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  1. “If the United States and Russia could forge a similar cooperate and compete partnership in nuclear energy, the possible technical advances are impossible to describe.”

    This is no longer a bipolar world. The United States and Russia have had difficult relations. Would not Russia be served as well or better by forging an alliance with China for the betterment of nuclear energy?

  2. This is by far the most bizarre essay I have ever seen Rod offer. It is clear what Trump was saying, and it had NOTHING TO DO WITH NUCLEAR ENERGY in context. To imply that Trump had nuclear energy in mind when he made the statement is a flight from reality.

    Essays such as this one are on a par with “millions of illegals voted”.

    1. @poa

      Feel free to disagree. My stance is that “nuclear” ≠ “nuclear weapons” no matter who is talking or writing. It is wrong to make the leap to automatically believe the opposite.

      Go back and read the essay again. You will find that it isn’t about what Trump wrote or what he may have intended to mean; it was all about the incorrect way that observers–including you, apparently–automatically interpreted the words he used.

      1. “…it was all about the incorrect way that observers–including you, apparently–….”

        You know better, Rod. I have many times here pointed out the corrosive effect that drawing such a parallel has on the public’s perception of NE.

        I have no problem with you making slight tweaks to reality in order to advance your cause. But, in this case you are twisting yourself into such a pretzel that is suprises the heck out of me. Certainly, to make your case, you don’t have to resort to this kind of massive modification of reality.

        Heres the deal, Rod. Trump was talking, foolishly and through ignorance, about NUCLEAR WEAPONS. His comments about nuclear weapons should alarm and concern us as a nation, and certainly alarm the rest of the world community.

        The irony here, is that it is YOU that is conflating nuclear weapons with nuclear energy in this essay. I’m astounded by it. The lengths you are going through to put lipstick on a pig, since Trump’s disasterous success at conning a minority of american citizens into allowing this narcissistic and emotionally unbalanced clown to put his finger on the nuclear trigger, is surreal.

      2. I’ve got to agree with Poa here.

        At the very least nothing in Trump’s tweet suggests that he’s talking about nuclear power, just ‘nukes’ which doesn’t have to mean nuclear weapons but certainly could.

        Putting his statement into it’s own context makes it all the more likely he’s talking about nuclear weapons. ‘until the world comes to it’s senses’ Suggests that there’s something nonsensical about the world’s approach to nukes. With nuclear power the most nonsensical thing going on is deeply embedded in the West’s approach to the technology, it’s not a problem of ‘the world’ . With nuclear weapons the problem is a much more broadly shared one with the failure of ‘the world’ to agree to move towards reducing nuclear weapons.

    2. @POA

      “On the day that California officials implemented a controversial law that allows undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, DMV offices throughout the state were packed with immigrants looking to take advantage of the opportunity.

      Two years after the implementation of AB 60 on Jan. 1, 2015, an estimated 806,000 undocumented residents have received driver’s licenses, according to Department of Motor Vehicles statistics this month. About 14,000 of these licenses were issued in November alone, the DMV said.”

      http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/28/dmv-licensed-800000-undocumented-immigrants-under-2-year-old-law/

      1. So what? Is that evidence that “millions of illegals voted”. One thing that has always amazed me about attorneys, Rick, is their complete disdain for truth. Or, their oft applied tactic of trying to convince people that an unrelated truth miraculously turns a lie into truth. So, lets just cut to the chase, seeing as how you attorneys have a fondness for “reasonable doubt”. Is there any evidence that “millions of illegals voted”, or not? Yes, or no, counselor.

        1. Oops…Rich…I apologise. I had a senior moment, and thought Rick had made your comment. I didn’t mean to call you an attorney. Please excuse the insult. It was unintended.

      2. Btw….Bakersfield, a city with a huge population of mexican field workers, has an amazing amount of hit and runs, almost daily. Why do you think that is? Would you rather illegals drove sans licenses and insurance? Who do you think is more likely to run from the scene of an accident, an unlicensed driver, or a licensed driver? Who do you think is going to be the safer driver, one who has gone through, and passed, a testing procedure, or one who has simply climbed behind the wheel, and not familiarized themselves with the laws and the signage? Sometimes, Rich, I wonder at the intelligence of people that oppose sensible common sense policies and legislation. Like ones that strive to make our roads safer. But hey, whatever.

        That vast numbers sought drivers licenses is a GOOD thing. Its just that stupid people haven’t thought it through, and by such a lack of wisdom, have deemed it a BAD thing.

        1. I don’t live in California, but it kind of looks like they are doing their best to have an honest living. For reasons I do not fully comprehend, there are few opportunities for upward mobility in old Mexico. Seems like there is good climate and plenty of resources, but something is not quite right.

          1. No matter which way I drive, from Tehachapi, I inevitably pass through agricultural fields. In fact, a fifteen minute walk from my house there are thousands of acres of cropland, and two huge greenhouses, that take up literally hundreds of acres.

            Last week, while driving to the coast, I marvelled at the number of fieldworkers I saw as I passed through farmland. Thousands, really, laboring in the process of putting food on our tables. So. We deport these workers? Their families? Build a wall and bar this workforce from returning?

            So who puts lettuce in your bowl after we do that?

            1. @poa

              Are you happy with a situation where even you assume that the field workers must be undocumented residents that can be deported at any time law enforcement decides to begin the process?

              I’m not. It offends me. It gives others way to much control over the lives of the workers and their families. We need a much more rational process by which to enable or encourage hard working people to perform the valuable labor required to keep our society running.

              That might mean higher wages to make the jobs more attractive to people who are legitimate residents or even citizens, visitor worker programs, streamlined immigration processes, etc. It will probably include some automation, though there are characteristics of fruits and vegetables that make humans quite competitive with machines in overall cost and productivity.

              Based on my personal experiences living in a number of different places, running a small manufacturing company and serving in the US military, I believe that the majority of people living and working here have a low enough level of racial prejudice that it doesn’t affect their voting choices, relationships with neighbors or work performance.

          2. We deport these workers? Their families? Build a wall and bar this workforce from returning?

            So who puts lettuce in your bowl after we do that?

            Not who, what.  Robots, to be specific.  It won’t be long before vegetables come to your table with little more human labor than wheat or corn.  That’s a good thing, because a lot of the dangerous bacteria in food are coming from humans.

            We shouldn’t have a peon class in the USA anyway, and the appropriate number of immigrants going forward is roughly zero.

          3. “I believe that the majority of people living and working here have a low enough level of racial prejudice that it doesn’t affect their voting choices, relationships with neighbors or work performance.”

            I believe that too, Rod. But with an electoral college, the bigoted minority can win an election.

            “BUILD THAT WALL!! BUILD THAT WALL!!!” chanted the minority.

            1. @poa

              As a resident of the state that provided all of the extra popular vote numbers to Secretary Clinton, you are living in a place where “everyone” seems to believe that our republic has a flawed way of making leadership decisions.

              Do you also believe that the Senate is obsolete? Should we have a multiparty parliament where the election doesn’t result in the formation of a government? Instead, it merely distributes power amount political parties that then have to form coalitions in order to form a majority?

              We have a process for doing away with the electoral college system and moving to a pure popular vote for the president. It requires a constitutional amendment.

              Trump managed to attract tens of thousands of people to his rallies. Apparently a significant number of them raised their voices in the chant to build that wall.

              However, his overall message attracted tens of millions of voters. Based on my rather eclectic mix of Facebook friends (Navy buddies, wives of Navy buddies, Army nephews, FBI agents, friends of my millennial daughters, former coworkers of my wife from a non-profit environmental organization, nukes, etc.) the primary reasons for voting for Trump were 1) a long engrained distrust of “The Clintons” 2) a desire to watch least slow down the rate of “foreign interventions” and nation building fiascos 3) a desire to improve the American economy 4) hope for avoidance of yet another greed driven financial collapse with taxpayer bailouts for the perpetrators 5) a fond memory of times when people could afford a home and college tuition for their children on middle class salaries without onerous debt…

              None of my interactions has focused on racial animosity, though I won’t deny that it exists.

          4. Rod. Heres where I think your argument falls apart. Even if an individual disagrees with the more despicable Trump statements and actions… (racism … mysoginy … sexual exploitation … lying incessantly ….. unethical business practices ….. the birther thing ….. his petty attacks at people that criticize him …. his science denial …. etc) yet still voted for him for the reasons you outline…

            You don’t see how this has enabled the very behaviors I describe above? As a nation, we just excused all those despicable and loathsome traits and actions. We rendered such behaviour as acceptable, even excusable.

            “Go along to get along” only guarantees further abuses of moral and ethical governance. It is an enabling dynamic, that sets us up to allow, even condone, a further distance between what we are becoming, and what we should strive to be. This man is anethema to everything we once stood for. As I’ve said before to you, in private correspondence, you will rue the day you didn’t use your bully pulpit to fight him with every fibre of your being.

            1. @poa

              My argument holds because many of the people that I know who voted for Trump didn’t believe most of what some media outlets were reporting. Even in the cases where there were recorded instances of words coming from his mouth, they were able to discount the coverage and emphasis because they saw the endless repetition of what could be dismissed — and was dismissed — as casual “locker room” talk that happened a long time ago when standards were different.

              There are many people, for example, who are very glad that there were no recording devices on ships, submarines, airplane cockpits, or forward listening posts in the days before there were many females in those environments.

          5. I’m astounded, Rod. The time I have spent reading your opinions and commentary had convinced me of your integrity. Now, I see you offering the same shallow rationales and justifications for behaviours that are unacceptsble, yesterday, now, or tomorrow. The sexual banter you experienced on board ship, I’m quite sure was the sort we all, as men, have engaged in, “I sure would like to…”, “she really liked it when….”, etc.. But what if one of your shipmates said “she didn’t want me to, but I…”, “I was her superior, I could have made it very hard for her if she didn’t….”

            Trump wasn’t just blustering about desires. He was describing past actions. And here you are defending them, excusing them, rationalizing and justifying. The non-stop lying. The theivery. The sexual assaults. The emotional instability

            Where else will you bend truths, or excuse the inexcusable? In your quest to advance your energy darling.

            Integrity matters, Rod. Without it, credibility dies.

            1. @poa

              Please reread my comment. I never said I excused or rationalized Trump’s behavior. I remain convinced that he is a rich, selfish, blowhard New Yorker who isn’t well qualified or even suited to be president.

              My comment is an attempt to help people who live in different bubbles to understand their fellow Americans and the way they think and vote. At least two individuals have told me that one of the many reasons that they voted the way that they did was their belief that far too many pundits agreed with Secretary Clinton’s use of the word “deplorables” to describe them and their community members.

              It doesn’t matter that I do not like Trump’s personality or behavior or that I did not vote for him. He will be President in about 17 days and I am not willing to see my country suffer if I can do anything at all to improve the situation. As I look past all of the condemnation stories published in various media outlets, I’m finding a number of positive policy decisions that Trump appears likely to make. I’ll continue pressing for those decisions to be make as quickly as possible so that we can all benefit by the improved economy and environment that will result.

              It’s my contention that a lot of racial animosity will disappear when all boats begin rising again as the money flows into our common reservoir from the bottom.

  3. “Fission was discovered at a time when even pacifist scientists like Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein were stimulated to think of weapons that could be used to overcome the frightening prospect of cruel, totalitarian, racist expansionism by people like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. As a result, bombs were developed more rapidly than useful nuclear energy production machines.”

    Interesting that you would offer that paragraph when you have a man such as Trump advocating the expansion of international nuclear weapons capabilities to include countries that don’t currently possess those capabilities. Couple that with the obvious racism the man has exhibited in statements and policy suggestions…..

    1. @poa

      Hmmm. One could argue that America’s “nonproliferation” emphasis since WWII is substantially MORE racist than advocating for expansion of nuclear weapons capability to additional nations.

      After all, we accepted France, UK, (Israel) and Russia as nuclear weapons states almost immediately, but have fought tooth and nail against China, Japan, Pakistan, India, Libya, South Africa, Iran, Iraq, and all other potential weapons states.

      Can you see why many non nuclear weapons powers might see some racism there?

      1. Absolutely, I can see it, although I don’t think it was the overriding motive for our non-proliferation policies.

        And including Israel in your comment makes no sense, because despite the fact that Israel developed its nuclear weapons covertly, with stolen technology, and has not allowed UN monitoring through the IAEA, we for many years did not recognize their nuclear weaopons arsenal. And many of our politicians to this day will not mention Israel’s nuclear arsenal, for fear of offending their sugar daddy

        Point of fact, thats the one area in which I might actually agree with this blathering idiot, Trump. Perhaps if Israel had a neighbor with nukes, they’d be less prone to indiscriminately bomb the crap out of non-combatant populations under the guise of targeting terrorists.

        1. @poa

          US political leaders didn’t “recognize” Isreal’s nuclear weapons, but it would be difficult to argue that they didn’t “accept” the fact that Isreal had them.

          By pretending they didn’t exist, we could pretend that we didn’t have anything to criticize or take action to eliminate.

          IMO exceptionalism was a major part of the “non-proliferation” regime.

  4. The other irony here, Rod, is comparing this essay of yours to Trump’s stated intentions regarding the Iran deal. His stance is completely and utterly polar to the premise of your essay. His argument for dismantling the Iran deal is predicated on the premise that the pursuit of nuclear energy is IN FACT the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

    Egads, Rod.

    1. @poa

      My position is that the underlying motive for condemning Iran’s nuclear program is that it makes them a much strong regional power by providing an enormous boost to its economy. An expanding domestic nuclear ENERGY capability in Iran not only provides a major new industry with serious indigenous skilled worker and engineering opportunity, it also frees up oil and gas that would have been consumed internally for export.

      In an oversupplied market, any additional Iranin exports come at the expense of sales from Saudi Arabia, Isreal, Qatar, UAE, etc.

      It can be argued that the “bad deal” for America is that Russia captures most of sales of nuclear energy equipment and services that Iran cannot yet provide internally.

  5. While I agree with most of what Rod has written, I can’t make sense of the tweet unless it was about weapons. What does the world’s coming to its senses have to do with nuclear power in this country?

    1. There’s nothing quite like optimism, poa north. Denial can be somewhat like it, just not quite.

      FWIW, Mr. Trump’s tweet clocks in at 141 characters…

    2. “I can’t make sense of the tweet unless it was about weapons.”

      Of course he was tweeting about nuclear weapons. He later said, when queeried about the tweet…..

      “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

      I imagine Trump went to some elite private school in his youth. I strongly doubt he was subjected to the daily drop drills that most of us boomers went through. Drop drills, I might add, that had a terrifying effect on the psyche of young children subjected to the constant threat of nuclear disaster, reminded daily that we were just a few minutes away from incineration at any given moment. It is a form of instilling fear and insecurity in the minds of children that I pray we will never repeat, yet Trump seems oblivious to the import of his ill advised and incessant blather. How such a man has arrived where he has is truly a mystery. It doesn’t instill confidence in the common sense of a huge bloc of our population.

      1. @poa

        I’m a boomer who attended public schools throughout my education. I never experienced a “drop drill.” Anyone who did was living in a place where the LOCAL politicians had decided it was worth valuable education time to spend part of it making children afraid.

        Unfortunately local schools still engage in such behavior, only the bogeyman for today’s children is a “terrorist” or active shooter. My oldest granddaughter is in the first grade; she’s told me about the drills her school conducts so they learn to cower and tremble – though that isn’t exactly the interpretation children and their parents are given.

  6. It was obviously about weapons and our country puffing our chest, hence the Putin response. Call it what it is. No sugar needed.

  7. The Trump tweet was in response to Putin’s announcement that the Russians were modernizing their nuclear weapons systems.

    1. When did Putin make that announcement?? Before or after Trump blathered the idiocy advocating international nuclear arms expansion?

        1. I’m not talking about the tweet. I’m talking about when he advocated for nations that don’t have nukes to be able to get them.

    2. Thank you Marcel to be the one caring about actual context.

      I am fine with this tweet as is and using it as a springboard for other nuclear tech discussion. Yes we still need to maintain a nuclear deterrent.

      Everything sends people into a frothy and fervent anti Trump moral panic it seems so I avoid the ridiculous hysterics.

      1. I was talking with one of my friends from grad school who is at LANL and while unable to talk specifics, he intimated that the problem isn’t so much quantity as reliability. The stockpile of weapons in our arsenal is aging and we haven’t done live testing in a long time. Simulations only take you so far. Beyond that, you need a live test, and one that is not subcritical. Modernization is another issue. Strategic planners today favor smaller yield, accurate weapons, not big, heavy concrete busters. A dozen well-placed, lower-yield warheads with very small CEP have better effect than a single, high yield device. So if we do anything at all with our weapons stockpile, it will likely be on the reliability/modernization side, not piling up more high yield warheads.

        1. The danger is perfecting these weapons with a small enough yield that they become a battlefield staple, whose low yield becomes their rationale for use. Then we could expect the yield to increase in increments, as their use becomes “acceptable” to our politicians and military strategists. In no time at all, rather than yields designed to take out troops, we would be using them to take out towns. Then cities…. Then….

          1. It was more that the strategic weapons would be smaller yield but more of them. Tactical weapons have always been problematic. The nuclearization of NATO battlefield units during the cold war is an example. There was no way NATO was going to counter Soviet armored strength without resort to tactical nukes. So in that case the overwhelming advantage in conventional weapons led to a de-stabilization in the sense of deployment of the nuclearized NATO units. So then the Soviets used that as a pretext to nuclearize their forces (even though they had significant advantage in conventional weapons strength), because they felt the need to balance the NATO tactical nukes. Then the race for advantage displaces deterrence as the raison d’être.

            The precarious balance in the cold war bipolar model was in some ways a stroke of luck for both sides, since there was enough rational thinking (such as it is in that business) to keep the other from trying a first strike. But the bipolar model has now been partly displaced by the rogue state or rogue group scenario. Unfortunately, rationality, at least as how we reckon it, may not be an operable factor.

          2. “Unfortunately, rationality, at least as how we reckon it, may not be an operable factor.”

            Yep. If the Looney Tune in North Korea insults the Wack Job in the United States, no telling whay might happen.

          3. “Yep. If the Looney Tune in North Korea insults the Wack Job in the United States”

            Its ok, he only has a couple more weeks in office. Then someone more honest and less political will take over.

            The lengths Obama is willing to go to, to make problems for Trump and this country are telling. Im beginning to be sorry I ever voted for him.

          4. Obama, Trump, and Putin are rational enough to know the risks and avoid any unnecessary confrontation and provocation. My concern is more about those who have less regard for human life, who are often willing to throw away not only their own lives but those of their children to achieve what most would consider dubious ends. Deterrence fails in those cases because the central premise is no longer operative. They don’t care about destabilization because it is part and parcel of their overall goal.

            1. @Wayne SW

              My reading of history and literature along with many years of working with a wide variety of people leads me to the conclusion that there are very few people, especially in leadership or positions of influence, who willingly throw away their own lives or those of their loved ones.

              There are plenty who have always been willing to throw away the lives of other people’s children in wars of greed and aggression, but they generally find safe places to live and to house their families.

          5. Few, but those are the ones that concern me. Those are individuals motivated by notions that are utterly foreign and incomprehensible to those imbued with the ethical concepts common in western countries. Such persons would seemingly be willing to set the world on fire for reasons that are utterly irrational to most of us.

            1. @Wayne SW

              My position has nothing to do with “ethical concepts common in western countries.” It is rare to the point of approaching zero to find someone who is ambitious, in a leadership position and suicidal. Even under totalitarian regimes, it it even more unlikely for a suicidal leader to be able to convince enough of his inner circle to follow him to the point of self destruction. In a nuclear war with ICBMs, there are no safe havens for survivors. I admit that Hitler committed suicide but he also lived and died in a pre-atomic bomb era. Germany didn’t have a bomb program, partly because Hitler considered physics to be a “Jewish” science.

          6. “Few, but those are the ones that concern me. Those are individuals motivated by notions that are utterly foreign and incomprehensible to those imbued with the ethical concepts common in western countries.”

            Precisely why we all should be extremely concerned about Trumps past actions, statements, and policy advocations. You just described him to a T.

          7. I was thinking more of the some the leaders (and followers) of some Middle East countries and subnational groups, who seem to have no problems strapping explosives-packed vests to their own children and sending them into crowded marketplaces. That is the kind of insanity I was concerned with. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but I don’t think he’d go that far.

          8. “Do you actually believe that a guy like Trump would willingly sacrifice his own life and those of his loved ones?”

            Give me a break, Rod. Its bad enoufh that a couple of the regulars here feel the need to create strawmen in their rebuttals to my comments. But certainly, I expect better of you. Reread the quote I supplied, the actual portion of Wayne’s comment that I cited. You don’t have to be suicidal to stray from our values and ethical standards that we like to believe are our values and ethical standards. Trump fits the quoted passage to a T, just like I said. If you wanna twist what I said said in order to ignore the truth of my premise, have at it. I look forward to the day when your light turns back on, you come to your senses, and you return to being the sensible man of integrity you were when I first landed here. It was extremely obvious that Wayne was talking about radical islam, and terrorism in general. Thats why I removed the quoted passage from its context, so I could make my own point about Trump, using Wayne’s sentence as the foundation. You are intellifent enough to know that. Lately it seems you are just offering knee jerk responses, without applying your ample store of brain cells. I hope you aren’t getting senile, you’re far too young to be struck with such a malady.

            1. @poa

              Wayne’s comment, including the portion that you quoted, should not be stripped of the context that he made it in direct response to the following statement. The “few” that he used comes from this:

              My reading of history and literature along with many years of working with a wide variety of people leads me to the conclusion that there are very few people, especially in leadership or positions of influence, who willingly throw away their own lives or those of their loved ones.

              I added emphasis to more clearly make my point — nuclear weapons that can be delivered reasonably accurately to almost any location in the world have the potential to dramatically reduce the potential for senseless warfighting. When everyone in a position to wage war knows that their lives and the lives of the people they care about are at risk, they behave differently than they would in situations where wars are fought by other people’s children.

              Nuclear weapons are the obvious reason that we haven’t spent a lot of our nation’s treasure and the lives of brave young people fighting against North Korea.

          9. Egads, Rod. If we could roll you in salt, you’d be the perfect pretzel.

            “Those are individuals motivated by notions that are utterly foreign and incomprehensible to those imbued with the ethical concepts common in western countries.”

            Now. Taking this paragraph out of the context that Wayne had placed it…..

            Does that individual, described, sound like Trump, or not?

            A yes or no answer will suffice.

            1. @poa

              Sorry, I’m not a yes or no kind of person.

              Trump certainly does not conform to the kind of ethics I learned during my young life as a devoted Episcopalian imbued with the WWJD philosophy while literally spending many warm summer nights singing “Kumbaya” around a bonfire at Camp Wingman.

              His ethics do not conform in any way to the “servant leadership” I learned at the Naval Academy and as a junior officer in Rickover’s Nuclear Navy.

              They are far afield from the ethics I taught as a senior field grade officer at the US Naval Academy, part of a course of study that was designed to overcome the kind of ethical failings exhibited by Oliver North during Iran-Contra.

              On the other hand, Trump’s behavior fits in reasonably well with the neoliberal, all of life is a competition, individualism, grab as much as possible for myself, trickle down, supply-side ethics that seem to be taught in American ‘B’ schools. Though not something to be terribly proud of, Trump’s kind of ethics are all too common in western countries among people of his class.

              They certainly are in the same league as those of his election competitor.

          10. It seems to have escaped everyone here that using the ambiguity of 140-character statements to elicit revealing reactions is a major element of how Trump is getting his enemies to reveal themselves, and his friends to rally to his side.

            It’s an art that he’s been using since the primaries, and it amazes me that so many people are STILL clueless about it.

  8. >There is no reason to automatically assume that the word “nuclear” is equal to the phrase “nuclear weapons.”

    Sorry Rod, nuclear weapons is exactly what he meant. Do you seriously think he meant nuclear energy? Did you reach out to the Trump association to ask for a clarification? Seems like something you, as a journalist, might do.

    1. “Did you reach out to the Trump association to ask for a clarification? Seems like something you, as a journalist, might do.”

      That only applies in the real world.

      But, its my bet that thats exactly what Rod is doing. “Reaching out to the Trump adsociation”. Not for truths, but for favor. Its the only thing that explains why he would completely discard the integrity and clear thinking I’ve seen him display these last couple of years.