is the difference between the way that anti nuclear people treat radiation from nuclear power, and radiation from all other sources. Your article did a good job of showing those differences.

I think good comparison would be to compare what has gone into the ocean to what was already in the ocean.

The oceans have Uranium in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Uranium is 22 EBq or 22,000,000 trillion becquerels.

The oceans have Potassium 40 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Potassium 40 is 7,400 EBq or 7,400,000,000 trillion becquerels.

The oceans have Carbon 14 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Carbon 14 is 3 EBq or 3,000,000 trillion becquerels.

The oceans have Rubidium 87 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Rubidium 87 is 700 EBq or 700,000,000 trillion becquerels.

The oceans have Tritium in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Tritium is 370 PBq or 370,000 trillion becquerels.

So we have…
Uranium 22,000,000 trillion becquerels
Potassium 40 7,400,000,000 trillion becquerels
Carbon 14 3,000,000 trillion becquerels
Rubidium 87 700,000,000 trillion becquerels
Tritium 370,000 trillion becquerels
Total 8,125,370,000 trillion becquerels

So we have 8,125,370,000 trillion becquerels of radiation in the pacific ocean and the antis don’t seem to care, but when the fifth most powerful earthquake ever recorded results in 20 trillion becquerels of radiation being released into the oceans over two years we’re supposed to all accept that it’s a horrible disaster. The logic in this position escapes me.”

You can find this comment on AtomicInsights in the article titled Ted Rockwell shared knowledge to combat Fukushima fears by A. David Rossin

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Can you change Rulemaking at the NRC?

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2009-0044-0002

DEADLINE IS (Submit comments by) July 17, 2013.

This page will give you some idea to the level of bureaucracy involved in the participation process of updating or improving the process of making or changing existing rules. Titled: Revisions to the Petition for Rulemaking Process

Who has the time? Somebody needs to do it. How do we begin to simplify this rule changing process?
Anyone?

Here is a link to the only public comment to a document (PDF) title
Bungled Entrance Guard PRM 2008 TMIA

Here is another example of over-regulation in a document titled

NRC Enforcement Policy (PDF) here is the full URL

http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=09000064811dd8be&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf

See Page page 54 Health Physics
Three levels of violations for annual exposure to radiation 25, 10 and 5 rems to an employee.

See Page 79 for list of penalties up to $140,000

Also this is a comment post from Robert Steinhaus that is an eye opener.

“The NRC annual fee to operate a nuclear reactor of any technology and of any size in FY2013 is $4,780,000. 

It requires about 200,000 hours (estimate) for NRC to evaluate a new technology reactor design.

NRC currently charges $277 / hour for staff evaluator time which means that any small company wanting to bring to market a new technology small modular reactor has to expect to pay about $55.4 million dollars in fees upfront just for NRC to look at their design and give it consideration in a reactor design certification.
http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=090000648121e059&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf

Large upfront fees charged by NRC tend to limit participants in the nuclear industry. Charging large fees to evaluate and approve new reactor technology tends to slow the pace of nuclear innovation and limit industry participation to only the largest, well established firms. Nuclear startups, with great new ideas, but only moderate resources are effectively shut out; over time few new nuclear reactor concepts really have a chance to reach commercial reality. The agile young nuclear startups and their revolutionary ideas are by and large unable to handle the large NRC fees for design certification and licensing. Regulatory mandated long delays prevent good nuclear startups with industry revitalizing ideas from bringing their fine designs to market.

Note: The typical size of the engineering document package required to apply for a reactor design certification is 17,000 engineering detailed pages. This is a stack of office paper that is 5′ 6″ tall if neatly stacked. A nuclear startup applying for design certification for a new technology reactor must pay the full cost of preparing the detailed reactor certification document package before it can be submitted to NRC. 
(17,000 pages is about seven times the length of the complete Holy Bible)”