We can enjoy abundant clean energy to solve peak oil and climate change and run a convenient, modern, prosperous lifestyle for all. The answer? Nuclear power. Did you just roll your eyes and think unnecessary, dangerous, expensive, slow, and limited because it leaves waste forever and will one day run out of uranium? If so, you’re not alone. That is exactly what I used to think, but it turns out that modern reactors have completely turned this upside down. As Vox news says, most of us are suffering from a bad first impression. Nukes have changed since that first impression was made, but how to change that first impression? Vox news, 8 minutes:-
Today’s nuclear power is:-
- Abundant because breeder reactors eat nuclear waste!
- America’s nuclear waste worth $30 TRILLION!
- Fuel from seawater for a billion years!
- Close Yucca Mountain and build Energy Parks out in the desert.
- Free movies to watch online
The world’s leading climatologist, Dr James Hansen, thinks nuclear power is entirely essential:
“Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”
Dr James Hansen
If we listen to him on the problem of Global Warming, why not the solution? According to his peer-reviewed network the Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI) wind and solar are too intermittent and unreliable to run the modern world, and yes they’ve studied Amory Lovins and the various papers that keep popping up claiming otherwise!
Please download the free book from the SCGI, Prescription for the Planet by Tom Blees. James Hansen recommends this book.
Wind and solar cost might compete with grid power when they work, but the problem is they are mostly OFF, require vast overbuilds, and cost way too much to back up! Indeed, it appears one could buy Tesla’s batteries to store one week of power for Germany (which can need 3 or 4 weeks of storage in winter!) OR run the whole of Germany for 60 years on nuclear power!
For more: Why renewables cannot work!
2. Safe: for more click Nuclear power is safe!
Believe it or not, nuclear power is thousands of times safer than coal. Coal kills as many people as 650 Chernobyl’s each and every year! Just look at the deaths per terrawatt graph below!
Indeed, people could move back to most of the Fukushima zone and much of the Chernobyl area, and new reactor designs would easily have survived both the Chernobyl and Fukushima situations.
3. Cheap: for more click Nuclear power is cheap
Barry Brook writes:
… Nuclear power is cheaper than power from renewables and soon will be cheaper than coal.
4: Fastest to deploy
In one decade (1977–1987), France increased its nuclear power production 15-fold, with the nuclear portion of its electricity increasing from 8% to 70%.
In one decade (2001–2011) Germany increased the non-hydroelectric renewable energy portion of its electricity from 4% to 19%, with fossil fuels decreasing from 63% to 61% (hydroelectric decreased from 4% to 3% and nuclear power decreased from 29% to 18%).
Next Big Future Jan 2014
Dr James Hansen has said we need to build 115 reactors per year. As his friend Tom Blees says:
Just how realistic is it to think we can build 100 nuclear plants per year? Remember that France built up to six per year during their conversion to nuclear, so let’s look at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a guide to what a given country can financially bear for such a project, keeping in mind that France proceeded without the sense of urgency that the world today should certainly be ready to muster. There are six countries with higher GDPs than France, all of whom already possess the technology to build fast reactors: USA, China, Japan, India (they’re building one now), Germany, and the United Kingdom. Add Canada and Russia (which already has one running and is planning more), then tally up the GDP of these eight countries. At the rate of 6 plants per year with France’s GDP, these countries alone could afford to build about 117 IFRs per year, even without any greater urgency than the French brought to bear on their road to energy independence.
Page 243 Prescription for the Planet by Tom Blees.
5. Abundant because breeder reactors eat nuclear waste!
Today’s Light Water Reactors only use 0.6% of the energy in the uranium, leaving it ‘hot’ for 100,000 years! What we call nuclear waste today is mostly unused fuel, which is why it stays ‘hot’ for 100,000 years. Imagine nuclear ‘waste’ is like wet firewood, full of potential energy but still ‘wet’. You could dump it in the fire, but that would put the fire out. Instead, you put it around the edge of the fire so it collects heat and dries out, and is ready to burn. There are special reactors that operate much like this. Old fuel rods are set up around the nuclear ‘fire’ in the core to absorb neutrons and transmutate into new fuel. They ‘breed’ more fuel than they use, and so are called breeder reactors. The bottom line? Nuclear ‘waste’ becomes an abundant energy source. There is already so much nuclear waste that the UK has enough ‘waste’ to run her for 500 years, and America has enough to run her for 1000 years!
Note: after breeding all that waste into fuel there is a final waste product, but it burns itself back to safe levels within 300 years. That’s easy to store! The two main categories of breeder reactor:-
Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) — my favourite reactor!
6. America’s nuclear waste worth $30 TRILLION!
Now that we understand that nuclear waste is mostly unused fuel, we can learn some startling new facts: America has enough waste to run her for 1,500 years and this has been estimated to be worth $30 TRILLION dollars! The United Kingdom has enough waste to run her for 500 years. When we finally run out of today’s waste in 500 years my guess is we might not even need fission reactors any more.
7. Fuel from seawater for a billion years!
Barry Brook:…. So instead of getting less than 1% of the energy out of uranium, these fast reactors get about 99.8% of the energy out of it which means they’re incredibly more efficient in terms of using the uranium resource. And actually we’ve mined enough uranium already to run the whole world in these reactors for about 500 years.
Robyn Williams: So the old argument about running out of uranium isn’t on any more?
Barry Brook: We may run out in 50,000 or so years if we powered the whole world by uranium, but then we’ve got about four times as much thorium to use as well. So the argument that we’ll run out of uranium is a dead duck.
Uranium from seawater is the forever machine!
- We can extract uranium from seawater at $300 a kilogram.
- This is about the size of a golf ball and could power your entire life, cradle to grave. That includes all the electrical power to recharge all the boron we’d ever need to replace oil. See Prescription for the Planet. All the fuel for that, from seawater, for just $300 per human lifetime! (The reactors themselves are the more expensive bit, the fuel is dirt cheap. In fact, I just recently did some major gardening in my front yard and spent far more than that on dirt!).
- As mountains rise and continents move the weather grinds uranium dust back down into the ocean faster than we could use it. This is how Gen4 nukes could run the world for a few hundred million years on the uranium in sea-water.
- The wiki on uranium from seawater documents a number of new technologies for collecting uranium from seawater in bulk. But right now that’s simply not our problem. Getting uranium from seawater is a problem we can look at in 50,000 years, and who knows what kind of space-based civilisation and solar energy systems we might have by then?
8. Close Yucca Mountain and build Energy Parks out in the desert.
Yucca Mountain and other similar schemes worldwide are now a complete waste of money. Yucca Mountain is like digging up our sweetest crude, refining it into the highest octane jet fuel — only to bury it again for 100,000 years! It’s absurd. We should burn it instead!
9. Free movies to watch online
Molten Salt Reactors: 6 minutes
“Pandora’s Promise” 1 hour 23 minutes
Thorium Remix 2011: 2 hours, all about special Molten Salt Reactors called LFTR’s (say Lifter)