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16 Comments

  1. Quite a good piece, Rod. Some of the commenters over there scare me–They’re bloody lunatics. It blows my mind that people actually think that going back to a pre-industrial subsistence farming lifestyle is the solution to our environmental problems. Personally, I like being able to turn a tap and get reliably get clean drinking water. I like living in a world where the quality of life for most people improves, not degrades. Nuclear power can and will allow that to continue to be the case.

  2. Kenn L, as a Arkansas Nuclear One and Comanche Peak veteran, I agree. Those plants just keep on puttin it out.

  3. @Kenn
    Reading TOD is not so much scary as it is like mowing the lawn on a humid day. It just wears you out.
    I like to keep track of the reasons anti-nukes can think of so what about the TOD:
    1.Fuel availability
    2.inefficient
    3.unlikely to replace fossil fuel
    4.safety
    5.imported fuel
    6.nuclear weapons
    7.net energy
    8.spent fuel (scattered all over the place)
    9.motive
    10.BAU
    11.need fossil to make nukes (same as 7?)
    12.decommissioning
    13.future generations to clean up
    14.false promises – too cheap to meter
    15.toxic
    16.terrorist
    17.conservation
    18.shortage of trained workers
    At some point you get tired and stop reading so some I may have missed some of the more far out rants.

    1. @Kit P – once again, we have that rare occasion when we completely agree. You have put up a reasonably comprehensive list of the issues that I read and tried to answer yesterday. It was a good thing I had the day off – it was thoroughly draining.
      However, it was kind of fun – in a rather masochistic way.

  4. Posting a fine article like “Possibilities for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors” on the Oil Drum certainly brought out the anti-nukes in the crowd. It is wonderful to provide educational service to a larger community by posting there but at times the event felt like a cage wrestling match where it was AtomicRod against a legion of relatively poorly informed (but hostile) opponents. The article was a strong one and shared valuable insights regarding small modular reactors and the reasons we might choose them. I was also impressed at the discretion of the Thorium advocates who by and large were respectful and tried to save any small differences they might have on favorite flavor of fuel or fuel rods vs. no fuel rods for another forum where it might be less distracting.
    You acquitted yourself well Rod and were more than up to the challenge.

  5. Rod,
    Rod,
    BTW, congratulations, you made slashdot:
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/07/20/2038247/The-Rise-of-Small-Nuclear-Plants
    Not like making the WSJ or the economist, but still.. slashdot is still one of the biggest techie news sources out there, and I do commend their readership.. Since first I tracked them, they have gone from about 10% pro-nuclear to about 70-80% – which indicates that people can change their minds if evidence is placed before them.
    Ed

  6. Rod – seriously, you’re the River Tam ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWzwM2P_HgA ) of the nuclear blogosphere. You’re in a small room, a small army of antis comes at you from ahead, behind, left, and right, and yet, you manage to kick all their rears…nicely.
    You have changed minds. You have changed the debate and shown the way forward. Marketing isn’t most of the answer…telling the truth, engagement, and “field” education is.
    I will say this – if the nuclear renaissance takes place in the US, and the signs and portents are hopeful, it will be due, in no small part, to your indomitable determination and willingness to stand and deliver.

    1. @Dave – thank you for your support. It is much appreciated and humbly accepted.

  7. One thing, Rod. A commenter threw a quote at you: “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
    To which you responded, “I really do not know and do not care what kind of anti human you are quoting.”
    Google seems to think the source is Albert Einstein. I don’t know whether that’s true, or if so what the context was, but allowing yourself to be baited like this is at best a distraction from making *your* case.

    1. @Bill – you might be right. However, part of my “case” is that advocating for abundant or expansive energy is a very “pro human” thing to do. So is supporting technological progress. If Einstein is actually the source of that incredibly anti-human quote displaying a complete lack of respect for his fellow man, he was displaying a Malthusian pessimism. It was quite possibly made during a WWII inspired depression about the sad state of humanity and its occasional insistence on finding ever more clever ways to kill each other.
      We are not condemned to keep doing that. We have free choice and can put technology to good purposes, not evil ones.

    2. The person posting this comment makes a mistake of assuming that expertize in one field (theoretical physics) translates into expertize in another unrelated field. One should be particularly cautions when invoking Einstein in the field of ethics, as he was infamous by grossly mistreating women who loved him.
      BTW thanks Rod for the article & advocacy, I second the sentiment of katana0182 (Dave).

  8. You turned in a yeoman-like effort on that discussion. Again and again, a polite yet firm response based on rationality and facts. In my experience that’s a much more effective way of winning debates than taking the bait of insults and rude dismissals and responding in kind. Kudos for devoting a day of your time to it.
    I like Kit P’s list of 18 common objections to nuclear. I wonder if a series could be produced devoted to each of the 18, something in the model of “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic” http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php

    1. To clarify, I am suggesting the communications strategy of “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic” might be a good one to emulate, not necessarily the content (although I do happen to agree with the content).

  9. Rod, I second (and third) the sentiments already ably posted. I couldn’t help but find myself “shadow-boxing” with those who attempted to take you to task.
    Along the lines of “resource depletion”, have you seen this assessment (or opinion) as it relates to all things energy? http://rayharvey.org/index.php/2010/01/peak-oil/

  10. I could make similar lists that are used by anti-coal, anti-NG, anti-biomas, and anti-ethanol.
    What is important is understanding why we do things a certain way. I like eating beef, chicken, pork, and fish but you can keep you soy burgers thank you very much. I spent some time growing up in Indiana so I have no problem with soy beans as animal feed. Laurence is wasting his time telling me that soy burgers will reduce my carbon foot print.
    There are several a good reasons to make electricity with nuclear power.
    1.It is a good way to make electricity
    2.It is a safe way to make electricity
    3.It has insignificance environmental impact
    4.It is affordable

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