Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sen. Cruz Questions Sierra Club President Aaron Mair on Climate Change

Actually the Senator is using the opportunity to read Dr. Roy Spensor's views on climate change into the Senate record, in front of video cameras. The President Aaron Mair about views concerning Anthropogenic Global Warming skeptic Dr. Roy Speners.  This is a discussion between two poorly informed people.  Senator Cruz is using information that is ultimately derived from AFW an AGW skeptic, but which may have been further distorted by thrips through the Fox News propaganda machine, and the Senators staff and Presidential campaign organization.  Mair appears to know almost as little about arguments used in the AGWdebate as he does about nuclear power.  Roy Spencer's papers have received extensive criticism from climate scientists.  These criticisms address scientific issues, that are at best poorly understood, by lay people, because problems deal with questions about satalite climate data is collected and interpreted, and anailtic methods and scientific interpretations of the results of data analysis. Since I do not wish to spend several years seeking a PhD level understanding of these issues, I will turn the task of evaluating Dr. Spencer's work over to people like Joe Romm, who quotes a number of well regarded Climat Scientists on their views of Dr. Specer's work.

Romm's essay quotes Dr. Andrew Dessler  of Texas A and M, who has written several critiques of Spencer papers. (For example see here).  Dressler states:
Finally, the best way to put Roy’s paper into context it is to recognize how Roy views his job: “I would wager that my job has helped save our economy from the economic ravages of out-of-control environmental extremism. I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.” (he wrote that on his blog).Thus, his paper is not really intended for other scientists, since they do not take him seriously anymore (he’s been wrong too many times). Rather, he’s writing his papers for Fox News, the editorial board of the Wall St. Journal, Congressional staffers, and the blogs. These are his audience and the people for whom this research is actually useful — in stopping policies to reduce GHG emissions — which is what Roy wants.  

In fact Spencer's assumption that accepting the AGW hypothesis would lead to greater government control of the economy and of our personal lives, is nonesense, if we stop relying on renewable energy to solve problems it cannot solve, and let a new Advanced Nuclear power industry to getr off the ground while subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. An analysis of energy subsidies especially subsidies that are paid by human injury, illness and death, are very much a part of energy equasion.

Senator Cruz is a Senator from Texas.  What ever he says about loving free markets and hating government control, Senator Cruz is going to make sure that the Texas Fossil Fuel industry is pritected from market competiti0n from advanced nuclear power facilities.  He will also make sure that people can'y sue the fossil fuel industry for environmental consequences which adversly effect human health and safety, as well as damaging infrastructure upon which the economic viability of society rests.  Of course, what ever the Serra Club says, through its irresponsible attacks on Carbon free nuclear power, the Environmentalist continuse to follow the Amory Lovins line, making it, like Senator Cruz, a  fossil Fuel servant.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rod Adams Exposed Amory Lovins' Pack withe Devil in 2007

Rod Adams is a brilliant unpayed spokesperson for nuclear power. In this post, Rod captures Amory Lovins Foustian bargin at its devilish worse. During the 1970's Lovins became a chearleader for coal against nuclear power. Lovins offered the crazy argument that Coal was a more environmentrally acceptable energy source than Nuclear Power was. In doing so, Lovuns ignored the mountains of radioactove coal ash waste, that his coal fired energy bridge would produce, and the environmentally disasterous effects of coal smoke as well as the human health consequences of breathing air poluted by coal smoke.

One of the great ironies in today's America is that a two time college drop out and Friends of the Earth...
If that link does not work try this one.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Faustian Bargains: Weinberg or Lovins?

There is a profound question about Amory Lovins, who lives on a mountain in Snowmass, Colorado.  Lovins home is supposedly heated by energy that comes from renewable sources, with no fossil fuels or nuclear generated electricity involves.  At the core of the Lovins home the Lovins' home is  greenhouse, where reportedly he displayed banana trees.  The question is how could those trees survive the very long and cold winter nights in Amory Lovins Snowmass home, without fossil fuels or electricity generated by burning fossil fuels? Supposably Lovins heats with Wood, but that of cource damages the environment.   We must also ask, "does Mr. Lovins add wood to the wood furnace in the middle of the night?  Perhapse it is part of his agreement with the Devil, that Satin is required to employ de,mons, who chop wood, and feed the Snowmass wood fuyrnace.  No fossil fuel powered saws areused to chop wood for Banana Farm number 2.  

Faustian Bargains: Weinberg or Lovins?

One of the hazards of coining a memorable expression is wearing it out and continuing to use it after it should have gone out of fashion. Even thinkers as gifted as Alvin Weinberg can develop a mental cramp as far as their own memorable expressions are concerned. Weinberg's phrase "Faustian bargain" is a singular example of the problem. By the early 1970's the Faustian bargain idea had been made obsolete by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory team of reactor scientists, but Weinberg, almost always in the forefront of understanding the implication of new ideas failed to see that the relevance of the Faustian bargain idea was passing as far as nuclear science was concerned. Indeed Weinberg's post-ORNL work was to demonstrate that new Faustian bargains were emerging, bargains which held far more serious consequences than that which people believed they were confronted with by nuclear power.

In the conclusion to his November 1972 Nuclear Safety speech, Weinberg stated,
We nuclear people have made a Faustian bargain with society. On the one hand, we offer - in the breeder reactor - an almost inexhaustible source of energy. Even in the short range, when we use ordinary reactors, we offer energy that is cheaper than energy from fossil fuel. Moreover, this source of energy, when properly handled, is almost nonpolluting. Whereas fossil fuel burners must emit oxides of carbon and nitrogen, and probably will always emit some sulfur dioxide, there is no intrinsic reason why nuclear systems must emit any pollutant - except heat and traces of radioactivity.
Yet Weinberg saw that the benefits of nuclear energy came at a cost,
the price that we demand of society for this magical energy source is both a vigilance and a longevity of our social institutions to which we are quite unaccustomed.
Yet this contention has turned out to be untrue. As I pointed out in my first post on this speech, by the time Weinberg delivered it, the very molten-salt reactor technology which he had led Oak Ridge scientists in developing had made the Faustian bargain concept of nuclear energy potentially obsolete. This is a unique feature of molten-salt reactor technology. Charles Till and Y.I. Chang of Argonne National Laboratory attempted to replicate the MSBR level of safety with the IFR, but there was still a Faustian bargain aspect to the IFR. Sodium burns while molten fluoride salts do not. It is impossible to remove noble gases from IFR fuel during operation, while it is both possible and highly desirable to do so with a LFTR. The LFTR without xenon removal will not reach a one-to-one conversion ratio, and thus will eventually run out of fuel and shut down. The IFR's neutron economy does not require xenon removal, so the Faustian bargain is still in force.

Both the potential safety of molten salt nuclear technology, and its ability to destroy the most dangerous and long lived constituents of nuclear waste, the actinides including the various isotopes of plutonium. offer ways out of the Faustian bargain. Thus in terms of the classic objections to nuclear energy, which Weinberg articulated, the molten-salt reactor offered solutions to the problem of safe reactor design, and nuclear waste disposal. The "Faustian bargain" proved to not be interminable, and the keys to ending it had been developed before Weinberg left ORNL. IFR technology still involves a Faustian bargain despite the claims of its advocates to the contrary.

The Molten Salt Reactor offered truly amazing features as Uri Gat was later to point out in papers he authored with L.H. Dodds. Given the fact that the MSR established that the nuclear communities bargain with society was not inevitably a Faustian bargain. And indeed, IFR advocates would also state that the same is in fact the case with the IFR.

In a review of "NON-NUCLEAR FUTURES: The case for an ethical energy strategy" by Amory B. Lovins and John H. Price, published in Energy policy in December, 1976, Alvin Weinberg pointed to a Faustian bargain Lovins was offering his readers and society,
Despite its title, the book is not concerned with non-nuclear futures. The reader of a book so named is entitled to get from the authors a reasoned description of a feasible non-nuclear future. The authors excuse this omission with the assertion (p159), 'To show that a policy is mistaken does not oblige the analyst to have an alternative policy.' But this is inadequate. This is not dealing with a hypothetical issue, but a real one. It is not enough to point out the deficiencies of nuclear energy; one must deal with the situation that would arise if Lovins and price were successful in their onslaught: should the society indeed turn away from nuclear energy, what then?
Here Alvin Weinberg exposes Amory Lovins' Faustian bargain with our society. Weinberg Ferrets out Lovins' fundamental assumption about energy and society,
(p xxi), 'Low-energy futures can (but need not) be normative and pluralistic, whereas high-energy futures are bound to be coercive and to offer less scope for social diversity and individual freedom.
Weinberg raised a problem with Lovins' low-energy, high freedom claim, by pointing to an inevitable tradeoff between energy and time. The more energy we have, Weinberg argued, the more freedom we have to control our time. Weinberg pointed to a truth problem in Lovins' argument
So much of the argument is at the border of Science, or even trans-scientific, that one cannot prove the authors to be wrong, any more than one can prove the nuclear advocates to be wrong.
Weinberg put his finger on the greatest single environmental flaw of Lovins' argument, his failure to identify CO2 emissions from energy as a major environmental issue, and his willingness to accept carbon emitting coal as a substitute for nuclear energy. Weinberg wrote,
the authors regard net energy analysis as a convenient device for casting nuclear power in an unfavorable light, a feat they attempt to accomplish by ignoring significant comparisons, - nuclear and non=nuclear of the same doubling time and relative effects of heat release and CO2 release.
In response to Lovins recommending a coal burning bridge between the period when nuclear power was considered acceptable and the time when all energy would come from renewable resources, Weinberg asked,
Can we really ignore CO2 during the coal burning fission free bridge?
Lovins countered that he
worried about the climate effect of the release of CO2
but that nuclear power would not prevent CO2 emissions from high coal use. Clearly then Lovins offered a Faustian bargain with his anti-nuclear energy scheme. In 2010, long after a process which Lovins forecasted would have begun to shift human society from fossil fuels to renewables, coal use for energy continues to rise. If Lovins worried in 1976 about the climate effects of CO2 emissions, he did not worry sufficiently. Lovins Faustian bargain put society clearly on track for a climate disaster, and in 2010 Lovins still has not figured out how to avoid the disaster without nuclear energy. The Lovins Faustian bargain is still in force, and until we are willing to listen to Alvin Weinberg, we will continue to follow Lovins to perdition.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

David Walters on the Marxist View on Nuclear Power

avid Walters is a pro-nuclear bloger who was an early supporter of MSR nuclear technology, a worker in the electrical industry, and a dedicated Marxist. In case you get the idea that David is crazy, read this extended essay which explaines why Marxist should support Nuclear power, and the importaDnce of nuclear power for a post impearalist world order. There is a good deal that could be said in favor of much of David's srgument. I say this even though I am not a Marxist. Capitolism has proven more adapt at the organization of capital as an ordering force, in the large scale production of consumer goods. Capitolism isa able to produce massive quanities of goods, but is utterly unable to distribute its production in a way that is both equitable ans efficient. In capitolists societies, in inordinate share of final cost lies in the distribution rather than the production system.
The anti-nuclear power advocates are in no way manifing a Maexist ideology, according to David Walters. They are part of the imperialist system. Of course we have a problem for the Marxist too, because the supposedly Marxist Peoples Republic of China is part of that system too. Ot is doubtful that Marx is much read in China these days, however. Communism is just a name for a political party. I posted this because, David's views, published in Left Atomics should receive far more attewntion than they have received.  They point to evidence that Marxism is a useful intellectual tool for understanding opposition to nuclear power in post-industrial societies, It is also a useful tool for counteracting the claims of psudo-liberal opponants of nuclear power.   As I have stated, i am not a Marxist, and i am afraid that we will always have to put up with imperfect political and economic systems.  This does not mean that the Marxist have nothing to say.  David Walters, when writing about the rational for nuclear energy, and why nuclear energy is so unpopular in capitolist-imperialist societies, does have a great deal to say, and demonstates the usefulness of Marxism as an intellectual tool.

Note the link below is imperfect.  After following it, click on the Left Atomic banner, then go down the page to Communist PLP Supports Nuclear Energy.
Here is a link to Left Atomic.

To finish the link, click on the left Atomic Banner, and then go down the page to Communist PLP Supports Nuclear Energy.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

The EU will not get My Cookies

The Following Notice Appeared on My Blog  "Nuclear Green" today:
European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent. 
As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies. 
You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you.Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.
All I can say is that the EU can go to hell. If I find any cookies, I will firrst Check my Blood Sugar. If my blood sugar is in an acceptable range, I will eat them. If not, I will take a Metforman and wait for my blood sugar count to drop and then eat said cookies. I am not going to notify the EU about my cookie content. I get to eat the cookies without European help!

On The TAP Conversion Ratio

The conversion ratio ratio of the Transatomic Power Reactor (TAP Reactor).  Using moderated Plutonium and U-235 fuel, Transatomic believes that they can reach a neer breeder fuel conversion ratio, without using thorium.  The trick relies on using  U-238  to Pu-239 in a moderated reactor.  I will point to evidence that others are probably using similar tricks.

In Addendum B of the TAP White Paper, (Addendum B), Massie and Dewan explaun ahow their moderated reactor, can convert U-238 into Pu-239 at a near 1 to 1 ration, meaning that almost all of their nuclear fuel would be produced within the reactors core, while as little as two percent of the fuel has to be added to keep the chain reaction going at a constant rate.  The tricl is to use a Zirconium Hydride moderator in the center of the core, to promote criticality in that part of the reactor.  Some, but not all neutrons produced by U-235 and Pu-239 fission in the moderated core, will be slowed enough by by the moderator to promote an efficient chain reaction even with very low ratios of fissionable isotopes to U-238.  The moderated area of core is surrounded by an unmoderated pool made up of the same mix or fuel and other actinides floride salts mixed with the carrier coolant salt.  In the case of the TAP reactor the Carrier salt is LiF, which can doo heavy lifting or Uranium Flouride salts.

Neutrons that are slowed down by the moderator ptomote the chain reaction, while neutrons that miss encountering moderator atoms, escape into the unmoderated Actinide salts pool, where most of them get gobbled up by U-238 atoms, that are very good at capturing fast neutrons.  The extra neutron in rthe U-239 atom triggers a nuclear process that leads to a conversion to Pu-239, which is, of course a nuclear fuel.  What mark Massie is claiming here is that with the use of a zarcinium Hydride moderatir, and a clever core design he can produce nuclear fuel at an almost breder range, while keeping the advantages of a moderated reactor.  This is some trick indeed, though I suspect that Massie is not the only one to discover it.  David LeBlank also has claimed a very high breeding ratio from his moderated IMSR design.  I could not understand how he did this, and David has kept his cards close to his chest, but David talked about a 1 1/2 fluid core design, and in a way this is what Massie and Dewan have accomolished, but witout a barier between the fissioning core and the breeding blanket.  This by itself promotes Mark Massie, to the top ranks of 21st century reactor designers, even if his moderator does not work as advertised.  I also suspect that David LeBlank is familure with the same trick, and uses it in the IMSR but not quite with the same conversion efficiency that Mark Massie claims.  The difference between David and Mark is that David plays things very safe by using Graphite moderator, while mark is taking a risk that he can make a Zircinium Hydride moderator work.    If it does more power too him.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Transatomic Power, How Good the Science?

This all began when I attempted to write profiles of Mark Massie and Lesslie Dewan of Transatomic power.  My quest for information led me to call Ondrej Chvala, at UT, and he indirectly pointed me to a discussion of a Transatomic White paper on the Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum.  This post is an accunt of some of what I learned at the discussion.  i will not offered a detailed account of what was said, but I do offer a link to the discussion, that I hope will help curious readers.

In 2014 the Transatomic team pubished a White Paper on their nuclear trash devouring MSR dessign. This white paper set out exactly how Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie planed to build their reactor and the various claims they made about it, together with the scientific evidence that their claims were true.

There is a place where People who are interested in Molten Salt Reactors review such papers, that is the Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum.  I had a conversation with Ondrej Chev last night, and he indirectly pointed me to a Discussion of the Transatomic Power White Paper on the Energy from Thorium discussion Fo4um.  The EfT Discussion Forum, is devolted to Open Science discussions of Molten Salt Reactor Technology, and related topics.  Many of the discussions participants are nuclear engineers or scientists, who share a knowledge basis riited in the ORNL MSR literature, as well as the scientific bassis upon which ORNL's research rests, and by which it should be interpreted.  Let me suggest that the original ORNL documents, posted on the EfT Document Archieve, constitute the MER/LFTR Torah, and the EfT Discussion forum is its Mishna.  The discusions are the place to turn, if you want to know what are the problems.

When Transatomic Power published its White Paper, a new thread was started with a link to the White paper.  This thread attracked a lively discussion.  Patticipants included a number of old EfT hands, including Kirk Sorensen, who moderated the discusion to keep it on track.  At one time or a number, David LeBlanc, Lars Jorgensen, and Kirk Sorensen, all would be MSR or LFTR developers participated in the discussion.  Unfortunately Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, did not participate as well, although they were probably were aware that the discussion was taking place, and that some of their contentions were being challenged during the course of the discussion. I do not have the slightest idea why Mark and Leslie did not get involved in the discussion, but all I can say, is that their failure to participate was a mistake.  The EfT discussion of Transatomic concepts, was a serious discussion by their peers, of what they thought they could do, as opposed to an endorcement of what they thought they could do.  

In the second post of the thread, Kirk Sorensen commented:
Cladded zirconium hydride as a moderator. What will they clad it with? Hastelloy-N? The thermal neutron flux will rapidly damage the Hastelloy. Other typical cladding materials would be eaten up by the fluorides. The fluoride salt and the hydride are chemically reactive, if the salt gets into the moderator you'll have HF formation and ZrF4 formation.
Seems to me they've traded one set of problems (graphite's poor moderation and swelling) for another set (ZrH reactivity and instability).
This becomes a simi matra during the seven page thread of comments.

Cyril R. summed up the threads discussion:
Here's my main issue of concern with TAP.
They rely on a cladding that does not yet exist. Cladding development, testing, safety testing, safety analysis... will be their critical path to deployment. Its a big gamble. If they can make the cladding work reliably and safely, in a reasonable time frame, and convince regulators of this, then they are in business. If they can't make the cladding work, their ship is sinking.
The A number of material issues were touched on and there were undoubtedly other issues confronting MSR designers that could have been mentioned,  Questions were also raised abouta remarkably high fuel conversion ratio, that does not seem to be satisfactorily explained. The fact that the Transatomic power did not put in an apearance when their baby was discussed on EfT, does not bode well for their endeavor, at least for those who are in the know.


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