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  1. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, but I would just like to let you know, Rod, of one of Mr. Freeman recent appearances. In November of 2014, he appeared at a public meeting of the California State Water Resources Control Board regarding Diablo Canyon’s use of ocean water for cooling. Mr. Freeman joined the chorus of voices making the ridiculous argument that Diablo Canyon should pay billions of dollars in order to install cooling towers so as to evaporate water for cooling, instead of using California’s abundant reservoir of salt water directly as a heat sink. Personally, I find their alleged concern for the lives of billions of larvae a little hard to take seriously, for reasons I laid out in a public comment to the SWRCB (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5yAV1basQjiVmM1R1FvOGg4VW8/view).

  2. I have often read that President Carter’s dislike for nuclear came from his cleanup work at Chalk River. He only saw the mess, but left before the technology matured and achieved.

    1. @Robert Margolis

      That is one of the reasons I keep beating the drum to make sure that people find out that Carter never served on a nuclear submarine. He never had a chance to experience the almost magical quality of an operating, powerful reactor deep underwater.

      1. Given that he was to have been posted to the Seawolf, I don’t know that he’d have come away with the same kind of impression you did!

        1. Seawolf was a pretty interesting vessel. Serving as a plank owner on her would have been a terrific learning experience. Wasn’t the same 20 years later when Dr. Miller PhD had such a negative time.

          1. The SIR/S2G was hugely interesting from a design & mechanical perspective, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be stuck in a hull with one. My impression is that it was practically one continuous breakdown, & that’s neglecting the “popcorn popper” effect. The Nautilus power-room crew at least had the option of going into town & buying every can of “Stop Leak” in Seattle when they discovered that their secondary loop wasn’t quite watertight.

  3. Rod, I think it was a very interesting podcast, but I was seriously disappointed with your guests total failure to have any logical, critical thinking about nuclear power. It is very discouraging to listen to otherwise very intelligent, knowledgeable people just parrot anti-nuclear memes without any investigation or thought. I did like the congeniality and courteous exchange.

  4. Awesome interview that dug deep into some well held anti-nuke myths, historical revisionism, with useful dose of reality, including progress/potential for renewable, storage technologies. The basic technology underpinnings for developing even safer (even walk-away-safe, more modular) and still reliable nuclear electricity has been around in lab or on paper for decades, with international and US specific efforts pushing ahead- NuScale, Transatomic Power, Flibe Energy, etc. Economics as of lately has put up quite a head wind in doing the necessary upfront advanced nuclear power development efforts (technology, market) to proceed vs off-the-shelf systems available now (natural gas). Energy companies desire off-the-shelf ready, well supported generation solutions – competitive advanced nuclear offerings need to get there.

  5. One of the personal safety aspects of hosting a telephone interview is that one cannot act upon the irrepressible urge to reach over a strangle the daylights of a guest who desperately deserves it:) Way to hold your own Rod.

    Mr. Freeman and Ms. Parks clearly have swallowed whole the same old tired arguments against nuclear that appear to be finally losing their potency. There is not much one can do about these people except what you do, Rod, in exposing them for the rest of us.

    However, I wish to comment on a different aspect of their statements which I found much more disturbing in that they don’t seem to raise any alarms or provoke any resistance anymore. This is the idea that utilities and energy companies (just about every other person or organization that doesn’t toe the party line for that matter) can and should be coerced into adopting some technologies and restricting others. Most of us have strong opinions about what is ‘good’ technology and ‘bad’ technology. What used to be the norm in American society was that individuals were largely restricted to convincing each other through honest and reasoned persuasion. It doesn’t always lead to a desired result but the hallmark of a free and prosperous society is the absence/illegality of coercion except in self-defense. Mr. Freeman repeatedly called for ‘new marching orders’ from the government to force utilities to realize his vision. Regardless of one’s view of a fully electrified society, getting there by enslaving energy-producing companies is a recipe for the demise of civilization.

    Nuclear power is victim of the new norm in which those who wield the most political power are able to impose their views on the rest of us through the various coercive powers of the State. Exhibit A – the onerous regulatory hurdles to innovation in, and deployment of, nuclear power plants that bear no relation to the risks they pose. As Rod has elucidated numerous times, this didn’t happen so much out of fear so much as the ability of nuclear’s detractors to erect artificial barriers through cheerfully compliant regulators and politicians. One need not be a Ted Cruz supporter to see the dangers of an unlimited and purchasable government. Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans accept and even promote this kind of coercion as the proper way ‘to get things done’ (and then act surprised and dismayed when they become the victims of it).

  6. I feel that a lot of anti-nuclear feeling is rooted in the growing pains that nuclear technology had over its short history. Even without the events of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, historically there were some valid concerns. First, in the 70s and 80s I have read that nuclear energy had a capacity factor factor of 60% and scrams (sudden forced shutdowns) were common. Sixty percent is still a great capacity factor, but with the size of nuclear power a scram would be incredibly costly to a utility because they would have to pay someone else a large amount of money to replace the power loss. What I am saying is that when engaging persons that have anti-nuclear viewpoints, we have to not only look at the state of nuclear energy today but also look at its history. Looking at this historically we can acknowledge that some anti-nuclear concerns may have once been relevant, but now we can encourage those skeptical of nuclear power to take another look and assure them that with an open mind they will like what they find. Today scrams are largely history, LWR are incredibly reliable with 90% capacity factors, and new technologies offer to solve the cost problem.

    When one looks at nuclear power today and anti-nuclear opinion, one may conclude that anyone with anti-nuclear views is not smart. However, that is not the case even in the majority of cases. Nuclear power technology has developed to a point where we should be very vigorous in encouraging everyone to take another look at nuclear. For many their first impression of nuclear was either disappointing or scary, but it is incumbent upon those favorable to nuclear energy and the nuclear industry itself to encourage another look at nuclear. If the coal industry can have an incredibly successful clean coal campaign even without the technology being developed, then nuclear can have a great campaign showcasing all the new technologies.

      1. Not at all. Just painful to listen to those two. Their knowledge in all areas was painfully lacking. I forced myself to listen to all of it though, just to see if they had a single point of redeeming intellectual value… They didn’t.

        1. Ignorant, innumerate, probably scientifically illiterate, and full of intensity.

          That plus the variation in audio levels (especially Freeman, who apparently kept going back and forth at his microphone) made this really hard to listen to.

          One other thing that got me:  when the track flipped to #250 the audio level of the intro leapt up much higher than the outtro of #249.  Some consistency would make these shows much more listenable.  Audio compression, maybe?

          1. #250 was definitely more listenable, but I admit that I can only bend half an ear to such things while I’m trying to read.

  7. Rod,
    You did a great job tolerating your guest’s insistence on keeping their ears closed to what you were trying to say! I WAS aching to jump into the conversation to remind them (and your listening audience) that one HUGE factor in favor of nuclear power is ENERGY DENSITY. You hinted at it by saying that nuclear is ~ a million times more energy dense than coal or oil. However, since THEIR “baby” was wind and solar, they should be reminded that the “footprint” of a nuclear plant is nominally only 1 square mile, whereas the footprint of an energy-equivalent solar or wind farm is 200 square miles and 400 square miles, respectively (when the sun shines or the wind blows). That makes for a LOT of NIMBY back yards.
    Mark