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icefest

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2014, 06:14:44 AM »
Interesting link JimD.

Would you agree with the summary of the Oil Drum, especially what I have highlighted in bold?

There are great potential gains and great potential costs with nuclear power. Existing reactors seems to work well and mostly safely although waste disposal problems remain. If the uranium resource limitation people are correct then we cannot go much further without a new technology, perhaps based on thorium. Various issues related to terrorism are more important than they used to be. Earlier “new technologies” such as Breeders (Clinch River, Super Phoenix) have been abandoned as too expensive. Plumbing issues have plagued the Candu style reactors, although they appear intrinsically cheaper and safer and do not require energy-intensive enrichment. Fusion is still many decades away. So there is no free lunch with nuclear. Nevertheless it is possible that nuclear fission should be considered as a transition fuel on our way to solar or something else simply because the cycle emits far less CO2 than does any fossil fuel. In our opinion we need a very high level series of analyses to review all of these issues. Even if this is done it seems extremely likely that very strong opinions, both positive and negative, shall remain. There may be no resolution to the nuclear question that will be politically viable.

While I may not agree with everything they say, their summary seems to be reasonable enough to me.
Open other end.

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2014, 06:12:08 PM »
icefest

There are great potential gains and great potential costs with nuclear power....

Nevertheless it is possible that nuclear fission should be considered as a transition fuel

My bold.  I agree with the general statement in that there are clearly potential benefits as well as potential costs.  And that nuclear should be considered.  This is what I have stated many times.  As I pointed out a few days ago I "used to be" an advocate for nuclear.  Part of the reason that I am now adamantly opposed to nuclear is from the years I spent on TheOilDrum reading and participating in very high level technical discussions on energy technology and risk benefit issues.  While I do not claim to be highly technical in that I am not a PhD level physicist or engineer I was a practicing engineer for a long time and I do have a lot of experience in practical real world applied risk analysis (so I do have expert level credentials in that area).  I was a systems level type of professional who was expected to understand and take into account variables from a wide range of fields (not all scientific as we also needed to understand political issues and human nature).

So back to the fundamental reason I am opposed to nuclear.  It is NOT that I do not recognize that it has potential (more the advanced and yet undeployed generations vice the current versions) but I professionally cannot escape considering the risks as well.  Without going into excruciating detail I oppose nuclear because to me the risks far outweigh the possible gain.  Intense advocates of nuclear power almost never will even discuss the risks and this is one reason I fight with them so much.  They do not have a balanced approach and often seem to seek to hide from inconvieniant facts.

There is no question that the existing nuclear power structure is inherently dangerous.  Chernobyl, Fukashima, Three-Mile Island, nuclear waste storage as examples of this danger.  Accidents happen.  Cleaning up nuclear accidents is monstrously difficult.  Chernobyl, 25 years later, is still going to cost tens of millions more and will likely need work for the rest of this century.  New studies just out indicate significant adverse effects of the radiation on the ecosystem down to the microbe level.  Fukashima is still not under full control and we have no idea what it will eventually cost or what the total damage will be.  It could still get away from us and get worse.  Cleanup will take at least 40 years if nothing further bad goes wrong which is not certain.  In the next 40 years there will almost certainly be at least one and maybe two more accidents with this generation of technology to add to the above burden of costs.  Waste storage is a subject so well known to have huge controversy I don't feel a need to go into it other than to say it is a cost requirement which will last hundreds of years. 

When we look at the EROEI numbers for nuclear from cradle to grave and consider the above issues it points to a huge problem in determining the worth of nuclear power.  We actually are completely incapable of calculating an EROEI for the existing nuclear infrastructure because we still have no idea what the costs will be.  By the time you add in the costs of cleaning up Chernobly, Fukashima, the next accidents to come, and the storage issue - plus its potential problems out several hundred years, it is highly possible that the eventual EROEI for the type of deployed nuclear we have now will be below 1.  In other words we will have been better off never having built any of them in the first place.  And the future would be much safer.

There can be no disagreement that we are currently in a declining EROEI situation which constrains tightly our flexibility to use resources to deal with problems while at the same time adjusting to a rapidly growing population, degrading infrastructure, harder to get and scarcer mineral resources, rising carbon emissions, and so on.  The financial system is way out of balance and heading in a negative direction due to that declining EROEI and rising requirements of growth and population.  And then we have the big gorilla named AGW sticking his head up which will overwhelm any and all other factors.

It is almost impossible at this point to be able to allocate the funds and resources required to deal with the clean up and shut down of the current nuclear infrastructure - a hard requirement.  The buildout of a fully renewable power infrastructure for the world is also likely impossible due to our inability to find the wealth, resources and political will required.  We have almost no choice but to spend the wealth and resources required for the basic infrastructure needed by the 2+ billion people we are going to add to the worlds population by 2050.  We have to allocate significant wealth and resources to maintaining the infrastructure for the 7 billion people we have now.  Global politics and resource conflicts make the global system less efficient I think we all will agree and they are going to get much, much worse over the next few decades.  AGW is going to get much, much worse over the next few decades.  Water supplies, top soil, arable land, ocean acidification, deforesting.  The list goes on and on and does not stop and just gets worse over time.  This is what being way over the carrying capacity of the Earth means.  It is a pure example of being unsustainable. 

It is clear that we are out of time and huge bottlenecks are approaching.  How in the above environment are you going to be able to find the resources, wealth and political will to develop, build and install a new generation of nuclear power generation facilities?  Such a process would take at least the same number of decades as the proposed buildout of the renewable power infrastructure and much of the same wealth and resources.  It is highly unlikely that you can do both at the same time.

It is highly unlikely that the wealth, resources, and political will exist to manage this transition.  And the risk of attempting it is HUGE.  The reason I answer in the negative is that the risk far outweighs the gain so we dare not attempt to solve our problem that way.  It is off the table as an option.

The core problem to solve is raising the chances of human survival as high as possible.  If we do this then all the other things we love become more likely to also be possible in the future (like our love of the structure of civilization - I am not sure I share that love but I am trying to look out for you).  We can consciously choose to give up layers of civilizational complexity and reduce our resource consumption, carbon emissions, population and lots of other things and manage the downward transition still, but not for much longer if we keep delaying.  Remember the really valuable developments of human culture are not in ANY WAY delivered by industrial civilization and one could make a good argument that industrial civilization degrades those cultural accomplishments.  So the value of our very complex industrial civilization is way over rated.

I advocate for the path that reason indicates is the best path for our survival and the eventual achievement of our human potential. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2014, 08:19:20 PM »
JimD


Is there a place for very small nuclear plants. The kind now in place on submarines, aircraft carriers or Russian icebreakers. For far northern cities that are otherwise burning diesel or coal it seems as though such installations might make sense.


Terry

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2014, 08:33:06 PM »
Terry

I don't know any specifics about military scale nuclear power plants.  I would think it very likely that the EROEI of one of them is much less than a very large power plant.  Scale normally works that way.  But if something goes wrong who is responsible to pay for the expense of cleanup?  A community with one of those things would not have anywhere near the resources or expertise required if whole countries struggle to deal with such problems.  Not to mention having the expertise to run such a plant in the first place.

For very cold far north locations would not a geo-thermal installation be a better candidate?  And much safer and cheaper.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #54 on: March 27, 2014, 09:24:25 PM »
Whether we like it or not, nuclear power will be a much bigger part of our future.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide/

Stephen

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2014, 04:01:23 AM »
Whether we like it or not, nuclear power will be a much bigger part of our future.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide/

That site says that
"Numerous power reactors in USA, Belgium, Sweden and Germany, for example, have had their generating capacity increased. "

I thought Germany was closing all it's nuclear plants?
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SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2014, 11:56:11 AM »
Whether we like it or not, nuclear power will be a much bigger part of our future.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide/

That site says that
"Numerous power reactors in USA, Belgium, Sweden and Germany, for example, have had their generating capacity increased. "

I thought Germany was closing all it's nuclear plants?
You are right - Germany is on track closing all nuclear power plants until 2022. http://www.atom-aktuell.de/energiewirtschaft/atomkraftwerke-in-deutschland.html

The extension of life span in 2010 was cancelled after Fukushima in 2011. Since there is agreement of all parties in German parliament I see no reason to question the closing.

For me it looks like nuclear industry is feeling the crisis and trying hard to get any new nuclear power plant to be planned in Europe. So please take care that you are able to detect manipulative journalism - like that article from Monbiot above. That manipulative language is very easy to see, if you are aware: It is the same kind of manipulation you all know very well from denialists.

Stephen

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2014, 01:24:40 PM »
Well, I really wish they would keeps their nukes plants open.  Its an infinitely better choice than mining more lignite.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/energy/2014/02/140211-germany-plans-to-raze-towns-for-brown-coal/
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SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2014, 02:06:28 PM »
Well, I really wish they would keeps their nukes plants open.  Its an infinitely better choice than mining more lignite.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/energy/2014/02/140211-germany-plans-to-raze-towns-for-brown-coal/
Stephen, I understand you. From a global perspective it would be better first to shut down lignite/tar sands/fracking and the like. But from a more lokal perspective it should be very easy to understand, that Germans are much easier to motivate to pay a hugh amount for "Energiewende", if the local nuclear risks are reduced first. There was a lot of effort undertaken to find a global strategy to reduce CO2 - but all attempts like e.g. Kyoto-treaty failed. So it is not possible today to ask Germans to pay for CO2 reduction. Lokal poeple still profit a bit from that big lignite burning - you can see the holes from sattelite and the machines are really big: https://maps.google.de/maps?q=maps&ll=51.060545,6.497807&spn=0.003102,0.006539&hq=maps&hnear=Aachen,+Nordrhein-Westfalen&t=h&z=18

But lignite burning is not on the rise due to nuclear exit - lignite is about stable and will be stable for near future, since new plants did replace older plants a few years ago and life-time is >30 years for a plant and the corresponding hole.

To conclude: I think your wish may become a reallity one day, when other nations also shut down their tar sands/ fracking / deep oil drilling/... That CO2 problem must be solved together. Since that is prooven not to be possible today getting out of nuclear first is the logical and practical way to go for Germany.

edit: Of course there is a simple way to reduce the usage of lignite in Germany: Larger costs for emission certificates would make electricty from coal more expensive again. That would hit lignite first and RWE would quit business sooner than they are planning.... Just like nuclear at least the old lignite fire plants are not compatible with renewables anyway (as explained in the tipping renewables thread last year) and both will have no future, therefore.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 06:31:00 PM by SATire »

Neven

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #59 on: March 30, 2014, 02:13:33 PM »
Well, I really wish they would keeps their nukes plants open.  Its an infinitely better choice than mining more lignite.

Energy efficiency and the replacement of consumer culture are an even more infinitely better choice.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2014, 11:02:54 PM »
full scale implementation of Gen IV nuclear in regional manufacturing districts, for the production of regional efficiency, transportation and renewable generation equipment must start immediately.  we only really have 15 years for full implementation before permafrost and carbon cycle (as well as food production and weather impacts) begin to make things much more difficult to address.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #61 on: April 01, 2014, 12:13:23 PM »
The most important technology for CO2 emissions reduction, is the fast breeder reactor and in particular, the integral fast reactor, the GE Hitachi S-PRISM.  These reactors are not only safer than Gen 111 they are 100 times more efficient, one tonne of uranium or nuclear waste replaces 2 million tonnes of coal.   Just 7000 tonnes of uranium or nuclear waste could potentially replace the current annual global fossil carbon fuel use of 14 billion tonnes saving 35 billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.  The current global stockpile of nuclear waste could potentially power the planet for 100 years.

The S-PRISM 311 MWe can be mass produced in a factory and bought to site in modular form.  If mass produced on a WW11 type production program, IFRs could ultimately replace all fossil fuel energy generation and possibly enable human civilisation to meet the emissions reductions required by RCP 2.6.

The integral fast reactor (IFR) was developed by the US government at the Argonne National Laboratory and its proto type the EBR 11 ran for 30 years proving to be both passively safe and highly efficient.

See http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/dr-john-sackett/171-operating-and-test-experience-for-the-experimental-breeder-reactor-ii-ebr-ii.html

However the Clinton/Gore administration terminated this program in 1994 on ideological grounds.  Unfortunately history consistently shows that when the human psyche is confronted with a conflict between beliefs and scientific evidence, beliefs invariably win. 

In this case, while Gore understood the full implications of global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions, his ideological, political belief about nuclear power blinded him to the benefits of this technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor

Since this decision by the Clinton Administration annual global fossil carbon emissions have increased by nearly 50% possibly dooming human civilisation to a RCP8.5 emissions scenario.

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #62 on: April 01, 2014, 01:36:40 PM »
However the Clinton/Gore administration terminated this program in 1994 on ideological grounds.  Unfortunately history consistently shows that when the human psyche is confronted with a conflict between beliefs and scientific evidence, beliefs invariably win. 

In this case, while Gore understood the full implications of global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions, his ideological, political belief about nuclear power blinded him to the benefits of this technology.
I would kindly ask you to be careful with such claims. Especially to claim a shut down was due to "ideological" means or that there may be a psychological problem "with a conflict between beliefs and scientific evidence".

E.g. as I am a physicist (with PhD) I may belief in the principle possibility to run a nuclear power plant in a safe mode for ever. However evidences are numerous, that incidences happen regardlessly. Even for a straight physical scientist it is hard to argue against the life-time of nuclear waste and to perform a proper risk analysis - because human psyche is involved significantly during running that power plant, too. If there is a risk of 1 major accident every 10,000 years that results in a major accident every 25 years in a world with 400 power plants. Do you want to scale that by a factor of 100 needed to reduce CO2 emission for some years? 

And human psyche is also involved significantly during rating technologies like e.g. fast breeding: A good test for yourself is to consider the technology you recommend for use in e.g. Iran - it may reduce CO2 emission there, too. If you consider that a bad idea it could be, that your recommendation was ideological motivated, too. (For non-expert: breeders need MOX - so you have to build a plutonium process chain. That stuff is dangerous and there are several possibilities for misuse).

To come to the point: Human psyche fears some possible misuse of dangerous stuff. Human psyche fears some risk>zero if scaled to >400 plants. Human psyche fears to be challenged a bit to much by the task to take care for the waste for >100,000 years. All those fears are not stupid and should be taken seriously. If those fears are taken seriously by a politican that should not be called ideoligical. That is exactly, what politicans should do: Take the principal (citizen) seriously.

Finaly: Please stay with good arguments pro and con and please do not try to manipulate the reader with suggestive language.

tombond

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #63 on: April 01, 2014, 03:41:40 PM »
Interesting comments from Jim Hansen on green opposition to nuclear power, he compares them to climate change deniers.

http://www.cleanbiz.asia/blogs/thoughts-ningbo-china-and-renewables-only-lobby?page=show

Hansen understands better than anyone on the planet the danger of using carbon fossil fuels and also understands that using only non-nuclear renewables means increasing CO2.
 

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #64 on: April 01, 2014, 05:40:30 PM »
Is nuclear energy really low-emission?

Unfortunately, the notion that nuclear energy is a low-emission technology doesn’t really stack up when the whole nuclear fuel life cycle is considered. In reality, the only CO2-free link in the chain is the reactor’s operation. All of the other steps – mining, milling, fuel fabrication, enrichment, reactor construction, decommissioning and waste management – use fossil fuels and hence emit carbon dioxide.

Several analyses by researchers who are independent of the nuclear industry have found that total CO2 emissions depend sensitively on the grade of uranium ore mined and milled. The lower the grade, the more fossil fuels are used, and so the higher the resulting emissions.

In one such study, the nuclear physicist (and nuclear energy advocate) Manfred Lenzen found that CO2 emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle increase from 80 grams per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh) where uranium ore is high-grade at 0.15%, to 131 g/kWh where the ore grade declines to low-grade at 0.01%.

Other experts, such as nuclear energy critics Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith, using assumptions less favourable to nuclear energy, have reported an increase in emissions from 117 g/kWh for high-grade ore to 437 g/kWh for low-grade ore.

For comparison, the life-cycle emissions from wind power are 10–20 g/kWh, depending upon location, and from gas-fired power stations 500–600 g/kWh. So depending on your choice of analysis, nuclear power can be viewed as almost as emissions-intensive as gas.

http://theconversation.com/sure-lets-debate-nuclear-power-just-dont-call-it-low-emission-21566
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #65 on: April 01, 2014, 05:46:46 PM »
Hansen wrote:
The renewables-can-do-all greens are combining with the fossil industry to lock-in widespread expansion of fracking.
This is clearly not true. Greens are very oppposed to fracking.

I'm afraid Hansen is going too far with his support of nuclear and negative attitude towards renewables.

Hansen understands better than anyone on the planet the danger of using carbon fossil fuels and also understands that using only non-nuclear renewables means increasing CO2.
This was already demonstrated to be false. In 2013 wind power was largest electricity source in Spain and coal consumption dropped about 20%. The same happened in Portugal.

Therefore saying that renewables can't reduce emissions is just factually false.

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #66 on: April 01, 2014, 10:01:26 PM »
Interesting comments from Jim Hansen on green opposition to nuclear power, he compares them to climate change deniers.

http://www.cleanbiz.asia/blogs/thoughts-ningbo-china-and-renewables-only-lobby?page=show

Hansen understands better than anyone on the planet the danger of using carbon fossil fuels and also understands that using only non-nuclear renewables means increasing CO2.
point 1: With very similar arguments and wording I could compare nuclear agents with fossil fuel agents. That makes no sense.

point 2: Is there any prove that using nuclear means reducing CO2? What is the reason for a word like "non-nuclear renewables"?

point 3: I concur with Hansen that green fundamentalism is similar to fossil fundamentalism or any other fundamentalism in wording/acting/ and maybe also way of thinking (not sure about the latter since that is a secret). Of course that does not justify any conclusions concerning non-fundamentalistic green positions...

jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #67 on: April 05, 2014, 06:17:24 AM »
As a strict fuel-switch nuclear is has a lower global warming impact than coal and likely lower than natural gas.  The Caldeira paper is essential to this point, however, the paper only looks at CO2 and does not include fugitive methane leaks which are a significant warming impact for natural gas.

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014019/pdf/1748-9326_7_1_014019.pdf

Here is a writeup on it, note the curves for net CO2 reductions:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/03/01/428764/ddrop-in-warming-requires-rapid-massive-deployment039-of-zero-carbon-power-not-gas/

I have considerable background in this field and had previously decided that it must wait for humanity to mature a little bit (i.e. no war) but now I understand that, to achieve the CO2 emission reductions necessary for us to maintain a modern vibrant society we must build many next gen nuclear plants immediately and use the energy to supply renewable equipment and energy conservation production, on a WWII mobilization scale.

That is the only technical solution that I am aware of so far.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #68 on: April 05, 2014, 07:41:45 AM »
I've generally leaned in favour of nuclear power - but I just went away to do a little reading up (as someone asked the question on my new forum) and it looks to me as though there's rather a lot of nuclear reactors out there that wouldn't be "collapse safe" in the sense that they rely upon a continual flow of cooling water to keep them within safe parameters.

While nuclear power plants do have a key advantage over fossil plants in being kept running as conditions become harder (no need to continually extract and transport vast quantities of raw materials on a day to day basis), I'm not sure it would really be the right thing to do to embark on a rampant nuclear building programme if there was any chance at all of collapse forcing all (or even a portion) of them to be left to fail years or decades hence. That would be an extra complication people trying to make their way forwards really wouldn't need.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #69 on: April 06, 2014, 09:25:56 PM »
As I have stated the logical reason to oppose nuclear power and expansion is risk benefit analysis.

It is just not worth the risk.

WASHINGTON — Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the United States, including the operator of Indian Point 2, in Buchanan, N.Y., have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake that revised estimates say they might face, according to industry experts.

As a result, the reactors’ owners will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components. Those are generally sturdier than assumed in licensing documents, but owners of some plants may be forced to make physical changes,......

There ARE going to be accidents.  Accidents are very hard to clean up and very expensive and dramatically reduce the EROEI of nuclear power.  As AGW progresses, population rises, EROEI declines, wealth shrinks, resources dwindle, etc it will become increasingly harder to cleanup and pay for nuclear accidents and the frequency of accidents should increase.  The point will be reached where cleanup is not possible - if we have not already reached that point.

Continuing current nuclear power and expanding it is highly perilous and extremely risky behavior.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/nyregion/dozens-of-nuclear-reactors-must-prove-safety-under-revised-quake-estimates.html?_r=0
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #70 on: April 07, 2014, 03:09:37 PM »
The point will be reached where cleanup is not possible - if we have not already reached that point.

I seem to recall that you're also a reader of The Economist? The latest edition carries an article subtitled:

"Britain is paying dearly for neglecting its nuclear waste"

Sellafield is the trickiest of several challenges facing the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a government body that manages the contractors who swab out Britain’s defunct facilities. Their projects swallow up about two-thirds of the budget of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

For some strange reason The Economist seems to be unaware of GE Hitachi's offer to build a Gen IV reactor at Sellafield to process our "soupy, radioactive sludge" on a "no win, no fee" basis. What's your analysis of the potential risks and benefits to the UK (and the rest of the planet) of not taking up GEH on their generous offer?
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JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #71 on: April 07, 2014, 04:44:55 PM »
Hi Jim,

On a search the first link that pops up says this about Gen IV reactors.

Most of these designs are generally not expected to be available for commercial construction before 2030

I also would note that when a giant international corporation offers to 'help' that it is often cause for concern if not alarm.  We should have a pretty good idea who's interests they have in mind.

There is probably no technical subject so loaded with emotion as nuclear power.  Advocates ignore the problems, accidents, lies, costs and risks found in the history of the nuclear industry as well as the possible negative issues which could arise in the future.  Those utterly opposed ignore its potential to leap to another energy level where we could transition away from the suite of fossil fuels and the damage they cause to  a future envisioned in many science fiction novels.

But this is not a black and white issue.  We have deep and profound problems that bring with them risks which will eventually turn into reality.  We can't make faith based decisions this time.  We have to be ruthlessly realistic and pragmatic. This is our last chance.

I am hardly the first person to make the arguments about risk-benefit I put forward.  No one that I am aware of has ever made a substantial rebuttle of them.  I will remain unconvinced that choosing to go all in with nuclear power is anything but an ill considered bet by a bunch of addicted gamblers desperate to recoup their losses until I am presented with arguments which demolish my concerns.

The risks we face could not be higher - WWII was child's play in comparison.
Time has largely run out - we do not have the 30-40 years to execute.
The technical overhaul required is very likely beyond our time/wealth capabilities.
The demand on resources is very high and going higher.
AGW is going to degrade everything substantially soon and will only get worse.
All meaningful metrics are on long term downward trends.
etc.

You know what I am talking about.  Maybe better than I do. 

There is a high probability that we cannot avoid collapse and going all in on technical solutions will only result in more severe problems and a deeper collapse and more catastrophic results.  There are other options which deserve full consideration as they carry much less total risk and excellent prospects for a long term future - people will just have to toughen up a bit and quit living like rich people.  Retreat in the face of annihilation is not a sign of cowardice but the acceptance of reality and presents the opportunity for eventual counterattack. 

Please directly address the risk/benefit analysis of nuclear power, or ask those you know to do so, as this is the crux of opposition to what you want to do.  As I stated before, I came to this opposition from a position of support for nuclear, but changed my mind the more I considered the long term risks and our likely inability to deal with them in the current circumstances.  On a global basis we are completely unable to make relatively simple decisions and stick to them.  This is a huge decision and we have to take into account our demonstrated inability to act in a collective sense.  If we cannot execute decisions when presented with irrefutable evidence how intelligent is it to proceed down a technical path almost devoid of rational discourse?   

   
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How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #72 on: April 10, 2014, 05:05:53 AM »
Please directly address the risk/benefit analysis of nuclear power, or ask those you know to do so, as this is the crux of opposition to what you want to do.  As I stated before, I came to this opposition from a position of support for nuclear, but changed my mind the more I considered the long term risks and our likely inability to deal with them in the current circumstances.

I can simply state that hundreds of thousands of lives have already been saved in the United States by the air and water pollution abatement that nuclear power has provided by supplanting that same amount of coal-fired power.

With regard to future risk.  The U.S. now has over 60 years of nuclear power operations with no lives lost.   

The cost of water pollution from coal mining in the Appalachians, the release of coal ash into waterways, the spread of trace mercury from coal smokestacks and the ultimate destruction of the global food production environment from CO2 emissions indicates that nuclear power, though far from perfect, may provide an immediate "bridge" to allow the domestic mass production of solar and wind power systems, plug-in electric and public transportation systems, and decentralized food production equipment/systems.  At this time, supplanting fossil fuels is far more important than worrying about nebulous future risk associated with collapse.  If it all goes then it all goes, either we work to prevent it from going or we let it go.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #73 on: April 10, 2014, 01:47:38 PM »
Hi Jim,

But this is not a black and white issue.  We have deep and profound problems that bring with them risks which will eventually turn into reality.  We can't make faith based decisions this time.  We have to be ruthlessly realistic and pragmatic. This is our last chance.

From a response to my comment at The Economist:

Working in the nuclear industry in the UK I can tell you several things on this proposition: PRISM is a prototype, there's not even one under construction in the world let alone one operational. Should it be built in the UK, it will still take a really really long time to "consume" these wastes, and they must be reprocessed beforehand (it's not like burning garbage to obtain thermal energy from the fire)

Finally it should be noted there is a considerable amount of waste cans in Sellafield that are not properly labelled so nobody knows what the hell is in these. And it's not like the NDA can simply open them to check what's inside.
I am not at all opposed to this project as I find it both interesting and ambitious, however it is not a picture as rosy as GE-Hitachi would have you believe.

Leaving faith aside, what are the realistic risks associated with all those improperly labelled cans of nuclear waste? What are the realistic risks associated with building some Gen-IV hardware that promises to properly sort out that mess? What are the realistic risks associated with the UK's current cunning plan, which seems to involve promising to pay the French, Chinese and Russians on demand vast numbers of Great British Pounds for building some more Gen-III kit?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #74 on: April 10, 2014, 05:35:53 PM »
Hi Jim,

This quote from the comment above yours is the perfect example of why I am utterly opposed to expanding nuclear power and am in favor or shutting down all existing nuclear power.

If it all goes then it all goes, either we work to prevent it from going or we let it go.

This quote in a nutshell is a perfect representation of the magnitude of the resistance to consider risks in a proper context.  The whole point of risk analysis is to stop this kind of decision making and replace it with rational pragmatic thought.  The statement advocates doubling down on the assumption that we will get lucky and technical progress will save us.  And it completely ignores the consequences of a failure of that assumption.  This is not rational.

I am certain that you understand what I am talking about and what kind of risk analysis I am talking about.  So I will leave further discussion here for other info and news which comes up as this seems to be ending where all these discussions end.

I will point out once again that part of the problem with advocating BAU is the premise inherent in that position that what we think of as industrial civilization is what we need to save.  That premise, in my opinion, is utterly wrong as what is valuable about human existence is existence, love, morals, ethics, philosophy, culture and none of those things derive from or are dependent upon industrial civilization.  If industrial civilization is killing us then we get rid of it and try something else.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #75 on: April 10, 2014, 06:35:41 PM »
The statement advocates doubling down on the assumption that we will get lucky and technical progress will save us.  And it completely ignores the consequences of a failure of that assumption.

Since you decided to respond to my statement with more assumptions and incorrect assertions I am sure to respond to you.

This statement is not a doubling down on us getting "lucky".  It is (one of) the only path(s) that will produce the decarbonization of the national economy (leading to global decarbonization), short of advocating a catastrophic global depopulation.

The consequences of failure with regard to climate change is a BAU strategy that does not lead to significant CO2 emissions reductions in the next 20 years.  This scenario produces several catastrophic feedback effects that will push the globally averaged temperature above 6'C (above pre-industrial) in the next 80 years and above 12'C over the following consecutive 120 years.

At this point, the earth will have experienced a global extinction greater than any in the geological record.

The reason that this is true is that in 20 years of BAU emissions we will have ensured a 10'C temperature increase by 2080 in the arctic that will produce massive boreal forest collapse, boreal peat GHG feedback response, albedo feedback and permafrost methane emissions.

your assertion that a few nuclear power plants, as a technical bridge to a decarbonization strategy that will prevent global collapse, produces significantly more risk than this environmental catastrophe is simply not correct.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #76 on: April 10, 2014, 08:04:39 PM »
Fighting Our Fossil-Nuke Extinction

   
...in a world dominated by no-fault corporations, the fossil industry will pour ever-more lethal poisons into our air and water, land and crops, and all else on which we depend.

    The same is true of atomic energy. A new scientific report about Chernobyl warns that in at least some of the forests saturated with radiation leaked from that nuclear plant, the natural cycle of decay has all but ceased...

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/fighting_our_fossil-nuke_extinction_20140408
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #77 on: April 10, 2014, 08:11:29 PM »
The reason that this is true is that in 20 years of BAU emissions we will have ensured a 10'C temperature increase by 2080 in the arctic that will produce massive boreal forest collapse, boreal peat GHG feedback response, albedo feedback and permafrost methane emissions.

I don't see how you can be so sure these outcomes aren't already locked in. While the science doesn't necessarily say they are - it isn't necessarily correct either on that point (having tended to underestimate rate and severity of changes to date).

your assertion that a few nuclear power plants, as a technical bridge to a decarbonization strategy that will prevent global collapse, produces significantly more risk than this environmental catastrophe is simply not correct.

How many is a few? There are currently over 400 in operation and around 70 under construction. They are meeting only a fraction of total energy needs. Using the older fuel cycles there would only be enough nuclear fuel in the world for a couple of decades at current demand rates - using later fuel cycles (if I understand correctly) would produce harder to handle waste. Nuclear power is not cheap over the whole lifecycle. If collapse occurred, those plants could not be decommissioned - some fraction would likely fail catastrophically (like Fukushima, and the rest would fester for however long).

To build any major piece of infrastructure, including a nuclear power station, is going to entail a significant initial energy input (and resource cost). Can you tell me how many tons of carbon are emitted by all the activity required to get a plant up and running and how long it takes to get a plant operational from having started construction - and then still say it's a meaningful strategy?

Much better to divert the equivalent effort into reducing energy consumption.

We don't need heating (beyond perhaps that temperature keeping water unfrozen in pipes), air conditioning, tens of power hungry gadgets, etc. Compelling people to use less power would be a more effective strategy. In fact - beyond lighting - do we really need power in most households at all? Why the need to burn a lot of energy and resources on short term nuclear power - when we could simply drastically cut energy use?

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #78 on: April 10, 2014, 09:11:07 PM »
To build any major piece of infrastructure, including a nuclear power station, is going to entail a significant initial energy input (and resource cost). Can you tell me how many tons of carbon are emitted by all the activity required to get a plant up and running and how long it takes to get a plant operational from having started construction - and then still say it's a meaningful strategy?

I can't but Myhrvold and Caldiera (2012) can http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014019

A good summary can be found here:


Here is the graphic display of CO2 equivalencies


Even this comprehensive analysis shows that, using freemarket principles, the technological integration of decarbonization will be far too slow.  This is why I advocate a WWII style total resource allociation and societal mobilization as the only viable preventative strategy.

------

we cannot be assured that a 10C rise in polar amplification by 2080 is not already ensured.  But to go another 20 years of BAU emissions will definitely ensure it. 

I believe that the Holocene Neolithic land-use emissions prevented a return to ice age conditions as early as 2,000 years ago and certainly during the "little ice age".  Therefore, we will have to geoengineer a significant atmospheric decrease of Carbon Dioxide over the next 60 years, reducing atmospheric burdens to 350 ppmv.

To do this we must utilize all means available.

------------

wili

for your information, Harvey wasserman is an anti-nuclear disinformation actor who benefits economically from producing fear and disinformation to his audience.  His analysis of the fukushima accident (he claims multiple core "china-syndrome" into the regional water table - this is a blatantly false statement)

when H.W. produces a statement like
A new scientific report about Chernobyl warns that in at least some of the forests saturated with radiation

but the new scientific report claims no such "saturation" (even the term has no absolute meaning!)  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-014-2908-8

The linked article is so full of disinformation, exaggeration and false assumptions that it is absolutely embarrassing that it is even on TruthDig.

----------

Chernobyl was a soviet cold-war era nuclear power plant with a positive temperature and void coefficient of reactivity, lack of adequate containment dome, an inherently weakened pressure vessel by design (for refueling while at power), and the series of compounding operator error, including but not limited to the complete deactivation of the pre-critical high delta reactivity shutdown safety.

This cannot be compared with modern reactors, western reactors and reactors designed within the last 10 years.  Especially post Fukushima.

-----------

To say that the inherent threat of nuclear power is too dangerous

does not consider

the absolutely catastrophic certainty of the emissions produced by relying on coal and natural gas for the overwhelming energy needed to produce renewable energy, electric energy efficiency, electric transportation and sustainable resource/food management in our current society
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2014, 02:40:28 AM »
Hi jai.

You do not do your argument any good by resorting to (especially unsupported) character assassination and sneers.

We get it. You like nukes and see no problem with them. You are not likely to be persuaded otherwise, and we are not likely to be persuaded by your tantrums.

So rather than drag this otherwise mostly civil forum into the mud, let's all just give if a rest, shall we? I'm sure there are other subjects on which a clever bloke like you can illuminate the discussion without resorting to such acrimony? If so, please do.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2014, 03:55:04 AM »
wili,

It isn't just a matter of "liking" nuclear or not.  My assertions regarding Harvey Wasserman are absolutely factual.

It isn't a smear to show that a person is making outrageous claims that are intended to drive fear into the hearts of good, though uninformed people. 

for instance, he asserts in his article that the Fukushima reactor is killing people.  He links a story that describes a lawsuit that has been brought by sailors of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and in the links to that article is shows what the maximum radiation dose was experienced by the ship.  This is a nuclear powered ship with nuclear detectors and power plant operators onboard.   Do you think that those personnel didn't know what their exposure risk was?  They have to wear radiation detectors on their persons at all times (I know I used to be one!).  Why is it that none of them are party to the lawsuit?

In the link the transcripts show that the maximum airborne contamination was "30 times" background" which, in the middle of the pacific is extremely low.  The amount that was discovered was "2.5 times 10 to the negative nine microcuries per milliliter"  This is below 1/24th the limit for occupational exposure to Cesium-137

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part020/appb/Cesium-137.html

Similarly, the claims for the 15 tuna caught off of California having detectable fukushima radioactivity doesn't show that the amount of radiation from fukushima was significantly below the amounts of natural radiation that is in every fish on the planet. (about 1/20th the amount of radiation found in a normal banana!)  This is like saying that there is a problem with milk because we can detect fallout from nuclear tests (we can and do, though the amount is far below dangerous levels).

I am sorry if you think my personal attacks are unfair.  I am not kidding around here.  This technology is necessary if we are going to reduce our emissions below the levels we need so that we can ensure the survival of our children and grandchildren.





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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2014, 04:34:17 AM »
I can't but Myhrvold and Caldiera (2012) can http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014019

A good summary can be found here:


Here is the graphic display of CO2 equivalencies


Thanks very much for that - good stuff (if you don't mind I might bring it over with attribution onto my forum, as it feeds into the transition stuff).

I do still have one observation though - the abstract for the linked paper indicates there is no scope to have any effects in the first half of this century, so one is necessarily targeting the later part of the century. That is still a future world that is incompatible with a globally organised community (if I might quote Kevin Andersons phrase).

So instead of building lots of anything - why don't we just stop using energy? Why not ration households for instance - let people use enough power to run a couple of energy efficient light bulbs and a small computer or television and nothing else?

We could do this virtually immediately and back it up (and many other ideas for dramatically cutting energy use) with the force of the state. I think we can both agree the object here is to avoid utter catastrophic in terms of the effects on the planet - so why isn't it a better suggestion than massively building any other source of power? (I might add I don't see that nuclear has a clear advantage over several of the other options above, and has one or two specific drawbacks that don't really apply to the otherS).

Even this comprehensive analysis shows that, using freemarket principles, the technological integration of decarbonization will be far too slow.  This is why I advocate a WWII style total resource allociation and societal mobilization as the only viable preventative strategy.

Or we can just cut our power usage dramatically? Why not?

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2014, 04:55:11 AM »
We cannot possibly cut our power enough if we are still relying on fossil fuels.  I have worked in energy efficiency program development for a decade now and understand the implementation pathways.  With manufacturers absorbing incentives and the free-market limits of the consumer willing to invest now to receive incremental savings in the future there are simply too many limitations,  combine that with the necessary electrification of the transportation sector and conservation (while absolutely vital and necessary to allow fuel switching!) is actually only an expedient means to the end, not the end itself.

In the end we will have to replace our transportation infrastructure with plug-in vehicles, place solar panels on most rooftops, provide distributed energy storage on residential/business and transform our global agricultural sector. 

There isn't much conservation in that equation, apart from demodernization and depopulation.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #83 on: April 11, 2014, 05:08:51 AM »
We cannot possibly cut our power enough if we are still relying on fossil fuels.  I have worked in energy efficiency program development for a decade now and understand the implementation pathways.  With manufacturers absorbing incentives and the free-market limits of the consumer willing to invest now to receive incremental savings in the future there are simply too many limitations,  combine that with the necessary electrification of the transportation sector and conservation (while absolutely vital and necessary to allow fuel switching!) is actually only an expedient means to the end, not the end itself.

Why can't we cut it? There are houses in some nations that don't even have electricity for lighting.

Why do people need air conditioning? Heating? Refrigeration? etc

Why should the right of the affluent to those things today be more important than the survival of everyone tomorrow?

Likewise massive amounts of energy are squandered for driving consumption based processes - manufacturing for instance. Why should we waste massive amounts of energy extracting and processing things to consume as fast as possible? Why should it be legal and permitted to do so? Why can't we produce a much smaller volume of durable (and essential) products and cut the non essential crap out?

So what do you mean when you say we cannot possible cut our power enough? Surely you mean we will not do it - not that we cannot. The same problem applies to rebuilding all the infrastructure - who pays for it?

In the end we will have to replace our transportation infrastructure with plug-in vehicles, place solar panels on most rooftops, provide distributed energy storage on residential/business and transform our global agricultural sector. 

That doesn't work yet. We don't have the capability to build enough batteries for electric vehicles worldwide. Unless you fancy a world where the affluent live well and the masses live in poverty, that is - and I don't subscribe to such a world. In any event, build up social inequality within tribal groups and it tends to result in friction - and problems - even potentially ultimately collapse (as per the recent study NASA part-funded).

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #84 on: April 11, 2014, 04:14:48 PM »
wili,

It isn't just a matter of "liking" nuclear or not.  My assertions regarding Harvey Wasserman are absolutely factual.

It isn't a smear to show that a person is making outrageous claims that are intended to drive fear into the hearts of good, though uninformed people. 

for instance, he asserts in his article that the Fukushima reactor is killing people.

And you are arguing, based on this article, that the Fukushima accident is not killing people?

The Fukushima accident has already killed people. Most simply don't know they have been killed yet. And if you claim the opposite, then you don't know how exposure to elevated levels of radiation works.

If you live in the US, you will remember the accident at Three Mile Island. This accident was a disaster but the radiation released pales in comparison to Fukushima. In 1997 the National Institute of Health published the results of a rigorous study on the effects of this radiation release on the health of those exposed. This study concluded that elevated rates of cancer are occurring in those exposed.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469835/

They further concluded that due to problems in the study.....

"The analysis avoids medical detection bias, but suffers from inaccurate dose classification; therefore, results may underestimate the magnitude of the association between radiation and cancer incidence."
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 04:32:54 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #85 on: April 11, 2014, 05:01:24 PM »
The World Heath Organization has released a report that estimates the health effects of the Fukushima accident.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/fukushima_report_20130228/en/

"In terms of specific cancers, for people in the most contaminated location, the estimated increased risks over what would normally be expected are:

1.) all solid cancers - around 4% in females exposed as infants;
2.) breast cancer - around 6% in females exposed as infants;
3.) leukaemia - around 7% in males exposed as infants;
4.) thyroid cancer - up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected  risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%)."

It is important to note that, after the release of the WHO report, a large number of scientists criticized it. It would seem that WHO is underestimating the true health effects. Imagine that! Why would they do such a thing?

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/04/09/voices/rosy-fukushima-health-report-faulted-by-experts/#.U0gDF6ZOW00




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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #86 on: April 11, 2014, 05:49:46 PM »
ccg

I am looking at the U.S. only.  This is where the consumption and efficiency changes are needed.

If you take an honest look at the foundations of society, you will see that the only way you can cut energy consumption at the levels you are talking about is through depopulation.  You cannot retrofit every home and office building into a passivehaus.  It would basically require an entire rebuild of every structure.  There are incremental things that can be done, (sealing, windows, insulation, high efficiency appliances)  however, those will take massive amounts of energy to produce, distribute and install.

However, they must be done. 

The question of who pays for it is identical to the question of who paid for the WWII mobilization in 1942-1944 in the U.S.

----------

Shared

If you are saying that Fukushima is bad, then I agree with you!  Horrible.  World ending kind of catastrophe.  Had they established multiple backup energy supplies (or put their diesel generator gear in a location not susceptible to tsunami) then this catastrophe would have been completely avoided.
Without reservation.  Fukushima must be cleaned up. 

However, looking at your data from the WHO report.  The number of people living in the most exposed areas is about 250,000 people (high estimate).  In japan in 2012 about 4.1% are ages 0-4 years http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/nenkan/1431-02.htm.  this means that  there were about 10,000 infants exposed.

if the increase in lifetime thyroid cancer is .5% (.005)  in this group then there will be 50 additional thyroid cancers in this group of people in their lifetime.   There will be other cancers at lower rates.

However, if we don't implement a global decarbonization strategy (starting with the U.S. - in my belief) then the long-range survival of the entire world goes to near zero in 150 years.  Currently there are 1.5 million deaths per year due to smokestack emissions.







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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #87 on: April 11, 2014, 07:24:18 PM »
I am looking at the U.S. only.  This is where the consumption and efficiency changes are needed.

While it's arguably true the US leads the way in squandering resources, even if the US were to suddenly change tack (and so far I'm afraid to say it seems to also lead the way in the denial of science), you cannot neglect the rest of the world. Anyway I guess your arguments make more sense if looking at things through that filter - there isn't enough nuclear fuel in the world to run it for more than a couple of decades (using older fuel cycles at least) - but to run just America, and the rest be damned? Sure - you'd get somewhat longer... and have time for just that portion of the worlds population (assuming the rest of the world cooperated with that, which I somehow doubt).

If you take an honest look at the foundations of society, you will see that the only way you can cut energy consumption at the levels you are talking about is through depopulation.  You cannot retrofit every home and office building into a passivehaus.  It would basically require an entire rebuild of every structure.  There are incremental things that can be done, (sealing, windows, insulation, high efficiency appliances)  however, those will take massive amounts of energy to produce, distribute and install.

I'm not talking about retrofitting homes and offices into passively climate controlled structures though. I'm talking about just sucking it up when it's hot or cold and getting on with things, like people always used to do - and like very many people in the world still do. Why are the creature comforts so damn important? Why is there this dogmatic desire in the populations of the westernised nations to cling onto these things through any means necessary?

Again - affluent westerners have not got more right to creature comforts (especially if they are murdering everyone else in obtaining them) - than anyone else (and by your own argument for running carbon dioxide producing power plants while transiting to nuclear - or anything else - that participation in the slaughter is still being given priority above the wellbeing of the species as a whole).

But of course I don't think it's really acceptable to just sweep people outside any given nation or affluence group under the carpet (this is rather popular, unfortunately).

Depopulation is also necessary of course - but right now it would be most effective in the context of climate change were it to occur in the western nations.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #88 on: April 11, 2014, 08:52:19 PM »
Re: depopulation

This is the only acceptable solution:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/currentevents/2012/10/16/warning-bell-for-developed-countries-declining-birth-rates/

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates

In developed countries today many women receive educations and earn salaries that are on a par with those of men. The fact that women are no longer socially or economically dependent on men has radically altered young people’s lifestyles. A woman can now choose to remain single, marrying only when a man adds value to her life or when she desires to have children within such a framework.

This is creating big changes throughout the developed world. The replacement rate—the reproduction rate that keeps a population stable—for developed countries is 2.1, yet nearly half the world’s population has birth rates lower than that. The U.S. has a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.0—nearly the replacement rate—with Hispanic immigrants leading in birth rates. The U.S. is aging but not as fast as many other countries. .
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #89 on: April 11, 2014, 09:41:08 PM »
Re: depopulation

This is the only acceptable solution:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/currentevents/2012/10/16/warning-bell-for-developed-countries-declining-birth-rates/

Warning Bell for Developed Countries: Declining Birth Rates

In developed countries today many women receive educations and earn salaries that are on a par with those of men. The fact that women are no longer socially or economically dependent on men has radically altered young people’s lifestyles. A woman can now choose to remain single, marrying only when a man adds value to her life or when she desires to have children within such a framework.

This is creating big changes throughout the developed world. The replacement rate—the reproduction rate that keeps a population stable—for developed countries is 2.1, yet nearly half the world’s population has birth rates lower than that. The U.S. has a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.0—nearly the replacement rate—with Hispanic immigrants leading in birth rates. The U.S. is aging but not as fast as many other countries. .

But how do you get the rest of the world to developed status to do that if the US preferentially consumes the nuclear fuel and lithium reserves? Most of the developing nations genuinely need the energy growth far more than the US - and one can hardly fault them if they take up the slack in the fossil fuel supply market even if the US were to transition along the lines you envision, can you? What alternative do they have? (to some extent of course they can leapfrog some of the old technology, but to do so while coping with the ravages of climate change is a tall order)

Or would one agree there is a case for significant compensation and assistance to developing nations from the affluent ones to provide them with alternatives and redress for the harms done to them? (still doesn't get you past finite supplies of nuclear fuel and lithium of course).

Thus I'm back to the bottom line - what right do the more affluent have to expect their creature comforts to be retained? If those people cannot lower their footprint to the levels required for sustainability, there is no moral case to lecture the rest of the planet not to aspire to live in the same way. No person chooses where and when to be born, and thus I cannot grant an affluent westerner any more entitlement to anything than someone born in the slums of a developing nation. The selfish competition of national interests is what will drive us to conflict over resources and drive the inequalities that destroy any scope for truly collective collaboration.

jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #90 on: April 12, 2014, 12:39:11 AM »
I am only seeing the nuclear as a bridge to full deployment of solar, solar tower, wind, tidal and wave energy resource application. 

Without the full application of these sources, nuclear produces a significant amount of fuel in fast fission reactors.  Your assumptions do not include reprocessing.

I do not see this as necessary at the rate of energy efficiency and renewable source generation developments.  We have the technological capacity now to be fully off of fossil fuels within 20 years if the economics could be addressed.

good info about the long-term potential of nuclear fuel source here:  https://www.oecd-nea.org/pt/iempt10/presentation/SS03Carre.pdf
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icefest

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #91 on: April 12, 2014, 07:46:13 AM »
I understand that a nuclear meltdown has many effects, among them human deaths caused by radiation exposure.

What I wouldn't mind reading is an analysis of the deaths caused by the fukushima power plant over it's lifetime as opposed to if the energy was generated using coal or LNG (as is now replacing nuclear in JP).

I'm fairly sure that coal has the highest mortality per TWH generated worldwide, but I'd like to know if there would be more deaths had all the energy generated by Fukushima been generated by coal or gas.

Open other end.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #92 on: April 12, 2014, 07:11:43 PM »
icefest:

we won't know how many deaths can be attributed to fukushima until fukushima is cleaned up.  It is still currently leaking radioactivity.

However, current release estimates show that the amount of additional cancers over the lifetimes of the exposed population is very low.  So much so that it is highly probable that subtle changes in consumption patterns (i.e. more red meat than fish consumed in the u.s.) and panic responses (i.e. iodine overdose) will more deaths than the actual accident.

The current cost to the U.S. economy of using coal is 240 billion dollars PER YEAR due to coal.

http://www.renewmo.org/uploads/3/6/4/0/3640039/__12.07.20lm_august.pdf

this does not include the catastrophic effects of future climate change.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #93 on: April 12, 2014, 10:31:54 PM »
Another Economist nuclear article this weekend, this time on LFTRs etc. Rather more comments on this one, but still nobody addresses my economical question. In case it's of interest:


Thorium reactors - Asgard’s fire

A clean slate is a wonderful thing. And that might soon be provided by two of the world’s rising industrial powers, India and China, whose demand for energy is leading them to look at the idea of building reactors that run on thorium.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #94 on: April 13, 2014, 03:19:40 PM »
My previous post was not to argue for or against increasing the reliance on nuclear power electricity generation. While I am not a fan of nuclear I absolutely agree that nuclear is a viable and necessary transition technology but it comes with enormous risks and statements like this are patently false.

wili,

It isn't just a matter of "liking" nuclear or not.  My assertions regarding Harvey Wasserman are absolutely factual.

It isn't a smear to show that a person is making outrageous claims that are intended to drive fear into the hearts of good, though uninformed people. 

for instance, he asserts in his article that the Fukushima reactor is killing people.

If you had read the link that followed the WHO report you would have gotten a much better sense of the true health impact of Fukushima.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/04/09/voices/rosy-fukushima-health-report-faulted-by-experts/#.U0qH0aZOW01

First you must realize that the Fukushima WHO report was not research into the actual health effects as these impacts will not be found in the 2 years following the accident. This report is written by science bureaucrats and it follows prescribed rules for arriving at their results. A similar report by WHO was produced following Chernobyl.

We no longer need to rely on the WHO report with regards to Chernobyl. It has been 28 years since the accident and a far more reliable analysis can now be done. This analysis is based on the actual health impacts. What these actual impacts show is that the initial WHO report was wildly inaccurate.

On March 11-12, 2013 in New York,  Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences who has been researching the actual health effects of Chernobyl addressed the symposium:

“Using criteria demanded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) resulted in marked underestimates of the number of fatalities and the extent and degree of sickness among those exposed to radioactive fallout from Chernobyl.”

Yablokov continued: “The Chernobyl catastrophe has already killed several hundred thousand human beings in a population of several hundred million that was unfortunate enough to live in territories affected by the fallout. The number of Chernobyl victims will continue to grow over many future generations.”


The deaths include a substantial number of stillborns and nonviable infants which is why he has stated that the deaths will continue "over future generations".

Even this does not capture the full extent of the tragedy. There continues to exist today a large exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl. Exclusion means exactly what it sounds like. The area has been designated as unfit for permanent human settlement or agriculture.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #95 on: April 13, 2014, 04:22:43 PM »

I also would note that when a giant international corporation offers to 'help' that it is often cause for concern if not alarm.  We should have a pretty good idea who's interests they have in mind.

There is probably no technical subject so loaded with emotion as nuclear power.  Advocates ignore the problems, accidents, lies, costs and risks found in the history of the nuclear industry as well as the possible negative issues which could arise in the future.  Those utterly opposed ignore its potential to leap to another energy level where we could transition away from the suite of fossil fuels and the damage they cause to  a future envisioned in many science fiction novels.

But this is not a black and white issue.  We have deep and profound problems that bring with them risks which will eventually turn into reality.  We can't make faith based decisions this time.  We have to be ruthlessly realistic and pragmatic. This is our last chance.

I am hardly the first person to make the arguments about risk-benefit I put forward.  No one that I am aware of has ever made a substantial rebuttle of them.  I will remain unconvinced that choosing to go all in with nuclear power is anything but an ill considered bet by a bunch of addicted gamblers desperate to recoup their losses until I am presented with arguments which demolish my concerns.

Please directly address the risk/benefit analysis of nuclear power, or ask those you know to do so, as this is the crux of opposition to what you want to do.  As I stated before, I came to this opposition from a position of support for nuclear, but changed my mind the more I considered the long term risks and our likely inability to deal with them in the current circumstances.  On a global basis we are completely unable to make relatively simple decisions and stick to them.  This is a huge decision and we have to take into account our demonstrated inability to act in a collective sense.  If we cannot execute decisions when presented with irrefutable evidence how intelligent is it to proceed down a technical path almost devoid of rational discourse?

I would like to respond to your questions regarding risks and gambling on nuclear power. I would also like to respond to concerns others have made about operating nuclear plants in an economically stressed world economy out into the future. These concerns are very real and Chernobyl, Fukushima and TMI vividly demonstrate the nature of those risks.

With regards to Chernobyl, we must first recognize that the Russian response to the disaster was impressive, owing, in large measure, to the dictatorship nature of the government. They were able to design and complete the construction of a sarcophagus in 206 days, sealing the damaged reactor. The entire damaged core is surrounded by a concrete, steel structure (underground as well). The accident occurred on April 26, 1986 and "on October 11, 1986 the Soviet Governmental Commission accepted the formal report, "Conclusion on Reliability and Durability of a Covering Constructions and Radiation Safety of Chernobyl NPP Unit 4 Reactor Compartment"

Meanwhile, with Fukushima, the Japanese government and their nuclear industry is still dithering about what to do more than 3 years after the accident that occurred on March 11, 2011. Highly radioactive water continues to spill into the Pacific Ocean.

Well, of course, this simply means we need to develop the kind of disaster response required when an accident occurs. We simply need to be more like Russians. And make no mistake, if we increase our reliance on nuclear power generation, there will be accidents, infrequent but accidents none the less.

So how is that amazing sarcophagus around Chernobyl doing? It is decaying, rapidly. The decay is so rapid that "construction of a coated steel, climate-controlled sarcophagus was begun in 2010 to cover the site of the infamous 1986 meltdown."

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/09/chernobyl-cap-could-be-casualty-ukraine-crisis/

They are, in effect, putting a sarcophagus inside another sarcophagus. How many times are we going to need to bury the damn thing! The attached link suggests an answer. The new sarcophagus has an estimated life of "at least 100 years". We will be burying that zombie apocalypse reactor over and over again into an indefinite and uncertain future.

Why is the future uncertain? This goes directly to the concerns of whether human society can control nuclear sites as we become increasingly stressed by global warming and the economic damage that occurs as a result. The attached link also suggests an answer to this. Due to the current crisis in the Ukraine, there are concerns that the 2nd sarcophagus will never be completed. The $2.1 billion dollar project which has a  projected life of 100 years is at risk.

Looking out 2 hundred years, can we be certain we will have the ability to protect ourselves from nuclear plants and waste? I worry we will not have that ability.

The new sarchophagus, by the way, is quite impressive. To get a sense of scale of this magnificent structure, you need to realize that the entire damaged reactor building is underneath the smaller of the two domes under construction.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 07:46:23 PM by Shared Humanity »

jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #96 on: April 13, 2014, 09:30:06 PM »
S.H.

Harvey Wasserman is making patently false and misleading statements regarding fukushima.  This is absolutely true.

Yablokov continued: “The Chernobyl catastrophe has already killed several hundred thousand human beings in a population of several hundred million that was unfortunate enough to live in territories affected by the fallout.

are you telling me that I am supposed to believe that Chernobyl induced mortality in the 100 million+ population surrounding Kiev (I assume this includes Moscow) is 1 in 1,000?

This is the kind of wild over exaggeration that I find commonplace in these discussion.  With Wasserman as a leader in deceptive discourse:

In fact, samplings of 15 tuna caught off the coast of California indicate all were contaminated with fallout from Fukushima.

Instant as always, the industry deems such levels harmless. The obligatory comparisons to living in Denver, flying cross country and eating bananas automatically follow.

http://prn.fm/the-nuclear-omnicide-harvey-wasserman/

where he acknowledges that the amount of actual radiation is extremely tiny. . .

But what’s that radiation doing to the tuna themselves? And to the krill, the phytoplankton, the algae, amoeba and all the other microorganisms on which the ocean ecology depends?

Cesium and its Fukushima siblings are already measurable in Alaska and northwestern Canada. They’ll hit California this summer. The corporate media will mock those parents who are certain to show up at the beaches with radiation detectors. Concerns about the effect on children will be jovially dismissed. The doses will be deemed, as always, “too small to have any impact on humans.”

But reports of a “dead zone” thousands of miles into the Pacific do persist, along with disappearances of salmon, sardines, anchovies and other ocean fauna.

but then goes on to conflate this amount (equivalent to 1/20th the amount of radioactivity in a normal banana) to "dead zones" in the pacific, bears with "blackened insides" (from an earlier wasserman piece), conspiracy theories of corporate media cover ups and implications that we are all going to die because of this radiation.

He does this without discussing the fact that, at the time that Chernobyl was constructed, cold-war Russia nuclear waste disposal was throwing material down an abandoned mine shaft.

These practices and designs cannot be equated with todays designs and practices.  Same goes for Fukushima, which was designed in the 1960's.

To bring this back to earth.  We are talking about using nuclear as a bridge fuel.  It has been proven that the current coal generation produces over 1 million deaths per year due to environmental contamination.  The use of natural gas is comparable to coal for global warming potential due to fugitive leakage.  Therefore, the long-range mortality from these fossil fuels is due to global warming and we know that the quantitative value of damages due to BAU is measured in billions of lives lost over the next 6 decades.

I think this is what James Hansen is stating in his support of using nuclear power.



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jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #97 on: April 13, 2014, 09:47:48 PM »
With regard to the Alexey V. Yablokov report:

http://atomicinsights.com/challenging-nyas-decision-to-keep-yablokovs-chernobyl-fiction-online/

The NYAS report recognizes this disparity and admits that the rules of science do not support the massive radiological health disaster they claim to be evident. So the authors conclude that the rules of science must be abandoned in favor of collecting virtually all reports of health problems and attributing them to radiation from the incident. The fact that the rest of the scientific community does not agree with them they attribute (without offering any evidence) to sell-out to the corrupt international nuclear community, including its regulators.

George Moinbot also asserted that these statements were outright deceptions:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all
A devastating review in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry points out that the book achieves this figure by the remarkable method of assuming that all increased deaths from a wide range of diseases – including many which have no known association with radiation – were caused by the Chernobyl accident. There is no basis for this assumption, not least because screening in many countries improved dramatically after the disaster and, since 1986, there have been massive changes in the former eastern bloc. The study makes no attempt to correlate exposure to radiation with the incidence of disease.

I recommend that anyone who is staunch anti-nuclear read this guardian article.  I am not saying that nuclear is not dangerous nor am I saying that it hasn't caused deaths.  I am saying that the risks are often wildly overstated and the benefits (we know) are understated.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #98 on: April 13, 2014, 10:29:21 PM »
S.H.

Harvey Wasserman is making patently false and misleading statements regarding fukushima.  This is absolutely true.

Yablokov continued: “The Chernobyl catastrophe has already killed several hundred thousand human beings in a population of several hundred million that was unfortunate enough to live in territories affected by the fallout.

Are you telling me that I am supposed to believe that Chernobyl induced mortality in the 100 million+ population surrounding Kiev (I assume this includes Moscow) is 1 in 1,000?

This is the kind of wild over exaggeration that I find commonplace in these discussion. 

To bring this back to earth.  We are talking about using nuclear as a bridge fuel. 

First, I have already said that nuclear, despite the risks, is a necessary bridging technology.

I really could care less what Wasserman has to say about tuna and phytoplankton. I was responding to your claim that Wasserman's assertion "that the Fukushima reactor is killing people" was, in your words, "outrageous. What is outrageous is your suggestion that the accident is not killing people.

With regards to the referenced report....

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

Written by Alexey V. Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Moscow, Russia), Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko (Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus)

......the 327 page summary, translated into English, was drawn from 5000 pages of research, all published in Slavic languages. The research tracked and documented increases in cancer and a shortening of lifespan of the adult male population in the affected areas. The report has come under attack for a variety of reasons. For example, much of the basic research does not include confidence intervals for the pre-accident cancer rates. Another criticism is that there are no attempts to quantify radiation dose levels.

I would like to suggest that, when a documented pattern of earlier deaths and increased cancer rates are found across a population of a hundred million, the lack of confidence intervals in some of the basic research is not as critical. The statistics of large numbers begin to rule.

Yes, Chernobyl is shortening the lives of hundreds of thousands in the affected areas. We should expect to find similar effects in the next 30 years due to the Fukushima accident.





jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #99 on: April 13, 2014, 11:00:41 PM »
I would like to suggest that, when a documented pattern of earlier deaths and increased cancer rates are found across a population of a hundred million

please see my second post.

One cannot attribute all stillborn births in a population of hundreds of millions entirely to a miniscule radiation dose - especially when this period covers the collapse of the soviet union.
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