1. You mean to say the ‘Bobby’ is a green aristocrat ?

    He professes to have smaller families, yet has 6 children of his own. He wants to push energy choices that only his family can afford so that the rest of the population cannot catch up to his standard of living ?

    1. What % of its income does a normal US family spend for electricity?
      Even in Germany it concerns only a few percent, in <4% most ~2-3%.

      1. @Bas

        For an “average” family, power bills are a small portion of their expenses. However, I care about those on the margins. For them, power bills compete with food, medicine and basic clothing.

        1. @ Rod,

          And an interesting study was once done on the US consumer behaviour. Their car expenses are non discretionary. An american will forego his medicine and proper alimentation in order to maintain his ‘car privilege’. Fascinating.

          So one could argue that is utility and comfort provided by electricity would also be cut thereby decreasing his overall health.

        2. The $$ spent directly by families for energy are only part of the story. Energy use drives up human productivity and enables the increase in living standards. Expensive energy makes everyone poorer; cheap energy creates more jobs and allows more money for higher wages, better education, more innovation, etc etc. The rentiers (e.g. fossil fuel companies) are out to maximize the value of their assets; providing cheap energy is not their goal. Like OPEC, they want to maximize the ‘rents’ they can extract from society–prices that are bearable, if painful.

          Rich countries can bear expensive energy, but are paying high opportunity costs to pay for it. Imagine what else all those dollars could do if the energy tax were not so high. Developing countries need cheap energy more urgently–as Robert Hargraves writes in ‘Energy Cheaper Than Coal’, developing economies don’t have the luxury of paying for expensive boutique energy sources–coal will dominate new power production in the developing world, unless cheaper options are on offer.

          1. @ Nick,

            During the debate with Anderson Cooper on CNN, and according to Dale Bryk, developing economies always have energy conservation to consider.

            Schellenberg congratulated her on the merit of conserving wood and dung.

            Also, according to Bryk, it makes no sense to develop an electric grid. You put renewables right where it is needed.

            So Schellenberg pointed out that if there a no roads to setup the grid, how do you get to transport the renewables to where you need them.

            Bryk is exactly what Lyman and Gundersen are all about. They cannot be confronted to knowledgeable people.

      2. I like to calculate my monthly expenses in hours worked (since I’m paid an hourly rate). Here’s a good breakdown of my energy costs in hours:

        Electricity: 1hr, 45 min/month
        Nat Gas: 2.5hr/month in winter, 15 minutes in summer
        Diesel fuel (VW TDI engine, company vehicle for commuting): 5 hrs/month

        So I typically work about 8 hours per month to pay for my energy use (using 60% of the winter cost of natural gas). Granted, I’m paid a little above the national average, and I’m not paying for commuting to and from work. In contrast, I easily pay 80 hours a month in taxes, 50 hours in mortgage and most of the rest in food, health care insurance and retirement savings. For me gas and electricity are so cheap as to not even hit the radar, although that wasn’t always the case. My cell phone bill is much higher than my heat and light bills and yet my use of the cell network is far far lower than my use of the electrical grid or gas pipeline (which is also why we don’t have fiber optic cables running to our homes, but that’s a whole other can of worms).

        I really believe that the environmentalist feels guilty over the fact that energy costs are so low. You can see it on their “live simply so that others may simply live” bumper stickers and calls for carbon taxes. To them, global warming is a slam dunk, just because in their minds, living well often leads to disaster, and technology always has a dark side.

        1. @ Eric_G

          Your accounting approach makes sense on a variable costing paradigm. But on an absorption basis, it has it flaws.

          According to ecologist William R. Catton Jr., the energy needs of an ordinary man are similar to those of a sperm whale, or a 40-ton dinosaur.

          Let me illustrate:

          Today I paid 3.25$ to take the bus. At some point, that bus was lifted for repairs. It took an herculean force to lift it. Electricity came in. The general manager of that transport company also used electricity for the the elevator and his computer.

          I went to the library. Free of charge. But my municipal taxes, or my rent,covered for the purchase of the book I read and for the light and comfort of the ventilation.

          Also, tonight I am planning to take my girlfriend and her parents to a fancy restaurant. It is going to cost me a bundle. But the decor and lighting and water fountains are a slice of electric luxury that I will pay in the final tab.

          I am a whale, I am a 40- ton dinosaur. I am paying indirectly for that in all my transactions. The tax man is also a provider of electricity.

    1. It was a heavy water reactor, supplied by Canada, but not a CANDU reactor.

      Anyway, what has this to do with fast reactors? Not much. Countries that want to breed plutonium for a bomb can already do so if they wish. No need for fast reactors. The task isn’t made easier or harder whether or not they exist in commercial use.

      Indeed, I’d say if your country has a nascent civilian nuclear industry, it would be harder to keep secret any nuclear bomb project.

      Whether a country builds nuclear weapons, once it has reached a certain level of technical sophistication, is a purely political decision, unrelated to nuclear energy ambitions. (For example: see Canada and Japan: they could, but chose not to, build nuclear weapons.)

      1. I must agree. It’s the level of industrialisation, not the civil nuclear program. Look at North Korea. It’s civil nuclear program is non-existent, but it has still (more or less) produced nukes. One might say the same about Pakistan. Since we can’t stop states industrialising, even if we wanted to, the potential to produce nukes, and the possibility of nuclear war, must increase as global industrialisation rises. The only solution would appear to be the political fix that you mention. How well it would work would, presumably, depend on political and cultural factors. Perhaps plentiful power might give people more of a stake in the global system, and thus less incentive to rock the boat, though I don’t think this would work in all cases. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (as well as Canada) rely on the US guarantee; if they felt abandoned, perhaps there’d be a desperate rush to build the bomb. The tantrums of Saudi Arabia (and Israel) over the possibility of an Iranian bomb are another situation it’ll be interesting to observe. I’m afraid I can’t think of a universal solution to this one!!

  2. Quoting RFK Jr.:

    ” … these kind of reactors (IFRs) can actually feed on themselves and create their own fuel. And you can use all of the nuclear waste from the existing power plants and they will eventually reprocess it. But you would have to create thousands of these reactors and operate them for hundreds of years in order for them to devour the nuclear waste that exists.”

    If RFK Jr. is not careful about what he is saying, he could be mistaken for a nuclear energy advocate. This statement needs no response from Stone; it speaks for itself.

    The bottom line is that most of the so-called “antis” are bright, thoughtful people and need
    to just do a little introspection to realize that their intellectual pride it what is keeping them
    from seeing and acknowledging the truth about nuclear energy and radiation risks.

    But if they can overcome that obstacle and still feel some economic disincentive to fully
    embrace nuclear power, they should use their political skills to convince the non-nuclear
    energy enterprises they are associated with to start looking to do some massive overhauling of their business models and get on board with improving our nuclear infrastructure. After all, there IS a lot of “waste” out there to burn-up and we’ll probably need tens of thousands of IFRs/SMRs to burn it and provide billions more people with electricity. I don’t see the downside of this scenario. RFK Jr. himself agrees that there is plenty of work to do and there will be room for everybody to get a piece of the action.

    1. I was thinking the same thing… I wish Robert Stone had been quick on that one.

      Note: I have watched Stone and RFK Jr debate over this a couple of times. It is an exact cut & paste every time. I wonder if they have a ‘respect’ pact between themselves.

  3. “eventual value of hydrocarbon resources if there is an alternative like waste-consuming fast breeder reactors available.”

    Considering that France, Japan, and Russia already pursued an aggressive fast breeder program in the past and promptly shut them down due to technical problems…

    Considering you can’t put a nuclear reactor inside a bulldozer…

    What was your point again? Oh yeah, its CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN…which is of no value to anyone except a collectivist (CLEAN meaning TAXES)

    1. Are all anti’s illiterate?

      The Russian’s have been running the BN-600 on its power for a decade, and have a BN-800 going on line next year. India has their model on line as well.

      My advice learn to read before posting.

      1. The Russians with all that natural gas subsidizing them?

        Where are resource poor France and Japan and Germany who actually need the breeders?

        But hey, you smart arses collectivists don’t care how its financed as long as someone else is paying for it.

          1. what a laugh this site is. the country you live in is bankrupt yet you worry over what the rest of the world is doing.


          2. Re: StarvingLion
            “what a laugh this site is. the country you live in is bankrupt yet you worry over what the rest of the world is doing. surreal.”

            Maybe someone should cue you into something that you should’ve learned in junior high: Pollution doesn’t know borders, hence energy solutions.

            James Greenidge
            Queens NY

          3. StarvingLion it would be nice if you occasionally brought actual facts and relevant issues/ideas to the table. Your posts are, as noted, juvenile at best.

            Of all environmental and energy relates sites this is the most realistic and informative by far. Ive found people cant even muster the factors related to singular issues much less post up to date responses to recent events elsewhere.

            If you dont think so there is a whole Internet out there for you.

          4. John,
            Read the last sentence of your link:”…he said and pointed out that more than 400 reactors of its type were being successfully operated around the world…”.

            That is the type of misrepresentation which make nuclear people so untrustworthy.

          5. Bas

            Read the last sentence of that link again. Notice that the statement isn’t a quote. So we don’t know what he really said just what the journalist wrote.

            That is the type of misrepresentation that makes you and most journalists so untrustworthy.

          6. So just for grins let’s re-read that last sentence in John’s link. And for context, the penultimate as well:

            Mr. Prabhat Kumar said the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) was beset by vested interests. It is a very robust reactor and safe but those who threw a spanner in its works were not bothered about safety because they had a different agenda, he said and pointed out that more than 400 reactors of its type were being successfully operated around the world, a large number of them in the USA, France and Japan.

            Given that KNPP is an LWR (albeit advanced), I’d say The Hindu got it about right.

  4. “Produce weapons grade plutonium.” Seriously this guy is either a complete fool or a liar. There is no way, for the IFR to produce weapons grade fuel. If you are going to be a public figure and not make a fool out of yourself at least have the facts straight when making accusations.

    However, I do not think that in today’s public discourse, credibility and integrity are desirable.

    1. I remember an episode of Spooks (it’s called MI-5 in the US) where there was a plan to resolve the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme by supplying them with IFR technology because it “couldn’t make weapons-grade material”…

    2. “There is no way, for the IFR to produce weapons grade fuel”

      This is not correct. Almost any reactor, the IFR included, is capable of producing weapons grade Pu. If they are designed to do so in their normal mode of operations is another question.

      In the case of the IFR you would manufacture blanket assemblies from depleted uranium and put them around the fissile core. Within a few years each blanket assembly would contain enough Pu (weapons grade) for one bomb.

      The pyro-processor in the IFR cannot separate pure streams of Pu, but if you run only such material you would get roughly a 50/50 mix of 238U and WG Pu. The only difference from pure WG Pu is roughly a doubled critical mass (about 15 kg compared to 7).

      However, I don’t believe purchasing an IFR would be a preferred route for a potential weapons proliferator, and I think that such a mode of operations would be detected immediately by safeguards.

      This is actually a major difference from todays Gen-IV concepts and the traditional 1970’s fast breeder that I think RFK is thinking about. In those you had lots of blanket assemblies, and tons of WG Pu passing through the system even in normal operations. Such a system you could argue would be very sensitive to theft and diversion of the Pu.

      On the other hand, in many propopsed Gen-IV systems the difference is that you would need to reconfigure the reactor in order to allow for it to produce WG Pu, and that would be easier for safe-guards to detect before the Pu is produced. Instead of detecting, maybe years later, that something has been diverted, but you have no clue of who did it and where it is.

      1. If you leave a blanket of depleted uranium around the core for a few years you most definitely don’t end up with any WG Pu. To get WG you have to remove the DU target after a very short time or you get an ingrowth of Pu240. And you end up with reactor grade Pu, not suitable for weapons production.

  5. Nuclear proliferation is 100% a policy (read: political) issue, not a technological one. There are reasons S. Korea, Japan, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany and a host of other countries with commercial and/or research reactors have not built nuclear WMD from the spent fuel from them: they chose not to.

    For a variety political reasons, including the NPT, existing nuclear ‘shields’, and finances, domestic political reasons and so these countries have not gone a built them selves a nuke bomb. To stop proliferation we need to support development: infrastructure and electrification, and convince countries not build bombs.

    Other than that, nuclear energy works against nuclear weapons, not for it. It means countries will be committed to economic stabilization and peace, not war and nuclear weapons.

    David Walters

  6. Yeah, john tucker, I could be like you and the host and pretend this present day subsidized nuclear boondoggle is something other than obsolete. The stupid promotion of CLEAN electricity is useless when the problem is liquid fuels. Fuels from coal, kerogen is DIRTY, whether a nuclear power plant is involved or not.

    Synthetic fuels directly from scrubbed air using nuclear heat and electricity is the proper way to go but you bleeping communists have to get flushed out first. Nobody knows what the cost of anything is because you free check lovers can’t die off soon enough.

    1. “Nobody knows what the cost of anything is because you free check lovers can’t die off soon enough.”

      LOL that wins as the most ignorant thing Ive heard on this site ever.

      Just this part: “Nobody knows what the cost of anything is.”

      If thats true then why even bother? Free check lovers too? Are there free check haters out there as well?

      If you have some kind of economic philosophy behind this rant perhaps you should enlighten us with that first. Put us on the ascetic road to your Cockaigne.

    2. The big oil companies are busy getting synthetic fuel economic, in their gas-to-liquids and coal-to-liquids programs. It’s just such a shame that they won’t use nuclear heat for their process, instead burning a part of their raw material for it and increasing not decreasing the environmental burden of it.

      I think there are very few ‘free check lovers’ among the readers of this blog, and none of the contributors. What does that comment add to the thread anyway?

      Further, the more you post, the more you’re showing yourself as a pure blood troll. We’ve had some more of them, but the others did have something to contribute, while your posts are only deteriorating.

      I wonder if you can take Rods warning to heart or if we’ll see the last of you soon.

  7. alternative like waste-consuming fast breeder reactors … if you a solar energy company executive … facing that kind of competition should make you tremble
    The Germans built a fast breeder at Kalkar, ~100mile away from my house.
    That did cost factors more then a ‘standard’ reactor.
    Most due to the fact that the reactor is also very fast with escalation if something goes wrong (so control is a far more delicate job).

    Now ‘standard’ reactors, such as EPR, have an higher electricity cost price than solar, while solar cost price will go down ~50% in next 10years, and a fast breeder will cost a factor ~2 more than an EPR. So I think economics will prevent development and employment.

    Kalkar was built and ready to start but never did, as it was decided that operation was too risky. Now it is a Disney-like park.

    1. And the Germans have to look to a future of burning lignite and wood as most of the rest of humanity moves on to bigger and better things.

      1. John,
        I hope and expect not.

        They are moving to a future with houses that have integrated high yield solar panels which (assisted by wind turbines) produce enough to drive their car and warm their house. Using additional technologies such as power-to-fuel conversion, heat & electricity storage, etc.

        This summer, I saw in Italy the first new houses with such integrated solar panels.

        1. It would be great if householders could use solar and wind power to power their homes, but it doesn’t do much for the 75%+ of our total energy consumption that is non-residential.

          1. Now even industries start with their own (bigger) solar installations on their roof, some even having their own wind turbines…

          2. So Bas. Can you point me to a single solar panel or wind turbine manufacturer that fully powers there manufacturing plant with their own technology?

          3. ddpalmer,
            Those are not manufactured by a manufacturer, but by many different plants in different places and countries, which I do not know.
            So one has to find out which factories/companies are involved. That is not published (sensitive competitive info).

            Even if one knows, it would be a major job to find out about the energy supply of those factories. Especially as that info is probably also not available on the Internet.

          4. Bas

            What a load of horse dung.

            Are you telling me that a consumer wanting a solar system has to go to a slew of companies to buy all the parts he needs? Or is the reality that he buys it from a single point supplier?

            Have you ever bought a car? Did you source all the parts and put it together yourself or did you buy it all assembled by what is correctly called a car company?

            There are companies that manufacture solar panels and there are companies that manufacture solar panels. To claim otherwise just makes you look even more foolish than you normally do.

            The fact that they might buy parts from other companies to assemble the final unit is irrelevant. If they put together a wind turbine or solar panel as a final product then why don’t they power their facility with their own product?

    2. “the price of solar will go down ~50% in the next 10 years”

      I find that hard to believe when the chinese solar manufacturers are selling them for a loss due to over capacity now. What happens when they all go bankrupt?

      1. It’s irrelevant. Even if solar panels were free and found on the ground already built, solar generated electricity would still be too expensive because of the costs imposed by lack of reliability.

      2. Todd,
        Some went bankrupt. But new markets are opening up now; China, Japan, S-Asia, etc.
        Especially as panel prices continue downwards.
        And the EU minimum import price since this august is a great subsidy to the Chinese producers (delivers extra profit).

        The price decrease is in part caused by:
        improving production machines (more accurate, faster, etc);
        improving yields (now single junction; double junction comes);
        improved know how, so less shedding;
        bigger volumes.
        All thanks to borrowing know how of the computer chips industry.

        The nice thing about those panels is, that they are suited for fully robotized / automated production lines, once those production machines get ~ same accuracy as modern computer chip production machines have.
        That implies production will return to technological advanced countries such as Germany. As hardly any labor involved, labor costs per hour becomes less relevant.

    3. Kalkar was built and ready to start but never did, as it was decided that operation was too risky. Now it is a Disney-like park.

      Yes, and what a waste that is. A breeder reactor, completed, and not taken into use at the last moment, because of protests grounded in unjust fear.
      Back then I was happy with that outcome. Now that I know so much more it saddens me deeply.

  8. After Vermont hilariously gave HydroQuebec a renewable energy label and bought into it to hasten (or at least mitigate ) the demise of Vermont Yankee, and considering the damage HydroQuebec has done to habitats and indigenous peoples, I’m surprised RFK isn’t a bit more versed here on what this film is really about and why its important.

    CNN also seems to be trying to “balance” its showing of Pandora’s Promise with a barrage of anti nuclear fluff pieces to appease the faithful. I dont like it and think its fundamentally dishonest.

  9. I think when the hydrocarbon producers look into the potential energy available from nuclear ‘waste’, they cringe at the potential loss of income to their cartels.
    In an article entitled ” Why Bury It? A Productive Use for Used Nuclear Fuel.” by Dr. Peter Ottensmeyer explains the science and the economics of recycling such waste.
    The bonus with his view is that he is also an oncology expert, and from what I have gathered so far, his work shows just how difficult it is for radiation to cause cancer (and how it can treat or kill it), and with radiation and cancer being the biggest fear of anti-nuclear proponents, they should at least give his views a fair and unbiased consideration.

    1. GaryN,
      Nice presentation!

      USS Seawolf (launched 1955!) had similar reactor. But apparently US navy found the technology to be too dangerous. After first small incidents, they changed the reactor complete: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Seawolf_%28SSN-575%29

      Seems to be the right decision looking at the Japanese one at Monju. Construction start at 1985, first time operational at 1994:
      (costs: >$10billion, for few hours of operation after ~20years)

      In the sixties & seventies we had same hope. So lots of money spent. Germans started the ~$10billion Kalkar project, etc.

      I do not know of any real success, only expensive failures.
      So why should this ‘old’ technology, well known since half a century, now become a success?

      Only some chance with fundamental new materials, design, etc. Seems the Chinese do that, investing so much money and time (>10years development) that they sought cooperation with their enemy India (and UK).
      Still, it is a big money gamble I wouldn’t bet on.

      Medical research concluded (after damaging results) that radiation harms unnoticed, very easy. So now your dentist leaves the room for an X-ray which involve only few microSv.

      1. @Bas

        USS Seawolf (launched 1955!) had similar reactor. But apparently US navy found the technology to be too dangerous. After first small incidents, they changed the reactor complete: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Seawolf_%28SSN-575%29

        As you regularly point out, people lose credibility when they make false assertions on topics they know little about. Citing Wikipedia as a source exposes the shallow nature of your research into the issue of why the Navy replaced the initial sodium cooled reactor with a more standard light water reactor. It had little or nothing to do with a belief that the technology was “too dangerous.”

        The reality is that it was an economic decision to consolidate development and support infrastructure on a single technology that had proven to be adequate to performing the desired task. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll take the time to provide a more complete narrative, with references.

        1. Rod,
          It was the second nuclear sub (so hardly any standard yet) and the new reactor machinery had the important advantage that it needed ~40% less space! (Wikipedia)

          She started April 1957 and went for the reactor exchange after ~20 months which took her out of commission until 30 Sept 1960 (~22 months!).
          So this conversion cost a lot (apart from the new reactor).

          You only do that if there are real problems: With the super-heaters, so reduced power. Complicated to operate.

          Those issues were the reason US Navy decided to use only water-cooled designs in the future.
          Based on: http://navysite.de/ssn/ssn575.htm

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