Tag Archives: education

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)

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

Without nuclear where do the children play?

Where do the children play?

This was not only a song by Cat Stevens about our growing separation from nature but it was also a foretelling of a time when we could lose sight of what is important to us. Having enough space is becoming a major concern in some parts of the world and we need to be concerned. We have seen the effects of how space and opportunity is comparatively plentiful in North America.   Japan’s Fukushima events affected Switzerland, Germany and Italy to the point that they are likely going to need to sacrifice valuable land for wind and solar energy if they stick to their plan of going with so-called “renewable” energy.

How I became a nuclear energy supporter and advocate?

It was my concern for the environment that led me to start looking at the energy problem. I was excited about the new age of technology that authors of the  sixties and seventies of my youth had predicted would bring us leisure and comforts never before seen.  My fascination with the world of nuclear technology peaked when I started reading the blogs of Kirk Sorensen and Charles Barton (Jr.). Never mind the theoretical physics concepts like quarks and quantum nechanics but now I was reading the writings about Alvin Weinberg and the Molten Salt Reactor experiments with Thorium which were simpler to understand and that convinced me this technology was truly a game changer if we were able to embrace it as a new kind of nuclear energy source.  A reactor that could be built to function under water and provide energy and with it’s high temperature and excess heat it could desalinate water into fresh drinking water that up till recently was fairly abundant. Climate change has started causing droughts and in turn forest fires that threaten our homes and our air.

The voluminous writings of Charles Barton and the infectious passion and enthusiasm of Kirk Sorensen and later the wise and insightful posts by Rod Adams convinced me that I was onto something really important.

This is why I think the nuclear renaissance still should happen.

Nuclear has a small physical footprint and a small carbon footprint. It is not intermittent and we are discovering that because of the intermittent nature of the two most popular renewables, wind and solar, that they will need load following and that means, if not nuclear energy, natural gas or coal will be needed to supplement the times when the wind stops or when the night comes. We have learned that both industries have negatives that are hard to live with. We don’t need them as a necessary evil. The technology is too expensive. The cost to the environment is too big. The pollution of coal is the worst but the undocumented damage caused by fracking Methane out of the ground is also too big a cost. Nuclear has the added advantage of being a very dense source of energy and the newest methods will also run themselves with built in passive safety. This improvement over current reactors is an enormous improvement.

Old Dreams and New Dreams

These days it’s hard to mention the American Dream without raising a feeling of bitterness.  It’s like being at a funeral and talking about the drinking habits of the deceased and what killed them. I want to remind people that the dream is not lost, that what we aspire for can be regained. The enormous challenge of getting back to a level of productivity and a state of optimism will only be accomplished if we embrace a nuclear age.  We will all share in the guilt of leaving behind a messed up world for our children if we don’t try to repair the damage.

First, the nuclear energy solution needs to be recognized as a real solution to improving the quality of life. The quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the climate we share and the economy for which we are a part.

How Nerds are like children and what they both can teach us.

There is no better way to honor our children than to follow their example of natural idealism. We should recognize that their naivite and fearlessness to facing the unknown is what brings out the envy that we so willingly express when we mock their child like ways. In the same way we mock Nerd like behavior and part of what makes a nerd is their tendency to keep their child like ways, slower than most of us, to adapt to adult personalities and traits.

Nerds like efficiency, compactness, all things esoteric, intellectually challenging and rewarding. Well it is interesting that nuclear energy is also efficient, compact, esoteric, intellectual, challenging and rewarding. Also Nerds in large numbers like nuclear energy. But in this case the Nerdy choice is the best choice. It’s about time we catch up to scientific achievement. Coal began the industrial revolution. ~160 years later we’re still using it. Let’s really join the modern age.


Action List Nuclear Advocacy

It is not shameful to make decisions for the common good.

When the problems we face are shared by all and when the only answer is to reassess our life and move on then choosing actions for the common good make sense.  I might sound like a new age trendy but this is a holistic concept. To prevent the illness is better than treating the symptoms.

Our current state of unemployment and economic hardship is a widely shared problem and it is tempting to feel victimized and helpless. When we have lived through prosperous times and in a few short years have discovered we are in a very different world than we thought, it is important to ask how can we work together to fix the situation. We seem to have several obstacles to living a full and happy life.

Now that we are in critical economic times we need to ask: Why did we accept that making a living, raising a family, getting a house or putting the children through school are normal goals? The American Dream has been rendered outside the realm of easy to achieve. The shift in society toward the work ethic in retrospect seems like a mistake, like most of us have been striving to take the wrong path.  When so many of us need to put in extra hours a week, away from the people and the things we enjoy, doing it for the sake of maintaining a so-called standard that we have become accustomed to, and to have all of that taken away by an economic crisis forces us to question what is right.

Our society has become fragmented into millions of directions with millions of individuals who long to have meaning, but secretly they accept that it is impractical.  Those individuals all have a point of view about something, but rarely express it because the pace of everyone around us is moving too fast to slow down and listen. What happens is that we stop believing that we are part of a group because the group will never listen. We all learn to accept a role as a relatively insignificant nobody. We let the immediate needs of survival overrule the chance to share in things that matter to us.

There is a way to see things that help put things into perspective no matter how unrealistic or drastic the change may seem. I propose that for a meditative moment you imagine that we have no need for currency at least not a currency that is based on the power to earn through hard work without enjoyment. Not a currency that requires us to spend a fortune each month in gasoline, travel expenses and vehicle maintenance. Not a currency that is borrowed with the idea that interest accumulates. These are the realities that make living so much of a challenge. Remove these obstacles and then you realize that choice matters. That people matter. That civilization matters.

Just meditate for a moment on regarding the need for a nation to embrace change. Why is it that changing one’s lifestyle is the last thing to consider when disaster strikes? I know many people do but they will do it out of necessity. They would keep it a secret if they could. There is a reluctance for all of us to step backwards without feeling shame. We are conditioned to be upwardly mobile and to face hardship is a shameful reality although it should not be the reality if life were perfect.

Reflecting on this does allow us to see things in perspective. That is it allows us to see that what is good for the whole is good for the sum of it’s parts. That making decisions for the common good is not only a good thing but a necessity in a society on a downward spiral. The need to know what is good for the whole also comes into play here. We realize that being uneducated about the issues only blocks us from preventing this downward trend.

So I finish with the thought that started me off on this post and that is the need to do what is good for the health of the air, the atmosphere, the land and the water.  We need to reduce the use of coal and fossil fuels and the best way to do that is, thinking of the common good,  to support nuclear energy.

Nuclear Advocacy Uncategorized

Toronto’s Recent Nuclear Symposium

The two day Nuclear Symposium in Toronto took place April 28 and 29th.
I have been busy so it has taken a while to post my notes.

There was no indication that a nuclear age was becoming mainstream.

But that does not mean that it won’t survive.
The focus in Canada for now has changed toward refurbishment and not new plants.
That’s the mini paradigm for the near future in Canada.

Fukushima was a setback and so were the Federal and Provincial elections.
My original view was that the public and therefore the industry would benefit from
the outcome of Fukushima because of the education gained. Maybe too soon to tell.

I only was able to visit Thursday and it started with with catching the end of

Bruce Power executive John Sauger’s talk on “Evaluating the Economic
Impact of Nuclear Power Development: Perspectives from Key Stakeholders.”

John Sauger spoke about how to keep costs down and how to meet challenges to avoid delays.
It involves time sensitive planning such as having 100 percent of the engineering completed before
starting the projects. He also mentioned that construction and maintenance costs were
an 18% markup which he called “funny money”.

They also had made 17 collective agreements negotiated with various unions.

Albert Sweetnam Exec VP Nuclear New Build from Ontario Power Generation
CANDU 6 is the favored choice and takes longer than 4 years in Canada
but only 4 years in China. Referred to Canada’s regulations as more intrusive.

Brad Duguid the Ontario Energy Minister spoke for 20 minutes mainly expressing support
for Nuclear mentioning that 50 percent as a goal to maintain for nuclear generation of electricity.
He also made a firm commitment to supporting two new Darlington units.
He also expressed the need for the federal government to show more support for nuclear energy
like they do with the oil sands.
Duguid praised Tom Mitchell and Duncan Hawthorne for their roles as consultants regarding the
Fukushima Daiichi events.

Duane Bratt from Mount Royal University. on
Assessing the Evolving Role of AECL in Canada’s Nuclear Landscape
1) Too small to compete
2) AECL needs cash.
3) Crown Corporation mentality
4) ACR1000 dead can be seen from omnibus bill passed
5) regulators are biased in favour of local technology
6) trade barriers exist between provinces and between nations
7) poor relations with China

Brian Hilbers Lessons Learned from Bruce Power’s Unit 1 and 2 Refurbishment
and Applying them to future projects

Highlights units 1 & 2 completed adds 25 years to lifetime
units 5-8 refurbishment between 2015 – 2020 will add 25 years to their lifetime.
Demand for Power has fallen steadily in recent years graphic was shown
Estimating costs need to improve.
The shortage of labour needs to be solved. Only enough to handle one project at a time.
At one point which I don’t remember his point or what the numbers mean but he said
14,000 MW equates to $40 Billion Dollars for _______?

CNSC Greg Rzentkowski Director General of CNSC “Maintaining Critical Safety Standards for Nuclear Reburbishment Projects”

First red flag was the description of CNSC role to reach “highest levels of safety that are reasonably able to be accomplished”
The word “reasonably” strikes me as absurd and debatable.
Later he showed a graph that was disturbing that showed expectations of safety over time and that during the life of a plant
there were a continuing increase in safety standards that needed to be met. The graph indicated that the rate of increase
was decreasing but was still significant.

I asked the question whether there was any budget for the CNSC to educate the public and he said no.

Later when I spoke to him privately he said they try to encourage the Plant Operators to educate the public.
I tried to suggest that there was a direct relationship between Fear and Regulatory standards he said much more so in the US
He commented that they provide a description of the outcome for their requirements and allow the NPPs to find their own solutions.
which allowed for innovative solutions.
I also suggested that the CNSC were standards followers rather than standards makers and he disagreed.

He also mentioned at recent International Conference in Vienna that Canada recommended
a set of International Safety Standards be made that outlined minimum requirements.

Milt Caplan from MZConsulting did 45 minutes on “A Comparitive Short-Term and Long-Term Economic and Environmental Outlook for Nuclear and Natural Gas Power
Compared fuel to Operating costs
Nuclear fuel cheaper than Natural Gas and coal
1.3 to 1.6 $US cents per kiloWatt hour

changes in natural gas costs reflect changes in electricity costs
not true of Nuclear
discount rates of ________? affect nuclear energy costs but not natural gas costs
Cost of Plant construction for NPPs does affect the price of electricity
Costs doubled in last decade from $2000 per kwh to $4000 per kwh
Mentioned book The End of Free Markets
east vs west comparison 1) east costs are lower than wests

CONFIDENCE big factor that determines cost
Every new plant lowers the price of future plants
Every year without a new plant increases the price

Bruce Landry from NuScale spoke of their Small Modular Reactors -
significant cost saving approach based on a scalable LWR with
a 12 unit footprint built in the ground but each unit added as needed

Action List

How the Chernobyl Accident of 1986 is Still Misunderstood

When I pondered about my responsibility as a blogger to report on the Fukushima event of March 11 this year and the Chernobyl accident anniversary I decided to read my usual reliable sources and decided that I could not do better than to refer people to Rod Adams posts. He has two recent posts about Chernobyl:
Chernobyl 25 years as a profitable brand
explains how the non-nuclear energy industry has profited from the hype and misinformation that has continually been reported.
Challenging New York Academy of Sciences to repudiate Chernobyl consequences Explains how a particular publication that should never have been published as an authoritative source of accurate information. He suggests looking at his September 2010 post Chernobyl Consequences Myths and Fables

“…Twenty-five years ago today, the operators at unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power station violated enough procedures and by-passed enough safety systems to cause their water-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor to suffer a nuclear power excursion large enough to cause a steam explosion. The force of that steam explosion was strong enough to lift the lid of the power station and break a number of pipes. The explosion opened up the interior of the reactor core to chemical reactions, including rapid oxidation reactions, that most people describe as “fire”.

The authorities initially tried to keep the event quiet, but eventually decided to respond with great fanfare. They ordered mass evacuations, called up a large force of conscripts, and ordered first responders into high radiation areas without protection in order to extinguish the blaze.

Eventually, with the help of contributions from the international community, the power plant was stabilized and entombed. Most of the evacuations became permanent, 28 of the first responders died within months, 19 more died of causes that are not traditionally associated with radiation during the next 15 years, and about 6,000 members of the general public were treated for thyroid cancer that was possibly caused by ingesting I-131 from locally grown produce, water and milk products. (Source:UNSCEAR assessments of the Chernobyl accident.)…”

I have seen how Politicians such as Ralph Nader and Al Gore are content with their distorted view of the severity of Chernobyl. Ralph Nader quotes reports that are widely viewed as unreliable. Al Gore reprinted his entire speech, from his visit to Ukraine in 1998, in a recent column which really does appear dated.

I recommend educating yourself. I myself was fooled into believing that photographs of deformed children were actual cases caused by the effects of radiation. I have learned since that many pictures have been used that have no confirmed sources were likely caused by other means. The facts do not support widespread birth defects. In a climate of fear the abortion rates were very high based on the local medical community giving bad advice to expectant mothers from the Chernobyl region.

I don’t want people to view Rod Adams or myself as unsympathetic to Chernobyl but simply that the truth has been poorly communicated. It was a severe accident that proved what really poorly managed science was capable of doing. Reactor Plants without containment were cost cutting measures that reveal what can happen in an unhealthy bureaucracy. That is a lesson learned that is not often observed.

Video on the differences in health impacts between Fukushima and Chernobyl, featuring Barbara Hamrick, health physicist at the University of California’s Irvine Medical Center.
[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc0s6lJKask’]

Nuclear Advocacy Uncategorized

Nuclear advocates. Don’t just react. Solicit outside your own circle.

I make a habit as any pronuclear blogger does of reading other pronuclear bloggers and also keeping up to date on news about nuclear energy and the competing forces. When I write I typically target the layman but occasionally I target my own circle of informed and already won over advocates with opinions that only they can appreciate.

What is acceptable to non-advocates? Does the general public even have nuclear in their radar? I am becoming more aware of the great divide of perception between the advocates of nuclear energy and the general public. Advocates are at a disadvantage. If they want an audience they need to seek their own kind. Nuclear energy requires specialized knowledge that involves some in depth personal time invested in order to understand the complexities.

The pronuclear advocate knows that nuclear power plants have excellent safety records unbeat by any other energy industries.  Staggering information such as the fact that more deaths happen with windmills than they do with nuclear. In fact many non-advocates do a double take when they hear that no deaths have been caused by the operation of a nuclear plant since 1986. 1986 is the year of Chernobyl, the exception that gave nuclear its bad name. The exception that reinforced the idea that nuclear plants can get out of control. But they also know that Chernobyl had no containment. The design of that plant was made to cut corners on expenses and provide power for many. The pronukes also know that Three Mile Island had a partial meltdown that had no serious radiation release. They know that no employees died from it.

They also understand the meaning of the expression “orders of magnitude.” Because the numbers and the math around nuclear are such that large and small need to be expressed with decimal notation or conversely lots of zeros and because of the power density of nuclear we find that comparisons are constantly presenting factors of thousands and millions and even billions because of the contrast in the performance per unit of fuel for example.

There has been so much focus on these events we can now say that the three big nuclear accidents are Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima and Fukushima was a terrorist act in a sense because nature terrorized Japan.  The public has learned from these three events that the consequences are not as bad as they first expect. Still many want to believe the pronuclear group are downplaying the consequences.  I would also go a little farther in saying that each new event raises awareness about the nature of nuclear.

The scariest aspect of nuclear energy is that radiation is invisible and is never actually used directly for any personal day to day activity by the general public. In fact nuclear energy does such a good job quietly and unnoticed that environmentalists actually propose shutting them down without thinking the results would be serious to the energy supply, the economy or the environment.  Here’s where the orders of magnitude switch needs to be turned on. We’re not comparing apples to oranges but rather ants to elephants. Both are powerful but the ant carries it’s own weight many times over.  The output from fuel is indirect also with nuclear. The change in mass causes energy. What? The question that few non-advocates understand is behind nuclear is how the electricity is created from nuclear. The several stages are not identical in all reactors but close enough to say heat is created by the reaction and the heat is used to create electricity through a turbine of some kind.

So the first challenging concept to teach the layman public is actual atoms changing mass and becoming other atoms of a different element. Uranium to Plutonium or Thorium to Uranium. These processes happen but then the reverse is true too. The Plutonium and Uranium get converted into energy and a mix of heat and smaller elements are the outcome. So we have Einsteins theory proven at every reactor that E=Mc2.

This is no small hurdle. We have invisible activity without fire creating heat but also some left over elements they think of as waste.  And among all the smaller elements that remain some of it lives for thousands of years and others disappear within days, weeks, months or hours.  So what personal day to day activity can they relate to? None.

So nuclear advocates you have a big job to do. Educating the uninitiated into understanding the importance of nuclear energy.  It is not enough to be aware of some scientific facts and the role of physics and chemistry but also that nuclear energy is not exclusively man made, the notion of background radiation and that it is really very easy to detect. Detecting the invisible seems to be diametrically opposed or a paradox in a simplistic yet very real way. It’s there but it’s not. Well we can detect radiation that is totally harmless, yet how is that different from radiation that is harmful? It looks the same.  Then there’s the idea of rays and particles. Does radiation float or do particles that are radioactive float? Does the presence of radiation automatically prove the presence of radioactive elements. Are these elements like other particles we understand? We can comprehend gas and liquid but nuclear radioactive particles are they gaseous, solid or both? I’ll be honest. It’s still new to me and I’m grasping for easy to explain tidbits of information all of the time.

One of the most important realizations about the radiation that escapes an accident is that is can be diluted very quickly either as a gas or in water. The very act of being diluted immediately renders it less dangerous by orders of magnitudes. There we go again.  Orders of magnitude are a way of saying it’s 10 times or 100 times or a thousand time not simply quatities less than ten or close to one. So three orders of magnitude would mean a difference of at least 1000 and two orders of magnitude a difference of at least 100. It’s a convenient way to express large differences.

So last but not least, the purpose of this post was to say that sharing information in circles outside of the circle of your nuclear advocates is important. Don’t underestimate your role as an educator. And also be prepared by understanding the unfamiliar territory that nuclear energy represents.


Bill Gates is forced to pursue breakthrough TWR abroad!!!

You know maybe Bill Gates will help change the way the US does business with Nuclear Energy. He’s trying to find a utility company willing to test his reactor. Well we can hope he has luck in the US. The article says he is pursuing utility companies outside of the US.

The article published in the WallStreetJournal A Window Into the Nuclear Future
TerraPower—with the backing of Bill Gates—has a radical vision for the reactors of tomorrow.

Bill Gates both funds and guides TerraPower LLC in their pursuit of the Travelling Wave reactor which has many of the same attributes of the Thorium molten Salt Reactor aka LFTR.

Here’s a quote from the article

“A cheaper reactor design that can burn waste and doesn’t run into fuel limitations would be a big thing,” Mr. Gates says. He adds that in general “capitalism underinvests in innovation,” particularly in areas with “long time horizons and where government regulations are unclear.”

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

History of the Antinuclear Movement-Part 1

The History of the Antinuclear Movement, Part 2 is up

They are under the Reference Section but here are the links for them here

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 1

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 2a

History of the Antinuclear Movement. Part 2b

Other DV82XL see Q and A on Regulations


Just 10 days since this Blog started and great results

813 views all-time (web site launched Jan 20th/2011) until today
143 viewed today (Jan 31/2011)
138 is the most views in one day (Jan 21/2011 ) previous
– that was the day Charles Barton posted a short review on his NuclearGreen.blogspot.com

Why has China chosen our old TMSR as their own reactor project?

Energy from Thorium: China has officially begun a thorium molten salt reactor program. It is very interesting that the information was posted to our Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum. Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum View topic – China started “thorium based molten salt reactor Charles Barton has noted this as well:http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2011/01/china-starts-lftr-development-project.html
Jaro Franta: That should certainly boost the international TMSR project’s clout ! …good !
Douglas Waller: Everyone is leaving us behind.
Jason Grant: or forcing us to catch up! At least its started. Very exciting indeed!
Greg Barton: Is this our…dare I say it…Sputnik moment?
Erik Andersen: I certainly hope so. Of course, given the difference between the regulatory process in the USA vs China, I expect China will have one designed, built, and working by 2014. By 2020, the US government on the other hand will have picked a huge contractor like Haliburton, contracted with them for $2 billion, paid them $46 billion extra in budget overruns, and received a white paper on The Effects of Massive Thorium Ingestion on Spotted Owl to show for it.
Dennis Jackson: @Greg…yes. Clever analysis, I hope someone in Washington D.C. catches your post.
Siren Hakimi: Congrats to China being the first nation in recognizing the value of this superior technology. This is actually good news for US, Washington will finally have its epiphany and join the game. If we still don’t catch up, we will only exist in history books.
Edward Peschko: @Erik, that’s why I’ve always said that if there is a LFTR to be built in this country in short order, it’s going to be built by the military. Their reactors aren’t under the jurisdiction of the NRC (direct from the mouth of chairman jaczko), they have political and financial clout, there’s a clear way to save money and lives for them (in the form of lesser fuel costs and smaller supply chain), they have less pressure from special interest groups outside the military to block it, and they have a history of both supporting the national labs and in making civilian spinoffs of their technology. We are also fighting 2 wars which tends to let them get funding for anything that may shorten those wars. But whether or not a technology gets implemented there can depend on the knowledge of the top brass on the technology – ie: whether or not it exists, and its potential benefits. My thought with thorium is that *nobody up high enough knows* and perhaps that with this development, some ammunition could be brought to bear to *get* someone high enough up there *to know*.
Jason Correia I can’t help but have a feeling of sour grapes about this. As much as I hate to say it, China is moving ahead into the future while America twaddles.
Jason Correia: ‎@Edward, I agree about *nobody up high enough knows* but seriously, ANYONE who might spend 30 minutes reading up on nuclear energy matters on the internet would probably stumble upon LFTR. And the fact that talk and buzz about LFTR never seemed to take off in those upper circles means these people have their heads buried in the sand and ought to be ashamed of themselves for their pitiful lack of intellectual curiosity.
Robert Steinhaus: @Edward – I would agree that regulatory obstacles are probably the largest single obstacle to building LFTR in the USA – China currently enjoys a considerably friendlier regulatory approach and this would probably make a significant difference (a decade) in time required to complete a LFTR prototype.
The US military would be a wonderful sponsor for LFTR and military projects do enjoy a regulatory advantage (special window at NRC). Perhaps not widely appreciate is the fact that National Laboratories have also enjoyed a regulatory path where NRC traditionally permitted the Labs to “self regulate” research reactors built on their Lab sites. ORNL built 13 research reactors on their Lab site in the period from 1943 – 2010 and these were built without direct NRC regulatory oversight.
ORNL/TM-2009/181 – An Account of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Thirteen Nuclear Reactors – Murray W. Rosenthal – ORNL Deputy Director, ORNL (retired)http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/files/Pub20808.pdf
Many additional reactors have been built on National Lab sites at INL, PNL, and LLNL over the last half century on an independent regulatory track from NRC.
Bottom Line: The military would be a good sponsor for LFTR (Three Star Admiral/Congressman Joe Sestak understood LFTR and its many advantages and was prepared to support it in Congress before his recent defeat in his bid for the Senate). Alternatively, a private consortium (Teledyne-Brown?) and a cooperating National Laboratory could produce a NRC certifiable commercial LFTR prototype in America without decade long regulatory delays in ~ five years at acceptable cost (best guess $9 billion for project).