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Obama's hopes for a chain reaction

Mark Mardell | 16:51 UK time, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

President Obama.jpg

The president has attempted to kill three birds with one stone today.

He announced big government loans to help build two new nuclear power plants in Georgia. Although the US gets 20% of its energy from nuclear power, these are the first plants to be built in more than 30 years, since the Three Mile Island disaster.

First off: jobs, jobs, jobs, it'll create more than 4,000 of them.

Clean energy: flanked by three men in hard hats he told his audience, that "to meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power".

It's that simple. This one plant, for example, will cut carbon pollution by 16m tons each year when compared with a similar coal plant. That's like taking 3.5m cars off the road. It won't persuade all the environmentalists, but it is an argument that does weigh heavily with some of them.

Bipartisanship: There seems little doubt many Americans want to see their politicians rolling up their selves and getting on with the work, a spirit so lacking in Congress according to Senator Bayh.

But President Obama isn't just creating a touchy feely mood but challenging his opponents to give something back and support legislation on carbon capping. Those who have long advocated nuclear power - including many Republicans - have to recognise that we will not achieve a big boost in nuclear capacity unless we also create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable.

That is not just my personal conclusion; it is the conclusion of many in the energy industry, including CEOs of the nation's largest utility companies. Energy leaders and experts recognize that as long as producing carbon pollution carries no cost, traditional plants that use fossil fuels will be more cost-effective than plants that use nuclear fuel.

And the president wrapped it all that up by raising the fear that if America doesn't press ahead with nuclear power and other non-carbon technology, it will fall behind the rest of the world. Not bad for a morning's work.

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  • 1. At 5:19pm on 16 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    I may have to change my mind about Obama now. Bravo, Mr. President, bravo!

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  • 2. At 5:37pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Although the US gets 20% of its energy from nuclear power, ..." (from Mardell)

    This is not accurate. The US gets 20% of its electric energy from nuclear power. This is about 8.5% of US energy consumption.

    US Energy Flow Chart

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  • 3. At 5:44pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The US is already behind the rest of the world, as measured by nuclear share of electricity generation:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/nuc_generation/gensum2.html

    The US does have abundant hydro power in the Northwest, but elsewhere electricity is generated by burning coal or gas.

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  • 4. At 5:44pm on 16 Feb 2010, U13817236 wrote:

    "The president has attempted to kill three birds with one stone today"...to add to his growing legacy as a killer, no doubt. The president did not, however, have anything to say about the twelve civilians that were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan by his imperial war in that country. "Not bad for a morning's work." More in a growing toll to add to all the uncounted civilians killed by him there and in Iraq and Palestine and elsewhere. In a way, perhaps, that creates "jobs, jobs, jobs" too - for foreign mercenaries. And maybe the killer president will create even more jobs by attacking Iran's nuclear installations while all the while, building his own. We can only look forward to the day when some foreign country will impose sanctions on Amerika for enriching uranium and some tin horn overseas president will attack U.S. nuclear installations. In the meantime, the struggle will go on against the killer president's deadly foreign policy and his misguided and dangerous nuclear energy expansion plans. "All the environmentalists" are not at all persuaded is right - we've been through this battle before to stop risky nukes and we'll do it again. There's more than one good reason to oppose the killer president. Maybe we can kill four birds with this stone.

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  • 5. At 5:57pm on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM, It's not so much an issue if incentives, as of penalties for polluters.

    And of education.

    Decades of pool-side pinkos' propaganda making all things having a word 'nuclear' in it 'two legs baaaaaaad' - took its toll.

    Many semi-literates equate a nuclear reactor with a nuclear bomb and that's that scary ignorance which's created a NIMBY [not in my backyard] syndrom in the U.S.


    [particularly after Chernobyl, despite a fact that a Chernobyl type Russian lemon would never get certified anywhere in the West]

    If BHO is ready to push for building 40 6GW nuclear power plants he can not only increase his popularity, but, much more importantly significantly reduce America's dependence on imported oil.

    And U.S. trade deficit.

    Not something to sneeze at.

    Long overdue, but nevertheless a welcome step.

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  • 6. At 6:00pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Once a leader in nuclear power, the United States is now far behind as a result of the 30-year hiatus in building nuclear power plants. The reasons the US turned away from nuclear power include technology failures and waste disposal, but misrepresentation of the economics was a big factor as well. I remember it being said in the 1960s that nuclear power would be "too cheap to meter." This is laughable today.

    Here is a link to the sad store of the Trojan plant in Oregon, once the largest in the US, and decommissioned after less than twenty years of operation:

    Trojan Nuclear Power Plant

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  • 7. At 6:08pm on 16 Feb 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    If the administration wants to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants it might look at streamlining the process for environmental impact and Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval. The president gets all the publicity today but construction isn't likely to start until 2012--and that's assuming the usual NIMBY lawsuits aren't filed and that no endangered species of beetle is found inhabiting the site.

    I know it's anethema to the environmental crowd but why isn't the adminstration investing more in research to develop cleaner coal technolgy? The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal, it's ludicrous not to tap this resource to meet our energy needs. With all our technological prowess it must be possible to find ways to do this with reduced emissions.

    Oddly, the Obama administration just axed the proposed national site at Yucca Mountain Nevada for storing radiological waste, that leaves every state responsible for its own. No big deal perhaps for large states with lots of undeveloped land but a real potential problem for small densely populated states. If the president is going to push for nuclear power to meet our energy needs then suitable storage sites for nuclear waste and spent fuel have to be found and developed. Only the president has to clout and the influence to make it happen in spite of the usual partisan objections and NIMBYism if he chooses to excercise the leadership to do it.

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  • 8. At 6:15pm on 16 Feb 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Nuclear energy being ‘environmentally friendly’ is Orwellian doublespeak. The problems of nuclear power are the same as what they were forty years ago.

    Where do we put this toxic radioactive waste where it can safely be stored for thousands of years? If we store it underground how do we know it won’t pollute the soil and the water that goes through it? It only seems a matter of time before wildlife becomes affected. The situation is far worse if we dump in the deepest oceans.

    What do we do to the expired nuclear reactors after they have served their purpose for the thirty odd years which they seem to last for? They have to be left alone for perhaps thousands of years – probably polluting the environment around it.

    Uranium has to be mined and transported which in no way makes nuclear energy carbon neutral. Moreover, uranium is scarcer than coal and oil!
    It is also very expensive to build these power stations, to run them, insure them (I believe the State covers third-party claims), and is not cost-effective.

    Obama’s support for the environmental claims of nuclear energy are strangely missing when it comes to Iran!

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  • 9. At 6:16pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    This appears to be the reactor type to be built in Georgia:

    http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/

    Fortunately, international business has kept Westinghouse commercial nuclear technology going, because the US certainly hasn't. (Although the US Navy does use nuclear reactors also.)

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  • 10. At 6:27pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    I don't see that nuclear power plants have much to do with dependence on imported oil (see post #5). Very little electricity is generated from petroleum:

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

    When we convert to all-electric automobiles we will need the electric capacity to charge them, but that's quite a ways off yet.

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  • 11. At 6:35pm on 16 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    We need more than 2 but at least President Obama has conceded the need. A vital first step.

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  • 12. At 6:41pm on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "but construction isn't likely to start until 2012--and that's assuming the usual NIMBY lawsuits aren't filed and that no endangered species of beetle is found inhabiting the site."



    Scott, shame on you! You have forgotten to mention SPOTTED OWL!!!

    A species posters from U.S. North West surely must be familiar with. ;)

    [spotted owl having mutated into ecoterrorists' Trojan Horse]

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  • 13. At 6:49pm on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "uranium is scarcer than coal and oil!"



    Baloney!

    There are enough KNOWN uranium deposits to last us a 100 years.

    Not to mention a fact that you can actually produce more uranium than you use-up in fast-breeder reactors.


    Canadian McArthur River Mine alone would satisfy U.S. needs in a foreseeable future.

    But as you can see a Luddite scare campaign has already begun.

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  • 14. At 7:08pm on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#10.

    If EPA standards are going to be met, let alone any int. agreements, many U.S. coal-burning power plants will have to be replaced with oil/gas burning ones.


    Unless we go nuclear.

    Just like France, whose nuclear power plants supply more than 70% of that country's demand.

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  • 15. At 7:10pm on 16 Feb 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    The Southern Company who is building those two nuke plants in Georgia is deep in Obama's pocket. They are operating the National Carbon Capture Center. One of their coal plants will be the demo plant for carbon capture..they are sucking mightily at the teat of Obama's cash cow!

    They have agreed not to source the components for the nuclear plants from China....yessiree, so the components for these plants will be made in South Korea!

    The US does not HAVE a viable nuclear power industry. We don't have the industrial capacity to manufacture the pressure vessels, and indeed even the turbines will be outsourced. So..jobs..sure, the Koreans and the Japanese must love this!

    Nuclear Power is well understood, the Navy has been operating nuke plants without incident for decades. Civilian nuke power plants are NOT rocket science. The costs are "intangibles", what IF there were an accident, will any bank loan the money...so along comes Obama dishing out the public subsidies and the guarantees and indemnifying the plant operators...that ISN'T capitalism. Oh yes you find it in Europe all the time..color Europe bright pink (the parts that aren't red).

    Carbon Capture is a JOKE...but we are going to do ten years of massively expensive testing to find out that it doesn't work and will raise the cost of energy production. Obama's whole program is to make power generation SO EXPENSIVE that the ludicrously expensive "renewables" can compete, or at least pretend to compete!

    Obama is lying, cheating, dissembling, and waving his magic money wand around....same old same old!

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  • 16. At 7:11pm on 16 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Lovely! Georgia. Home of the Girl Scouts. Peaches. Vidalia Onions. East Coast Grid Boost. What's not to love?

    Of course as GH1618(#2) points out, we are a bunch of energy gluttons.
    So I'm still quite happy that Philly has a few solar energy groups moving in.

    I'm also happy about those Girl Scout cookies. Those Thin Mints are fabulous. Good work, Georgia.

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  • 17. At 7:17pm on 16 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    "I'm also happy about those Girl Scout cookies. Those Thin Mints are fabulous. Good work, Georgia."

    Come to Savannah and see the Andrew Low house, the place it all started! I live here in Georgia and they can build as close to me as they want. Nuclear plants often serve as mini nature preserves. Turkey Point in Florida is a great example.

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  • 18. At 7:20pm on 16 Feb 2010, dceilar wrote:

    #13 meerkat

    Pseudo-science indeed!

    Are you saying there is more uranium on this planet than oil or coal? You are nuts if you believe that. But that doesn’t surprise me!

    You’ll be saying uranium is easier to mine next!

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  • 19. At 7:25pm on 16 Feb 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #5 "..despite a fact that a Chernobyl type Russian lemon would never get certified anywhere in the West.." #7 "...If the administration wants to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants it might look at streamlining the process for environmental impact and Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval..."

    Lets just not let the home mortgage securities industry self-regulate the nuke plants..'k?

    #7 "...the Obama administration just axed the proposed national site at Yucca Mountain Nevada for storing radiological waste.." HOPEFULLY the first step in revising the international restrictions on recycling nuclear waste, which I am told by science types in the industry is super ridiculous and 'wasteful'

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  • 20. At 7:29pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The US has been working on the nuclear waste problem for almost thirty years:

    http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/about/History_Of_The_Nuclear_Waste_Program.shtml

    Shutting down the Yucca Mountain repository at this point is absurd, in my opinion. And it is almost entirely political rather than technical. In that time, a Nevada Senator (Reid) rose to become the Senate Majority Leader, who has the political clout to get rid of what his state doesn't want. But Reid is up for reelection this year, and could very well lose, despite his leadership position.

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/reid-hits-new-low-in-poll-81060702.html

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  • 21. At 7:38pm on 16 Feb 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I think I am beginning to grasp how the political system works in the US.

    So, in return for support of one nuclear power station (you can forget anything to do with reduction of carbon emissions, there's obviously no way that will get anywhere) how many Republicans and pseudo-Republican Democrats will hold out for the building of dozens of coal power stations as well?

    And if it's open to tender, suppose the French win it? Won't that be fun?

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  • 22. At 7:42pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "The US does not HAVE a viable nuclear power industry. We don't have the industrial capacity to manufacture the pressure vessels, and indeed even the turbines will be outsourced. So..jobs..sure, the Koreans and the Japanese must love this!" (from post #15)

    The loss of American industrial capacity to China and Korea is a general problem not restricted to nuclear power, which has been developing for a long time. Nevertheless, the reactors were developed by Westinghouse, an American company. Part of the reason that major reactor components are manufactured in Asia is because that is where nuclear power plants are being built:

    Shandong Nuclear Power Plants

    At least China has helped keep our nuclear power industry going. It is not an alternative, in the short run at least, to fabricate reactor components in the US.

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  • 23. At 7:46pm on 16 Feb 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Ho hum. Whereas after 4 or 5 thousand years, the inhabitants of Britain left Stonehenge as their legacy, and the Egyptians the pyramids, 20th century humans (after 10,000 years) will have left underground stores of radioactive waste.

    Civilisation? Don't talk to me about civilisation. . .

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  • 24. At 7:55pm on 16 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    csGators (#17),
    I had a lovely carriage ride through Savannah once. It's a gorgeous town! Unfortunately, my sons didn't qualify for Girl Scouts. But, I've been wanting to introduce them to the SE shoreline. Work on that nature reserve for me and I'll be sure to stop by!


    Scott0962 (#7)
    My impression was that Clean Coal is an oxymoron. The means by which it's collected, processed and spent all have dangerous environmental outcomes.

    Nonetheless - I'm sure folks are exploring it. Just because it's not fashionable doesn't mean enterprising minds aren't working out how to make a buck off it.

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  • 25. At 8:07pm on 16 Feb 2010, Irene McWatt wrote:

    So then, what are they going to do with the waste from nuclear power, dump it in the sea?

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  • 26. At 8:11pm on 16 Feb 2010, Haywardsward wrote:

    ” Show Me The Money”
    No Nuclear Generation System in the world runs without almost total taxpayer support from scoping to decommissioning.

    US nuclear reactor development was part of the USN nuclear submarine programme under Eisenhower. Those that became involved were told that nuclear generated power would be so cheap there would be no need to meter it! Well that did not add up!

    Nuclear power is one of the greatest consumers of government largesse, really the tax payer’s. Christopher Crane, Senior Vice President of Exelon, April 2007 in an address to the US Congress said that loan guarantees for new power plants must cover 100% of project debt, as otherwise financing of new power plants would be extremely difficult. So nuclear power is competitive only if the financial risks are largely taken over by the public. Also the insurance costs have to be underwritten by the public. Why?

    Actuaries make their living by working with numbers, to ascertain risk. No insurance would be available for nuclear reactor sites in the US if not for the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act which covers all non-military nuclear facilities constructed in the United States before 2026. The Act establishes a no fault insurance-type system in which the first $10 billion is industry-funded according to a scheme described in the Act (any claims above the $10 billion would be covered by the US Federal government, in fact the tax payer as that is from where "government money" comes.) Initially the Act was considered necessary as an incentive for the private production of nuclear power, because investors were unwilling to accept the then-unknown risks of nuclear energy without limitations on their liability. And it seems that that are still unwilling to accept the KNOWN risks.

    TCO including energy, environmental, infrastructure and finance for the materials, construction, maintenance of the plant/s and the big one decommissioning. All are blue sky figures loved by contractors and infrastructure vultures. No nuclear plant that I am aware of has ever come in on time and on budget.

    The grid is a big problem with only c.25% of the energy input providing consumable energy to the end user. This coupled with badly designed commercial buildings and private dwellings means we still have a 19th century supply and consumer model running in the 21st. C.

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  • 27. At 8:11pm on 16 Feb 2010, baroness wrote:

    This and other related articles on the site may be of interest:

    http://vtdigger.org/2010/01/15/delegation-requests-nrc-investigation-into-radioactive-leak-risks-at-vermont-yankee/

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  • 28. At 8:14pm on 16 Feb 2010, Nathan Nagelkerk wrote:

    Awesome that Obama is pushing nuclear energy. The 3 guys behind him is kind of funny :) The economy will still struggle though because of spending and debt.

    http://communislam.com/?p=50

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  • 29. At 8:24pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#21) wrote: "And if it's open to tender, suppose the French win it? Won't that be fun?"

    Ten UK Nuclear Power Stations by 2020

    "The French-owned company EDF announced their plans to build four power stations in Britain ...

    Don't know; perhaps you should tell us.

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  • 30. At 8:30pm on 16 Feb 2010, laughingdevil wrote:

    This is the first thing Obama as done that I actually think it's a good Idea. Congratulations, pity it took you so flipping long!

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  • 31. At 8:40pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to an article on the development of nuclear power in China: Uranium to Fuel Chinese Economic Advance (from uranium-stocks.net)

    This article compares the economics of uraniu, vs. oil from China's perspective.

    China has the very great advantage of not having to tolerate complaints from its citizenry on matters such as the environment, government subsidies, left-wing politics, and so on.

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  • 32. At 8:56pm on 16 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    #24 Philly-Mom "I had a lovely carriage ride through Savannah once."

    They are much more fun to ride in than to ride behind. Every time I walk past the carriage stations I say a prayer of thanks to Exxon-Mobil.

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  • 33. At 9:00pm on 16 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Former President Bush started a contest several years back to see what city in the USA would be best adaptable for the first clean coal carbon capture plant. There were several Texas towns, some Illinois towns, and maybe a few others, as well. Then, it was decided. An Illinois town was picked as the future site for Futuregen. Everyone was celebrating, totally stoked!

    Then, a week later, the govt. said that it was too expensive and that the millions we spent trying to get the project were wasted. Many Illinoisans believe that the Texans were spited because they did not get picked for Futuregen and that is why it did not come to Illinois. (Home pride by Bush)

    Now, the project has been put on hold. Energy Secty. Chu said the govt. has been interested, but that we need more investors. A few have joined up, but there has been no finality on when, where, why.

    So everything is moving to nuclear or to other sites. As for the nuclear issue, personally, I do not feel comfortable living close to nuclearity. What about the Russians and Chernobyl? There are people sickened for life. How will we prevent the USA from that? There is no guarentee of safety.

    Wind, solar and water energy are better investments than nuclear. I am against using ethanol for fuel, because it would be better to give the poor countries our excess corn, instead of using it for fuel. It's food fuel, not car fuel. Cars need to go all electric.

    But I do applaud President Obama for stepping up and trying to begin weaning us off of using so much energy. It is not only economic and political, as well as environmental, it is also preventing future wars with other countries over resources.

    Of course it will take time, but often the best things do. There is no time to start like the present. Let's go for it...

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  • 34. At 9:09pm on 16 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Good move by President Obama, although I fear it is too late to save most of the Democrats running for re-election in November.

    Ref. 32, I am embarrassed to admit that my tour was on a motorized trolley...fueled by EXXON-Mobil no doubt. Lovely city.

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  • 35. At 9:20pm on 16 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Our Girl Scout troop did take a trip to Savannah, Georgia. It was awesome! Georgia is a beautiful state, as well as my mom's name. So I definitely feel that connection. I am no longer in Girl Scouts, but I still buy the cookies. It doesn't get any better than frozen Thin Mints!!! :)

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  • 36. At 9:35pm on 16 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    By the by...

    There is nothing wrong with French technology & know how.I was for no reason other than Anglo Saxon predjdus,not a fan of any thing French,now this shows how stupid one can be,for I am a Celt.Having driven many miles,in many states of the US,who`s roads are a dream compared with the UK, French roads are in a all together different league,they are superb.For sheer stubborn people the French are no 1.That is why there is a French nuclear industry,Air bus,French car industry,Aerospace.Talking of Aircraft carriers,the US carrier groups,I see as very large & easy targets for the latest French exocet type missile witch caused such devastation to our anti missile ships down in the Falklands.I say that the large capital carriers will be made obsolete because of such French systems.SO be nice to them & no more cheese eating surrender monkeys,if you know whats good for you!!...

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  • 37. At 9:37pm on 16 Feb 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Ten UK Nuclear Power Stations by 2020

    "The French-owned company EDF announced their plans to build four power stations in Britain ...

    Don't know; perhaps you should tell us.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And they want to destroy iran's nuclear power stations under the diguise of "iran is making nuclear bomb"... This is how they plan to keep the present third world , the third world of the future.

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  • 38. At 9:37pm on 16 Feb 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Ah yes.. Westinghouse. That's the company Gordon Brown sold to the Japanese about twenty minutes before announcing that the UK was going to build new nuclear power stations.

    The economic genius of the man never ceases to amaze me.

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  • 39. At 10:01pm on 16 Feb 2010, kstrilobite wrote:

    The Patriot Act is still in force, Guantanamo is still in operation, we just invaded Afghanistan, George W. Bush has not been brought up on charges and now Obama is proposing the construction of nuclear power plants. This president was elected to change the way things are done in Washington and on these counts he has been a huge disappointment.

    We've got a perfectly good nuclear power source that's 150 million kilometers away. Take that 9 billion dollars away from the nuclear power industry and use it instead to develop wind and solar energy.

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  • 40. At 10:08pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    ukwales (#36) "Talking of Aircraft carriers,the US carrier groups,I see as very large & easy targets for the latest French exocet type missile witch caused such devastation to our anti missile ships down in the Falklands."

    I'd say you have this exactly backwards. The H.M.S. Sheffield was lost because its defenses were inadequate for the mission it was given (picket duty). Technology to defeat the early Exocet missiles was available, but not employed everywhere needed.

    As for the US Navy carrier battle groups, no hostile aircraft could get close enough to attack the carrier. This was the main lesson taught by the Falklands War. Even though the UK had a definite advantage, and was certain to prevail, it could not, with its small carriers, establish total air superiority over the war zone. The UK paid a heavy price which one large carrier with suitable aircraft would have avoided.

    The UK is only now building two large carriers, the Queen Elizabeth class.

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  • 41. At 10:21pm on 16 Feb 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re: #12. At 6:41pm on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "but construction isn't likely to start until 2012--and that's assuming the usual NIMBY lawsuits aren't filed and that no endangered species of beetle is found inhabiting the site."



    Scott, shame on you! You have forgotten to mention SPOTTED OWL!!!

    A species posters from U.S. North West surely must be familiar with. ;)

    [spotted owl having mutated into ecoterrorists' Trojan Horse]"


    Hehe, powermeerkat I do live in the Northwest and I know the history behind the spotted owl. For those who don't, envvironmentalts raised an issue of an endangered species of owl as an excuse to shut down logging in large tracts of admittedly beautiful forest by claiming it could live no where else but in old growth forest. It severely impacted the logging industry in Washington and Oregon and threw thousands of people out of work.

    For a while the controversy got downright nasty. Lawsuits were filed in Federal court, injunctions issued, property damaged and even lives endangered and in the end more research proved that spotted owls do in fact nest and hunt in second growth forest and the chief threat to them is not logging but encroachment of a more aggressive species of owl into their range. But the small towns that depended on logging haven't fully recovered to this day and we now import from Canada a lot of the same type of lumber we used to produce in our own mills.

    The experience has made a lot of people up here more skeptical of environmentalists when they bring up new concerns. The standard of proof has gone up.

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  • 42. At 10:37pm on 16 Feb 2010, David Williams wrote:

    Try googling "thorium power". You'll find information about the use of thorium, instead of uranium, as a fuel in nuclear fission reactors. It is immensely safer than uranium, producing much less and shorter-lived radioactive waste, and is also much cheaper and plentiful.

    Why is it not yet widely used? Because, when nuclear energy was developed during the Cold War period, politicians wanted a technology that could be used to produce nuclear weapons. This cannot be done with thorium. But nowadays our priorities are different. Thorium offers an opportunity for us to use nuclear energy peacefully with minimal risk and essentially zero pollution.

    It is to be hoped that the new nuclear power plants that are now being planned will use thorium fuel.

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  • 43. At 10:38pm on 16 Feb 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. # 24. At 7:55pm on 16 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    csGators (#17),

    "Scott0962 (#7)
    My impression was that Clean Coal is an oxymoron. The means by which it's collected, processed and spent all have dangerous environmental outcomes.

    Nonetheless - I'm sure folks are exploring it. Just because it's not fashionable doesn't mean enterprising minds aren't working out how to make a buck off it."

    That's my point, the environmentalists have tried to make it impossible to even discuss the issue of cleaner burning coal because it doesn't fit in with their plans. They dismiss the very idea as an impossible pipedream while doing everything they can to block any serious investigation into the technical possibilities. The reason? Because even if you were able to reduce coal emissions by 90% the remaining emissions would be still be unacceptable to them. Name one other energy source from which perfection is demanded. They all have their flaws, either in emissions, hazardous waste, dependency on environmental factors, threat to migrating birds, etc.

    Obviously any power source that relies on the consumption of fuel should be considered transitional. We'll run out of oil, coal and natural gas one day. The supply of uranium to power nuclear reactors is finite and will run out eventually too. In the meantime though these sources provide the energy to that drives our economies and supports research into more sustainable energy sources. Demonizing them because they cannot be made perfect is political correctness run amok.

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  • 44. At 10:51pm on 16 Feb 2010, Clive Bruton wrote:

    Some facts about uranium deposits:

    UK government says (2006) that at current demand there is around 50 years of recoverable reserves. This can be extended by a further 30 years if existing fuel can be recycled and it is recovered from nuclear weapons. This relies upon usage at current levels.

    Obviously if many countries are looking to increase their nuclear generating capacity then the available reserves will be depleted much more quickly. To my mind this indicates that nuclear power (fission) does not have a long-term or major contribution to make to the future electricity generation of the world (ie it is not possible with current reserves for everyone to match France's output of over 70% of electricity from nuclear power stations. If the USA tried to get anywhere near that it would probably consume the vast majority of existing reserves).

    The original document citing this is the UK Government's 2006 energy review, download the PDF here:

    http://www.copeland.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=1211

    The information cited is on p64.

    I don't have a view on fast breeder reactors either way. My view on nuclear power, coloured by these *facts*, is that we need diverse sources of generation.

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  • 45. At 10:54pm on 16 Feb 2010, Haywardsward wrote:

    GH1618,
    No aircraft needed just one submarine.

    “Gotland class submarine” Wikipedia.
    In 2004, the Swedish government received a request from the United States of America to lease HMS Gotland, Swedish-flagged, commanded and manned, for a duration of one year for use in anti-submarine warfare exercises. The Swedish government granted this request in October 2004, with both navies signing a memorandum of understanding on March 21, 2005. The lease was extended for another 12 months in 2006.

    HMS Gotland managed to snap several pictures of the USS Ronald Reagan during a wargaming exercise in the Pacific Ocean, effectively "sinking" the aircraft carrier. The exercise was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the US Fleet against diesel-electric submarines, which some have noted as severely lacking.


    Other sources I have found say that no ship, Australian Canadian or US, taking part in this ASW exercise was able to locate HMS Gotland.

    And just one submarine again.

    In a combined exercise of ADF,Navy Army & Airforce and USN,USA & USAAF in Shoalwater Bay QLD Australia a RAN submarine just sat on the bottom waiting for the exercise to start.It ascended very slowly to periscope depth and took several pictures of the US carrier that was to provide air support in the exercise.


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  • 46. At 10:54pm on 16 Feb 2010, Clive Bruton wrote:

    I think there is also a big question mark about the carbon neutral aspect of nuclear power, when you factor in the fuel recovery and processing, and power plant construction and decommissioning.

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  • 47. At 11:03pm on 16 Feb 2010, NobodysHero wrote:

    Ok, so a quick recap. We have on the topic of nuclear power generation a flag waving contest of surface navy ships, a discussion about girl scout cookies and some worries about the availability of uranium for nuclear power. Let's see if I can try multitasking and address all three in one reply:
    1. Girl Scout cookies are delicious! (that was easy)
    2. Surface navy ships are little more than floating coffins since the advent of cruise missiles and the U.S.N. finally admitted it because China now has decent land based missiles (https://www.usni.org/forthemedia/ChineseKillWeapon.asp)
    3. The amount of uranium in the world is much, much less than coal, this is not a problem because of how much more energy we get out of a lump of uranium versus an equivalent lump of coal. A visualization for you education (http://i50.tinypic.com/2pys08h.gif) and (http://i47.tinypic.com/jg5oyf.gif) so its not like we need all that much uranium for a power plant. Honestly, the uranium number is deceptive, as it assumes 1960's tech, if we are talking about gen IV reactors, you would reduce the amount of uranium used by a factor of 10-30.

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  • 48. At 11:08pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Why is it (Thorium) not yet widely used? Because, when nuclear energy was developed during the Cold War period, politicians wanted a technology that could be used to produce nuclear weapons." (from David Williams at #42)

    Some people have to have a conspiracy theory for everything.

    The actual reason is simply that technology develops over time. Uranium fission technology came first, then closely related plutonium fission technology almost simultaneously, because that was what was best understood and most practical at the time of development of the atomic bomb, which was the primary motivation. This technology was then leveraged into power reactors, first for submarines and large ships, then for commercial power.

    Thorium as a source of commercial power is more recent. Here is an article from Technology Review on the subject.

    Claiming that the prevalence of uranium technology is a result of a conspiracy is about as sensible as claiming that vinyl lps were used for music for many years before the CD replaced them as a conspiracy to sell more diamonds for needles.


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  • 49. At 11:09pm on 16 Feb 2010, Passerby wrote:

    The US Deep South is presently in a protracted, decades-long regional drought. In the recent past, power production at Savannah River (nuclear power plant) was curtailed due to insufficient cooling water. The announcement of not one, but two new nuclear power plants to be built in Georgia raises the following questions:

    1. Where will the state procure the necessary water supply for cooling these plants? The regional rivers are over-taxed for supply as it is, with Atlanta using reclaimed water to makeup deficits due to population growth in the past decade.
    2. How will the state and federal regulators manage the environmental review process and it's costs - the longstanding reason for a lack of new nuclear power plants in the US?

    It would also be good to hear the rationale for siting both plants in Georgia. Surely the regional demand and seasonal shortage issues are worse to the north.

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  • 50. At 11:17pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Haywardsward (#45) "No aircraft needed just one submarine."

    Submarines are harder to defend against, certainly. But the argentines had only a couple of obsolete submarines which were not a factor.

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  • 51. At 11:43pm on 16 Feb 2010, james wrote:

    What is being accomplished in safe nuclear waste disposal, especially a system that will not haunt later generations? How do we dispose now?

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  • 52. At 11:57pm on 16 Feb 2010, Haywardsward wrote:

    GH1618,
    I was not addressing the Falklands Farrago.

    You mentioned specifically USN Carrier Battle Groups. The reason they are a Group is because that is what it takes to protect the Carrier itself.
    A CVBG may have 2 Guided Missile Cruisers, 2 Anti Aircraft Warships,and 1-2 Anti Submarine Destroyers or Frigates and sometimes also includes a hunter killer submarine.

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  • 53. At 00:17am on 17 Feb 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Kudos to Pres. Obama for opening the discussion on sources of more electric power. Now, continuing to meet future needs, how about streamlining the environmental reviews for added TRANSMISSION LINES to connect power generation facilities to the end users? Our existing system of transmission lines, esp. in California, would be stretched to the max if and when we got back to full employment (say under 6% unemployed.) We had a number of rolling blackouts in the summers of the early part of the 2000-2009 decade, because many residents would turn on their air-conditioners in the afternoon, and manufacturing still existed here, which also used KW of power. The upside of adding more transmission facilities (which would depend on the state PUCs allowing the utilities to include the safety margin in their rate bases) is that many currently unemployed from the construction industry could find full time jobs.
    My remaining question is: How come it took him 13 months after inauguration to determine that added electrical generation for the US is desirable?
    TeaPot562

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  • 54. At 00:28am on 17 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    I am glad that the President is hoping for a chain reaction, but in theory it is called a hat trick...He is probably lucky to get 2 out of the 3 things that he announced.

    {Dennis Junior}

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  • 55. At 00:49am on 17 Feb 2010, User Five six zero four one zero wrote:

    Watch out all those countries with rich deposits of uranium - You are about to be liberated from evil dictatorships and have democracy delivered courtesy of the Pentagon. Has militant Islam already seen this coming and started converting people in uranium rich regions ready for the next jihad?

    The Sum of all Fears.

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  • 56. At 00:58am on 17 Feb 2010, quixote wrote:

    If nuclear power is so great, why do the nuclear companies themselves insist on taxpayer support before they'll do a thing?

    Obama's largesse of $8 billion will go toward two, count 'em, TWO, power plants. Do you know how many would need to be built to supply only one seventh of total US energy by 2050? One gigawatt plant every six weeks or so.

    Nukes don't have anything to do with energy, except wasting it. No, the answer is in that little line about "4000 jobs." At $8 billion in subsidies, that's . . . wait for it . . . $2,000,000 per job.

    The workers won't be paid that much. Gee, it must be the big nuclear construction companies like Exelon who'll be laughing all the way to the bank. And they just happened to be big contributors to Obama's campaigns.

    Same pattern as with Goldman Sachs, Wellpoint health insurance, and so on. It's getting real old.

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  • 57. At 01:06am on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Haywardsward (#52) "I was not addressing the Falklands Farrago."

    Well I was. Something like a USN battle group is what the UK needed at the Falklands, meaning something capable of establishing total air superiority.

    The discussion began with ukwales at #36 arguing against large carriers.

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  • 58. At 01:08am on 17 Feb 2010, Cloud-Cuckoo wrote:

    Lots of rubbish about French Nuclear Industry in the posts.

    Nuclear only provides 16% of French total energy and hasn't cut oil consumption, which is higher in France per capita than Germany or Italy.

    It has been massively state subsidised and even so is not insured properly nor paying to deal with its waste and to clean up reactors that have shut down. More info:
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 59. At 01:09am on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    quixote (#56) "Obama's largesse of $8 billion ..."

    It's a loan guarantee, not a gift.

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  • 60. At 01:09am on 17 Feb 2010, Haywardsward wrote:

    Passerby,
    Dearth of fresh water is another problem to be added to my list in #26.

    Here Down Under in the Commonwealth of Australia the second driest continent in the world there are still those pushing for Nuclear Power Generation.

    This despite the fact that we have the greatest amount of insolation of any developed nation. Also somehow we cannot utilise ourselves the continents natural gas resources by building a nationwide pipeline distribution system.

    Instead we sell it to China for c.5 Aus cents a litre?

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  • 61. At 01:12am on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    james (#51) "What is being accomplished in safe nuclear waste disposal, especially a system that will not haunt later generations? How do we dispose now?"

    It's being studied again (after thirty years of working on the problem.

    http://www.energy.gov/news/8584.htm

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  • 62. At 01:15am on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 56 "If nuclear power is so great, why do the nuclear companies themselves insist on taxpayer support before they'll do a thing?"

    So let me get this straight, the same people who think almost everything else should be run and controlled by the government don't think that about electricity? Electricity has a much bigger effect on health then any bill congress could pass.

    Until the AGW crowd jump on the nuclear bandwagon I can not take them seriously. If you do what these people want to do without nuclear power we will all be third world countries.

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  • 63. At 01:16am on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    "Obama's largesse of $8 billion"

    Oh I forgot the obligitory "Now your worried about spending? Where was that under Bush, er, I mean Obama"

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  • 64. At 01:17am on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Passerby (#49) "It would also be good to hear the rationale for siting both plants in Georgia."

    It's Georgia Power that wants to build them. I don't suppose they would put them in another state. It's not a federal project.

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  • 65. At 01:21am on 17 Feb 2010, Mike Daly wrote:

    I'm sort of ourtaged to be honest with you. I think almost every Republican President has wanted to get Nuclear Power Plants built and the Democrats have fought tooth and nail to stop it. Now Barak Obama comes along and "it's a great idea". This is not a knock on Barak Obama, he's simply doing something he thinks is a good idea and he supports, it's the other members of the Democratic Party that I'm interesting to hearing from.

    I've supported the use of Nuclear Power since I was in 8th grade and I was in a debate "for it". The arguments against Nuclear Power really don't stand up. Yes, a Core Meltdown would be catastrophic but the odds of it happening are remote - especially with the incredible jumps in technology since the last plants were built in the US. Nuclear Waste is an issue but really, how difficult can it be to find a place to deposit it.

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  • 66. At 01:29am on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    I should also add the government is only guaranteeing the loans; it won't cost the taxpayer anything unless they default on the loan.

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  • 67. At 01:33am on 17 Feb 2010, jyt230 wrote:

    The irony is the US has vehemently lobbied against the production of nuclear power plants in Iran and many other countries in recent years.


    A chain reaction he does not want.

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  • 68. At 01:38am on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 65 "I'm sort of ourtaged to be honest with you. I think almost every Republican President has wanted to get Nuclear Power Plants built and the Democrats have fought tooth and nail to stop it. Now Barak Obama comes along and "it's a great idea". "

    While I agree with sentiment it often takes a president of the opposing party to do something big. Nixon opening up China is one example, Clinton and welfare reform (although it was shoved down his throat) is another.

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  • 69. At 01:53am on 17 Feb 2010, quixote wrote:

    A loan guarantee is a gift if you wind up having to pay. If it were a good bet, there are industries who take on that sort of thing. It tells you something that the only people who can be induced to make the guarantee are taxpayers with no say in the matter.

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  • 70. At 02:19am on 17 Feb 2010, geoffreysmall wrote:

    Nuclear energy is not clean. Many people think nuclear power is so complicated it requires discussion at a high level of technicality. That's pure nonsense. Because the issue is simple and straightforward.

    There are only two things about nuclear power that you need to know. One, why do you want nuclear power? So you can boil water. That's all it does. It boils water. And any way of boiling water will give you steam to turn turbines. That's the useful part.

    The other thing to know is, it creates a mountain of radioactivity, and I mean a mountain: astronomical quantities of strontium-90 and cesium-137 and plutonium--toxic substances that will last--strontium-90 and cesium for 300 to 600 years, plutonium for 250,000 to 500,000 years--and still be deadly toxic. 1 microgram, that's 1 millionth of a gram of plutonium will kill you. And death by acute radiation poisoning is no picnic. Your body turns into a greenish brown liquid within 3-21 days, including your bones, with your skin literally falling off of you.

    The whole thing about nuclear power is this simple: can you, or can't you, keep it all contained? If you can't, then you're creating a human disaster. You not only need to control it from the public, you also need to control it from the workers. Because the dose that federal regulations allow workers to get is sufficient to create a genetic hazard to the whole human species. You see, those workers are allowed to procreate, and if you damage their genes by radiation, and they intermarry with the rest of the population, for genetic purposes it's just the same as if you irradiate the population directly.

    So I find nuclear power this simple: do you believe they're going to do the miracle of containment that they predict? The answer is they're not going to accomplish it. It's outside the realm of human prospects.

    You don't need to discuss each valve and each transportation cask and each burial site. The point is, if you lose a little bit of it--a terribly little bit of it--you're going to contaminate the earth, and people are going to suffer for thousands of generations. You have two choices: either you believe that engineers are going to achieve a perfection that's never been achieved, and you go ahead; or you believe with common sense that such a containment is never going to be achieved, and you give it up.

    If people really understood how simple a problem it is--that they've got to accomplish a miracle--no puffs like Three Mile Island, no explosions like Mayak or Chernobyl, no leaks like Tricastin, Sellafield and a hundred others around the world, no near misses like Davis-Besse, - or all the other squirts and the spills that they always tell you won't harm the public--if people understood that, they'd say, "This is ridiculous. You don't create this astronomical quantity of garbage and pray that somehow a miracle will happen to contain it. You just don't do such stupid things. Unless you are terribly uninformed. Which is the reality of today's generation's understanding of what nuclear energy and its true risks are about.

    Barack Obama's totally misguided decision and the equally misguided public acceptance of our entrance into the new plutonium economy is the beginning of the end of the human race. Make no mistake about it. The stakes of nuclear are as high as they can get. And there is simply no margin for error.

    All it takes is one big mistake or terrorist act and that my friends, will be it. Don't believe me, ask someone who has been through one of the little mistakes. Ask someone who lived through Mayak or Chernobyl, or the millions who have already been irradiated somewhere around the world working in or living near a nuclear reactor, what it is like. Ask any nuclear engineer or scientist who had to deal with a meltdown core near any body of water like Chernobyl 4 days after the first catastrophic explosion, when they barely avoided a critical mass chain reaction that would have created an explosion of 3-5 megatons, enough to wipe out all of Russia and render all of continental Europe uninhabitable for at least half a million years.

    Maybe people should inform themselves a little more thoroughly. Nuclear energy is not clean, never has been. Indeed, it is the farthest thing from it. The technology has not changed since the Manhattan Project, and there is no viable solution for the deadly radioactive waste of which the US is currently sitting on over 70,000 metric tons in temporary storage in swimming pools and parking lots all over the country, each one in fact, a bomb in waiting. And every nuclear power plant produces at least 20 more metric tons of deadly waste each year it operates. We are playing a game of russian roulette on a massive scale. And for all those fellows complaining about NIMBY arguments, I cordially invite them to welcome a nuclear plant absolutely right in their back yard and let their own kids and families experience what it is really about. Maybe then, they'll learn the truth, the hard way. Like I said, ask the people who live near one already.

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  • 71. At 02:19am on 17 Feb 2010, Pass Torian wrote:

    While Obama tries to impress the nation with his proposal of "environmentally friendly" nuke plants, China is making huge 60 billion dollars deal with Australia to dig more coal for their production needs.

    So we will keep the air clean on these shores and China, with Australia eager help, will make air full of carbon derivatives on their shores.

    Isn't the Earth round? Something is amiss here. Maybe we need nuclear power plants to have its ample byproduct to be used, God forbid, in some other production? In the context of this subject matter, the quarrel with Iran cannot escape my thinking.

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  • 72. At 02:41am on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    # 70 "Because the dose that federal regulations allow workers to get is sufficient to create a genetic hazard to the whole human species."

    Wow. Don't go near any concrete that's been in the sun...the rads are higher than that on site at a nuclear plant. In fact if you bring concrete into a nuclear recycle facility it can never leave because it will never be clean enough.

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  • 73. At 02:42am on 17 Feb 2010, Haywardsward wrote:

    GH1618 @ 57.
    "Well I was. Something like a USN battle group is what the UK needed at the Falklands, meaning something capable of establishing total air superiority."

    Not if your pride and joy the Carrier is sunk by a lone undetectable Gotland class submarine!

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  • 74. At 04:58am on 17 Feb 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Federal and state environmental regulations are beginning to simplify, and the simplification has accelerated under the Obama administration. Note I didn't say 'become looser', I said simplify. Simpler language written to the point, enforced to the point, and not just 'restriction through complexity and/or delay.'

    I agree with many posters that this cannot fly unless the regulatory burden and the opportunities for political roadblocks are significantly reduced. My father (also) helped design two nuclear power plants. He said that they knew perfectly well how to make them safe, but the constant revisions coming from Washington long after the plans were final threatened the integrity of the whole project again and again.

    This is kind of like health care, folks - if we had the will, we could excel once again. But even a national consensus, an urgent national priority, can be blocked so that one senator can exempt his state from paying their share, or from taking responsibility for their own waste.

    One thing many of us have in common with the Tea Parties - disgust with business as usual in the District of Columbia.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 75. At 05:51am on 17 Feb 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As someone who actually worked for a very large engineering firm on a project to design and build a nuclear power plant that was ultimately cancelled, I have some insight into what it takes. The cadre of engineers and designers who grew with the industry during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and understand how to meet the requirements are gone. Of the few who are not dead or long retired they haven't worked on one in over 30 years. American standards are different from foreign standards so foreign engineers cannot be imported nor engineering work farmed out. Meeting the requirements of the NRC is much tougher I think than meeting what the IAEC wants. There is more to the environmental impact and risk than just radiation, there is for example large quantities of waste heat that must be discharged into rivers. This can alter their ecosystem. Because of the dire consequence of an escape of radioactive material, every conceivable possibility such as long dormant volcanoes, the possibility of earthquakes must be taken into consideration and explained to the satisfaction of the NRC. So must an evacuation plan. The Shorem Plant on Long Island was completed at a cost of one billion dollars but was never fueld or put on line because the owner, the now defunct LILCO (Long Island Lighting Company) couldn't come up with an acceptable evacuation plan. Companies like GE and Westinghouse will still be able to dig out the old drawings and design and build reactors, it's quite another thing to design and build an entire plant. BTW, the containment building is designed to withstand a direct impact of a fully loaded 747 jet. If terrorists are going to successfully strike an American nuclear power plant, it won't be with the strategy used to knock down the World Trade Center. Back in the middle 1970s when this project was active, the engineering budget was 84 million dollars. About 235 full time employees were required at its peak within the engineering company. This did not include contractors, subcontractors, and vendors. The estimated cost to complete after interest during construction was included was 1.1 billion dollars. I joined the project around early 1976. It had been going on for two years when I joined it. The estimated start up dates depending on how fast the owner wanted it built was 1983, 1984, and 1985 so it's around a ten year process from engineering contract to completed plant. In all honesty I think it will be difficult to assemble a qualified team to hit the ground running on the design phase. It's a lost art that will have to be relearned, a slow process that cannot be rushed just because some politician decided they want it done by a certain date.

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  • 76. At 06:13am on 17 Feb 2010, Edgeofurbania wrote:

    Most interesting! President Obama has first off, recognized the need for more Nuclear plants, at the expense of shocking his far left, tree hugging, anti most everything that makes society function, base. And has shown the world that if the Libs can accept Nuclear Power, then we may not be so energy dependant after all. That is good news! If we really can wean ourselves off oil, then the Middle East will become like the African conflicts we seem to be ignoring...

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  • 77. At 06:18am on 17 Feb 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Good post, MA.

    If you could design an efficient and responsible regulatory framework for the construction of a nuclear power plant that would be a net improvement on fossil fuel plants, what would it look like?

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 78. At 07:27am on 17 Feb 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    There is so much to comment on, so I'll just go with one of the more recent idiocies of the 'environmental-catastrophists'

    Post#46 (and I'm not accusing you of being one of the above):

    "I think there is also a big question mark about the carbon neutral aspect of nuclear power, when you factor in the fuel recovery and processing, and power plant construction and decommissioning."

    This represents an astonishingly empty argument against a technology that does not rely on the burning of carbon compounds to generate energy.
    Carbon-neutrality is only an issue for Nuclear-Power because we use so much oil and coal to make electricity, heat our buildings, drive our trucks cars and trains, make our concrete and steel, cook our pizzas, etc.

    If the world economy already ran on nuclear-power (the energy being used to generate electricity, hydrogen and other energy-intensive chemical feedstocks, then this would be obvious to all.
    But it doesn't. The world economy runs, primarily, on fossil-fuels:
    coal, oil, and gas.
    So you have burn some of it to even get your alarm clock to ring in the morning.

    Living now in Charleston South Carolina, I would be happy to see more nuclear power stations heating my appartment, like when it actually snowed here the other day.
    (Note to environmentalists: Even this far south, it still gets cold in winter, and the sun still never shines at night.)

    With greater energy-independence the US and Europe can start living up to their professed ethical-values and not have to worry about fighting wars for energy resources against nasty despots in other parts of the world.

    (Oh... And there's an awful lot of extractable uranium in seawater, guys. This was done decades ago. As a chemist, it didn't look at all difficult to me, and could easily be improved upon.)


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  • 79. At 07:27am on 17 Feb 2010, docblue wrote:

    The sheer arrogance and hypocrisy of this and previous US president on this issue is staggering.
    The USA is allowed to use nuclear energy, but Iran is not??
    Personally, I despise the political views of the Iranian president, but if the "international community" does not object to the use of nuclear energy by the USA, then why should it do so for Iran? At no point has Iran come close to developing nuclear weapons, unlike the USA, UK, Russia, Israel, France, India, Pakistan, China (which has a much more questionable human rights record than Iran), who are all known to actually have nuclear weapons.

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  • 80. At 09:02am on 17 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    KSC – Appears we have something in common, my Father built test prototypes for a number of engineering projects including nuclear power stations (and missile guidance system) back in the 70’s.

    While I am not against nuclear fission power, it has problems the primary one being currently it is dirty, especially when it comes to waste. Secondly while Powermeerkat is partially correct, we do have uranium reserves for decades, that is decades at current consumption, the problem is the more stations built the higher the rate of consumption the less time the reserves last. China is involved in a much larger nuclear power programme, if memory serves they are talking about commissioning one station a year for at least the next decade. Even if we have reached Peak Oil, which despite Saudi assurances is a possibility, the oil reserves will last longer (though the carbon effect would be greater – not that this will be an issue for Power).

    Fission power can only be regarded as a stop gap unless alternative sources can be located, or fusion becomes a viable alternative. I read an article recently about hot fusion, which suggested that this was actually a workable idea now. While not as efficient as the fabled cold fusion, it is vastly more efficient and cleaner than fission. Nuclear power, probably fusion over fission, is a good reason to return to the Moon, as it contains He3 reserves. Of course the biggest stumbling block to that is the massive expense.

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  • 81. At 10:04am on 17 Feb 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I really don't see that this is much more than a gesture. For one thing, this is a lot of money to use to 'guarantee' two power stations that won't actually reduce any 'energy dependency' or improve 'energy security' for years anyway. And so it creates three thousand jobs while they're being built --for how long? Ten years? And 400 permanent jobs when they come on stream.

    Well, that's really going to make a huge dent in US unemployment, isn't it? 95,000 people claimed unemployment insurance in Georgia (population 10 million) just last month, according to the Georgia Dept of Labour. So if I'm doing my sums right, these two nuclear powers stations will absorb one day's unemployed. And, btw, Georgia Power has already been downsizing and this month is apparently planning on getting rid of 400 people . . .that's one nuclear power station's 'new' employees . . .

    And then I've just realised that there is an inference no-one appears to have drawn from these being the 'first new nuclear power stations for 30 years. It should be obvious: the USA has about a hundred nuclear power stations, I heard. The working life of one is about 40 years. So, by the time these two new ones are finished in Georgia, surely the majority of the others will be at the point where they will have to be shut down, decommissioned and replaced, won't they?

    Now that really is going to result in one hell of a bill, isn't it? Probably make the bank bailout look like small change.

    Or is the plan just to end up around 2020 with only two? As a long-term energy plan, as I think about it, this doesn't seem to amount to much.

    I have this suspicion this is just a cynical bit of political manoeuvring. Give the Republicans something nuclear to cheer about (the right likes all things nuclear, unless they're Iranian) but if they won't agree to carbon caps or carbon trading (and they won't, will they?) then a relatively useless plan as far as long-term energy strategy is concerned can be safely dumped and the Republicans blamed in time for November . . .

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  • 82. At 10:09am on 17 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    GH1618,

    There are anti US posters dotted through this blog & I am not one of them,I will josh with some US posters but I have a deep gratitude for the US.I honestly feel large carrier battle groups are very vulnerable & hope I am never proved right.I think it was your guy Michel (forgive my spelling)who proved that a tiny air craft could sink a Dreadnought,& it will be a tiny long range sea skimming missile costing next to nothing that will cause a national catastrophe.The UK building air craft carriers is a mistake,small fast & with stealth is the way to go...

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  • 83. At 11:42am on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    SQUIRRELIST WROTE:
    And if it's open to tender, suppose the French win it? Won't that be fun?





    It would be bloody amazing: the French finally wining a battle. :-)

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  • 84. At 11:48am on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #22 GH1618




    Please note , that INDIA also wants to build at least 20 nuclear power plants based on U.S. technology, as soon as relevant security measures required by Washington are agreed upon in New Delhi.


    p.s. I see that no treehugger wants to answer a point re fast breeding reactors which actually produce MORE uranium-235 than they consume.

    I guess to busy explaining away PC scientists' forgeries behind a "man-made global warming' snafu.

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  • 85. At 11:59am on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #25


    Please educate yourself about safe methods of nuclear waste storage, including vitrification.



    P.S. The Senior Honorable Senator from Nevada (Reid) is a dead meat, it seems.

    Although Yucca Flats seem not.

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  • 86. At 12:17pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #31

    Please note, that the cost-analysis quoted, extremely favourbale to nuclear energy versus oil/coal - has been based on a $60.00 p/brl cost.

    Whereas the real oil price has been oscilating around $70.00 p/brl at best and reaching as high as $150.00 p/brl at worst.


    [I will skip geopolitical consequences of massive oil imports from the ME, let alone security issues involved.]


    FYI: A bulk of good quality uranium ore deposits are located in just two stable Western countries: Australia and Canada.

    [ the 3d, being Kazakhstan]

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  • 87. At 12:26pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #36

    He who speaks ill of Airbus A-380,a-400M and A-350 , has obviously never owned a French designed/built car. ;)


    [thankfully all French brands miserably failed in the U.S.]


    And to suicidal fools who would want to fire Exocet rockets at U.S. aircraft carriers I say:

    "GO AHEAD! MAKE OUR DAY!" :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 88. At 12:26pm on 17 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Powermeerkat – “It would be bloody amazing: the French finally winning a battle” – I take it you don’t read much history then, the French (which controlled an empire which at the time was the closest rival to the British, it still retains some of those imperial holdings) have been very successful in winning battles, after all they helped the American Revolutionaries beat the ‘orrible British Red Coats.

    They were on the winning side of WWI, again seizing German lands, that being one of the reasons for WWII (well one given by the Germans prior to the war anyway). Too much of the world, especially on the American side of the Atlantic seem to think that WWII is a good example of French military endeavours, that and Waterloo. What they forget is that Waterloo came after France had conquered most of mainland Europe and the allied forces only just won.

    Oh and Agincourt, forgetting that the reason the English throne held so much land in France is because after Hastings many of the British Kings had been French (Richard I, the Lion Heart spent more time in France than England, then again that wouldn’t be hard since as king he spent less than a year in England).

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  • 89. At 12:31pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Those who claim here that mining coal is safer than mining uranium have to look no further than to deadly accident records in Chinese coal mines.

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  • 90. At 12:33pm on 17 Feb 2010, arclightt wrote:

    There's lots in here today.

    @75 (MK): Good post. Same is true, by the way, in space exploration, some aspects of communications engineering, and a number of other areas. The technical talent just doesn't exist in the US any longer; one of our challenges is to rekindle interest in our young, even if it means that they ultimately have to migrate outside the country to work. I'd rather have them smart and capable and at least sow the seeds for a return to intellectual strength, than let another generation grow up mentally flabby and have them condemned to whatever low-paying jobs will still exist in a few years.

    Nuke power: Rather than choking on the waste, we should put our minds to work on how to reduce the residual radioactivity at an accelerated rate. Part of the reason we haven't found any such method is because there's not been any real support for nuclear power in 30 years. No support = no development = no solutions. And we push push push on fusion power, because that's the right long-term nuclear solution.

    Coal power: Same thing. Rather than turn up our noses, we put our minds to work on (a) how to extract it without tearing up the countryside (robots underground? some other method?) and (b) how to burn it efficiently and still meet reasonable environmental requirements (use MHD on the back end? Some other process?). Again, no support = no development = no solutions.

    One aside: Anything that MUST depend on solid-state electronics is vulnerable to the availability of the rare earths and other elements used for creating semiconductors. It's not just silicon (which is plentiful)--there are plenty of other trace elements used to make today's semiconductors. There's not much discussion about current consumption rates, or when some of those materials will "run out", or how hard recovery might be (if it's possible at all). What's the long-term sustainability of solid-state construction, particularly at today's consumption rates?

    As we think about this, it's worth remembering that the burning of fossil fuels, the generation of hydro power, and the use of nuclear fission does NOT require the use of sophisticated solid-state controls (because we did all three before solid-state electronics existed), while solar absolutely does, and wind power used to drive anything other than local consumption pretty much does as well. I'm not advocating that we abandon solar or wind; I'm just pointing out that those solutions are not without their own vulnerabilities, and their own materials-science challenges, and their own pollution.

    My attitude on energy production is that (a) we should use ALL the sources available to us, (b) we clean up after ourselves as we do it, and (c) we make our decisions in this area, as in other areas, based on an implacable pursuit of facts and logic and a commitment to pursuing the long-term solutions, combined with an equally-implacable resistance to being swayed by opinions, half-truths, and especially emotions (e.g. fear). We used to operate that way; what happened to make us so risk-averse?

    Emotional nonsense is what killed the nuclear industry in the United States; as an example, see the WashPost article in 2006 quoting the first head of the Sierra Club as opposing nuclear power back in 1971 because they equated it with nuclear weapons. How's THAT for "adult thinking"??? Maybe we need a street sign that says "CAUTION-FEAR AT WORK"...

    WRT carrier battle groups and submarines: One of the scariest developments a few years ago was a Chinese diesel-electric submarine that was absolutely the quietest platform going...much quieter than any nuke could possibly be. Such a weapon in a capable crew's hands could punch huge holes in a carrier battle group. Further, because it was diesel-electric, it didn't stir the nuclear pot.

    Girl Scout cookies: Yum!

    Regards to all!

    Arclight

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  • 91. At 12:45pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    David Murrell,

    French military accomplishments in the Mediaval Ages, or even Napoleonic times, have about as much relevance for their current ones, as Stonhange and Egyptian Pyramids squirrelist has mentioned for modern civilization.

    Yes it's nice to look at them (once) and to read about ancient French military exploits (once, again) but what does that have to do with the present-day France? Or Egypt?

    Or Stonhange with the cost of 2012 London Olympics?


    BTW. How has the rich ancient Persian culture informed behaviour of Tehran ayatollahs?

    Or ancient Arab mathematicians - the present day jihadis?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 92. At 12:59pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #90 arclight

    "And we push push push on fusion power, because that's the right long-term nuclear solution."




    50 years ago I believed the nuclear fusion is right behind a corner.

    Not really knowing scientific and technogical problems involved.


    20 years ago I believed that we'd have a working prototype fusion reactor by now.

    Today I'm beginning to seriously doubt whether a energy-efficient fusion reaction can be productively sustained (let alone massively utilized) in Earth environment.

    Let's revisit the issue in another 20 years.

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  • 93. At 1:03pm on 17 Feb 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "Well, that's really going to make a huge dent in US unemployment, isn't it? 95,000 people claimed unemployment insurance in Georgia (population 10 million) just last month, according to the Georgia Dept of Labour."

    You are now researching the "Georgia Dept of labor?" Boy "squirrelist" you really wish you were American, don't you?

    "So if I'm doing my sums right, these two nuclear powers stations will absorb one day's unemployed. And, btw, Georgia Power has already been downsizing and this month is apparently planning on getting rid of 400 people . . .that's one nuclear power station's 'new' employees . . ."

    And Georgia Power too?!

    "Or is the plan just to end up around 2020 with only two? As a long-term energy plan, as I think about it, this doesn't seem to amount to much."

    Why, are you afraid it will affect power output where you live?

    "I have this suspicion this is just a cynical bit of political manoeuvring. Give the Republicans something nuclear to cheer about (the right likes all things nuclear, unless they're Iranian) but if they won't agree to carbon caps or carbon trading (and they won't, will they?) then a relatively useless plan as far as long-term energy strategy is concerned can be safely dumped and the Republicans blamed in time for November . . ."

    How is building power plants with zero carbon emissions a "relatively useless plan as far as long-term energy strategy is concerned?"

    America doesn't have to be bound by "carbon caps" and "carbon trading" in order to reduce emissions, and by countries that only wish to see it hurt economically in order to subsidize third world development and to give them a helping hand at competing against it.

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  • 94. At 1:17pm on 17 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    I suspect what President Obama is hoping for is not necessarily a chain reaction - from a nuclear perspective - but a change in public opinion to save his party and minimize losses in November. The charm offensive that has become clear, at least to me, since the Massachusetts election debacle is clearly designed to influence public opinion on all fronts. "Changes", that seem more like concessions on the domestic front are being reinforced with "gains" in foreign policy, including the cooperation of Pakistan's ISI in capturing the Taliban's second in command after years of playing cat and mouse with US intelligence agencies.

    Attempts to box in Republicans into positions that portray them in a bad light, or force them to vote or express opinions. preferably opposing views, on popular issues are becoming patently clear. The problem with this is that all the Republicans have to do is give the illusion that the new approach is nothing more than embracing Republican orthodoxy and they will come out of it smelling like a rose.

    The objective, I believe, has a lot more to do with political survival than nuclear fusion. Whether or not the new strategy is enough to save enough seats in November to retain control of Congress remains to be seen.

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  • 95. At 1:22pm on 17 Feb 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    ukwales wrote:

    "There is nothing wrong with French technology & know how.I was for no reason other than Anglo Saxon predjdus,not a fan of any thing French,now this shows how stupid one can be,for I am a Celt.Having driven many miles,in many states of the US,who`s roads are a dream compared with the UK, French roads are in a all together different league,they are superb."

    Well they should be considering they are the most expensive to drive on.

    "For sheer stubborn people the French are no 1.That is why there is a French nuclear industry,Air bus,French car industry,Aerospace."

    There is nothing "stubborn" about a country developing and maintaining high technology for itself. Just for national security a country would be stupid not to.

    Airbus is also not a French company. It is a company run by a handful of Old Europe countries, including France. There would be no Airbus without the contribution of all the countries involved.

    It also depends on a large amount of American technology. That's why a country can have an embargo placed on it by America that affects both Boeing and Airbus planes.

    "Talking of Aircraft carriers,the US carrier groups,I see as very large & easy targets for the latest French exocet type missile witch caused such devastation to our anti missile ships down in the Falklands."

    You can't compare an American carrier battle group to the much smaller British version.

    You sure those were "anti missile ships?"

    "I say that the large capital carriers will be made obsolete because of such French systems.SO be nice to them & no more cheese eating surrender monkeys,if you know whats good for you!!..."

    The French will sell arms to pretty much anyone for the right price, that's for sure.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2010/02/french_arms_sales_russia

    As for which country's military technology I would bet on between France and America, that's a no brainer.




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  • 96. At 1:27pm on 17 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 75, MAII

    Excellent post. You touch on one of the most serious problems facing our society, the erosion of our scientific knowledge base. The technical knowhow that allowed our country to assume a leadership position in the world four or five decades ago is, indeed, gone. Today, our young are more inclined to major in English, history or culinary art than physics, chemistry, mathematics or medicine.

    The trend, which I am saddened to admit I see in my own family, makes us dependant on foreign talent, which is not necessarily bad but it undermines the stated goal for projects like this to reduce unemployment in the USA. With the exception of low level construction work, I am afraid most of the critical positions needed to complete this project and operate these plants will go to scientists from Asia and Europe.

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  • 97. At 1:35pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    colonelartist


    I hate to tell you this, but Islamic Republic of Iran does not have any nuclear power stations (to destroy). Nor are ayatollhas building any.

    [Busher, constraction of which Russians have suspended for political reasonxs, was to be an experimental reactor.]

    Nice try, but no cigar.


    Now how about those nuclear power plants the Coalition wants to destroy in North-West Frontier Province? Just as schools for girls.


    P.S. My condolences re premature demise of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

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  • 98. At 1:37pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #39

    "Obama is proposing the construction of nuclear power plants. This president was elected to change the way things are done in Washington"




    and doesn't he? :-)

    A new nuclear power plant hasn't been build in U.S. in donkeys years.

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  • 99. At 1:47pm on 17 Feb 2010, theolonius wrote:

    re haywardsward # 67

    nuclear plants can be cooled with seawater of which Oz has planty

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  • 100. At 1:51pm on 17 Feb 2010, dceilar wrote:

    St Dom @94

    I agree. I think that there is nothing that Obama can do to win the right whining people over regards of aggressive he gets over Iran or how many nuclear reactors he builds. These tea-baggers dislike him for a different reason.

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  • 101. At 1:57pm on 17 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Powermeerkat – I assume Stonhange is meant to be Stonehenge, whilst henge may be a word unfamiliar to you stone shouldn’t be (it is called Stonehenge because it is a henge made of stone, rather than say the Woodhenge at Aylesbury or the remnants on the northern Scottish Isles).

    So feudal and dark age history is irrelevant, as is 19th Century and the first quarter of the 20th, but is okay to cast national slurs based on a single war in the 20th? I am guessing the same would not apply to the US, since we poor blighted students of history could claim that Vietnam shows the military success and strategy of the US, except of course that’s no longer considered a war anymore is it?

    Present day France, the 5th Republic, has lost one war, against Algiers, since we can only consider the current France rather than one set arbitrarily historically, by you. Actually it would make my life easier if you explained what exact span of history we can discuss countries on, since I would hate (as is your want) for you to change the goal posts later.

    Regarding ancient Persia, it has informed the people of Iran to a far greater extent than the ancient cultures of North America has on the US. I am guessing you cannot even name the ancient cultures of your country (ancient history, is regarded as the period ending with the fall of Rome, 476 CE – antiquity, of which I have studied at university is regarded as the period of 776 BCE to 476 CE, covering Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian Middle Kingdoms period and the Qin Dynasty in China, amongst others). Iranians, with possibly a lesser extent the Ayatollahs, have a strong sense of their history, I am led to believe the current premier writes poetry based on classical Persian memes.

    I am unsure what ancient Arabic mathematicians achieved, I am guessing that they would be influenced by Persian, Babylonian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian (all being the actual cultures in that region at that time period) as well as Greek, Roman, and Indian, possibly even Chinese, via India. Since these form the basis of modern mathematics which most people use every day. If you mean the Arabic mathematicians proper, who gave amongst other thing algebra (hint words beginning al often came from the Islamic culture, including strangely enough alcohol), I assume like all people that use computing, electronics and military tactics quite a lot.

    I apologise for my apparent confusion, as I said you need to use more exact (and correct) historical terms.

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  • 102. At 2:37pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#41 Scott wrote: The experience has made a lot of people up here more skeptical of environmentalists when they bring up new concerns. The standard of proof has gone up.





    And that's very unfortunate for ecoterrorists.

    Had they not resorted to falsifying data re "man-made global warming", e.g., they'd have had much more leg to stand on.

    But as things stand today....

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  • 103. At 2:40pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The supply of uranium to power nuclear reactors is finite and will run out eventually too."


    Here you're mistaken, Scott.

    Not if breeding reactors are used.

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  • 104. At 2:44pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Other sources I have found say that no ship, Australian Canadian or US, taking part in this ASW exercise was able to locate HMS Gotland."



    Well, looks like no Swedish Navy ship was able to locate "Arctic Sea".

    Although NRO hasn't had any problems with it. :-)

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  • 105. At 3:15pm on 17 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 100, dceilar

    "These tea-baggers dislike him for a different reason."

    That became patgently clear to me when I saw the crowd of adoring fans waiting in line to get Sarah's autograph on Monday at the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach. A casual glance at the crowd and some of the displays in the vicinity of where they were would have dispelled any doubts.

    However, I think it is important to consider the level of fear that is behind our behavior. People are truly afraid of the state of our economy, our fiscal insolvency, the erosion of good jobs, and a clear decline in our knowledge base. Unfortunately, instead of being willing to make whatever sacrifices are needed to get us out of the mess we are in, they remain hopeful a person with a magic wand will solve all our woes overnight. It is not going to happen.

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  • 106. At 3:18pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Chernobyl 4 days after the first catastrophic explosion, when they barely avoided a critical mass chain reaction that would have created an explosion of 3-5 megatons, enough to wipe out all of Russia and render all of continental Europe uninhabitable for at least half a million years."





    Now this is really scary. No, not Chernobyl, but ignorance which would make people believe that you could create a nuclear explosion of any kind (let alone at 3-5 MT) with uranium 235 enriched to under 5%.

    Scary. Really scary. :-(((

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  • 107. At 3:22pm on 17 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    75 MAII wrote:

    "BTW, the containment building is designed to withstand a direct impact of a fully loaded 747 jet. If terrorists are going to successfully strike an American nuclear power plant, it won't be with the strategy used to knock down the World Trade Center."

    "Back in the middle 1970s when this project was active, the engineering budget was 84 million dollars. About 235 full time employees were required at its peak within the engineering company. This did not include contractors, subcontractors, and vendors. The estimated cost to complete after interest during construction was included was 1.1 billion dollars."

    "I joined the project around early 1976. It had been going on for two years when I joined it. The estimated start up dates depending on how fast the owner wanted it built was 1983, 1984, and 1985 so it's around a ten year process from engineering contract to completed plant. In all honesty I think it will be difficult to assemble a qualified team to hit the ground running on the design phase. It's a lost art that will have to be relearned, a slow process that cannot be rushed just because some politician decided they want it done by a certain date."
    __________

    Marcus' points are all good, and I agreed with St. D. that the point on loss of knowledge base is particularly good.

    On another point, where Marcus thinks I don't know what I'm talking about, all of the points about cost, safety, lead-time and delay say to me "Fine, go ahead and build some of these plants. But in the meantime, don't stop building wind turbines and other alternate electricity generation sources." There is no need to put all of our eggs in the nuclear power basket.

    I don't know about American nuclear plants, but as far as I am aware, there is not a single large scale nuclear electrical generation plant in this country that was built on time, not one that was built anywhere close to on budget, and not one that has lived up to its predicted design life.

    Mid-life refits have had to occur earlier, have taken longer, and been vastly more expensive than predicted, and the plants have been out of service for very lengthy periods of time - during which Ontario had to buy a lot of fossil fuel power from some of our neighbours, and a great deal of hydro power from Quebec. The plants are achieving actual design lives significantly shorter than predicted. I well recall one of our electrical engineering professors telling us that Nuclear power was the most expensive power that had ever been generated in the province of Ontario.

    For a lot less money, essentially no lead time, and no long term environmental or national security hazards you can build an awful lot of wind turbines in the Lake Huron Archipelago and along the Bruce Peninsula, along the Eastern shore of James Bay, in the Labrador Geosyncline, and along the West coast of Newfoundland.

    In large measure, except for Newfoundland, the transmission corridors already exist, there are huge existing water storage reservoirs to smooth out any timing mismatch between generation and demand, there are no particularly difficult engineering challenges, and the political obstacles are far smaller. Generates just as many well paid, non-exportable jobs in the steel, aircraft, cement, and transportation industries, if not more. Darn sight safer. Electricity will start to come on-line a darn sight sooner. We're starting from zero, as compared to present installed capacity the untapped capacity is essentially infinite. There will be plenty of work for years, and years to come. Slow and steady eventually wins the race.

    And now to await the predictable reply from Marcus that it's all rubbish...

    (No, I'm not a fan of co-generation.)

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  • 108. At 3:26pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The #78 forgstar wrote:

    " And there's an awful lot of extractable uranium in seawater, guys. This was done decades ago. As a chemist, it didn't look at all difficult to me, and could easily be improved upon."





    Thank you for bringing it up. It's there, it's obvious, it's doable.

    All that's missing is a POLITCAL WILL.

    Apollo program anyone?

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  • 109. At 3:55pm on 17 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    Now the blue dogs have their nukes can we have out health care??????

    There is no excuse to say to Iran "stop" when we can't.

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  • 110. At 3:56pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #107

    Am I to understand that you're willing to sell us (U.S.) ALL that rich uraniumn ore in Athabasca region (prominently including McArthur River Mine, which I've visited) and rely yourselves on oil sands and wind mills?

    Now, that would be music to my ears. :-)))


    P.S. Here's wondering what positive China and India see in Westinghouse's AP 1000 PWRs which others don't.

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  • 111. At 3:59pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#107) "I don't know about American nuclear plants, but as far as I am aware, there is not a single large scale nuclear electrical generation plant in this country that was built on time, not one that was built anywhere close to on budget, and not one that has lived up to its predicted design life."

    Perhaps, and certainly true of the Trojan power plant. But nuclear power plants have not been built in the US for thirty years. Meanwhile, Westinghouse has been been building plants elsewhere around the world, as well as building naval reactors. By the way, Westinghouse is now a division of Toshiba, and is an international company.

    The new power plants proposed to be built in the US are third-generation designs (Westinghouse AP1000), which would benefit from earlier experiences. There still are some bugs to be worked out, no doubt:

    reactor design problems

    but there is no operating history yet for these plants. It would not be valid merely to extrapolate from the experience with old plants. We will have to wait to see how it turns out.

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  • 112. At 4:08pm on 17 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Squirrelist Dear (#21),
    Trading Noo-clur Powur for coal is EXACTLY what's happening!
    Ding Ding Ding - give the squirrel a nut.

    I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine. It's the Free-Market-Political Way!
    Well... that and a dash of poker:
    Look cool, hold the high cards, and never stake everything on one bet.
    (Last one at the table wins.)

    Oh - and Squirrelist Honey(#23),
    Surely your little furry red army has informed you that our age will not be known by it's Radioactive Landfil.
    -- Rather, we'll be known for our blatant destruction of

    Wildlife - we go where the wild things are... and kill them

    Human History - bye bye Budah, the Sphinx, the Parthenon, Mayan Assyrian and other Pyramids, and Euro-Acid-rain is destroying all the great structures of Rome...

    The Earth - as we level mountains for ore, fill in marshes/beaches for high-end water-front property, suffocate/destroy forests, etc, etc...

    And, ultimately, ourselves. Oops.
    So... what's wrong with another little Nuclear Plant or two?
    Dude. That's like... nuthin, compared the greater ecological nightmare we're in.


    IOW: Nuclear Energy, combined with other sustainable (domestic) feuls, are good for the US and good for the Globe's ecological & political fronts.

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  • 113. At 4:13pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    SaintDominick (#96) "I am afraid most of the critical positions needed to complete this project and operate these plants will go to scientists from Asia and Europe."

    Westinghouse Nuclear is still headquartered in the US (Pennsylvania) and has many US employees.

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  • 114. At 4:21pm on 17 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    The Fresh-Water matter raises an interesting point.

    My understanding is that the SE drought is largely due to overpopulation & recent sub-urban sprawl that's been sustained by surface water instead of the huge under-ground flows running below MD/VA/DEL, etc.

    Oddly - we're developing technology to tap deep water flows in Africa... but we haven't yet applied that technology to ourselves.

    If we drilled for WATER instead of OIL, our lakes and rivers would be less strained, our tap water & our streams would be of better quality, and these nuclear powered water mills wouldn't concern Joe the Plumber when he needs to wash his car every weekend.

    Drill baby, drill!
    (wow. I just found another few hundred jobs.)

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  • 115. At 4:22pm on 17 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    81 well said squirrelist

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  • 116. At 4:25pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#81) "I really don't see that this is much more than a gesture."

    It's a start. There are about 25 nuclear power plants in the planning stages for the US, and about half of them are the Westinghouse type selected by Georgia Power. China plans to build 100 of these plants. There is a lot at stake if this design turns out to be successful.

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  • 117. At 4:33pm on 17 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    It would be bloody amazing: the French finally wining a battle. :-)


    They already won the battle of having a safer Nuke power program.
    where was their three mile island?

    "67. At 01:33am on 17 Feb 2010, jyt230 wrote:
    The irony is the US has vehemently lobbied against the production of nuclear power plants in Iran and many other countries in recent years.


    A chain reaction he does not want."

    yep what a signal we send. don't do as we do.

    bailing out the nuke industry to win some support from the blue dog coalition.
    how sad.

    Can we agree to try to stop mining the stuff. use up what we have?
    after all the price of our supply from russia just went up. (they were subsidising our nuke costs by reprocessing the bombs to fuel which costs more than the mining and production.


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  • 118. At 4:40pm on 17 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    65
    "I've supported the use of Nuclear Power since I was in 8th grade"

    wow what a time in life to fix your views.



    51 "how do we dispose now?"

    interesting look atthe "clean up" at hermiston. but really we give it to the indians at Yucca to enjoy on their reservation. How american.

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  • 119. At 4:48pm on 17 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    114 Fresh water is an interesting point.

    but there are a lot against that are interesting.


    Philly "dear" Pollution is the forgotten factor. do you think with unlimited energy (Ie the dream of nuke power) we will stop using excessive amounts of resources?
    that we will suddenly pay attention to the oestrogenic mimicking compounds or the other host of pollution problems.
    radioactive waste is pollution. sure in some places there are relatively high back ground radiation . but the disposal and enriching and mining of other mountains for nuke power will still destroy.

    plus those deep underground reservoirs. they are being tapped every day in the west in nevada in california. and that aquifer is drying up.
    slowly but it is happening. because we want more lights in vegas and more homes in the desert. with golf courses and baked lizard golfers.

    Maybe the same loan guarantees to solar cells on the roof might have a better chance. or better yet the same money spent telling americans to turn their lights off and stop installing lighting with 20 lights in one room.

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  • 120. At 4:52pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    geoffreysmall (#70) " ... barely avoided a critical mass chain reaction that would have created an explosion of 3-5 megatons, ..."

    You detract from the credibility of your main point (waste disposal) when you make a preposterous claim such as this. The Chernobyl incident was a disaster, and it could have been worse had the nuclear fuel been critical for a longer period, but there is no way that the reactor core could have exploded with the force of a thermonuclear bomb, as you claim here.

    Spreading fission products around eastern Europe (and the globe) is bad enough; there is no need to resort to hyperbole.

    Here is a link to a summary of the Chernobyl incident:

    http://www.stacken.kth.se/~foo/texts/chernobyl.html

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  • 121. At 4:57pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Philly Mom.

    Again you ignored a plight of SPOTTED OWL. [cf. #41]

    How sad. :(

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  • 122. At 5:06pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #114 "Drill baby, drill!
    (wow. I just found another few hundred jobs.)"




    May I possibly interest you in a certain region of Alaska?

    And of certain fields off CA's coast? :-)



    As for drilling for water in Africa... Sahara would still have been an ocean today, I'm sure, had it not been for "man-made global warming". :(

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  • 123. At 5:17pm on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    When Iran stops calling us the Great Satan and stops talking about wiping Isreal off the face of the earth maybe we won't object so much to them having nuclear power. Besides, the point of the US objection is to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. Something we already have, two more fusion plants are not going to change anything. Nice strawman though.

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  • 124. At 5:19pm on 17 Feb 2010, Robert wrote:

    Nuclear energy based on fission must be a source ,most likely for the rest of my life, of power. (I'm 49 years old). Those who oppose nukes for power have most likely never faced a cold night in the dark. You will change your tune when your kids start to freeze. I live in Minnesota, USA, and it gets very cold up here in the winter. The pompus preachings of such clowns as Jeramy Rifkin no doubt never came close to freezing, or missing a meal. Nuclear fission reactors are an established technology. They are very expensive, but they work. And don't try to drag me in to the argument "what about the dreaded nuclear waste"? We have super fund sites in the US that will take decades to clean.

    As far as alternative ways to make power, green technologies are still in their infancy. Alone, they won't save us. And nuclear fussion? Give me a break. Its been ten years away of being ready for prime time for over 60 years. Hint, hint, hint?

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  • 125. At 5:21pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Anatolij Perminov, head of Russian Space Agency announced that RKA is going to develop a nuclear powered spacecraft for deep space travel. Design will be done by 2012, and 9 more years for development.


    Simply outrageous.

    Couldn't [solar] wind power been used instead?


    I'm sure it would be much more friendly to space environment.

    And all it would take would be large enough sail.

    And a couple of hundred thousand years of travel to get to any significant point of interest in this Universe of ours.

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  • 126. At 5:32pm on 17 Feb 2010, csgators wrote:

    I just realized that I have been wrong all along. Obama is creating tons of jobs! For people that donated money to him:

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/02/16/obamas-bundlers-occupy-dozens-of-key-positions/

    The list is staggering, more cronies than any administration in 40 years.

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  • 127. At 5:41pm on 17 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Powermeerkat – I notice you ignored my question regarding ancient North American cultures.

    Also I think you probably mean when the Sahara was green (about 6000 years ago) rather than under the sea. Under man made global warming the sea are meant to be rising not falling, due to the melting ice. At the moment no one is completely sure why the Sahara did stop being green, or whether it might become green again (mostly because they cannot agree the mechanism behind the initial desertification)!

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  • 128. At 5:45pm on 17 Feb 2010, Peter wrote:

    > p.s. I see that no treehugger wants to answer a point re fast breeding reactors which actually produce MORE uranium-235 than they consume.

    They were probably stunned into silence by the concentrated burst of nonsense.

    Breeder reactors do not consume or produce U235. They consume Plutonium and turn the non-fissionable Uranium isotope U238 (the stuff that depleted uranium ammunition is made of) into more Plutonium than you started with.

    The key point here is that the fissionable Uranium isotope U235 is in very limited supply, comprising about 0.7% (nought point seven percent) of the mass of natural uranium dug out of the ground. Conventional nuclear reactors typically burn uranium
    that has been enriched to a few percent U235, consuming the U235 and producing Plutonium as a bye-product. Once the U235 is gone, it's gone, and at current rate of consumption there is about 1 century of economically viable reserves of the uranium ore. Give or take.

    The implication is that increased consumption (and China for one is ramping up it's civil nuclear program) is leading towards a plutonium fuel cycle as the U235 gets used up. The fast breeder reactors would initially use the stockpiled plutonium produced by existing conventional nuclear power plants, but we would ultimately close the cycle.

    My guess is that the general adoption of fast breeder reactors for civil nuclear power will have to come within fifty years, give or take. I'm all for it, but people should be aware that this is the inevitable consequence of decisions being taken right now.

    Experience to date is mixed. The basic physics and engineering has been demonstrated by the UK (the Dounreay fast breeder) and France (Superphenix), but no such plants are currently operating. Superphenix suffered significant problems with its liquid sodium cooling circuit. The basic engineering problem, dictated by the laws of physics, is that the core of a breeder reactor is much smaller than a conventional nuclear plant, and extracting that much heat from a small volume is a technical challenge - hence the use of liquid sodium as the coolant in the primary circuit. Then in the heat exchanger, the primary circuit heats the water in the secondary circuit, and the water turns to steam and drives the turbines. Obviously, to anybody who ever did chemistry at school, you do not want the sodium to come into contact with the water. The technical term for that is "Very Bad"

    So, the Plutonium cycle presents a non-trivial engineering problem, and a it's hard sell politically, which is probably why politicians would rather not talk about it.

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  • 129. At 6:12pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #124 Robert observed:

    "Those who oppose nukes for power have most likely never faced a cold night in the dark. You will change your tune when your kids start to freeze. I live in Minnesota, USA, and it gets very cold up here in the winter"


    despite 'man-made global warming'?


    But on a serious note. You make a valid point.

    We shall see what tune those shrill PC folks will start to sing once their lights, heating, etc. are off.

    Except that it takes on average 10 years to have a nuclear power plant project approved, built, tested, certified and actually put on line.

    And what are they going to do in the meantime?

    And why should people like you, suffer because of some shrill Luddites?



    P.S. As for feasibility of industrial fusion, please cf. my #92 post.

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  • 130. At 6:21pm on 17 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #127

    Sorry. I haven't realized that we, North Americans, had any culture, let alone ancient one.

    [As it's been pointed to us here so many times.]

    Unlike some Stone Age...errr Stonehenge Native Anglicans.

    P.S. Yes, Sahara WAS under sea at some point.

    Although not merely 6000 years ago.

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  • 131. At 6:29pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Peter (#128) is correct. Here is a link to a tutorial on breeder reactors:

    http://www.3rd1000.com/nuclear/nuke101g.htm

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  • 132. At 6:35pm on 17 Feb 2010, timohio wrote:

    It doesn't do any good to say that solar power can get us out of the mess we're in, or wind power or any other alternative energy source. Most of the population of the US lives in parts of the country where solar power would be impractical half the year; wind power has its own limitations. Hydroelectric power causes a different set of environmental problems as we flood land to create reservoirs. It doesn't make any difference whether you are clear-cutting a forest or drowning it. We do need massive conservation efforts and, I've reluctantly concluded, nuclear power.

    But as someone living within an easy drive of two nuclear power plants that have had accidents, we do need tighter regulation of the industry and an oversight agency that doesn't see its job as advocating for nuclear power. In 1966 the Enrico Fermi plant south of Detroit suffered a partial core meltdown. If it had gone on longer and the containment vessel had been breached, the wind would have carried a radioactive cloud north to Detroit and much of southern Ontario. In 2002 it was discovered that acid had eaten through 6 inches of the pressure vessel of the Davis Besse power plant between Toledo and Cleveland, leaving only half an inch of steel between the pressurized reactor and the outside world. Any breach of the containment vessel would have spewed radioactivity towards Cleveland and out over Lake Erie. In 2001, an inspection shutdown had been delayed by the NRC at the company's request.

    If we are going to get back into nuclear power, we need better oversight, better engineering, and operators that understand the implications of accidents. The operator of the Davis Besse plant was the same company that caused the massive 2003 Northeast blackout by not properly maintaining its power lines. They really shouldn't be in the nuclear power business. I'm not sure what business they should be in, actually. Their customers, by the way, are the ones who have to pay for their mistakes, not the management.

    As far as the waste from the reactors, although it is a storage problem, we shouldn't react to scare stories. It wouldn't get into the soil because it would be in deep mines well below the soil line. No one today would even think of dumping it in the ocean. Yes, there is a hazard, but we are poisoning ourselves on a daily basis today with the waste products of coal-fired power plants and with our own automobiles. Unless we are willing to give up our modern industrial society completely we need to make some informed choices.

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  • 133. At 7:26pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#132) "... we do need tighter regulation of the industry and an oversight agency that doesn't see its job as advocating for nuclear power."

    Yes, and that's what we have. Since 1975, regulation has been the responsibility of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was created for precisely that reason.

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  • 134. At 7:34pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#132), and you might note that the Enrico Fermi plant was a breeder reactor cooled with liquid sodium. The US has not built breeders for commercial power production since. When they are built, as they likely will be someday, the safety compared to conventional reactors will be a significant political issue.

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  • 135. At 7:52pm on 17 Feb 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Dearest PowerKat (#121),
    I may be a 'treehugger' and 'environmentalist', but I know better than to react when the terms are used disparagingly. Many American enjoy hunting Green-skinned witches*, and pitchforks and torches make for ugly blog threads.

    Not that I'm Wiccan. Rather, I'm a good Conservative God-fearing Girl Scout (On my honor, I will try!) who still loves camping. With owls. And foxes. And deer. Never seen a wild bear... (rather glad for that). Living in a city is fun, cheap, leaves a lower carbon footprint than the Burbs, and is healthier for my sons than living on an Eco-Feminist Commune.

    BTW: RE #130.
    Might I recommend THESE? Sadly, you've missed THIS. The University of Pennsylvania (Thank you Ben Franklin!) exhibit on Mayan culture overlapped with one about the ancient Assyrians (Iraq). It was cool to show my sons the architectural similarities between their 'pyramids', given that they were on separate continents.

    Oh - and as for drilling oil: 'Black Gold' is messy and kills things. Water doesn't. Neither does soy bean, algae, corn or switch-grass. Or wind. Don't get me wrong: Crude has it's place. I have some relatives in Texas for whom 'Crude' is a double entendre. Useful stuff - in it's own way...

    Love, Gaia
    (The Green Mom)
    ___________
    * You know, I've met some Wiccans, and they didn't have green skin. Sry. They usually just have Eco-Friendly bumper stickers on their low-emission brooms. That Green Skin thing is an Oz-related fallacy implemented by 'Those Liberals in Hollywood'. Sneaky Liberals.

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  • 136. At 8:00pm on 17 Feb 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Public dollars to support private investments....and they call it captialism. Demand creates jobs and since the congress decided that the banks were the most needy no solution has been given to the $1T loss of personal wealth. If the government had proposed tax credits or direct payments to individuals to limit losses in personal wealth the economy would be moving in the right direction. We had a massive redistribution of the wealth and it was all upward. The middle class has been abandoned by congress and therefore demand is low, no change in banking regulations so people feel insecure in their future. No demand, no jobs.
    The government representative have become some attached to big business and banking that have have forgotten what makes an economy work...day to day demand by the middle class.

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  • 137. At 8:06pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#132) "If it had gone on longer and the containment vessel had been breached, the wind would have carried a radioactive cloud north to Detroit and much of southern Ontario. In 2002 it was discovered that acid had eaten through 6 inches of the pressure vessel of the Davis Besse power plant between Toledo and Cleveland, leaving only half an inch of steel between the pressurized reactor and the outside world."

    This is not accurate. Had the pressure failed, radioactive material would have been vented into the concrete containment structure. That's a very serious problem, but not nearly as bad as venting to the "outside world."

    http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Davis:Besse.html

    http://www.ohiocitizen.org/campaigns/electric/nucfront.html

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  • 138. At 8:12pm on 17 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    It is amazing to think that even in this day and age there are people like the Amish who live amongst us, yet do not use electricity. They do everything pretty much the old fashioned way- horse and buggy, ect. The Amish make a living off of their land, as well, selling their goods, such as food, crafts and wood furniture. With the goods they sell, they pay taxes, so it is helpful to our country as well. The Amish do not always get headlines, because they are simple, quiet folk who do not cause problems. They are proof that humans, especially Americans, can survive without electricity. Maybe not comfortably, but it can be done.

    So what can we do to bridge the gap between old-fashionedness and the modern day? There must be something we can learn from people like the Amish and the farmers, who live off the land. The USA needs to go back to its roots, where it all began.

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  • 139. At 8:30pm on 17 Feb 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    LucyIllinois:

    "The USA needs to go back to its roots, where it all began."

    That would be when an individual worked hard and saved for retirement and not have the bankers gamble it away and the governments reward them for doing so. We are in a different world where representative government means big business and banks are represented, but not the people, worldwide.

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  • 140. At 9:05pm on 17 Feb 2010, John Galt wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, your friendly BBC American coorespondent from the left, is obviously an Obama fan. He picks up on an issue that the Republicans have been promoting for years - nuclear energy - and then he calls it an Obama success. Oh well.

    But the most important issue is what a Blogger rightly points at a piece called "Undermining America: Liars, Scoundrels, and Idiots".

    They say, "There is no limit to what President Obama dares to say in public with a straight face. We can count the ways:"

    It is worth counting with them at: http://www.robbingamerica.com

    because this is the real fundamental issue now in America. Once we realize it, their solution is simple.

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  • 141. At 9:08pm on 17 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    131, 132, 133, 134:

    In the meantime, just keep building those wind turbines. One by one.
    A big Vestas turbine is 3MW installed capacity. Build 3 per day, and after a year, and at rather less cost, you have the equivalent of the big Pickering NGS. Slow and steady wins the race.

    After ten years you have the equivalent of almost double the entire current nuclear generating capacity of the Province, equivalent to 60% of total current installed capacity of all kinds.

    Meanwhile, after a year the new nuclear generating station is about 1/8 of the way through the approval process. After ten years the first station is nearing completion, and the cost overruns have just begun to hit taxpayers.

    Wind power won't solve every problem, but it might eventually solve 15 - 20 % of the electricity generation problem. We will still need other forms of generation, but it will get us a fair distance down the road.

    In WWII a plant in Wichita turned out, on average, one B24 per hour. Elsewhere, they produced one Liberty ship per day.

    Building wind turbines is not that difficult a production problem. It's far easier than building nuclear plants, and it doesn't have anything like the legacy issues.

    North Americans used to be good at this stuff.

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  • 142. At 9:19pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#141), wind generators are catching on in the US. I don't like the fact that they kill significant numbers of birds. Practically everything has a downside.

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  • 143. At 9:40pm on 17 Feb 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #138 Lucy

    I do understand where you are coming from, nothing like a drive through Lancaster County, Pa - breathtaking and truly beautiful to see how the Amish live. But in reality? Ummm

    The "ever lick a river?" "ever eat a picnic table?" kind of Ewell Gibbons approach it just not reality.

    Crops fail, blight happens, weather happens, nasty diseases happen, 'progress' has helped eradicate some of those things.

    Everyone should make efforts re: conservation, personal responsibility for their planet. Those are the roots I'd like to see people go back to.

    Personally, I think we're too far gone to let go of the future and go back to the past/roots in any kind of 'earthy' way!

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  • 144. At 10:05pm on 17 Feb 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    P.S. My condolences re premature demise of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since you never heard of him before yesterday, let me introduce him to you,

    is consistently described as more open, more consultative, more consensus-oriented, and more patient than Omar. Taliban operatives say he's less mercurial and more willing to hear different views rather than act on hearsay, emotion, or strict ideology. "Baradar doesn't issue orders without understanding and investigating the problem," says a commander from Zabul province who met with him in March and asked not to be named so he could speak freely. "He is patient and listens to you until the end. He doesn't get angry or lose his temper."


    The meeting took place in southwestern Pakistan—not far from the Afghan border but safely out of the Americans' reach. Baradar told the commanders he wanted just one thing: to keep the Taliban's losses to a minimum while maximizing the cost to the enemy. Don't try to hold territory against the Americans' superior firepower by fighting them head-on, he ordered. Rely on guerrilla tactics whenever possible. Plant "flowers"—improvised explosive devices—on trails and dirt roads. Concentrate on small-unit ambushes, with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. He gave his listeners a special warning: he would hold each of them responsible for the lives of their men. "Keep your weapons on your backs and be on your motorcycles," Baradar exhorted them. "America has greater military strength, but we have greater faith and commitment." Remember, they lost Vietnam so they can be beat.

    That's raised another question: whether the Americans and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai might ultimately be able to strike a deal with Baradar. His influence among the insurgents—and with Mullah Omar—is unmatched, and he's not as close-minded as many of the leaders in Quetta are. Back in 2004, according to Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, a former Taliban cabinet minister who now lives in Kabul, Baradar authorized a Taliban delegation that approached Karzai withHe's not an extremist like some commanders. If there were ever to be negotiations, Baradar would be the best man to talk to." Partly because of Baradar's strong roots among the Popalzai—Afghanistan's largest and most influential Pashtun tribe—he could bring a number of tribal leaders onboard in the event of serious peace talks. But for now, Taliban leaders seem convinced that negotiations are merely a ploy to peel off elements of the insurgency, which U.S. commanders have more or less acknowledged. "We see no benefit for the country or Islam in such kind of talks," Baradar a peace offer, even paying their travel expenses to Kabul.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/208637/page/3

    someone in the puppet government of usa really hated this guy..Or maybe mullah matawkil and barader had developed serious conflicts..or maybe usa wouldnt want two strong taliban leaders to negotiate with, so he was killed, thats how usa eliminates opponents of karzai and thats how it will make sure that those taliban leaders with whom it will allow karzai to negotiate with our low level leaders who can be easily disposed off when they try to put demands that usa is not willing to accept..Logic says why should you kill such a person....

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  • 145. At 10:15pm on 17 Feb 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    There may well be a place for nuclear power as opposed to the seeming lack of true clean coal technology that we ought to have by now but for all the hype nuclear power is neither green nor cheap in the long term, or good at creating substantial employment opportunities.

    Of course you could always store the waste in Nevada, or cover Nevada in solar panels, then employ thousands to keep the sand off the panels...........this would give you jobs.


    The sad fact is that the US along with the UK has created legions of children who grew so used to having the world handed to them on a plate that they have become fundamentally useless unless they exert themselves to learn. Sure they can use tech, but they can't build tech, & they can't fix tech when it goes wrong, we bred a world of consumers who cannot create what they consume, if your education policies, & ours, remain the same then we have to hope that the burger chains have a profitable future, they'll still need jobs after all.

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  • 146. At 10:29pm on 17 Feb 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Re. Post #70:

    "Because the dose that federal regulations allow workers to get is sufficient to create a genetic hazard to the whole human species. You see, those workers are allowed to procreate, and if you damage their genes by radiation, and they intermarry with the rest of the population, for genetic purposes it's just the same as if you irradiate the population directly."

    In that case governments around the world must be engaging in a massive coverup of all the deformed and mutant children produced by nuclear workers since the 1940s.

    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trust the government's standards of exposure for myself. Leukemia and cancer are not pleasant ways to die. But where is the evidence that nuclear workers are producing genetically defective children?

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  • 147. At 10:30pm on 17 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    142. Gary

    Yeah, they always bring up the issue of birds.

    I have two ornithologist friends.

    One says that there is virtually no evidence of wind turbines killing birds in significant numbers. She said, rather derisively at one point, "You remember the cat you had when you were a kid?" (It was extraordinarily good at catching birds) "Well in all probability it killed more birds than the entire wind farm where I live".

    The other one campaigns to have skyscrapers turn off their lights at night during the main migratory periods of the year. He also goes around (as part of his job) and collects dead birds off the sidewalks in the mornings during migration season.

    His comment was that he couldn't see what people were complaining about. "Big buildings downtown kill thousands of birds per year, yet nobody notices or complains. Yet if a wind turbine kills a single bird, they have a fit."

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  • 148. At 10:31pm on 17 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    post95 Allen T2..

    "You sure those were anti missile ships"

    HMS Sheffield was a type 42 guided missile destroyer.With her fellow ship on picket duty that day she was hit & later sank,by a French fighter armed with an stand off exocet sea skimming missile.The British ships were armed with sea Dart & sea Wolf point defense system(proven able to hit a 114mm shell in flight).Things went wrong that day,as they do & will.

    "As for which country military technology I would not bet between France & America thats a no brainer"

    Tell that to the officers & crew of USS Stark,(Molly slept a widow that night)Never ever underestimait

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  • 149. At 10:43pm on 17 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Post 92 AllenT2.

    My last word was going to be "your Enemy"but I spilled my tea all over this
    blasted infernal contraption,I am sorry...

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  • 150. At 10:52pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#147), I don't much care for cats, either.

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  • 151. At 11:04pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    ukwales (#148) "The British ships were armed with sea Dart & sea Wolf point defense system ..."

    I don't think so. According to the account linked following, Sheffield had Sea Dart, but not Sea Wolf:

    http://navalwarfare.blogspot.com/2009/03/hms-sheffield-d80.html

    Sea Dart is an antiaircraft missile, which is not applicable. Sheffield had no defense against antiship missiles such as Exocet. It was a sitting duck.

    Since then, UK Type 42 destroyers have been fitted with Phalanx, a Raytheon Close-In Weapon System. Early versions were installed for the US Nave beginning in 1980.

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  • 152. At 11:06pm on 17 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    ukwales (#148) "Tell that to the officers & crew of USS Stark ..."

    Now there's a case of things going wrong. Stark was fitted with Phalanx, but it wasn't turned on. It would have been nice to know if the thing actually works.

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  • 153. At 00:04am on 18 Feb 2010, timohio wrote:

    re: 142. GH1618 and 147. Interestedforeigner:

    "One says that there is virtually no evidence of wind turbines killing birds in significant numbers."

    I have heard the same thing from other sources. There are plans to put wind turbines in Lake Erie near the Ohio shore. There was some concern expressed that they would interfere with the migration on the Eastern Flyway, but the birds would actually have to be higher than the turbines in order to get across the lake.

    And cats don't actually kill many birds. Even in the wild it takes several attempts before a predator makes a kill. I have bird feeders and I enjoy the cats (and the possums and the racoons) that wander through my yard. The cats don't seem that interested in the birds. They're like Thoreau at Walden Pond: commuting with nature. The hawks, on the other hand, seem QUITE interested in the mourning doves.

    Re. Davis Besse: "That's a very serious problem, but not nearly as bad as venting to the "outside world."

    Frankly, the difference seems a bit hair-splitting when you live close to the plant. But my point was that the sloppiness of the power company came very close to causing a major accident, whether the leak would have been into the containment structure or outside. And the NRC was not enforcing safety standards. They postponed safety inspections, which put people at risk. If we are going to have more nuclear power stations, we need a regulatory agency that enforces safety standards rigorously.

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  • 154. At 00:27am on 18 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    150 Gary: LOL.

    153. At 00:04am on 18 Feb 2010, tim wrote:

    "The hawks, on the other hand, seem QUITE interested in the mourning doves."
    __________

    With that many dead, no wonder they're mourning doves.

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  • 155. At 00:57am on 18 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    I approve of Obama nuclear iniative, lets fast track it. Ignore the enviromentalists and hire the French Queen of Nukes to run the program on fast tracking construction.

    Now if Obama will allow drilling of California in Alaska that would be the next step.

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  • 156. At 02:41am on 18 Feb 2010, U14340730 wrote:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_mining
    so clean?


    "(ISL), sometimes referred to as in-situ recovery (ISR) or solution mining, is performed by pumping liquids (weak acid or weak alkaline depending on the calcium concentration in the ore) down through injection wells placed on one side of the deposit of uranium, through the deposit, and up through recovery wells on the opposing side of the deposit - recovering ore by leaching. ISL is also used on other types of metal extraction such as copper. ISL is often cost-effective because it avoids excavation costs, and may be implemented more quickly than conventional mining. However, it is not suitable to all uranium deposits, as the host rock must be permeable to the liquids (as is often the case in sandstone), making it possible to contaminate nearby aquifers with leaching chemicals. Environmental impact studies are performed when evaluating ISL, because ground water can be affected. In-situ leaching is the only type of uranium mining currently being done in the United States (2006).
    [edit] "
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reprocessed_uranium

    "Reuse of reprocessed uranium has not been common because of low prices in the uranium market of recent decades, and because of the undesirable isotopic contaminants"

    get it out of the ground quick so there is more to clean up.

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  • 157. At 03:20am on 18 Feb 2010, ed wrote:

    For the past 4 years I have been seeking help for internal and external Radiation Poisoning that I got from working at a Nuclear Power Generating Plant in Illinois. I have found the Law protects These big coorporations from suit's like mine and I cannot find 1 Politician Not 1 Lawyer or even Law School who would dare touch my case. Including now President of The United State's Barack Obama whom I contacted when he was just a Senator from Illinois. I had to file suit and represent myself in a court of Law in the State of Illinois because I couldn't get a lawyer to represent me. I fought in Court for over 2 hours and got the defendant to admit an accident did indeed accur as I said it did and I even discovered I was sent into this area in the wrong protective uniform and the accident need not have happened at all if I was dressed appropriatly. I proved my illness (Hairy Cell Leukemia) which is a very rare form of Leukemia, only 600 people a year get it in North America, among my many other illness came from that 1 accident. I am now trying to get compensation from The Price-Anderson Act unfortunately it is another law set up to protect the Nuclear industry from being sued should another 3 Mile Island accur and a whole bunch of people get sick the industry is protected and the federal government steps in to foot the bill.
    Do you really want to know how safe these plants are ask someone who's worked there.

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  • 158. At 04:09am on 18 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #128

    With all due respect.

    1. Production of fissile material in a breeder reactor occurs usually by neutron irradiation of Uranium-238 and Thorium-232.


    2. Breeders don't have to be SFR, id est cooled by sodium.

    They can be GFRs (gas cooled) or even LFRs (lead cooled).


    3. As time goes by more and more uranium ore deposits are being discovered: in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, etc.

    Some are not even exploited yet since supply exceeds current demand and yellow cake price have been ridiculously low for quite a while and only recently have started to go up making mining operations economically viable.

    [Situation re uranium ore is similar to the one pertaining to oil, which was supposed to run out soon. Except that with almost every passing year new oil fields are being discovered, e.g. in Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, Venezuela, etc.]



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  • 159. At 04:30am on 18 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re scare tactics...


    The point has been made here (repeatedly) that no nuclear power plant was finished on time and their total costs exceeded original estimates.

    Low-balling and ever changing regulatory demands aside, such problems have been typical of numerous other major industrial projects.

    Or even small ones, such, as, for example, Wembley modernization. ;-)

    [BTW. what was the cost of London 2012 Olympics going to be originally?]

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  • 160. At 04:42am on 18 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#153) "And the NRC was not enforcing safety standards. They postponed safety inspections, which put people at risk. If we are going to have more nuclear power stations, we need a regulatory agency that enforces safety standards rigorously."

    Th NRC was only four years old at the time of the Davis-Besse incident, after having replaced the AEC. That was the agency with the conflict of interest. I think it is unfair to judge the NRC so harshly, and it would certainly be unwise to do another reorganization based on this old incident which seems to be bothering you.

    The NRC has a web site with documents which explain what happened and how they responded. Every incident leads to an analysis of the problem and revisions to the rules and procedures, where appropriate. When you look at the overall record of how the NRC has performed since it was created in 1975, and the overall safety record of the industry, I don't believe it is accurate to say that they do not "enforce safety standards rigorously." There are many industries with much worse safety records than commercial nuclear power in the US.

    My view is that US nuclear power plants are safe, and are getting better with each generation, as a result of experience. I am thankful that we have always had containment structures on commercial reactors (which the Chernobyl reactors did not).

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  • 161. At 05:10am on 18 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #1457 (and 142)

    Windmills also scare fish and make them move away.

    That, btw. is an accusation made not only by fishermen but also by many environmentalists with impeccable credentials (by their own standards).

    And finally, there are many people who simply think windmills are ugly.

    Ask Bostonians, for example.

    But then, there's no point in fighting windmills (read Cervantes).

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  • 162. At 05:25am on 18 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#153 "NRC was not enforcing safety standards."

    Well, that accusation could be hurled at quite a few other agencies, for example, FAA.


    Not to mention good folks who were supposed to make sure that Toyotas and Hondas sold in USA are not "Dangerous at Any Speed", as Ralph Nader would have put it.

    [please stand by for relevant Congressional hearings in a week's time]

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  • 163. At 08:27am on 18 Feb 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    ukwales wrote:

    "Tell that to the officers & crew of USS Stark,(Molly slept a widow that night)Never ever underestimait"

    The Stark incident was not a failure of American technology but of leadership on that particular ship and the command above it. Look it up.

    The anti-missile ship question posed to you I see is already answered by someone else, just as I expected.

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  • 164. At 11:53am on 18 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Post 151 GH1618.

    Thank you for clearing up whether the Sheffield had sea wolf,I left that fact ambiguous as I did not know who had what.I think the plan was those that had that system were to cover those with out,but they all dropped the
    ball that day.
    ps
    On a differant

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  • 165. At 11:59am on 18 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    GH1618.
    I keep doing that, posting comment before completion.What I was going to say,on an older thread I got rather hot under the collar with you,I was
    rude & I am sorry...

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  • 166. At 12:14pm on 18 Feb 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    AllenT2

    I honestly still feel that large battle groups,even with in-depth protection have to be so on the ball & the smallest mistake means a rerun of Stark & Sheffield.The exocet is an old system now.Every invention from the US & Europe is copied in the east & made better,sea skimming missiles
    will also have had that treatment.Any way we will have to agree to disagree & I honestly hope I am the one that is wrong...

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  • 167. At 1:35pm on 18 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    161. At 05:10am on 18 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Re #1457 (and 142)

    Windmills also scare fish and make them move away.

    That, btw. is an accusation made not only by fishermen but also by many environmentalists with impeccable credentials (by their own standards).

    And finally, there are many people who simply think windmills are ugly.

    Ask Bostonians, for example.

    But then, there's no point in fighting windmills (read Cervantes)."

    __________

    Because, of course, coal fired power plants are so aesthetically pleasing by comparison.

    Some of us find the sight of a long line of rotating turbines stretching to the horizon, as at Caspar (?) Wyoming, for example, to be beguilingly beautiful. Not many fish there. Not many fish off the east coast any more, either. But that is a different kind of ecological disaster: a resource that was the livelihood of Newfoundlanders for 500 years reduced to less than 1/1000 of the previous biomass.

    One comment that is true, though, in certain wind directions the turning blades give off an odd humming sound. Given that turbines can adjust for wind direction, not sure why this is. But the humming sound is an observed fact, nonetheless.

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  • 168. At 2:56pm on 18 Feb 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 160. GH1618:
    I don't believe it is accurate to say that they do not "enforce safety standards rigorously." There are many industries with much worse safety records than commercial nuclear power in the US.

    That's rather cold comfort. I live near the Davis Besse power plant. There had been a series of problems there before the discovery of the pressure vessel erosion. It seemed to be forever going offline. In an environment like that you bear down on them and don't postpone an inspection, which is what the NRC did.

    Every incident leads to an analysis of the problem and revisions to the rules and procedures, where appropriate.

    Closing the barn door after the horse has gotten loose isn't regulating the barn. It seems to me that tolerance for mistakes ought to be in inverse proportion to the consequences of those mistakes. If the mechanic at an auto repair shop makes a mistake and dumps used motor oil down the drain, that a release of a hazardous substance into the environment and that's bad. But the consequences of that mistake are relatively minor. If someone at a nuclear power plant makes a mistake and radioactive material is released into the environment, that's catastrophic. Writing a report afterwards doesn't quite cover the situation. There should be tough rules and rigorous enforcement and zero tolerance for mistakes.

    re. 162. powermeerkat:

    Well, that accusation could be hurled at quite a few other agencies, for example, FAA.

    Not to mention good folks who were supposed to make sure that Toyotas and Hondas sold in USA are not "Dangerous at Any Speed", as Ralph Nader would have put it.


    Yes, do you notice a pattern here? During the 8 years of the Bush administration the government adopted the attitude that regulation wasn't necessary, that too much regulation was a job-killer. However, my point about tolerance for mistakes in the nuclear power industry applies here as well. The loose regulation of the financial industry ended up killing more jobs than EPA regulations ever would have.

    And there was a revolving door pattern to who worked in the regulatory agencies. They often came out of the industries they regulated or went into them after leaving government service. Not good to let the fox guard the hen-house.

    And conservatives are still chanting that we should remove regulation and let the private sector run itself. I'm amazed that anyone listens to them after the debacles of the last few years.

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  • 169. At 3:15pm on 18 Feb 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    IF: the opposition to wind power is a global phenomenon. The Ontario chapter of naysayers here. The humming is often described as 'infra sound,' and is blamed for a wide variety of ailments. There is a good article on the subject in the Canadian Journal of Acoustics (available as a pdf online) which debunks the infra sound mythology, but acknowledges there are noise issues that should be addressed.

    Nonetheless, the infra sound bogey man seems to have developed a life of its own. Because it is a myth, it is impossible to address, and therefore the perfect tool to employ if one is opposed to wind turbines in one's neighbourhood.

    Nimbyism is becoming the defining characteristic of our culture.

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  • 170. At 4:11pm on 18 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#168), you seem to be obsessed with this Davis-Besse incident. By the way, I see that I got my dates wrong, and that it was a relatively recent incident.

    Apparently, there was a cover-up which led to criminal prosecutions, and at least one conviction. In any human endeavor, there can be criminal conduct and victims. That's the nature of the human species, unfortunately. We try to compensate for that with regulations and safeguards, and we tty to get the best people in the most responsible positions.

    In this case, the safeguards worked. Despite the poor performance of the plant operators, the pressure vessel held long enough for the problem to be discovered. Had it not, the containment structure would have prevented a release of radioactive material. The "horse" did not get loose. The NRC took appropriate action to ensure that a similar incident would not recur.

    If that's not good enough for you, perhaps you should move somewhere else. I understand that may not be a practical option, which is too bad. There are 300 million people in the US and a lot of them wish they could live somewhere without the aggravations they endure. In your case, with respect to the power plant, it seems your problem is merely hypothetical, which is a lot better than the problems some people have.

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  • 171. At 4:34pm on 18 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    169. Pinko

    The link wouldn't work.

    As for the humming, I have that from a reliable source. Apparently it only occurs for one particular wind direction, and is only noticeable only at one relatively narrow range of wind speeds. You wonder if it is caused by some higher mode resonance in the blades, or some vortex shedding phenomenon. But why only from the one direction?

    To my way of thinking, we can build tens of thousands of these things, really big ones, in the big North-South wind belt in Labrador, the mother lode of consistent wind energy density in North America, or along the west coast of Newfoundland, and there isn't going to be anybody within miles and miles and miles of hearing it, anyway.

    I would be a lot more concerned about the life-limiting fatigue issue. We have aircraft that have a design life of 20 years that in fact last 40 or 50 years. We have railroad rolling stock designed for a 30 or 40 year life, that the Swiss are still running at 60 years and more.

    There is no reason why a low maintenance airfoil shouldn't easily exceed its design life. But it you start introducing stray acoustic resonances, well, if you can hear it, it usually means something is moving that probably shouldn't be, and if something is moving you probably have some kind of induced structural resonance. You just don't want structural resonances anywhere if you want the things to last essentially indefinitely, miles from nowhere, several hundred feet up in the air.

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  • 172. At 8:59pm on 18 Feb 2010, sean56z wrote:

    Barack Obama cannot even solve New Orleans problems from the Katrina Disaster. He plunged the U.S. into a debate about welfare. His budget deficit spending is without precedent. The Admin is sinking fast.

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  • 173. At 9:18pm on 18 Feb 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 170. GH1618:

    I'm not obsessed with the Davis Besse plant's accident, I'm angry at the sloppy management of the plant by the power company and I'm suspicious of the way it was monitored. This, as I mentioned in a previous comment, is the same company that a year later triggered the massive 2003 blackout by their sloppy maintenance of their lines. This company shouldn't be running a nuclear power plant. They are way too focused on their bottom line. I mentioned this plant and the accident at the Fermi power plant because for some of us the risk is not hypothetical. I was living downwind of the Fermi plant when it's accident occurred. Do you live downwind or in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant?

    I'm not against nuclear power, it's just that both of the nuclear power plants that I've lived near have had serious problems. I mean, really; we're two for two here. So it's not unreasonable to wonder what the regulation and monitoring is like at all the other plants in the US. And given the Bush administration's track record on regulation of industries of all kinds, it's not unreasonable to wonder if the NRC was being lax in postponing for a year the inspection of Davis Besse. We're not talking about "I can't meet with you Wednesday, will Friday be okay?" It was a year. As I said in an earlier comment, there was a history of problems at that plant.

    If a restaurant has a string of problems, the public health department closes it down until the restaurant owners can prove that everything is fixed, their staff is properly trained, and they have learned their lesson. There is a rigorous inspection before it is allowed to open again. If the restaurant goes out of business as a result of the closure, so be it. Even if the conditions have been met, the health department doesn't postpone the next inspection at the restaurant's request. Is it unreasonable for the regulators of the nuclear power industry to be equally hard-nosed? I don't want them to just update their standards after an incident, I want them to be suspicious and a bit adversarial.

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  • 174. At 9:50pm on 18 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    tim (#173) "This, as I mentioned in a previous comment, is the same company that a year later triggered the massive 2003 blackout by their sloppy maintenance of their lines."

    Part the responsibility for the 2003 blackout has been attributed to them, as you say. Apparently they didn't keep trees trimmed and a transmission line shorted.

    It's not surprising that a event which triggers a power blackout would start on the lines of a large operator. It's a statistical probability. The reason the blackout became so widespread is a more complicated matter. Here's a link to a summary analysis of the 2003 blackout from Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center:

    http://eioc.pnl.gov/research/2003blackout.stm

    "Do you live downwind or in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant?"

    My family home was not far from the Trojan plant in Oregon, which was the largest nuclear power plant in the US when built. Although it was something of an economic disaster, I never had any environmental concerns about it.

    If you lived near the Fermi plant at the time of its incident, then you have had some bad luck, that's all.

    We have petroleum refineries near where I live now. Toxic emissions from these are a greater risk than from nuclear power plants.

    We agree that NRC oversight should be diligent. We differ, I suppose, in that I believe they are doing a good job, all things considered.

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  • 175. At 10:15am on 19 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re v#171

    As I have stated much earlier there's nothing wrong with developing and even deploying energy sources alternative to /coal/oil/gas wherever it's economically viable.

    And I'm all for developing better propellers and more efficient solar panels.

    Except that all those energy sources make sense mostly on a RETAIL level. In other words it may make sense to build a solar collection facility in well insolated areas or putting solar panels on [white painted] roofs of individual houses and even small shopping centers.
    [even putting them on roofs of CA cars to run AC in parking mode makes sense, and it's being done as we speak]

    However it's patently obvious that those types of energy sources cannot deliver energy needed by major urban areas, let alone industrial centers.

    And if anybody's so hot on solar power, let them explain how we can economically replicate 'technology' our Sun is using to heat and light our planet.

    Id est nuclear fusion.

    P.S. No, I'm not for using propellers in our subs any longer.

    Particularly since there's a much quieter propulsion available now. :-)))

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  • 176. At 10:20am on 19 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #174 Potential diasters...

    I could understand a demand to conduct costly impact studies pertaining to potential earthquakes and volcanic erruptions if one was applying for a permission to build and operate a nuclear power plant in San Francisco Bay area or even in the middle of Yellowstone caldera.
    Or in the crater of Mt. St. Helens.

    But other than that...

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  • 177. At 10:21am on 19 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "We have petroleum refineries near where I live now. Toxic emissions from these are a greater risk than from nuclear power plants."




    BHOPAL redivivus anyone?


    Now, about that deadly accident in Connecticut...

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  • 178. At 00:14am on 20 Feb 2010, McJakome wrote:

    6. At 6:00pm on 16 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    "Once a leader in nuclear power, the United States is now far behind as a result of the 30-year hiatus in building nuclear power plants. The reasons the US turned away from nuclear power include technology failures and waste disposal, but misrepresentation of the economics was a big factor as well. I remember it being said in the 1960s that nuclear power would be "too cheap to meter." This is laughable today.

    Here is a link to the sad store of the Trojan plant in Oregon, once the largest in the US, and decommissioned after less than twenty years of operation..."

    Bravo, now tell them the sad story of the brand new and unused nuclear power plant just north of Boston that was never switched on because of the anti-nuclear and green activists.


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  • 179. At 00:29am on 14 Apr 2010, geoffreysmall wrote:

    In response to....

    Post 106 powermeerkat
    "Now this is really scary. No, not Chernobyl, but ignorance which would make people believe that you could create a nuclear explosion of any kind (let alone at 3-5 MT) with uranium 235 enriched to under 5%.

Scary. Really scary. :-((("

    and

    Post 120 GH1618

    "You detract from the credibility of your main point (waste disposal) when you make a preposterous claim such as this. The Chernobyl incident was a disaster, and it could have been worse had the nuclear fuel been critical for a longer period, but there is no way that the reactor core could have exploded with the force of a thermonuclear bomb, as you claim here.

Spreading fission products around eastern Europe (and the globe) is bad enough; there is no need to resort to hyperbole.
"

    Dear Powermeerket and GH1618,

    The 3-5 megaton second explosion that was avoided at Chernobyl is neither ignorance, preposterous or hyperbole. You need to inform yourselves more about the entire Chernobyl history and the sacrifice of the people who had to deal with it. The potential thermo nuclear explosion did not involve Uranium 235 at 5%. It involved the full meltdown core materials which had become a different mass and chemical structure at superhigh temperature, that were burrowing and melting everything out of control down through the concrete levels of the structure beneath the reactor; and large amounts of water that had been poured on the reactor fire from above it in the first days of the accident unsuccessfully in attempts to put out the fire, that had accumulated below in the levels that the reactor core meltdown was heading for.

    The Soviet Union's top nuclear weapons physicists, not me, were the ones who identified the possibility of a fusion-based megaton explosion if the meltdown core materials met the water in sufficient quantities to trigger a critical mass reaction. This was no joke. And a great sacrifice of some 1000 lives was made to avoid the catastrophe. In less than 24 hours 1,000 of the Soviet Unions best miners were called up and eventually sacrificed their lives digging a tunnel under the reactor and then a cavity room that allowed the water to be drained out and then was eventually filled with enough concrete to halt the meltdown.

    The head of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and the top Soviet scientists and generals who managed the containment operations at Chernobyl are all documented on camera with accounts of this real occurrence, which was censored by the IAEA for over 20 years.

    I provide a link to you of a very important documentary that came out in 2007 for your kind and thorough review of the facts. Please view the documentary in its entirety, and think more carefully about nuclear power from now on. A full meltdown in the core can indeed become a thermonuclear bomb, and it can happen in any nuclear plant that loses control of its reactor cooling systems. Over 90,000 people have died as a result of Chernobyl, over 7 million have been irradiated and are suffering from radiation related sickness, birth defects, deformities, tumors and cancers, and over 1 million risked and or gave up their lives to save the world from what Chernobyl could have become--an even worse disaster than what actually happened. In respect to their sacrifice, suffering and courage--their story must not be forgotten or ignored--and you need to know a little bit more about it before you call me ignorant, preposterous or one who resorts to hyperbole. My ignorance is not scary, but maybe yours is.

    Here is the link...

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5384001427276447319#

    With respect, I thank you for your kind and diligent attention on this very important matter.


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  • 180. At 03:24am on 14 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    179. At 00:29am on 14 Apr 2010, geoffreysmall wrote:

    Here is the link...

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5384001427276447319#

    With respect, I thank you for your kind and diligent attention on this very important matter.

    __________

    Thank you, Geoffrey Small.

    Haven't seen you here before.
    Please don't hesitate to write again.

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  • 181. At 5:22pm on 14 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 182. At 7:03pm on 14 Apr 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Apparently the moderators didn't like either my link in post #181, or my snarky comment that went along with it, so I'll try a different approach.

    The hypothetical disaster scenario posited by GeoffreySmall in post #179 appears to be derived from a computer game: Shadow Zone: Chernobyl -- The Nuclear Apocalypse, or on the science fiction screenplay from which it is derived. Google it yourself to find a description of the plot.

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  • 183. At 03:18am on 20 Apr 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    "Obama's hopes for a chain reaction".

    It's about time that we turned to nuclear energy for our energy goals. It should have been done years ago. France has relied on nuclear energy for over 70% of its energy needs and we should follow suite. We need to go further though.

    #1). No home in the U.S.A. (or anywhere else, for that matter) should be heated using fossil fuels.

    #2). Automobiles should be required to use hydrogen in the future.

    #3). ALL energy saving device patents which are currently held by the oil companies or any other company or person should be relinquished, by LAW, and STIFF jail sentences imposed on ANYONE who tries to keep an energy saving device off the market.

    #4). A mandatory DRASTIC reduction in the price for automobile fuel to satisfy the consumer's wishes regarding personal driving freedom. This would also boost the economy as the transportation of goods would cost less resulting in more jobs and lower prices for the consumer. Local, regional, and national economies which derive their main source of income from tourism would greatly benefit too through job growth and increased capital.

    #5). A ban on any type on coal mining, and especially strip mining, which permanently damages the landscape.

    #6). A total ban on paper newspapers. ONE DAILY edition of the New York Times requires an entire FOREST of trees to print. Instead, the consumer can opt to purchase a "kindle" device from their area newspaper company so the consumer can keep abreast of the daily news. The consumer should have a choice to have a version available for their computer too. This version should be formatted in the same manner as it is in the newspapers' circulated paper version.

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  • 184. At 7:49pm on 26 Jan 2011, Haywardsward wrote:

    Republicans, whether of the Tea Party or the GOP variety , exhibit severe cognitive dissonance. For it it was under Reagan that the USA started its decline to a debtor nation.

    In 1981, shortly after taking office, Reagan complained of "runaway deficits" that were then approaching $80 billion, or about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. Within only two years, however, his policies had succeeded in enlarging the deficit to more than $200 billion, or 6 percent of GDP. Under the “fiscally responsible” Republicans, from when Reagan took office, the National Debt standing at $995 billion from the Carter era, by the end of Bush1’s presidency, had exploded to $4 trillion.

    Clinton managed hold/wind them both back returning the budget to a surplus of some US$280 billion. Thanks to the Faux Texan and Friends the deficit grew to somewhere close to $500 billion in the 2009 budget moving from black to red ink in the order of US$750 billion! Then came the GFC.

    Also it was under The Faux Texan Cabal that the US$3 trillion and climbing cost of the Iraq Fiasco and the Afghan Imbroglio began. This US$3 trillion cost is the cost to the USA alone, not the rest of world.

    AND It does NOT include the on costs as you might call them for the US economy over the next ? years.
    The on costs include
    Family costs & Social costs
    Cost of seriously injured to society
    Loss of life and work potential for the private sector
    Mental health costs and consequences
    Quality of life impairment viz multiple amputees
    National Guard shortfalls needed for Civil Defense viz Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. For when National Guard units are shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan both personnel AND heavy equipment that would be used in these situations are shipped.

    As well the Fiasco was also the first conflict to be fought on credit since the War of Independence.

    To resume with the GFC, as one of our sons like to say, the Global Financial Chicken that came home to roost.

    The Republicans had controlled Congress from 1994 until 2006 so why were they sitting on their hands?.

    It was Bush's SEC regulator, Chris Cox, who changed the rules that brought about the failure of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. Thus releasing the tsunami of toxic debt that swamped the world in the GFC.

    As for Palin when she became Mayor of Wasilla, with then a population only c. 5,000, the town was debt free. When she left it had a debt of US$22 million, corporate property taxes had been cut but sales tax on food and essentials had risen. Then there is the Bridge to Nowhere....

    Fiscally Responsible Republicans!

    More like Fiscally Risible!

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  • 185. At 8:00pm on 26 Jan 2011, Haywardsward wrote:

    As for the Nuclear option "Show Me The Money!"

    For no Nuclear Generation System in the world runs without almost total taxpayer support from scoping to decommissioning.

    US nuclear reactor development was part of the USN nuclear submarine programme Those that became involved were told that nuclear generated power would be so cheap there would be no need to meter it! US nuclear power, together with Defense are greatest consumers of government largesse, really the tax payer’s.

    Christopher Crane, Senior Vice President of Exelon, April 2007 in address to the US Congress said that loan guarantees for new power plants must cover 100% of project debt, as otherwise financing of new power plants would be extremely difficult. Nuclear power is competitive only if the financial/insurance costs are lassumed by the public purse.

    Actuaries make their living by ascertaining risk. No insurance would be available for nuclear reactor sites in the US if not for the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act which covers all non-military nuclear facilities constructed in the United States before 2026.

    It established a no fault insurance-type system in which the first $10 billion is industry-funded according to a scheme described in the Act (any claims above the $10 billion would be covered by the US Federal government (viz. tax payer from where "government money" comes.)

    Initially the Act was considered necessary as an incentive for the private production of nuclear power, because investors were unwilling to accept the then-unknown risks of nuclear energy without limitations on their liability. And it seems that that are still unwilling to accept the KNOWN risks.

    TCO including energy, environmental, infrastructure and finance for the materials, construction, maintenance of the plant/s THEN the big one decommissioning. All are blue sky figures loved by contractors and infrastructure vultures.

    True ROI costs from start up to shut down and decommissioning?

    Will a plant be energy positive within its payback period?


    Then there is the world wide extraction of more uranium ore/enrichment for fuel. Energy, environmental. infrastructure and financial costs for more mines with costs to rise as ore grades decrease.

    The two elephants in the room are the real cost of decommissioning and waste management handling.

    Wast "packaging", transport, storage and all the security costs for both the decommissioning and waste management handling.

    The grid is a big problem with only c.25% of the energy input providing consumable energy to the end user. This coupled with badly designed commercial buildings and private dwellings means there is still a 19th century supply and consumer model running in the 21st. C.

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  • 186. At 4:24pm on 27 Jan 2011, polite and kind wrote:

    The Trojan horse
    "In 1978, the plant was closed for nine months while modifications were made to improve its resistance to earthquakes. This followed the discovery both of major building construction errors and of the close proximity of a previously unknown faultline. "
    "The Trojan steam generators were designed to last the life of the plant, but it was only four years before premature cracking of the steam tubes was observed"

    "In 1992, PGE spent $4.5 million to defeat ballot measures seeking to close Trojan.[9] It was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Oregon history until the tobacco industry spent $12 million in 2007 to defeat Measure 50.[10] A week later the Trojan plant suffered another steam generator tube leak of radioactive water, and was shut down."

    "In December 1992, documents were leaked from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission showing that staff scientists believed that Trojan might be unsafe to operate. In January 1993, chief plant engineer David Fancher, acting as spokesman for PGE, announced the company would not try to restart Trojan"

    Luckily Oregonians saved themselves.
    Yet they do allow many other Toxins all the time because they don't realise that ' nukes ain't the only toxin in town.'

    Time for us to concentrate on reducing use of most that we use today..

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