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  1. In short, as a scientist Mark Z. Jacobson is a phoney who does not even attempt to answer criticisms of his evidence and reasoning. Jacobson’s would have us believe that building reactors in the United States would lead other countries to engage in major nuclear exchanges every 30 years. He provides no evidenbce as to how this would be the case. Jacobson has been asked to prove his contention, and has never done so. Yet he continues that his unproven specultion is fact.

    1. Yeah, regarding the whole “nuclear tech leads to nuclear weapons”…

      “Due to the fuels they use and/or the waste they create, certain technologies offer greater resistance to nuclear proliferation than others. Proliferation concerns, however, have never been particularly well founded in relation to specific nuclear energy technologies. Developing a legitimate civilian nuclear energy program is a costly and inefficient way to covertly acquire weapons-grade nuclear material. While states surreptitiously seeking nuclear weapons have, on occasion, veiled their efforts as civilian nuclear energy programs, the act of doing so has usually been transparently false.
      Some states may continue to claim they are embarking upon legitimate nuclear energy programs when they are actually seeking weapons, irrespective of the dominant nuclear energy technology. But international efforts to control proliferation will succeed or fail based on the efficacy of international inspections, diplomacy, and institutions — not how amenable particular nuclear energy technologies are to produce weapons-grade material.
      In reality, virtually all nuclear technologies, with enough effort and knowledge, can be modified to produce weapons-grade material. In almost every case, however, the cost and effort is substantially greater than acquiring weapons-grade material through traditional means, namely by covertly obtaining centrifuges and enriching uranium or building “research reactors” designed intentionally to produce weapons-grade material easily and discretely. Neither tactic is easily confused with developing a legitimate nuclear energy program.
      As such, the expansion of nuclear energy technologies is unlikely to have much bearing on the pace of nuclear weapons proliferation. None of the nuclear designs presently under development are likely to represent an easier, less costly, or less obvious path to weapons capability than the well-established path that most nations have taken in recent decades.”

      (Ted Nordhaus, Jessica Lovering and Michael Shellenberger, “How to Make Nuclear Cheap: Safety, Readiness, Modularity, and Efficiency”, The Breakthrough Institute, June 2014)

      1. Historically, the development of nuclear weapons, leads to the development of nuclear civilian energy technol,technogies.

      2. > In reality, virtually all nuclear technologies,
        > with enough effort and knowledge,
        > can be modified to produce weapons-grade material.

        And of course, there are far, *far* cheaper and easier ways to produce weapons-grade material which is not nuclear at all. Why, even an innocent sack of flour can be pressed into service with very simple industrial equipment to make a serious bomb.

    2. Just the opposite is true though. Not developing a small set of “proliferation resistant” engineered Nuclear systems and international processes to monitor them, forces countries to “blaze their own trail”, making the excuse to engineer systems that are dual use more likely. Such countries will start with what was learned on the Manhattan project, rather than rely on new developments that engineer away from nuclear weapons.

      Jacobson should add carbon to his plan, not add carbon to developing re-engineered nuclear systems and their associated international social systems.

    3. Charles Barton wrote:
      Jacobson’s would have us believe that building reactors in the United States would lead other countries to engage in major nuclear exchanges every 30 years.

      The United States started building reactors for power production more than 50 years ago, and there have not been any nuclear exchanges. Events have proved this statement to be false.

      1. @donb

        Ah, but that is the beauty of the opposition position. All they have to do to stoke fear and keep the money flowing into their coffers is to add the word “yet” to your statement of history.

    4. Charles Barton December 14, 2015 at 11:09 AM –

      Worst — far worst — is that the media regards him as infinitely more credible than any nuclear advocate, which in the end is all that really matters to the public.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY,

  2. So Satin has been tempted out of his lair. Of course Tweets are hardly respectable debate platforms. You don’t have to answer arguments by linking too evidence.

  3. Is anybody else enjoying the irony that this discussion is taking place in a city that is literally surrounded by nuclear power plants that power the “City of Light”? Certainly, James George was not so scared of nuclear power that he refused to travel to this meeting.

  4. One of the reasons that I find Rod’s claims and opinions credible, (despite the distrust and dislike I hold for some of his compatriots here), is that the fudistas that have a public podium refuse to argue their case here. I can almost guarantee that this Jacobson dude will not engage directly with Rod or this blog.

    (Those such as bas don’t count, because they apparently do not have the ear of a substantial audience. Those such as bas are seemingly content to natter and blather online, under the radar of the general public.)

    I have engaged in email conversations with many of the “antis” of notoriety that have been mentioned by the participants here, and have asked why they do not argue their case directly, here. I have yet to receive what I consider a credible or reasonable answer that telegraphs conviction or positional strength.

    1. “I have yet to receive what I consider a credible or reasonable answer that telegraphs conviction or positional strength.”

      That’s largely because, deep down, they know their position is built on sand. They’re accountable to no one, they produce nothing but virtual hot air, and yet they’ve found a means of putting bread on the table by living off the largess of anonymous corporate deep pockets, and smaller contributions of the useful idiots. The vast majority of them have no formal education on this topic, having instead appointed themselves as “authorities” based on the ability to comb through the NRCs library, hitting the “copy” and “paste” buttons, and then embellishing at will.

  5. The renewable camps have become very good at spin. They take statements, and twist them, sometimes ever so slightly in their favor. They are trying to take sole ownership of the post-carbon electricity world, even though they really can’t.

    I did a world search on the COP21 agreement. The world renewables appears only once, in reference to development in Africa. Many other words, such as nuclear, do not appear at all. The agreement seems to focus on sustainability, and it seems to leave the formation of a strategy up to the individual countries. Do you think nuclear is sustainable? Fine, then the agreement lets you do that.

    Of course, in the midst of this, the spin doctors will continue to say “efficiency and renewables, efficiency and renewables”. There will be a precious few, that say “and nuclear.”

  6. The whole global warming argument is foolish. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that putting all of those emissions in the atmosphere isn’t a good thing, yet it is a controversy.

    Nuclear power is another controversy. Okay so we’ve decided that putting all of these emissions into the atmosphere is bad, but we’re going to shut down the best zero carbon energy source that we have. Anyone one who wants to save the planet yet rejects nuclear energy isn’t using common sense.

    Nuclear has some serious cost issues to deal with, along with time to market issues. It has proven to work though. Mark Jacobson’s energy plan is largely untested. In my opinion it is irresponsible for him to throw nuclear energy to the side.

    No serious individual would place all hope of survival on one item. The fact that our whole country is presently gearing up to use natural gas is unsettling to me. Here in Massachusetts We no longer receive energy from Vermont Yankee, and there is talk of shutting down Pilgrim in the next few years. We’re building more Gas fired plants instead. Here’s the hitch: No one wants a gas pipeline in their back yard. How’s that going to work? It makes me wonder how much common sense the average American has.

    The future survival of humanity will depend on nuclear energy. Without nuclear energy, there can be no long term spaceflight. No moon bases. It is good to see people in open discussion. Rod, I look forward to reading your articles! Thank you for your efforts!!

  7. “It makes me wonder how much common sense the average American has”

    In a society that has Rush Limbaugh, rap music, silicone boobs, and Donald Trump, you’re wondering about how much common sense we have?

  8. Jacobson has been trying the “ind does it all” for years now, without honestly addressing the true effects of low Capacity Factor (CF), high variability sources.

    Now he’s snuck in hydro to provide backup, despite hydro, as we in CA well know, being directly subject to climate change,. Oh, and so is wind. Neither dams nor windmills are on wheels, to moved to better locales, when climate degrades their abilities.*
    Jacobson curiously hides facts about nuclear, has for years now — remember your IEEE talk back then, Mark? Like coal/oil/gas folks, wind folks know nuclear puts them out of business. But gas, here in CA, certainly keeps windmills in business, as Mark knows…

    Perhaps Calif. wind/solar should be tagged with carbon costs for the massive LA gas leak to be uncapped for months?

    So, while claiming engineering credentials, Jacobson oddly avoids two key facts of power systems:
    a) utilities don’t simply sell power, they sell 0.9999 reliable power;
    b) wind/solar Capacity Factors <<1 mean that one must mine/refine/build… materials that amount to 1/CF of wind/solar just to try to approach high reliability when wind & sun do all the right, predicted things; and
    c) they force us to burn gas (lignite in Germany).

    These are some of the realities that 'renewables' folks like Jacobson hide, in violation of the spirit of public trust associated with our engineering degrees…

    One can only wonder at the motivation behind statements & prescriptions like Jacobson's, especially when he even used winds from Fukushima to demonstrate, in one paper, a lack of understanding of nuclear power, radiation effects, epidemiology and radio-biology. Fortunately, that paper was roundly critiqued by scientists in the know.

    Call any time, Mark.
    Dr. A. Cannara
    650 400 3071

    * http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/wind/a-less-mighty-wind

  9. Jacobson is wrong, but after reviewing some of the papers associated with his plan, it appears that the assertion that his plan relies on adding hydro is also incorrect. Thus, the speaker made the kind of error that enables Jacobson to sidestep very important problems with his approach that are not tractable with existing or reasonably anticipated technology.

    Jacobson’s latest work is not credible, in my view, but that doesn’t matter. He has an audience. People seem to be hungry for solutions, and his solution is comforting.

    Cogent criticisms in accessible language that make striking points are available, but were not described. This is unfortunate.

    In time cogent and thorough criticisms will be developed, but by then, they won’t matter.

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