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, where you can register. Hope to see you soon.


Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Carnival #175: Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers

Nuke Power Talk – Carnival Entry
Post from Gail Marcus
    At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus addresses the issue of the future of the electric grid and the fact that some pundits are declaring that it is quickly becoming obsolete. Although there have been several articles recently pointing out how more people and more companies are opting to generate some of their own electricity, she points out that some of these schemes actually increase the demands on the grid.

Two Posts from ANS Nuclear Cafe – Carnival Entry
Post from Jim Hopf
Are Nuclear Plant Closures Due to Market Manipulation and Decommissioning Fund Rules?
    Many are having a hard time understanding Entergy’s decision to schedule the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant next year. Jim Hopf examines the issues, as well as policy adjustments that could help prevent a similar situation in the future.
The 2013 Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation
Post from Matthew Gidden and Nicholas Thompson
    Matthew Gidden and Nicholas Thompson, chair and co-chair of the 2013 Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation, recount events and activities of this year’s delegation in Washington, DC. Students from around the country held discussions with politicians and policymakers – key governmental affairs staff, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners, high-level staff at DOE, Department of State, and Office of Management and Budget, as well as over 100 congressional offices – concerning nuclear engineering education funding, energy policy, and other important nuclear issues.

Yes Vermont Yankee Blog – Carnival Entry
Post from Meredith Angwin
    A local panel addressed the issue of “what will happen after Vermont Yankee closes.” One panelist had written a paper that seemed rather snarky about nuclear workers. This post at Yes Vermont Yankee describes the justifiable pride nuclear workers can take in their contribution to society.

Atomic Insights – Carnival Entry
Post from Rod Adams
    During the 1970s, the antinuclear movement made a collective decision to use “the waste issue” as a weapon to help force the eventual shutdown of the industry. Though the strategy has not succeeded in forcing any plants in the US to shut down, it has prevented a number of plants from being built. Ralph Nader, one of the most visible organizers of the movement, often referred to the waste issue as the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry. He described his movement’s strategy for taking advantage of the perceived weakness in some detail during a 1997 interview as part of a PBS Frontline show titled Nuclear Reactions. The issue continues to be used to slow nuclear energy development.

Two Posts from Hiroshima Syndrome – Carnival Entry
Posts from Leslie Corrice
    PM Shinzo Abe said he wants F. Daiichi units 5&6 decommissioned. This seems to have been a unilateral decision on his part, and may well be a big mistake. Abe should rescind his request before it makes the situation with accident cleanup worse than it is now.
    American nuclear expert Lake Barrett says releasing mildly-radioactive water to the Pacific will harm no-one. Hearing these calming statements from an internationally-recognized expert on reactor accident recovery seems to have struck home with a few of the news sources in Japan. Are some of Japan’s news outlets starting to get it right?

Post from Atomic Power Review – Carnival Entry
Post from Will Davis
    This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rather startled the press with the declaration that he had told TEPCO’s management to decommission the two undamaged units at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Many people appear not to have understood that the fate of these units had not been in any way sealed so far as TEPCO management was concerned. Will Davis knew this; he provides the back story on this topic as well as the present developments.

Posts from Canadian Energy Issues – Carnival Entry
2 Posts from Steve Aplin
    Whose electricity is cleaner, Ontario’s or Germany’s? Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues crunches the numbers and compares Ontario real time data with Germany pre-nuclear phaseout. His results will disappoint and perhaps outrage those who think that Germany is a paragon of clean electricity.
    “… Many if not most Ontario utilities have moved to time-of-use pricing. This means that there are certain hours of the day, called peak hours, when electricity is more expensive … Our electricity system is set up so that at those times we call expensive and polluting fossil-fired generating plants into service. These plants were put into the system and made available for precisely this purpose—to provide power during peak hours. Because they are fossil plants they produce gargantuan amounts of CO …”

3 Posts from Next Big Future – Carnival Entry
Posts from Brian Wang
    Here is a presentation on load following thorium molten salt reactors
    Another Canadian company is developing a nuclear reactor for the Canadian Oilsands. This is a lead cooled integral reactor with a prismatic core.
    Asia plans to add 103 nuclear reactors by 2025

Post from Forbes – Carnival Entry
Post from James Conca
    Wind turbines kill hundreds of eagles a year, but are not held accountable like other industries with the help of the Interior Department. The large physical footprint probably represents the weakest point of wind energy.

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 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


Carnival #165: Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers

Rod Adams of Atomic Insights
Guest post from Paul Lorenzini
    Perhaps the most persistent criticism of “Pandora’s Promise”, the recently released documentary on nuclear power by producer-director Robert Stone, was its failure to give screen time to a credible anti-nuclear spokesperson. We got a glimpse of what we missed following the film’s recent opening at the Jacob Burns Film Center in New York, where Andrew Revkin of the New York Times arranged and moderated a debate between Stone and Robert F. Kennedy jr. On substance, we didn’t miss much. Yet it spoke volumes about the character of the nuclear power controversy itself.

Rick Maltese's other blog Thorium MSR
    This week I am biased because Pandora's Promise is in Toronto (my home town) hence Rod Adams' post above. The documentary is at the Bloor Cinema July 12 to 18 with an appearance by film director Robert Stone at 6:30 screening on July 13

Two Posts by Paul Browsersox on the American Nuclear Society Blog (The ANS Cafe)
SMRs Get Further Push with Western Initiative for Nuclear
    Will Davis on a new consortium of NuScale Power, Energy Northwest, and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems aiming to demonstrate the design, construction, and operation of NuScale Small Modular Reactors at Idaho National Laboratory.  One thing is certain—the number of utilities and organizations who believe in the SMR concept is growing continuously.
Getting inside the legislative process
    Howard Shaffer on how he recently came to testify for nuclear in the Vermont legislature, his advice for others who wish to positively affect policy outcomes, and his excellent testimony

Meredith Angwin's blog from Vermont Yankee Blog
Economics and the Public Service Board Hearings
    The Vermont Public Service Board is supposed to judge the effect Vermont Yankee has on the economy of Vermont. Instead, they are trying to assess if the plant is profitable for Entergy. Does Entergy have enough money to operate the plant safely? Their attempt to regulate nuclear safety is very thinly disguised.

Dr. Robert Bruce Hayes post from Science and Technology section of NewsOK
Nuclear Science and Engineering is more than nuclear energy

Two posts by Brian Wang for Next Big Future Blog
    Countries that are planning to adopt nuclear energy. Most of the new nuclear reactors will be built in countries that already have nuclear power. Those countries are primarily China, India, Russia, and South Korea. Mainly Asian and middle eastern countries have new nuclear energy plans.

Leslie Corrice from The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary...
Japan’s nuke watchdog is blatantly biased
    The Japan News calls Japan’s NRA “blatantly biased” because of their statements concerning geologic anomalies. The recent Fukushima groundwater issue gives further proof of their negative predisposition toward the nukes they now regulate.

Two from Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues Blog
Land use the paramount factor in Ontario LTEP review: when NIMBY is the right attitude
    The critics of those demanding the cancelled plants in Oakville and Mississauga now look pretty foolish in light of the catastrophe in Lac Megantic. Steve also goes into the politics and rationale of decisions that led to more expensive energy bills. Critics would like to blame nuclear but Steve sets the record straight.
Nuclear energy is the most powerful weapon in the war on carbon dioxide
    Need help understanding why wind and solar can't compete with nuclear in war on reducing carbon dioxide?

James Conca of Forbes Magazine (Energy) online
Coal Doesn't Have to Die We Can Make Furniture Out of It
    With coal being a thriving and in some cases the driver of many local economies finding a way to keep the industry alive without polluting the air is a good thing. I guess the question is how much would production actually be needed for such a newly reformed coal industry?

Will Davis of Atomic Power Review
South Korea's Nuclear Energy Corruption Scandal Widens in Scope
    At Atomic Power Review, Will Davis presents the latest surprising details in the now-widening investigation into bribery, corruption and parts supply in the South Korean nuclear industry. Many more persons, companies and nuclear plants have been implicated; many more raids and arrests have been made.


Nuclear Song Challenge

OK Here it is as promised.

Record yourself singing “Call Them Irresponsible” with the backing track. I will add it to youtube. If you are not a technology wiz with recording I recommend that you record while wearing the headphones and send me the recorded audio or video of yourself singing. I can mix your voice with the backing track. Here is the audio track without the vocals

Note the download button for these

The Lyrics are here Call Them Irresponsible Feel Free to change the lyrics on the repeated section.

I recently recorded myself singing Call Them Irresponsible here so you can see how the words fit.

Don’t worry if you don’t have video I can add a still image possibly a photo that you send me. Once I collect a few I will upload them to youtube.

I was at the Thorium Energy Alliance conference and introduced an idea to get the members involved in promoting nuclear energy. It was a great 5th conference in Chicago. Will do a more complete report soon.

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Can you change Rulemaking at the NRC?!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?

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

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.

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)”



Is this only for the movies? “I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore”

The classic film Network starring Peter Finch ( see speech here ) is a total fiction. I think it was probably 10 or 20 years too late.

The public was not ready to hear the message in the film. Now when it is just as relevant or even more so what are the chances of such an effective speech having mass effect on the public. Well we wish people cared more. I suggest that they do care but they simply feel numb and powerless to make any significant change.

But the character Howard Beal was correct. First we need to acknowledge our anger. For some of us that is like setting off a time bomb of emotions. The point here is that we will never see change for the good unless we make our feelings known. Don’t be a “passive observer.” Don’t “tune out” and hide from the pain. Be a participant. I say that is a patriotic thing to do. That defines patriotism. To be engaged in the growing as a nation. Growing as people.

That is the only way I see that real change can happen.

What we don’t realize is that many of us are on the couch too much. We are too tired after trying to make ends meet to even find time to learn about some news story that gets our attention. Should we try to get to the bottom of a story. Well my experience is that the news is not reliable, especially televised news.

I am not saying you need to sacrifice your rest time to learn about what’s going on but if you do a little work on finding your inner activist you will maybe be motivated to catch up on weekends or prioritize your time to fit the occasional quality news and learning sessions. Learning how to find truthful and accurate information is an art we should all develop.

So what do we do after we accept that we are are angry and we do care about things such as climate change and gun control. Your power is best expressed locally. Writing or phoning your local reps are both effective ways to show you care. Decisions are often motivated by getting votes. That’s how you can make a difference.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Fukushima lesson from Hans Christian Anderson

The story goes an emperor only interested in looking good hires deceitful tailors and is persuaded that his new clothes of special invisible material are only visible to intelligent people. The emperor resists believing he has been swindled. It takes a little boy to speak out. The boy is too young to care about being seen as stupid. Of course the adults are afraid what people will think or how they might be treated if they admit to seeing nothing.

The nuclear accident is like that but in reverse. The public are being fooled by swindlers. The swindlers are the news media and anti-nuke groups and individuals. The so-called radiation is like the clothes and no official will speak out about the false claims. The public is reluctant to accept that the radiation is harmless. Like the emperor and his subjects remain fooled, so do the public. Who gains from all of this? The swindlers. That is the news media and anti-nukes (the tailors) who keep perpetuating the fear and mythology around the subject of nuclear energy.

So what is the lesson? There will always be opportunists willing to make exaggerated claims in an attempt to satisfy their greed or perhaps their more base needs. Of course the Anderson story rang true to our ears because we have all witnessed this social phenomenon. Not that different from witch hunters, it’s the fear of the unknown that enables such myths to persist. The citizen’s of Japan feel that if they were to admit that they question the real dangers of so-called “high levels” of radiation they risk being ostracized. So the myth of “high radiation” is allowed to exist for fear of retaliation or loss of face. Now some citizens like in this article are willing to take advantage of the situation. It also demonstrates that the longer you allow a myth to perpetuate the harder it is to admit to it’s falsehood.

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Does Obama Really Prefer Natural Gas Over Nuclear Power?

Guest post by Steve Aplin

Last week’s state of the union speech by the U.S. president got a lot of attention for its mention of climate change and the need to curtail carbon emissions. Few observers however caught the irony of a president touting solar power as a solution to climate change, in a speech that took place between nine and ten p.m. — a time at which few if any solar panels in the entire continent of North America were generating any electricity at all.Surely the president does not think that the the manufacturing centres, which he also called for in his speech, will be powered with an energy source that quits delivering when the sun goes down.

How will those centres be powered? I hope, with the only carbon-free non-hydro power source that does not rely on the planet’s rotation or the whims of wind: nuclear power. Nuclear plants in the U.S. not only generated around 79 billion watts during the president’s hour-long speech, (79 million kilowatt-hours in total) but did so without emitting a gram of CO2, the principal manmade greenhouse gas.

More important, those nuclear plants kept right on generating those 79 billion watts even after the speech wound up, and are still at it — reliably providing some of America’s cheapest and by far its cleanest energy.

But natural gas is the politically correct fuel of choice for the anti-nuke crowd, and certainly the fuel the president extolled. So how much CO2 would have been emitted if that same energy came from natural gas? That figure would then be 79 million kWh (79 billion watts times 1 hour, divided by 1000 to get kW) times 550 grams per kWh (CO2 emission factor for gas-fired generation) = 43 million metric tons avoided by the unmentioned and unsung energy source during the state of the union speech.

Nuclear Power

in one hour
79 Million kWh

that produced zero emissions

Natural gas estimate
in one hour
79 Million kWh

43 Thousand Metric tons of CO2 (43 Million Kg.)

That was in one hour. To project that over a year, multiply by 8,760 (number of hours in a year) to get 380.6 MILLION tons avoided by nuclear (380 Billion Kg.)
Plus, the biggest and most stunning scientific achievements of the last year — the landing and ensuing data stream from the Curiosity Mars rover, and the glimpses of the Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe — were made possible by nuclear energy.Curiosity is powered by the decay heat of plutonium-238, and the LCH runs on French nuclear power. Yes, those 8-trillion-electronvolt particles get their energy from fission in power reactors.

Nuclear power, in other words, provides many of the things the president called for in his speech: clean cheap energy, cutting edge scientific research, and economic progress.

What a pity the president did not mention nuclear power. It has done him and the world so many favours. It’s the unknown soldier, it’s the unknown battalion.