1. Nuclear is also an “odd duck” in that it does not have large specific companies that pursue solely nuclear work. There is no nuclear equivalent of nuclear Apple or Intel, but rather a collection of side businesses. This also explains why there are no nuclear equivalent billionaire celebrities such as Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos to champion this technology. Nuclear advocacy seems to need more of a social advocacy leadership as much as an economic one.

    1. The Greens expect to wipe out the US nuclear industry within 20 years and reduce coal and nuclear generated electricity by 50% of current capacity within 10 years. The Greens expect to replace 50% of coal and nuclear over the next 10 years with 190 GW of natural gas and 170GW of wind. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/05/offshore-wind-turbine-project-statoils-hywind-scotland-a-positive-viewpoint/

      Unless the NRC is eliminated, there is no way for the US nuclear industry to compete.

      The Achilles heel of the NRC is the Linear No Threshold Hypothesis of radiation damage. LNT is junk science just like Global Warming, the DDT ban, and the Green attack on genetic engineering. The Low Dose Radiation Research program was making substantial progress in proving that LNT is junk science before Obama terminated the program in 2012.

      Spending $20 million per year on Low Dose Radiation Research should be the number 1 priority of the nuclear industry. Given that nuclear energy is the safest form of energy today, given that radiation standards can be relaxed by a factor of 1000 once biological repair mechanisms for radiation damage are accounted for, given that “walk away safe” sodium fast reactors are 1000 times safer than the best LWRs, there is no reason for the NRC to exist.

    2. All due respect to the author and nuclear engineers, but…
      The nuclear industry seems to be dying a slow death around the world.
      If it were truly cost competitive with other forms of power generation it would have more support on the right. (and companies that make nuclear power plants wouldn’t be declaring bankruptcy.)
      If it were a more nimble power source that could be ratcheted up and down quickly to complement solar and wind, it would have more support on the Left.
      What we have is a analog system in a digital world. I really don’t see how Nuclear survives in a world of cheap oil, gas, solar, and wind. At best it a lesser-of-two-evils option. At worst its a multi-billion dollar money pit.

      1. The nuclear industry seems to be dying a slow death around the world.

        Except in China, Russia, S. Korea, and the export markets of those 3.

        If it were truly cost competitive with other forms of power generation it would have more support on the right.

        Nuclear power has costs piled onto it by government fiat, such as the new demand that US plants have the equivalent of a 24/7/365 SWAT team on-site to defend against military-equivalent assaults.  The US government picks up the cost of defending everything BUT nuclear plants from such assaults.

        When a small team of saboteurs could take out all the power lines, pipelines and even many of the roads feeding critical metro areas with a few days of work, this paranoia about nuclear plants is grossly misplaced… except as economic warfare by its competitors.

        If it were a more nimble power source that could be ratcheted up and down quickly to complement solar and wind, it would have more support on the Left.

        This insistence that other energy supplies deal with the failure of “renewables” to be reliable and available at need is one of the gross intellectual errors of the Green romantics.  They should all be immediately forced to consume energy only when and how their preferred sources provide it, until they either recant or die. (cot’d)

      2. I really don’t see how Nuclear survives in a world of cheap oil, gas, solar, and wind.

        Oil and gas are limited; we’ll (literally) burn through them in a handful of decades at best.  Their effluents have already damaged the earth and will wreck far more just from emissions to the present date.  The inadequacy of biomass and the inherent unreliability of solar and wind was the driving force to use coal, oil and natural gas in the first place.

        Fission power gets rid of the unreliability without any of the GHG or other emissions of fossil fuels.  THAT is why we MUST use it, at least until we have a superior replacement.

      3. There seems to be many approaches for the up and coming solutions incl NuScale et al., For example, example by Dr. Forsberg seems to have an approach to address Fluoride-Salt-Cooled High-Temperature Reactor with Nuclear Air-Brayton Combined Cycle and Firebrick Resistance Heated Energy Storage by Dr. Charles – Competing with Stand-Alone Natural Gas and Enabling a Zero-Carbon Energy World – http://fhr.nuc.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FHR-Global-14April2016.pdf … As well, there is a document by NUScale that highlights approaches as well … http://www.nuscalepower.com/images/our_technology/nuscale-non-electrical-apps-pbnc2014.pdf … I am not stating a specific reactor styles

    1. I presume there will be a special Atomic Insights post on VC Summer (now the VC Winter of Our Discontent?).

      1. I will have something to say about that. I feel sorry for those that will have to work with/for Westinghouse.

        1. I have more than one friend who had their badge stuffed in a garbage bag today…now they’re 3 or 4 beers into the evenings festivities. It’s a bad bad day.

          1. This past January, my financial advisor said I could retire now. I feel bad for these guys between their 40s and late 50s who have mortgages, college tuition etc. The double-whammy of nukes closing and several hundred (thousand?) dumped into the nuclear workforce is sad.

            I actually would prefer part-time work just to keep mentally active. I wouldn’t care too much about the money or benefits since I have a pension and health care plan.

            But not at Walmart!

            1. @FermiAged

              Would you be interested in a position in the pro nuclear movement? If so, contact me via email rod_adams at AtomicInsights.com

  2. Note: The following was received via email from Robert Parker, President, Australian Nuclear Association

    I’ll respond to Ketan’s and Rod’s comments from the perspective of a citizen of a nation that has laws preventing any aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle from proceeding except uranium mining and in which no political party currently champions nuclear energy with any conviction.

    We have a right of center agrarian based party in the Nationals who come out in support occasionally but they, like the Republicans in the USA have a difficult time with the climate change issue.

    The left of center parties all campaign on climate change but don’t want nuclear and so far few of them actually engage with the technology because there aren’t any votes in it. On the right of politics we also get the “hairy chested” brigade who occasionally support nuclear in order to provoke the left but they could just as easily push for capital punishment or winding back our gun controls.

    Overlying all this is the big issue of centralised state control which has been abandoned by nations in the Anglosphere and so we end up with a hollowed out political apparatus that can’t make effective decisions and fights over trivia. The political classes adopt the “ice cream” solution of renewables, not because its technically effective but because its politically safe.

    I am an advocate for nuclear energy, not because I have any great affection for it, but because I am dead set scared of climate change and have a great respect for James Hansen’s thinking. We won’t fix climate change without nuclear energy being a key central technology.

    This therefore leaves people like me in Australia without a political home. We advocate with politicians and the public alike but know that we have few friends. We also know that the majority of nations who have effectively implemented nuclear programs have had strong central government support and management of the process.

    Frankly anyone who thinks we will fix climate change without strong government direction and a reversion to central planning is naive. In the vacuum we will just get more “ice cream” solutions.

    So, sure Ketan is right, we do find political alignment difficult and probably its beyond left and right.

  3. As good a place to leave this off topic question as any:
    How much gross energy can be extracted from a kg of natural uranium if it is properly consumed in a fast neutron reactor?

    1. How much gross energy can be extracted from a kg of natural uranium

      This is why I archive my comments.  Some time ago I wrote “Fission of 32,000 tpy of uranium at 200 MeV/fission is about 82 terawatts (thermal).”  Multiplying by the number of seconds in a year and dividing by 3.2e7 yields about 8.1e13 J, a little less than a gigawatt-day.

  4. It should be a non-partisan issue. But it’s not, unfortunately. Some of us have have attempted to penetrate the left and far left on this issue, to varying degrees of success. In some ways the ecomodernist approach helps a lot in winning over the slightly left of center folks around the Democrats.

  5. Or, as Treebeard said in “The Two Towers” film, “I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side”

    The energy policy of both the left and the right is nearly completely senseless. Why would people who favor choosing a course of action using engineering principles align themselves with any of the nonsensical political platforms?

  6. Nuclear Power has attributes of both parties. Technology born of American Exceptionalism steeped in Regulation and and Federal Subsidy.
    Something to love or hate for just about everybody.
    I still like it. Because it’s a hoot.

  7. As I see it the tepid support for nuclear arises in no small part from contradictions between how the left and the right operate these days.

    On the left we see environmentalists who have lost sight of what they’re supposed to be about, preserving the environment, in an effort to push technologies that they like and wing willfully ignorant to facts as they do so. This contrasts with the approach of conservationists ( those who protect endangered animals ) who tend to constantly search for facts to find out what might be threatening the wild animal they’re trying to protect, makes compromises with the human needs in the area and is given direct feedback from the real world about their success in the form of census data. The left can’t learn to love nuclear power until environmentalists reconcile themselves with the reality of the costs and benefits of nuclear power compared to other power sources.


  8. (2/2)

    Likewise on the right there’s a contradiction at play. Fiscal responsibility has long been a somewhat ironic leg of any conservative platform but increasingly that has taken the form of simply being unwilling to put capital into any sort of long term project. No industrialized society functions without those long term assets however and until conservatives can reconcile themselves with the facts around the need for investments in large capital intensive projects making the case for nuclear on the right will be challenging at best.

    Neither of these contradictions are tied directly to nuclear but they do make it hard for any party to embrace the technology without alienating their base.

  9. “Lunar Solar Power electricity can cost less than 0.001 $/kWe-h wholesale when LSP capacity exceeds 1 TWe .” from: http://www.ela-iet.com/EMD/BeijingCriswell5745100813.pdf Perhaps the opportunity to open Space to economic activity is greater than providing electric prosperity to the World or completely solving the Carbon problem. Pure economics argue against further new nuclear plants as the first phase of LSP involves (mostly) Earth based receiving antennae that can balance the wayward wind and solar we already have, thus removing the need for new storage and long transmission lines. What a concept!

    1. I’ll tell you the same thing I did in some other forum, which you clearly ignored, putting you in troll territory.

      When the space shuttle still operated, the cost to launch one pound into low Earth orbit (LEO) was $10,000. With the new vehicles under development, that cost *might* come down to several hundred dollars per pound. The cost to send one of those pounds from low Earth orbit to the Moon would be several times again the cost to LEO.

      Now calculate how many pounds of mass you need to send to the Moon to establish a meaningful industrial base and multiply them by a few thousand dollars each.

      We will never have space based industry, nor mining as long as chemical rockets are our transportation system to orbit.

      1. One day we could have the space elevator that Arthur C Clark wrote about – would reduce the cost of lifting mass into space by a factor of hundreds – just one or two “technical” hurdles to overcome first…like how to build it and how to capture the small asteroid to anchor it to…
        One day!

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

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

Similar Posts