1. Thank you for this article and the previous one on copper mining.

    Sad to say both of them represent examples where the current legislative process is an impediment to progress. (Jazcko in US, not Chinese actions) By progress, I mean the betterment of people’s life through the application of technology.

  2. From the “At Least Two Sides To Every Story” desk, The Guardian reports China warned over ‘insane’ plans for new nuclear power plants.

    He Zuoxiu, a leading Chinese scientist, says the country is not investing enough in safety controls after lifting of post-Fukushima disaster reactor ban…

    The government is keen to expand nuclear generation as part of a wider effort to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and cut dependence on imported oil and gas.

    He, who worked on China’s nuclear weapons programme, said the planned rollout was going too fast to ensure it had the safety and monitoring expertise needed to avert an accident.

    “There are currently two voices on nuclear energy in China. One prioritises safety while the other prioritises development,” He told the Guardian in an interview at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    He spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities”. He said: “They want to build 58 (gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity) by 2020 and eventually 120 to 200. This is insane.”

    Actually, “they” want to build considerably more than that. But 200 is the upper end of what they plan for Gen III PWRs. See WNN China Plans for Nuclear Growth.

    And as Rod alluded, a really critical issue is how to displace existing coal. Isn’t INL helping China develop pebble fuel?

    1. @Ed Leaver

      Sure, there are voices like those of He Zuoxiu, who is a nuclear weapons designer who thinks nuclear power plants are not safe enough. (Think about that for a while.)

      As in the US, such voices are no where near as prevalent as the “balanced” media makes them out to be.

      1. Sure? I take nothing for surety in China. Or here, for that matter. So I believe it worthwhile that voices such as He Zuoxiu do speak out in China, important as part of the “lessons learned” you mentioned. Otherwise one runs the risk of repeating the Tepco syndrome, which is in no one’s interest.

        One runs that risk anyway. One also runs the certainty of climate disaster without prompt and aggressive elimination of fossil fuels.

        I’ve been working an article touching upon the motivations and drives of some of our own nuclear weapons pioneers. In that context one may compare Dr. Zuoxiu with for example Enrico Fermi, Alvin Weinberg, and (particularly) Edward Teller — visionaries whose strengths and determination propelled them far past the horrors of their wartime creations to fulfill the initial promise of atomic power: safe and plentiful energy for all.

        1. @Ed Leaver

          I’m looking forward to reading your article. I’m particularly interested in seeing how you back up your assertion that Edward Teller — in particular out of the three people you mentioned — had “strengths and determination” that propelled him “far past the horrors of [his] wartime creations to fulfill the initial promise of atomic power: safe and plentiful energy for all.”

          My understanding of Teller’s career and mindset is about 180 degrees out from that portrayal, but I’d be interested in your take.

          I’m also not certain what you mean about the “Tepco syndrome.” I’m still of the admittedly minority position that Tepco was a reasonably competent nuclear plant owner and operator that made a few decisions that, only in hindsight and only as a result of a particularly unusual bit of bad luck, led to major industrial plant damage that had little actual impact on the local environment.

          Tepco has been demonized and scapegoated by both antinuclear activists and by nuclear energy proponents striving to portray the company as some kind of outlier with uniquely poor decision processes.

          1. Tepco has had an history of falsifying inspection reports about it’s plant operation, and it appears also that the operator at Fukushima were simply not properly trained at all to handle an emergency situation like the one that occurred. They are documented as reporting they just no idea how to use properly the Isolation Condenser for emergency cooling of reactor 1.
            Fire trucks actually arrived early enough on site that they could have provided the required cooling if the operators had been able to properly inject their water inside the vessels, whereas actually most of it never arrived at the right location because of troubles with pipes and valves.

            Other nuclear companies in Japan had a better security culture because they were not subject to the same amount of amukudari, the Japanese version of revolving door policy, where former politician or bureaucrats would get major senior positions at Tepco, because they knew that company was a great position to make a lot of money, not because they were knowledgeable in nuclear, a major reason for this very bad decision process at Tepco.

  3. This article needs to be emailed to Letters to The Editor of every Taiwan newspaper that believes in climate change. Be fun to see what replies are — if any!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  4. Jaczko knows where to go in order to cause the most damage. Taiwan island is vary nearly 100% dependent on energy imports aside from trivial boutique wind & solar projects — which I imagine are themselves imported equipment. The ROC on Taiwan has (proportionally) an even more ambitious fission expansion plan in the works than the PRC.

    Currently they have six units (nearly 5GW), mostly BWRs that are operated at ~90% capacity which supply Taiwan with ~25% of its baseload; by 2030 they were to have double that generating about 1/3rd of their total electricity. However domestic controversy erupted in the wake of Fukushima, now recent polling had a majority of the island’s population opposing operation of the nearly completed ABWR units Lungmen 1&2, and the fission project has become a politicized issue between the major ruling parties.

    Taiwan is also situated along the same Pacific “Ring of Fire” as Japan, as is coastal mainland China for that matter where most of its population lives. The deadliest earthquakes recorded in history — killing hundreds of thousands — have hit mainland China. However the residents of Taiwan need only refer to the annual PRC death toll — on the order of a million — from coal used as an indoor cooking fuel (in lieu of electricity) and as the primary means of electricity generation to appreciate the obvious merits of a particulate free energy source that elegantly supplies the key resource of modernization: electricity.

    NASA’s James Hansen has written detailing the central fact that given a choice between any hydrocarbon and nuclear fission, fission is always the safest choice and it isn’t even close.

    What then precisely are Jaczko’s fears? Has he ever articulated them? Has he ever been asked, for example, between coal and nuclear fission which is the safer option? Even assuming a LNT projection of radiocarcinogenesis such fervent advocates of various derivative forms of thermonuclear energy (solar, waves, wind) as MZ Jacobson, utilizing sophisticated global dispersion models, are able to arrive at upper bound estimates of only a few thousand combined mortalities and morbidities from the Fukushima triple meltdown & hydrogen explosions averaged over the lifetimes of the longest lived people on Earth; effectively the worse case scenario in antiquated half-century old design LWR units. What is the practical import of this? That nuclear energy is “merely” 1000 times safer than coal burning; and in the more likely instance that traditional LNT projections are false the radiological aspect of nuclear energy alone would be more on the order of a million times safer than coal. Literally far safer than a day at the beach, sunscreen or not.

    The apparent fact that the PRC favors a large-scale national program based on the over-engineered European derived PWR (EPR & VVER) designs doesn’t speak too highly of their technical prowess. Apart from the PHWR designs, PWRs make little sense with their mid-life massive steam generator replacement requirements.

    1. Time and coal are of the essence and PWRs are what we — and they — have got. Although state-subsidized caveats apply, WER nonetheless has an impressive record of design wins. Not mentioned, China’s own CAP1400 design is based upon Gen III+ AP1000. With Russia and India, China is the world leader in Gen IV R&D. China hopes fast reactors will replace PWR construction in the 2040’s. But they aren’t there yet.

      1. @Ed Leaver

        I think Aaron would favor BWRs over PWRs. They are also available as proven technology that has been operating almost as long as PWRs. There are even modern designs (2 different versions of the ABWR and the ESBWR) that have received design certification from the “gold standard” regulator.

    2. You compare with coal.
      Coal and other fossils are on the way out for electricity generation.
      Even in Germany with its focus on nuclear out and extremely cheap coal, the share and volume of coal used in electricity production went down since the start of the Energiewende in 2001 (goal >80% renewable in 2050; now already ~28%).

      You should compare with renewable, mainly wind+PV-solar+storage, as those are clearly on the road to replace all.

      1. @BAS

        Please provide your reference indicating that the share and volume of coal used in electricity production has decreased. I’m especially interested in the trend since 2011 and in the total use of all coal, not just hard coal statistically separated from lignite (aka brown coal, aka soft coal).

        1. AGEB (General Energy Balances) shows all detailed figures since 1990. You can download PDFs, more detailed XLSX, publications, etc. Sorry, the ENglish button translates only some headers (google translate may rescue).

          Luckily Gerke made a clear diagram which covers the changes in the period 2007-2013 (coal includes lignite).
          Years 2012-2013 were cold, hence small improvements compared to 2007. Last year (2014) was warmer hence big improvements.

          The opening of new lignite power plants created in English literature the wrong impression that they were expanding lignite greatly.
          English literature didn’t state that more lignite plants were closed.

          Main reasons for the new plants:
          – the old lignite plants were base load plants.
          In 2004-2007 the utilities concluded that any base load plant (incl nuclear) will bring losses in the future when wind+solar produce >30% (so ~2025). As then wind+solar will generate >100% during some periods (shown in Denmark).

          – the fluidized bed technology of the new lignite plants imply that they can also operate at ~20% of their capacity and change output relative fast. So they can adapt output to the changing whole sale electricity price.

          Another benefit; substantial less lignite needed per MWh produced, thanks to the higher efficiency (~44% vs 33% for the old plants).
          Furthermore, the low temperature oxygen rich burning process implies:
          – less toxic byproducts such as NOx’s. Air quality is important. In Germany, many cities are now closed for older, less clean cars.
          – less wear = less maintenance.

          Germany will follow Denmark (=100% renewable in 2040). So in 2030-2060 all those new lignite plants will be closed.

          1. 1990 is before the economic downturn. Rod asked for 2011. Scan indicates other dates of 2004 and 2007. Also before the economic downturn. Why should I bother?

          2. @John,
            The diagram covers a longer period, so it shows the trend and not some fluctuation due to weather and other fluctuations.
            It shows that in addition to all nuclear out asap, the trend in Germany is also less CO2. Germany is now >27% below the Kyoto 1990 reference level.
            I estimate that US is still above that level.

            The ThorCon MSR is an interesting idea (TAP too).
            The Chinese have a big team (up to ~600scientist) to develop MSR. They started in 2012, visited ORNL which did operate an 8MW trial in the sixties and got all info. The start of their 2MW trial is delayed from 2016 towards 2018. All in all no commercial MSR before 2030 (if at all).

            In 2030 renewable will produce >50% of all electricity in Germany, which share increases further with ~1.5%/a. So 2030 is the year which starts the period in which all coal & lignite power plants close.

          3. Bas:

            My comment was specifically addressing the contrast between the two Chinas keeping with the topic of Rod’s post; here no question every kW of fission added to China’s grid displaces additional coal burning. Just since 2000 the PRC has more than doubled the amount of coal it burns to some to 3.5-4 billion tons per annum. China now burns about as much coal as the rest of the world combined and 40% of the total additional coal power plants worldwide are scheduled to be fired up in the PRC (nearly another 40% in India).

            You refer to the Germany, part of the OECD; here despite years of heavily subsidized Energiewende policies France, Sweden, and Switzerland have significantly lower per capita CO2 emissions than Germany (6 tons vs 9 tons).

            Check out the World Bank numbers:

            The World Bank website conveniently allows comparisons on a wide range of metrics; for example France, Sweden, and Switzerland also enjoy greater per capita utilization of electricity at the same time as they emit 1/3 less CO2 per person than Germany years into its Energiewende program. Interestingly neither Italy nor Ireland have either nuclear energy or an Energiewende program yet still manage to emit less CO2 than Germany. Germany’s apparent progress in emissions reductions, typically dated from 1990, as you know, allows the Federal Republic to take credit for shutting down the inefficient and obsolete East German industries and power generators.

            Another interesting wrinkle in the AGW debate: mainland China’s per capita CO2 emissions are also about 6 tons per person/yr similar to the best achievable by OECD nations giving an indication of how much higher the PRC emissions trajectory is likely headed. In order to meet the proposed 80% reductions goal by mid to late 21st century would require global per capita emissions — on a planet of 10 billion people — to average around half a ton of CO2; equivalent to modern day Nigeria or Papua New Guinea.

          4. @Aaron,
            Thanks for your explanation.

            Regarding the CO2 levels:
            The merge with East-Germany in ~1990 has little to do with it (E-German economy was small). The main causes; colder climate, little hydro, big cars driven at high speed, etc.

            In addition:
            Sweden and Switzerland have hydro.
            France has a much friendlier climate and ~75% nuclear.
            Italy, Ireland and France have a friendlier climate.
            France generates ~75% of its electricity with nuclear, though it now reluctantly follows Germany with stimulation programs for wind+solar and a target to reduce the share of nuclear towards 50% in 2025 (which they may not reach as with their budget targets).

          5. @David
            In addition.
            I belief that the big Chinese team need so much time and effort to develop MSR technology, because they want the reactor to operate at 650°C (the US ORNL trial reactor operated at 700°C).

            The lower temperature increases the lifespan of the reactor and its components (pumps, valves, etc.) greatly. So it may operate for longer periods than a few years.

            But it implies different salt mix, etc. If that would be easy, the US ORNL scientists would have chosen that lower temperature for their trial.

          6. @Aaron
            “to meet … 80% reductions goal …require … per capita emissions”

            Your comparison with Nigeria suggests that it would cost prosperity and happiness.

            According to the UN, the people of Denmark belong to happiest and highest developed people in the world.
            The country is ~15years ahead of the Germans with its own ‘Energiewende’. Wind produces ~40% of Danish electricity (share of renewable ~50%).

            In Denmark you only can get a license for a new house or other building, if you can proof that it will be CO2 neutral. In coming years the CO2 regulations for existing buildings will become also more strict.

            They target 100% renewable electricity in 2040, and 100% renewable regarding all energy in 2050 (including car fuel)!
            So they do not plan for half a ton of CO2 emission per capita, but for zero CO2 emission!

            I discussed it when I biked around the country. The general opinion was that it would not harm their rather luxury life style! Some said that it would contribute to their well being.

            It is a nice country to bike around. Though they have less special bicycle paths than in NL, cyclists get priority at traffic lights above cars, etc!

          7. Rod,
            We agree about the inefficient manufacturing sector using brown coal in former E-Germany and the speedy closures shortly after 1990.

            But the volume was very small compared to the manufacturing sector in West-Germany. So the impact on the figures of Germany was really very small:

            1990: lignite 171 (31%), coal 141 (26%); consumed 551
            1991: lignite 158 (29%), coal 150 (28%); consumed 540
            1992: lignite 155 (29%), coal 142 (26%); consumed 533
            1995: lignite 143 (27%), coal 147 (27%); consumed 542
            2000: lignite 148 (26%), coal 143 (25%); consumed 580
            2005: lignite 154 (25%), coal 134 (22%); consumed 614
            2010: lignite 146 (23%), coal 117 (19%); consumed 615
            2014: lignite 156 (25%), coal 109 (18%); consumed 579

            Note that:
            – West-Germany also had and has major lignite mines and power plants, such as between Aachen and Cologne (not far from the Dutch border);
            – the share of lignite+coal goes down, though not much. I expect that share to go down with >1%/a after 2022, when all nuclear is off and renewable increase continue to take ~1.5%/a.
            (figures copied from AGEB)

          8. Bas:

            Both Denmark & Germany seem to fluctuate around 8-10 ton of per capita CO2 emissions for the last several years. Maybe Denmark is a notch lower on average; Denmark does consistently utilize less electricity than Germany.

            However those countries that stand out as being consistently significantly lower than both supposed role models are France, Sweden, and Switzerland and they all have the distinction of having proportionally the largest nuclear-electric fleets that supply the majority (or all?) of their base load electricity. Switzerland also has the geographic virtue of having large capacities of hydro power to draw upon and Sweden has the double virtue of being able to draw upon either neighboring Denmark’s cheap subsidized dumped surplus wind power or, whenever that’s not available, Norsk Hydro’s huge backup capacity for its variable load, which is rapidly dispatchable.

            Sweden actually utilizes even more electricity than the profligate US, some 14,000 kWh/yr per capita (most EU countries only use about half that much), and yet consistently averages about 1/3 less per capita CO2 than either Germany or Denmark. My guess is that Sweden uses this extra electricity to run ground source heat pumps, a highly efficient and carbon-free means of space-heating buildings; something Denmark or Germany could never do with their constrained energy budgets that lock them in a higher carbon bracket.
            Thus myopic and totally irrational opposition to utilization of fission energy has severely retarded both Dane & German carbon abatement goals.

            As Wallace Shawn says it is inconceivable that worldwide emissions could be drawn down to half a ton per person without fission displacing not only everything in baseload but all non-hydro variable and peak generation, all heating and cooling via electro-motive heat pumps and almost all the transport sector; aircraft jet fuel could be manufactured from seawater via high temp reactors.

            NB: In an important test case for the “new” alternatives, neither Hawaii nor the Caribbean islands could manage to get off burning oil, coal, or LPG for the bulk of their electricity even at 35-40¢ per kWh; I think that’s even more than what the Danes are paying.

          9. @Aaron,
            Changing a country wide energy system takes decades. It involves jobs of people who are organized in unions, etc.

            E.g. Germany will close its last underground coal mines in next few years despite the fact that those deliver great losses since the eighties! It is political difficult here take such jobs away.
            Hawaii shows how difficult it is to change fast when there is non-cooperating monopoly utility.
            So we should look at long term developments.
            And those are clear for Denmark and Germany: towards 100% renewable.

            Note that changing to 50% nuclear will also take at least two decades. We need to educate the engineers, etc. Building a NPP takes >10yrs now.
            France could build fast because security was then not such an issue. So they built a NPP on a earth quake sensitive fault without strong enough concrete foundation (Fessenheim; reason it’s first on the list to be closed in France).

            Nowadays a NPP should resist a 200ton airliner, etc.
            What if the pilot who directed his airliner to ‘land’ in the French mountains this spring, would have steered his plane against a NPP in the nearby long Rhone valley which has several highly visible and easy to target nuclear reactors?
            May deliver the evacuation of big city Lyon, etc.

            Wallace Shawn says it is inconceivable that worldwide emissions could be drawn down to half a ton per person without fission …
            Taking into account that renewable are (or will be) much cheaper than new nuclear, I really don’t see why that is inconceivable.

            Especially since many countries have already 95%-100% renewable electricity and several others target 100% renewable, while no country targets 100% nuclear and France now even targets to decrease the share of nuclear electricity towards 50% in 2025.

            1. @Bas

              False statements like this one “Especially since many countries have already 95%-100% renewable electricity” do nothing to improve your credibility.

              In the context of countries around the world “many” needs to be at least 5 and probably more like 15-20 (10% of the world’s independent countries).

              Please name those countries whose electricity supply is already 95-100% “renewable” and define what you are including under that very flexibly defined term.

          10. Rod & Bas:

            Both France & Sweden managed built up their fission fleets and simultaneously back out of hydrocarbons over little more than a single decade; Bas according to the German coal consumption history you posted they’re actually burning MORE coal now than they did a quarter-century ago 551 (million tons?) in 1990 vs 579 in 2014. Imagine if they just committed themselves to a nuclear-fission Energiewende back then?

            If hydro & geothermal are counted as renewables (as is typically done) then many countries would qualify (>90% “renewable”) such as Afghanistan, Lesotho, Bhutan, Paraguay, Nepal; but only a few developed countries like Iceland, Norway, Canada, and New Zealand which have unusual hydro and geothermal energy potentials (and relatively small populations). LDCs can manage high proportions of hydro or in the case of the P.I. geothermal, but only tiny per capita electricity access.

            Both hydro & geothermal are dispatchable forms of energy generation unlike wind and solar which are fundamentally non-dispachable and thus cannot form the basis of a modern grid connected network as the island grids demonstrate; they may have access to “renewable” energy flows like Hawaii & the Caribbean but nowhere else to turn for reliable baseload, as e.g. Denmark does.

          11. @Rod
            You can see “many countries have already 95%-100% renewable electricity” confirmed in Wikipedia:

            8 countries 100% renewable: Lesotho, Bhutan, Paraguay, Albania, Iceland, Mozambique, Zambia, Congo.
            6 countries 95-99% renewable: Nepal, Ethiopia, Burundi, Norway, Belize, Tajikistan.

            1. @Bas

              If you add up the GNPs of all of the listed countries, would they exceed that of California or Texas?

              Of the list, I can only imagine living for any length of time in Iceland or Norway. Feel free to choose to live in any of them and deny yourself the comforts associated with abundant, weather independent electricity.

          12. @Rod
            Think that the GDP of Texas is bigger.

            Just read my May 30 response to Aaron again.
            The last sentence (“…many countries have already 95%-100% renewable…”) is legally right, but the context creates the false suggestion that the >95% renewable is the merit of those countries. Sorry for creating that false impression.

            I prefer Bhutan above Iceland or Norway. Can recommend the country if you like to learn about Lamaism and happiness, though it is expensive for tourists. My preference may be colored as I spent ~5 weeks in Bhutan, and only 2 weeks in Iceland and 3 weeks in Norway.

          13. Some data here.  Iceland had 575 MW of geothermal generation installed as of 2009, or roughly 1.8 kW/capita.  Iceland also gets 25 PJ/yr of geothermal heat for space heating, which is another 790 MW or almost 2.5 kW/capita.

            The same page claims geothermal power only provides 25% of Iceland’s electricity.  If the geothermal is base load, that means average load is over 7 kW/capita!  Most of this appears to go to aluminum production.

            Wikipedia claims that Iceland had zero wind-generation capacity in 2012Norway’s electricity is almost entirely hydropower.  In other words, Bas’s favorite (only) “solutions” are not used by the countries which have solved the carbon problem.

            Bas deliberately promotes as “solutions” measures which have not replaced fossil fuels anywhere.  He touts them as “renewables” using countries which use completely different technologies.  Bas is a liar and should not be allowed to post anywhere that truth is valued.

        2. @engineer poet : **All** of the 100% and 95-99% renewable countries that Bas reports manage to do that thanks to massive hydropower resources. A majority of them are 100% renewable because they are 100% hydro, Iceland is quite an exception in the list by having a non hydro resource that can provide as high as 25% of it’s electricity. Belize might be the other exception with some quite strong biomass, but then Belize is really very small, 350 000 people, and has a population density of only 15/km2, where it’s still possible to intensively exploit biomass for energy without depleting it. And also Belize is strongly dependent on import from Mexico for one third of it’s electricity : http://blogs.worldwatch.org/revolt/opportunities-for-renewable-energy-development-in-belize/

          All of those country are small, quite sparsely populated and not highly industrialized. That’s the limit of hydro, it’s physically impossible that it provides all the electricity of a densely populated and highly industrialized country.
          The best it can do is work for a country that has some industry and a very sparse population, or a country that has a somewhat dense population but no industry at all and a very low living standard (some African/Asian countries in the list are like that).

      2. Hello Bas,

        Do you have anything to say about nuclear energy? You must realize this is a nuclear energy blog not a renewable energy booster site. Why are you here trolling anyhow? Don’t you have enough renewable energy booster sites to post at?

        PS: Together, wind and solar will not supply the german electricity grid past 50% supply over a calendar year. Here’s why.

        1. @Mark,
          I can say a lot about nuclear. But I’m not sure whether you want to read that, as you add a faulty statement regarding wind+solar. Apparently an invitation to react.

          As the energy collective site censors my comments, I cannot comment to the post of Jesse Jenkins there (Jesse is pro-nuclear and cannot stand well founded criticism).

          Of course German Agora think tank (Germany’s best scientists) has executed detailed simulation studies with more wind+solar than 50%. Studies resulted in the conclusion that 90% renewable deliver hardly extra costs compared to 50%.
          (90% renewable = ~70% wind+solar and ~20% other renewable).

          So since this year the expansion of dispatch-able biomass is decreased with a factor 7 (!), while the expansion of wind+solar stays the same. Hence the yearly expansion of dispatch-able biomass capacity is now only 2% of the wind+solar capacity expansion…

          Jesse bases his conclusions on the studies of German Vattenfall employee Hirth, who works in Berlin. Apparently those Hirth studies make no impression at all at Agora, neither Energiewende management.
          Not strange as the threshold argument (a max. share for wind & solar above which the system costs would increase such that adding more wind & solar is a waste) of Hirth is well known since decades.

          Another factor; Hirth’s study results deliver the conclusion that nuclear and fossil should continue to deliver important part of the electricity. Nuclear and fossil are big part of Vattenfall’s portfolio. Vattenfall’s position in wind and solar is near zero. It suggests that his employer finances his studies as a method to increase sales.

          1. As the energy collective site censors my comments

            The blessed freedom from you that we enjoy there is something that the readers of James Conca’s blog and Atomic Insights should have as well.

            Hence the yearly expansion of dispatch-able biomass capacity is now only 2% of the wind+solar capacity expansion…

            In other words, you’ve run out of biomass.  Not a surprise, and certainly nothing to crow about.

            Studies resulted in the conclusion that 90% renewable deliver hardly extra costs compared to 50%.
            (90% renewable = ~70% wind+solar and ~20% other renewable).

            No grid has ever been run on 70% non-dispatchable generation, and the rapidly escalating costs of even 35% wind power prove that the conclusion is based on a web of lies.  But that’s what you deal in.

            1. @E-P

              In recent comments, Bas has been behaving himself relatively well. I remain convinced that conversation can be more enlightening if there are natural foils with whom to disagree.

          2. Behaved himself “well”?!  Bas has never, ever stopped violating all 3 of the requirements for entry in this flowchart of basic rules for rational discussion.  Especially the second; his repeated use of sources he has been shown are wrong (liars) is pure trolling.

            We should not have to “debate” the same falsehoods over and over again.  People just give up on this.  This is why one of the projects I’d sponsor if I got a financial windfall is a filter to detect canards in text and insert flags with hyperlinks to the refutation.  Such things should not require any human effort, and repeat trolls should be auto-banned.

          3. The “TROLL” accusation, leveled by many here, is leveled at anyone expressing an opinion that doesn’t conform with the accuser’s mindset.

            Like accusing those criticizing Israel of being anti-semitic, or accusing those that have faith in the constructive future of renewables as automatically being anti-nuclear, or accusing those not willing to fall prey to the despicable prejudice of islamaphobia being
            “pro-terrorist”. Or automatically assuming anyone not willing to worship at the Tea Party altar is enamored with this sniveling coward and liar Barack Obama who, despite the propaganda claiming otherwise, is just an extension of the last cowardly, murderous, and dishonest administration we suffered through.

            It gets old EP. Perhaps some of you should look inward in your search for “trolls” using divisive and destructive manners of engagement.

            Just sayin’.

    3. I think I read somewhere that improved alloys should let new steam generators last as long as the reactor ( though it didn’t happen with SONGS, unfortunately.) Do PWR/VVRs get higher burnups, or some other operational advantage? I’m assuming they must have some cogent arguments for, since they so decisively outnumber the apparently simpler BWRs, not to mention the no- or low-enrichment Candus

      1. The security margins of PWR are higher at a relatively small operational cost. Surprisingly most people prefer to play it safe, even if it’s perfectly possible to safely operate a BWR.

    1. I don’t know if they’re becoming “predominantly” pro-nuclear, but I think the blog-o-sphere is less anti-nuclear than it was, and I think it’s largely your work, Rod, and that of Dr. Brooks and others like you. You give us a gathering place to recharge our batteries, sort out the facts, marshal our arguments and go back out and comment. That’s a lot harder to do with confidence when one feels alone.

      Not to mention supplying many of the arguments originally in your articles.

  5. Curious that you didn’t mention the AP1000 and it’s Chinese derivatives.

    As far as clean coal, i read in the War $treet Journal that a clean coal project in Mississippi is losing a major participant as the costs have escalated substantially.

    1. Coal-Fired Power Plant Loses Steam which, given the monstrous enormity of the Coal Problem, should be cause for celebration by no-one.

      See, all we need is a nice healthy tax on carbon emissions and Southern’s generation problem will be solved…

      1. “See, all we need is a nice healthy tax on carbon emissions and Southern’s generation problem will be solved.”
        Enacting carbon tax provides another stream of revenue to Caesar Augustus. The Imperator et Senatus will never ever give up fossil fuel once that revenue stream is established. But liberal progressive eco-environmentalists always assert that what is opposite to the nature of politicians filled with all manner of concupiscence will occur. Thus, enterprising entrepreneurs (otherwise known as capitalists or free marketeers) for new nuclear build in the United States suffer by strangulation from over-regulation.
        PS, I am not enamored with communist China at all no matter how much its dictatorial government supports nuclear energy. That we the United States are trans-morphing (without nuclear) into the communist style of Statism in China is a sad commentary indeed. This glorification of engineers and technocrats running a nation makes human beings subjects – cogs in a wheel, mere resources at the State’s behest – instead of sovereign citizens. We need individuals of integrity, virtue, honor and morality as leaders, not technocrats who look upon others as mere resource material. Then and only then will their be a resurgence of nuclear power. Then and only then will we prosper. It’s principles first.

        1. @Ioannes

          The biggest problem with your analogy is that the United States is not a dictatorship where the leader gets to walk off with most of the lucre collected by the government.

          It is a place with a constitutional government for the people, by the people. If that is more true in the ideal than in reality, that is our fault. It is also within our power to change.

          Our government needs revenue in order to provide the services that we all want and to make the investments that allow us all to prosper. There is nothing wrong with taxing carbon. It is just as good an item to tax as anything, especially since people with greater resources dump far more CO2 into our common atmosphere than those who are poor. It is a much less regressive tax than the tobacco tax.

          1. The USA has been a de-facto oligarchy for nigh unto a century now.  You can see this when plebiscites receive landslide votes, only to be over-ruled by unelected judges.  When two major parties can pick nominees to eliminate those liable to buck the system, voters have no effective choice; you can see this in the utter hatred the Republican establishment has for the Tea Party, which threatens their cozy little game they play with the Democrats.

            My representative to Congress, nominated by the Tea Party (before I moved and switched my voter registration), has been co-opted.  How do I have a voice, when my massively-popular positions can’t even get the attention of my legislator?

          2. Rod,
            We agree. Especially regarding car fuel.

            Cars exhaust pipes put toxics (micro particles, etc) in the air which take ~2years of the live expectancy of people living near busy highways or in busy city centers (EU research showed).

            So car fuel should be taxed with $10/liter or $40/gallon.
            Other taxes can then be lowered.

            1. @Bas

              Are your bicycle parts and your food delivered without the use of trucks? Don’t you care about the people who must travel to work and don’t have access to public transportation?

              Why are you so adamantly resistant to personal mobility?

          3. @Rod,
            Scoring quite high on personal mobility, I’m not resistant at all on that.
            For holidays alone in the past year: two ski-holidays (a drive to the Alpine mountains ~1000km away); cycled 5 weeks around in Kashmir (India); two weeks tour through Iceland with a rented car; cycled from NL to Spain and then used a ferry to UK, cycled through South UK, ferry to Calais (France) and then back home (of course I used the plane for India and Iceland).

            I take the whole bicycle with me in the plane or ferry or train (doesn’t cost much), or put it on my car. Always take the tent (3 persons, 2.5kg) and a stove with me, except on ski-holidays. Buy food at local shops.

            I only want that cars (drivers) compensate the (health) damage they cause.
            With the present low fuel tax, car users clearly are strongly subsidized by non-car using fellow citizens.
            Which I find highly unfair.

            Similarly with highly subsidized nuclear, which transfer most of their risks to the citizens, smoking (tax on cigarettes should be higher), fossil power plants, planes (the fuel should be taxed; now I’m subsidized by non flyer’s), etc.

          4. @Rod
            I realize the effects of high car fuel prices:
            – Cleaner air, so people living near busy traffic become more healthy and live significant longer
            – People will use the bicycle more (or E-bikes for longer distances, a huge success in NL);
            – People move closer to their work (less time lost);
            – People will use smaller more economic cars and drive more quiet (less health damaging, less accidents);
            – Products that are produced far away will become more expensive, so local producers will have more chances;
            – other taxes (e.g. VAT) will be decreased;
            – etc.

            Favorable effects in my eyes.

        2. I wonder…..gosh Paul, is your Pope an anti-semite?

          How dare he commit the sacrilege of criticizing Israel and expressing dismay at its policies towards the Palestinians!

          1. @poa

            Your comment would be far more valuable if it had included a link to the specific instance to which you are referring.

            Some of us don’t spend much time following headline news stories.

            Scratch that. We live in an age where your comment provides sufficient detail for a useful search of recent news. It appears that I’ve missed a major story regarding the Vatican’s moves to recognize the Palestinian state. I’ll attribute that to my nearly complete “unplugged” state during the month of May.

            Now back to my catch-up reading.

          2. Actually, Rod, the Vatican has recognized the “Palestinian State” since 2012. What’s new is the Pope’s vocal recognition, and a newly entered treaty with the Palestinian state.

            Its a mute point anyway, with a fresh radically right wing government in place in Israel, the 2 state solution is dead. The new cabinet members include those that have advocated genocide against the Palestinians, called Palestinian children “snakes”, and have claimed all the land belongs to the Jews by God’s decree.

            Netanyahu should be taken at his word, Israel will never allow a Palestinian state. The so called “peace process” is a sham, only intended to buy time while Israel swallows up land and prepares for an ultimate solution to the “palestinian problem”.

            We disgrace ourselves through our subservience to the Israeli agenda. Any American that has bothered to inform themself should be ashamed of our alliance with Israel as it becomes more and more venomously racist and unmindful of international law and basic human rights.

          3. Correction of previous comment. Please read this:

            The main cause for 9/11 is the unconditional US support for Israel.

            As Bin Laden indicated; the US support for Israel’s repression of the Palestinians annoyed him and other Sunni so much that they took action.

  6. Bas;

    Please tell us what’s so evil about nuclear especially since it’s about the very least environmentally and aesthetically intrusive clean steady energy source with an almost unreal tiny fatality and injury record over 60 years? How much more proof does anyone need especially if climate change is such a dior emergency that we should spare no expense exploiting such clean nil-footprint energy to save the earth?

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. @James,
      Sorry for the delay. Two remarks first:
      “evil” expresses a feeling which doesn’t fit with my ideas.
      Your impression “unreal tiny fatality and injury record” is the opposite of my estimation.

      Back to your question; the reasons shortly:

      1. DNA damage to next generations.
      – Nuclear facilities (NPP’s, surface waste storage, fuel processing) cause significant damage to the DNA of newborn if the parents (father) live <50km from those facilities.
      – Chernobyl created DNA damage in millions of unborn, even as far away as in Cuba (USSR delivered them contaminated food).

      2. Unprecedented high subsidy levels needed.
      – Loan guarantees, rate-payers forced to carry investment risks.
      – Citizens paying high insurance premiums, invisible until disaster strike. Due to the risk transfer towards citizens via nuclear laws. While substantial risk for more nuclear accidents.
      – Nuclear waste; our next generations have to take care and have to pay for it after ~100years.

      3. The uncompensated (often even denied) health damage.
      Especially to fetuses and babies as those have a high rate of cell division and at cell division no/little repair of radiation caused damage.

      Climate change
      Now renewable is much cheaper than new nuclear. So spending the budget for renewable subsidies is much more effective to combat climate-change.

      1. Still using the fraudulent output of the Helmholz Institute as “evidence”, I see.

        Just go away, Bas.

        1. Can you show that the output of Helmholtz, Germany’s most prominent research institute regarding radiation, is fraudulent?

          You would create kind of a ‘revolution’, as part of Germany’s government policy is based on their research results.

        2. @EP,
          These results of Helmholtz regarding the changing sex ratio of new born (which indicate DNA damage) are also found by a.o. UK research.

          Male workers at nuclear waste deposit Sellafield who worked in the radiation zones in the period just before conception of their child, get ~20% more boys than girls.

          As the sex-chromosomes of female sperm are bigger, more female sperm is hit and seriously damaged by the radiation than male sperm. So less female newborn (sperm determines the sex of the newborn).

          That would be less serious if only the sex-chromosomes are damaged. But the other 44 chromosomes do not differ in sensitivity for radiation, so there is enhanced chance that some of the other chromosomes are damaged too.

          1. Bas,

            The problem with all these various studies that you cite is that the purely natural variations in regional radiation background are far higher than that purported by Helmholtz et al to induce such gross abnormalities (e.g. 20% swing in sex ratios) which — if they exist at all — are clearly artifacts of random chance affecting small statistical samples. E.g. one family studied may consist of only two male children; that’s a 50% statistical aberration from the population mean.

            Large populations living in Guarapari, Brazil; Kerala, India; Ramsar, Iran; Yangjiang, China and absorbing far higher doses than nuclear industry workers demonstrate no elevated cancers, birth defects, etc; to say nothing of airline pilots and flight attendants who routinely absorb elevated hits from cosmic rays which are far more destructive of tissue.

            Then you selectively ignore the growing raft of evidence for radiohormesis, all the biopositive data on flora & fauna indicating decreased cancer incidence (decreased all cause mortality) along with increased healthy life-span.

            And then there is the basic logical fallacy in your whole argument against fission vs coal, as in Germany. Coal emits MORE radionuclides into the environment than nuclear: radon, radium, uranium, thorium etc. More uranium is injected into the biosphere from burning coal (at 2-3ppm uranium in coal & 4-5ppm thorium) than simply fissioning the uranium itself. Germany’s volume of coal burning is injecting more uranium into the atmosphere, lakes, rivers, ash-sludge impoundments, etc than the annual discharges from Germany’s NPPs.

          2. Aaron,
            Thank you for your well-considered response.

            1. Coal emits more radionucleides than fission?
            If so, the radiation level around the huge lignite mines in Germany would show an increase. At least the sex-ratio of newborn in the vicinity would be increased.

            That would be detected by the Greens in Germany. Especially since they now battle to speed up the closure of coal too (after last elections, no one doubts the closure of all nuclear in 2022 anymore. The only party who argued to postpone suffered total defeat and is out of parliament).

            2. Increasing evidence for radiohormesis.
            Hormesis is also associated with low levels of poisons, such as arsenic. People with cancer get chemo (poissons) & radiation to cure. These activate also the immune system, hence people bodies become more active to defend.

            However the higher activity level of the immune system takes a toll from the body. So shorter (healthy) life span. Especially if that increase of the immune activity level continues many years.
            My philosophy: The body gets exhausted after decades, which explains the 20-60years latency of cancer with smoking, asbestos and low level radiation (check e.g. RERF report no.14 and medical studies), etc.

            Though studies deliver indications that higher background radiation increase already the risk of cancers in children.
            Recent more sensitive studies showed that living in high background radiation areas decreases life expectancy.

            3. Airline crews. Small sample sizes, so Artefacts?
            I’lll answer these in a separate response (no time).
            For a start please check the linked studies. Please check also section 2 “Data and statistical methods” of this study which concerns the health effects in > a million newborn.

          3. It’s comical to watch Bas try to use the forms of logical reasoning while completely missing the content.  It’s like watching a stone-age cargo cultist lash together bamboo and fronds in the shapes of airplanes and control towers to try to bring back the bounty that came along with the troops of WWII.  If this wasn’t literally a life-and-death matter for the planet, I’d be laughing.

            1. Coal emits more radionucleides than fission?
            If so, the radiation level around the huge lignite mines in Germany would show an increase. At least the sex-ratio of newborn in the vicinity would be increased.

            Or maybe the lack of any sex ratio bias in the populations of Guarapari (53 μSv/hr measured on the beach), Kerala and Ramsar proves that there is no such effect, and what Bas’s “authorities” are using to induce anti-nuclear paranoia is just a statistical glitch due to small sample size.  But Bas can’t admit this because his conclusion comes first, the attempt to dress it up as reasoning afterwards.

            Bjorn Lomborg was investigated for scientific misconduct related to climate-change denial.  Investigators should be turning their attention to the “scientists” who create the raw material for this anti-nuclear propaganda; there should be a lot of easy pickings to be had.

          4. Aaron,
            – Small sample sizes? Artefacts?
            The first link in my response to James above, contains a presentation with >10 links to studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

            The sample size in those studies vary highly. Between W.Berlin showing an increase of Down from ~3 cases towards 12 cases after Chernobyl; and
            millions of newborn in W. Europe after Chernobyl (sex-ratio in newborn increased).

            Statistical science allows to calculate the chance that a found effect is coincidence. That chance is expressed by the value of P:
            P<0.05 implies 5% chance that the shown effect is coincidence
            P<0.001% implies 0.1% chance that it is coincidence.

            The solid study in Bavaria that I often link, shows much stronger significance; P<0.00003 for the damaging effects to fetuses by <0.5mSv/a radiation increase.
            As the study concerns data from the population registers (which in Bavaria register also major deficiencies of newborn such as missing limbs), and other studies show similar, all indications are that it are not artefacts.

            – Airline crews,
            Contrary to common believe, research shows that even the most exposed crews (those who only fly only intercontinental) receive only slightly more radiation. As those crews are adults they are less vulnerable anyway.

          5. @EP,
            Sorry you feel frustrated.

            Few live on the beaches of Guarapari and Kerala. One district in Ramsar (in Iran) has high background radiation; mean level 6mSv/a.
            Check the comment of El (date April 25, 2013) with its links to relevant studies, elsewhere at Atomicinsight.

            I’m not aware of any sensitive study regarding the sex-ratio of newborn in those places (not many people live there).

            But El linked several studies that show that Ramsar residents have significant increased levels of DNA damage.

            Should be easy to find for you, as you commented at that same post/thread.

          6. Bas,

            “Natural levels of radioactivity on the Earth vary by more than a thousand-fold” this quote is from one of the studies that you linked to from the opening line of Møller & Mousseau’s 20012 meta study of 46 cherry-picked studies out of some 5000 studies of populations of flora & fauna in high radiation background areas for any biological variation. So over three orders of radiation magnitudes these two researchers, who’ve made it their life work to find some hidden menace in low-level ionizing radiation, could find only a “small . . . effect” and that “these studies are few and scattered” and then they proceed to call for more funding for additional research.

            Note even large retrospective meta-studies can be corrupted by one chunk of bad data as with the cohort of pre-1965 AECL workers whose anomalously high incidence of apparently lung-cancers (so many confounding factors), once removed from the reanalysis of the data, eliminated any elevated relative risk.

            As for the W Berlin Down Syndrome rate why would you suppose this large modern metropolis recorded a quadrupling from 3 to 12 (again small sample size) when so many cities more impacted by Chernobyl fallout (Kiev, Odessa, Stockholm, Warsaw, Helsinki) record no such dramatic quadrupling? Same with the Bavaria study. Far more Chernobyl fallout fell on Ukraine and the World Health Organization after years of research far more extensive than any you cite finds no elevation of birth defects or cancers other than largely non-fatal (>99% non-fatal) thyroid nodules which were probably benign to begin with.

            So the real question to you is, if you continue to deny the mainstream research, are you alleging a decades-long international cover-up conspiracy involving the vast majority of the world’s health workers and medical research community?

          7. Aaron,
            Yes. It seems that there is a place in Sweden that has ~800mSv/a. But nobody lives at those places.

            There is increased radiation level at high altitudes such as at the Tibetan plateau (Impressive; saw it when I climbed a mountain in Bhutan at the Tibetan border. Still looking for a companion to cycle through it. E.g. from Samarkand via Lhasa to Kathmandu).
            ~100,000 live at ~5000m, mainly nomads. As you also can read in the famous book of Heinrich Harrer (7 years in Tibet), polyandry is quite common there.
            Same in the high mountains of New Guinea.
            I didn’t understand why, until I read the explanation about radiation affecting the sex-ratio of newborn.

            Agree that the Berlin study isn’t very strong.
            But the Bavarian study all the more as that study sample size is huge (a million newborn, >25,000 serious abnormalities) and it compares similar nearby districts, 5 that got fall-out and 5 not (thanks to localized rainfall), while population was not aware. And the significance levels are very high.

            The other cities and areas often had no good detailed population register system, or there was simply no research. That research was nearly forbidden in the three most affected countries. Belarus put a radiation professor for a year in prison because his research group showed detrimental effects of Chernobyl fallout on humans.
            It’s remarkable that you now see similar with Fukushima; Japanese scientists complained; no research money and lot of hindrance by government to study the effects. If you want a career than stay away from such research.
            The no-effect dogma should stay in place.

            WHO is bound to follow IAEA regarding radiation matters (through the 1959 agreement). Even Ukraine government complained that the 2006 forum report missed most health effects of Chernobyl. The forum made itself implausible by excluding all health effects of people who were not directly involved (so IAEA could estimate a low death toll).
            Others did better estimations. Those vary between 80K to 8million deaths. The book published by the New York Academy of Sciences, written by three radiation professors of the three most struck countries, gives a nice insight.

            May be the recent reports that the health damage in the most affected regions is still increasing, contributed to a better awareness at the IAEA (occurs probably via contaminated food; Cuba got some from Russia which created a spike in the sex-ratio in 1995/1996).
            As the IAEA now states at their web site that the number of victims is impossible to estimate, making their own 2006 report implausible…

          8. @EP,
            Please read my comment again and see the difference:

            I wrote about the ~100,000 nomad Tibetan people living at ~5000m.
            Your linked report write about the general population of Tibet which implies ~5million Tibetan. The general population lives at rather low altitudes (comparable to Nepal)…

          9. Bas, your delusional blathering does not make more sense when you repeat it.

            Please read my comment again and see the difference:

            I wrote about the ~100,000 nomad Tibetan people living at ~5000m.

            And you gave exactly zero data to support your thesis of a biased sex ratio at birth.

            My reference gave a perfectly viable explanation for the sex ratio in adulthood:

            the sex ratio imbalance is not simply an abortion issue, as it is so often portrayed. Girls are particularly mistreated after birth.

            Professor LI Shuzhou’s “missing girls” study (2009)…found 80 boy deaths to every 100 girl deaths, even though in normal populations, male children typically have a slightly higher mortality rate than female children.

            But we all know just how your delusion works.  You attribute everything to radiation, even if your phenomenon is not associated with radiation, absent in other exposed populations and quite adequately explained by other factors.  You really need to have your phobia treated, it has degraded what should be an adult IQ into a child’s rote recitation of talking points.

  7. You know, Bas, if reputable and _accessible_ international medical and biomedical organizations from the Red Cross to WHO to the Mayo Clinic and Columbia Presbyterian and other leading health centers and research centers don’t seem a wilt all that concerned about what you’re so up-right about, even with Chernobyl and Fukushima, just whose feet-on-earth facts should we believe? Nuclear’s got so much positive going for it in safety and reliability and low-footprint aesthetics and environmental effects that your crusade against it just has to be personal, not factual, somehow. Sorry.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. @James,
      Organizations such as Red Cross, etc. won’t investigate as that is beyond their task.

      It’s interesting that the IAEA is now more real than WHO regarding Chernobyl.
      IAEA states in the summary of its second revision of the 2006 Chernobyl forum report:

      “It is impossible to assess reliably, with any precision, numbers of fatal cancers caused
      by radiation exposure due to the Chernobyl accident…”.

      While WHO still comes with ~10,000death on its WEB-site (4000 + 5000 + some more elsewhere). Though that is higher than in 2006, it is still far off.

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