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    To Environmentalists 'Wasteful' And 'Unneeded' Claims Usually Involve The Word 'Science'
    By Hank Campbell | March 18th 2014 07:10 PM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    South Carolina is suing the federal government to save the mixed oxide fuel project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapon stockpiles will be converted to fuel for nuclear reactors.

    The MOX plant is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, just like the James Webb Space Telescope and whatever President Obama is calling the successor to the Constellation program he canceled because it had George Bush's name on it. In other words, it is just like 100% of government projects. He is not canceling the Obamacare website, for example, which isn't exactly setting any records for being functional.

    When President Bush signed off on MOX, the cost was $3.8 billion. Yet suddenly the administration is claiming it will cost $8 billion after all of the stalling and delays and, worse than that, they are using the cost to run it for its entire lifetime as the rationale - before it is even built. What changed, aside from the usual cost overruns? No one really knows. In the past the Federal government didn't itemize the spending so we don't know where the money went, other than that building complex stuff sometimes costs more than people anticipate (as noted, the James Webb Space Telescope is farther over budget and as far behind schedule), we just know that since 2009 there have been stalls and hedging and delays. Finally, last year, the pretense was lifted and they just said they were cutting its budget.

    Environmentalists are happy that the Obama administration is once again blocking nuclear science, saying the MOX project is 'wasteful' and 'unneeded'. There's not even a buyer for the nuclear fuel, they note. Well, no kidding. Environmental lobbyists and millions of dollars in scare campaigns are why there is no nuclear industry in America to buy it.

    Weirdly, environmentalists are claiming that turning 34 metric tons of nuclear bomb plutonium, mandated under our international arms agreement with Russia, into mixed oxide fuel is not worth a paltry $8 billion - meanwhile a single new Navy Destroyer is over $5 billion. Using the term 'unneeded' also means that they don't understand what an "international arms agreement" is.  They also seem to think sticking the people of South Carolina with nuclear bomb plutonium, since the president has stonewalled safe storage in Nevada, is just fine. It seems Sierra Club and the others hate science more than they love people.


    Yes, environmentalists insist turning nuclear bombs into green energy is a bad idea. Because science is evil and scary and they spent all that money getting Democrats to kill it in the 1990s and don't want to have to start over. Photo Courtesy of Shaw AREVA MOX Services

    South Carolina does not worry about a Russian arms agreement, they just wonder why Federal law and science is supported so arbitrarily.

    “This is President Obama saying that he'll follow the rules he wants to follow and he's not following the rules he doesn't want to follow,'' Gov. Nikki Haley said about the lawsuit. Well, that's true. If President Obama were a Wall Street executive, he would have been in jail years ago over his refusal to obey Federal law and make a decision about Yucca Mountain. The courts were once the third branch of government but their bold writ of mandamus ("we command") on that matter was summarily ignored. Even Nixon and Clinton never had the courage to do that.

    The President has repeatedly claimed he wants to pursue 'all of the above' about our energy future but environmentalists are not worried - they know he will claim to support nuclear power in press releases, then cut the funding so it isn't possible to complete anything. That is what is happening with MOX.

    He may not personally be against nuclear science, he doesn't seem to know much about science; judging by his prior claims on vaccines and autism and surrounding himself with UFO believers, a guy who thinks girls can't do math and a Doomsday prophet, he may be just getting bad advice. The worst advice was listening to Nevada Senator Harry Reid and appointing a non-physicist to run the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Allison Macfarlane's nuclear science credentials consisted of an advocacy book lobbying against Yucca Mountain and its decades of science research and being a Director at an anti-nuclear advocacy group. 

    That should have been the first warning that 'all of above' in speeches was about political science and not energy science.

    Is MOX perfect? Of course not, but we are already way behind the clean energy curve and silly wind turbines are not going to fix it. When President Clinton and then-Senator John Kerry eliminated nuclear science in America, it set safe nuclear energy plans back decades. If research had continued, events like the tsunami impact on the Dai-Ichi plant in Fukushima would be impossible. And the CO2 in America that resulted from increased coal due to nuclear energy being legislated out of existence by Democrats would not have happened.

    Now we face an uphill struggle to mitigate the CO2 emissions activists and their anti-science beliefs saddled us with. James Hansen, the foremost climate authority in the world, believes nuclear power saves lives.

    If James Hansen thinks nuclear power is green, why don't greens?

    Because they only accept science when it foretells our doom.

    Comments

    Once again, an ill-informed blog about the failed MOX program with nary a word abut where the additional $25 billion yet to be spent to come from. Do the big spenders backing this grossly mismanaged think the money will fall from the sky? Or better yet, China? And, as usual, not a word about holding DOE, NNSA and Shaw AREVA MOX Services accountable for the boondoggle.

    Hank
    It's like saying we shouldn't have built the Space Shuttle in the 1970s because we didn't know where the additional $196 billion to fly it in the future would come from.

    It is just the usual anti-science subterfuge trying to adopt a veneer of fiscal responsibility. Funny how there is no worry about cost effectiveness when it's an environmentalism pet project. Then, Gaea is worth any price.
    MikeCrow
    I can just imaging some in South Carolina, thinking with all that plutonium the civil war sure would have turned out differently :)
    Never is a long time.
    I enjoyed this article. I also enjoyed seeing the comments of Mr. Clements, who parades in the press as an expert in our field but is listed as possessing only a MA degree in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia and a BA from Emory University.

    Despite his lack of formal education in this matter, I love how his cost estimates seem to change from $30B to $25B depending on which post he makes. He's likely a financial expert as well if given the time to explain himself. What frustrates me most most about Clements and his environmental cronies is they offer no solution. How should we dispose of the material Mr. Clements? And disposing of it is your end goal...correct?

    A quick review of options: 1) vitrification - NNSA has said that is off the table bc we would need to bring in excess HLW from Hanford. No way Clements and crew would go for that. 2) leave it be - material never leaves sc 3) borehole - in sc? You have to be kidding 4) ship to France- I'm sure that will go over well and with our European friends in addition to costing a fortune 5) run through h-canyon - will have to renegotiate with Russians and alter land withdrawal act to ship to WIPP. Politically unrealistic

    So what does that leave us with??? MOX!!!

    Produce a better idea Mr. Clements. I dare you!