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Nuclear industry bribes its way to a comeback

McClatchy. Hey, guess who the biggest player is and where they're from? That's right:

More recently, the industry has been reaching out to newly empowered Democrats, among them Clyburn, whose state is among the nation's leading nuclear-power producers. (The president's home state of Illinois is the biggest, and Obama and some of his closest political allies have long relationships with Exelon Corp., the country's biggest nuclear power company.)

Well, heck. Corporations are people, too! If only the Republicans were no longer in power! Oh, wait...

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

It's just highly implausible, considering the plants are incredibly expensive and they guzzle fresh water like mad. If nuclear power were actually economical I would be all for it.

But it's not, so I'm not, at least until someone gets nuclear fusion to work.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

If nuclear was anywhere near economical, and they didn't ask the public for subsidies even a honest-to-goodness socialist would balk at, I'd be all for it.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and as somebody who got to watch part of the building of Comanche Peak, I think nuclear power is something we really do need to learn to use safely.

Jimmy Carter was onto something more than 40 years ago.

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

I Know damned well I'm not gonna convince anybody with facts, but...

"Coal is also radioactive: most coal is laced with traces of a wide range of other elements, including radioactive isotopes such as uranium and thorium, and their decay products, radium and radon. Some of the lighter radioactive particles, such as radon gas, are shed into the atmosphere during combustion, but the majority remain in the waste product - coal ash.

...As a result, the waste produced from burning thorium in a reactor is dramatically less radioactive than conventional nuclear waste. Where a uranium-fuelled reactor like many of those operating today might generate a tonne of high-level waste that stays toxic for tens of thousands of years, a reactor fuelled only by thorium will generate a fraction of this amount. And it would stay radioactive for only 500 years - after which it would be as manageable as coal ash.

So not only would there be less waste, the waste generated would need to be locked up for only five per cent of the time compared to most nuclear waste. Not surprisingly, the technical challenges in storing a smaller amount for 500 years are much lower than engineering something to be solid, secure and discreet for 10,000 years.

But wait, there's more: thorium has another remarkable property. Add plutonium to the mix - or any other radioactive actinide - and the thorium fuel process will actually incinerate these elements. That's right: it will chew up old nuclear waste as part of the power-generation process. It could not only generate power, but also act as a waste disposal plant for some of humanity's most heinous toxic waste."

Please don't expect me to respond to those that don't know [at least the basics] of Peak Power Demand.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

energy-wise. Or maybe not. Some time ago (read 2 years), Texas was hot (surprise!) and just as much so, Iowa. Also, the ethanol thing was going full guns. I will leave it to others to explain the bust of bio-fuels..... But Iowa's market for energy export was Illinois, so.....*

Regardless, I am "intimate" with what is going down, and will try to get the time to pull in links or provide what information I can. Suffice to say, if you would like up to date information, look for words like "carbon sequestration", do an occasional search for wind projects, and yes, nuclear is making a huge comeback. I would agree that nuclear power of some kind is destined to be part of our near future if we wish to continue to subsidize the suburban lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. The alternatives are bad, but do they beat global climate change?

Regardless, the key to everything is upgrading the grid (broken record!) and actually, reduce, reuse, recycle, not just on a local basis, but a global basis.

* Talk about getting "fucked in the drivethrough"!

Submitted by lambert on

Still no answer to that (though presumably the French have one?)

And if you do the math... What are the odds of plant blowing up?

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

so let's go the wrong way! Whee!

Or something.

Keep these three things in mind as you read the rest:
++Recoverable solar, using current tech, could satisfy our current energy needs times five.
++Efficiency improvements could cut our energy needs in half by 2050.
++Money spent on nuclear power can't be spent on other power.

On the nuclear side:
++Uranium is a finite resource. If nuclear tried to replace fossil fuels, the economically recoverable supply would run out in about a century.
++(No, fusion is nowhere near commercial application. It is not a fallback. Breeder reactors are great in a world where you want everyone to have nuclear weapons.)

++Without the Price-Andersen Act, the nuclear industry wouldn't take on the risk of building power plants. The Act makes you, the taxpayer and/or nuclear accident victim, the final and biggest insurer of the nuclear industry. The risk is small, but the cost of failure is so huge nobody with professional actuaries is willing to take it on.

++To ramp up nuclear to where it replaces one seventh (14%) of fossil fuel use by 2050, one new gigawatt nuclear plant would have to be built every six weeks. Do you see that happening? Me neither. Also, compare 14% to 500% and 50% above.

++Money spent on nuclear power can't be spent on other power.

So, yeah, it sounds like a plan to me. Spend billions on building nukes now, pouring money into Exelon and company. By the time it turns out to be another massive scam, they'll be safe in their Rocky Mountain fortresses, watching the tropical mango trees growing in the walled courtyard.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

That's easy. You just store it in "temporary" pools at the plant and hope none of the suckers general public notices until after you've made your fortune.

(Seriously. That's what they're doing now. That's why you're not hearing much about the waste issue. The French are getting to the point where the pools are full and overflowing, so they made an agreement with Russia to dump the waste there. No doubt on the principle that they're already used to it in Chernobyl.) See the fourth picture in this BBC In Pictures series.

Brian.Nelson's picture
Submitted by Brian.Nelson on

Nuclear energy as well as natural gas is being ignored simply because special interest groups are holding our government hostage with campaign funds. They will never allow nuclear or natural gas because then what would the prisoners do for work when they don't have solar panels to make while families outside of jail starve? casino online