Why is nuclear energy an important influence on both natural gas and hydrogen futures? 1

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  1. “I’ve heard frequent dismissal of nuclear as too expensive and too slow. But each of those characteristics are the result of human decisions and can be addressed through human actions.”

    This is the revelation. We’re top heavy, union heavy, skill deficient, and generally without purpose and hunger. We’re starting to figure it out though…. that we need more plumbers and less rappers.

  2. It’s certainly not a surprise that the podcasters neglected nuclear. This is quite common. I’m sorry but I had this stereotype of them while listening. One spoke of a new Polestar electric car. They were academics and did not impress me as hands-on practical people. They were concerned with policy and little if anything was said about how these policy changes would affect the lives of average people.

    I’ve seen a lot about hydrogen recently. There is talk of using a lot of hydrogen for new methods of making steel. I saw an article about improved fuel cells that could use hydrogen. The energy density of hydrogen is greater than gasoline. Storage can be a problem in vehicles, but there are a lot of stationary applications that could run on hydrogen. The podcast alluded to the blending of hydrogen with natural gas. There are a thousand more uses.

    So I’ll ask what perhaps should have been asked in the podcast. Is there a possibility that a nuclear plant could be built solely to produce hydrogen? (I’m not sure what color they would call it.) It appears that there will be a great demand for hydrogen produced from emission free sources in the next few years.

    Thanks for the article.

  3. Putting a sprig of parsley on a slab of steak does not make it vegetarian, but the marketing people would still call it “green”. We should not engage in the relabelling process, but simply call nuclear-derived hydrogen “fossil free”. We can leave it then to the intelligent layman to realise that everything else has a fossil content.

    Just as recycled carbon can be proven by its carbon-14 content, fossil-free hydrogen can be proven by its tritium (hydrogen-3) content. Both isotopes are created by cosmic rays reacting with nitrogen in the upper atmosphere, so are naturally present in the environment. Both have long since died away during fossilisation.

  4. US is a huge energy producer in a world that still has plenty of energy poverty.
    Over 700 Million people do not have access to energy as we know it in the US.
    Over 2.5 Billion people still cook by burning dung, wood, or trash producing health hazards.
    It’s a good bit of arrogance to pretend benevolence while advocating lower energy production.

    I worked 45 years in Nuclear Energy from 1970s US Navy to the largest commercial reactors in the world. That time in the Navy exposed me to *dirt floor reality*. We live in a very sanitary and safe world because of access to energy.

    We need more energy, especially the cheapest, distributed the most efficient way we can. Denying real, living people energy out of some contested climate change concern based on biased models lacks humanity.
    Earth climate changes on its own. Ice Ages. Warming Periods. Extinctions. Completely natural.
    Sweating 3 degrees in a century seems alarmist.

    1. Rob

      I share some of your professional background. I also share your concern for those suffering in energy poverty. I don’t agree that human society should ignore the warning signs already available of the risks of pushing our global average temperature up by several degrees in a single century.

      The planet can and will survive. But will society? And if some of society does adapt, how well do you think that the currently energy-poor will fare in the face of changing weather patterns, changes in coastlines, and intensification of heat waves?

      Our cheapest, most abundant primary energy source is atomic fission. We should do everything we can to help everyone recognize this fact so that we can move down learning curves, develop new technologies and proliferate the technology to serve an ever wider swath of mankind.

      If fossil fuels could do that job without nuclear energy’s help, don’t you think they already would be doing the job? We have been using them for a couple of hundred years; their use has always helped to lead to wide variations in prosperity and energy access.

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