1. Rod,

    Just a comment on your comment. I think the comment is interesting and informative. However, when you make accusations about a person who is quoted in the story, you should back those accusations up with a link to a source (or to one of your posts which link to several sources).

    The reason I say that is that unsupported accusations tend to look an awful lot like mud-slinging/slander, and might backfire on you by alienating readers.

    1. @Jeff S

      I understand your point. Unfortunately, I have to fall back on the attribution that many full time journalists have to use when they have a source that requires protection in order to share information. My information comes from two completely separate and independent “unnamed sources” who told the same story. My editor – me – has verified that the story is corroborated and matches well with publicly available information.

      This link includes allusions to his version of the story, but knowing the people who shared their versions and the rest of the history, I am pretty certain which one is correct.


      There is one more piece of evidence that leads me to believe that my version is correct. I once corresponded with the man. He claims to have been a fellow Navy nuke. I asked him the following question:

      “How long did you serve and what boats did you serve on? What quals did you achieve?”

      Any nuke worth his salt would have no problem at all answering those questions and would probably engage in the “did you know” game. Instead, here is how he responded:

      “Not sure why that information is relevant.”

  2. You said:
    “It is not news to any engineer that pipes made of steel occasionally rust or develop thinning walls, that electrical cable insulation becomes brittle in certain situations, or that valves develop leaking seals.”

    Some of the fancier insulation (e.g. Teflon) becomes brittle. It was a big shock to me (physicist/engineer) when my cables shorted out owing to intense gamma radiation destroying the Teflon. Also, fiber optic cables developed excessive attenuation owing to gamma induced color centers.

    The solutions are simple. Cheap PVC insulated cables resist gamma rays much better than our expensive Teflon cables although the colors fade rapidly. Military fiber for tactical applications (Fluorine doped) is almost impervious to gamma rays so we use it to replace G.952 (Germanium doped) fibers in high radiation areas.

    Our personnel protection systems use Vidicon (vacuum tube) cameras that last a year or more rather than CCD cameras that last a week or less.

    Two feet of concrete takes care of the personnel protection shielding issues in most situations. Concrete provides cost effective shielding against gamma rays and also neutrons owing to the hydrogen content.

    Fiber glass survives gamma rays very well too.

      1. Perhaps this statement answers something I have wondered about: How is the reactor shielded on a submarine, given the relatively confined spaces?

        1. Re: “Not sure why that information is relevant.”

          That was a good touche’, Rod! Love unmasking phonies and trolls!! (harken the calvary uniform “stripping” scene in the old “Branded” TV show!)


          Good question; (I supposed that’s “classified info”, Rod?? 😀 ) I know it’s off-topic, Rod, but really, can you please leak simple facts you can’t Google, like just how large are sub reactors and how much juice they put out. They note that the N-1 Navy research sub had the smallest reactor of any sub — the size of a combo refridgerator-freezer? (supposedly an offshoot of the filled nuclear-powered prop bomber of the ’50’s?) Please use your stamp of certified experience to set this right!

          James Greenidge
          Queens NY

  3. “Just think what those numbers would look like if we had simply kept building new nuclear plants with the infrastructure that was fully developed by the end of 1980.”

    The NPP manufacturers and operators made the cardinal mistake of failing to garner public support. It is proving really difficult to overcome that in the face of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

    Contrast that with the “Renewables” industry that has teachers selling their impossible dreams in every class room and well funded organizations like these one all over the country:

    1. And where does the money come from with which to hype “renewable” energy? It wouldn’t come from Big Natural Gas (which hopes to profit mightily from the “backup”) by any chance?

        1. He is not the only one. T. Boon Pickens is an obvious addition to the list of wind promoters who actually aim to sell more natural gas. There are others – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the entire audience at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association annual meeting (2010) that all big solar and wind plant are really gas plants.


          Tim Wirth, a former Colorado senator who now works for Ted Turner, provided the same message in 2009.


          I am certain that many members of the audience took that advice to heart.

  4. Wall Street protests are going on in the US against high unemployment and the government’s economic policy.

    Those protesters should line up in front of the NRC and ask why this inept organisation has been unable to start the construction of a single reactor in more than 30 years.

    1. Just to add to that why are we burning burning U.S. hydrocarbons to make electricity and sending our money overseas for transportation fuel?

  5. Readers,

    There are over 490 comments as of today on a LinkedIN discussion – Should we table nuclear power until safety can be guaranteed? These comments can be found in the “GREEN” group. I invite those of you on LinkedIN to take a look…and add comments! There are two factions thrusting away at each other (friendly terms for the most part).
    Rod Adams — your voice in the discussions would be very much appreciated.

    Harry Rakfeldt
    AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants Independent Dealer
    Belfair, WA
    (O3E USN Retired)

    1. Thank you for the head’s up Harry. Understand this following rant is not specific to your post or page but touched a general peeve of mine;

      I originally came aboard this site not to chew cud or clash sabers but to first check out Rod’s credentials so I could (and still) email his name out to local TV and radio stations and newspapers to issue them another rare reasoned seasoned counter-voice to all the anti-nuclear media darlings out there. For me, this “debate” over nuclear is silly, clueless, and economically undercutting this country’s security and energy self-relience. It’s like people sitting around in the 1920’s bitching whether to allow any more airplanes because one might crash in somebody’s city and hurt somebody. What no one ever seems to ask is how many people — workers and public — and property has the oil, gas and coal industries by health issues and direct accident killed off during the over 50 years nuclear’s been around almost literally killing but a relative handful. If the “worst” mega-death nuclear desert scenario with nuclear energy was going to happen it would’ve somewhere around the world by now — unlike those other industries. Fukushima was a nature-caused accident but not any “disaster” or “catastrophe” unless you count hurt buildings and machines as life-forms, and it was a test case of this! People are scared white at a _combo worst accident_ event of zero deaths and no public property damage and no prospects of radiation bred mutants or sicknesses infesting the region, yet they want to extinguish it! Hello oil-gas Disaster short-term memories! How much more must nuclear prove itself?? Why is the media and establishment looking a powerful and benign energy gift horse in the mouth?? What’s holding nuclear power back is neoHiroshima philosophical bigotry and ignorance. This nation is behind the 8-ball in a bad way right now! We receive an almost fatally substantial part of our energy from nations that hate our guts and the only thing that keeps it flowing is that greed is ruling over religious adherence for now. I don’t want to kick cans; I want to get experts to kick butt to get the ivory tower media to stop demonizing nuclear energy and stop making the atom pay penance for Hiroshima and get this country energy independent with a tried and true and clean and safe and here right now energy source.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  6. When it comes to innovation and safety, the nuclear industry is stuck with what the greybeards are comfortable with. They cut their teeth on Boiling Water Reactors so you could study nuclear engineering to Masters level without knowing very much about anything other than the Uranium cycle.

    Take a look at this video of Matt Ridley, a truly towering intellect, delivering the Hayek Lecture. Ridley is not a scientist so it is humbling to see him skewer one of the major problems that we (NPP nuts) struggle with:

    OK, while I was hoping that you would listen to the whole 60 minutes, the bit about nuclear power starts in the Q&A section around the 45 minute mark.

  7. I’m genuinely amused by this idea that everyone’s suddenly an expert as far as thorium, etc. is concerned.

    I’m a bit disappointed in Ridley – he’s usually brighter than that. Especially to the point that he thinks BWRs are used in submarines!

  8. If your safety culture is such as to raise the cost of US nuclear to a level where it is no longer built (and historically less safe fossil fuel power plants are built in their place) does your highly vaunted NRC safety culture really promote safety?
    One way to better promote safety is to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants that are built with intrinsically safer nuclear technology (i.e. molten salt reactors that can not suffer a core meltdown). Nuclear technology which has fewer serious safety vulnerabilities is superior to an intrinsically less safe technology that you are more comfortable reviewing (Light Water Reactors).

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