Tag Archives: nuclear energy

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).

Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

History of the Antinuclear Movement Part 2 by DV82XL

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


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.


BRC and NRC Battle! What is Most Needed? Policy vs Know How

Friday May 13 was the date of the last Blue Ribbon Commission hearing on Nuclear Waste. A recurring theme for the six hour marathon meeting was that technical issues are processed far too slowly by the NRC. The NRC has been delaying their announcements about conclusions drawn from the Fukushima events for two months. The delays affect progress and affect decisions regarding nuclear energy projects. Their procedures for investigating the risks or the promise of innovations take months or years to reach their conclusions and even then reveal a lack of understanding of the actual risks and seem to measure their decisions based on the temperature of the general fever of doubt by the public.

The kinds of conclusions suggested by the BRC from documents available on the BRC website make very pessimistic predictions. They conclude that it will be decades before reprocessing is practical. They still proceed as if the Oak Ridge National Laboratory studies on Molten Salt Reactors never happened.

Another overwhelming recurring theme was that transportation of nuclear waste is the biggest issue about finding permanent or interim storage. The fears reveal a lack of understanding the dangers involved. The whole manner of these proceedings is frustrating. Presentations are given and most of the commissioners admit to being far too unqualified to judge and then when the questions are asked at the end of each presentation or when the public comments are made no attempt is made to bring clarity to technical issues.

Per Peterson, one of the only highly technically qualified people on the BRC, raised the point about the need for more qualified technical staff as did some of the other commissioners in their own way. The chairman Lee Hamilton at one point put the NRC on the spot by insisting on some reassurance after 60 days of investigating the Fukushima incident that something useful be brought forth or perhaps saying that there is no useful conclusions to apply to America’s nuclear power plants. The word “tentative” kept coming up to refer to the fact that information has not been easy to come by regarding the Fukushima reactors and the fuel storage.

The shocking reality to me that seems so obvious is that these guys are in over their head. When the pressure for answers is on and the answers are so scarce there is an obvious need for really knowledgeable people to investigate the situation.

What do bureaucratic organizations do when they lack expertise? They dictate policy. Even Per Peterson’s presentation was given from a policy point of view.

Perhaps the biggest problem with forming a commission or a regulatory agency is that a lot of the times that they are needed the staff are able to handle the technical challenges. Nuclear energy has specific needs and just like when an emergency calls for “a doctor in the house” so does forming a committee about nuclear, let that be several, not just spotted here and there among senior bureaucrats.

Action List Uncategorized

NRC Hearing: Yucca has become inconvenient distraction to other performance issues

Hearing Report on the “Role of the NRC in America’s Energy Future” – video of hearing

Chairman John Shimkus started by defining his role in Illinois and its 6 reactors and went on to suggest he is concerned by the long delays in decision-making and suggested changes were needed to allow progress.

What Ed Whitfield said and what he prepared were two different things. He did not speak about the “front end” or the “back end.”

I have included the sections they did not have time to discuss because of the lengthy interrogation on Yucca and what to do with Nuclear Waste.

Waxman reminded them of the 26 applications for new reactors and the need to facilitate the process.
He also mention the President had appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission on Nuclear Waste and the report is due by the summer.
Shimkus pointed out that it is the first gathering at a hearing by the committee that included the NRC commissioners in a decade. 4 of the 5 commissioners were present.

CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER – Ed Whitfield (full statement here)

“On the front end of nuclear power development, I’m very interested to hear about whether the NRC can develop and provide more regulatory certainty in its licensing and re-licensing programs. As in other energy sectors, regulatory certainty, such as keeping to decision schedules, is essential for ensuring the investments necessary to develop nuclear energy. Additionally, I think it is worth reviewing the Commission’s organizational structure, and whether an agency rightly focused on safety is suitably structured to also facilitate the advancement of new nuclear generation.”

Mr. Rush mentioned his concerns of having NRC staff permanently deployed at plant locations that could lead to complacency. He also wanted to know about waste storage.

Mr. Upton from Michigan reiterated much of what the others were saying about the importance of nuclear energy for the future power supply but also acknowledged the independence of the NRC and it’s qualified staff. Reading between the lines we still get the sense that the science has not been tackled by the committee members and that they are humbled by the knowledge and authority that NRC represents. I think this is unfortunate.

Joe Barton of Texas focused delay of Yucca repository.

Chairman Jaczko spoke of the Fukushima events and pointed out the possible reevaluation of standards in US:

“…On Monday, March 21, my colleagues on the Commission and I met to review the status of the situation in Japan and identify the steps needed to conduct that review.  We subsequently decided to establish a senior level agency task force to conduct a comprehensive review of our processes and regulations to determine whether the agency should make additional improvements to our regulatory system, and to make recommendations to the Commission for its policy direction.    The review is being conducted in both a short-term and a longer-term timeframe.  The short-term review has already begun, and the task force will brief the Commission at 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, to identify potential or preliminary near-term operational or regulatory issues that may need to be addressed.  The NRC will begin the longer-term review as soon as we have more complete information and understanding of the events in Japan.  The Commission will hold a public meeting on May 12th to receive the Task Force’s 30-day status update, and will meet again on June 16th and July 19th… There has been no reduction in the licensing or oversight function of the NRC as it relates to any of the U.S. licensees… The NRC is actively reviewing 12 combined applications to construct and operate new nuclear power reactors.  Five different reactor designs are referenced in these applications; the NRC is currently reviewing the design applications for certification or amendments. If these design certifications or amendments are approved, they will be available to be referenced in future COL applications, and thereby make those reviews more straightforward. The NRC is also performing safety, security, and environmental reviews of facility applications, a uranium deconversion facility application, and applications for new uranium recovery facilities…”



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.

Nuclear Advocacy Uncategorized

The Time is Right for Discussing Hormesis


I recently had a chat with a couple of people who reminded me about how if people knew examples of others who have survived exposure to radiation on numerous occasions only to live long and healthy lives those people might be a little more relaxed about the reports on Fukushima Daiichi Reactors.  The recent article from BraveNewClimate by guest author Dr. William Sacks presents his understanding of the effects of low level radiation known as hormesisW

It is hormesis that I suggest has enabled certain nuclear scientists to live into their 80’s and beyond.  I will eventually give a bit of a bio for each but here are their names for now. Eugene Wigner, Alvin Weinberg, Charles Barton Sr., Edward Teller, Ralph Moir (he’s only 71), Lauriston Taylor and there is one case from the very early days of nuclear investigation who did not know about the dangers. Marie Curie who they say died from the effects of radiation was able to live until 66 years of age but she carried unshielded radium and other radio active materials in her pockets and near her work desk. She won two Nobel Prizes in her career.

So read the William Sacks article and see what kinds of lessons he thinks are important about nuclear energy after the Fukushima events.

Quick summary about Hormesis:

LNT stands for Linear No Threshold and various regulatory bodies still use this model for applying standards.  The problem with the model is that it assumes that radiation is bad at any dosage and that it will become cumulative assuming that somehow the body retains the radiation. This is in opposition to known facts of no effects from exposure and many examples exist where small doses of radiation and in some cases large doses have had a beneficial effect.

So the two camps LNT who are usually regulators or antinukers and the hormesis camp who know about how the body can deal with low level doses.

More reading… Detectable radiation versus dangerous radiation at AtomicInsights.com

Hormesis – Low Doses of Most “Poisons” Can Be Beneficial at Old Atomic Insights

How Does Low Level Radiation Provide Beneficial Effects by Rod Adams May 3, 2011
Ann Coulter on Bill O’Reilly Video where she says women tuberculosis patients in Canada who had chest x-rays had lower incidence of cancer. Another community of 10,000 were exposed to Cobalt 60 had only 5 incidents of cancer when normal amount would be 150.

Viewpoint: We should stop running away from radiation March 26, 2011 By Wade Allison University of Oxford

See Bernard Cohen’s Chapter 5
posted online How Dangerous Is Radiation?
from his book The Nuclear Energy Option

Three Useful Diagrams


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

Announcement by Gregory Jaczko about this years applicants

Top Nuclear Official: New reactor applications could be approved by the end of the year

NRC chairman commented on the news that the status of applications under review for nuclear plants will be ready this summer

…“That’s certainly possible and it’s something that as we continue to make progress on our reviews is possible,”…

…The approvals could pave the way for construction to begin on the first new nuclear reactor in the United States in decades. The comments come as President Obama has stressed his support for nuclear power as a way of lowering the country’s greenhouse gas emissions…

“Potentially we could be looking at finalizing some of the design reviews in the late summer and after that there’s a few things that would have to happen for the final design approvals or the final license approvals,” Jaczko said in an interview that ran Sunday, but was taped earlier in the week. “And that could happen possibly by the end of this year.”


House Republicans have said they plan to focus this year on streamlining the regulatory process at the NRC, arguing it is too burdensome. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) criticized the process last month.

“Gone are the days of reasonable expectations for a stable and predictable regulatory process,” Upton said. “This uncertainty and lack of transparency in the process is needlessly putting plants and thousands of jobs at risk.”

“The NRC must do better as nuclear power is critical as we seek to meet our nation’s growing energy demands through an ‘all of the above’ approach,” he continued.