Atomic Show #316 - Emmet Penney, Pronuclear Poet 1

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  1. Thanks for another good one. I think it’s a good thing to have another creative liberal arts oriented person advocating for the nuclear power source.

    You discussed why the people of a generation (or more) turned away from nuclear. I will bring up what has been discussed on some of your other podcasts. The anti nuclear movement got the support of popular personalities. Of course Jane Fonda comes immediately to mind but there were others. Many musicians and yes poets of the time were inclined in the anti nuclear direction. Perhaps, in these times where this energy source is badly needed to solve a problem that besets the entire world this bias will be removed.

    However, all the kind words that may be written about nuclear do not hide the fact that few US projects are underway. Bill Gates project in Wyoming is starting. Will it even have a chance? Will the anti industry industrialists discussed in the podcast come out of the shadows and prevent success? Great hopes were given to the SMRs of NuScale, but their first attempt at constructing units seemed to be put down like the swatting of a fly. As Rod implies there are direct forces preventing nuclear implementation and there are forces that remain somewhat hidden who also work against its success. The hidden forces do not want their existing cash cows disturbed.

    1. Honestly, the regularly demonstrated construction of 500MWWe combined cycle gas turbines for $1B/ea is most of the “direct force swatting the fly” of new nuclear.

      These aeroderivative power turbines are truly “modularized”:

      Either climate change (formerly known as global warming) is the existential threat we hear about, or it isn’t. Sure, there are very vocal Redditors (poor folk) that are very concerned, but I have yet to read an article about the crashing value of beach real estate anywhere – even in the Philippines. I haven’t heard of a single island being lost to non-existant sea level rise – nobody is talking about sea level rise at my nuclear station built a few feet above sea level on reclaimed land in a river delta. On the contrary, I’ve seen beach resorts rebuilt with gusto after hurricane damage and ongoing reconstitution of sandbar beaches up and down the east coast because the line in the [shifting] sand is where the hotel, restaurant or pike is built. Note that barrier islands (AKA sandbars) are not static in the decade time scale.

      There are a lot of “nuke bros” and Redditors that are very pro-nuclear and there are more of the same class that are anti-nuclear, ignorant, whatever… Still, neither group has any real influence. ‘Existential threats’ proceeding (contested) on a hundred-year scale instill no actual fear. The dollar has all the power, and a 500MWe gas plant costs $1B/ea, can be built on time, on budget, near a city, and we have so much gas those who extract this resource that belongs to all of us are making a killing exporting it.

      1. Michael:

        (Sorry for taking so long to review and approve your comment.)

        Gas is so abundant that I’ve recently met several exploration and production professionals who have started new nuclear development companies.

        They know there are some good years left, but they also know it gets more and more difficult to maintain profitable flows as less productive real estate gets developed.

        I agree with your assessment of the cost effectiveness of CCGTs. That is one reason why I started Adams Atomic Engines and have long tried to stimulate interest in fission-heated gas turbines – with a technical roadmap that adds combined cycles once the simple cycles have been proven and refined.

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