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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Recap of Thoughts On Nuclear, And Why a Strategic Phase Out Is Our Best Option

Being an expert in the energy field, IMHO, and a MSME from Michigan, I had kind of ignored nuclear because I was in Hawaii, and there wasn't any nuclear there, at least for civilian power reactors.    But when I really started studying nuclear, it had become clear that the industry and regulators had departed from any sense of responsible management, and sense of risk control.

Then when I dove in deeper I found that nuclear was based on lies out of the gate, and a whole system of lies that get trotted out to befuddle normal people.   

It's a "sexy science" that draws people in and enchants them, and gets them to ignore the risks, as that would make their investment in time and education a waste,  and it would strike at their ego, making them have to question whether they were a good person or not. 

Then to see the coverups and lies at Fukushima was truly astounding, and the lack of a concerted approach to mitigate damages, also astounding.   This at the same time that solar was getting better by a so-called sea change every 2 years, putting nuclear at risk. 

Nuclear is an incredibly dangerous and secretive industry, now spending billions to "educate" people to ignore the risks and costs.    You know what I mean by "education".   The nuke industry can generate for themselves $400B a year, so you know it is big bucks, big motivation to keep the gravy train going no matter how old plants are.

On top of that and to make matters worse, nuclear is just too expensive to shut down.    Decommissioning was projected to cost $300M on these plants, then the target fund was raised to $600M which many plants have in reserve....but the real cost is going to exceed $2B.

Its a very dangerous situation overall, especially being all tied together through the military industrial complex.     We will be lucky if we live through this phase, even if we immediately started phasing out nuclear.

And God forbid we have a Carrington event or EMP, then we have Earth hurtling through space, like a suicide bomber strapped with 440 nuclear power plants, that will melt down in a major grid down scenario.   Or their electronics will be fried, and same result...melt down.  

A smartly executed strategic phase out, starting with the oldest Mark 1 GE reactors, and the non economic reactor based on current rate structures and new competition, is the way to go.

Let's go places, better places.

stock out

1 comment:

  1. There are many nuclear reactors in Hawaii. You just ignored them because they are hidden in plain sight. As an expert in nuclear science and technology, I take my education seriously, so much that I left a nice power plant position in the pre-internet era to obtain the highest degree. I looked at Michigan and MIT yet settled for a lesser known but just as good graduate nuclear experience. One thing I have learned over the years is that it is literally impossible to know everything about nuclear. I started my career designing Mark I Bwrs and that was almost 40 years ago. Every nuclear assignment I have had has been uniquely different that added to my body of knowledge. Today's nuclear is not the same as the early generation. Even TMI which was shown to be benign is a few generations earlier than where we could go. We have a thousand years of uranium if we recycle in MSRs or IFRs. This will more than hold us over until we iron out fusion, and we will get there. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. There are those in our government that have not given up on nuclear. Because China and Russia have emerged as international players, the US should not abrogate leadership in a technology we invented. It's a matter of a strong America in the eyes of the world that we retain our competetive posture with regard to other nations and their ambitions in the international nuclear industry.

    New nuclear technology is as certain as the sun rising each day. It's unrealistic to think the genie can go back in the bottle. Best then to work for overall safety. Public perceptions and acceptance was born from the Atomic Age. This has lead to an irrational fear of all things nuclear. In order to course correct it is necessary to show the new generation can address waste, safety, and cost. This should not be difficult when one considers that a new paradigm demands old prejudices and predilections about nuclear be left at the door.

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