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The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 11-25-2012

Nuclear is safer, more efficient, and much cleaner than any other energy source known to man. Ironically, it is the same environ-mental crusaders demanding an 80% reduction in Co2 emissions who are adamantly opposed to all forms of nuclear energy.

"If you are anti Co2 and anti nuclear, then you are pro blackout"

Quote:Google Tech Talks
November 9, 2006

This is not your father's fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional thinking on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion; hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that's been made new. While the international community debates the fate of the politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor), simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects.

A polywell device is a type of fusion reactor that traps electrons in a magnetic confinement inside its hollow center. The negatively charged electrons then attract positively charged ions creating a plasma which reaches sufficient density to produce inertial electrostatic confinement fusion.

Dr. Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and founder of Energy Matter

Bussard theorized that a polywell device could potentially generate net energy production and thus become a source for electric power. His company developed the initial devices for the U.S. Navy.

No specific information has been published as of 2010, due to a publishing embargo on research data maintained by US Navy. The prior project, led by the late Dr. Bussard, had been under an embargo for 11 years between 1994 and 2005 when that series of contracts with the US Navy ended.

Bussard noted that, "Thus, we have the ability to do away with oil (and other fossil fuels) but it will take 4-6 years and ca. $100-200M to build the full-scale plant and demonstrate it."

Bussard said "Somebody will build it; and when it's built, it will work; and when it works people will begin to use it, and it will begin to displace all other forms of energy."

Quote:Before Focus Fusion-1 became operational in October 2009, Eric Lerner presented the plan to make it happen at Google's Mountain View, CA HQ. What do you think: Is it time Google added aneutronic fusion to its portfolio of wind and solar projects?

Several groups have proposed that fusion power based on the DPF could be viable, possibly even with low-neutron fuel cycles like p-B11. The feasibility of net power from p-B11 in the DPF requires that the bremsstrahlung losses be reduced by quantum mechanical effects induced by the powerful magnetic field. The high magnetic field will also result in a high rate of emission of cyclotron radiation, but at the densities envisioned, where the plasma frequency is larger than the cyclotron frequency, most of this power will be reabsorbed before being lost from the plasma. Another advantage claimed is the capability of direct conversion of the energy of the fusion products into electricity, with an efficiency potentially above 70%. Experiments and computer simulations to investigate the capability of DPF for fusion power are underway at Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) under the direction of Eric Lerner, who explained his "Focus Fusion" approach in a 2007 Google Tech Talk. On November 14, 2008, Lerner received funding for continued research, to test the scientific feasibility of Focus Fusion. On October 15, 2009, the DPF device "Focus Fusion-1" achieved its first pinch. On January 28th, 2011, LPP published initial results including experimental shots with considerably higher fusion yields than the historical DPF trend. In March, 2012, the company announced that it had achieved temperatures of 1.8 billion degrees, beating the old record of 1.1 billion that had survived since 1978.

Quote:Corporate Power? No Thanks
July 4, 2011

The machinations of the industry shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the case for nuclear power.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 5th July 2011

Power corrupts; nuclear power corrupts absolutely. The industry developed as a by-product of nuclear weapons research. Its deployment was used to shield the production of weapons from public view. Though the two industries have now been forced apart, in most parts of the world the nuclear operators remain secretive, unaccountable and far too close to government.

Last week the Guardian revealed that the British government connived with corporations to play down the impact of the disaster at Fukushima(1). Comments from the nuclear companies, a business department official suggested, should be incorporated into ministers’ briefings and government statements.

It is through such collusion that accidents happen. The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency shows that Tepco, the firm that ran the stricken plant at Fukushima, had under-estimated the danger of tsunamis, had not planned properly for multiple plant failures and had been allowed to get away with it by a regulator that failed to review its protective measures(2). Nuclear operators worldwide have been repeatedly exposed as a bunch of arm-twisting, corner-cutting scumbags.

In this respect they are, of course, distinguished from the rest of the energy industry, which is run by collectives of self-abnegating monks whose only purpose is to spread a little happiness. How they ended up sharing the names and addresses of some of the nuclear companies is a mystery that defies explanation. The front-page story in Friday’s Guardian quoted “former government environmental adviser” Tom Burke saying the following about the government’s relationship with the nuclear companies. “They are too close to industry, concealing problems, rather than revealing and dealing with them.”(3) What the article did not tell us is that Burke currently works for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest coal-mining corporations(4). It has, of course, always refrained from colluding with governments.

All the big energy companies – whether they invest in coal, oil, gas, nuclear, wind or solar power – manipulate politicians, bully regulators and bamboozle the public. Their overweening power causes many kinds of harm; among them is the damage it has done to the case for nuclear technology. Strip away the interests and the arguments are strong.

Let’s begin with safety. The best evidence for the safety and resilience of nuclear power plants can be found at Fukushima. Not at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the power station where the meltdowns and explosions took place, but at Fukushima Dai-ni, the plant next door. You’ve never heard of it? There’s a good reason for that. It was run by the same slovenly company. It was hit by the same earthquake and the same tsunami. But it survived. Like every other nuclear plant struck by the wave, it went into automatic cold shutdown(5). With the exception of a nuclear missile attack, it withstood the sternest of all possible tests.

What we see here is the difference between 1970s and 1980s safety features. The first Dai-ichi reactor was licensed in 1971. The first Dai-ni reactor was licensed in 1982. Today’s technologies are safer still. The pebblebed reactors now being tested by China, for example, shut themselves down if they begin to overheat as an inherent property of the physics they exploit(6). Using a plant built 40 years ago to argue against 21st-century power stations is like using the Hindenburg disaster to contend that modern air travel is unsafe.

Even the Dai-ichi meltdown, the same energy agency report tells us, has caused no medical harm. While the evacuation it necessitated is profoundly traumatic and disruptive, “to date no confirmed health effects have been detected in any person as a result of radiation exposure” from the accident(7). Compare this to the 100,000 deaths caused by air pollution from coal plants every year, and you begin to see that we’ve been fretting about the wrong risks(8).

Compare it to the damage and death that climate change will cause, and you find that our response is so disproportionate as to constitute a form of madness. It’s a straightforward pay-off. Germany’s promise to ditch nuclear power will produce an extra 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year(9). In June Angela Merkel announced a possible doubling of the capacity of the coal and gas plants Germany will build in the next 10 years(10). Already Germany has been burning brown coal, one of the most polluting fuels on earth, to make up the shortfall(11). The renewable technologies which should have replaced fossil fuels will instead replace nuclear power.

This is the point at which anti-nuclear activists reach for one of four arguments. The first is that we should concentrate on reducing energy demand. Dead right we should – regardless of which technology we favour. But even with a massive cut in overall demand, getting the carbon out of transport and heating means increasing electricity supply. The Centre for Alternative Technology’s radical and optimistic plan for decarbonising Britain envisages a 55% cut in energy consumption by 2030 – and a near-doubling in electricity supply(12). Contest this by all means, but you’ll have to explain what it got wrong.

The second is that it takes 10-15 years to build new nuclear plants. This, they argue, is too long. It is. So is the 10-15 years it takes to roll out a major renewables programme. The third is that uranium supplies will run out. They will, one day. The Committee on Climate Change estimates that they’re good for 50 years(13). Long before then, we should have switched to fourth generation technologies, which would run on the waste produced by current nuclear generators. This leads us to the fourth objection: that nuclear waste cannot be disposed of safely.

Even if we assume that we’ll want to get rid of them, rather than use them as a valuable fuel, the claim that it’s unsafe to put fissile materials underground is inexplicable. Isn’t that where they came from? Why is it less safe to leave uranium several thousand metres below the surface, encased in lead, backfilled with bentonite and capped with concrete than it is to leave it, as nature did, scattered around the planet, just beneath the surface? And is it plausible that a future civilisation would possess the technology to extract our waste from those astonishing depths, but not to figure out that it might be harmful?

All these arguments have been obscured by the justifiable distrust bred by industry spin and collusion. There is no contradiction between favouring the machines and opposing the machinations. A new generation of nuclear power stations should be built only with unprecedented scrutiny and transparency – and the same applies to all our energy options. Corporate power? No thanks.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 12-12-2012

"If you are anti Co2 and anti nuclear, then you are pro blackout"

If you are pro blackout then you are a misanthropic genocidal piece of shit.

Notable anti-nuclear groups and people

The list is limited to opponents of non-violent use of nuclear energy. There are many more groups which campaign mainly or exclusively in favor of nuclear disarmament.


Bellona Foundation
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Friends of the Earth
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
National Resources Defence Council
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Rocky Mountain Institute
Sierra Club
Sortir du nucléaire
Union of Concerned Scientists
World Wildlife Fund, aka World Wide Fund for Nature

Previously anti-nuclear

Stewart Brand
Ben Heard
Mark Lynas
George Monbiot
Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace (The change in his positions is drastic enough that most members of Greenpeace consider him a shill.)
Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace


RE: The nuclear energy panacea - FastTadpole - 12-12-2012

Oh how I love getting into controversial topics like this.

Power and Control: The Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement - Leveraging the Japan Tsunami and Other Disasters

Let's not deny humanity the power of the atom.

Just watched the Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers ... two 2012 blockbusters that warn against the possible weaponisation of atomic based energy. Tasty propaganda.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 12-13-2012

(12-12-2012, 01:51 PM)FastTadpole Wrote: Oh how I love getting into controversial topics like this.

I think this topic in particular is controversial largely due to ignorance. People hear nuclear power and automatically think of gen II light water reactors, and even the LWR are extremely safe if they are well maintained and have good protocols in place which are actually adhered to. Fukushima was an accident waiting to happen and everyone new it, it was not a failure of technology that led to the disaster, it was negligence, corruption, and greed that caused the incident.

(12-12-2012, 01:51 PM)FastTadpole Wrote: Power and Control: The Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement - Leveraging the Japan Tsunami and Other Disasters

I love your threads, always packed with relevant information that is impeccably sourced, also your commentary and analysis is always edifying and most dead on. Thanx for all the good work and please keep it coming.

(12-12-2012, 01:51 PM)FastTadpole Wrote: Let's not deny humanity the power of the atom.

That would be a real shame. Mastering the atom will bring unimaginable prosperity and open up wondrous possibilities for the whole of the human race. There are risks involved but none that can't be almost entirely mitigated with caution and careful deliberation in each stage of development. The risks are far, far, far outweighed by the potential rewards.

(12-12-2012, 01:51 PM)FastTadpole Wrote: Tasty propaganda.

Timely propaganda.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 02-04-2013

China to trial two new nuclear generation technologies

11 January 2013
Construction has begun on a Chinese high-temperature gas cooled reactor known as HTR-PM, Xinhua news agency reported January 6. The 3 billion-yuan ($476 million) 200MW nuclear project is being built at Shidao Bay in the coastal city of Rongcheng in Shandong Province.
The first HTR-PM high-temperature gas cooled reactor is being built at Shidao Bay in Eastern China

It is being built and will be operated by the Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co. (HSNPC), and should start generating power by the end of 2017. The high-temperature pebble-bed technology was independently developed by China's Tsinghua University.

Originally scheduled to be launched in 2011, the construction of the project was put on hold after the Fukushima accident of March 2011. The Shidao Bay project has now undergone thorough site checks in accident prevention and emergency management, and has passed government safety inspections, according to a statement from HSNPC.

China is also developing a new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste than conventional uranium reactors and cannot melt down.

Jiang Mianheng, the son of former leader Jiang Zemin, is leading a thorium project for China's National Academy of Sciences with a start-up budget of $350m.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, he has already recruited 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics. He will have 750 staff by 2015.

The Shanghai team plans to build a pilot 2MW plant using liquid fluoride fuel by the end of the decade, before scaling up to a commercially viable size in the 2020s.

China has enough thorium to power its electricity needs for 20,000 years, according to Jiang, and the technology is inherently safe in that there is no chain reaction involved - fission dies the moment the photon beam is switched off. Also, the thorium molten salt process takes place at atmospheric pressures.

Another advantage is that most of the mineral is used up in the fission process, while uranium reactors use up just 0.7%. It can even burn up existing stockpiles of plutonium and uranium.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - thokling - 02-06-2013

Haha, you weenies and your Almighty Nuclear Reactor altars.

Just kidding. Yes, compared with other resource technologies, nuclear power is safer and provides more power. The only problem with it is that it relies on resources that replenish very slowly. It's a good temporary solution, but it won't compare to...

Fusion Power!

I had a quick glance through my currently, and for a while, favourite science news aggregator Science Daily. A few articles popped up since October about fusion tech, and I thought I'd share them here.

Paving the Way for Commercial Fusion Power Plants
Oct. 8, 2012 — Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER project, the international experiment that is expected to pave the way for commercial fusion power plants. Operation with a new lining inside JET has demonstrated the suitability of materials for the much larger and more powerful ITER device.

Fusion Helped by Collision Science
Jan. 11, 2013 — Understanding the mechanisms of electron-molecule collisions could help predict the operations inside the fusion chamber of the ITER reactor.

New Clean Nuclear Fusion Reactor Designed
Jan. 14, 2013 — A researcher at the Universidad politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has patented a nuclear fusion reactor by inertial confinement that, apart from [being] used to generate electric power in plants, can be applied to propel ships.

Bringing Fusion Electricity to the Grid
Jan. 16, 2013 — The European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) has published a roadmap which outlines how to supply fusion electricity to the grid by 2050. The roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy breaks the quest for fusion energy down into eight missions. For each mission, it reviews the current status of research, identifies open issues, proposes a research and development programme and estimates the required resources. It points out the needs to intensify industrial involvement and to seek all opportunities for collaboration outside Europe.

The use of nuclear technologies should certainly be advocated more by greenies until more viable technologies are developed (including fusion, wind and, especially, solar), but most times green lovers are too wrapped up in their own fears to truly understand what it means to be green-headed (not meant as shape-shifting reptilian in this context). Those fears seem to be generally related to breaking the programming and discovering truth for themselves rather than follow the pack.

Hives. They're holding us back here.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 02-08-2013

thokling Wrote:Yes, compared with other resource technologies, nuclear power is safer and provides more power. The only problem with it is that it relies on resources that replenish very slowly. It's a good temporary solution

If by temporary you mean the next 10,000 years, then I agree.
Quote:The Thorium Energy Alliance (TEA), an educational advocacy organization, emphasizes that "there is enough thorium in the United States alone to power the country at its current energy level for over 10,000 years."

There are no resource issues at all, it's a veritable cornucopia of plenty and abundance.

thokling Wrote:but it won't compare to...

Fusion Power!

I got two videos on fusion posted above, both are presentations followed by q&a from two very brilliant and remarkable men, Eric Lerner(brilliant plasma physicist but a terrible cosmologist) and the late Dr. Robert Bussard. I highly recommend giving them a look.

thokling Wrote:The use of nuclear technologies should certainly be advocated more by greenies until more viable technologies are developed (including fusion, wind and, especially, solar), but most times green lovers are too wrapped up in their own fears to truly understand what it means to be green-headed (not meant as shape-shifting reptilian in this context). Those fears seem to be generally related to breaking the programming and discovering truth for themselves rather than follow the pack.

Hives. They're holding us back here.

I tend to think that most "greens" are not really interested in any solutions that don't involve genocidal austerity and authoritarianism. The greens are mostly made up of fanatical misanthropic control freaks with a quasi-religious bent.

Oh, and thanx for all the great links, I really do appreciate it.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - thokling - 02-08-2013

I hadn't gotten through all the videos before posting my piece, but the additional information's appreciated, mac. Lots for a brain to chew on.

RE: The nuclear energy panacea - macfadden - 02-08-2013