24 Comments

  1. If the Prof drops out, a great stand-in is to invite all the honchos of major anti-nuclear blogs on a live YouTube “teleconference” debate! Wipe the floor with their rant’s spittle, Rod & Co.!

    (but I’m afraid you’ll get no takers either)

    James Greenidge

    1. Jim – MIT was also working on “The Future of Natural Gas” at the same time as they were working on “The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.” The acknowledgements for that study indicate some generous support – the conclusions reached were also quite favorable to the gas industry sales efforts.

      1. The report on the future of natural gas predicted, even with estimated shale gas reserves, that by mid century the US will be importing as much natural gas as it is oil today. So much for the promise of long term energy independence.

        Most of their reports are predicated on a set of unstated assumptions. The assumptions greatly affect the analysis of the outcome. Additionally the information that is amplified in the executive summary is selective of what is contained in the report.

  2. If I had to give MIT a grade on thought leadership on nuclear over the last decades it would be a C.

  3. Who’s going to fund this conference/debate? Those things cost money – I’m not sure how much, but I’d guess, maybe, what, like a million dollars?

    Perhaps it might be cheaper for a University like MIT to host it – they already have large spaces they can use for the meeting which wouldn’t incur large facilities rental fees. But, there’s still administrative costs (organizing, promotion), costs related to paying for travel, room, board for presenters, etc.

    1. The gentleman calling for the debate has his name on the auditorium at MIT. I would imagine if costs were an issue, Mr. Kirsch could probably help out.

  4. The Dean of the School of Engineering (Physics, nuclear studies) is biased. He is GOD in that domain and must pass on all published material. While there is original thought and science at the School, the hard line of policy dogma prevails. Private research Institutes offer much clearer pictures of the science without the politics and bias of MIT.

  5. Bill Gates is a backer of the thorium reactor. A more productive approach in researching this method is to go to his investigation of the science. Still, the hydrocarbon lobby in Congress prevails and indeed seem to be the log jam to business in general in this country. Time to raise the Jolly Roger and go around the log jam!!!!!!

  6. What does anyone think the odds are of the Chinese developing a solution to the world’s nuclear “waste” problem, taking a huge fee to take it off their (the rest of the world’s) hands, and then burning it in a distributed network of large fast reactors supplied by on-site recycling plants to make massive quantities of emission-free electricity?

    “Sure, Mr. Coal Miner, I’ll haul away for you those lumps of soft yellow metal getting in your way if you’ll pay me enough!”

    That’s the kind of smart solution American entrepreneurs used to do, before the regulatory establishments put the stranglehold on innovation and risk-taking in certain industries.

    1. Why wait for the Chinese? Russia would be more than willing to take the US waste today, recycle it and sell it back at a profit.

      1. Russians and Indians are currently building fast reactors. I wish it could be India.

  7. “We set 8 pellets of potential fuel off to the side. With a fully developed system that includes IFRs, we would be able to turn those 9 pellets of uranium into the energy equivalent of 180 tons of coal.”

    Just a quick understanding-check here: I’m thinking when Rod says we set “8 pellets off to the side”, he’s referring to depleted U tailings leftover from the enrichment process?

    1. Jeff – that is correct. Of course it is only a way to visualize the technical reality. We do not actually turn depleted U into UO2 pellets, but normally leave it in the form of UF6.

      1. Yeah, I figured you were just using ‘pellet’ as a relative comparison of mass. That is, whatever unit of mass you want to look at (ounce, pound, gram, kilogram, ton, tonne, or ‘pellet’ [whatever the mass of that works out to]), for every 1 unit of mass of EU you generate 8 units of mass of DU.

        1. The vast majority of the DU every produced is still sitting on the sites of the enrichment plants in the form of UF6 in storage containers.

          I do not know about the A-10s, but I do know about the ammunition for the CIWS systems used as short range antimissile defense systems on board ships. The Navy replaced the DU projectiles with tungsten several decades ago. I personally thought that was an expensive and silly overreaction – DU makes a great antimissile projectile because of its density – which is about 70% higher than lead – and low cost.

  8. I hope this is quickly worked out. A public airing of this subject is extremely important at this point in time to put fact in place of fear and show up the scaremongers for what they are and back in their place — the trash can.

    James Greenidge

  9. Those MIT guys need to stop being pansies.

    This whole situation is making me feel better about the fact that I saved money by not even applying to MIT and by attending my state’s school (with in-state tuition) and having exactly zero school-loan debt to be in stark contrast to our present United States of America, whose establishment has obviously done a fantastic job, as evidenced by the following link.

    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    /end Friday evening rant

  10. One possible way to proceed would be to set a deadline (for example October 31st, 2011), draft an unilateral position paper, and then declare victory if the other side still keeps hiding from the challenge when the deadline runs out.

  11. I hate it when a wonderful institution like MIT goes soft.

    Their football team sucks too!

  12. Why wait for MIT? Simply set a date for a debate and do it anyway. If the opponents show up – good, if not – debate their published writings and make the case for nuclear power. Also, be sure to mention the opponent’s fear of debate, it’s a strong indicator of conflicts of interests and low morale. We all know this, but it has to be said in public, recorded and circulated widely. They have the media, we’ve got only some blogs, there is a lot of catching up to do.

  13. I’d like to see a fast reactor like the IFR get a fair chance to prove itself but I’d remind people that one of the main things the MIT report states is that on resources sustainability there is no need for fast reactors or any sort of breeder. I agree with this position, we have plenty of uranium worldwide to support even huge numbers of LWRs without having fuel cost much over a penny a kwh(granted, ignoring the politics of more mining and/or enrichment). Yes, any Joe Blow can pull up “world reserve” numbers on Uranium to counter this claim but talk to a competent geologist about this and then get back to us…

    The debate over reactor types should be on cost, safety and waste issues but fast reactor promoters have been trying to convince us for decades about how amazing and vital it is to use 100% (actually about 50%) of uranium 238. Yes that ability is nice but only a small part of the equation.

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