The Nuclear Option: New Research Makes Nuclear Power Even Safer

pbs-news-hour

STT tends to leave the debate about global warming or ‘climate change’ to others.

However, STT has always thought that if man-made CO2 emissions really were destroying the planet, then sensible governments would have moved to build nuclear power plants from the moment the Chicken Littles started wailing about the heavens collapsing.

The French generate over 75% of their sparks using nukes – and have used nuclear power – without any serious incident – for over 50 years: the first plant kicked off in 1962.

Nuclear power is the only stand-alone thermal power source that is base-load and which does not emit CO2 emissions when generating power.

However, among those who fear the Planet is about to incinerate more than just a few of their number have reached the bleedingly obvious conclusion: THESE THINGS DON’T WORK – on any level.

Among a whole tranche of eco-warriors, the seemingly undying love affair with ‘wonderful’ wind is over.

Instead of pinning their hopes of (somehow?) cooling the planet with million strong fleets of bat-chomping, bird slicing, blade-chuckingpyrotechnic, sonic-torture devices, there are a growing number keen to tap into nuclear power, in order to cut CO2 emissions and, ergo, save the Planet.

Former wind-cultists appear determined to bring about a nuclear powered future, sooner rather than later.

Not only have they cottoned on to the fact that it’s the only generation system that can be deployed, just about anywhere, to deliver affordable, base-load, CO2 free power, they’re also alive to the tried and tested safety and security of nuclear power generation. And, as far as direct fatalities are concerned, they’re on very solid ground.

The wind industry has been flapping about for not much more than 20 years (producing a trickle of unreliable power, even today) and has killed more than 160 people; nuclear power has been a serious contender for over 50 years and (in a single accident at a military facility, Chernobyl) killed 56, most of whom were fire or rescue workers (see our post here). Despite the frenzied reaction to the Fukushima incident – a result of damage caused when a monster tsunami knocked out the power plant’s power supply – not one single soul was lost during the incident or in the 5 years since.

New-found Nukes fans clearly take the ‘CO2 is killing the planet’ line in bitter earnest, which has them battling it out with their fellow eco-travellers, who just can’t come to grips with the fact that wind power is, and will always be, utterly meaningless as a power source.

In the video above and the piece below, PBS reports on the latest research into nuclear power – aimed at making the safest source of power on the planet, safer still.

Demand for clean energy inspires new generation to innovate nuclear power
PBS NewsHour
Miles O’Brien
4 January 2016

Transcript
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: why some engineers and investors are making big bets to develop a new generation of nuclear reactors.

Miles O’Brien has the story. It was a co-production with our friends at PBS “NOVA” tied to the January 11 documentary “The Nuclear Option.”

His story is part of our weekly series the Leading Edge.

MILES O’BRIEN: This is where nuclear power began. Welcome to the Idaho National Laboratory. It covers a vast swathe of high desert nearly the size of Rhode Island.

It is dotted with experimental nuclear reactors that wrote the textbooks on how to generate power by splitting atoms. And now a new chapter is being written here.

MARK PETERS, Idaho National Laboratory: If we’re going to mitigate climate change, we have to think about how to develop new nuclear.

MILES O’BRIEN: Laboratory director Mark Peters says concerns about climate change have brought his industry out of a long nuclear winter.

MARK PETERS: We’re restarting and testing infrastructure to start to develop the next generation of nuclear power. So I’m just incredibly excited about the fact that we’re finally starting to get a public dialogue going now that it’s important to build the next generation.

MILES O’BRIEN: The Bush and Obama administrations and Congress have concurred on that point. Together, they authorized tens of billions in loan guarantees for nuclear plant construction, and tens of millions in funding to develop what’s known as Generation IV technology.

MARK PETERS: Generation IV are future reactors that are based on different concepts, different core designs, different coolants.

MILES O’BRIEN: And perhaps his most promising client is an innovator from another industry. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is among a handful of entrepreneurs with seemingly bottomless pockets making big bets on nuclear power.

In a 2010 TED Talk, he announced he had co-founded a company called TerraPower. His partner is his former chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold.

NATHAN MYHRVOLD, TerraPower: We need to have base load carbon-free power, and nuclear is a great example of something that is base load carbon-free power. Base load means seven by 24, day and night, whenever, it’s going to be there.

MILES O’BRIEN: TerraPower’s reactor uses a design that dates back to the first ever nuclear power plant, built here in Idaho. It illuminated its first lightbulbs in 1951.

It’s an entirely different design than the vast majority of nuclear reactors currently operating. The fuel wasn’t cooled with water, but, rather, liquid metal, sodium mixed with potassium, which has a lower melting point, absorbs more heat, and has a much higher boiling point than water. It had some inherent safety advantages over water-cooled reactors, which cannot safely shut down without electricity from the grid to keep cooling pumps running.

This is what happened at Fukushima in 2011. An earthquake and tsunami caused a station blackout that also destroyed backup generators and batteries. The reactors overheated and three melted down.

MAN: It’s now about five minutes until test time.

MILES O’BRIEN: Twenty-five years earlier in Idaho, engineers staged a prescient demonstration of the Fukushima scenario in a sodium reactor. They deliberately shut off the coolant flow. In a water-cooled reactor, like Fukushima, this would have caused an explosion, but this reactor safely shut itself down.

MARK PETERS: It reaches a certain temperature, and the reaction automatically shuts down, and the reactor cools down by itself.

MILES O’BRIEN: Sodium reactors do not need the equivalent of premium gas, refined or enriched uranium. In fact, TerraPower says it can run its reactors on the leftovers from enrichment, depleted uranium.

The biggest stockpile in the U.S. is here in Paducah, Kentucky, at a uranium enrichment plant.

NATHAN MYHRVOLD: With our reactors, Paducah, Kentucky becomes the energy capital of the United States, because Paducah alone has enough of this low-level nuclear waste, the depleted uranium, that we could run all of America’s electricity needs for 750 years.

MAN: This is a model of the Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus.

MILES O’BRIEN: The seeds of the decline for liquid metal reactors were planted by Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy.

MAN: This is the reactor or the atomic pile. There is uranium in here.

MILES O’BRIEN: He selected nuclear reactors cooled with water to propel the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine. For utilities, adapting the nuclear Navy technology for use on land offered the fastest path to market.

Water-cooled nuclear reactors quickly became the norm all over the world.

EDWIN LYMAN, Union of Concerned Scientists: I think that there was a victory on the merits here, and the other reactor designs did have the opportunity to prove themselves, and they fell short.

MILES O’BRIEN: Physicist Edwin Lyman is with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says the promise of this new generation of nukes should be tempered by the uncertainties.

EDWIN LYMAN: Some non-water-cooled systems have a lower risk of certain types of accident, but they have greater risks of other kinds of accidents, or they introduce other security or safety issues, so there’s really no free lunch here.

MILES O’BRIEN: But the private sector is apparently not dissuaded. A D.C.-based think tank, Third Way, found more than 40 startups across the U.S. developing advanced nuclear power designs.

These atomic business plans have lured more than a billion dollars in investment.

LESLIE DEWAN, Transatomic Power: I think a lot of it might just be the changing demographics of nuclear engineers, that now there are a large number of young nuclear engineers who think, I have a really good idea. I’m going to raise some funding. I’m going to see if I can do this on my own.

How much do you have to worry about free fluorine?

MILES O’BRIEN: Leslie Dewan is one of the young entrepreneurs leading this revolution. She became enamored with some nuclear technology first developed 50 years ago at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It’s called a molten salt reactor, not table salt, liquid fluoride salts.

LESLIE DEWAN: A molten salt reactor uses liquid fuel, rather than solid fuel.

MILES O’BRIEN: Having uranium dissolved in liquid offers some safety advantages. If the fuel gets too hot, the liquid expands, and the uranium atoms become too dispersed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. It shuts itself down.

And in the case of a station blackout, like Fukushima, the liquid fuel drains into a larger tank, where it cools down passively, no electricity needed. At Oak Ridge, they successfully ran and tested a molten salt reactor for four years, and it worked.

But building a reactor that can withstand something as corrosive as a very hot bath of salt is a huge engineering challenge. At Oak Ridge, the funding ended before they could work on that. So, the corrosion problem is the focus of early testing for Leslie Dewan’s startup company, Transatomic.

LESLIE DEWAN: We can make something that works for five years, that works for 10 years. Like, that, we certainly know. What we are trying to figure out now is whether we can use newer materials or new methods of corrosion control to extend the lifetime of the facility, because, ultimately, we care about making this low-cost.

If you have to replace your key components every 10 years, it’s not going to be cheaper than coal. And if it’s not cheaper than coal, then it’s not worth doing.

MILES O’BRIEN: Without a tax, or a cap, on carbon emissions, matching the cost of fossil fuels will likely be an impossible order for these new nuclear designs.

EDWIN LYMAN: We don’t put a lot of stock in seeing an alternative to a water-cooled reactor being developed anytime soon, certainly not quickly enough to make a dent in the greenhouse gas problem.

MILES O’BRIEN: But, in Idaho, they are pressing forward with urgency. In the U.S., there are currently about 100 nuclear reactors in operation. The majority of them are slated for retirement in the 2030s. What will replace them? Wind and solar? Not without a breakthrough in battery technology to store power on the grid.

NATHAN MYHRVOLD: The fate of the whole planet depends on us renewing our energy system with renewables and with nuclear. And if we step back from that, we are going to create a tremendous problem for future generations.

MILES O’BRIEN: Worries about waste, weapons proliferation and safety nearly derailed nuclear energy in the past. But the quest to meet rising demand for energy, without wrecking the planet, has put new nuclear technology back on the agenda.

Miles O’Brien, the “PBS NewsHour,” at the Idaho National Laboratory.
PBS NewsHour

nuclear-power-a

Clean, green and soon to be even safer still.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. estherfonc says:

    Hi,

    I started a PETITION “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the RESIGNATION of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and 15,000 household POWER DISCONNECTIONS, frequent POWER BLACKOUTS and the JULY 2016 POWER CRISIS” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

    Our goal is to reach 200 signatures and we need more support.

    You can read more and sign the petition here:

    https://www.change.org/p/sa-premier-jay-weatherill-demand-the-resignation-of-the-energy-minister-for-high-power-prices-causing-sa-s-jobs-crisis-and-also-15-000-household-power-disconnections-frequent-power-blackouts-and-the-july-2016-power-crisis?recruiter=135406845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

    Please share this petition with anyone you think may be interested in signing it.

    Thankyou for your time.

    Hi,

    I started a PETITION “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the RESIGNATION of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and 15,000 household POWER DISCONNECTIONS, frequent POWER BLACKOUTS and the JULY 2016 POWER CRISIS” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

    Our goal is to reach 200 signatures and we need more support.

    You can read more and sign the petition here:

    https://www.change.org/p/sa-premier-jay-weatherill-demand-the-resignation-of-the-energy-minister-for-high-power-prices-causing-sa-s-jobs-crisis-and-also-15-000-household-power-disconnections-frequent-power-blackouts-and-the-july-2016-power-crisis?recruiter=135406845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

    Please share this petition with anyone you think may be interested in signing it.

    Thankyou for your time.

  2. “However, STT has always thought that if man-made CO2 emissions really were destroying the planet, then sensible governments would have moved to build nuclear power plants from the moment the Chicken Littles started wailing about the heavens collapsing.”

    Since when do people act rationally by default? Nuclear is still feared by many, reasonably or not. Arguing from a climate-change-denial angle makes it harder to fight wind power because people assume you only want to defend fossil fuels. They rationalize wind power as a lesser evil or an ally.

    Earth would be mostly frozen if a mere 280 ppm of CO2 wasn’t in the atmosphere as a stable component of warming (it modulates water vapor, etc.). 280 ppm was the background level before the fossil fuel age. Man has already forced CO2 to reach 406 ppm, so a lot of heat is being trapped and it’s melting a lot of ice. Wind turbines are just making the Earth uglier as it warms up.

    http://cutt.us/blightfornaught

    • Respect Silence, you have missed the point. The premise was rhetorical: our reference to “sensible governments” should have been the giveaway. It should be self-evident that “sensible governments” are as rare as rocking horse manure.

      People act rationally whenever they are spending their own money, which is the default setting once subsidies and patronage are removed. Australia had the cheapest electricity and the most reliable power supplies in the world, which subsidies and patronage have destroyed.

      The reason for those subsidies and that patronage is singular: the ‘belief’ that global warming (now, in the absence of evidence of that result, known as ‘climate change’) would have immediate and catastrophic effect, as an urgent and pressing problem with only one solution – renewable energy. A former prime minister, Kevin Rudd called it the moral challenge of a generation.

      Having generated a sense of calamity, the same people whipping up that frenzy are the very same people promoting economy and environment destroying renewable energy. We do not deny that the climate exists; nor do we deny that the climate is changing: change is endogenous to the model and, fortunately, has been so for 4.5 billion years. For more on what STT thinks on that score, see our post here:

      https://stopthesethings.com/2015/07/11/stts-take-on-the-global-warming-story/

      We doubt that there is any scientific support to show that “man” is singularly (or even substantially) responsible for the increase in CO2 gas in the atmosphere, the release from volcanoes alone dwarfs it.

      There is, of course, only one problem with the theory of global warming: and that would be the evidence. Mean global temperatures haven’t budged for over 18 years (Google it).

      During a lengthy drought in the 2000s, Australians were entertained by the calamitous warnings of a self-proclaimed climate expert, Tim Flannery (his academic knowledge of the weather was based soundly on lifetime work on extinct Australian marsupials). Starting in 2005, Flannery kept predicting that Australia would be hotter and drier forever, his panic causing state governments to squander billions of dollars on desalination plants that were mothballed as soon as Australia was drenched with flooding rains, commencing in 2010 with three of the wettest years on record to follow.

      If the current situation is evidence of a “problem” contingent upon a changing climate, then Australian grain growers are likely to say “bring it on”: Australia will harvest more grain in the 2016/17 season than ever before. Cattle and sheep producers across the country are equally blessed with abundant fodder and rangeland pasture.

      You speak of ‘rationality’, but we would love to hear a rational argument against nuclear power, particularly from anybody who claims that CO2 gas generated by electricity production is, somehow, a problem. And for every character who pronounces their “belief” in the theory of catastrophic climate change, there is a chancer ready to cash in on the endless stream of subsidies that are directed at the non-solution to a non-problem.

      We suggest that you spend your time trying to convince your fellow travellers to either abandon reliable and affordable electricity themselves (and not just to deprive the poorest of that essential commodity), or to embrace nuclear power with a passion. Otherwise, the rest is just vainglorious noise. Climate change warriors got us into this mess. The entirely rational and reasonable people who always questioned the warriors’ fear mongering are the only class who are likely to get us out of it save those concerned with CO2 gas emissions who have woken up to the fact that nuclear power is the only standalone power generation source that will provide affordable, reliable and safe power without producing CO2 gas in the process.

      We stand by our premise: unless you are talking about nuclear power you are not serious about CO2 gas and, because we are here to destroy the wind industry and not to engage in the climate change debate for what it is, if you are keen to argue the toss about CO2 we suggest you dip your toe in the water at Joannova or Wattsupwiththat, where you’ll get plenty of opportunity to propound your opinion.

      • Off on a tangent, there Respect Silence? You have yet to respond to our simple propositions, and yet claim the high moral ground and (in your own view) a mastery of logic. In your next comment you say: Whoever comments for STT keeps inserting denial tropes and dodging the climate issue, which is strange since they seem otherwise bright.”

        What is the ‘climate issue’. We put this to your fellow traveller, Phil Clarke:

        Record breaking grain harvest in Australia is a problem? Define climate change in a single sentence with reference to cause and effect. Will it get hotter or colder? Drier or wetter? What will the temperature be in Melbourne on Sunday week?

        And have yet to see any response. Perhaps it doesn’t suit his narrative. Maybe with your superior logic you might be able to tackle it?

        We will give you one more chance: do you support nuclear power? Yes or no?

        Over to you.

      • STT wrote: “Record breaking grain harvest in Australia is a problem? Define climate change in a single sentence with reference to cause and effect. Will it get hotter or colder? Drier or wetter? What will the temperature be in Melbourne on Sunday week?”

        Define it in a single sentence? Nobody said it was that simplistic but here goes: The atmosphere is taking on more heat all the time, which melts ice and changes biomes, causing big consequences for people and displaced species with limited options to migrate into broken up wilderness, and modern society was built during a predictable climate and previous warm spells didn’t occur with so much infrastructure on the line.

        You know exactly what scientists are warning us about, so there’s no need to keep it vague. A record crop in Australia (in what time-frame?) is not the whole planet. Why bring up red herrings vs. all the melting ice, droughts, floods and intense snowfalls due to more evaporation (i.e. heat) and a whole list of things scientists keep telling the slack-jawed masses? Some people want to frame everything as “us vs. them” and can’t handle the concept of total human impact. It’s very possible to be against false green energy yet not be a denier of the CO2 situation. There’s also no sound reason to squander fossil fuels in any context.

        I think the wind power problem is the result of greenwashing, an economy relying too much on construction jobs, and quasi-environmentalism that’s abandoning the landscapes that inspired people like John Muir and Aldo Leopold (a zealot on ClimateCrocks reinvented Leopold’s land ethic, as if he’d approve of industrial windscapes). The world has also gotten more accustomed to artificial noise and that issue gets taken less seriously than it should be.

        YES, I support nuclear power if it’s done with the safest modern reactors and ideally put underground to avoid terrorist attacks. New compact, self-contained reactors have a lot of promise but big ones will still be needed. The problem is that electricity still can’t power everything, especially heavy transport. There may be no fix for a carbon-based civilization except to shrink.

        Planet of the Wind Turbines: https://youtu.be/CEzK2KxNP7Q

      • Respect Silence wants to run her AGW case, so we will (this time only) respond, STT’s comments appear in [bold and in brackets]

        Define it in a single sentence? Nobody said it was that simplistic but here goes: The atmosphere is taking on more heat all the time, which melts ice and changes biomes, causing big consequences for people and displaced species with limited options to migrate into broken up wilderness, and modern society was built during a predictable climate and previous warm spells didn’t occur with so much infrastructure on the line.

        [So that’s what climate change means (in your view), but you can’t tell us whether it gets hotter or colder? Drier or wetter?. Why is that so hard? I thought this theory was all about predictions, so what will the global temperature be in 2020? 2030? 2040? 2050? Or if you wish to start small, how about Melbourne’s daytime max 2 weeks from today? STT will gladly keep a tab on your predictions and how they pan out.

        We do not accept that CO2 gas is the problem you assert and apart from generalities offered about melting “ice and changes biomes, causing big consequences for people and displaced species with limited options to migrate into broken up wilderness” you fail to pin point any issue of actual consequence. Humans and all other species have adapted to vast variations in climate over the millennia – Inuit thrive in frozen conditions and Bedouin lap up the furnace offered by endless desert – humans have adapted and will continue to adapt.

        Then you talk about some ‘Goldilocks’ period asserting that “modern society was built during a predictable climate”. When precisely was that? The Roman era, when global temperatures were higher than today?:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2171973/Tree-ring-study-proves-climate-WARMER-Roman-Medieval-times-modern-industrial-age.html

        Or the Maunder minimum – when the Thames froze solid in 1650, 1770 and 1850?:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

        We are left wondering what your ideal climate would look like. No deserts? Plenty of ice (in the ‘right places’, of course). Then we will be able to work towards adjusting the thermostat to get things ‘just right’ again. So is it the Roman warm period or the Maunder minimum that we should be shooting for?]

        You know exactly what scientists are warning us about, so there’s no need to keep it vague. A record crop in Australia (in what time-frame?) is not the whole planet. Why bring up red herrings vs. all the melting ice, droughts, floods and intense snowfalls due to more evaporation (i.e. heat) and a whole list of things scientists keep telling the slack-jawed masses? Some people want to frame everything as “us vs. them” and can’t handle the concept of total human impact. It’s very possible to be against false green energy yet not be a denier of the CO2 situation. There’s also no sound reason to squander fossil fuels in any context.

        [STT isn’t interested in the ‘opinions’ of scientists or their alarmist ‘warnings’. For every alarmist ‘scientist’ there are any number of scientists ready to pour cold water (literally) on their claims and predictions. Here’s one predicting another Maunder minimum – ie mini ice age:

        http://www.livescience.com/51597-maunder-minimum-mini-ice-age.html

        Science isn’t about what scientists say, it’s always about what they can propound and disprove (Google Karl Popper), and proof comes from evidence, a scientist’s opinion is not evidence; nor is agreement between some scientists on any issue: physics is full of false dawns, where well-settled ‘universal’ theories often get Scotched by one captured particle or another.

        The ‘record crop’ is in the time frame of all Australian history since cropping began. And sits with bumper harvests around the globe, hence very low grain prices:

        http://www.world-grain.com/articles/news_home/Features/2016/11/Another_recordbreaking_harvest.aspx?ID=%7BF66FAB2B-AE1E-40B6-95F7-A7F92CD9B379%7D&cck=1

        CO2 is plant food (basic plant biology), why would the increases you are so worried about not be responsible (in part) for the increase in crop yields – in Europe, greenhouse vegetables enjoy extra CO2 pumped in to their growing environment, for example. Where are the droughts you speak of? And over what time frame? California’s drought has been overtaken by flooding rains and heavy snow falls in the Sierra Nevada:

        http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-storm-recovery-forecast-20170113-story.html

        ‘Global warming’? Or ‘climate change’?]

        I think the wind power problem is the result of greenwashing, an economy relying too much on construction jobs, and quasi-environmentalism that’s abandoning the landscapes that inspired people like John Muir and Aldo Leopold (a zealot on ClimateCrocks reinvented Leopold’s land ethic, as if he’d approve of industrial windscapes). The world has also gotten more accustomed to artificial noise and that issue gets taken less seriously than it should be.

        [Wind power got its start on the back of CO2/AGW climate hysteria, back then though there was no equivocation it was called ‘global warming’. To this day, climate alarmists drive it and the wind industry and those who profit from it join chorus to slam their critics and challengers with the same line about being ‘climate deniers’ – these days they don’t even bother to add ‘change’ to their accusation. The number of people worked up about AGW that love wind and solar power is never going to change, and certainly not because a few of their number have worked out wind and solar will never work and have belatedly started pushing nuclear power as the only CO2 free option.]

        YES, I support nuclear power if it’s done with the safest modern reactors and ideally put underground to avoid terrorist attacks. New compact, self-contained reactors have a lot of promise but big ones will still be needed. The problem is that electricity still can’t power everything, especially heavy transport. There may be no fix for a carbon-based civilization except to shrink.

        [We are glad to note that you think nuclear power is ok, provided it meets your exacting requirements, including bomb resistant bunkers. However, we are troubled by your view that the only ‘solution’ is for civilisation to ‘shrink’. Is that an offer of personal self-sacrifice for the greater good, or do you have certain peoples or nations in mind? If not, you will need to define who and how many will need to go to ensure that you, and those you deem worthy, can enjoy air-conditioned homes, hot showers, cold beer and international jet travel and that all that other life-saving stuff that runs on coal, oil and gas.

        STT is a small, voluntary outfit, with no financial backing and no resources. We do not have time to engage in debates on a topic of no real interest to us. As we have suggested previously, why not engage with groups dedicated to global warming/climate change, like Joanneova – http://joannenova.com.au/ and Wattsupwiththat https://wattsupwiththat.com/ – their pages are full of fact and opinion on the issue that seems to trouble you most. Given the confidence you apparently have in the correctness of your views, you will have no trouble arguing the toss with their contributors.

        STT will not be altering its editorial approach to the issue: we are disinterested in ‘AGW’, as you call it and have one mission alone – to destroy the wind industry. If you think your world view is more valid than ours, you are more than welcome to start your own blog. Who knows, you might end up with 30,000 followers and get 35,000 hits a month. Good luck with that. We expect that Phil Clarke (who shares at least some of your views) would be a willing partner in your efforts to change the world. In the meantime we will get on with ours.]

    • I absolutely agree with what you say here “Silence “- adopting a Climate Change Denial position is capable of undermining the campaign for a rational non carbon emissions energy policy and indeed does make any campaign adopting such a position look very like a “fossil fuel lobby” to some people

      There is a further tactical problem in that the intermittent power lobby has itself adopted the position that fossil fuel baseload backup to intermittent power generation is acceptable

      Nothing indicates it more clearly to me that in the present Green Environment Movement – including groups such a s Greenpeace – we are actually dealing with a fanatical anti nuclear power leadership that has usurped the movement, and not a movement whose first priority is dealing with Climate Change threat

      The moral high ground here is not to say that wind power should be abandoned because there is no threat to the climate. The high ground involves accepting the conclusions of a vast number of prominent international scientists, who have formed a significant consensus, backed by evidence, that we are in big trouble – Even their fears of several years ago as to the direction the climate would take have been over-run by worse realities

      Silence is correct – the main achievement of wind power has been to make the Earth uglier as it warms up. They have entrenched the use of fossil fuel stations that should have been decommissioned long ago – if only on pollution grounds

      Surely our core argument is that Wind Turbines cannot provide replacement power to fuel-derived power – ANY fuel derived power. They cannot do the job – and in the process of failing they appear to be causing genuine health problems, damaging wildlife and causing economic disruption – plus making the grid unreliable because of their vastly variable supply despatch

      The Climate Change horse bolted long ago – A million dopey Billionaires playing at being President would not convince a public increasingly clear and fearful on the climate issue.

      Nuclear power is indeed the only rational choice in most regions to provide baseload security and affordability. Embrace Nuclear power and the industry’s suggested mix of energy sources, and Windmills will return to the mid nineteenth century scrapheap where they belong.

      We just MIGHT even be able to reverse the Climate Change threat if we act quickly.

      • Record breaking grain harvest in Australia is a problem? Define climate change in a single sentence with reference to cause and effect. Will it get hotter or colder? Drier or wetter? What will the temperature be in Melbourne on Sunday week?

  3. Crispin Trist says:

    I strongly suspect that a 5th Generation Nuclear power station could be the long term answer to Portland’s wows in South West Victoria, Australia.

    If it were to be built at or near the site of the Aluminium smelter, this is a location that would be high enough above sea level to protect it from any future tsunami threat or sea level rise. Portland is also rail served and has a deep sea harbour for shipping support as well as a direct connection to the grid.

    However, the facility would have to withstand earthquakes to avoid any repeat of past events. The Nuclear power station at Fukushima should never have been built in a location with a known history of tsunami and earthquake activity. Planning against any threat from bush fires should also be investigated. This is where planning departments must play a more responsible, considered and researched role in the future. The wind farm fiasco has been a disaster with many, many people upset, stressed, lacking in sleep, sick, displaced or even dead! Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. This is the message coming through loud and clear.

    If the Hinkley project in the UK is anything to go by, Portland could have around 20,000 jobs for the next 10 years during construction and around a 1000 jobs for the next 60 years thereafter. These are not the kind of job figures that should be taken lightly or ignored.

    On a footnote. ALL wind turbines in the area should be taken down. A hard working and dependable work force needs ‘SLEEP’ to work reliably and without concerns for their safety, especially during such a high profile construction job as a nuclear power facility. Some power line repair crews in the area have already stated to me in person that they do not like working at or near wind farms. They can suffer from nausea and frequently put down and then forget where they have placed their work tools. You could not allow this type of work place environment during the construction or operation of a nuclear facility. Safety is everything.

    Secondly the last thing a nuclear power station needs is a fractured wind turbine blade flying through the air or a burning wind tower nearby. Once again this is down to the Government, health and planning departments.

    Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

  4. If govts and their lobbies in rich developed countries were really concerned about CO2 then they would spend money helping developing countries to avoid fossil fuels, they would not force their own consumers to fund technologies like wind turbines that make minimal impact at enormous cost. Research and development of nuclear power should be welcomed by so-called “greens”.

    • If your priorities are so arranged that your first priority is blocking nuclear power and only your second is dealing with Climate Change then you are NOT an Environment Movement but an anti nuclear lobby. You also have no idea of what reasonable power needs are – because you have never gone without them being satisfied!

      The sheer impracticability of the Green Environment Movement – their belligerent refusal to “do the maths” – the contempt they have shown for people who appear to be being made sick by proximity to wind farms – all demonstrate that this is no progressive movement of social reform but a deeply entrenched authoritarian dominated faction, embedded firmly in emotion ruled petty middle class non thinking.

      We need better than this. We need people who understand the need for jobs – the economic realities of power supply and availability and the scientific parameters and realities of power supply.

      As a child in nineteen fifties London – I would visit my grandmother who had no electricity in the middle of London. She read by gaslight – She could not even have a gramophone or a mains radio, and relied on a remote radio service that played through a loudspeaker in her kitchen — The kids who lecture us on how little power we need – how we only need one LED light bulb have not the first idea what lack of electricity was like. No washing machine to wash clothes , no electric iron to iron them, no vacuum cleaner to pick up the dust, dark and dangerous staircases and toilets without lighting. I remember all of that well – and the occasional gas accidents – with a gas that in those days was poisonous. Grandma was 78 when she died in 1958 – she had electricity for just four years – There was no romance in her deprivation

      I remember the power cuts – night after night in our own damp rooms a couple of miles away – for it was the post war period and the remaining generators left after the bombing could not cope.. My mother had to iron everything in a few minutes or sometimes lose power during the job. That was the nineteen forties

      STT should be helping restore sanity to the Environment Movement. It is lost in Fairyland at the moment, blocking sane development policies in nation after nation and for the most point IGNORING the very environment it falsely claims to protect

      Wind turbines for baseload power – Ridiculous lunacy

  5. brian Johnston says:

    CO2 in atmosphere 400ppm
    Dr Patrick Moore says we could comfortably live with 2000ppm
    If CO2 is not a problem why do ‘they’ keep saying it is?
    Because CO2 is the control mechanism for the New World Order
    And the CO2 tax the associated income
    Christine Figueres says it has nothing to do with climate rather to collapse the existing capitalistic system and replace it with ? I don’t think she elaborated

  6. Got there!

    The Green Movements have undermined the credibility of their own claims about Climate Change by opting for ridiculous power generation systems that rely on backup – often 100%backup – and in accordance with their anti nuclear fanaticism, the proposed backup (spinning away often 24/7 but producing no power) is fossil fuel based

    One is left concluding that the first priority of most Green Environmental movements is blocking the civilian use of nuclear power, rather than halting Climate Change. As such they themselves, as an anti nuclear lobby masquerading as an “Environment Movement”, are the biggest threat of all to our climate. They are like people who, confronted with a burning building, block all the fire exits.

    Indeed they may be finally waking up to themselves, but there can be no great change until the present anti nuclear lobby, defrauding the Environment Movement from their controlling leadership positions, are thrown out onto the rubbish tip of sloppy non thinkers, that , however well intentioned, do more harm than good. The Environment Movements in their present incarnation are largely descended from the CND – the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – of the nineteen fifties and sixties. They too could not separate civilian use of nuclear science from military use

    They had some justification, many of the first power reactors doubled as weapons grade producing facilities. But those days are over. Modern power reactors are unsuited to weapons grade production. They use low grade enriched fuel. This has also made them vastly safer

    The nuclear industry readily admits a mixture of power resources, including renewables, can provide stable power – including wind ind in more remote locations, where it can do no harm. It may still have a role to play in countries with isolated wide open spaces – and solar certainly retains a major role, especially at domestic level

    Energy sanity to my mind lies with the nuclear industry, properly and willingly regulated. It is to my mind the only viable current choice – and if we follow it, even more choices, such as fusion instead of fission may well soon eventuate to permanently guarantee mankind’s future on this beautiful and resourceful gem of the cosmos.

    It’s time to leave windmills and medieval technology behind and take our rightful place in the Universe as intelligent life.

  7. Peter Pronczak says:

    Even Germany, that bastion of ‘green’ hypocritically buys in nuclear generated electricity & its high temperature reactor technology closed although faultless, has now been further developed.
    Ex-Oz PM has done a mea culpa at the Woodford Folk Festival & mentioned being a depository for nuclear waste – even he seems to know that new technology makes for no waste: What came from France as partly reprocessed was mostly dirt, says a lot for storage techniques.

    New generation nuclear power information is being kept from public knowledge by mainstream media.
    Sea level rise; store more water & do away with drought – clean drinking water for all – nuclear IS appropriate technology.

    China’s Tokamak recently reached 50 million degrees (1/2 way there) for 100 seconds – that’s fusion not fission, direct electricity, new isotopes & space propulsion.

    Are you safer in a 60 year old car or a new one?
    The ‘wireless’ is outdated; we’ve got internet.

  8. Geoff Ridings says:

    I would also like to see articles on Thorium fueled MSRs as well.

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