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  1. Hi Rod,

    Yes I am a regular listener to the show, I’m sorry I haven’t spoken sooner.

    I haven’t been commenting on individual shows because I haven’t felt that this was the sort of forum for discussion, and in any case I try and tread very carefully when it comes to American policy issues because it is unseemly for a non-American to do so. I know that Americans in general cut Canadians a lot of slack on this issue, but I still don’t want to push.

    At any rate, take a break and get refreshed and you too have a happy 4th.


  2. No need to apologize, sir.

    I’ve listened to all 97, plus the pertinent Mommycast, and a few of Adam Curry’s ‘casts, all to hear your advocacy and technical discussions. (There was another one… let’s see, checking hard drive… Oh yeah, the Cleantech show.) I also share them with an earth mama at work, who is convinced and is working on her daughter.

    It’s all interconnected, yes, but your politics lose me. For instance, who is sabre rattling when he says Israel will soon be destroyed in a big fire? And who recently said that Iran should be handled diplomatically if at all possible? “We” say Iran and anyone– even North Korea– can have nuclear power as long as they are open about it.

    But big fan, here, as a fellow Navy Nuke (ELT), I admire your accomplishments. As hard as NNP program was for enlisted, I can only imagine for officers.

    Plus you did that 4-year bootcamp while simultaneously getting an English degree. (Trade school Neptunus Lex calls it.) Then you became a Tuber and CHENG.

    Now THERE’s a fan letter, ‘cuz it’s genuine.

  3. I really enjoy your broadcasts, where else is this important topic being discussed? Nowhere, that’s where.

    A suggestion for future shows:

    It would be interesting if you could get some of your colleagues to talk about their personal favorite master energy plan for the USA. You could plan shows where one person makes their case and then defends it against probing questions.

    As an example, here is my master energy plan for the USA.

    1. Begin phase-out of coal, gas and all fossil fuels for electricity. Replace with advanced nuclear. This would cut greenhouse gas emissions by half in the US.

    2. Perfect coal to liquid fuel technology. The coal that is no longer being used for electricity can fuel the process and be augmented with hydrogen injection produced in the new nuclear plants. There is no reason this technology couldn’t supply all of the transportation fuels used in the US. This should be greenhouse gas neutral because you are just trading oil for coal.

    3. Offer major energy rebates for those who switch to plug-in-hybrid technology. The overall goal would be to eventually have most automobile transportation be powered by nuclear generated electricity. This will further cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    4. Domestically produced oil would be used for plastics, chemicals, fertilizers etc. Greenhouse gas neutral.


  4. This seems like a good time of the year to do web site re-organization and the such.

    Be glad when you return but please don’t give up any down-time.

    Jim Holm

  5. Your support of the superstition of man-made global warming, however oblique, as the reason we need more nukes, will in the end damage the credibility of the very industry you promote (and in which I worked for 15 years). Thus, your credibility (and that of ANS) is low because you are in the same church, albeit a different pew, as those who are clamoring to roll-back the industrial revolution by carbon caps, and hence energy rationing, for 320 million Americans.

    Nuclear power can stand on its own intrinsic benefits for worldwide use (as it has been doing since the 1960s). I know you remind your readers of that when you can, but your position that we need nuclear because it doesn’t emit greenhouse gases is scientifically false and ethically unsound. There are much better reasons as to why we need nuclear power.

  6. Thank you all for your ego boosting comments. I appreciate hearing from you, even (perhaps especially) when you disagree.

    For Mike – who am I to argue with people who are marketing for my preferred power source. I happen to be convinced that we need to work hard to reduce emissions back down to a level that can be balanced with all of the natural sinks. It is a differential equation issue for me where the addition term is simply too high. I have no desire to get rid of all of the benefits that combustion has provided, however. In addition, I think that most of the time I talk about nuclear as being emission free – for my money the least noxious emission from burning coal and oil is CO2. I am far more worried about all of the rest.

    Richard – your grand plan and mine seem pretty closely matched. Perhaps you should come on as a guest!

    Reese – my politics should be pretty clear – I am a big believer in walking quietly and avoiding violence whenever possible. (I spent some of my formative years surrounded by some very large sticks that convinced me that warfare was pretty obsolete.) I do not pay much attention to translated speeches, especially when the translators have agendas. On the other hand, I speak English and bureaucratic languages pretty well.

    DV8 – you are actually quite correct. Podcast associated blogs are often not very good forums for discussion because most of the time the listeners can go for weeks without visiting the sites. A far better site for discussions is at Atomic Insights.

  7. Rod (I address the civilian and mean no disrespect),

    Yes, your politics are clear. The loss to which I refer is not a misunderstanding, but how we see things differently.

    For instance, the “very large sticks” didn’t make warfare obsolete, but they made very clear to our main adversary the consequences should it be undertaken in the way that was threatened. (And still do, since the world is not so friendly the place envisioned upon the opening of the Brandenburg Gate.) A trio of these very large sticks (I have no doubt) saved millions of lives hastening the end to WWII. You walked quietly. But you were heard clearly.

    Also, I agree with Mr. Sivertsen: NuClear-generated electricity can stand on its own merits. It will. It must (as your credo says at Atomic Insights). Embracing global warming/climate change etc. hurts your credibility– not with me, mind you, as just above you’ve explained your real concerns. There are a lot of terms in that differential equation that are ignored or downplayed, but the one term (carbon emissions) gets all the press and is being used to justify unwarranted power/money grabs by those who would restrict us proles’ freedoms.

    I will look into my alleged misinterpretation of the Iranian president’s speech about it being his job to usher in the 12th Imam and all that fire in Israel stuff. Also will listen closely for any misleading about diplomacy being our first, preferred option.

    Yours in fandom,

  8. Unlike Mr. Sivertsen I am far from convinced that anthropogenic global warming is just some fairy story concocted by the Greens. I tend rather to the opposite view.

    So I’ve really got to ask… in the show featuring Bonne Posma, you were quite enthusiastic about the prospect for nuclear-facilitated coal liquification. Now I understand that this can still help in the battle against CO2 emissions if we simultaneously phase out coal-fired power stations, and use a bit of liquified coal to run our off-rail transport sector, but shouldn’t we be looking for a scheme which can either eliminate CO2 emissions altogether, or incorporate a CO2 capture-and-recycle phase in it so that net CO2 emissions are zero or close to it? Or were you perhaps thinking that this might be leverage to induce coal interests to support expanded nuclear power? What’s the go here, Rod? Where do you stand on this?

  9. By the way, I do enjoy listening to your show. I have noticed their absence lately. I do hope you can turn your attention in that direction again in the not too distant future.

  10. Finrod:

    Excellent question. As is the case in many of my stances, I straddle several points of view. (Good thing I am not a politician, people would accuse me of wearing Zorries. That’s right, I am old enough so that is what I learned to call flip-flops when I was growing up in South Florida.)

    It seems worthwhile to me to work to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion to a level that is closer to the removal and storage capability of natural systems like growing plants and plankton. Continually overcharging the atmosphere year after year seems unnecessarily risky, especially when we have a low cost, high value alternative.

    That said, I also think that burning fossil fuels has been a huge benefit to mankind. Energy really does make the world go around and enables people to live with far more richness, freedom and productivity that we could without a lot of help. The challenge on that front is how to maintain what we have accomplished in the face of bumping up against our limit of production because of the way that we have burned through so much of the earth’s bounty as if we were the last people who would be living here.

    Stopping coal consumption in power plants by replacing it with nuclear power makes sense. Turning that coal (a hydrocarbon that is mostly carbon) into liquid fuel for automobiles, aircraft and trucks that are too small to carry their own reactors also makes sense to me, as long as we do not consume (and release as CO2) half of the input carbon in the process.

    It is not a matter of “energy independence” since I believe that there is a lot of goodness in having a global economy, but a matter of energy strength that shifts the balance of power so that consumers and producers are more equal. That is enabled by having choices and alternatives.

    The reason I think that concept works pretty well is that hydrocarbons in the form of synthetic diesel or jet fuel are about as energy dense as you can make a chemical fuel. As I mentioned during the show with Bonne Posma, I think it is biomimicry (imitating natural systems) to use hydrocarbons as fuel. They work.

    There is also an already established way to capture and recycle carbon – growing plants.

  11. “There is also an already established way to capture and recycle carbon – growing plants.”

    The process takes quite a bit of time. Plants just aren’t particularly efficient.

    I was thinking more along the lines of capturing CO2 directly from the atmosphere and processing it into hydrocarbon fuel using nuclear power, thereby making such fuel carbon neutral.

  12. Finrod –

    What’s your hurry? We can grow a lot of plants including trees – and make the world a more attractive place – in the next hundred years. Not only that, but it can keep a lot of people well employed in recovering some areas that need some human TLC.

    I know a bit about capturing CO2 (one learns a lot of interesting techniques as the engineer officer in a sealed environment). It is pretty easy to remove CO2 from the atmosphere until you get down to about 0.1%. At that point, the process just requires a tremendous amount of effort and air flow for not much return.

    0.1% sounds like a small number, but it is 1000 parts per million while our atmosphere, even after 150 years of fossil fuel based industrialization, only contains about 450 ppm.

    In other words – pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere would be a really expensive way to produce fuel.

    I prefer to “fix the big noise first”. Let’s replace as many coal burning power plants as we can in the next 20-50 years. That one action will reduce our production of CO2 by about 18-20 billion tons per year. Add the replacement of as many ship engines as possible with nuclear plants, and now you are talking some real improvement.

  13. “What’s your hurry?”

    Food production.

    I’m Australian, so I’ve had a front row seat with regard to watching the unfolding drought here and its effects. Australia has a fairly arid climate to begin with, so it’s not suprising that we should be one of the first regions to experience serious impacts from global warming. There was good news last year with some easing of conditions, but all the indicators now are that we’re going back into the kind of prolonged dry weatherwe’ve copped for the previous decade.

    Of course, not everywhere will experience climate outcomes such as ours, but on the whole, it’s reasonable to suppose that the impacts will be negative with regards to food production (existing food systems are established on the climate as we are used to it).

    We may be able to overcome this problem without reducing atmospheric CO2. Maybe. Or maybe not.

    In your chat with Chuck Devore, Chuck mentioned giving the enemy three ways to die. In the battle for survival, we would do well to provision ourselves with at least three ways to live.

  14. Rod,

    I’m a regular listener, although I must have been busy lately since I just discovered show #97 up today. As Jim Holm said, have some good down time, you deserve it

    Regarding atmospheric CO2, even if you don’t buy into AGW the acidification of the oceans and its effect on corals et al is a good enough reason to curtail CO2 releases. My understanding is that there is little debate about that cause and effect relationship.

  15. Once again, thank you for your supportive comments and your patience. Show number 98 is up and ready for your listening pleasure. Hope you enjoy the discussion. Tell me if you agree that I just might have shaken a strongly held position.

    As you might notice, there is only one more show before the Atomic Show hits a big milestone. Suggestions and especially audio contributions suitable for adding to the show can be sent to me at my Gmail account – atomicrod59(at symbol)gmail.com

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