Pro Nuclear Video

Collection of videos that support nuclear energy available from Atomic Insights.

Putting excitement back into nuclear technology development

Josh Freed, Third Way‘s clean energy vice president, has published a thoughtful, graphically enticing Brookings Essay titled Back to the Future: Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change. It focuses on Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie of Transatomic Power, but it also makes it abundantly clear that those two visionary entrepreneurs are examples of a growing wave of people that are excited about developing nuclear energy technology that can allow modern society to continue prospering AND improve the environment’s ability to sustain all living creatures, including humans.

As the Ford commercials say “AND is better.”

The primary idea in Freed’s piece is that there is a revival growing in nuclear energy technology development because people like Dewan and Massie (along with other entrepreneurs and thinkers like Kirk Sorensen (Flibe Energy), David LeBlanc (Terrestrial Energy), Kevan Weaver (TerraPower), Jose Reyes (NuScale), Jacob DeWitte (UPower), and Jeff Halfinger (B&W mPower)) have recognized that it is a technology that can provide both abundant, reliable power AND ultra low emissions to enable a successful fight against climate change.

The below video is part of Freed’s essay, and well worth viewing as a stand-alone example of the kind of communications products that nuclear energy visionaries need to produce and distribute as widely as possible.

Aside: The segment from 1:34 to 2:00 is inaccurate and disingenuous. I have asked the creators to make a revision. End Aside.

I have a couple of quibbles with Freed’s summary of nuclear history. For example, the following statement made me chuckle just a little bit.

And because Rickover also oversaw the development of the Shippingport reactor, the light water reactor design quickly became the standard, triumphing over the designs of ‘50s-era engineers like Alvin Weinberg, the director of research at Oak Ridge, who had been developing a molten salt thorium reactor.

Apparently, his research didn’t illuminate the fact that Alvin Weinberg invented the light water reactor and introduced that design to CAPT Rickover and his team when they were studying at Oak Ridge the year after WWII ended. The molten salt idea came a few years later as a result of trying to devise a technology that could be even more compact and power dense so that it could fit inside an aircraft. (See Bob Hargraves excellent history titled Alvin Weinberg’s liquid fuel reactors.

I also think that Freed glosses over the root cause reason that the United States has abandoned its leadership role in nuclear energy and has not yet decided to make the investments required to regain our former role. He alludes to it in the following section heading “This country, which was awash in cheap and plentiful coal, simply wasn’t going to build more nuclear plants if it didn’t have to.” He also mentions the role that the fracking-enabled natural gas boom has played in slowing the promised Nuclear Renaissance that was often discussed in the years leading up to the Great Recession, a period in which natural gas prices rose by a factor of 6 over their early 2000s lows.

My interpretation of the history is that America has too many people that would prefer to sell coal, oil and natural gas than to allow nuclear energy to flourish and take over markets that they view as “theirs.” Whenever nuclear seems poised to expand at a reasonable rate, the competitors do what they can — including using price wars and exaggerated responses to otherwise acceptable industrial events — to hamstring that growth.

I’m a devoted fan of nuclear innovators like Dewan, Massie, Sorensen, Reyes and all of the others who are seeking ways to improve on fission-based machinery.

I wouldn’t be human if I was not also just a little jealous of the fact that the environment of 2014 seems to be a bit more welcoming to atomic innovation than the environment that Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. faced when it was founded in 1993.

My self-assigned role in the new Atomic Age is to cheerlead, provide the grey-bearded view, and give some advice to the next generation. One of the most important things I can do is to help them to understand their opposition and devise ways to use the strength of that opposition as a lever for success.

Ben Heard and Gordon McDowell collaborate to produce Nuclear Power for Australia

Ben Heard is one of the most articulate, skilled presenters working for the expansion of nuclear energy. Gordon McDowell is a skilled videographer who has produced a number of useful, informative videos about nuclear fission, normally with a focus on the potential of thorium fueled reactors. The two talented advocates have recently produced and published […]

Read more »

Wade Allison at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan

On December 3, 2014, Dr. Wade Allison was invited to give a speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. The title of that talk was The Fukushima nuclear accident and the unwarranted fear of low-dose radiation. After Dr. Allison gave his talk explaining why he believed that our current treatment of radiation is governed […]

Read more »

Paul Wilson & Bret Bennington vs Arnie Gundersen & Heidi Hutner on Nuclear Sustainability

On Nov 20, 2014, Hofstra University hosted its annual Pride and Purpose Debate. This year’s proposition was the following – “Should nuclear energy be expanded to help create a more sustainable future?” The debate included the following panelists: For – J Bret Bennington, professor of geology, Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability at Hofstra University. […]

Read more »

Transatomic Power – Anatomy of Next

Dr. Leslie Dewan is a co-founder and the CEO of Transatomic Power, a venture capital-funded start-up based on research conducted at MIT. Along with Mark Massie, the other co-founder, Dewan is exploring a design that uses a molten salt fuel that enables materials currently classified as “nuclear waste” to provide the heat source for a […]

Read more »

Disneyland 3-14 – Our Friend, The Atom

On Sunday, January 23, 1957, a large American audience gathered around their television sets to watch the weekly episode of Disneyland, a popular show created and hosted by Walt Disney in return for an investment from ABC that he used to build Disneyland. On that evening, the audience was treated to a compressed course in […]

Read more »

Why radiation is safe and why all nations should embrace nuclear energy

Dr. Wade Allison — retired professor of physics and medical physics at Oxford University, author of Radiation and Reason and a founding member of the international SARI group (Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information — has recently published a video titled Why radiation is safe & all nations should embrace nuclear technology – Professor Wade Allison […]

Read more »

Discussing nuclear energy in Australia

On August 5, 2014, Professor Barry Brook, Ian Hore-Lacy and Professor Ken Balwin chatted with ABC [Australian Broadcast Corporation] 666 morning host Genevieve Jacobs about nuclear energy. Each member of the panel provided a brief statement and then there was a lengthy question and answer period lasting nearly an hour. You really should watch the […]

Read more »

Radiation is Safe Within Limits – Robert Hargraves

Dr. Robert Hargraves recently gave a talk to a chapter of the American Nuclear Society in New York. He recorded the talk and synchronized his words with the slides. It is quite informative. RadiationSafeWithinLimits from Robert Hargraves on Vimeo. Hargraves should be complimented and encouraged to keep working on his presentation, practicing the delivery and […]

Read more »

Dr. Helen Caldicott versus emission-free nuclear energy

Gordon McDowell is a Canadian film-maker who has a strong interest in molten salt reactors using thorium. However, he is also supportive of other forms of nuclear energy as beneficial sources of emission-free energy. You can find more of his work on his YouTube channel. Like many of my associates and colleagues, Gordon has a […]

Read more »

Passionate defense of nuclear energy

About two years ago, I made a trip from Virginia to Gaffney, South Carolina to talk at a public meeting being held about the draft environmental impact statement prepared for the proposed William States Lee nuclear power station which will include two 1140 MWe Westinghouse AP1000&#174 reactor units. That proposed new power plant project is […]

Read more »