Atomic Show #292 - Andrew Crabtree, Founder, "Get Into Nuclear" 1

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  1. Thanks a lot for having me on the show, Rod. I really enjoyed the whole experience and the opportunity to talk about what it is that I am trying to achieve through Get Into Nuclear.

    Listening back to the recording, I noticed that I used the term “guys” a couple of times and with you having an international listener base, I just wanted to clarify that when I use the term “guys” whether talking about website visitors, a workforce, the YGN or anything else, I am referring to a general diverse group of people, inclusive of both men and women.

    Thanks again and catch up soon,

  2. It’s great that someone at home in a scrum is now on team nuclear, the way some people approach nuclear power.

    For decades there has been a passionate anti-nuclear movement based on rumor, misconception and outright disinformation. See the “work” of Arnie Gundersen and Helen Caldicott for that.

    It’s more than past time we all need to become passionate about nuclear power based on the sound science, economics, ecology, and social facts.

    Here in BC we lost over 700 people in one week to heat in temperatures that were more like the Arabian Peninsula than this temperate zone. The BC town of Lyton recorded the highest Canadian temperature ever of just over 120 F. Then burned down that night killing three more people.

    That is just one week out of an unending catastrophic process that needs to be turned back. I cheer on anyone with the courage to stand up for the real and sustainable change that large scale nuclear power offers.

    1. “an unending catastrophic process”

      And we’re right back in another weather disaster. Huge parts of this province are under flood warnings – the nearest extreme hazard zone is 20 kilometers to the west of here – one city is entirely evacuated and another under flood waters. Our main population center the Fraser Valley is cut off from the rest of the province by mud slides as well.

      I’m almost 60 and have never seen anything like this. Decades ago as a 15 year old I gave an oral presentation in English class on the wonders of nuclear power and how that would light our future.

      I still don’t get why that never happened.

        1. The delusion that fossil fuels are cheap?

          As we keep finding out here, fossil fuels are the most expensive energy source possible.

          When people keep comparing the Kw/h cost of nuclear power compared to fossil fuels they leave out the essential context. That fossil fuels have externalized cost that will eventually be everything. Nuclear power doesn’t.

          We already have places here where that is the case now.

          1. I think he means that too many people could make too much money off fossil fuels, so they made sure that didn’t change.

            1. Except for the climate of course, that has certainly changed for the negative.

              The Athabaska basin doesn’t just have massive bitumen reserves, it also has huge uranium and thorium reserves.

              It makes far more economic sense to process the tar for that than something that is already hugely expensive to everyone including the oil and gas sector. The main center for tar sands projects Fort McMurray burned down in 2015 in part because of the all the GHGs emitted from the tar sands.

              In the long term nuclear power has the potential to create far more wealth and progress than fossil fuels ever did.

      1. This is what catastrophic climate change looks like here now.

        Some of the most important routes in the province like Highway 5 will not be opened for weeks and fully repaired for months. And some like Highway 8 will probably never be rebuilt.

        The cost is massive in financial and human terms.

        To me this now goes far beyond economics and technical issues and is now into the area of basic ethics and morality. To me there is and has been for a long time something deeply unethical in blocking the large scale introduction of nuclear power. Often using irrational radiophobia to do so.

        Catastrophic climate change stops being theoretical and something to expect in the future when a series of historic storms have the same impact as an intensive bombing campaign. And were preceded by just a few months by historic heat waves that was lethal to over 700 people here in a week.

        I’m tying not to sound harsh, but find that hard now.

    1. No. We did an experiment a while back to produce Atomic Show transcripts, but it required a lot of work and did not generate a lot of interest or views.

      We tried a couple of the automated services that are available, but the output required significant editing.

    1. Also the lowest land use and mineral and metal requirements.

      If we actually do start building fast spectrum waste burner reactors that will reduce mineral use even further as they will be fueled from the large spent nuclear fuel stockpiles.

      New reactor designs with passive safety built right into them will also increase the safety of nuclear power which is already on par with low density renewables.

      There us no better alternative to fossil fuels than nuclear power.

  3. Thanks for the podcast.

    So – What’s up with the World Nuclear Day that is supposed to be on December 2nd? Will there be parades? Will we eat left over Thanksgiving turkey preserved with radiation? I did a search on it and found a lot of text that didn’t tell me a whole lot.


    “Share the Passion

    For nuclear energy advocates and leaders, World Nuclear Energy Day is an opportunity for both the technical nuclear community and their business development peers to share in their mutual passion while preserving and promoting relationships, traditions and shared memories. Swing open the doors (both virtually and physically) and have some fun while also educating those who attend.”


    It seems like a good time to “push” nuclear energy. Gas prices are up. People with electric cars can thumb their noses as they drive by gas stations.

    I think it would be nice to have predictable energy prices and not to have an armada protecting crude oil shipments from the Middle East. Yeh – It would be better to have the energy manufactured in the Middle West at some of those abandoned rust belt facilities.

    1. Your last comment is an understatement.

      For as long as fossil fuels have dominated the energy market their boom and bust cycles have driven volatile economics.

      Nuclear power will create a stable base the rest of economy will be built on smoothing out much of the market fluctuations.

      When fast spectrum waste burner reactors come online in large numbers this will create even more stability in the energy market as their potential fuel supply is stored in vast amounts including the depleted uranium that can be used as part of the fuel cycle at the fast spectrum. This will allow energy planning at the decade level.

      When nuclear power takes off and replaces fossil fuels as the base of the energy model it will change almost everything. For the better.

  4. IMO, we should avoid the term, “nuclear waste” entirely. To scientists and engineers, it simply means “byproducts”. However, when we hear someone chanting, “what about the waste!”, they are invoking associations of being alien, unnatural, threatening. To them, the only good byproducts are ones that we can dump into the atmosphere or the ocean, for Mother Nature to take care of, effortlessly. If we echo that word in our reply, we give credibility to such antiscience nonsense. Instead, we could reply –

    “Would you rather we each dump a couple of thousand cubic metres of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, or bury a single gram of fission products?” – Or –
    “That’s used fuel, being stored for recycling.”

    Similarly, if we are to qualify fast reactors at all, the term “fast burners” would suffice. Then assert that they would burn more actinides than they create. It is also more accurate, because the first wave of fast reactors is more likely to be burning HALEU (20% U235) than recycled fuel.

    1. Designs like the Elysium Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor will burn up almost all the actinides added as fuel. Primary fuel cleanup is expected to happen about 40-80 years after startup, the first reactor vessel will age out before the fuel needs to be cleaned. And only about 1% of the isotopes removed during cleanup will be actinides.

      It’s designed to run on spent nuclear fuel which Ed Pheil the co-founder of Elysium refers to as “stored nuclear fuel”. The same applies to the huge depleted uranium stockpiles, which in the US are about seven times that of SNF. Even U-238 becomes fissile at neutron energy over 1 MeV. There is no energy shortage, just manufactured ignorance on the incredible potential of nuclear power.

      Especially fast spectrum “waste” burner reactors. Which can also be configured to breed as much fissiles as needed to fuel things like slow spectrum SMRs which can be tailored to fill many parts of any energy system.

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