Know New Nukes


  1. I know I have posted this bit on the other Fission, Fast board. But I like to contribute about the strong force misunderstanding:

    Nuclear fusion is strong force. Nuclear fission is electro magnetic force:

    Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2012 01:27:43 +0000

    @John Cantelle Just a minor correction: Nuclear fission doesn’t actually release “strong force” potential energy. It releases mass-equivalent electromagnetic energy and kinetic energy from the repulsive Coulomb force of the positively charged nuclear fragments. Potential energy of the strong force is actually stored in the smaller nuclear fragments. Nuclear fusion is the process that releases the “strong force” potential.

    I wasn’t aware of this until I read Wade Allison’s “Radiation and Reason: The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear” (2009). The explanation is on pp. 41-42. I highly recommend this book as well as Ed Hiserodt’s “Underexposed: What if Radiation is Actually Good for You?” (2005). Have your anti-nuke environmentalist friends take a look at these and see what they think. Not that many people are aware of the radiation hormesis concept. It needs to be more widely known.

    Sorry for wandering off the topic of the current blog post.

    1. @Daniel

      Don’t be such a nuke. The actual energy release in a fission reaction might come from electro magnetic force, but that force is released like a spring by the action of neutrons that break the strong force that holds atomic nuclei together.

      Perhaps it is the strong force that was actually mass that gets converted into energy during the reaction.

      Whatever. All I know is that every fission reaction releases about 200 million electron volts and that fissioning a single gram of heavy metal completely releases about 1 MW-day (24,000 kilowatt hours) of thermal energy.

      Rules of thumb are good enough for power systems designers. I’ll leave the nit picking details to others.

    2. See Nuclear binding energy (BE) : “”
      if you look at the “BE/A” vs. “A” curve, you will note that fission releases BE by moving to the left from the right side of the curve and fusion moves up the curve on the left side. They are both using the strong force.
      When the BE is released, then the EM forces come into play to convert the BE to heat. If not, please explain 2 MeV neutrons from fission, (some >20MeV).
      The are only 4 forces that people know of; Strong(nuclear), weak (radioactive decay), EM(chemical/orbiting electrons) and gravity.

  2. Instead of “Fission Fast”, I’d suggest something that also uses the N-word:

    “Nuclear Now!”

    FYI, Daniel, the gamma emissions from the return of nuclei to their ground state are unmediated releases of the strong nuclear force.  Even the EM forces which throw fission daughters apart are stored by the even-stronger strong force until fission releases them.  The daughters have a larger deficit of binding (negative) energy to electric potential energy (positive) than the original nucleus does, and it’s that difference that’s released.

    1. @Engineer-Poet

      I am an additive kind of guy. Nuclear Now! is a fine slogan that can be used in addition to Fission Fast! It can join Know New Nukes, Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy, and Fission is the New Fire as communication tools that are ready for the taking.

      Be an atomic optimist. Cure the catastrophic climate crisis. Use nuclear now! We need fission fast to fuel our fun.

    2. @Engineer-Poet

      So Wade Allison would be wrong. It would be nice if he could join this discussion. But I am the novice here. Fun stuff anyway!

  3. Rod Adams wrote in this blog posting:
    Commercial nuclear fuel costs about $0.68 per kilowatt hour of electricity or about 68 cents per million BTU of thermal energy….

    The decimal point slipped a couple of places on the nuclear fuel cost for making electricity. It should be $0.0068 per kilowatt hour.

  4. Great post Rod. The issue is how to get public policy to support a move away from fossil fuels towards nuclear. Today policy in both the US and Canada is clear – fossil fuels are heavily subsidized effectively making the cost of carbon negative.

  5. Please excuse my use of a pseudonym, I hope that if my words have the ring of truth, they will stand on their own merit.

    Premise: Fission power generation has been hamstrung by political force, brought to bear by fear-mongering, outright lies, and junk science peddled to a public deliberately kept ignorant of basic science principles and fearful of any projected hobgoblin of the unknown. The pack of lies is sold as a package deal by an impressive array of charlatans, fakirs, and Official Respected Learned Spokesmen Authorities with Titles, most of them paid by money filched from the public, but also brought to a recognizable social phenomenon with the aid of the entertainment and news industries. We bathe in it, as in a cesspool. The only antidote is independent reason and logic, guided by careful epistemology and informed by a healthy distrust of pronouncement by authorities, taking into account the motivations that might lead them to misinform themselves and others. And so the antidote can be taken individually, alone, through the arduous work of learning and judging the learning material independently, sifting fact from conjecture, assertion from proof, and learning not to fear that a widely held truth might turn out to be absurd, when undeniable fact renders its underlying premise untenable.

    In an atmosphere where statements of knowledge that are qualified by acknowledging the boundaries of current knowledge are instantly dismissed, any careful epistemology being discarded in favor of absolute pronouncements by some authority, still if any progress is to be made, these limitations must be honored and addressed nonetheless. Skipping this and resorting to bald assertions and slogans puts one firmly in the camp of, and in the hands of one’s adversaries whose aim is to control people, truth and prosperity be damned.

    And so it is with profound disappointment that on discovering your work, I come across this entry. The very same goal — control over people by getting a throttle on their standard of living through restrictions on access to energy — the very same tactics used against any technology with the word Nukuler in it; some of the very same charlatans and fakirs; the same junk science; the wanton disregard for epistemology; the social fear campaign; cherry-picking data; wild Armageddon scenarios; deliberate dumbification indoctrination starting in kindergarten; discrediting honorable men who point out the truth; all this and more are on blatant display with the anthropogenic/CO2 global warming campaign.

    And here you appear to swallow the whole campaign at a single gulp without question, and further, attempt to sell your agenda to the same gullible public by riding on their pack of lies with … a slogan!

    You soil yourself and discredit your position if you adopt your enemy’s standard of truth as a method in fighting lies. Those who you seek to partner with will turn on you and never let you win. It is they who run the machine that extracts money and power from disinformation, lies, and hatred. They are experts at it. They will eat you alive.

    1. You have to give the fossil-fuel noise machine this much, it’s on the ball.

    2. I had to re-read my post just to make sure – but where did you get the idea that I have any desire to restrict access to energy. My goal is abundance, and empowerment, not scarcity and control.

      1. “Restricting access to energy” is a standard AGW-denialist accusation made at anyone who takes climate change seriously.

        1. … and that’s how you know this is a post from the noise machine (likely a sock puppet under a “personality management” system), not a real person.

      2. Rod, I did not accuse you of that motivation.

        I accused you of pandering to those who do have that motivation, on the premise that their epistemology is the self-same one that attacks your position.

  6. And so we will have a double standard for epistemology and the scientific method. Disappointing.

    1. And so we will have a double standard for epistemology and the scientific method.

      And I’ll be damned if you didn’t read the very next line from the denialist script.

      I just went through that script last week starting here at Joanne Jacobs, and found that the epistemological chops of the “skeptics” are in sad shape.  I couldn’t even get “allen” to admit that he’d looked at the IR radiance data I linked to, let alone discuss what it meant.  He talked about “the scientific method”, until he was actually called upon to put it into practice.

      I’ve got tons of radiance and IR transmittance data which shows that something is going on.  If you have both the intelligence and the will to dig into it, I’m game.  But given a choice between the climate scientists and their models built on the best available information we have, and the denialists’ asseverations that “it’s all a conspiracy, nothing is going to happen”, I’m with the scientists.

      1. Well, Poet, nobody gave me a script, so I’m on my own. I haven’t been following the debate very closely for the last year or so, work interferes. When I left off, I didn’t think anyone was denying that something is going on, but as of then the hockey stick prediction had been discredited, the tree-ring proxies had been exposed, the cherry-picking of weather station data had been revealed, they were still refusing to release the models used to make the predictions, they were not accounting for the medieval warming period, their model couldn’t extrapolate backwards from known data, they were relying on ground temperatures and discarding satellite data, apparently they were weighting CO2 more in their models than water vapor, they were not accounting for solar cycles, and a few other little doubt-casting issues that I can’t recall right now. The graph behind Al Gore still shows CO2 increases happening AFTER temperature rises (which sorta raises issues with the cause-and-effect assertion). They were proposing taxes and regulations and schemes to limit energy use, and promoting fear to the general public while stiff-arming and attempting to starve out any qualified questions to their conclusions. And then there were the emails. And then the long line of ‘businessmen’ lined up to get government handouts. Perhaps we won’t solve the entire issue here, but my point remains; the tactics used by anti-nukes are duplicated by the AGW crowd.

        1. Well, Poet, nobody gave me a script, so I’m on my own.

          Feel free to break from it.  You can start by explicitly considering epistemology and how the various hypotheses can be tested using the scientific method you say the climate scientists aren’t using.  We can then test the credibility of the denialists by seeing if the scientists have or have not performed those or similar tests.

          I find the denialists to be without credibility, because every time a soi-disant “skeptic” has said that the scientists have not done test X, I have always been able to find something regarding test X being done some time in the past.  (Climate-change skepticism does not seem to extend to being skeptical about claims made by talk-radio guests and on random web pages.)

          If you’re a real person and serious about this, jump over to that blog thread I linked to and open the links to the data.  Do some reading, then come back and discuss it.


            The paper you linked to in the other thread appears to be written by a person who struggled mightily to bring some accuracy or at least determine a calculable error range to one specific input to a climate model.

            If you read his conclusion, he is forthright about what he found and what the limitations are. He acknowledges that the model, with the errors identified, only applies to one single set of well-defined conditions, and suggests more study for other conditions.

            Aside: Interesting also is his page on the fascod3p model itself. Notice the error magnitudes and the sources of them.

            I find the work interesting to read, but I do not believe it proves or even lends support to the cause-and-effect relationship that is claimed by the political movement ( namely, that fuel use has raised the temperature of the planet and all kinds of Bad Things will ensue because of it, and so we must sacrifice our standard of living and our freedom in order to prevent further damage). In fact, it seems to indicate acknowledgement that water vapor is much more important than CO2 in trapping heat, and honestly acknowledges the limitations on knowledge of the state of the atmosphere in a single column of the atmosphere. Which would be a first step towards modeling a larger area, let alone the entire globe. There’s a long way to go along the path started by the author of that paper before any kind of certainty about the results of a model can be claimed.

            Best wishes to you and yours.

          2. The paper you linked to in the other thread appears to be written by a person who struggled mightily to bring some accuracy or at least determine a calculable error range to one specific input to a climate model.

            It’s not a climate model, it’s one guy’s master’s thesis (from 1996, at that).  I linked the particular page of it because it shows a characteristic graph of atmospheric downwelling IR radiance.  You have still refused to discuss what the squiggles in that graph mean, preferring instead to quibble about error terms.  Ironically, after accusing the community of climate scientists of not using the scientific method, you latch onto an example of a master’s candidate using the scientific method.

            I find the work interesting to read, but I do not believe it proves or even lends support to the cause-and-effect relationship that is claimed by the political movement ( namely, that fuel use has raised the temperature of the planet and all kinds of Bad Things will ensue because of it, and so we must sacrifice our standard of living and our freedom in order to prevent further damage).

            There’s been a MEASURED increase in atmospheric downwelling IR radiance on the order of 2 W/m².  There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between increased greenhouse gas concentrations and this change.

            As for the rest, you are guilty of tendentiousness and a lack of appreciation of cause-and-effect:
            1.  Increased downwelling IR radiance, in an absence of reduced insolation, will increase temperatures (particularly night and winter temperatures).  It’s possible for other pollution such as aerosols to offset this via dimming, but aerosols are short-lived while GHGs are long-lived.
            2.  Increased temperatures mean increased evaporation of water.  The areas which receive less rainfall as a result will experience a loss of agricultural productivity.  This will directly affect the local standard of living.
            3.  Throwing around vague terms like “sacrifice our… freedom” ignores the principle that your freedom to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins.  If what you’d prefer to do would flood a river delta that’s both the home and the food supply for millions, you can’t legitimately claim the freedom to do it.  On the other hand, splitting all the uranium you can get your hands on isn’t going to have a significant influence beyond the immediate locale.  There’s a legitimate freedom to use all the nuclear energy you want.

  7. From around the interwebs:
    “Fissile Fuels not fossil fuels !”
    “New, Clear Energy” (iteration: “It is crystal clear, go nuclear!”)
    “Smash the Atom, not the bulbs!”
    “There’s no cleaner exhaust than pure water!”
    “Fission for the Future”

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts