Atomic Show #202 – Atomic Earth Day 2013
Many nuclear professionals have been attracted to the technology because of its inherently light footprint when compared to all other alternative power sources. It uses less land, less metal, less concrete, and a tiny volume of fuel when compared to producing a similar quantity of energy from other sources of reliable power, especially when the fuel extraction and delivery lifecycle is included.
Unfortunately, the established Environmental Movement turned away from nuclear energy during a transitional period in the late 1960s and early 1970s when they were convinced by key leaders that atomic energy was something to fear and fight. Before that period, conservation groups like the Sierra Club recognized that it was better for the land that they loved to produce power with “Atoms, not Dams”. During that campaign, Sierra supported nuclear energy as a better alternative than filling up a pristine valley full of water as part of the Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric power project.
Guests on this show include:
Margaret Harding, an independent consultant with 30 years of BWR fuel design experience. Margaret blogs at 4 Factor Consulting and writes a column for Fuel Cycle Week.
Will Davis, a former submarine reactor operator who blogs at Atomic Power Review and ANS Nuclear Cafe and also writes a column for Fuel Cycle Week
Meredith Angwin, who blogs at Yes Vermont Yankee and ANS Nuclear Cafe and recently published an eBook titled Voices For Vermont Yankee.
Steve Aplin, who blogs at Canadian Energy Issues
We all remain convinced that emission free power from an incredibly energy dense fuel sources is better for the environment than producing that power by burning hydrocarbons and dumping the waste product. We also believe that it is better for many of the things that true conversationists and environmentalist hold dear to produce power from reliable, compact machinery than to attempt to capture natural energy flows using inherently large machinery that is often idle and doing nothing except being a blight on formerly scenic vistas.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:11:26 — 32.8MB)
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A good summary on the dispute between David Brower and Ansel Adams regarding Diablo Canyon can be found in Adams’ biography. Ansel Adams was an advocate for nuclear energy. David Brower eventually left FOE to form the Earth Island Institute. He became quite the deep ecology spokesperson.
Instead of resembling an industrial site, could a new reactor “farm” (multiple small, modular units) be designed as a “lifestyle park”, with lush landscaping, gardens, orchards (irrigated with pruified water) hiking/biking trails, climbing rocks, waterfalls, wildlife preserve, etc.? Wouldn’t this approach serve to quiet at least some of the NIMBY’S? Wouldn’t this approach also serve to show just how healthy living in close proximity to atomic power can be?
You mean like the old Cuttler plant where FP&L held its annual company picnics?
Funny you should ask. There are quite a few attractively sited nuclear plants in operation in the US already. Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, River Bend in Louisiana, or Diablo Canyon in California all come to mind. Unfortunately, the sites have restricted access based on the silly notion that people flying airplanes into large buildings means that one should keep people away from nuclear power stations.
We are working hard to design a less intrusive power plant but we are still required to surround it with high security barriers that are not especially attractive..
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