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On Nuclear Moratorium: 'I' for India Comes After 'G' for Germany?

The Japanese Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear crisis revealed gaps in Japanese nuclear safety practices, but compaired to the flawas in Japanese tsunami safety policies intened to protect human lives ane property, the Japanese nuclear safety flaws were relatively minor, and do not jusatify a suspention of nuclear construction, although safety of costal nuclear instalations should be reviewed, as should the design of emergency back up generator systems. 

April 3, 2011    View Comment    

On Fukushima Dai-ichi: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

David, if I said what I am thinking, no doubt the long arm of the EC law would reach out to me for not being nice. Of course In not being nice to Greens, I can claim George Monbiot's company, but then Monbiot does not get his posts up on the EC, so he does not get censored for failing the EC niceness standard.  . 

March 31, 2011    View Comment    

On 5 Lessons from Fukushima Dai-ichi

Nathan, the Japanese already spend a great deal of money on earthquake mitigation technology, but a 9.0 magnitude earthquake will still cause them a lot of damage.  A 10 meter tsunami may be a once every 500 year event/  Do you invest in mitigation measures, or do you take the risk that it will not happen during your lifetime?      If the Japanese plan to build more reactors, and they probably have little choice about that, they will want their new reactors to be as safe as possible in wake of the damage caused by the earthquake/tsunami.  

March 23, 2011    View Comment    

On Pawning The Chernobyl Necklace

Osha, I withdraw the accusation of dishonesty against MS Brown, at least as far as the photographs are concerned.  [ Though photographs of atomic bomb tests are  unrelated to the safety of nuclear power plants. ]

 

[Text within the brackets was edited by the moderator.]

March 22, 2011    View Comment    

On Pawning The Chernobyl Necklace

There is no doubt that the military industrial complex side of the nuclear industry took significant shortcuts during the cold war.  Those shotcuts lead to significant messes, and the mess legacy is still with us.  Mess cleanup will cost billions of dollars, but these are not the only large scale and expensive cleanups our society faces.  While recounting the industrial mess history has a positive function in cautioning us to not let it happen again, the mess should not be laid at the door of the Civilian Nuclear Power Industry, which was not responsible for the creation of the mess, and which has been paying a fee to the Federal Government for many years, to dispose of its waste. 

Ms Brown tells us that the public needs to be told the truth about the risks involved in nuclear technology, but she includs pictures of a house being destroyed by a 1950's military nuclear weapons test.  This test has nothing to do with civilian nuclear power, civilian nuclear reactors do not explod like military nuclear bombs, although as we have witnessed, reactors can undergo much less powerful chemical explosions.  What happened at Dai-ichi was a fairly large scale industrial accident.  There were other industrial accidents in Japan at the same time, oil refineries caught on fire, and burned for days.  Gas pipelines ruptured and escaping gas caught on fire, at least one dam broke, and the resulting flood washed away homes.  But almost all of the 18,000 + casualties can be attributed to a rampage by nature that had nothing to do with human technology. 

While Ms. Brown points to the mess created by careless disregard by the United States government for its cold war era cleanup obligations.  At the same time, Ms. Brown exagerates the human consequences of that mess.  There are no large scale cancer epidemics in communities near the Sevanah River, near Handford, near Oak Ridgre even though the radioactive materials cleanup problems of those communities are serious. 

 [ text edited by moderator ]  She ignores this historic context of events that occurred between 1942 and 1960, and suggests that those events will inevitably be repeated by the civilian nuclear power industry, even though the civilian industry follows highly regulated environmental rules.

Ms. Brown sees history as something that is going to happen.  If people once made a mistake she thinks it has to happen again.  At best history is a teacher, and if we pay attention to its lessons, they don't have to reoccure.  We need to learn from the mistakes of the nuclear industry, see to it that they do not happen again, and then move on.  [ text edited by moderator ]  According to her, challenges should not be faced, they should be fled. 

True

March 22, 2011    View Comment    

On Fewer Choices Post-Fukushima?

Geof, it is my business to tru to convince you that you should know more.  What is the difference between Molten Salt Reactors and ESBWRs?  Maybe a couple of thousand dollars per kW of generating capacity, a few hundred pounds of long term waste, versed 30 tons per evey GWyear of electricity generated, and a maybe few hundred years of fuel supply verses millions of years. 

March 18, 2011    View Comment    

On Fewer Choices Post-Fukushima?

Geoffrey, I get accused of being a monomaniac because I continuously talk about the potential value of Molten Salt Reactor/Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor in solving the Carbon emission problem.  One of the reasons I do so has to do with nuclear safety.  A MSR would have survived the quake/tsunami event without core damage or radiation releases.  There are numerous other advantages to MSR technology, and I guess I have no choice but to continue to talk about them, until the message gets across to decision makers.  

March 18, 2011    View Comment    

On Mox Populi – Hubris and Plutonium Don’t Mix

Dave, like so many renewable advocates you argument is filled with many equivocations. What do you mean by safe?  Safer than what.  If by safe you mean as safe as solar or wind then yest by objective standards nuclear is safe.  What do you mean by clean.  If by clean you mean without CO2 emissions and not dependent on energy forms that are responsible for CO2 emissions then yes nuclear is clean.  If you want to talk about public exposure to radiation, nuclear is more radiation free than a wind and solar + natural gas combination, then nuclear is cleaner, because natural gas exploration and use is assiciated with more radioactive releases than nuclear power is.  

You are engaging in double speak about the effects of aging on human judgement.  This is wholly fallacious, because you automatically attributing more judgement errors to the old with out the slightest proof that such errors have occurred.  You ought to look to yourself if and learn how to acknowledge your own thinking errors.  I doubt that you are capable of doing that, since you prefer to point the finger at others and say that they make mistakes because they are old, or they are experienced, or that they are at the top of their game.    

As for Greenpeace, they I find no evidence that Greenpeace possess the expertise to make judgements about nuclear safety.  Greenpeace is good at making baseless propaganda statements and staging and publicizing stunts that intended to draw financial contributions to their organization.  They oppose nuclear power because opposing it helps draw money to Greenpeace coffers.   

March 14, 2011    View Comment    

On Mox Populi – Hubris and Plutonium Don’t Mix

This is preposterous Renewable energy propaganda.  Lots of energy facilities in japan suffered major or catastrophic failures, including a large refinery fire, and the failure of at least on dam, with an unknown number of casualties.  I am not sure what the plutonium of your title has to do with the current reactor problems in Japan.  As I understand it those problems were do with a magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami the earthquake triggered.  Japan itself is not a very safe site for a human civilization, and you can say about practically anything people put there that Japan is not a very good place to put that,  MOX is not a cocktail it is a ceramic designed to contain everything produced by fission.  

You quote Greenpeace on MOX, as if the Greenpeace organization has acquired expert status.  In fact Greenpeace conducts no laboratory research on nuclear safety, and thus lacks the essential expertise required to be a source of sound judgement.  

Your post also contains an astonishing attack of the judgement of older people, that seemingly confirms the worst cultural stereotypes of mature people.  You offer this quote,  As we get older and more experienced, we overestimate the accuracy of our judgments, especially when the task before us is difficult and when we’re involved with something of great personal importance. 

As a 68 year old, I cannot begin to tell you how much I resent your judgement about people of my age.   My judgement is quite sound, and I think people who know me would agree.   The people whose judgement I would question, are people who put their trust in and quote Greenpeace. 

March 14, 2011    View Comment    

On The Mirage of Fail Safe Engineering

Robert, of course given a large enough natural disaster nothing engineered by human beings can survive, but of the potential human energy sources, nuclear reactors would come the closes to being fail safe.  Of current Generation III+ reactors two, the AP-1000 and the ESBWR would have survived the earthquake/tsunami disaster.  Both have passive safety features including gravity driven emergency cooling.  Generation IV reactors such as the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor and the Molten Salt Reactor can be air cooled, and can survive emergency shutdown without active cooling.  The natural Oklo reactors of Gabon demonstrate that it is possible for reactors to survive and operate for tens of thousands of years without any human attention without anything bad happening.  The history of the Oklo reactors suggests that failsafe nuclear power plants are possible, if they are designed by allowing natural processes preform all of their functions.  .  

March 14, 2011    View Comment    

On Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion

Robin, it is curious because an addition that I made at the end of the post stuck, but the added paragraph in Italics at the beginning was some how eliminated.  This, I assume was some digital process, because I can't imagine why it would be edited out, and I know your policy is not to edit our work. 

March 13, 2011    View Comment    

On Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion

George and Ernesto, I did not write this post for the energy collective, and when the EC picked it up, I appended a disclaimer that noted the circumstances of its composition.  The disclaimer has been stripped away here.  I did not expect what I wrote to be accurate, but in the spirit of doing something until something better comes along.  I believe in G.K Chesterton's words, "If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing badly." 

March 13, 2011    View Comment