Atomic Show #209 – Nuclear energy conference reports

The month of November is chock full of nuclear energy related conferences. I was fortunate enough to attend four informative and professionally engaging events. Unfortunately that left little time for gathering friends together to produce a new Atomic Show podcast. This is a downpayment on remedying that situation; during the show preps I realized it has been more than two months since the last episode.

Several Atomic Show regulars participated in the conversation.

Margaret Harding, the principal at 4 Factor Consulting and a regular contributor to Fuel Cycle Week

Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy and one of the five former antinuclear environmentalists featured in Pandora’s Promise

Steve Aplin, who blogs at Canadian Energy Issues, where you can find frequently updated tables computing Ontario’s Carbon Intensity Per Kilowatt-hour (CPIK)

The regulars joined me in welcoming a new voice – Lenka Kollar, the owner and editor of nuclear undone, a blog that shares accurate information about nuclear technology issues. Here is a quote from nuclear undone’s “About” page.

Nuclear undone is a new grassroots movement to challenge your thinking about nuclear energy and nonproliferation issues. The political, social, and technical challenges brought on by the atomic age are complex and difficult to discern. This initiative works to “undo” these complex problems and present them in a way in which the general public can understand so that you can have well-informed opinions about nuclear issues. Thus allowing you to make educated decisions about which policies to support and not support on the local, national, and international level.

Nuclear Undone is not pro or against nuclear energy, but rather serves as an education portal for those wanting to learn more about important nuclear issues.

We chatted about the ANS Winter Meeting held in Washington, DC, a Small Modular Reactor conference held in Idaho Falls, ID, and a meeting of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) held in Ajax, On.

Your reward for listening to nearly an hour and a half of us talking is an end-of-show song titled Green Energy Blues, by Bob Lucas. If you are someone who likes to eat dessert first, you can find the lyrics and and a streaming version of the song at Green Energy Blue.

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About Rod Adams

18 Responses to “Atomic Show #209 – Nuclear energy conference reports”

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  1. James Greenidge says:

    Nice get together enhanced by Rod’s superb Darth Vader breath impersonation. :D Throw in Meredith Angwin and Will Davis and this would’ve been an extra keeper. Good points on Iran. Nobody wants to deny populations power but you don’t sell your babies to bribe “peace” with the neighbors. Be wary of feeding sly dogs that could bite back — badly. (a piece of hard-earned “street wisdom” lingering in this guy.) Would’ve loved to’ve seen this ensemble knock heads over nuclear energy and PR and mass media nuclear education and the task of nuclear blogs performing this function in the face of a suicidally reluctant nuclear community. I’d love to see Lenka Kollar going toe to toe with that site mistress of “Nuclear News”! BTW, this issue about taking industry money. Ask the critics ask not how much I’m being paid and by whom, but is everything I say true and provable?

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. starvinglion says:

    I don’t see any NOBEL WINNING HIGH ENERGY PHYSICISTS. They don’t hire nuclear engineers at the big investment scam banks. They don’t even hire distinguished condensed matter physicists. I’m not kidding here. Governments (owned by big banks) do NOT listen to engineers.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @starvinglion

      If you would read my articles and commentary a little more closely, I think you would find that you and I are not so far apart philosophically. I have no love for big banks or rent seekers who want to get rich on the backs of all of the rest of us by freeloading based on government influence. I like engineers, inventors, hands on farmers, and other people who create real value.

      I demand for my government to listen to engineers, even if the lawyers and accountants that have been recently dominant don’t want to listen. I idealistically believe in the founding principles of our constitutional form of government as the best available alternative and believe that it should be powerful enough to truly be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

      Nuclear fission energy is a tremendous tool for disrupting the way things current are because it cannot be dominated in the same way that access to hydrocarbon resources can be dominated.

  3. John Tucker says:

    Listening to it while I work.

    You couldn’t make this up:

    Germany’s New Coalition Vows to Fix Power Market

    In the agreement, the parties said coal- and gas-fired plants will remain essential to back up intermittent renewable energies for years to come and vowed to create a “capacity mechanism” that would compensate operators for providing back-up capacity, even when they don’t produce electricity. ( http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20131127-708349.html?dsk=y )

    lol!??

    • Jeff Walther says:

      They’re talking about doing the same thing in Texas. Sigh.

    • EL says:

      You couldn’t make this up:

      @John Tucker

      It doesn’t sound like there is any rush. Proposals are for a capacity market to begin in 2018, and there is no agreement on a mechanism yet. Lots of alternatives on table on what is going to work best for marketplace, especially concerning consensus on nuclear phase-out, transmission expansions, efficiency programs, energy storage financing, backloading carbon permits, ongoing FITs for solar, and expansion of renewables targets (40-45% by 2025).

      This hardly seems like an urgent fix, but a process for accommodating vested interests and arriving at long anticipated reforms (and with lots of deliberation and discussion in the mix). Most of it focused on bolstering markets to assure that energy reforms have stable and predictable conditions for long term growth, balancing of interests, lower costs, reliable operation, and best outcomes for consumers and developers. Most of the larger utilities seem to be adapting and getting on board. This slate of reforms (tailored at protecting their interests in wholesale markets with lower peak energy rates) are certainly a measure of their pressure and participation in these markets.

      • Brian Mays says:

        Lots of alternatives on table on what is going to work best for marketplace, …

        EL – This is a joke, right? Can you even keep a straight face while you type such nonsense?

        Clearly what will “work best for the marketplace” is to keep the well-run nuclear reactors going as long as they can run. Those plants aren’t being shut down because they can’t compete in the free market, they’re being shut down because of government fiat.

        If you really wanted what is “best for the marketplace” you’d get rid of the phase-out and restart the shutdown reactors.

        It has been my experience to observe that when corporations “seem to be adapting and getting on board,” they’re really just ponying up to the trough for government handouts. Yeah … sure, since it’s a disgusting process, they decorate it with a lot of horse manure, and the link that you provided was definitely ripe for the spreading. It was an entire stable’s worth.

        • EL says:

          It has been my experience to observe that when corporations “seem to be adapting and getting on board,” they’re really just ponying up to the trough for government handouts.

          Has Hinkley C managed to do any better? Germany wants to bolster flexible capacity, improved grid capabilities, and demand side management with these reforms. Yes. They appear to be market oriented.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Brian Mays

          It has been my experience to observe that when corporations “seem to be adapting and getting on board,” they’re really just ponying up to the trough for government handouts.

          That has been my experience as well. I once worked in a corporation whose top boss would be offended if the break room TV in any of his company’s organizations was tuned to anything but Fox News, because he said that was a “free market” oriented network. At the same time the corporation had numerous special projects teams formed to go after government grants and contracts. I used to hear a similar line from some of my more “conservative” colleagues in DC. They railed on and on about wasteful government spending and welfare, yet were offended when I pointed out that they worked full time on government contracts for companies that did nothing but government work. The hypocrisy was even worse when we both knew they were working on a contract that would not exist without legislative influence applied by lobbyists working for the same corporation that employed them.

          There is a rather nasty word that can be applied to an economic system that involves large corporations in multiple “public-private partnerships” to impose fiat choices from above. It’s not “free-market.” In order to prevent the intonation of “Godwin’s Law”, I’ll refrain from using the more accurate word.

  4. Mitch says:

    Whatever happened to the CO2 peril and drowning polar bears of climate change??

    • Rod Adams says:

      Risk remains, but hydrocarbon industry has powerful friends in media and government. Effectively submerged, for now.

    • John Tucker says:

      Polar bear numbers in Hudson Bay of Canada on verge of collapse – Wednesday 27 November 2013

      The rate of decline – and an even sharper drop in the birth and survival rate of young cubs – puts the entire population of western Hudson Bay polar bears at risk of collapse within a matter of years, scientists have warned.

      The ice-free season in Hudson Bay has expanded by about a day every year for the past 30 years, reaching 143 days last year. Scientists have predicted polar bears will be unable to survive once it reaches 160 days. ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/27/polar-bears-climate-change-canada-hudson-bay )

      • John Tucker says:

        I like to know where the “unusually cold” winter deniers were promising is?

        The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2013 was the seventh highest for October on record, at 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F).

        The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–October period (year-to-date) was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F). The first ten months of 2013 ranked as the seventh warmest such period on record.

        The last below-average global land temperature for any month was February 1994. ( http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2013/10 )

  5. Jim Baerg says:

    Your discussion about public knowledge of nuclear energy in the early 1940s reminded me of the Cleve Cartmill affair.
    http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0310/ref.shtml

  6. John Tucker says:

    41 Scientists Warn Obama Admin Against Burning Trees To Produce Electricity ( http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/30/3005441/epa-biomass-forest-carbon/ )

    I wouldn’t normally have linked to climate progress in here but they are one of the few sources to cover this letter without a pre qualified apology from the bio-fuels industry. Even then coverage is few and far in between of this huge phenomena in energy.

    Little or no serious vetting has occurred on wood and plant oil related bio-fuels and there are big plans in the works for them.

    • John Tucker says:

      Something like 70 percent of Germany’s “renewable energy” is biofules.

      Ironically for the “Greens” especially the Germans the radiation from wood ash released into the environment is probably higher than any standard waste released by their nuclear plants.

      ” federal regulations require releases from nuclear plants to be disposed of as radioactive waste if they contain even 1 percent of the cesium and strontium levels detected in the ash samples from New England. If ash were subject to the same regulations, he says, its disposal would cost U.A. wood burners more than $30 billion annually.”” – Science News August 10. 1991

      I dont know if that is true now but this is just residual cesium from atomic bomb tests. “Natural” radiation is of course much higher :

      This guy measured K-40 values between 60,000 and 110000 pCi/Kg !!!

      lol.

      ( http://www.nobiomassburning.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Cs_137-in-woodash-paper-Biofuels-Conference-1992.pdf )

  7. James Greenidge says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/29/is-it-safe-radioactive-japanese-wave-nears-us/

    No, it’s not “Nuclear News” but the NYT no less. There’s a difference between reporting fact in perspective and being coyly alarmist. Received no acknowledgement to comments from Times or Lott. Maybe the name of a legitimate professional information resource might make them regard feedback better than from a Joe layman.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  8. James Greenidge says:

    We just had a very bad train jack-knife derailment here in NYC, so far 4 dead and 11 severely injured. Governor “Indian Point’s Too Dangerous!” Cuomo dropped by to assure all will be done to prevent it happening again — even though weeks ago a garbage-freight train derailed near the same stretch of road, and minor ones before that. These guys let fatal accidents slide with cosmetic fixes yet when it comes to a power plant that hasn’t harmed squat nor has a real chance to, oh that must go! Such hypocrisy!!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

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