“Our freedoms can only
be maintained by the advancement of technologies that serve mankind—
not advancing technology puts Freedom at Risk and
our freedom is
threatened because we
don't take the time to
participate in it” GJD
In an attempt to stay updated these books and articles may help, they help us!
When we began our trek in 2005 we were in the process of scheduling Dr. Cohen for our second public presentation about nuclear energy. Due to his doctors request for restriction on travel we had to cancel that event. Much of our initial research and study was initiated and inspired by Dr. Cohen’s book, particularly portions where he openly assails the media for their continued participation in misrepresenting scientific evidence and FACTS about nuclear energy and its radiation environment.
Our grassroots mission although scorned by some continues to be ADVOCATE and AGITATE! Having reviewed our mission statement and grassroots educational directive, Dr. Cohen agreed to serve as an Advisory Board Member for the US Nuclear Energy Foundation.
Bernard Leonard Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a staunch opponent to the so called Linear no-threshold model (LNT) which postulates that there is no safe threshold for radiation exposure.
Cohen has written six books, including Heart of the Atom (1967), Concepts of Nuclear Physics (1970), Nuclear Science and Society (1974), Before It's Too Late (1983), and The Nuclear Energy Option (1990). He has also written about 135 research papers on basic nuclear physics, about 200 scientific papers on energy and environment (e.g. nuclear power, health effects of radiation, radioactive waste, risks in our society), and about 60 articles in popular magazines such as National Review, Oui, Science Digest, Catholic Digest, and American Legion Magazine.
Cohen has received the American Physical Society Tom Bonner Prize (1981) for his nuclear physics research. He was also elected to Chairman of the A.P.S. Division of Nuclear Physics (1974–75).
For his research on energy and environment, Cohen received the Health Physics Society Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, the American Nuclear Society's Walter H. Zinn Award (1996), Public Information Award, and Special Award. He was also elected to membership in National Academy of Engineering, and to Chairman of the American Nuclear Society Division of Environmental Sciences (1980–81).
LINK TO BOOK ON ALIBRIS
JAMES MAHAFFEY: Dr. James Mahaffey: Hard to estimate with engineering accuracy. I signed the contract with Pegasus to write Atomic Awakening on 5 February 2008, and the research was full time, 10 hours a day. However, I had signed another contract with Facts On File to write a 6-volume set of books on nuclear power on 29 October 2007. The first book in this series is "The History of Nuclear Power." Although it seems very similar in theme to Atomic Awakening, it's actually a completely different book, written for a different audience, using the National Scholastic Education Standards as a style guide. The two books required basically the same research, and are written from the same filing cabinet of notes. The Facts On File set is written as a reference for high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen. Upon seeing my first sample chapter, the editor at FOF had to warn me, "Don't be cute. Follow the guidelines." Atomic Awakening, on the other hand, was written for the general audience, for as many people as it can reach. It was written specifically to be a fast, interesting read.
Nuclear Street Interview With Dr. James Mahaffey, Author Of ATOMIC AWAKENING:
A NEW LOOK AT THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF NUCLEAR POWER
LINK TO BOOK ON AMAZON
AREVA EDITOR'S NOTE: from the red book to the white book...
When AREVA was formed in late 2001. CEO Anne Lauvergeon asked me to produce a reference book on nuclear energy. The idea was to provide the new group's employees with a shared pool of knowledge on this subject. For a whole year thereafter, a score of volunteer authors wrote the chapters of the book. After some heavy editing, for which I take full responsibility, the first edition of "All about nuclear energy, from Atom to Zirconium" appeared in March 2003. Two slightly updated versions followed, along with an English translation and a bilingual version on CD-ROM. The "little red AREVA book" was widely distributed throughout the group, its popularity quickly growing beyond original expectations. It was also distributed freely outside the group, with the result that it is now out of print.
The magnitude and speed of change in the world energy situation, which we could never have predicted, prompt us to publish a completely revised edition supplemented by new topics, such as nuclear fusion. In fact, global awareness of the threat of climate change, the rapid emergence of giants China and India, the vulnerability of oil and gas supplies and the sudden rise in their prices have reawakened interest in nuclear power. The signs of a "revival" can be seen just about everywhere on the planet, including in the European Union, going so far as to return recycling, the key to the "sustainability" of nuclear power, to its place of honor.
As the world leader in this sector, AREVA is fully part of that momentum, with EPR reactors under construction and several other EPRs ordered or projected, mining operations undergoing a vigorous restart, conversion capacities being upgraded, and construction of the Georges Besse II uranium centrifuge enrichment plant well on its way. Offering the complete range of technologies for nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel cycle, transmission and distribution of electricity, AREVA owns the unique capacity to provide its clients a large choice of integrated services adapted to everyone's needs.
New situation, new book. Only its title remains unchanged, an indication of the permanence of the authors' goal: that every reader, whether occasional or regular, may learn everything there is to know — or almost — about nuclear energy.
Bertrand Barré Scientific Advisor of AREVA
LINK to Chapters 2 & 8 are available
for review on his website.
William Tucker is a veteran journalist. Educated at Amherst College, his work has appeared in Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, National Review, Reason, the New Republic, Reader’s Digest, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. His articles have won the John Hancock Award, the Gerald Loeb Award, the Amos Tuck Award, and he was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. His books include Progress and Privilege: America in the Age of Environmentalism; Vigilante: The Backlash Against Crime in America; and The Excluded American: Homelessness and Housing Policies, which won the Mencken Award. His forthcoming book is entitled Terrestrial Energy: How a Nuclear-Solar Alliance Can Rescue the Planet.
Right now there are 103 operating nuclear reactors in America, but most are owned by utilities (which also own coal plants). The few spin-offs that concentrate mainly on nuclear—Entergy, of Jackson, Mississippi, and Exelon, of Chicago—are relatively small players. As for a nuclear infrastructure, it hardly exists. There is only one steel company in the world today that can cast the reactor vessels (the 42-foot, egg-shaped containers at the core of a reactor): Japan Steel Works. As countries around the world begin to build new reactors, the company is now back-ordered for four years. Unless some enterprising American steel company takes an interest, any new reactor built in America will be cast in Japan.
This is an extraordinary fate for what was once regarded as an American technology. France, China, Russia, Finland, and Japan all perceive the enormous opportunity that nuclear energy promises for reducing carbon emissions and relieving the world’s energy problems as reflected in recent soaring oil prices. Yet in America, we remain trapped in a Three Mile Island mentality, without even a public discussion of the issue. As folk singer Ani Di-Franco puts it, the structure of the atom is so perfect that it is “blasphemy / To use it to make bombs / Or electricity.”
LINK TO BOOK ON AMAZON
The Case for Terrestrial (a.k.a. Nuclear) Energy">
William Tucker, Journalist
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on January 29, 2008, during a conference on “Free Markets and Politics Today,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series.
There have been a host of debates this year between the Democratic and Republican candidates for president. Many of these candidates believe that among our top priorities is to address global warming by reducing carbon emissions. All or most seem to agree that decreasing America’s energy dependence is another. Yet few if any of the candidates have mentioned that nuclear energy—or, as I prefer, terrestrial energy—could serve both these ends.
It is time to step back and question whether this prejudice makes sense.
All living things exist by drawing energy from their environment and discarding part of it as “waste,” so there is nothing inherently shameful about energy consumption. Almost all our energy derives ultimately from the sun. Plants store solar energy by transforming it into large carbon-chain molecules (the process we call photosynthesis). The entire animal kingdom draws its energy from this process by “eating” this stored solar energy. About 750,000 years ago, early humans discovered that they could also draw solar energy from a chain reaction we call “fire.” When heated, the stored energy in carbon chains is released. This heat energy can break down other carbon chains, which causes combustion. Fire has been the principle source of energy throughout most of human history. When historian William Manchester wrote a book about the Middle Ages called A World Lit Only By Fire, he was describing the world of only 700 years ago.
All this began to change about 400 years ago when human beings discovered an older source of stored solar energy—coal. Our most common fossil fuel, coal is the compressed remains of vegetable matter that covered the earth 300-400 million years ago. Coal is superabundant and we will probably never run out of it. It was the fuel of the Industrial Revolution, and it is still the world’s largest source of energy. It is also the most environmentally destructive substance ever utilized. The EPA estimates that it kills 30,000 Americans each year through lung diseases (and in China it is doing far worse). It is also the world’s principal source of carbon dioxide emissions.
Oil, another fossil fuel, is rarer and is believed to be the remains of organisms that lived in shallow seas during the age of the dinosaurs. It was first drilled in 1859, but was used only for lighting and lubrication until the invention of the automobile. Now it constitutes 40 percent of our energy consumption and is perhaps the most difficult fuel to replace. American oil production peaked in 1970 and is now declining rapidly—a fact that explains much of our subsequent foreign policy. The Arab oil embargo occurred three years following the peak, when the producing states realized we were vulnerable. The question now is whether world production will reach a similar peak and decline. As Matthew Simmons has written: “We won’t know until we see it in the rearview mirror.” If it does come, it may not look much different from the quadrupling of oil prices we have witnessed in the last three years.
Natural gas is generally considered the most environmentally benign of the fossil fuels. It gives off little pollution and only about half the greenhouse gas of coal. Natural gas was put under federal regulation in the 1950s, so that by the 1970s we were experiencing a supply shortage. Deregulation in the ,80s led to almost unlimited supplies in the ,90s. Then we began the fateful practice of using gas to produce electricity, resulting in a price crunch and the loss of many gas-dependent industries, such as fertilizer and plastics factories, which have since moved to Mexico and Saudi Arabia to be near supplies. Now American gas production seems to have peaked and we are importing 15 percent of our consumption from Canada. Huge gas supplies have been discovered in Russia and the Middle East, but will not do us much good since gas cannot be easily transported over water. Thus China, India and Europe will be able to buy pipeline gas much more cheaply and are already out-competing us on the world market.
Given the precarious state of these fossil fuels, people have begun talking of “alternative” and “renewable” fuels—water, sun and wind. The term “renewable” is somewhat misleading: no energy is “renewable” insofar as energy cannot be recycled (this is the Second Law of Thermodynamics). The term “renewable” usually describes tapping flows of solar energy that are supposedly “free.” But coal and oil in the ground are also free. It just takes work—and energy—to recover them. So, too, solar “renewables” can only be gathered at a cost. They are often limited and may require extravagant use of other resources—mainly land.
What about water? Hydroelectricity is a form of solar energy. The sun evaporates water, which falls as rain and then flows back to the sea, creating kinetic energy. Rivers have been tapped since Roman times and, beginning in the 19th century, dams were built to store this solar energy. Hydroelectric dams provided 30 percent of our electricity in the 1930s, but the figure has declined to ten percent. And all the good dam sites are now taken.
What about wind? Wind energy has captured the imagination of the public and is touted by many as the fastest growing energy source in the world. All of this is driven by government mandates—tax credits and “renewable portfolio” laws that require utilities to buy non-fossil sources of power. The problem with wind is that it is completely unpredictable. Our electrical grid is one giant machine interconnected across the country, in which voltage balances must be carefully maintained in order to avoid damaging electrical equipment or losing data on computer circuits. Wind irregularities can be masked up to around 20 percent, but after that they become too disruptive. At best, therefore, wind will only be able to provide the 20 percent “spinning reserve” carried by all utilities. In addition, windmills are large and require lots of land. The biggest now stand 65 stories tall—roughly the height of New York’s Trump Tower—and produce only six megawatts, or about 1/200th the output of a conventional power plant. In the East, most are sited on mountaintops, since that is where the wind blows strongest.
What about the sun? Solar energy is very diffuse. A square-meter card table receives enough sunlight to run only four 100-watt electric bulbs. At best, solar could provide our indoor lighting, which consumes about ten percent of our electricity. But keep in mind: gathering and storing solar energy requires vast land areas.
Sunshine can be harnessed directly in two ways—as thermal heat or through photovoltaics, the direct production of electricity. In the 1980s, California built a Power Tower that focused hundreds of mirrors on a single point to boil water to drive a turbine. The facility covered one-fifth of a square mile and produced ten megawatts. It was eventually closed down as uneconomical. Last year, when Spain opened an identical Power Tower in Seville, U.S. News & World Report ran a cover story hailing it as a “Power Revolution.” That facility, of course, is completely subsidized by the government.
Photovoltaic cells have more promise. They are thin wafers where solar radiation knocks the electrons off silicon atoms, producing an electric current. At present, an installation about half the size of a football field could power one suburban home—when the sun shines, of course. The problem is that photovoltaics are enormously expensive; using them to provide one-quarter of an average home’s electricity requires investing around $35,000. Their greatest benefit is that they are able to provide electricity precisely when it is most needed—on hot summer afternoons when air conditioning produces peak loads.
Nuclear or Terrestrial Energy
There is one other form of alternative energy often mistakenly grouped with solar: geothermal energy. Geothermal is produced when the natural heat of the earth comes in contact with groundwater. This can produce geysers and “fumaroles”—steam leaks that are now being harnessed to produce electricity.
Where does this heat come from? Temperatures at the earth’s core reach 7,000 degrees Centigrade, hotter than the surface of the sun. Some of this heat comes from gravitational pressures and the leftover heat from the collisions of astral particles that led to the formation of the earth. But at least half of it (we don’t know the precise percentage) comes from the radioactive breakdown of thorium and uranium within the earth’s mantle. This is “terrestrial energy,” and a nuclear reactor is simply the same process carried out in a controlled environment. In order to harness terrestrial energy in the form of uranium isotopes, we mine it, bring it to the surface, concentrate it, and initiate a chain reaction that releases stored energy in the form of heat—the very same process as that used to harness solar energy from coal.
When Albert Einstein signed the letter to President Roosevelt informing him of the discovery of nuclear energy, he turned to some fellow scientists and said: “For the first time mankind will be using energy not derived from the sun.” This possibility emerged in 1905, when Einstein posited that energy and matter are different forms of the same thing and that energy could be converted to matter and matter to energy (as reflected in the famous equation E = mc2). The co-efficient, c2, is the speed of light squared, which is a very, very large number. What it signifies is that a very, very small amount of matter can be converted into a very, very large amount of energy. This is good news in terms of our energy needs and the environment. It means that the amount of fuel required to produce an equivalent amount of energy is now approximately two million times smaller.
Consider: At an average 1,000 megawatt coal plant, a train with 110 railroad cars, each loaded with 20 tons of coal, arrives every five days. Each carload will provide 20 minutes of electricity. When burned, one ton of coal will throw three tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We now burn 1 billion tons of coal a year—up from 500 million tons in 1976. This coal produces 40 percent of our greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
By contrast, consider a 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor. Every two years a fleet of flatbed trucks pulls up to the reactor to deliver a load of fuel rods. These rods are only mildly radio-active and can be handled with gloves. They will be loaded into the reactor, where they will remain for six years (only one-third of the rods are replaced at each refueling). The replaced rods will be removed and transferred to a storage pool inside the containment structure, where they can remain indefinitely (three feet of water blocks the radiation). There is no exhaust, no carbon emissions, no sulfur sludge to be carted away hourly and heaped into vast dumps. There is no release into the environment. The fuel rods come out looking exactly as they did going in, except that they are now more highly radioactive. There is no air pollution, no water pollution, and no ground pollution.
Objections to Nuclear Energy
What are the potential problems with nuclear power?
First, some fear that a nuclear reactor might explode. But this is impossible. Natural uranium is made of two isotopes—U-235 and U-238 (the latter having three more neutrons). Both are radioactive—meaning they are constantly breaking down into slightly smaller atoms—but only U-235 is fissile, meaning it will split almost in half with a much larger release of energy. Because U-235 is more highly radioactive, it has almost all broken down already, so that it now makes up only seven-tenths of a percent of the world’s natural uranium. In order to set off a chain reaction, natural uranium must be “enriched” so that U-235 makes up a larger percentage. Reactor grade uranium—which will simmer enough to produce a little heat—is three percent U-235. In order to get to bomb grade uranium—the kind that will explode—uranium must be enriched to 90 percent U-235. Given this fact, there is simply no way that a reactor can explode.
On the other hand, a reactor can “melt down.” This is what happened at Three Mile Island. A valve stuck open and a series of mistakes led the operators to think the core was overflowing when it was actually short of cooling water. They further drained the core and about a third of the core melted from the excess heat. But did this result in a nuclear catastrophe? Hardly. The public was disconcerted because no one was sure what was happening. But in the end the melted fuel stayed within the reactor vessel. Critics had predicted a “China syndrome” where the molten core would melt through the steel vessel, then through the concrete containment structure, then down into the earth where it would hit groundwater, causing a steam explosion that would spray radioactive material across a huge area. In fact, the only radioactive debris was a puff of steam that emitted the same radiation as a single chest x-ray. Three Mile Island was an industrial accident. It bankrupted the utility, but no one was injured.
This of course was not the case in Chernobyl, where the Soviet designers didn’t even bother building a concrete containment structure around the reactor vessel. Then in 1986, two teams of operators became involved in a tussle over use of the reactor and ended up overheating the core, which set fire to the carbon moderator that facilitates the chain reaction. (American reactors don’t use carbon moderators.) The result was a four-day fire that spewed radioactive debris around the world. More fallout fell on Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from Chernobyl than from Three Mile Island. With proper construction such a thing could never happen.
Another objection to nuclear power is the supposed waste it produces. But this is a mischaracterization. A spent fuel rod is 95 percent U-238. This is the same material we can find in a shovel full of dirt from our back yards. Of the remaining five percent, most is useful, but small amounts should probably be placed in a repository such as Yucca Mountain. The useful parts—uranium-235 and plutonium (a manmade element produced from U-238)—can be recycled as fuel. In fact, we are currently recycling plutonium from Russian nuclear missiles. Of the 20 percent of our power that comes from nuclear sources, half is produced from recycled Russian bombs. Many of the remaining isotopes are useful in industry or radiological medicine—now used in 40 percent of all medical procedures. It is only cesium-137 and strontium-90, which have half-lives of 28 and 30 years, respectively, that need to be stored in protective areas.
Unfortunately, federal regulations require all radioactive byproducts of nuclear power plants to be disposed of in a nuclear waste repository. As a result, more than 98 percent of what will go into Yucca Mountain is either natural uranium or useful material. Why are we wasting so much effort on such a needless task? Because in 1977, President Carter decided to outlaw nuclear recycling. The fear then was that other countries would steal our plutonium to make nuclear bombs. (India had just purloined plutonium from a Canadian-built reactor to make its bomb.) This has turned out to be a false alarm. Countries that have built bombs have either drawn plutonium from their own reactors or—as Iran is trying to do now—enriched their own uranium. Canada, Britain, France and Russia are all recycling their nuclear fuel. France has produced 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power for the last 25 years. It stores all its high-level “nuclear waste” in a single room at Le Havre.
The U.S. currently gets 50 percent of its electricity from coal and 20 percent from nuclear reactors. Reversing these percentages should become a goal of both global warming advocates and anyone who wants to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil (the latter since a clean, expanded electrical grid could anchor a fleet of hydrogen or electric cars). Contrary to what some critics charge, this would not require massive subsidies or direct intervention by the government. Indeed, the nuclear industry has gone through an astounding revival over the past decade. The entire fleet of 103 reactors is up and running 90 percent of the time. Reactors are making money hand-over-fist—so much so that the attorney general of Connecticut recently proposed a windfall profits tax on them! The industry is poised for new construction, with proposals for four new reactors submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and almost 30 waiting in the wings.
The rest of the world is rapidly moving toward nuclear power. France, Russia and Japan are not only going ahead with their own nuclear programs, but selling their technology in the developing world. America, which once dominated this technology, is being left behind. The main culprit is public fear. Nuclear technology is regarded as an illegitimate child of the atomic bomb, a Faustian bargain, a blasphemous tinkering with nature. It is none of these. It is simply a natural outgrowth of our evolving understanding of the universe. The sun has been our prime source of energy throughout human history, but energy is also generated in the earth itself. It is time to avail ourselves of this clean, safe terrestrial energy.
Single multicultural planet seeks environmentally-responsible population
Finally—all the complex conventional and alternative energy resources are outlined in an accessible, user-friendly way so that regardless of your education, you can understand the how and why of energy consumption while taking a look into the not so distant future. Offering real solutions on how to conserve energy and dramatically shift international energy production to address global warming, The GeoPolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040 by Judith Wright, Ph.D. and James Conca, Ph.D. is a unique book that is unparalleled and necessary.
The fact is that energy consumption will grow dramatically over the next forty years regardless of what the world does. Unlike the previous century, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries are having a greater effect on energy consumption than the U.S. This does not result from the 1 billion people already using vast amounts of electricity or the 1 billion already using modest amounts of electricity, but rather from the 1.6 billion people that do not have any access to electricity, the 2.4 billion that have little access to electricity, and the 3 billion new people that will be born by 2040 who will also need electricity. The biggest role that the U.S. can play is in global leadership, technological development, and economic incentives, as well as changes in its energy policy and distribution.
What the world needs now is for you to read this book and begin making a difference.
Dr. JAMES L. CONCA is the Director of the New Mexico State University Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center (CEMRC), a radiochemistry facility dedicated to environmental monitoring and mitigation of radioactive materials, and the development of sustainable energy distributions. Conca obtained a Ph.D. in Geochemistry in 1985, and a Masters in Planetary Science, from the California Institute of Technology, and a BS in Geology and Biochemistry from Brown University in 1979. Conca has been developing and testing laboratory and field technologies for disposal of radioactive waste, mitigation of dirty bomb effects, and remediation of metal contamination in groundwater and soil. He came to NMSU from Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was Project Leader for Radionuclide Geochemistry. Before that, Conca was on the faculty at Washington State University, was President of UFA Ventures, Inc, and a consultant for DOE, DoD, EPA, USGS and private industry.
LINK TO HIS BOOK ON AMAZON
If you have the "energy" get it!
The 1 and only solution to America's energy problem
Posted: August 27, 2008, 1:00 am Eastern
By Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D. © 2008
Energy. It's the stuff of which our world and universe are made. It is everything we can perceive and measure in the physical world. Beyond that physical world, we "see through a glass, darkly." Science, engineering and the industries that are based upon them deal solely with energy – its nature and its uses.
We utilize many forms of energy – gravitational energy, such as that in hydroelectric dams; kinetic energy, as stored in a flywheel or the wind; heat energy, as in a geothermal well; elastic energy, as in a rubber band; electrical energy, as carried in power lines; chemical energy, as in gasoline; radiant energy, as in sunshine; nuclear energy, as utilized by nuclear power plants; and mass energy, as material objects – mass – are just another form of energy with the quantity measured by E=mc2.
l . . . Then, in the single greatest technological advance in recorded history, men learned to make heat and electricity by converting mass to energy in the nuclear reactors of nuclear power plants. This advance provided the safest, cleanest, most inexpensive and potentially most plentiful and useful energy in human history. Man's access to energy took a giant leap forward.
l . . . Inexpensive, abundant nuclear-electric energy should have caused a vast revolution of technological advances, raising the living standards of even the poorest people – those in the United States where the advance was made and eventually throughout the world – to unprecedented high levels. But, it did not do so. Why? The answer to this question about the tragedy of American nuclear energy reveals the fundamental reasons for current high oil, coal and natural gas prices; rising electricity prices; diminishing prosperity in the United States; and much of the world-wide tension that continually leads to war.
l . . . The United States has become a very unfavorable business climate in which to make things – especially industrial products such as energy. As a result, the American worker cannot even successfully compete with those in some communist countries. A very large part of our industrial base has already been shipped abroad.
l . . . The construction of just one complete 10-reactor Palo Verde power station in each of the 50 states would be the equivalent of providing 20 Hoover dams in each state. If this were done, the United States would have a 20 percent excess of energy for export rather than a 30 percent deficit in energy imported. Instead of spending $600 billion abroad each year, we would have a $400 billion trade surplus in energy. We could export our oil and coal and run our civilization more on electricity, or we could use more hydrocarbons – employing nuclear power to make crude oil from coal. All forms of energy are industrially interconvertable, so there are many options.
l . . . The only way the U.S. energy problem can be solved is to remove the obstacles that caused it. The taxation, regulation, litigation and tax subsidies that government has placed on the back of the American energy industry must be repealed. Free men with private capital in a free market will then be able to build the energy industry we need. Similar action should be taken for our other industries.
Link to full story, a MUST read!
The Case For and Against Nuclear Power . . . and our take.
By MICHAEL TOTTY black text, our comments, blue text.
l If the world intends to address the threat of global warming and still satisfy its growing appetite for electricity, it
needs an ambitious expansion of nuclear power. Mankind will never fulfill its "need" for electrical energy. It is the driver of all economies worldwide . . . and what society wants to curtail its growth?
l Nuclear power plants, on the other hand, emit virtually no carbon dioxide -- and no sulfur or mercury either. Even when taking into account "full life-cycle emissions" -- including mining of uranium, shipping fuel, constructing
plants and managing waste -- nuclear's carbon-dioxide discharges are comparable to the full life-cycle emissions
of wind and hydropower and less than solar power. This is very important because once the nuclear footprint is established the new generation plants are designed for a 50 to70 year life cycle.
l More important from the standpoint of displacing fossil fuel, nuclear can meet power demand 24 hours a day.
Solar and wind can't do that. Nuclear is the only current technology that fits the bill. This further indicates that the development of solar and wind is "speculative" based on "location weather" how often are our weather forecasters 80% accurate? With these changing variables how can definitive numbers be accrued from wind and solar?
l Critics argue that the high cost of building and financing a new plant makes nuclear power uneconomical when compared with other sources of power. . . . But that's misleading on a number of levels. One reason it's so expensive at this point is that no new plant has been started in the U.S. since the last one to begin construction in 1977. Lenders -- uncertain how long any new plant would take because of political and regulatory delays -- are wary of financing the first new ones. So financing costs are unusually high. Several factors have affected this. Our learning factors from past accidents re-wrote many portions of our regulations for the better. There are several NRC "approved" reactor designs that are set for "streamline" acceptance by the NRC capable of being constructed in four years . . . the only delay being that of local politics. Once the public and business communities "understand" the process, "delay" costs will be reduced substantially, hopefully eventually negating the entire political slowdowns when the regulatory systems are pre-approved.
l Suddenly, big carbon polluters like coal-produced electricity are going to look a lot more expensive compared with low-carbon sources -- in particular, nuclear, wind and hydropower. It's estimated that a carbon "price" of between $25 and $50 a ton makes nuclear power economically competitive with coal. It might be interesting to note here that during the nuclear development over the years at the outset they were forced to create their own nuclear "waste fund" to provide for the eventual permanent storage. For nearly the past 30 years we have known that coal burning energy plants were causing considerable damage to our atmosphere . . . we let that slide while hammering the nuclear development.
l Solar and wind advocates say these sources are cheaper than nuclear -- and getting cheaper. But again, even if true, the intermittent nature of these sources make them flawed replacements for carbon-emitting sources. Nuclear is the only clean-energy way to address that gap. It is only fair here to point out the importance of absolutes. Nuclear energy production is a known variable. Solar and wind farms can only estimate a productivity. When materials, construction, transmission and maintenance costs are added to the overall cost per KW they cannot "currently" compete with nuclear. As stated on our home page, we 100% support renewable energy sources but they MUST be cost competitive to a well established nuclear facility. It is unfair to put the burden of renewable development onto middle and low income citizens. These development costs should be applied to our upper income populous.