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    Activists Cheer American Nuclear Power Exit - While They Ignore Climate Change
    By News Staff | March 1st 2013 09:59 PM | 7 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Though staunchly opposed to nuclear power in some respects, like the controversial decision to scuttle the Yucca Mountain project, the Obama administration said in 2012 that it was "jumpstarting" the nuclear industry.

    The Fukushima incident of 2011, caused by an earthquake, had led international political leaders motivated by sound-bite energy policy to declare nuclear power finished. The newest Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists special issue, published by the anti-nuclear activists behind the Doomsday Clock, turns its attention to the United States and wonders if nuclear science is dead in the home of the world's science leader. Japan and many European countries responded to the Fukushima disaster with public debate and significant policy shifts in the nuclear arena - the Japanese quickly recanted their position - but activists are confident that nuclear power is dead here, though the Obama administration did approve two modular nuclear reactor projects in 2012. 

    According to former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford, a lawyer who worked for Ralph Nader and whose nuclear science credentials consisted of teaching English and American history in Greece, market forces - meaning a hostile government he helped create and anti-science beliefs he promoted - make nuclear power an unattractive investment prospect.  Bradford writes, "Absent an extremely large injection of government funding or further life extensions, the reactors currently operating are going to end their licensed lifetimes between now and the late 2050s. They will become part of an economics-driven US nuclear phase-out a couple of decades behind the government-led nuclear exit in Germany."


    Since a former employee of the Bulletin, also not a nuclear scientist, now runs the NRC, replacing a staff employee of Nevada's Senator Harry Reid, Yucca Mountain is dead and there is no modern disposal plan for nuclear waste, and there probably won't be one, meaning we are stuck with over a hundred sites and no modern, centralized storage facility, which does not bode well for the future. Like Japan, Germany declared it would exit nuclear power. But they have slashed subsidies for alternative energy, which means the choice is fossil fuels or nuclear power. Dancing on the grave of nuclear power in Germany should not be done just yet.

    Sharon Squassoni, am anti-nuclear advocate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, assures readers in the same issue that a US nuclear phase out will have only minor international implications. Governmental attempts to buoy the US commercial nuclear industry for national security reasons won't go far - the National Labs have been guided to work on anything but nuclear weapons and power.


    But it is commonly recognized that American activists caused the spike in CO2 emissions with their efforts to eliminate nuclear power, and their efforts to keep viable clean energy out will continue to effect greenhouse gas emissions, electricity prices, and the national economy. A US exit from nuclear power impacts all three negatively.

    Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute chairman and chief scientist, Amory Lovins, says that as the US electricity system ages, most of its power plants and transmission grid will have to be replaced anyway. It might as well be with solar power or other renewable energy plants: "The inevitable US nuclear phase-out, whatever its speed, is […] just part of a far broader and deeper evolution from the remarkable electricity system that has served the nation so well to an even better successor now being created," he writes.


    What is that successor?  No one knows.  It is unbridled optimism.

    Earlier issues of the Bulletin touted France and its supposed shuttering of plants - but now they are not exiting as enthusiastically as activists had hoped. So the term for 'we are not getting rid of our nuclear power' is that they are 'carrying out an extensive, multi-stakeholder debate on the country's energy future'. With 75% of France's electricity derived from nuclear power, a rapid, minor or total exit seems unlikely. 

    Edit 3/5/2013: The original version read "No full-size nuclear plant has gotten a permit in decades and due to government obstacles there are guaranteed to be cost overruns". Both South Carolina and Georgia are two 1,000-MW reactors, as noted by Eliot Brenner, Director, Office of Public Affairs at the NRC, and the bulk of the paragraph was removed and changed to reflect the links to those projects., The paragraph on the modular reactors was also removed and various additional edits were made for subject agreement and tone to reflect the correct information.


    Comments

    Black Swans, highly improbable innovations with enormous implications, will replace oil, coal, natural gas, and radioactive fuels.

    Fuels of the future may include ambient heat, Zero Point Energy, small amounts of water and tiny packets of powdered nickel. All inherently inexpensive, the entire world, has abundant supplies.

    Future electric cars and trucks will have unlimited range and require no external recharge. They will be mobile power plants, selling electricity to the grid when suitably parked.

    A Zero Point Energy powered magnetic generator was demonstrated by Hans Coler in Germany, in 1926. Coler demonstrated a 6,000 watt generator in 1937. His lab was bombed late in WWII. He later moved to England. British Intelligence published a Report about Coler's work in 1946. See: http://chavascience.com/papers/the-coler-devices

    Self-sustaining magnetic generators, and water powered engines, have a history of deluded inventors and scams. However, to the surprise of almost everyone, new science and technologies promise a few will soon become practical.

    Such inventions will help all of us, supersede fossil fuels. Perhaps, just in time. See CHEAP GREEN and MOVING BEYOND OIL at http://www.aesopinstitute.org

    Out-of-the-box inventions are almost always starved for capital. Angels unafraid of high risk, and having sufficient savvy to evaluate entrepreneurs, can make a huge difference in the speed with which breakthrough technologies enter the market.

    "Amory Lovins ... the US electricity system ... will have to be replaced ... with solar power or other renewable energy plants ..."-- and gas. Lovins makes no bones about having worked for oil companies for decades.

    Japan's government became 4.8 percent richer on gas revenues as a result of forbidding the restart of most of its nuclear power stations.

    Your article is mostly correct, but you forgot about 4 AP1000 reactors now being built in the US.

    Economics always wins out, so I am promoting the development of the liquid fluoride thorium reactor -- energy cheaper than coal -- as the only feasible way to dissuade 7 billion people in 250 nations from burning fossil fuels -- global carbon tax attempt will always fail. For more, read THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal, at http://www.thoriumenergycheaperthancoal.com

    It's circular. Nukes are expensive because of delays caused by obstructionists who say they are unsafe and impact the environment. Then the obstructionists obstruct because they are so expensive. It reminds me of the guy who murdered his parents then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

    Hank
    Yes, and these modular plants are a great example. If they are too small to ever be economical, what is the point?  It's an intellectual placebo so they can claim to be pro-science while they obstruct science. They'll say the numbers don't add up when they intentionally build something that never approaches a reasonable metric.
    Why are there so many stupid nuclear activists? They think we're going to be saved by a yet be invented power source that runs all the time like nuclear and has no enviro issues? Palease...

    In the meantime they want us to kill the planet with gas and coal plants. So, do we want to kill our plant through global warming now, or take a chance at radiation leaks 1000 years from now? I'll take a bet at 1000 yrs from now because there's more likely to be a solution to nuclear waste versus undoing global warming.

    Where are your bets?

    Heather

    Hank
    That's the concern about activism over science - they don't do any science, in every case they wait for science to find something (good or bad) and then jump on it. So killing nuclear power was fine to them because natural gas and ethanol were terrific. Ethanol was never terrific and they only understood that once it became used.

    That part has to make us chuckle; activists only realized ethanol must be bad once a Republican and Congress mandated and subsidized it, just like activists had been lobbying to do for 15 years prior.  Science had never said it was ready, they said it was basic research that showed promise. 

    America leads the world in technology and science. If we had been developing nuclear power at our national labs for the last 40 years, and then corporate scientists and engineers were implementing it, the world would be a lot safer, because American ingenuity would have improved the technology a lot.