10 results for month: 12/2009


Ted Rockwell's Getting the Facts Out!

I received this PDF document by email from a friend, and then found it listed on Ted Rockwell's excellent blog. It's called:Get the Nuclear Energy Facts Reportand I highly recommend reading it (as I am at the moment). Especially interesting are the real facts about the number of deaths per unit energy generated by wind, solar, and nuclear power. Guess which one is dead (no pun intended) last? (by a long shot)Hint: it's not "safe, clean, green" wind and solar.

A Proliferation Primer from Dr. Per Peterson

Forgive my alliterative title, but Dr. Per Peterson of UC Berkeley is a co-chair of the Generation IV Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection Working Group. Several months ago on the thorium-forum he posted five specific categories of performance issues/threats that serve as a basis to assess the proliferation resistance of a proposed reactor design. As a preface to further discussion of this subject, I thought it would be a good idea to repost those categories here:Proliferation threats:1) Concealed diversion or production of nuclear material in a declared facility. The primary approach to risk reduction involves the application of ...

A Tale of Two Articles

Here are two articles. Both are in the New York Times. Both are written by Matthew Wald. Both are about "nuclear power" (meaning light-water reactors in this case). But they are separated in time by twenty years:The Nuclear Industry Tries Again, Nov. 29, 1989Every plant of the more than 100 ordered since 1973 has been canceled, and many others are approaching retirement. But reactor manufacturers say that fears of global warming - the greenhouse effect - are giving them a second chance. Nuclear power advocates have, of course, been predicting the industry's rebirth for years. But the plans are becoming more specific, and political calculations are ...

WIRED Thorium Article Available Online

For those of you who have procrastinated buying the January 2010 issue of WIRED magazine, it looks like your waiting might have paid off:WIRED Magazine: The New NukeI especially appreciate the efforts of Rick Martin and Erin Biba in getting this article pulled together and into Wired!Thanks to the Wired article, we're getting record traffic onto the blog. If you're new here and would like to learn more, I would really recommend watching one of the YouTube videos linked on the right-side column of the blog. "LFTR in 16 minutes" is probably one of best if you want to learn more quickly.Also, with regards to the article, it's important for me to ...

The Copenhagen Speech I Would Have Written

Here's the speech that I would have written for Obama to give at Copenhagen, if I had been asked:"Greetings fellow delegates.We are here to confront the issue of global climate change. For me, I must admit, I am not a climatologist nor a scientist, and there are many things that I don't understand about the science. But the most essential element appears to be the connection between the emission of carbon dioxide and an increase in global temperatures. There is increasing uncertainty about how closely coupled those two factors are.But there is no doubt that carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere, and that as societies industrialize, they ...

A Question to an "Environmentalist" Organization

Recently a member of the thorium-forum who has also been a member of the "environmental" group Environmental Action, received a form letter asking him to renew his membership. He perused their website and found nothing about nuclear energy, except for the fact that here in the U.S. we now get 19% of our electricity from nuclear. On the other hand, on one of their web pages was a statement that we get 2% of our energy from "clean" sources. He wrote a letter to them and enclosed it in their return envelope, and gave me permission to re-post it here. I do so in the hopes that others might follow his example and ask these groups why they oppose the ...

More Energy Slavery, this time IN Copenhagen!

A few posts ago I mentioned the UK TV show where they showed an army of "energy slaves" pedaling away, trying desperately to generate enough power for a single family...a better demonstration of the concept of energy slaves, I've never seen.I predicted we'd see more of such foolishness as the Copenhagen conference neared--what I didn't expect was to see this insanity itself IN Copenhagen!WSJ: Pedal Power: Copenhagen Lights Christmas Tree With BikesAt the Danish capital’s City Hall Square, 15 to 20 volunteers can sit on stationary bikes located around a massive, decorated tree and pedal away to keep it light, at least during the day. The bikes are ...

More Garbage Predictions Based on LNT

Here's another good example of junk science being used to sell newspapers and stoke anti-radiation fear:Chicago Tribune: CT scans, cancer risk linkedUsing normal doses of radiation for the procedure, about one in 270 women who receive it at age 40 and one in 600 men will develop cancer as a result, Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman of UC San Francisco and her colleagues found. For a routine head scan, one in 8,100 women and one in 11,080 men will develop a tumor.Bull. I know how they generated this number, and it's based on using the "linear, no-threshold" hypothesis for radiation exposure. It's based on the simplifying (and wrong) assumption that small ...

The Economist: Nuclear's next generation

I was interviewed several months ago by the author for this article.The Economist: Nuclear's next generationOne form of MSR, the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), has garnered particular enthusiasm among those who regard thorium as an attractive replacement for uranium and plutonium in the fuel cycle. (Thorium is both cheaper and more abundant than uranium.) According to Kirk Sorensen, an engineer at NASA who also runs a blog on the merits of the thorium cycle, natural thorium provides at least 250 times more energy per unit than natural uranium. However, unlike fissile uranium, natural thorium must be “seeded” with external neutrons in ...

More Nuclear Archeology…

A few months back I blogged about going out to see the old Yellow Creek Nuclear Reactor site north of Iuka, Mississippi. I went back last Friday:You can stand in the middle of this old cooling tower and speak no louder than a whisper and yet it comes back to you nearly as clearly as if you were speaking in a full voice.The containment looks like it was abandoned 30 years ago. I'm pretty sure they would have to pull the whole thing out and start over if they meant to ever finish the plant.