Saturday, October 31, 2015

A misinformed comment on nuclear power

Sir, to compare nuclear power with helping the poor is, at the very least irresponsible, and at the other end of the spectrum a very uninformed statement. This shows ones lack of knowing the facts on radiation exposure, waste storage, and waste disposal of high level nuclear waste, which by far is the most dangerous substance on the planet. You need to educate yourself before making such blasomous statements, sir!! God Bless. on Pope Francis and Nuclear Power
It is you, rather than I who needs to be educated on the science behind nuclear power and nuclear safety. I have been educated and have further educated on nuclear power from childhood onward.

You have made sweeping generalizations about my statements on nuclear power without reviewing my writings on Nucleasr Power which I set out in my blog "The Nuclear Green Revolution."I argue that Nuclear power can bring energy justice to the Global poor, because I have shown in The Nuclear Green Revolution how Molten Salt Reactor technology, can lower the cost of energy, world wide.  This is a basic requirement.  If energy cannot be brought too the poor at low prices, then their will be energy justice.  Before you make judgement on my claim, you need to look at my work and the work of others upon which my work is based, on how Molten Salt Reactors can lower energy prices.

I have far more knowledge about the problems associated with radiation.  But I also know that those problems have been largely keep under control, through the use of Nuclear safety technology.  There has never been a single human casualty in the United States, directly attributed to a reactor accident.  On the other hand many people have been killed through the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity, as well as heating and cooking.  In India tens of thousands of people were killed as the result of an accident at a chemical plant.  No such disaster has ever occurred as the result of reactor accident.  But anti-nuclear activist continue to tell us how much more dangerous radiation is than anything else.  There have been infacts deaths that can be attributed to renewable power, solar and wind.  That is right solar and wind are more dangerous than nuclear power.  As for hudro-electric, over 1000,000 people were killed in china, during a single incident in which over 50 hydro-electric dams failed at the same time.  The Glen Canyon Dam nearly failed a number of years ago.  Two dams on the cumberland River were recently discovered to be near failure.  Nuclear power is already remarkably safe, and Molten Salt reactors can improve nuclear safety even more.

What about Fukushima?  The Fukushema events had a chain of cuses.  They were caused by a very large earthquake, that produced a 45 foot high tsunamy wave.  The earthquake sut down the Japanese grid, which normally provided emergancy power to the Fukushema reactors.  A second  emergency system, one that depended on local diesel generators was overwhelmed by the tsunami.  Together these two events robbed the Fukushema plant of its ability to manage nuclear decay heating in the cores of several of its reactors.  Recent reactor designs, such as the Westinghouse AP-1000, and the GE ESBWR offer passive cooling systems, which store emergancy water in tanks located above the reactor core.  Whater from these tanks flow into the reactor core after emergency shutdowns, thus previnting core overheating.  Your comments suggest that you are unaware of safety innovations.

Finally your comments about nuclear waste, suggest that you are unaware of the scientific view of the  so called "Nuclear waste" problem.  First the word waist suggests that what comes out of a reactor's core is of no use.  This is not true.  There are two classes of materials in spent nuclear fuels.  The first is fission daughter products, while the secon is actinides.  I will look further at both. Nuclear fission leads to to the production of daughter isotopes.  The term daughter product refers to eliments that reain after fissionable Uranium and plutonium are split in a reactor.  These daughter products are radioactive, and as they release radiation they are transformed into further daughters, that continue to decay until the daughter chain reaches a stable form, at which time it ceases to be radioactive, and no longer decays.  Taken togeather the radioactivity of the daughter product ceases to be dangerous after 300 years.  It is not at all difficult to manage radioactive materials that will be safe after 300 years,   But the stable daughters include many materials that industry desires, including rare and highly desirable materials.  so the 300 year old safe nuclear daughter stockpile is likely to be mined by industry.  So at least some of the nuclear waste will bot go to waste.

A secon class of materials found in spent nuclear fuel is actinides.  By far the most common actinide in spent fuel is U-238, the major componant of natural uranium.  U-238 is slightly radioactive, but not dangerous.  People live over areas of high natural uranium concentration in the ground.  They do not get cancer in exceptional ways.  They do not give birth to two headed babies, or babies with three eyes.  In fact their babies are normal, with no epidemics of childhood cancer or birth defects.  So U-238 is not dangerous.  There is also a slight amount of fissionable U-235 in spent nuclear fuel, with a larger amount of fissionable Pu-239 in spent nuclear fuel.  It is not a well known fact but their are enough fissionable isotopes in spent fuel to use it to power heavy water reactors like the CANDU reactor.  Another trick would involve separating the various isotopes of plutonium found in spent nuclear fuel, and burning them in Molten Salt Reactors such as the one proposed by Transatomic Power.  The various actinides found in spent fuel can also be used to power breeder reactors, such as the IFR other liquid metal fast breeders, or recently proposed molten salt fast breedersm including both chloride and fluoride fast breeders.  Fast breeders feature neutron efficiency with uranium cycle fast breeding, but poor scaleability.  Thermal thorium breeders like the proposed Chinese TMSR or Kirk Sorensen's LFTR offer superior scalability, but require expensive and time consuming research and development.  Breeder reactors offer a superior spent nuclear fuel solution that turns the so called problem of nuclear waste into an asset.

My observations are based on my reading of scientific and science based literature.  I am not sure that this is the case for my unnamed critic, who thinks that I need to be furthewr educated.  My critic does not mention any sources from which I might educate myself, but if a name were to be dropped it might well be Helen Caldicott.

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