Another blogger for nuclear energy – The Actinide Age
I just realized that a new Twitter friend — @ActindeAge — had also started a blog named The Actinide Age. The publisher is an Australian working for a manufacturing company that is not related to nuclear energy, but that would benefit if energy was cheaper because of a less constrained supply.
You can learn about his efforts and motivations at The Actinide Age’s About page. Please pay a visit and welcome The Actinide Age to the community of pro-nuclear bloggers.
In my book, a man who enjoys reading Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham to his children has a good reason to think and write about the future of energy production. I like green eggs and ham. I will eat them in a box, I will eat them with a fox. I will eat them here or there, I will eat them anywhere.
Love the title
That was a nice clip but why have Obama in it when he and his funding clearly wants wind and sun over nuclear? Good luck to the new pro-nuclear guy..
I like his use of the phrase ‘institutional environmentalists’. I consider myself an environmentalist, but a very different sort from the leadership of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth. This might be a good phrase to differentiate.
Why not industrial environmentalist when you consider the clout that Gazprom has on Greenpeace ?
A very nice effort, this new website.
I slightly prefer: Salaried “Greens”. They know whereupon their bread is buttered. Imagine trying to support oneself, much less a family, doorbelling in poor or working class neighborhoods for donations to Greenspeace etc. They learned long ago where to get funding, as Rod’s “Smoking Gun” series illustrates.
Sounds too much like “Salad Greens,” and if we’re going to go there, I vote for “Collard Greens” — all full of pork (e.g., Solyndra and too many government subsidies to name) and fat (what was Greenpeace’s operating budget for last year again?).
Yum, I love actual collard greens.
We true Southerners know our Greens. We like to boil them all in oil or fat.
Thank you, Mr Adams. I have felt very warmly welcomed in the few months since I decided to commit to promoting expansion of nuclear power (an effort I considered long and carefully).
The Dr Seuss metaphor was pretty obvious, and Sam-I-Am’s unrelenting, good-humoured insistence that green eggs and ham really are worth trying seems like a fair approach to adopt towards those who distrust and reject nuclear more out of habit and social engineering than any interested, informed position on it.
“I slightly prefer: Salaried “Greens”. They know whereupon their bread is buttered.”
That is kind of interesting. If nuclear power caught on, they would be out of jobs unless they could latch on to another good paying cause. They are not dumb people (well most of them). This kind of reminds me of the story of the luddites. They were put out of work when spinning mills came about.
They smashed the mills to keep their livelihoods.
I’d guess a lot of these industrial environmentalists are just trying to protect their jobs. They stop the nukes in a manner with some similarities to the luddites. I kind of wonder who else would hire a person who spent their career rabble rousing for Greenpeace.
When I used “salaried ‘Greens'” it is explicitly to distinguish between them and those Green-inclined and socially-responsible people who might temporarily be under the influence of anti-nuclear propaganda. Those with salaries tend to be in the raving zealot category.
Paul – OK … then how about calling them “White-Collared Greens” to distinguish them from the “Blue-Collared Greens,” who do most of the lifting and get the fewest tangible rewards — especially in terms of high salaries.
Yes … all of the puns are intentional. 😉
In other words, what do professional liars do for a living when their lies go out of fashion? There’s always a market for professional liars. They’ll just have to fake up impressive sounding, yet profoundly meaningless, credentials in some other area and start lying there. It’s so tempting to close this message with a list of the known-so-far professional liars. I wonder if it ever bothers them that they’ve never contributed in any meaningful way to society.
You can’t buy an insurance policy to protect you in the event of a nuclear accident. This is the free market trying to tell you something. This is the only reason I’m against nuclear power.
Because Price-Anderson makes the plant owner’s insurance pay first, and then the entire industry’s insurance if that’s insufficient. Insurance companies don’t want you coming after them for double payment.
The free market has nothing to do with it.
It’s called an indemnity act. Who’s covering the cost above the initial 12.6 billion?
At Fukushima, decontamination costs are currently estimated at $24 billion (here), and while I haven’t seen the latest figures compensation claims are some four times that amount (here). And if the operator went bankrupt in the process, equity investors and bond holders would pay a heavy price too.
The free market seems to speaking pretty loudly to me. If the industry wants to cover the entire cost for it’s insurance, please be my guest.
We keep telling you that the Japanese have completely mishandled the response and escalated the costs far beyond what they should be. They have applied a ridiculous standard for clean up and set a goal that is 20 times less radioactive than even the exceedingly conservative IAEA standard. It is absurd to keep basing cost estimates on that accident. Only a tried and true opponent of nuclear energy would do that.
I realize what you are trying to do. I hope others do as well.
You’re going to have to provide a source for that!
The Japanese follow the present remediation standard as set by the ICRP (as summarized by IAEA).
IAEA standards for evacuation meet or exceed international generic criteria and safety standards limiting exposures from ground level deposition dose levels to no more than 100 mSv (here).
The IAEA standards are no different than those informed by science and that form the basis of international generic criteria and safety standards?
About what you think I am doing beyond providing detailed and well informed comments on matters that can be easily looked up and confirmed (or amended if need be) by anyone … your point is lost on me.
The free market seems to speaking pretty loudly to me. If the industry wants to cover the entire cost for it’s insurance, please be my guest.
I thought you were a self-proclaimed liberal. Why are you professing faith in the free market as a decision maker?
I don’t see any reason why liberalism is not entirely synonymous with a well regulated, fair, and efficient market. Did you shift your thinking on this recently (I always believed you felt the same)?
This sounds to me like a hijacked thread waiting to happen (and I’ll note, you’re the one that brought it up).
“Well-regulated” – As in exercising regulatory authority to require companies to carry (and pay for) the maximum amount of insurance that is available on the private market.
“Fair” – As in assuring that legitimate claims are paid out in a timely fashion through a “no-fault” type of insurance that cuts out the all of the potential delays and costs of extended legal battles over culpability.
“Efficient” – As in hasn’t cost the taxpayer a dime in over 56 years.
Hey, you just described Price Anderson! Welcome aboard! I’m so glad that we agree.
@Rod, FYI: the reason liberals are not socialists is primarily because they generally support the free market and reject class struggle. They are concerned why the poor have so little, not why the rich have so much. They seek regulation of markets when there are market failures, and seek to enable people to live a better life through social security and other public benefits.
As far as Price-Anderson goes, ideally it should be repealed, someday in the very longterm future. But so long as coal, oil, and gas plants constantly emit waste to the air like a permanent accident and are subsidized by damage to the lungs of millions, so long as most renewable sources are highly subsidized either by ratepayers or the public Treasury, we can stand for a small indirect risk subsidy for nuclear power.
After all, nuclear is the only proven non-large hydro way to permanent carbon reductions in the electrical sector, as France has demonstrated. It has special benefits, so why shouldn’t it get some small special privileges?
I’ve always written about the benefits of Price-Anderson to the industry, and providing a more secure and certain backdrop for investment and a stable business environment around nuclear.
What I object to is arguments that suggest repealing the thing will somehow “benefit” the industry, or that the industry is somehow paying it’s own way (without relying on federal and taxpayer provided backstops and guarantees). Without Price Anderson (like similar liability caps for oil and gas and US banks), you have one heck of a liability bill or insurance premium (if the same coverage would be provided via private insurance). And as you suggest, the taxpayer is the backstop for a lot of risk to private enterprise, public infrastructure, and business. As a well intentioned and good governance liberal, I don’t see a problem with this. If the industry can do better without these liability protections, by all means, please be my guest.
Well, if anyone needed any evidence that EL will say absolutely anything to hijack a thread, this is it. First guided by the “free market,” then not, with this type of talent in backpedaling, EL probably has a promising career in politics. It’s no wonder that this person wants to remain anonymous.
Which is a complete straw man. Who has said anything about repealing Price-Anderson? Perhaps Dave did, after the fact, but Engineer-Poet certainly did not. Yet the attempt to hijack the comments into this non sequitur is all too obvious.
Perhaps EL should have addressed his latest comment to Dave?
The plant owners in the nuclear industry (and other licensees, including US Government entities) have covered the entire cost of its insurance for the past half century. During that time, the taxpayer has had to pay nothing.
Huh? Jerry and Engineer-Poet both started the discussion on Price Anderson, and presented some inaccuracies about it.
How is correcting inaccurate information, and elaborating my views on Price Anderson (in response to questions from others about it) hijacking a thread.
If you don’t want to talk about Price Anderson, but wish to talk about something else (ad hominem charges), I’m confused why I am getting blamed for this. The person hijacking the thread and changing the topic would seem to be you in this instance (and not me).
Is there anybody reading this thread who is confused about this?
Brian … the topic is Price Anderson. Do you have any substantive points to offer on this topic, or just more of your usual name calling, taunting others (which you seem proud about of late), and changing of the topic.
EL – What is inaccurate about, “Because Price-Anderson makes the plant owner’s insurance pay first, and then the entire industry’s insurance if that’s insufficient” (your quote from Engineer-Poet)?
Yes, we both agree that Price-Anderson is a good idea. I got it. You can let it drop now. Like I said earlier, welcome aboard!
A great deal. I thought I was clear in my initial reply. There is a third tier of coverage provided by the Federal Government above the initial 12 billion liability cap that was not mentioned by Engineer-Poet. This is integral to the purpose and function of the Act. In addition, plant owners aren’t required to pay until they can no longer do so (and then the industry picks up the rest). The plant owner pays up to the first $375 million. The industry picks up the rest to the liability cap (not whatever is sufficient).
Congress may raise future contributions to the risk insurance pool as a result of the second tier being depleted, or they can legislate additional remedies if additional disaster relief is needed. These supplemental and additional remedies are matters left to Congress (not the Industry), and are external to the Act.
And yes, we apparently agree that Price Anderson is an indirect subsidy (saving the industry on full cost of insurance), and is a significant benefit to the industry. I never suggested otherwise (but it’s good to know we are in agreement on this).
Sorry, EL. Everything that Engineering-Poet wrote was completely correct. You’ve failed miserably to demonstrate otherwise.
If, however, your gripe is that Engineering-Poet did not say everything that there is to say about Price-Anderson, then you are just as guilty as he is of this flaw. For example:
The one very important point that you left out is that there is nothing in Price-Anderson that precludes Congress from getting the money for the “third tier” directly from the plant owners themselves. So this $12 billion liability “cap” that you talk about is not really a cap at all. Sure it’s “external” to the act, but so is all of the rest of liability law. The one thing that is not internal to the Price-Anderson Act is a genuine, hard ceiling on liability.
The “liability cap” thing might be a popular myth, but it’s still a myth. You seem to be extremely confused on the topic. In fact, you don’t seem to understand how insurance works at all. For example:
Wrong. The companies insuring the plant owner pick up the first $375 million. Then the companies providing the pooled insurance for the industry pick up the rest. Nevertheless, the plant owners definitely could be required to “pick up the rest” after the liability “cap,” if Congress directs them to. There is nothing in Price-Anderson to stop it.
No, not necessarily. It qualifies as a subsidy only under the narrow assumption that plant owners are mandated to carry the full burden of liability insurance up to some obscenely high hypothetical value that is derived from pure speculation and bad science.
But even so, let’s go with that. Let’s assume that there is this “indirect” subsidy. Given that the nuclear industry in the US is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, then I’m sure that whatever benefits result from this “subsidy” are far less than the additional costs incurred from regulation, both in regulatory fees and costs of compliance.
But this is how anti-nukes — many of them socialists who conveniently find themselves suddenly to be closet free-marketeers — manage to set up a false dichotomy. By ignoring everything else, they make the spurious claim that lumping the maximum amount of insurance burden on the nuclear industry somehow represents the “free market” situation. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
A genuine free-market situation (or rather laissez-faire situation — let’s be honest, that’s what we’re talking about) would involve drastically reducing the regulatory burden as well. Not only would it require eliminating any need to carry a certain level of insurance, but it would also do away with most other regulatory requirements as well, especially those having to do with “safety.”
Under this situation, owners of nuclear plants would be free to operate their plants however they want, but would incur all of the liability risks without limit. Thus, they would purchase as much insurance as they think they would need, to cover all such possibilities that their own risk analysis indicates are worth covering. That is, they need only so much coverage as to reduce the probability of the alternative (bankruptcy) to a small enough level that the owner is willing to accept the risk. (This calculation, no doubt, would take into account the possibility of reducing such liability costs through lengthy court battles and other litigation tricks.) If this were case, I’m absolutely positive that the total costs to the nuclear industry would be substantially less that what they are under the current regulatory scheme that includes Price-Anderson.
At this point, you probably are going to object that, in the worst case scenario, the public ends up being screwed. I agree, but this only underscores that Price-Anderson is fundamentally public-oriented and consumer-oriented piece of legislation. That it provides any benefits to the nuclear industry at all is a mere side-effect, which is not even a secondary consideration — at best one could call it tertiary.
The main benefit that it provides to the plant owners is not some phantom subsidy that has cost the taxpayer zilch, but the reassurance of predictability. Thus, it is understandable that the industry has adopted an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude for over half a century when it comes to Price-Anderson, even though this piece of legislation costs the industry quite a bit of money.
Re: Brian Mays, February 4, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Wow. That’s a beautiful explanation and debunking of the subsidy myth. I’ve often thought it would be nice to put together a debate book/card file, for pro-nuclear arguments, much as one does for high school or college debate teams. If I were doing that, this would definitely go in there.
Sure there is. As you suggested, bankruptcy. Is Congress supposed to do the equivalent as was done for Tepco, nationalize the company and then request funds from the new owners (taxpayers in this case). How much cash do you think any of these companies have lying around? If the liability exceeds the ability of the companies to pay … what do you recommend Congress do in such an instance (and are bond and equity holders sent into the lurch as well)?
Yes … we all understand the act to work this way. We’re talking about insurance. The company’s insurance pays first tier, and pooled insurance pays second. I thought this was implied by my comment, links, and discussion of premiums, pooled insurance, etc. I guess I should have been more specific and clear (and I appreciate the additional clarification).
There’s a whole lot of “If this were the case” in that statement: an entirely different health and radiation protection standard, NRC run like the FAA, investors (contractors and equipment manufacturers) entirely willing to take the same liability risk as plant owners, a public willing to pick up the pieces when a company goes bankrupt, private insurance companies (not backed by the government or taxpayer) willing to insure plants with no caps on liability and minimal regulatory oversight and public accountability (with skyrocketing premiums I have no doubt), and more.
This sounds like a practical and feasible plan to you?
If you don’t want the government providing backstops to the industry (at a significant benefit to the industry), and involved with fully independent oversight and regulation (which I also see as a major benefit to the industry), I think you should go that route (and start lobbying congress to this effect and your own trade organization). You appear to think it is industry complacency and status-quo inertia that explains current acceptance of Price-Anderson (“if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”). I think it is hard and cold interests (and a full understanding of costs and benefits). Sure, when the alternative is some made up pie in the sky wish list of everything that an unfettered industry wants, I guess I can understand how you can see it that way. But your wish list just isn’t going to happen. It’s not. And if it did, I don’t see how the industry thrives and operates, raises capital, maintains very high standards and reliably, and fully covers itself against equipment, personal and property liability (and remains cost competitive with other alternatives).
It sounds like a very bad idea to me. But I’ve seen many bad ideas discussed (and defended with fervor and zeal) on the site. If you think you can accomplish anything along these lines, I say go for it. Heck, it is even starting to sound like you think, and are looking to express here, “why not,” you have nothing left to lose.
@EL and Brian
This conversation is certainly far away from welcoming a new blogger to the community of pro-nuclear blogs.
Here’s my opinion – Price-Anderson provides value to the nuclear industry, but it provides more value to the public of the United States. Enabling nuclear energy is a good thing. The 800 billion kilowatt hours of clean, low cost electricity helps to keep our economy strong and is beneficial to the environment.
The perceived risk may be higher than some would like, but the actual risk assumed by the public is quite tiny. That means that the government is making a cost effective bet – it gets compensated for seeming to accept a big risk while actually accepting a small risk.
Rod – I haven’t had time to comment on your blog in several days.
Jeff – Thank you for the kind words.
EL – Price-Anderson has nothing at all to do with bankruptcy protection. Perhaps you should actually read the legislation sometime. As for what I think, it’s expressed in what I’ve written above, and I’ll let it stand at that. You’re just wasting your time and wasting space here trying to explain to everyone what you (incorrectly and foolishly) want to believe that I think. Nobody cares.
Huh? Insurance programs have a lot to do with bankruptcy protection, particularly when the costs for liability far exceed market capitalization of a company being insured.
These are pretty basic and fundamental concepts. How come it seems you are having such difficulty with them?
@Rod “government is making a cost effective bet”
An important point is that the government controls the odds in this bet. Through the security authority, it can impose all the controls it finds useful to lower the probability of a serious accident. If an accident does happen, that’s also his failure about implementing the proper controls.
In the case of Japan, they are several reports that the 2007 IRRS mission identified severe issues in the regulation, but that the Japanese government (unofficially) decided to do nothing.
However I verified the content of that report and it’s easy to miss that the issues reported are severe. The report, whatever those writing it really thought about the situation, failed to the tendency of never writing too harsh things in an official, public report (maybe there was a confidential version that was clearer).
In fact, it’s illegal for insurance companies to sell coverage for something like this that is already automatically covered by a federally mandated “no-fault” insurance scheme. This would mean selling coverage for something that the insurance company knows that they never would have pay a single dime to cover.
If Government reaction to any nuclear accident were documented, clear and under proper constraints, then I think insurance companies would fall all over each other to insure to cover any costs not covered by Price Anderson. The fact that it is already covered by Price Anderson only changes the formula of extra coverage. It doesn’t convince Insurance companies that there is no money to be made.
If there were the release of even tiny amounts of radiation, perhaps even at beneficial levels, there could be lawsuits brought, citing all the FUD we have to convince already indoctrinated jurists that payments should be necessary.
The problem is that insuring against a nuclear radiological release would be more of a crap shoot instead of anything that could be calculated by an actuary, due to unpredictable government reaction and nonsensical public expectations.
Can you buy insurance against respirartory aliments or pollution damage or acid rain from a coal or oil plant?
Not for permitted releases. But accidental damages, you better be sure you can (or you can sue).
Think how insane that sounds; They’re legally routinely ALLOWED to injure your health and property! Nukes can never get away with that!
Federal regulations also permit routine radioactive releases from nuclear power plants, research, and fuel processing facilities. Some of these locations are very heavily contaminated (Paducah, for example, where residents continue to have their local water supplied due to 99Tc contamination and other industrial pollutants). Cameco, and the long overdue radiation clean-up in Port Hope, are another concern (residents have been waiting for decades for remediation of contaminated landfill sites near their homes and schools). There are over 80 sites in the US on National Priorities Superfund list slated for further investigation and clean-up due to radioactive contamination (not all related to power generation). Decommissioning and storage of waste (fuel and otherwise) at power plants has it’s own environmental and exposure risks and concerns. Primary among them, we don’t yet have a permanent repository for a lot of this stuff (and are unlikely to get one in the next 20 to 30 years). In a sense, one could say nuclear plants are permitted to do nothing with their spent fuel, other than watch it (and hope for the best for the future).
I’ll bet you could insure against something specific: X rem at your front door…. Insurance companies will never ensure against unspecified injuries and against government overreaction, especially if they’re to have many insured parties in a localized area.
We’ve see at Fukushima the Japanese Government force upon the population, rather arbitrarily, a 25 mile exclusion zone. We then saw the American NRC, stick it to ’em with a 50 mile exclusion zone, again by an arbitrary wave of the hand.
The problem with insuring against voodoo reactions is that it’s is arbitrary and unpredictable. If you scientifically pin it down, then the Insurance companies will be willing to do some business. I don’t, however, think there would be much of a market for insurance that protects against X rem at ones front door; FUD only goes so far.
$12.6 billion in coverage is funded by the nuclear industry in the event of a accident in the US. More can be mandated or subsided by Congress if/as needed. The nuclear industry has its own private insurance coverage schedules.
I dont know why so many people are keep pulling that dumb insurance thing out of their asses every time nuclear power is being discussed.
I for one am beyond tired of it. And as bad as it sounds let it be known that I would GLADLY trade places with anyone that held property in the Fukushima “Crisis” area:
Tepco’s average payout breaks down as:
– $417,000 for real estate compensation,
– $180,000 in lost wages and possessions, and
– $300,000 for pain and suffering, including psychological distress.
( http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/11/04/the-fukushima-refugee-business/ )
Yes that per Claim !!! This where average tsunami refugees are getting < $30,000/year. And no I have no connection whatsoever to the "nuclear industry."
@John T. Tucker
Per average family of 4, correct?
Leslie Corrice’s link to the news story where he gets this information is broken. I’d like to see it (and can’t find it). Do you have it available?
Its in several stories and there are multiple breakdowns. Look it up yourself. For once.
So here we are at reality again. Likely the nuclear industry, in the rare event of a accident, has the best reimbursement history out there and the lying fraud “greens” try to make it look like they will stiff people by spamming these “no private insurance” type incorrect platitudes.
1. A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant (On-line dictionary) .
Your lack of ability to self correct and propensity to continuously invoke marginal and vague rhetorical arguments is beginning to bore me EL.
John – Be nice. It’s not as if anyone here likely has access to a research budget. Otherwise they would be posting comment after comment that is flooded with links to numerous sources so as to overwhelm any opposition to their claims by the sheer weight of their “supporting” material.
I’m sure that we can all use as much free help as we can get. Although, it would have been nice if you had gotten a “please” at the very least.
@John T Tucker
If you don’t wish to be constructive or helpful … I suppose that is your prerogative.
But I did look it up, and it contrasts with the numbers you have provided (here).
Or here for more updated and recent figures.
Heck, even Forbes article references a family of 4 (and not claims for individuals). I can find no source for the numbers you have provided (or those of Leslie Corrice), which is why I asked.
Do you wish to provide it … or just spout more mindless ad hominem and rote nonsense?
The ball is in your court!
“The free market seems to speaking pretty loudly to me.”
A few short years ago, the “free market” allowed this country to nearly go broke. The “free market” has rarely been referred to as the “fair market.” I pity those that are naive enough to think that the free market makes wise decisions where the common welfare is concerned. Turn your ears off to the drumbeat of the free market trickle down nonsense that has been a mantra in this country since the days of Ronnie Reagan.
Insurance is a construct of men. The free market is a construct of men not nature. The fact that the whole planet is heating up is an aspect of man’s affect on nature. The best choice to fix the problem seems to be nuke plants. Maybe some of men’s rules should be changed to get these things built.
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