Saturday, October 13, 2012

24. 126th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

When I was asked earlier this week if I would be interested in hosting the Nuclear Blog Carnival, I was more than happy to Volunteer for the task. I didn't realize it at that moment, but the 126th Blog Carnival marks exactly 6 months (Friday the 13th, April 2012) since I finally started up the blog. The impetus for me to finally launch was to have a submission included in the 100th Carnival.  I consider it an honor to have been asked to host. 

Enough intro, here we go with the past week's best Nuclear Postings:


Brian Wang at Next Big Future brings some news regarding Chinese nuclear expansion, including that China is on track for 27(!!!) new plants being completed by 2015. I am sure witnessing the placing of a Reactor Dome in person would be quite a site to behold, and would easily trump seeing a crane move a Moisture Seperator Reheater (the "other" MSR besides Molten Salt Reactors).

ii1. From Things Worse Than Nuclear Power

In light of the national debates and elections, our current post (as of today) is the second in a 3-part series focusing on federal interventions in energy market, including subsidies, loan guarantees, tax preferences, R&D, and even lobbying.  Part 1, published the day of the first Presidential debate, called out issues which became headlines in the debate, including the loan guarantees to companies like Solyndra! 

1. 2 entries from musician and pro-nuclear power advocate Rick Maltese's blog Deregulate the Atom.

Summary: This is a re-posting of Facebook discussion about the fossil fuel industry's interference with the progress of nuclear energy. Robert Steinhaus makes a long comment about The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. Rod Adams comments back. It demonstrates how government policy shifts can have a crippling effect.

 A Letter to the Newest Federal Liberal Candidate – Justin Trudeau 
Summary: Another letter added to my growing collection of reaching out to people of 

influence to spread the pro-nuclear word. In this case I appeal to their willingness 
to educate themselves about nuclear.

2. From Leslie Corrice's The Hiroshima Syndrome, these 2 entries can be found on the same page:

October 10 Commentary...
"Antinuke Peter Bradford speaks with forked tongue
In a Wall Street Journal debate on nuclear energy viability, Peter Bradford takes the 
antinuclear side using time-worn rhetoric and making misleading statements, some of which are outright fabrications. Bradford's bombast literally demands this rational rebuttal.
(See Entreprenuclear post number 22 for additional Bradford debunking)
October 12......
No “Melt-throughs” at Fukushima Daiichi?  
Tepco has posted the results of the first water sample taken inside the unit #1 Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) at Fukushima Daiichi. We find results that come as more than a bit of a surprise. Given the differences with respect to the chemical make-up of the interior and exterior waters relative to the unit #1 PCV, and the fact that the highest radiation level inside the PCV is essentially parallel to the bottom head of the RPV (in today’s first update), I now believe it is possible that none of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi experienced catastrophic RPV “melt-through”.


3. From Rod Adams' blog Atomic Insights

Theo Simon and George Monbiot – Rational discussion about nuclear energy development

During the past week or so, Rod Adams has been spending quite a bit of time following a discussion about nuclear energy between Theo Simon and George Monbiot. It is a deeply philosophical engagement between two literate and concerned people who view nuclear energy through different lenses and have, so far, reached different conclusions about its value and potential for growth.

Rod provides a third perspective and hopes that the development of smaller reactors may encourage additional deep thinking.


4. From the ANS Nuclear Cafe:

Howard Shaffer with a very interesting history of the founding of the anti-nuclear energy movement -- as told last week at UMass Amherst by two of the very persons who helped to found it, Anna Gyorgy and Lionel Delevingne.

Margaret Harding is blogging from the American Nuclear Society-sponsored Indo–US Nuclear Safety Summit in Mumbai, India.  Her notes on the discussions of regulatory issues, emergency risk assessment, international trade relations, economy, politics...

Check ANS Nuclear Cafe for Harding's
continuing updates on news, and views, and traveler's tales, from the


5. From the Yes, Vermont Yankee blog

Meredith Angwin revisits her area of technical expertise: PWR steam generators.  In "San Onofre Thoughts and Future. I told you so", Angwin quotes some of her earlier posts on the subject. She predicted the plant would be derated but start again. Plant opponents make endless negative predictions, and are all over the airwaves if even one of them comes true.  Angwin decided to trumpet her positive prediction this time. 

6. From Nuclear Diner:

Russia Plans to Raise Two Nuclear Submarine Reactors from Sea Floor

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to raise and scrap two sunken nuclear submarines in the northern Barents and Kara seas. Susan Voss considers the reactors in those submarines and the hazards they may or may not pose. She also looks at Project Azorian, a 1968 CIA attempt to raise a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine.

7. From Will Davis's Atomic Power Review

Toshiba buys out Shaw
Although Will Davis is quite busy this week with a convention, he submits the press release from Toshiba on the put option Shaw has exercised on its Westinghouse stake (as well as links to other related stories) and invites readers to examine the very last line of the press release closely.


8. A posting from Jim Conca published by Forbes


9. William Tucker talks about the tragedy of Radiation Phobia at Nuclear Town Hall

10. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk

At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus discusses a recent article pointing out that the strong and positive link between the effectiveness of emergency response measures taken during the floods in Cedar Rapids in 2008 and the emergency response preparedness at the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant nearby. She also recalls a previous incident in which the emergency response preparations at another nuclear power plant proved to be very applicable and helpful for handling the emergency response for a chemical spill.  While communities should not depend on their nuclear neighbors to for emergency situations, the reality is that the more specific and stringent requirements imposed for nuclear power plants are a powerful spur to assuring that the necessary plans for an emergency are developed and maintained. 

And that concludes this week's Carnival entries.  Now, I will reveal the latest Entreprenuclear logo (actually created by a friend for me, not by me).  
(Disclaimer: My everyday attire does not consist of a Tie)

Friday, October 12, 2012

23. 10/11/12 One Day Late

So, yesterday was 10/11/12, October 11th 2012. "Why is that significant?", you ask. Just look at it - 10/11/12.

November 12th of next year will be similar, as will December 13th in 2014 (which will be a Saturday, not a Friday).

Unless I approach Guinness-level long-life status, 12/13/14 will be the last nerdily cool date like yesterday that I will see during my lifetime. Do you know what actually will still be alive and running when January 2nd, 2103 (01/02/03) rolls around?

1. Many of the Small Modular Reactor designs being designed today that will start up in the early 2020's could very possibly still be safely operating 80 years later.

2. The AP1000's to-be-built in Florida in Levy County and at Turkey Point to start up in the early-to-mid 2020's could quite possibly be safely operated for 80 years too, with proper operation and maintenance.

If I could have my way planning out the energy future of America, the primary threat to not having those plants operating the next time calendars read 01/02/03 will be nothing approaching safety issues, though. What I hope the main threat is, is that we have nuclear power plants that are simply miles better economically (making far more efficient use of our naturally occurring and already-produced fissile resources), and in terms of safety, that 80-100 year old technology simply won't be able to compete.

We have our work cut out for us, but the future can be bright, and it doesn't absolutely require energy austerity by any means.

Viva Abundant Energy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

22. Debunking Antis (Peter Bradford) - The Weight of Lies

You may or may not have known it yet, but the Wall Street Journal has been conducting an online poll regarding the question "Should the World Increase Its Reliance on Nuclear Energy?". (Helpful Hint: click on the 1st entry of these search results, the WSJ gives access to things when accessed via Google search results). The poll has been up for at least several days, and I am not sure how much longer it will be up. If you have read any of the posts here, or met me in person, you could probably guess that my answer would be a resounding "HECK YES!! and faster than what we've done during any point in my lifetime (which began in the mid-80's)".

Within the past few days, commentary from Mark Lynas on the "pro-nuclear" side and from Peter Bradford on the "anti-nuclear" has been added. Mark Lynas is a British environmentalist and has relatively recently come to the realization that increasing the usage of nuclear power is an imperative for the world to have a successful future. Peter Bradford was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner from 1977 to 1982. He has since made a bit of a career for himself as an anti-nuclear activist.

I will let Mark's words stand on their own (although I make zero claims of possessing climate change expertise).

In this post, however, I will break down Mr. Bradford's editorial, add some corrections and/or things he omitted, and add in a video of a song from my favorite musicians, the chorus of which makes me think of anti-nuclear folks almost every single time I hear it. My strong speculation is that almost anyone who would wish to get in touch with Mark Lynas would have an opportunity, by simply Tweeting him. I imagine/speculate Mr. Bradford is much tougher to get in touch with (and I will leave it to the reader to guess how that sways my idea of the overall integrity of each man).

1. My assertion regarding ease of getting in touch (despite an Atlantic amount of distance) has been proven true in under 12 hours.
2. Check out Leslie Corrice's commentary on Bradford's writing over at his Hiroshima Syndrome site.

The Breakdown/Analysis/DeBunking:

Bradford starts off with a straw man argument comparing the utilization of nuclear power to using caviar to fight world hunger. This is not even close to a comparable comparison on a cost basis. Additionally, many of the costs associated with nuclear construction have been concocted precisely by the actions of anti-nuclear activists combined with the timing of extreme inflation rates within the U.S. (see: this chapter of a free online book written by Bernard Cohen).

Bradford goes on to make the claim that the full impact on people's health from Fukushima won't be known for years, if ever (cue cheesy, scary sound effect). I disagree. The majority of the region around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake has had radiation levels far below those that cause harm to humans and far below the naturally-occurring levels of quite a few places around the world that experience no negative health effects. The over-exaggeration of potential negative health effects is, from my viewpoint, highly immoral in that it has caused actual harm while preventing no real harm.  I agree with Mr. Bradford that people not being able to return to their homes is a tragedy, but I actually realize that it is efforts of people like Mr. Bradford himself that are the biggest impediment to those people being allowed to return home, rather than trivial amounts of radiation that could be easily managed/worked around.   Next

Pete B., what do 1970's advertisements have to do with anything regarding the present discussion? The Shah was basically a puppet ruler put in place by the U.S. government, who was overthrown by the people of Iran. U.S. over-extension in Iran in 1953 is a major contributor to the Iran situation today. Bringing that up has ZERO relevance to today's nuclear power discussion.  Next

"If the next nuclear-power-related catastrophe is a bomb........." - Yet another fallacy. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons are not a "Like-for-Like" equivalent, Pete. The bomb pre-dated nuclear power. Diverting fissile material from a nuclear power plant to create a bomb would be a far-far-from-optimum way to obtain nuclear weapons. Find another straw man.  Next

"Of course new reactor designs are safer." Thanks, for admitting that, Pete. Maybe we can actually get somewhere with this discussion. "However, safety depends on more than design." I agree completely, Pete. Operations are highly important. I mean, Technical Specifications specifying the minimum requirements of plant OPERATION make up an integral portion of a plant's OPERATING license granted by the Commission you were once a part of (a fact you have utterly milked in your activities subsequent to 1982). Oh, you didn't mention that operations and maintenance also ensure safety. I'll grant that you simply forgot that.  Next

"A world more reliant on nuclear power would involve many plants in countries that have little experience with nuclear energy.........."  Mr. Bradford, to suggest that these countries wouldn't be completely willing, able, and eager to learn all the things that they would need to know to properly build, maintain, and operate nuclear power plants screams of an air of arrogance on your part. People are capable of learning, particularly if the reward will enhance their society's well-being.  Next

Expense - I covered this above   Next

Quoting John Rowe - See the Rod Adams collection on John Rowe. I will summarize for you. The way Exelon is currently structured and positioned, they have basically no incentive to build new plants as extra capacity would merely hurt the profit margin of their existing TWENTY-TWO CASH COW plants.
(Lengthy Disclosure: I have been intending to purchase Exelon stock for months now, and at under $36/share, I need to do it soon particularly with the possibility of a normal amount coldness this winter leading to considerably increased natural gas demand and somewhat increased natural gas price which equals increased profit margins for Exelon's TWENTY-TWO already-built, operating nuclear plants). Next

Then, Peter Bradford goes into full-on, Tea Party market-based capitalism-mode, which I doubt he would do for ANY other topic. I admit that there is a severe disconnect between "pure" free-market capitalism and the utility industry as a whole. There are rather complex and diverse market structures involved (including the U.S. Government Corporation that is the Tennessee Valley Authority). This disconnect is not reason to abandon nuclear power, it is a reason to figure out methods of properly figuring out how to plan for, pay for, and build nuclear power plants.

You can't decide you want a nuclear power plant one day and start getting power from it the next. If you could, a "pure" free-market capitalistic approach would show, unequivocally, in the long term that nuclear power is the most cost-effective energy source.

Now the Music:

And now for a song from my present favorite musicians. These guys are my favorite in large part because I have 2 brothers (one of whom actually called in the middle of me writing out this sentence), but also because these guys are extremely talented and put tons of ENERGY and emotion into their songs.

"How does this song apply to anti-nuclear activists?" you might ask. The chorus starts off with a slightly obvious statement "The weight of lies will bring you down", but the part that always made me think of anti-nuclear folks was the end of the chorus, "so when you run make sure you run; to something and not always from; cause lies don't need an aeroplane, to chase you down". 

The anti-nuclear movement is a move away from technological progress. I see no way to argue against that. Turning away from peaceful atomic energy would be a step backward for humanity, and would lead to enhanced energy scarcity in a time when increased energy abundance is needed to minimize physical human suffering. Bill Gates understands the situation, thus he has helped fund TerraPower

Thus, I say we (the World) should run TO increased reliance on Nuclear Power, so vote YES in the Wall Street Journal poll while it is still open.

/An Aside
Also, a link that was shared this evening on Facebook titled "5 Biggest News Stories that Left out the Most Important Part".  

#1 on the list: The "Fukushima 50" Sacrificed Their Lives to Prevent Disaster (also, They're All Still Alive)