Doom, doom, doom, doom


It’s not a shot of cold water in the face…more like a blast of super-heated steam. Yeah, this article on our prospects for global climate change is the most terrifying thing I’ve read in ages.

The present tense of climate change — the destruction we’ve already baked into our future — is horrifying enough. Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade. Two degrees of warming used to be considered the threshold of catastrophe: tens of millions of climate refugees unleashed upon an unprepared world. Now two degrees is our goal, per the Paris climate accords, and experts give us only slim odds of hitting it. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues serial reports, often called the “gold standard” of climate research; the most recent one projects us to hit four degrees of warming by the beginning of the next century, should we stay the present course. But that’s just a median projection. The upper end of the probability curve runs as high as eight degrees — and the authors still haven’t figured out how to deal with that permafrost melt. The IPCC reports also don’t fully account for the albedo effect (less ice means less reflected and more absorbed sunlight, hence more warming); more cloud cover (which traps heat); or the dieback of forests and other flora (which extract carbon from the atmosphere). Each of these promises to accelerate warming, and the history of the planet shows that temperature can shift as much as five degrees Celsius within thirteen years. The last time the planet was even four degrees warmer, Peter Brannen points out in The Ends of the World, his new history of the planet’s major extinction events, the oceans were hundreds of feet higher.

It gets worse from there. Much worse.

Future generations — I mean, the current generation — will look back on this time and regard all those Republican climate change deniers as monsters committing crimes against humanity, and the rest of us as lazy good-for-nothings who couldn’t get off our butts to arrest the liars and frauds and greedy, corrupt short-term thinkers who are busily wrecking the planet for our species.

But wait, you say, didn’t Trump recently bring on a science advisor, at last? Isn’t he a scientist of some sort? Of some sort, sure — Kelvin Droegemeier is a weather man with no knowledge of climatology, but he has some credentials. If you think he’ll be a voice of reason in the White House, watch this and be disillusioned.

That was a truly masterful demonstration of cowardice and evasion — he’s got no spine at all. If he doesn’t die of natural causes first, our descendants are going to have his wobbly, worthless head on a pike, and he’ll deserve it.

Arielle Duhaime-Ross, the interviewer, is good and persistent, though, not letting him off the hook at all. I wish more journalists would do that.

Comments

  1. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And it’s mostly the mainstream environmentalists fault because they so adamantly oppose nuclear power. For example, had Germany spent their money on nuclear instead of wind and solar, they would already have zero CO2 emissions electricity.

    I’ve recently found some evidence that I still need to double check that it was the Sierra club and friends of the earth in the 70s, along with Jane Fonda and the China Syndrome, who bear the brunt of the responsibility. Purportedly, they have memos and later interviews with these people who said that they purposefully lied to the public about nuclear power in order to cause excessive regulation in order to price nuclear power out of the market because they believed that nuclear power was clean, safe, abundant, cheap energy, and these jackoffs said that this would lead to overpopulation in the standard malthusian way. These people wildly succeeded, and doomed many people around the world with their nonsense.

  2. davidnangle says

    The people most responsible for this will be the most prepared to survive. That’s the natural selection the human race is adapting with: Sociopathic lying greed-monsters. And I guarantee, from their underground bunkers and floating cities, they will teach their children that it was the fault of the dead. Their victims.

  3. nomdeplume says

    Notable these days that every article on global warming brings with it swarms of nuclear power boosters. Almost as if someone sees an opportunity to make money out of disaster while creating even more problems for this beleagured planet. But Big Business wouldn’t be that cynical, would it…

  4. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me cite some of the evidence that I was talking about.

    Source is Michael Shellenberger. This is a longlife environmentalist, who used to be part of the mainstream, and was one of the few people most involved in getting Obama to spend hundreds of billions on solar and wind as part of the New Apollo project.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/02/08/the-only-green-new-deals-that-have-ever-worked-were-done-with-nuclear-not-renewables/

    Recently, he changed his mind and became pro-nuclear. The above link covers some of that.

    For some of the evidence of the anti-nuclear conspiracy in the mainstream environmental movement, see this TEDx talk, or some of the following print articles.



    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/06/11/if-nuclear-power-is-so-safe-why-are-we-so-afraid-of-it/

    A lot of that is based on the following book, which I need to obtain and try to review. I haven’t had a chance yet.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Masses:_Opposition_to_Nuclear_Power_in_California,_1958%E2%80%931978

    PS: I’m not blowing hot air here. For another example, the famous climate scientist James Hansen also has a pro-nuclear position, and says one of the main obstacles to stopping global warming is the mainstream environmentalist movement who are almost uniformly anti-nuclear, and Hansen even explicitly calls mainstream environmentalism a quasi-religious movement.

    Hansen also says that believing that solar and wind can power the world is like believing in the Easter Bunny.

    In the same source, Hansen also says that his own informal surveys among scientists show that most scientists are pro-nuclear. This matches all of the public evidence that I’ve been able to find on this topic. Hell if I know why many people believe that the scientific consensus is behind Green energy plans – it’s not.

    I can dig up the sources on these too if anyone cares, but I’m feeling lazy right now, and I want to get back to work.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Almost as if someone sees an opportunity to make money out of disaster while creating even more problems for this beleagured planet.

    You and people like you are the primary reason IMAO why we will never solve global warming. You would rather have global warming than have nuclear because of the almost completely mythical harms of nuclear power. You have been lied to. Almost everything you know about nuclear power is wrong. These aren’t even my own words, but I’m borrowing a bit from another famous environmentalist turned pro-nuclear environmentalist – George Monbiott, who reached the same conclusion right after Fukushima.

  6. richardemmanuel says

    I think we should dilute them. Or whatever the correct word is. The greenhouse gases. Have a bigger atmosphere. I’ve not quite worked out the details yet. Or even if it makes sense. Over to you, boffins. Make us a thermostat.

  7. thirdmill301 says

    Maybe I should be a bit more charitable, but there’s a small part of me that cheers when some red state or other gets hit with a major weather disaster — the tornado that just hit Alabama, the earlier disasters on the Carolina coast, the hurricanes that hit Texas and the Florida panhandle. When people who consistently vote to send climate change deniers to Congress get the consequences of what they voted for, well, maybe there is some justice in the world after all.

  8. nomdeplume says

    @7 and “people like you” are the reason why governments won’t do anything serious to prevent the increase in greenhouse gases. Just like the “climatic engineering” people who think that filling the atmsphere with particles, or the seas with iron filings, will enable us to go on pumping out CO2, nuclear power advocates purport to believe that we can keep producing energy in the same way and at the same rate, just using nuclear power instead of coal and oil. To hell with the problems of nuclear waste or nuclear accidents, who cares. Oh and to hell with all of the other contributors to global warming like transport and agriculture and forestry. Nuclear power advocates hate renewable energy sources because they see less chance for profit from sun wind and tide, power to cheap to monitor. But substitute uranium for coal and you can continue to make money from all parts of the supply chain in the same old way. And to hell with the planet.

  9. davidnangle says

    thirdmill301, you don’t appreciate the evil and stupidity of the red states. They ALSO cheer the natural disasters that are killing them… because it’s hitting their poorer, blacker neighbors slightly harder.

  10. VolcanoMan says

    Weird coincidence. Just last night I listened to Joe Rogan interview David Wallace-Wells. And before anyone says anything, I know Rogan has his issues, and has given a platform to some bad people. But this interview was exceptional, and Wallace-Wells is a really compelling speaker. He has a really strong ability to make people see just how pervasive an effect a climate-changed world will have on human civilization, to understand JUST how different life will be, and how much suffering will come about due to our impacts. And he is right; while the climate has been warming for over a century, the vast majority of CO2 that has been added to the atmosphere by humans over their ENTIRE time on this Earth…has been added in MY LIFETIME (I’m 37). Everything has changed in barely one generation. And unless we move heaven and earth to change our behavior (I’m talking at the national and international levels – recycling and going vegetarian are great, but their impact, even if everyone did it, is tiny) in the NEXT 30 years or so, the worst case scenarios of climate science are all but written in stone. I mean, even if we do everything right, we’re still in for a bumpy remainder of the 21st century; there are certainly impacts of our past actions that are irreversible (species extinctions, for example). But going on obliviously, making no systematic changes to policy, well…we’re looking at 4 degrees CELSIUS (over 1990 levels, NOT pre-industrial times) warming by 2100…minimum. That’s what Trump’s OWN SCIENTISTS are telling him (and us). We’re talking over a meter of sea level rise (and possibly a lot more), places in the world having to deal with 3 or 4 climate-impacted catastrophes SIMULTANEOUSLY (disease, famine, hurricanes, etc.).

    Wallace-Wells also brings up an interesting point in how climate change was portrayed to the general public – ever since global warming was starting to become a concern, scientists were always careful to say that this was a problem for the future, that while we might see small impacts over a decades-long scale, the major ones will happen a century or more in the future. It is, however, becoming increasingly clear that the major impacts are only a couple decades away and that moderate problems are already here to stay. Furthermore, if we go on the current course without altering our behavior significantly, people in one THOUSAND years will still be living in a world altered by us, over a period of 50 years or so. So not only are we talking OUR lifetime for severe problems that no human civilization has ever had to deal with (at this scale)…the longevity of the problems we are causing dwarfs ANY KNOWN human civilization of the past. This is our legacy. And the restraint and conservatism of the scientific community, the “technology will solve everything” people, the people who TRULY believe that we can keep warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels (if we act now)…they are making it hard to come to terms with this new reality.

    One more thing Wallace-Wells says that speaks to the systems-level issues we need to solve: we’re already unintentionally mitigating our climate impact – air pollution in developing countries (and the odd developed one…looking at you England) is having an effect similar to the volcanic eruptions of fine sulphate particulates into the atmosphere, preventing all of the heat from the Sun from reaching the surface of Earth. We may already live in a world with enough CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to have warmed by 2 degrees C, except for this mitigating effect of pollution (which, incidentally, is killing 9 million people a year)…and as countries deal with their pollution problems and clean up their air, warming will likely accelerate (not just because of the lack of particulates – we’ll have 9 million more people around, each year, than would otherwise have been here, all contributing their own greenhouse gases to the atmosphere living their lives). So basically, we need doomsayers. We need people who speak the truth, compellingly, and we need leaders who are willing to take their predictions seriously enough to implement drastic action. And we need an electorate which is freaked out enough by the prospects of this future that they are willing to make solving the climate crisis humanity’s #1 priority.

    So basically, we’re screwed.

  11. says

    And who would build new nuclear plants in the US?
    The lowest bidder, of course. Fills me with a feeling of tranquil security, it does.

  12. unclefrogy says

    nuclear power was clean, safe, abundant, cheap energy,

    I would be interested what constitutes the definitions of those terms with regards to nuclear energy taking in all of the long term issues involved please. things like waste processing and storage, operational life span and plant decommissioning.

    I doubt very seriously when the shit really hits the fan that the elites will do very well. It is my impression that the elites have not always gotten through unscathed collapses in the past and are extraordinarily dependent of others for most things while the lower strata the peasants and “working class” endure even with a decrease in their numbers. My money is on the people who make up these “migrant caravans” to be the ones who will be left to do the work of making a new civilized order after this one collapses.
    uncle frogy

  13. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    nuclear power advocates purport to believe that we can keep producing energy in the same way and at the same rate, just using nuclear power instead of coal and oil.

    You’re just living up to my claims that the mainstream environmentalist movement are a bunch of pampered, privileged, malthusian anti-humanist, de-industrialists. You’re being the cliche. The mainstream environmentalist movement doesn’t want to fix the CO2 problem with clean, cheap, abundant safe energy. Instead, it’s all about behavior changes. It’s not an environmentalist movement. It has nothing to do with global warming. Instead, their goals are something else. You are not a real environmentalist.

    To hell with the problems of nuclear waste or nuclear accidents, who cares.

    Coal power kills more people worldwide every hour than have died from radiation from nuclear power in the entire history of mankind. W.H.O. says about 3 million premature deaths from coal from airborne particulates alone, and the W.H.O. says only about 50 confirmed deaths from Chernobyl, with another few hundred predicted deaths, almost all of which are because they are poor and live in remote areas and couldn’t get proper treatment becaues it’s almost all thyroid cancer which has a 99%+ survival rate with treatment.

    Nuclear power is far and away the cleanest and safest form of power generation that we have. It also requires less mining than everything else we have. It’s the best for humans, and best for the environment. I’m including solar and wind and hydro in this comparison.

    Oh and to hell with all of the other contributors to global warming like transport and agriculture and forestry.

    This is asinine. Practically everyone agrees that solving electricity is necessary to solving transport, whether it’s electric cars, synthetic gasoline, or something else.

    The leading cause of deforestation is clearing forests for additional farmland and grazing land, not wood produts. If you give them more energy in the form of fertilizer, farm equipment, GMO crops, etc., then that’s how you combat that.

    Agriculture is hard. I don’t have an answer to that. However, electricity, indoor heating and cooling, industrial heat, and transport, is like 85% of all human CO2 emissions. I’d much rather get that than nothing. That’s much better than nothing. Let someone else fix the remaining 15%.

    Nuclear power advocates hate renewable energy sources because they see less chance for profit from sun wind and tide, power to cheap to monitor. But substitute uranium for coal and you can continue to make money from all parts of the supply chain in the same old way.

    No. We nuclear advocates just ran the numbers and looked at the facts. The facts are that France’s electricity costs half as much as Germany, and is virtually zero CO2 emissions. The facts are that Germany could be there too if they spend that money on nuclear instead of solar and wind.

    And to hell with the planet.

    If you honestly cared about the planet, you would do nuclear. It’s the only proven way to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. France and Germany are the perfect case studies on how to do it, and how not to do it, respectively.

    Instead, you share this anti-industry anti-corporation malthusian delusion, which is the greatest threat to human civilization. Somehow, the mainstream environmentalist left has become anti-progres, anti-tech, luddites. You’re one of them. Before, technology has often been the solution to our problems, but you reject technological solutions outright. You want people to live in poverty. Only someone privileged could say something so horrible. Try saying that after living “in harmony with nature”, without running water, without refrigeration for food, without hospitals and modern medicine, without modern agriculture and farming methods. That’s a horrific life.

    Also, the best way to save the environment is to pull people out of it, and into cities, and that requires lots of energy.

  14. gjpetch says

    My partner wants children, but I have deep, deep concerns with bringing a life into this warming world. How do other people grapple with this question? Everyone I speak to brushes off my concerns.

  15. says

    16: We adopted a baby from China, because of other circumstances. Once in a while, I feel mildly guilty about bringing her into the world, and then I remember we didn’t.

  16. says

    Having children in an already overpopulated world is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. Practically no other action you take as an individual leaves a larger footprint than bringing another human into the world – just don’t. Work on solving the problems of the ones that are already here instead.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I would be interested what constitutes the definitions of those terms with regards to nuclear energy taking in all of the long term issues involved please. things like waste processing and storage, operational life span and plant decommissioning.

    Nuclear waste is the best kind of waste. It’s the only waste that is internalized. Coal emits massive pollution into the air and water (via coal ash). Solar panels are going to join the electronic waste stream, where they are taken apart by people in poor countries by hand, exposing to them all sorts of toxic heavy metals. Wind turbines require massive amounts of rare earth metal mining, which produces large amounts of toxic waste and also (low-level) radioactive waste – there’s a reason why 95% of that happens in China, and that’s because of their lesser environmental regulations.

    It’s all about power density. Because it has such high power density, it has such little waste, which means that we can afford to properly dispose it.

    Also, what you know about the human health effects from low-level radiation is wrong. LNT is wrong. Nuclear waste is not infinitely dangerous. With enough dilution, it’s harmless. There is a threshold effect. Last time I checked, it’s comparable to nerve gas in LD50. Pretty nasty stuff, but a small leak of it underground over hundreds of years is not a health concern because there’s so little of it.

    Now, compare that to coal ash. A story just came out that like 90% of them are leaking into the surrounding environment and causing real harm to people and the environment. Or compare that to the waste lakes from rare earth metal mining in China – the stories make it sound horrific for the local people.

    Nuclear waste disposal is a non-issue. The dangers of nuclear waste disposal is one of the myths created by the environmentalists in order to price nuclear out of the market. Again, nuclear waste is the best kind of waste because we can dispose of it properly because there’s so little of it.

    I can tell a similar story for decommissioning.

    I don’t know what exactly you’re getting at regarding “operational life span”.

  18. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Enlightenment Liberal: “And it’s mostly the mainstream environmentalists fault because they so adamantly oppose nuclear power. ”

    No, you fucking dumbass, it is NOT the anti-nuke mainstream environmentalists. They are not the ones who have been spending tens to hundreds of millions shoveling disinformation at voters and taking over the Republican party. They are not the ones who have been supporting politicians who think a snowball disproves warming.

    Look, I am an agnostic on nukes. I think that it is possible to generate power safely with nukes–especially the new generation of technologies. I remain to be convinced regarding nuclear waste and proliferation. And I am doubtful that nukes could be deployed economically on a scale that would make a reasonable difference. It is not exactly like you have entrepreneurs slathering at the prospect of putting their money in nukes. Finally, it is not as if uranium mining is ecologically beneficial or that providers of nuclear fuel and reactors are particularly benign.

    Meanwhile renewables are advancing by leaps and bounds. While it may have been that nukes could have reduced fossil fuel demand somewhat before the turn of the millennium, their role now is dubious at best.

    But to blame mainstream environmentalists who have been out there beating this issue while you have done nothing is insulting to our intelligence as well as those environmentalists. It’s nothing but hippy bashing. Please get fucking serious.

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    <blockquote.
    No, you fucking dumbass, it is NOT the anti-nuke mainstream environmentalists. They are not the ones who have been spending tens to hundreds of millions shoveling disinformation at voters and taking over the Republican party. They are not the ones who have been supporting politicians who think a snowball disproves warming.

    The Green movement has outspent climate deniers by leaps and bounds. The Green energy movement is arguably the most well-funded social movement ever. They’ve also already succeeded – they’ve gotten the United States under Obama to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on solar and wind and other renewables, under the New Apollo project which was cofounded by Michael Shellenberger. The Greens won. They got exactly what they wanted. And it failed. Climate deniers are a much smaller problem. Worldwide, the Green energy movement has more funding, and more public support, and they are the main obstacle to fixing the problem.

    Meanwhile renewables are advancing by leaps and bounds.

    Assholes from the Sierra Club like Amory Lovins have been saying this for literally 50 years. They said that solar and wind could solve our problem back in the 70s, and in the 70s they were saying shit like solar and wind are already cheaper than fossil fuels. It’s a bunch of bullshit from liars. Learn your history, so you can stop repeating it.

    Surely you believe that global warming is a severe and immediate problem. So, why are you advocating waiting for an alternate solution instead of going for something that we already have that works? Greens say this all the time, and it’s the most irresponsible thing that I have ever heard. Are you taking global warming seriously or not?

    It’s nothing but hippy bashing.

    Well, if the hippies stop being a problem, then I’ll stop bashing them. Those luddites, anti-progress, anti-tech, mainstream environmentalists are the main obstacle to fixing global warming because of their opposition to nuclear power and lies about nuclear power, and in that regard, they have been wildly successful.

  20. nomdeplume says

    “The mainstream environmentalist movement doesn’t want to fix the CO2 problem with clean, cheap, abundant safe energy.“ What nonsense – try thinking for yourself instead of repeating neocon propaganda.

    “ You want people to live in poverty” – um no, no I don’t. I don’t want anyone living in poverty, unlike the neoconservativesfor whom large numbers living in poverty is an essential feature of the economic system.

    “Try saying that after living “in harmony with nature”, without running water, without refrigeration for food, without hospitals and modern medicine, without modern agriculture and farming methods” – again, try to get away from the propaganda. No one wants this. But study after study shows that yoy can provide energy from renewable sources without resorting to nuclear.

  21. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To nomdeplume
    You already revealed yourself as an anti-progress, anti-tech luddite when you said this:

    nuclear power advocates purport to believe that we can keep producing energy in the same way and at the same rate, just using nuclear power instead of coal and oil.

    I don’t see any more reason to engage with your anti-human Malthusian nonsense, and your other lies.

  22. nomdeplume says

    “The Green movement has outspent climate deniers by leaps and bounds” – and here you reveal yourself for what you are, an anti-environment, climate change denier, a troll fronting for the big energy companies. You should be ashamed, but then choosing the name you have chosen shows you are incapable of shame.

  23. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL: “The Green movement has outspent climate deniers by leaps and bounds.”

    And we’re done. If you can spew evidence-free bullshit like this, then it shows you are utterly incapable of rational thought on the subject.

    Please feel free to fuck right off–very hard.

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For the benefit of other readers:

    But study after study shows that yoy can provide energy from renewable sources without resorting to nuclear.

    This is not true. You have a very small cadre of “scientists” publishing such nonsense, and many more publishing against it. The most famous “scientist” publishing such papers in the English speaking world is a man named Mark Jacobson. Pay attention to the movement long enough, and you’ll hear his name many times, often cited as the foremost expert. The problem is that the man is an academic fraud and liar.

    His most famous paper, the 100% WWS paper, that purports to show the plausibility of moving to 100% wind, water, and solar in the US, was debunked by a collaboration of 21 scientists, Clack et al. Like a true crank / shill, rather than publish another paper to correct the issues or rebut the critiques, Jacobson sued Clack et al for defamation, and also sued the journal for defamation – the same journal that he published his 100% paper in. When it became clear that Clack et al and the journal wouldn’t back down, Jacobson pulled his suit, presumably because he and his lawyers knew that he had no chance of winning. Fucking asshat.

    Jacobson is most famous for one lie in particular. He wrote an article for the popular non-peer-reviewed magazine, Scientific American. He included a throwaway line that nuclear produces 25x as much CO2 as wind, and therefore we need not consider it any more in the context of climate change. When you look at his peer reviewed papers around the same time, they have the same number. When you look at the fine print in one of the papers, you find that the “25x” number includes substantial amounts of CO2 emissions from coal (but wait? I thought the number was for nuclear?), and also CO2 emissions from burning cities from an assumed periodic recurring limited nuclear war. Yes. You read that right.

    This is the kind of person that we’re dealing with, and he’s regularly cited as the foremost expert doing studies that show how it’s possible to transition to renewables. This, plus the other evidence that I’m citing, shows that the entire Green energy movement is intellectually rotten to the core. As famous climate scientist James Hansen has said, it’s a semi-religious cult.

  25. dianne says

    EL @1: You do know that Germany spent significant amounts on nuclear energy in the late 20th century, right? They were going with it right up to Fukashima. At that point it was clear that a major disaster could and would occur in a wealthy, democratic country and the conservative German government decided that maybe this wasn’t the best plan.

    More significant than the solar versus nuclear issue was the fact that for many years the German government let themselves be hypnotized by the “jobs” chant and kept coal plants running and coal mines open–to keep the miners in work, you know.

  26. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    an anti-environment, climate change denier, a troll fronting for the big energy companies

    Accusing someone of being a paid shill as a means to win an argument on the internet is so passe.

    I don’t know how you reached the conclusion that I’m anti-environment and a climate change denier when all of my arguments have been about the immediate urgency and seriousness of climate change, and how we need to address it now, and we don’t have to time wait for additional R&D on solar and wind and that’s why we should go with the solution that we already have (although R&D should continue). Similarly, I phrased all of my arguments in terms of how nuclear is better for the environment compared to renewables.

    So, it appears that you’re a mind-reader, and when I say something, you have the secret decoder ring to understand that I really mean the opposite.

    Some people.

    Whereas, I based my accusations against you on things that you just said. You gave yourself away when you attacked the notion of continuing business as usual, except with nuclear instead of fossil fuels. You attacked that as some horrible negative. I’m taking you at face value. I’m taking you at face value when you say that we need to make lifestyle changes, and that you don’t want a simple technological fix. There are words to describe that position: Luddite. Anti-progress. Anti-technology. Regressive. I don’t need a magic decoder ring to figure you out – you say it clearly yourself for all to see.

  27. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL @1: You do know that Germany spent significant amounts on nuclear energy in the late 20th century, right?

    And if only they spent a little more, and didn’t suffer an unjustified freakout over Fukushima, they could be like France and have zero CO2 emissions from their electricity.

    At that point it was clear that a major disaster

    Fukushima wasn’t a major disaster. Rather, it’s like the opposite. Fukushima convinced some environmentalists, like George Monbiott, to become pro-nuclear, precisely because of how not-bad it was.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

    Do you know what is a major disaster? 3 million premature deaths every year from coal pollution. Again, coal kills more people worldwide every hour than the total number of people who have died from radiation from nuclear power in the whole history of mankind. In. One. Hour.

    Do you know what Germany did? They shut down the safest kind of electricity generation plants, nuclear, and started building more of the dirtiest and most lethal kind of electricity plants, coal. Sure, they built some token wind and solar as well, but they built and are building massive amounts of new coal too.

    On just this argument alone, ignoring global warming, we should transition as fast as we can from coal to nuclear. The immediate and urgent emergency of climate change is even more reason to transition as fast as possible.

  28. Ichthyic says

    You’re just living up to my claims that the mainstream environmentalist movement are a bunch of pampered, privileged, malthusian anti-humanist, de-industrialists.

    and you keep living up to my expectations as a failed engineer who trolls this site because he thinks he always thought he’d love living in a nuclear future, and all those damn hippies spoiled it for him.

    in short, you’re still a delusional fuckwit.

    at least you’re consistent.

  29. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Fuck off, Troll.

    Is Michael Shellenberger a troll? Is George Monbiott a troll? Is James Hansen a troll?

    How about Dr. Ken Caldeira, Dr. Kerry Emanuel, and Dr. Tom Wigley?
    https://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/index.html

    How about the dozens of additional academics who are regularly cited by the IPCC?
    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/10/25/open-letter-to-heads-of-state-of-the-g-20-from-scientists-and-scholars-on-nuclear-for-climate-change

    Or how about the 65% of AAAS scientists who are pro-nuclear?
    http://www.pewresearch.org/science/2015/07/23/elaborating-on-the-views-of-aaas-scientists-issue-by-issue/#energy-issues

    Fully 65% of AAAS members favor building more nuclear power plants, while 33% are opposed.
    […]
    A majority of AAAS members support more nuclear power plants, regardless of disciplinary specialty. Physicists and engineers are more strongly in favor of building more nuclear power plants than are those in other specialties. For example, 79% of all physicists surveyed and 75% of engineers connected with AAAS favor building more nuclear power plants. The views of Earth scientists are similar to those of all members; 66% among this group favor more nuclear power plants and 32% are opposed.

    Are all of these persons trolls?

    The true trolls and liars are people like Mark Jacobson, Green Peace, Friends Of The Earth, and the rest of the anti-nuclear mainstream environmentalists. You have been lied to. The Greens and mainstream environmentalists are consumate liars.

  30. nomdeplume says

    Sorry folks, I forgot the First Internet Law – don’t feed the trolls. I will try to do better.

  31. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL, this isn’t about whether we build more nukes. As I said, I’m agnostic on that.

    Rather, it is about hijacking the entire thread with your stupid, unsubstantiated opinions. So, as I said:

    Fuck off, troll!

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL, this isn’t about whether we build more nukes.
    Rather, it is about hijacking the entire thread with your stupid, unsubstantiated opinions.

    This thread is about the severe and immediate dangers of global warming, and the proximate cause of that is the mainstream environmental movement and the widespread unscientific fear of nuclear power and the unscientific support for renewables that it has engendered in the public. This is entirely on topic.

    Fuck off, troll!

    No.

  33. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also:

    stupid, unsubstantiated opinions

    How bold of you to go against the weak scientific consensus that we should be building more nuclear. Rather, it is your positions that are unsubstantiated and “stupid” (re: ignorant and wrong).

    I still have no idea why everything thinks that there’s a scientific consensus for renewables. Why do you think that? I’ve been asking everyone I meet this question, and I haven’t gotten a proper answer yet. The best that I’ve gotten is a reference to some unspecified flurry of peer reviewed papers in support of that proposition, but I’ve looked for these papers, and I haven’t found them. I’ve only found a very small number of such papers, often by frauds like Mark Jacobson, which are then rebutted by many more scientists, such as Clack et al rebutting the nonsense 100% WWS paper of Mark Jacobson.

  34. unclefrogy says

    OK you do not seem to understand what i was getting at.
    How long is the operational life of a given power plant? how is it to be decommissioned? what part off it can be recycled and what part must be sequestered and for how long should it be sequestered?
    same question goes for the spent fuel where will it go and for how long must it be sequestered. How much will that cost and who is going to pay for that. It is my understanding that the time frames we are talking about are generally longer than most political regimes have lasted (100’s of years) and some are longer then we have been human.
    just because some other industry has gotten away with doing things in a very poor and dangerous way does not absolve anyone else to act in a similar way.
    I don’t expect a real answer just the some glib assertions we have all heard too many times in the past colored by a lack of respect for anyone who might question or even disagree..
    another thing that occurs to me is why is it that the most vehement arguments are always that there is one answer to a problem all possible answers are simply wrong .
    on all counts.
    uncle frogy

  35. dianne says

    France isn’t doing badly, but it’s not by any means at zero and the carbon trends for France and Germany are pretty identical (France starts lower and ends lower but the differential is similar for each country.) Source: google public dats

  36. specialffrog says

    EL: George Monbiot thinks nuclear power is part of the solution not that it is the entire solution. Nor does he seem to share your view that that anti-nuclear lobby is the main driver of climate change.

    There may be a reasonable argument buried in here somewhere but you aren’t making it.

  37. Duckbilled Platypus says

    @16:

    My partner wants children, but I have deep, deep concerns with bringing a life into this warming world. How do other people grapple with this question? Everyone I speak to brushes off my concerns.

    I have two, 8 and 5 years old. We brought them into this world in a time where we were not yet informed enough about climate change to fear for their future. I personally got the impression from whatever was reported on the issue were problems for centuries away rather than decades. What I also did not anticipate were the primal instincts that kicked into action once I got children of my own. In my experience, the day you start being a parent is when you are afraid for the rest of your life – for their well-being, their happiness, their safety and their future. And you put yourself in service of trying to cater for all that, and raise agreeable human beings that will be prepared take on the world with confidence, hope and optimism.

    And I was all ready for that but since the birth of our youngest I’ve read a great deal of articles on the state of the climate and what is to expect, so it was only until later that I realized we are heading for global disaster with an inertia that makes it difficult to change course. And we’re going there accelerating, with a few billion people who are ill equipped, ill informed and mostly unwilling to make the sacrifices we need. Floods, droughts, devastating hurricanes and wildfires, famines, disease, mass extinctions and mass migrations are all on the radar, all of which I expect will throw humanity in numerous outbreaks of violent conflicts and wars beyond the scale of what we have seen in the 20th century. Frankly, once run-away climate change kicks in, I dread that my children will only be here to witness the destruction of our one world, and our civilization and humanity with it. The world they will remember with fondness will die before their eyes.

    I’ve had (still have) severe anxiety, and suffered countless sleepless nights over this. We’re talking about the biggest disaster in human history. All of a sudden I saw all of our dedication to raise our children as futile. Why raise them as caring human beings? Why fret about their education? It’s all going to be useless once the planet starts boiling for real. I’ve had to visit doctors to see if I could at least get the means to cope with the dread, see my children as having a future ,and get hold of that parental dedication again.

    I also felt very alone. Many people I talked to have varying levels of understanding and concern about climate change, none seemed as pessimistic as I did. I’ve even written a climate scientist once who appeared on some television programs, asking how he copes with knowing what he knows (unfortunately, no answer). Only recently newspapers talk of ‘climate depression’, a growing problem among people in their 20s and 30s (more women than men, interestingly). The feeling is growing at least, but that’s a hard comfort.

    I also felt, and still feel, powerless. I do my due duty – I vote for the greenest of parties, the family keeps working on cutting down our CO2 print, buying green-only energy, letting the car collect rust, we’ve gone almost entirely vegetarian, and are halfway to a vegan lifestyle. We won’t make a noticeable difference of course, but habits grow habits hopefully. However, raise the subject, and you get blank stares and people avoiding the subject, and then you. Nobody likes doomsayers. Politicians are too afraid of voter repercussions to change course in any significant way, so I’m still desperately trying to figure out how we can bring the urgency to the people, if the planet doesn’t do that by itself already.

    Had I known and felt as I do now, I doubt I would have put children on this world. Then again, had I known what our family would turn out to be like, I might still have decided I would not want to miss it. And, I’m pretty sure that if you ask one of my children – once they’re old enough – whether they would have preferred to never have been born, the answer will most likely be no.

    I should add that while we worry about pending global doom, last year I was ruthlessly reminded that life takes unexpected turns, and the future you worry most about does not necessarily apply to everyone. Some of us never experience the problem and then kick the bucket for entirely unrelated reasons.

    We also need children to save this world (or at least prevent the worst), slim as the chance might be. They’re the future caretakers. The student protests we had the last few months showed me the next generation really cares, and wants to make an effort. I expect their whole future will be about fighting and mitigating climate change.

    Have kids? It’s a personal choice. If it was me, a tentative yes, if you can cope with the anxiety and dread. I’d say two is nice, children benefit from being part of siblings and a family of four feels balanced to me. Also, if everyone would opt for no more than two children, we’d still shrink rather than grow the global population over decades, which seems advisable. More so if you consider adoption.

  38. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    And it’s mostly the mainstream environmentalists fault because they so adamantly oppose nuclear power

    You know it’s an apocalypse when the fucking cultists start raving.

  39. says

    Two points on nuclear power:
    It is, by far, the most expensive way to produce power. RUNNING a nuclear power plant is cheap. Build one, decommissioning one and dealing with the wast isn’t by a long shot. Overall nuclear power plants cost society far more than other solution while they make lots of profits for the companies running them, because they only have to carry small portions of the front and back costs. There is a reason billionaires like Bill Gates are trying to get them back on the board.

    Now, this is not an argument against using them to fight climate change, because cost considerations should take a backseat here, but this is:

    Nuclear power plants take time to build. Lots and lots of time. First you have to create political will to build them and then solve the NIMBY problem. This may be possible in the US with its big empty spaces, but in Europe? Try getting a nuke build here would as welcome as torching a few cities.
    Once you have solved this, which will take decades alone, you have to plan power plants, because there is no such thing as a standard design for nuclear power plants. Security reasons alone FORCE a specific design for every location. And there aren’t enough people around who have the expertise to plan many of them at once, so you would first have to train lots of nuclear power engineers. Once you have planned them, which again, can take a decade easily, you have to actually build them, again taking decades.

    If we would start a big push for nuclear power now, the first ones would not be finished by 2040 or even 2050, let alone enough to have an impact on climate change. If we still have considerable green house emissions in 2050, nothing of this will matter anymore. We would (and, sadly, most likely will) reach tipping points that make or own green house emissions laughable in comparison. The loss of reflective ice, loss of some kinds of cloud formations, and the release of methane from melting permafrost and methane ice will lead to runaway warming.

    We have to fight climate change with the tools we have RIGHT NOW, not some imaginary solutions in the future. It’s at least 30 years to late for nuclear power.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL: George Monbiot thinks nuclear power is part of the solution not that it is the entire solution. Nor does he seem to share your view that that anti-nuclear lobby is the main driver of climate change.

    There may be a reasonable argument buried in here somewhere but you aren’t making it.

    I did qualify that some, not all, agree with me on that point. Whereas, for the need of nuclear in some capacity to combat climate change, I said that the ones that I cited agree with me on that position. Please do not put words into my mouth.

    If you want someone who says that we don’t need renewables and spending money on renewables is mostly a distraction from spending money on nuclear, see the recent work of Michael Shellenberger.

    If you want someone who says that the Green lobby has lied about the dangers of nuclear power, see most of them.

    For the assertion that the mainstream environmental movement is the main impediment, see me. I’m not sure how many of them, if any, support such a strong statement, but I will. The chain of logic seems straightforward enough:
    1- We need nuclear power to effectively combat climate change.
    2- The mainstream environmentalists and the knock-on cultural ideas are the primary, and arguably sole, reason why we are not adopting nuclear right now.
    3- Therefore, the mainstream environmentalists are the primary social force preventing us from effectively combating climate change.

    Basically everyone I cited above agrees with point 1. I cited some evidence in my second post here for point 2 (although that point could still use some more evidence to properly justify. I could supply some more, but I doubt anyone would read it. I believe most people here are skipping most of my citations. You may be an exception.) Point 3 follows logically. I feel comfortable asserting that conclusion from the available evidence and argument.

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Turi1337
    After deciding to go to nuclear, France accomplished a near complete de-carbonization of their electrical grid in 20 years. History shows that you are wrong. (Excepting outliers which are typically very poor and very low population density) nuclear power is the only proven way to de-carbonize electricity.

    Furthermore, the evidence evidence doesn’t really support the notion that increased solar and wind decrease CO2 emissions. This is in part because wind and solar are typically accompanied by nat gas to cover the intermittency, whose CO2 emissions offset any gains from solar and wind, and also because one of the biggest examples, Germany, also shut down its nuclear power plants at the same time it started on its solar and wind folly.

    Regarding costs.

    Costs are high in western countries because of unscientific safety regulations, and because of poor management, and because of poor design decisions. All of those are fixable. In the longer term, next-gen designs will further decrease costs and improve safety.

    Look at the historical overnight capital costs of nuclear power plants plotted against time.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106
    Right after the Three Mile Island accident – an accident where no was exposed to harmful levels of radiation – there was an overnight 3x increase in capital costs, which was a direct result of the increased costs from mostly unneeded regulations caused by unsubstantiated fear spread by Greens, and legal delaying tactics by Greens, etc. This panic spread among the western world, and was further exaggerated by Chernobyl, and later still, Fukushima. For contrast, look at South Korea, which stuck with a design, and built it over and over again, and gained learning curve benefits. Instead of increasing costs, their costs have steadily decreased over the last 40 years.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    France isn’t doing badly, but it’s not by any means at zero and the carbon trends for France and Germany are pretty identical (France starts lower and ends lower but the differential is similar for each country.) Source: google public dats

    Without taking the time to understand why, this is no better than p-hacking. You’re just taking some trends, assuming that they’re the same, and assuming that both will continue. That’s ridiculous. There are reasons why France started lower. There are also reasons why we should expect that the French trend can further continue by electrifying transport in some way (electric cars, electric railroads, synthetic gasoline, etc.), and why the same trend won’t continue for Germany (renewables cannot supply the electricity by themselves for a modern industrial society).

  43. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Further, about Germany in particular, those trends that you see online don’t tell you an important part of the story: In 1990, Germany reunified, and much of the industry in the east couldn’t compete in a market economy, and went bust. That’s a big part of the reason for the drop in emissions around that time – nothing to do with solar or wind.
    https://www.handelsblatt.com/today/politics/climate-emergency-germanys-great-environmental-failure/23583678.html?ticket=ST-178961-TwXyKcllYbpgVNk5feBz-ap4

  44. vucodlak says

    So long as nuclear power produces significant amounts of waste, waste that remains extremely dangerous for millennia, it’s not a remotely acceptable alternative source of power. We have no realistic plans for dealing with the more than 2000 metric tons (figure according to a quick Google search) of waste produced by the current nuclear industry- “we’ll just bury it in a big hole and hope nothing goes wrong in the next 25000 years” is the very height of short-sighted wishful thinking.

    It’s like this- if the waste remains dangerous for more than two centuries (at the absolute most), then producing it is an unacceptable risk. There are theoretical reactor designs that might produce waste with a manageable lifespan, but until and unless those become viable nuclear is non-starter. Humans cannot responsibly plan on a timescale that’s 2 and ½ times our recorded history.

    Short-sighted thinking and a refusal to face the consequences of our actions got us into this mess in the first place. As things stand now, ‘solutions’ like EL’s might mitigate current crisis, but they guarantee an even worse crisis just a few decades down the road.

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal, #44

    Costs are high in western countries because of unscientific safety regulations

    Oh dear gods. No. Absolutely not. No more nuclear power plants, not as long as people who think like you are in power, constantly pushing for fewer regulations. Have you not seen enough evidence of the kind of shitstorm that’s created in, for example, the oil industry? If we’re fool enough to follow this kind of advice, we’ll have turned half the planet into an irradiated wasteland within in a couple of decades.

  45. quasar says

    I’m not going to pretend to have read this entire thread. Am just going to respond to two of the more egregious points of misinformation I noticed.

    “Chernobyl killed only 50 people.”

    No.

    There is no “threshold effect” when it comes to radiation and cancer, that’s not how radiation and cell mutation work. Background radiation causes cancer, that’s why the cancer council tells us to use sunblock.Any additional radiation exposure increases your risk of cancer in a straightforward fashion, but since no individual case of cancer can be tied directly to a specific source of radiation, Chernobyl gets off scot-free in the “direct cause of death” numbers.

    But cancer and other cell-mutation related sicknesses (birth defects, etc) * were* statistically higher in the massive area blanketed by Chernobyl’s fallout cloud. Death tolls vary wildly due to incomplete data and studies needing to rely on a large number of assumptions, but are generally in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands range.

    “Nuclear Power is cheap, renewables are expensive”

    On a simple per-gigawatt basis, nuclear power is significantly more expensive than fossil fuels and is competitive with renewables only in area’s that lack accessible wind power. Wind is just cheaper.

    Additionally, the price of renewables (especially solar) is rapidly dropping as research is performed and the economies of scale kick in. The price of nuclear power has been stagnant for decades, despite standing agreements with various governments ensuring that money continues to pour in. The problem isn’t lack of funding for research, the problem is that avenues for research have been exhausted. Nuclear power is as cheap now as it’s ever going to get unless we start mass-producing reactors.

    Also, if you’re going to whine about the externalities of solar and wind, you don’t get to conveniently forget about the problems involved in decommissioning all your old nuclear reactors. The industry has incurred a significant debt in the form of ancient, unsafe reactors that have yet to be decommissioned, because they never factored that cost into their budget.

    I’m happy to believe that there’s a place for nuclear power. Renewables provide a lot of power and they do it cheaply enough, but they’re not good at baseline power and large-scale battery technology isn’t there yet.I’m willing to buy that nuclear is a better baseline source of power than fossil fuels, in much the same way that tobacco is better than meth.

    But don’t try to sell me on nuclear power as a panacea, and definitely don’t start telling me Chernobyl only killed 50 people.If you’re so desperate to spread your opinions that you’re going to lie about basic shit like that, I’m inclined to see you as a propagandist rather than an objective observer.

  46. anchor says

    Oh, the ‘EnlightenmentLiberal’ obviously has all the solutions.

    He imagines nuclear power is a solution for powering the world’s transportation and cargo/delivery needs – vehicles on the roads, on the seas and in the air – currently dominated by the combustion of fossil fuels.

    He imagines nuclear power will restrict air and water pollution and ease the accumulation of waste and the appropriation of land for its storage in landfills and its toxic forms in underground storage facilities as well as surface tanks and ponds.

    He imagines that nuclear power will ease the pressure on wildlife and wilderness habitat, curtail mass species extinctions and cleanse the oceans and the biome of plastic and the chemical byproducts of manufacturing and agricultural activity.

    He even imagines that nuclear power can sustain the current rate of population growth and the economic growth required to feed it.

    Whoopee.

    On the other hand, as an ignorant pseudo-environmentalist, I don’t feel the slightest shame in entertaining ‘Malthusian’ notions. I am naïve: I figure, doubtlessly quite simplistically, that every single environment-related problem the world and our civilization (such as it purports to be) faces can ultimately be attributed to one fundamental fact:

    There are simply too many of us on the planet.

    THATS the problem behind it all.

    ‘EnlightenmentLiberal’ is free to perform the experiment himself. He can observe what happens when he allows rats to reproduce freely within a finite space fortified with finite resources. Not that the outcome would actually persuade him away from his nuclear imagination. I’m sure he could think up some excuse, like that the rats would have done just fine indefinitely if only they knew how to use nuclear power, or because humans are smart and rats aren’t, or something along similar lines.

    Yet overpopulation is a real thing.

    So, ‘EnlightenmentLiberal’ can go fly his nuclear powered kite elsewhere. He’s a silly little fraud.

    In the meantime, if anybody was truly serious about avoiding the crises that threaten to obliterate life as we once knew it on our beleaguered and finite little world, they had better decide fast how to reduce our population in a sane and civilized way (it only takes several generations, and it is as gentle as temporarily reducing the birth rate as much as possible) by mitigating and minimizing the forces of ignorance, obnoxious political and populist allegiances and the many forms of fashionable hatreds currently on the rise that would uncontrollably and explosively perform the very same thing through unimaginable chaos, violence and suffering.

    Its that last part that’s hard. It will require a serious emphasis on and investment in education, and instituting the means to fight off the cancerous growth of ignorance. But I guarantee it is nowhere near as hard as the uncontrolled alternative.

    We ought to be able to figure this thing out, right? We’re humans who are as capable of working cooperatively toward any goal as we are of mindlessly competing with each other for the title of King of the Fucking Hill, right?

    After all, are we not smarter than rats?

  47. curbyrdogma says

    What’s even more depressing is seeing the amount of ‘basement skeptic’ comments below any mainstream article relating to weather and climate. Thanks, right-wing talk radio; Ronald Reagan; FOX News, the Republican Party and social media for today’s burgeoning population of reason-resistant factphobes

  48. numerobis says

    Why is it that libertarians and classical liberals are so into nuclear power anyway?

  49. kenfabian says

    I’ve been an off and on reader here for a long time. This time I am inspired to comment.

    EnlightenmentLiberal – I see the politics around climate and nuclear energy very differently. Climate science denial is far worse for nuclear than anti-nuclear activism and as long as Right Conservative politics chooses to spread lies about climate change in order to not have to fix the problem they cannot effectively promote nuclear for fixing it. No-one concerned about climate change can vote conservative and expect such representatives to use nuclear to fix the climate problem.

    I think weakness of support, from people who otherwise like nuclear, is far more damaging than strength of opposition from anti-nuclear activists – because the victims of climate science denial lies are people who are more likely than any others to like and trust nuclear energy. The largest body of existing support has been within right-conservative politics – and that support is now kept behind a Wall of Denial where it cannot be mobilised for climate purposes; no climate problem means no need to promote nuclear to fix it. (I may come back to the question of whether ‘just use nuclear, problem fixed’ belief has real foundations – the WNA thinks it could do 25% of global electricity by 2050, with strong climate policies including significant carbon pricing and subsidy support. Not total energy, mind you – just electricity. RE looks like it will do that much low emissions electricity well before 2030. Note, it is not Environmentalism that is fiercely opposing carbon pricing or strong emissions policy.)

    And why is it up to Environmentalists at all to find broadly acceptable climate solutions, and not mainstream politics? Sounds a lot like critics are saying that since they don’t care but Environmentalists do it is up to Environmentalists to fix the problem – but then they complain when they don’t like the means they propose. I say make your own climate policy ! And commit to it! No-one, least of all a much derided small but vocal fringe minority is stopping you.

    Whilst distrust of nuclear is indeed widespread, thanks to that vocal minority, I suggest it is mostly not a deeply held distrust; persuade people the problem is serious and that it offers a good solution at reasonable cost and support for it will grow. And WAS visibly growing, back when solar and wind really were hugely expensive. Then Right-Conservatives doubled down on denial and then solar and wind got lots cheaper and then Fukushima… Not double down on support for nuclear, just when it would be most effective – double down on denying the climate advice. Those choices were not forced on the Right – they came up with them all on their own.

    Seems there is an assumption that the vast majority of ‘Climate Concerned’ people can’t think for themselves and are unthinkingly going along with RE but not nuclear because Environmentalists tell them to; utter nonsense. RE may have begun as an essentially meaningless appeasement of community concerns, but choosing RE as the means of appeasement also worked to reinforce the idea that the climate problem is a fringe environmentalist one, not a mainstream one. The expected failure of those early schemes would have been used to taint the whole notion of Global Warming by association – but no-one expected giving them enough rope would let them pull solar and wind up into economic viability. I say more rope please.

    There is only one requirement for joining the climate concerned ‘movement’ – taking the mainstream expert advice seriously. Support for nuclear is a minority view (actually a significant minority) within that movement largely because Right-Conservatives refused to take the expert advice seriously and have refused to join. Environmentalists were on board early – and that should surprise no-one given how the natural environment will be affected. Lefty types joined too, because it has serious issues around social equity. Perhaps the Right refused to join because it is a serious issue about responsibility and accountability and they don’t want either. Especially if it could lead to Liability. The Leftishness of the climate movement is not something innate, more an accident of history, and there are no requirements to adopt leftish policies or oppose nuclear to join; when Right-Conservatives get over their delusions about what the issue is really about and join too the movement will look a whole lot less Leftish. And less anti-nuclear.

    That still may not achieve majority support for nuclear – because choosing RE over nuclear has not been an uninformed and unthinking position from people like me blindly believing anti-nuclear propaganda, but an informed and thought out choice. When ‘just use nuclear, problem fixed’ stops being simple anti-environmentalist rhetoric and gets closely examined in order to get the best outcomes it becomes clear it is not the simple, easy, least-cost solution it is being made out to be.

    Commitment to fixing the climate problem is the key to fixing the climate problem, not commitment to nuclear energy.

  50. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL’s sole goal here is to keep people off of the subject of climate change and discussing an issue that divides. It is a classic denialist troll trick.

  51. gnokgnoh says

    As with any resource-intensive source of energy, nuclear power is facing increasingly difficult extraction of uranium. This is no different than the EROI costs of extracting oil from low-yield, increasingly deep-earth or hard-to-get locations. It will also be the bottleneck faced by solar and wind. It takes a lot of resources and energy, as well as extraction costs to build the infrastructure needed to generate energy. See this 2008 analysis by the Oil Drum (before it went defunct) that attempts a balanced analysis of EROI and other external impacts of nuclear. http://theoildrum.com/node/3877.

    Regardless, EL does not wish to address the lifecycle issue. Optimistically, according to him, 20 years for a full build-out. Do we have that luxury? Distributed solar and wind are still a small fraction of our grid energy, but the build-out cycle is much, much faster than nuclear. I am not a cornucopian, but I really don’t like get called names like, “Malthusian.” Do you really think that is an epithet. Resource depletion, ultimately is the bottleneck we face. Climate change is a variable that the Club of Rome did not fully quantify. We know that change is happening, faster than anyone expected. 20-year life cycles for nuclear build-out is already too long.

  52. John Morales says

    Hobby-horse or not, practical or not, I’m kinda sympathetic towards EnlightenmentLiberal’s aspirations and motive. And they ain’t a troll, IMO.

    I too have no problem with fission power using 21C tech, nor do I worry overmuch about either the supply of fuel nor its waste disposal, FWTW. But that’s water under the bridge now, and reality is what it is, and political, social and (most importantly) short-term financial realities are what drives the world.

    (Interesting times!)

  53. John Morales says

    PS also, I think EL way underestimates the potential of renewables, due to imagining that energy storage for baseload is not sufficiently scalable. And it ain’t, by straight economics, any more than an all-nuclear powered world is. But gravity is there, as is physics; and therefore, storing potential energy (with due entropic losses) is quite doable.

  54. says

    Surely this is the best of all possible worlds! Besides, my cherry-picked stats show we are getting safer and more comfortable all the time and we are heading toward a “singularity” not an “extinction event”!

    A 30 year long moratorium on military expenditures and warfare would be a great way to kick off a rational international response to global warming. Spend all that money (and burn less jet fuel!) retooling our economies. In the meantime, yeah, we need to talk about maybe letting the human population naturally die back to something less than peak human. None of that will happen, though – the US government is already planning on increasing oil and gas use through 2050. These dipshits won’t listen to the reaper until it is thoroughly too late.

  55. says

    Before banging on about the “lifecycle issue” for nuclear power, talk about the “lifecycle issue” for coal, gas, and oil. CO2 is the “lifecycle issue” for those technologies and it appears to be nastier than deep-time radioactives, it’s just not quite as obvious.

  56. lochaber says

    Am I the only one bugged by the concept that somehow Greenpeace et al. are spending more on anti-nuke propaganda then the Koch Brothers, Exxon Mobil, et al. are spending on climate denial nonsense?

    I could see a place for limited nuclear power, or possibly as a transition, but I don’t see it as an ultimate answer. It relies on a finite resource, and will eventually be subject to the same limitations as coal or oil.

    And then, as others have brought up, but is never answered, how do you account for the waste? This is stuff that is dangerous, and will continue to be dangerous for hundreds, or even thousands of years. How do you account for safe storage and security of something two millennia from now?

    Why is the construction of turbines for wind power an issue for renewables, but not for nuclear, is there a form of nuclear that does not simply heat water and drive steam through turbines? or are their turbines somehow made out of locally-sourced organic magnets or whatever?

    Too much of EnlightenmentLiberal’s propaganda reminds me of that old bit of sophistry where someone claimed that a bicycle commute used more fossil fuels then a driving commute does.

  57. John Morales says

    lochaber:

    And then, as others have brought up, but is never answered, how do you account for the waste?

    Vitrification and deep burial. Or: sequestration in any other form.

    (Has been answered, long since)

  58. lochaber says

    John Morales @62

    From what I’ve read, it sounds like vitrification is probably the best form for storage, but the storage sites will still need security and management, and I feel like that’s something deliberately left out of the accounting.

  59. says

    We currently have international treaties banning dumping radioactive waste in the ocean, but the total volume of the more dangerous waste is relatively small. I’d be interested to see whether dropping this stuff to the bottom of the deeper ocean trenches would be sufficiently “sequested” to get any risks down to a reasonable minimum. While the sea water would inevitably eat at the glass matrix of vitrified waste, that process would be slow and the extreme depth and slow currents might – i don’t know, but might – guarantee that there’s no large aggregation of free radioisotopic atoms in any one location at any one time.

    If that all worked out, the security would be a dream: secure it in transit, guarantee it was dropped at the right location, use research subs to check on the waste drops once a year or so to make sure that they’re actually falling down into the depths of the trench. Retreiving the waste from there & then reprocessing it would require more resources than mining it in the first place.

    As for other topics, While people are correct that it’s quicker to build a wind turbine than a nuclear project, that doesn’t mean it’s quicker to build a terawatt of wind than it is to build a terawatt of nuclear.

    It’s also true that we don’t need the next reactors to run on Uranium, and though I’m woefully undereducated in this are, Thorium is supposedly easier to mine.

    There are also reactor types that are less susceptible to theft & reprocessing of the nuclear materials. There’s one design I’ve seen that uses a cylinder of material that is non-reactive but mildly radioactive. With a single burst of neutrons or protons (not sure which) from a one-time source, a few atoms at one end gain atomic weight in the nucleus which destabilizes the atom which then beta or gamma decays into a fissionable atom, which then fissions, which then sends out neutrons to strike more of the raw material which then beta/gamma decays, etc.

    The way it’s designed, you can turn off the reaction, and while that has some inherent dangers that’s also a security plus: the only weapon-useful isotopes exist fleetingly just after beta/gamma decay and just before fission. And while you can’t stop the reaction, it can’t accelerate itself into a runaway state either: which means that if you engineer the design to produce a certain amount of heat it will produce very close to that amount of heat for its entire operating life cycle. If you engineer it to produce 800 degrees, you can get industrially useful steam, but you can never melt the housing. The actual reactor has no moving parts (though of course the coolant circulation system and turbines do, and the heat exchanger is still a complicated mess of exhausting and absorbing surfaces).

    I could see something like that being useful, being shippable, and being relatively safe and relatively low-carbon (producing the concrete for the supporting structures of course uses carbon, as does transporting the reactor from its assembly site, etc. But the whole life cycle would be (as I imperfectly understand it) a dramatically lower source of CO2 when compared to coal or natural gas or oil-burners.

    I’m not equipped to gauge the safety of the system as a whole: perhaps even though a reactor is in operation it might be possible to crack it open and remove the unreacted raw material to then run through a different kind of breeder reactor that left weapons grade material behind. But still, I’m entirely open to ideas like this, and I don’t need them to be ready (including all safety, engineering, proliferation & waste issues solved) right now. So long as it’s ready to go before we’ve built enough renewable generation capacity to fully replace fossil fuels, then throw some of those on.

  60. lochaber says

    Crip Dyke @65

    Deep ocean trench disposal/storage isn’t something I’ve thought of before, I’ll mull it over a bit. Initially, I’m a bit hesitant, as I don’t believe we have managed to explore and document those areas very well, so I have some concerns about that, especially in regards to unknown deep sea life.

    But, dumping it into the accretionary wedge of a subduction zone might be a viable method, hopefully the vitreous lump or whatever would somewhat sink down into the mud/muck, removing it from the ocean floor surface. And eventually it would get subducted, but by then it will have likely been exhausted.

    I also think that’s the first proposal I’ve heard of that would answer the problem of what if our current society/civilization collapses.

    On the other hand, given the proliferation of aerial drones, I wonder how long it is before people start making submersible drones. Not my area, so I’m probably overlooking some major design flaws, but I wonder what depths could be achievable with a mostly solid-state and potted submersible drone…

  61. says

    Clearly the biggest boosters of nuclear energy are the shape shifting alien lizards that crawl about in the world’s corridors of power. Trying to convince humans that radioactive waste is harmless, so that the lizards get to hoard huge glowing piles of the stuff to sleep on and regain their energy. And one of them graces this very forum, one Enrichment Lizard by name (Hi Richie!) with their spiel to get theyself bigger piles of radioactive POWAH!!!

  62. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To numerobis

    Why is it that libertarians and classical liberals are so into nuclear power anyway?

    I am neither. I’m a card-carrying radical Marxist. I hate libertarians more than I hate Republicans.

    To quasar

    There is no “threshold effect” when it comes to radiation and cancer, that’s not how radiation and cell mutation work.

    There’s plenty of work that shows that LNT is wrong. The two best pieces of evidence that I use to argue in this are:

    1- Bernard Cohen’s radon study. He obtained reliable numbers for radon levels at the county level for 90% of US counties, and he obtained reliable lung cancer rates. He did a standard statistical analysis, and accounted for every confounding variable that someone could think of. The result is clear: The data is simply not consistent with the no-threshold model for cancer rates from low-level radiation.

    2- MIT did a study where they kept rats (or mice?) in a cage for a month, exposed to a cesium sample or something. They received radiation at a dose rate of IIRC approx 1000 mSv / year for a month, or IIRX about 100 mSv total dose. They did detailed examination of the genomes of the rats, and they found no genetic abnormalities of any kind. This is also not consistent with a no-threshold model for genetic damage from low-level radiation.

    There is a threshold effect. It might not be zero risk below the threshold, but it’s definitely not linear, and there’s tantalyzing hints of evidence of a hormesis effect at the upper end of the low-dose regime, but the evidence is still too early to call. I would be strongly in favor of continued animal studies like the MIT study above – that should settle it once and for all beyond all doubt if we use other sorts of animals, like chimps exposed to 100 mSv / year for 10 years. If LNT is right, then if we do that test, then basically all of the chimps should die in early age of unusual cancers. If the nuclear advocates are right, there shouldn’t be any excess cancers at all. For whatever bizarre reasons that I cannot explain, no one has done this test yet, and even the MIT study on rats is like the first of its kind. It’s absolutely bizarre that this isn’t being studied more. Well, not that unusual when you poke into the history, and you again see that the early conversation was guided by a few people to be extremely anti nuclear weapons, and which spilled over into anti nuclear power.

    But cancer and other cell-mutation related sicknesses (birth defects, etc) * were* statistically higher in the massive area blanketed by Chernobyl’s fallout cloud.

    Except for thyroid cancer, there is not a lick of proper scientific evidence for that. Thyroid cancer rates were probably elevated because of the iodine, but that’s it. Everything else is like Inquirer level of bullshit.

    For example, you might have seen some newspaper reports about Fukushima, and how many more people were testing positive for thyroid cancer than normal. All lies. Yes, it’s true that more children were testing positive for thyroid cancer, but that’s because they drastically increased the testing of children for thyroid cancer.
    https://www.cancernetwork.com/article/fukushima-screening-program-sheds-light-pediatric-thyroid-cancer
    >
    there were no major changes in overall characteristics within 5 years of the accident, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery.

    “This study indicates that a large pool of thyroid cancers exist, which are not recognized as clinical caners without screening, from a relatively young age,” Akira Ohtsuru, MD, PhD, of Fukusima Medical University, and colleagues wrote.
    <

    To the extent that the data that you’re talking about from Chernobyl is not just made up by frauds – and there are a few well known cranks that do that – the data could just be the result of comparing data from a regime of lax testing vs a regime of heavy testing, like what we observed at Fukushima.

    The industry has incurred a significant debt in the form of ancient, unsafe reactors that have yet to be decommissioned, because they never factored that cost into their budget.

    More Green lies.

    To vucodlak

    So long as nuclear power produces significant amounts of waste, waste that remains extremely dangerous for millennia, it’s not a remotely acceptable alternative source of power.

    Coal ash is dangerous forever, and we cannot properly dispose of it, and it actually hurts people, unlike nuclear waste. Ditto for solar panels, wind turbines, etc., and because the power densities of all of those things are way less than nuclear, they all produce way more toxic waste than nuclear. Your standard would prohibit every kind of energy technology. Your demands are ridiculous, impossible, hypocritical (because you don’t apply them evenly), and asinine.

    constantly pushing for fewer regulations. Have you not seen enough evidence of the kind of shitstorm that’s created in, for example, the oil industry?

    I don’t understand what analogy you mean to draw. I’m here to point out that the majority of the things that you think you know about nuclear is wrong, and especially the health effects of nuclear. The US gov regularly does analysis by estimating the microscopic level of radiation exposure over millions of people, accumulating the total radiation dose, then applying LNT to derive a number of cancer deaths. That is the safety standard that needs to be thrown out. Radiation and cancer does not work like that. If you take 1 Sv dose, and give it to one person in a single acute dose, then they’re likely to die horribly. If you split that same dose over 10 people as an acute dose, e.g. 100 mSv per person, then that increases their odds of later developing cancer. If you split that same dose over 1000 people, e.g. a 1 mSv per person, then they will (probably) have zero negative health effects. The total number of cancer deaths is not simply proportional to the total accumulated dose, accumulated over multiple people. It’s completely unscientific, and that ridiculous health model of radiation is a large factor of increasing costs for nuclear power, and that’s what needs to change. We need to change to evidence-based and science-based standard for radiation exposure.

    If we’re fool enough to follow this kind of advice, we’ll have turned half the planet into an irradiated wasteland within in a couple of decades.

    It’s already irradiated. Typically you receive like 3 mSv per year from background sources, typically stuff like cosmic rays, radon gas, etc. People in Colorado receive like 10 mSv per year from background sources – they’re at a higher altitude and they receive more cosmic rays, and there’s more granite in the area which gives off more radon gas. Do you know what the radiation dose rate is in almost all of the Fukushima exclusion zone right now? 10 mSv / year or less. We’re not evacuating Colorado. Why are we evacuating most of the Fukushima evacuation area?

    To anchor

    There are simply too many of us on the planet.

    And do you know how you fix that?

    Well, according to the propaganda of some of the early environmentalists that I’m talking about, you adopt racist strategies where you keep the third world in poverty, and let them starve. At the start of the shift of the Sierra Club from anti-nuclear to pro-nuclear, a fair bit of the propaganda pieces warning about overpopulation were quite racist, always using pictures of non-whites.

    So, without targeted (racial) genocide, how do you fix the problem for real? By raising people out of poverty, and giving people access to reliable birth control, and requiring expensive education, and probably a host of other important factors, all of which require lots of energy. It’s poor subsistence farms that have lots of kids. In basically every industrialized country, birth rates per woman are already below the breakeven number of approx 2.1. Unless you want mass starvations, or genocide, or something, that’s how you stop overpopulation.

    To kenfabian

    Climate science denial is far worse for nuclear than anti-nuclear activism and as long as Right Conservative politics chooses to spread lies about climate change in order to not have to fix the problem they cannot effectively promote nuclear for fixing it.

    And yet, the Republican administration is actually providing some funding, paltry as it is, to several nuclear start-ups right now. And climate change denial is not a global phenomenon, not like the Green phenomenon is. For most of Europe, the reason why they’re not building nuclear is not climate change deniers – the reason is almost universally because of Greens.

    No-one concerned about climate change can vote conservative and expect such representatives to use nuclear to fix the climate problem.

    While climate change should be good enough, there are other reasons that appeal to a typical climate change denier, including national security and energy independence, and also the brute fact that 3 million people die every year, or about 350 people every hour, from airborne coal pollution alone. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s still plenty of reasons to be rabidly pro-nuclear.

    Support for nuclear is a minority view (actually a significant minority) within that movement largely because Right-Conservatives refused to take the expert advice seriously and have refused to join. Environmentalists were on board early […]

    No. Support for nuclear among the general public is low because of the decades long propoganda battle by the mainstream environmental activists. However, support for nuclear still remains high among actual experts and scientists. Please see the sources that I provided in my first two posts on this topic – it covers it in detail. Yes, the Sierra Club was pro nuclear in the 60s and IIRC early 70s, but then in a few short years, due to specific agitators and their false propoganda about nuclear power, including The China Syndrome, “No Nukes” concert with Gerry Brown, etc., the mainstream environmental movement shifted quite quickly to be adamantly anti-nuclear, and they shifted apparently because a lot of the leaders of the mainstream environmental movement were selfish Malthusian anti-progress hypothetical luddites.

    When ‘just use nuclear, problem fixed’ stops being simple anti-environmentalist rhetoric and gets closely examined in order to get the best outcomes it becomes clear it is not the simple, easy, least-cost solution it is being made out to be.

    You are wrong. With existing technology, nuclear is the only approach that can work. Nothing else is even close.

    To gnokgnoh

    See this 2008 analysis by the Oil Drum (before it went defunct) that attempts a balanced analysis of EROI and other external impacts of nuclear. http://theoildrum.com/node/3877.

    Two arguments. First, even if supplies of fuel last for only 20 years with global use, that’s still a massive success. What matters now is not what happens in 1000 years from now, or a 100 years from now, but 20 years from now. We need to stop CO2 emissions right now, and nuclear can do that. Even if it’s only 20 years, that’s 20 years more than what we have now for continued R&D, and we would need that 20 more years of R&D.

    Second, with next-gen reactor tech, i.e. breeders, nuclear fuel supply is infinite, even accounting for the EROEI analysis. We’ve known since the 50s or 60s that the nuclear fuel supply is infinite. They did the work all the way back then to know that granite rock is the most common kind of rock in the continental crust, and that it contains some number ppm of uranium and thorium, and when burned in an efficient breeder reactor, it produces more than enough energy to pay for mining and processing that granite for the uranium or thorium. When burned in a breeder reactor, a volume of everyday granite rock has more useful energy than same volume of coal x20. We will never run out of nuclear fuel.
    https://energyfromthorium.com/energy-weinberg-1959/

    Also people seem optimistic about seawater extraction.

    Also, despite some ill-informed reports by some, there’s barely been any prospecting for uranium ores, and while high grade ores are surely not infinite, they are much much higher than commonly quoted by Greens.

    Resource depletion, ultimately is the bottleneck we face.

    And how do you avoid reserve depletion? Stopping overpopulation, which requires drastic expansion of energy use, and also recycling programs, which also require drastic expansion of energy use. The way that you conserve material resources (other than energy fuel supply) is by spending energy fuel supply, and due to mere chance of nature, we have an inexhaustible supply of nuclear fuel.

    To John Morales

    Hobby-horse or not, practical or not, I’m kinda sympathetic towards EnlightenmentLiberal’s aspirations and motive. And they ain’t a troll, IMO.

    Thanks.

    But gravity is there, as is physics; and therefore, storing potential energy (with due entropic losses) is quite doable.

    Pumped hydro won’t scale. Not enough land area.
    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

    I suppose some esoteric scheme of concrete blocks and electric cranes might work, as suggested to me previously by Crip Dyke. Currently, the very optimistic costs are still an order or two magitude too high to be workable.

    You say it’s doable. I say it’s not. I don’t see how it is. Name your method where it’s possible. Let’s examine the method. Let’s examine what it means to scale to the size that we need, which at minimum is something like 10 TW demand * 3 days of demand. That is a bare-bones minimum for a grid that is mostly solar and wind, and arguably, we’d probably need closer to 7 or 10 days of storage. Also, 10 TW of electricity demand, while much higher than today, is much lower than even the smallest estimates I’ve seen for electricity demand at the end of the century. To defeat global warming, we need to move transport and industrial heat to electricity, and we need to raise the rest of the world out of poverty, and that means we need to be thinking like 30 TW or 50 TW electric. Maybe even 70 TW.

    Also, there is so much money sitting on the able if someone could do it. For California, there’s money sitting on the table, loads of it, for any private investor to solve this problem. No one is stepping forward to solve it. So, unless there’s another massive conspiracy or misinformation campaign about pumped water or concrete block storage, it is quite evident to be that it is, in fact, not possible right now.

    To lochaber

    Initially, I’m a bit hesitant, as I don’t believe we have managed to explore and document those areas very well, so I have some concerns about that, especially in regards to unknown deep sea life.

    There’s actually been a lot of research into this topic. It’s a beautiful proposal in its simplicity and reliability, which is why no one talks about it. The nuclear waste problem is a scientific myth, invented by anti-nuclear people to be the answerable question. They don’t want it to be solved, because for a lot of the environmental leaders, they dislike nuclear because of their Malthusian delusions, and not because of any real safety risk.

    To continue, they’ve done a fair amount of research on certain parts of the ocean floor. For some parts of the ocean floor, except for microbes, nothing lives there. It’s dead. Silt accumulates slowly, and we know that these spots on the ocean floor have remained undisturbed for millions of years. All you have to do it put the waste casks there. The one problem is that it would be impossible to retrieve, and spent nuclear fuel of today’s reactors is fuel for next-gen reactors, and it seems like such a waste to dispose of such a valuable commodity.

    You mention later that they might be retrievable by next-gen sub designs. My answer is: Probably not. One semi-serious idea is to drawn a steel and concrete “dart” containing the nuclear waste into the ocean, and let it sink and build up speed, and have it embed itself (in one piece of course) many meters into the silt. Almost certainly, it’d be gone for good. You could never find it.

    of course, I want to emphasize that this discussion is really a side-show, because nuclear waste, while toxic, isn’t infinitely toxic, and we don’t demand anywhere near the same disposal requirements for other toxic waste, like the toxic waste of solar cell manufacture, or wind turbine manufacture (I’m thinking specifically of rare earth metal mining for the magnets), coal ash, etc. Again, because there’s so little of nuclear waste compared to other kinds of power generation, it’s practically harmless, because linear no-threshold is false, and the dose makes the poison, and with enough dilution, any kind of radiation waste is harmless.

  63. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Too much of EnlightenmentLiberal’s propaganda reminds me of that old bit of sophistry where someone claimed that a bicycle commute used more fossil fuels then a driving commute does.

    Nuclear cultists, in general, do a whole lot of cloaking their spittle-flecked gibbering lunacy in cargo-cult scientific terminology, but there are always dead giveaways. Like when they refuse to recognize any improvement in solar efficiency since like 1970, but insist that nuclear waste can be ignored because “hypothetical future technologies could solve it.”

  64. chrislawson says

    Marcus Ranum: I’m not sure I agree with your comparison of the hazards of coal/oil to nuclear. While the total number of deaths from traditional combustion energy sources massively exceeds nuclear, it is also true that no coal/energy/gas plant disaster has required a 60km-diameter exclusion zone for decades.

  65. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Oh, btw, this came up on my feed today…

    Good thing nuclear power plants are totally safe!

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    it is also true that no coal/energy/gas plant disaster has required a 60km-diameter exclusion zone for decades.

    Well, except for global warming.

    And coal ash lakes.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/report-finds-widespread-contamination-at-nations-coal-ash-sites/2019/03/03/d80c82e6-3ac8-11e9-aaae-69364b2ed137_story.html?utm_term=.8599c2cff387

    And the waste lakes from rare earth metal mining, and a large portion of that is done just for the magnets for wind turbines.
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth

    And every other mundane bit of toxic waste from all other kinds of technology.

    I’m sure that I can go on for a long, long time. These stories are not as flashy, because they’re spread out, but taken in aggregate, these are far, far worse than nuclear power, and nuclear power is only getting safer, while these sorts of toxic waste problem are mostly not getting better.

    And again, the 3 million people that die every year from airborne particulates from coal, and the additional 4 million people that die every year from other airborne particulates, IIRC mostly indoor heating from coal, wood, and dung.

    PS: The Fukushima evacuation was probably unnecessary, and after a few decades, with the much worse Chernobyl accident, most of that exclusion zone is safe to live in now too. So, it’s not fair to cite evacuations which were not medically necessary, e.g. the Fukushima one.

    As for the Chernobyl reactor, it has a positive void coefficient of reactivity, which basically means that it was designed to overheat and explode. We have never built such a dangerous reactor in the west. Chernobyl was truly an outlier of a bygone era. And even much of the Chernobyl exclusion zone is safe to live in now.

    Like when they refuse to recognize any improvement in solar efficiency since like 1970, but insist that nuclear waste can be ignored because “hypothetical future technologies could solve it.”

    I have said no such thing, and I think it is a mistake for any nuclear advocate to say any such thing. The mistake is agreeing to the premises of the conversation in the first place. The mistake is to give agreement to the position that nuclear waste disposal is a problem at all. We don’t need new tech to solve the problem, because it’s not a problem. It’s a fiction.

  67. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, missed this:

    Like when they refuse to recognize any improvement in solar efficiency since like 1970

    Doesn’t matter. Solar cells might as well be free and infinite in supply for all the good they do. The problem is intermittency and lack of storage, and the EROEI problem of the storage. Even with completely free solar cells, completely free in every way, including money and energy cost of mining, manufacture, and disposal, you would still need massive amounts of nuclear.

    The leaders of the environment don’t like solar cells because they’re cheaper than fossil fuels. They’re not. They like them because they have these anti-progress Luddite visions of “going back to nature” where we drastically decrease our energy consumption. They don’t want a tech solution. For them, a tech solution like nuclear is a horribly bad thing. They don’t want a tech solution – they want behavior changes. They want radical changes to our way of life to satisfy their misanthropic visions and delusions which can only be sustained by privileged people living a life of luxury who don’t have to deal with the problems of the third world, of food scarcity, clean water scarcity, lack of food refrigeration, lack of hospitals and education, etc.

  68. lochaber says

    I still want to see some sort of citation on that bit about Greenpeace outspending the Koch brothers…

  69. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To lochaber
    Based on further research, I believe that I misspoke there. I remembered a reliable source saying that, but I must have misheard them, or they were mistaken. I have attempted to research this very topic since I was challenged on it, and I now believe that I am in error. Of the sources that I could quickly find, all were uniformly against me, and I was also unable to find my original source. I express my most sincere apologies.

    PS:
    Having said that, I think it’s still true that the Green energy movement could well be the most well-funded “social movement” in the history of mankind. They were also wildly successful at least once in their goals, once for Germany and again for the New Apollo program in the United States under Obama, which Michael Shellenberger was in large part responsible for, and now regrets.

  70. John Morales says

    EL:

    But gravity is there, as is physics; and therefore, storing potential energy (with due entropic losses) is quite doable.

    Pumped hydro won’t scale. Not enough land area.
    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

    I was being quite general. Hydrogen. Molten. Flywheels. Stuff like that.

  71. John Morales says

    @75:

    Having said that, I think it’s still true that the Green energy movement could well be the most well-funded “social movement” in the history of mankind.

    Ah, I remember hippies back in the 1970s talking ecology and recycling and setting up wind generators. “If it’s brown, flush it down; if it’s yellow, let it mellow”

    (Or: Green ain’t astroturfing, nor a corporate fifth column; perhaps useful fools at times, at worst)

  72. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John
    Ok. Sorry. I didn’t realize that.

    Can you name one storage technology that we can look at and see if it will scale at reasonable cost? Presumably there’s one or two that will fill a majority of the requirement. Or if you really think that it’s going to be a coexisting and mutually beneficial mix of many different techs that serve “the same purpose” (which IMHO is rarely how technology actually works in the real world), can you name the likely techs that will be part of that mix?

    Pumped storage. Not enough land.

    Stacking concrete blocks with cranes. Surprisingly not that far-fetched, but seemingly just too expensive by an order of magnitude.

    Chemical batteries. Not enough raw materials for the conventional designs. Unconventional designs and “next gen” designs that don’t have material shortage problems are often vaporware, and I don’t know of a real one that is being taken to market. There’s also the EREOI problem – it almost takes more energy to create the batteries than you get out of the combined solar cell or wind turbine plus battery system over its lifetime. With massive rollout, I’d expect us to be working with lesser grade ores, which seems like it could tip it into actually net energy negative. This EROEI problem seems to be inherent to the system and unavoidable – creating chemical batteries typically requires making components that are very elementally pure, and that just takes a lot of energy.

    Hydrogen fuel cells AFAICT seem to suffer from severe rare material shortage problems.

    Hydrogen with standard combustion heat engines have abysmal round trip efficiency. Admittingly, hydrogen, or some carrier of that hydrogen, such as methane, ammonia, dimethyl ether, or gasoline, IMHO could plausibly be used as longterm storage to cover the most extreme outliers of weather, e.g. create some now, to be stored and used years from now. This is an important quality. It could plausibly decrease the design requirements for the daily storage system from something like 7 or 10 days, to merely something like 3 days. However, because of that abysmal round trip efficiency, it’s not going to work for the daily and weekly storage system.

    Molten salts? I still don’t know as much as I should. They seem to be in money cost somewhere between pumped water storage and batteries, so probably too expensive. I also have concerns about the lifetime of the storage – heat dissipation might limit their ability to store energy over several days or weeks, which impede their ability to fill that role to smooth out the daily and weekly variation in weather of solar and wind. I would love to be corrected here. However, because I hear very little people talking about them, I am not hopeful about them, and I haven’t given them much time in my research.

    Flywheels? I know even less, but from what I know, I’m even more dismissive.

    There’s also the other techs that we could talk about.

    For example, compressed air storage in existing underground caverns. Abysmal round-trip efficiencies in simple systems because of the heat generation and heat loss from the compression step. Some systems try to recover that heat later to produce electricity to improve round trip efficiencies, but those come with their own significant problems.

    There’s also IMO sillier ideas of gravitational storage, like traincars full of rocks being pulled up and down hills. If that can work, then I assume the electric crane approach with stacking concrete blocks would be miles better, but maybe I should give that one a second look. Still probably not enough.

    To paraphrase the author of the “Do The Math” blog, it is true that a bunch of technologies that are individually inadequate can sometimes come together to form an adequate solution. However, you cannot mix a dozen woefully inadequate techs to make an adequate solution, and the only technologies that we have are of the woefully inadequate kind.

  73. lochaber says

    srsly?
    move goal posts much?

    where does this “Green Energy Movement” get it’s funding from?
    retired trust fund hippies? Whale loving philanthropist billionaires?
    Honestly, if Greenpeace had a tenth of the money you are suggesting they do, I don’t think we’d be in our current situation, orange president, gutted epa, nuclear warhead buildup, etc.

    And again, why are wind turbines inherently more harmful then (nuclear) steam turbines?

    Your posts are basically a small-scale gish-gallop. You are throwing out a boatload of claims, and backing up almost none of them.

  74. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction, there are some non-vaporware conventional chemical batteries that don’t material shortage problems, specifically sodium-sulfur. However, those are just too expensive AFAIK, way more than lithium-ion.

  75. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And again, why are wind turbines inherently more harmful then (nuclear) steam turbines?

    Power density. To the first approximation, the environmental impact is proportional to power density. You need hundreds of times the volume of material of wind turbines compared to the equivalent nuclear power plant, in terms of actual electrical output. That hundreds of times more raw materials typically means hundreds of times more mining, and mining deaths, and manufacturing deaths, etc. It also typically means hundreds of times more toxic waste. In other words, that large permanent magnet in a nuclear power plant steam turbine, pound for pound, is generating way more electricity over its lifetime compared to a wind turbine.

  76. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You are throwing out a boatload of claims, and backing up almost none of them.

    I’d be happy to drill down into any claim that you want. Maybe even you’ll change my mind. I’m just responding to the counter-claims being made against me, and there’s a lot of them.

  77. lochaber says

    again, back to the money.

    How in the hell are the hippies outspending the Koch brothers?

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry, one more thing I saw:

    Honestly, if Greenpeace had a tenth of the money you are suggesting they do, I don’t think we’d be in our current situation, […] nuclear warhead buildup […]

    Actually, Green Peace and anti-nuclear activism is a significant contributing factor to nuclear proliferation in at least one way (and probably several others). One particular case that comes to mind:

    There is a very important treaty between Russia and America where America is failing to live up their treaty obligations. It’s one of the treaties where both sides agreed to permanently dispose of their weapons plutonium. The agreement laid out acceptable methods of permanent disposal. Russia would build a fast reactor and burn the plutonium that way, and the US agreed to build a MOX plant and burn the plutonium that way. However, because of the environmentalists sabotaging the effort, the MOX plant was shut down, and America is now in material breach of this treaty, and Russia is very unhappy about it, and rightfully so. After shutting down our MOX plant, America tried to offer alternative disposal methods which are bullshit, which are not permanent disposal methods, and Russia is very upset about it. So, here’s one example where the efforts of Green Peace is actively preventing destruction of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon material.

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    again, back to the money.

    How in the hell are the hippies outspending the Koch brothers?

    I said I was wrong. I apologized. See post 75.

  80. John Morales says

    EL,

    There’s also the EREOI problem – it almost takes more energy to create the batteries than you get out of the combined solar cell or wind turbine plus battery system over its lifetime.

    What? I very much doubt that, especially if one recycles the spent materials instead of mining them — your temporal scope is insufficient. Look up the longevity of Tesla battery systems (the power management is the secret) for an example.

    Also, when you dismiss an idea merely because “it’s too expensive”, I smile.

  81. nomdeplume says

    The technique of derailing any thread discussing climate change by bringing in nuclear power promotion has been beautifully illustrated here. EL is a master of the craft.

  82. John Morales says

    nomdeplume, you claim it’s a derail; how so, in your opinion?

    Me, I think it’s perfectly pertinent.

    Also, there’s nothing to stop you from discussing other aspects of global warming; as you can see, your comments aren’t lost in the noise.

  83. John Morales says

    Besides — doom doom doom. Doomity doom.

    Mining aquifers well beyond their replentishment rate.

    Overfishing and devastating whole sections of ocean.

    Loss of habitat, devastation of migration routes, blah blah blah.

    Social systems that are all about growth.

    (It’s not just a discordant note, it’s a cacophony)

  84. gjpetch says

    Duckbilled Platypus @40 Thanks for your comment. I often wonder what the public discourse re bringing life into the world was like during the cold war, I think I would have had concerns back then too. I’ve asked my parents, and they just say that “contraception wasn’t very good back then”, which doesn’t feel like a particularly satisfying answer. I suspect that maybe we’re just a colossally dumb species. Hang in there, all we can really do is be kind to each other.

  85. lochaber says

    So, you backed down on that instance, but then pushed forth the claim that
    “the Green energy movement could well be the most well-funded “social movement” in the history of mankind.”

    Again with the goalpost moving. Why does the hippy and Greenpeace funding matter when the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil are irrelevant?

    I’m not going to bother with your other claims until you thoroughly explain this one, because this looks like a gish gallop to me.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales

    What? I very much doubt that, especially if one recycles the spent materials instead of mining them — your temporal scope is insufficient. Look up the longevity of Tesla battery systems (the power management is the secret) for an example.

    Eh. I am not an expert, and this is definitely a domain for the experts to fight over it. I am but a rank amateur for this particular discussion.

    I’ll run some of the numbers myself, and I’ve had at least one person who I think was an expert look it over and not find particular fault. With the most generous assumptions and numbers that I could find, a poly-crystal silicon solar and lithium ion battery system comes out to an EROEI of 4. The remaining work that I need to do myself is finish finding numbers for the required workforce, because I think that’s also a really interesting and important number.

    Reminder: I am a rank amateur. My assumptions: 90% efficiency over 80% depth of discharge over 6000 cycles, with only 30% degradation of max capacity over the total lifetime, and a ESOI value of 42, e.g. the manufacture cost of the battery is only 100x more than the initial max storage capacity of the battery. Only 3 days of storage required. My spreadsheet:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10yFDU_TEF8XZuc25pPsW1RcR-JJMW1XNZuCdQW7Z6hg/edit#gid=0

    So, my final EREOI value of the entire solar + battery system is about 4, and I think that is in rough agreement with experts. The overall system requires about 500 million metric tons of lithium in use at any one time, and that’s like 37x larger than current worldwide estimated reserves.
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/is-there-enough-lithium-to-maintain-the-growth-of-the-lithium-ion-battery-m

    So, if we are serious about this, I assume we’re going to have to use lesser ores, which is further going to sink the EROEI, IMHO probably to actually net energy negative – at least for the initial boot-up phase. Once we’re in steady-state with everyone coming from recycling materials, then the calculations would rely on the recycling numbers instead of the raw ore numbers. However, I’m worried about the near term, and I don’t think that the boot-up phase where we have to deal with lesser ores is economically, politically, or physically possible in the time that we have available to fix global warming.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To lochaber
    It doesn’t really matter. It was partly a face-saving exercise for me.

    I guess it matters tangentially in the context that the Greens had their chance in Germany and in America with the New Apollo program, and their ideas miserably failed. But even then, the amount of money spent on lobbying and public media is entirely irrelevant to any of my real points. I guess it just rubs me the wrong way still to say that the Green campaign is small and grass-roots. I guess it’s small and grass-roots compared to the fossil fuel lobby, but the Green lobby by most comparisons is still very, very large.

    Is that acceptable?

  88. John Morales says

    EL:

    The overall system requires about 500 million metric tons of lithium in use at any one time, and that’s like 37x larger than current worldwide estimated reserves.

    Um. Again: the lithium in the battery stays in the battery, even when it’s “spent”. Doesn’t need to be mined again, there it is already! So any ore mining will be to create new stuff, not to replace exhausted stuff. Your mindset seems stuck in a “use it once, throw it away” mode.

    And also again, look at the proven longevity of Tesla battery systems (you speak of cells, not of power-managed batteries of cells charged and discharged as optimally as possible).
    It may surprise you; it even impresses me.

    And, you know, it could be distributed, this storage (in whatever form it takes). Like, one per dwelling, for example.

  89. lumipuna says

    Kelvin Droegemeier is a weather man with no knowledge of climatology, but he has some credentials.

    So-called Kelvin degrees?

  90. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales
    No, that’s the amount of lithium we need in batteries at one instant. It’s not some accumulated number that includes disposed batteries. You need that much battery in existence at one point in time order to serve 3 days of demand under my simple model, and my model assumes a mere 3 KW of average electricity demand per capita for everything else that is not battery and solar cells, times 7 billion people. (In reality the 3 KW number is probably gong to be significantly larger for a realistic scenario – again, I tried to use generous numbers.)

    You need a whole shitton of batteries, because the amount of power we need is ginormous, and batteries by comparison are not very energy dense.

    And, you know, it could be distributed, this storage (in whatever form it takes). Like, one per dwelling, for example.

    I don’t see how that helps. It only will make the numbers worse. Decentralization of this extreme form increases costs, and decreases efficiency.

  91. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Here, a much simpler model is this:

    7 billion people
    * 3 KW demand
    * 3 days of storage of full demand
    * 47 grams of lithium to store 1 MJ of energy, at max depth of discharge
    * 1 / 90% for max depth of discharge
    * 1 / 85% for average lifetime degradation in max storage capacity
    = 334 million metric tons of lithium

    Worldwide estimated resources are like 13 million metric tons of lithium.

    That’s how much battery we need to exist at a single instant of time in order to even pretend to handle the intemittency problems of a majority solar and wind grid. Realistically, we’ll need a shitton of natural gas or some other fossil fuel backup because I only assumed 3 days of storage, and the real target number for a plan of mostly solar and wind is something closer to 7 or 10 days of storage. (Again, with some other backup backup strategy like the synthesized hydrogen / methane / amonia / dimethyl ether / gasoline approach that I discussed above, maybe 3 days is a reasonable target. However, then we’d have to account for the cost of all of that.)

  92. John Morales says

    EL:

    No, that’s the amount of lithium we need in batteries at one instant.

    (sigh)

    You really should stop knee-jerk reacting; I speak of part of a possible energy storage mix, not every last bit of it.

    Decentralization of this extreme form increases costs, and decreases efficiency.

    Cost, again. Efficiency, again. :)

    I told ya I smiled when you wrote thus — I speak of what’s already doable, not of what’s cheapest.

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You really should stop knee-jerk reacting; I speak of part of a possible energy storage mix, not every last bit of it.

    No, I don’t think that’s what you did. I think you said that it’s possible to have enough storage to make a primary wind and solar grid practical for the people of the world at roughly current power consumption numbers aka living standards.

    Or maybe I was mistaken. Do you, or do you not, intend to defend the assertion that energy storage technology exists to allow the use of solar and wind as the majority electricity production technology worldwide while maintaining high up-time of the electrical grid, possibly with long-distance transmission and limited smart grids, but without massive changes to electrical consumption patterns (i.e. less than 50% of demand will be load-shifted or load-shed)? In other words, can the world continue on seamlessly, business-as-usual, by substituting solar + wind + ??? in place of current fossil fuel electricity generation? If you mean to defend that assertion, I’m going to need you to get specific.

    This is a common “tactic” or behavior that I see from Green apologists: They make the broad claim, and when I challenge them to defend it and articulate the specifics, they retreat to the position “well, it’s just a part of the solution”. If you believe that the whole solution exists, then tell me what it looks like. Someone needs to know this to start planning so that we can start doing it now, because the planet is just getting warmer, and the oceans are just getting more acidic, and we don’t have to time to wait. In your whole solution, wow much lithium battery? How much pumped hydro? Etc. Tell me that. I’m pretty sure that a description of the whole solution doesn’t exist because the whole solution doesn’t exist. It’s a unicorn. It’s fictional. In particular, the fraud Jacobson’s pathetic attempts at giving the whole solution in his error-ridden 100% WWS paper is itself prima facie evidence that the solution doesn’t exist, IMO, because if the whole solution was that easy, then Jacobson would have just picked it, instead of the nonsense that he wrote in his paper.

  94. says

    Worldwide estimated resources are like 13 million metric tons of lithium.

    That’s reserves not resources. Resources are 3-4x times current reserves.

  95. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I told ya I smiled when you wrote thus — I speak of what’s already doable, not of what’s cheapest.

    I understand that in public policy debates such as this one, it’s customary to assume infinite fiat power. I hate to be the person to object to infinite fiat power, but I am concerned about the public acceptability of some plans being proposed. I think that we can get some price on carbon emissions, or equivalently some government subsidy for clean electricity tech. However, I think the public’s acceptance of such cost increases is limited, and I believe that the public, if faced with a choice between drastic cost increases vs global warming, will choose global warming. This is especially pronounced in the developing world, where they want reliable food supplies, clean water supplies, food refrigeration, and other things that we take for granted. Consequently, I must insist that cost be of some consideration in the debate, and even if some plan is physically possible, if it costs more than a few multiples more than coal, then it’s not going to happen. That should be the real goal of this discussion: How to get clean, abundant electricity that is cost competitive with coal.

    I know that convincing the world that nuclear is safe will be hard. However, I still think that it will be miles easier than trying to convince the world to pay many multiples more for electricity compared to coal. As unfortunate as it is, human nature being the way it is means the public simply will not accept alternatives to coal (or carbon taxes, etc.) which are significantly more expensive. We can have some price disparity, but it must be relatively small.

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Lofty
    Sorry for the terminological mistake. However, it’s still short by an order of magnitude or more: 52 million metric tons vs 334 million metric tons. I think my broad argument still holds.

  97. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Tally:
    1) The last mention of climate in this thread occurred @87, and merely noted that what I said–that EL was using the controversy over nuclear power to derail any productive discussion of climate change.
    2) Prior to that the last mention was an astoundingly long tome (2800 words) written by EL to derail the discussion away from the topic of the post.
    3) EL has accounted for a third of all responses to the OP (and well over half the words)–and none of them on topic.

    Again, his entire goal is to prevent useful discussion of the topic of climate change while sowing division among those who want to address the subject.

    If this is not trolling/spamming, what is?

  98. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    If this is not trolling/spamming, what is?

    Eh, you might be able to construe it as mere public masturbation.

  99. unclefrogy says

    @105
    the result is in the heading of this post I see now other alternative.
    I lived through the official cold war and now my only regret is I will not live past the climate crisis. The changes in store will be very interesting and dynamic though they will be accompanied by much suffering all around.
    I am glad we have the liberal to tell us where we went wrong and point us toward the one true solution that we missed
    uncle frogy

  100. Jazzlet says

    ARIDS @#104
    Absolutely right. EL is also persistently assuming that any solution presented to solve problems with alternatives to his One And Only Solution are themselves One And Only Solutions, thus generating more verbiage not directly related to climate change. I have no claim to expertise in any of these areas, and we have never had to deal with a problem this big, but big problems rarely have one simple solution. Iit seems pretty clear to me that we are going to need a large variety of solutions from the tecnical to the social, and that actually the social solutions are going to be the most difficult. All this talk of technical solutions misses out the really hard stuff.

  101. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL is also persistently assuming that any solution presented to solve problems with alternatives to his One And Only Solution are themselves One And Only Solutions

    Never said that. I even said the exact opposite in extremely explicit language in recent posts. I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t strawman me.

    This is a very common Green defense mechanism. It shuts down the conversation, and allows the Green to avoid critically examining their own beliefs. “It’s too complicated for me to know”, they say. The belief that there is a solution – that is a faith belief, and the entire Green energy movement is a misanthropic regressive religious cult.

  102. says

    the entire Green energy movement is a misanthropic regressive religious cult.

    I guess that’s the dulcet sound of someone throwing what little credibility they had to the wind (perhaps in the hopes it’ll jam some turbines).

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To abbeycadabra
    That includes many famous climate scientists and environmental activists. Famous climate James Hansen, you know, that one who publicized the dangers of global warming in the first place, is also on record that the Green energy movement is (semi-)religious, or some variation on that. I forget the exact wording.

    You’re in a religious cult. You are not examining your own beliefs. You don’t even know what your own beliefs are. You just have some vague belief that it’ll work out in the end while having almost absolutely zero idea what that solution will look like. Instead, you’re trusting a movement whose top experts include well-known academic frauds, i.e. Mark Jacobson, and the majority of the scientific establishment is pro-nuclear power.

    What is a delusion? A false belief that persists even in the face of strong evidence against the belief. That’s what we have here. The Green delusion.

  104. microraptor says

    As usual, EL sites no actual evidence as they continue to blather about their anti-liberal agenda while pretending to be liberal. Can the troll be banned already?

  105. Rob Grigjanis says

    micropraptor @112: I strongly disagree that EL is a troll. I think his “arguments” are crap, but they are, IMO, presented in good faith.

  106. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL sites no actual evidence

    The word that you are looking for is “cites”, not “sites”. And I’ve cited many sources. You may want to practice your reading skills and your integrity / critical thinking skills – they need some work.

    If you want me to drill into any of the claims that I’ve made with more citations and discussion, I’m more than happy to do so. Just pick something to start with.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Rob Grigjanis
    Thanks. I know that we haven’t seen eye to eye, and I’m sorry about my past deficiencies in our conversations. I would still be very curious which of my arguments you think are crap, and why you think that they’re crap. I would like to know when I’m wrong, and I’d also like to know which of my arguments appear to be crap so that I can bolster them with additional – or better – argument and evidence.

  108. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @115: Others have covered the points I would make, and I don’t have the energy. I just wanted to say that I think your intentions are good. And I actually sort of admire your passion.

  109. Duckbilled Platypus says

    Duckbilled Platypus @40 Thanks for your comment. I often wonder what the public discourse re bringing life into the world was like during the cold war, I think I would have had concerns back then too. I’ve asked my parents, and they just say that “contraception wasn’t very good back then”, which doesn’t feel like a particularly satisfying answer.

    Not a satisfactory answer but at least funny, assuming they were being ironic.

    I suspect that maybe we’re just a colossally dumb species. Hang in there, all we can really do is be kind to each other.

    Thanks, yes, that’s exactly what I aim to pass on to the little ones.

    I’m sorry I don’t have a more uplifting response. I try to keep hope that we can slow down (stopping or reserversing it seems out of the question), and I try and find the messages that we’re going in the right direction. And we do, but we need to speed up. Sometimes a better way to deal with it is to stop reading about the subject, though.

    W.r.t. the cold war, I can relate. The feeling of dread that I had in the 80s of a possible nuclear conflict is similar to what we have on our hands now, except that in retrospect at least nuclear war wasn’t that much of a certainty. But who am I kidding, that problem is also still around…

  110. says

    @111

    Dude makes up a whole story in his head about what I believe, attributes it to me (and others), then mocks me for it.

    And says OTHERS are the delusional cultists? Impressive.

  111. kenfabian says

    E-L – As long as large parts of mainstream politics cling to denial nuclear-for-climate is dead – and expecting a change of heart by Environmentalists to save nuclear when even people and parties who like it won’t looks… delusional.

    Just as a matter of practicality nuclear will get more (and more effective) support from ending the delusional climate denial by the Right than by ending the distrust of nuclear by Environmentalists – whereupon they can use the climate emergency to promote it effectively. Pro-nuclear activism is so threaded through with and aligned with climate science denial that any claims to be clear sighted and objective or even committed to fixing the climate problem are seriously undermined

    Also, I don’t think extreme environmentalism has all that much say about RE as it now exists, not the policy, not the technology – not even as figureheads. Take the environmentalists out of this and the reasons the Conservative-right opposes strong climate action remain undiminished. Failing to address those keeps the main bloc of support for nuclear corralled and emasculated behind a Wall of Denial.

    PZ – More generally I think climate science denial is at the heart of our problems with this problem – I can see no redeeming features, not even a “let’s be sure before we act” commitment to getting things right – it stopped being that and became tactical obstructionism way, way back. I think as far back as the 1990’s.

    When people in positions of trust and responsibility turned aside from the top level expert advice fixing this fixable problem got made a lot harder. In every way climate science denial screws with people’s heads. It offers a variety of justifications and excuses for avoiding responsibility and avoiding action – an excuse for every occasion.

    Yet, at it’s core this is not so much about Left versus Right, no matter how much so many people want to make it about those, but about trust, responsibility and accountability. My intense and unrelenting criticism of the Conservative-right position on climate is not for them being conservative or right leaning but for turning aside from the top level expert advice on an issue this important to our future. It has elevated lying and cheating as the “legitimate” alternative to facing the problem head on with eyes open – and I think that can only end badly.

    Depriving nuclear-for-climate of the support of those who trust it the most is almost the least of it – Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking undermines the fundamental ability of democratic processes to get things right or do the right things, by preventing the public from being well informed. It elevates winning by cheating above acting ethically and responsibly.

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    E-L – As long as large parts of mainstream politics cling to denial nuclear-for-climate is dead – and expecting a change of heart by Environmentalists to save nuclear when even people and parties who like it won’t looks… delusional.

    I believe it’s easier to change people’s minds about mistaken beliefs than it is to change laws of physics or conjure forth a radical technological breakthrough (which is required to fix the problem with Green tech without drastic social disruption), and I think it’s easier to change people’s minds about mistaken beliefs than it is to convince the public as large to accept drastic social disruption and drastic reductions in quality of life via drastic reductions in energy consumption. I may be “deluded”, but this approach of trying to educate the environmentalists remains IMAO the best – and only – possible approach to fixing the problem. Nothing you say counters this simple position at all.

  113. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Rob Grigjanis, I disagree. When one posts spam that distracts from the original point of the post, that, by definition, is not good faith, even if one does believe the spam. EL continues to account for over 33% of the posts, and he/she has not posted one iota actually pertaining to the original post. There is zero evidence that he/she even bothered to read the NY Mag piece. All he wants to do is bash “greenies”. THAT is trolling.

  114. microraptor says

    EL, you’ve said “I think it was someone who said X,” which is not a cite, site, or even sight of actual evidence. You keep giving anecdotes that you admit you aren’t sure of, then roll back your statements when called on it and proceed to move the goalposts. This is not new, this is a pattern of behavior that’s been observable every time you post on FTB.

  115. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Microrapter
    I’m pretty sure of most of the things that I’ve said. However, I don’t have a rolodex of citations handy, although I’ve been meaning to build one.

    I assume you’re referring to my assertion that James Hansen also says that the Green energy movement is religious in character. Here’s where he said that. Timestamp in the link. My own transcribing follows.

    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA?t=2041
    Video title: “Dr. Jim Hansen and three other scientists talk about nuclear and renewable energy and putting a price on carbon”

    Well, I can point out one or two points. What you find if you advocate – You know, frankly, I’ve spoken to many scientists, and by far the majority agrees that nuclear needs to be part of the solution. However, when you stand up and say that, there’s an anti-nuclear community, which I would characterize as quasi-religious, which just hammers you, and you have to spend a lot of your time trying to deal with that. I’ve even found that some of the – you know that I’m no longer a government employee I have to raise the funds to cover my group of four people, and there are a number of foundations [???] foundation that have been my most reliable source while I was a government employee because I like to speak out is not part of my government job but so I had to prove that I was not using government funds, so when I traveled I had to get non-goverment funds to pay for that. Well, the foundation that provided the funds now will not give me a dime because they are anti-nuclear, and so there’s a lot of pressure on scientists just to keep their mouths shut, but we’re at a point where we’d better not keep our mouths shut when we can see a story which has become very clear, and that is that it’s a .. mirage to think that all-renewables can provide all of the energy that we need, and at the speed we need. China and India are using tremendous amounts of power, almost all coal for their electric plants, and there’s no way that they can power their steel mills and all the other factories that they’re building products for us on solar panels.

    If there’s anything else that you want (more) citations for, or more discussion on, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to do it.

  116. gnokgnoh says

    I really want to come back to the climate change issue, tangentially, through something EL wrote. He wrote, “You want people to live in poverty. Only someone privileged could say something so horrible. Try saying that after living “in harmony with nature”, without running water, without refrigeration for food, without hospitals and modern medicine, without modern agriculture and farming methods. That’s a horrific life.” Seriously? Where is this coming from? Stop putting words into our mouths and trying to insist you know what we believe in.

    The EU had in 2014 per capita emissions of 6.4 metric tons of CO2. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?locations=NL-EU&name_desc=false.
    The US had in 2014 per capita emissions of 16.49 metric tons of CO2. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=co2+emissions+per+capita+in+the+US

    EL then draws a black and white binary and frankly insulting distinction between what “Greens” want, “they want everyone to live in poverty vs. what he wants, “the best way to save the environment is to pull people out of it, and into cities, and that requires lots of energy.” The term “Greens,” is used as a broad generalization for anyone who is part of, “a bunch of pampered, privileged, malthusian anti-humanist, de-industrialists.” Good grief.

    No, what this green wants is to live smaller, safer, with much less consumption of energy and lower CO2 emissions, and I want it fast enough to slow down the rapid acceleration of climate change. I want what Scotland has accomplished in a very short period of time using wind, wave, and tide, 68% of energy production from renewable sources, with a goal of 100% by 2020. Only a small fraction (2.9%) of capacity is from hydro, most of which has been installed. You have France, I have Scotland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Scotland.

    The big challenge of big cities is the complex supply chain and energy demands associated with them. I recognize that 7+ billion people and counting cannot all live on farms, growing our own food. On the other hand you seem bewildered by the growing agricultural problem. I am frustrated by mono-crops and big ag. All of these issues are wrapped up in high-yield agriculture, which are driven by fossil fuels and the use of pesticides. Your hated “Greens” get that this is part of the challenge..

    Climate change has accelerated so rapidly, most scientists, including James Hansen, are becoming hysterical. It should be at least gratifying that your hated environmentalists agree with James Hansen on this point. Stop putting words into our mouths and trying to insist you know what we believe in. The insults don’t help much, either.

  117. klatu says

    […De-lurking, stupid opinions start here:]

    I’m by no means an expert and I won’t go on for too long.

    But from what I understand, current nuclear reactor designs are woefully out-dated.
    The kinds of accidents that happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima were only possible because these reactors are basically explosions waiting to happen.
    The pressurized steam in the Chernobyl reactor literally blew its 1000-tonnes lid off.
    That these reactors even require active cooling is a major design flaw. One that was known at the time they were developed.

    Safer, less expensive, more scalable and efficient designs have been developed and succesfully tested during the 70s. Guess what happened?
    Capitalism. US empirialism.

    Why sell a small, “cheap” reactor when you can instead sell ten huge, expensive ones? Which of these is more beneficial for “creating jobs” and “fuelling the economy”?
    Another major reason these specific reactors were so attractive at the time was the potential of getting “free” weapons-grade fissile material from the breeding process.
    Which, of course, was very much in the political interest of the US government at the time (Nixon… ’nuff said).

    The alternative reactor designs are fortunatly being revived (primarily in China). One such project is the “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor”. It basically uses molten salt as the heat conductor instead of water. This makes any kind of explosive accident fundamentally impossible.
    It sounds neat in theory, at least.

    Check this video for a quick introduction (~4 minutes):


    And if you want some more details on the history (~35 minutes):


    Renewables are, without a doubt, the best approach to solving the dirty energy problem. However, a renewable energy infrastructure requires up-front levels of wealth that most of humanity has no access to. Cheap energy sources (gas, coal and oil) will remain the ONLY energy sources for most of the world’s population until something even cheaper comes along.
    And modern nulcear tech might solve this problem in a relatively short time frame. At least as a transition into a truly clean energy economy.

    But it won’t happen before an even bigger problem has fully metastasized: Global capital.
    Or the grotesque belief that climate change can be countered with a free market approach. Most politicians in the developed world seem to be under the impression that emission reduction technology/policy is only worth persuing if it’s lucrative and competitive (translation: there must be losers).
    Nope, let’s flood the streets with even more cars, except these ones are electric! (Don’t worry, the old ones are still around and will be driven for decades to come in poorer countries. Wait, why are emissions up again?)

    Sigh…

    This is a global problem and requires a coordinated global response. But right now, the Trumps and Bolsonaros of the world are in power, lining their pockets while the gettin’s good and their opposition consists of majority Amy Klobuchars.
    I fear real, systemic, change will only happen once it’s already too late.

    This is making me depressed. Have a good night everyone.

    [re-lurking…]

  118. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To gnokgnoh
    The rest of the world is industrializing, and very quickly. You could take the richest billion people in the world, and cut their energy supply in half, but because of the rest of the world, energy demand is only going to go drastically up. Like 3x or 4x up at minimum. If we move transport and heat (and cooling) to electricity, then electricity demand is going to skyrocket even further. Today, electricity demand worldwide is like 3 TW. We need to be thinking like 21 TW at minimum, and probably much higher, before the end of the century. In other words, think something like 3 kw * 7 billion people, or 2 kw * 10 billion people. that’s a bare minimum. With that much energy demand, a mere 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 standards for rich countries for electricity is not enough. You need 100% reductions in the electricity sector. Even with 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from electricity, transport, and heat (and cooling), that still leaves approx 15% of all human CO2 emissions, and that’s the really hard stuff to deal with. We may need more radical proposals to deal with that to really reverse global warming and CO2 levels in the air. Electricity, transport, and heat (and cooling) are easy by comparison to the remaining 15%, and that’s why we need to get to practically 100% reductions for electricity production. Solar and wind cannot do that without nuclear. Nuclear can do that.

    Please – continue energy conservation, and energy efficiency goals, and adding insulation to houses, and using heat pumps instead of nat gas heating or electric heating, etc., but that doesn’t change the fundamental need for massive, massive increases in power production, and the need to reach practically 0% CO2 emissions from the massively, massively increasing electricity production sector.

    One of the problems is that some people see energy efficiency as an alternative to nuclear. Some people see energy efficiency as something that will reduce worldwide demand. They’re wrong. Dangerously wrong.

    No, what this green wants is to live smaller, safer, with much less consumption of energy and lower CO2 emissions, and I want it fast enough to slow down the rapid acceleration of climate change.

    Some other people in this thread have lived up to my characterization to a T, i.e. nomdeplume. Others haven’t. It’s hard to tell where you are. Maybe you’re just completely ignorant about the numbers. I suggest you look at the numbers.

    I am frustrated by mono-crops and big ag. All of these issues are wrapped up in high-yield agriculture, which are driven by fossil fuels and the use of pesticides. Your hated “Greens” get that this is part of the challenge..

    I’m pretty sure that the Green approach of not using pesticides, modern energy-rich fertilizer, mono-crops, big ag, etc., would only decrease food supply and/or increase energy costs of making food. Decentralization to that kind of extreme degree where everyone grows their own food is a great way to decrease efficiencies, and drive up money, labor, and energy costs.

    want what Scotland has accomplished in a very short period of time using wind, wave, and tide, 68% of energy production from renewable sources, with a goal of 100% by 2020. Only a small fraction (2.9%) of capacity is from hydro, most of which has been installed. You have France, I have Scotland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Scotland.

    Those claims are patently false. They use some of the bog-standard Green accounting tricks: 1- Assuming infinite free storage and/or assuming infinite flexibility in time-shifting demand. 2- Using grid interconnects without mentioning them. One way to look at it is that Scotland is powered in large part by generators in England. Another way to look at this particular scenario, after looking at the data, is that Scotland exports most of its wind power to England and its own demand is met by coal, nuclear, and hydro.

    I hate to link the following source because their articles are often global warming “skeptical”, but some of their analysis is among the best that I’ve seen for debunking claims like this. Yes, I know this is how it makes me look. It frustrates me too that the only people doing real analysis and proper modeling are the global warming deniers, and it frustrates me that the environmentalists are either grossly incompetent in maths, or liars, or both.

    http://euanmearns.com/scotland-england-electricity-transfers/

    >
    Leo Smith from Gridwatch has been monitoring the electricity transfers between Scotland and England since 30 December 2015. This post presents a first look at these data.

    .- The transfers are almost exclusively Scotland to England
    .- The transfer peaks define a plateau of 3.5 GW that defines the inter connection capacity
    .- The pattern of transfers follows wind supply quite closely. An argument can be made that all of Scotland’s wind power is currently exported.
    .- Scotland currently meets 100% of indigenous demand from conventional sources, mainly nuclear, coal and hydro.
    .- A diurnal demand cycle is embedded in the export pattern, but curiously, export peaks are centred on midnight.
    .- There is evidence that wind-curtailment may be used as part of load following strategy.
    <

    See also:
    http://euanmearns.com/scotlands-wind-exports-to-england-and-the-myth-of-a-100-renewable-scotland/

    Now, you may complain by saying something like “but using international grid interconnects is a perfectly valid thing to do, and with a wide enough grid, regional variations in wind and sun will even out and produce reliable power”. Except that’s just wrong. Jacobson’s work, which tried to show something like that was true, actually showed quite convincingly that it’s false for America because the best that he could do was error-ridden with numerous unrealistic assumptions. Also, because the Green movement latches on this error-ridden paper as the holy grail and always cites it as evidence for the same proposition shows quite convincingly that the proposition is wrong. In other words, if the proposition were correct, I would expect that someone would have produced a paper already showing it. Instead, I just see analysis after analysis saying that it’s not true, plus the fraud Jacobson defending his quack work and suing people who disagree publicly.

    And again, let me cite the talk about from those 4 leading climate scientists. Near the beginning, one of them loosely said “We’re not nuclear engineers, and so why are we here talking about nuclear power? It’s because we can do the math, and we need to tell the public about it.”
    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA
    (And again, if anyone wants exact timestamp and transcription, let me know.)

  119. says

    chrislawson@#70:
    I’m not sure I agree with your comparison of the hazards of coal/oil to nuclear. While the total number of deaths from traditional combustion energy sources massively exceeds nuclear, it is also true that no coal/energy/gas plant disaster has required a 60km-diameter exclusion zone for decades.

    Well, we don’t really know how long it’s going to take the global climate change disaster to correct itself or if it even will. A 60km exclusion zone is nothing compared to the long-term consequences of fossil fuel consumption. That was my point, in case you didn’t catch it.

    I’m not sure about the models for whether planetary temperatures ever return to something familiar and habitable but we could be looking at tens of thousands of years or more. The “elephant’s foot” in Chernobyl will still be lethal, then, but the question is whether there will be humans who care.

  120. quasar says

    For the record, EnlightenedLiberal,

    I apologize for not responding to you.I didn’t for two reasons:

    I don’t have the time to adequately research my responses to you, and would need to do so in order to adequately to discuss the “low threshold” theory with you. I will happily admit that without research, your arguments are compelling. I promise to consider them more in my own time.

    However…

    Immediately after making your arguments in favor of the low threshold theory, you say this:

    “Thyroid cancer rates were probably elevated because of the iodine, but that’s it. Everything else is like Inquirer level of bullshit.”

    No.

    You don’t get to accuse me of believing “Inquirer level(s) of bullshit” and change the topic to Fukushima after saying something like “only about 50 confirmed deaths from Chernobyl, with another few hundred predicted deaths”. The conservative estimate offered by the pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is 4000 premature deaths. If you’re going to go less than that, better bring some better fucking evidence than the same W.H.O article that says this:

    “The absence of demonstrated increases in cancer risk – apart from thyroid cancer – is not proof that no increase has occurred. Based on the experience of atomic bomb survivors, a small increase in the risk of cancer is expected, even at the low to moderate doses received. Such an increase, however, is expected to be difficult to identify.”

    And finally…

    “More Green lies.”

    Maybe if you want to convince “Greens” of things, don’t use Green as a pejorative? Just a thought.

    And here’s the first article that popped up on google when I typed in “how much does it cost to decommission a nuclear power plant”.

    https://thebulletin.org/2014/04/the-rising-cost-of-decommissioning-a-nuclear-power-plant/

    1985: “The most reliable estimate of the cost of decommissioning [a nuclear power plant] is 10-15 percent of the construction cost” – MIT nuclear engineering professor David Rose
    2014: “The Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts, … constructed early in the 1960s for $39 million—cost $608 million [to decommission].” – The Bulletin

  121. lochaber says

    I don’t think EnlightenmentLiberal is arguing in good faith.

    They are gish galloping and moving goalposts, as well as straw-manning.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert on this topic, and I’m not necessarily saying EnlightenmentLiberal is wrong, but I don’t think they are arguing in good faith.

    I took issue with the claim that “Greens” are outspending the oil industry lobby in regards to anti-nuclear energy propaganda vs. climate denial. I made a post @61 calling out several issues. I made another post @74, specifically about the money/propaganda.
    EnlightenmentLiberal@75 walks back the claim about outspending the oil industry, makes an apology, but then moves the goal posts claiming the anti-nuclear-energy “Greens” are the most well-funded social movement in history.
    @79, I basically call bullshit on that claim, and accuse EnlightenmentLiberal of moving the goal posts and gishgalloping.
    @83 I again ask how the “Greens” are outspending the Kochs

    EnlightenmentLiberal@85 cites their apology@75, but still ignores the question about the relocated goalposts

    @91 I again question the funding issue

    EnlightenmentLiberal@93 states “It doesn’t really matter. It was partly a face-saving exercise for me.”, and then goes off on another tangent of goalpost migration.

    I pretty much stopped commenting at that point (until now), because I realized they are not arguing in good faith, and I got an admission that the particular argument I was interested in was basically bullshit.

    I’m just trying to follow my own thread of comments/questions and EnlightenmentLiberal’s responses, but I don’t feel like I’m the only person questioning their claims that has met with unreasonable claims and arguments.

    Personally, I don’t really like the idea of proliferating nuclear energy, but, I could see a role for it to play in transition, and could be open to changing my views on it based on sincere arguments backed up by decent studies. Enlightenment Liberal seems more concerned about dragging and insulting the “Greens” then in actually backing up their claims about nuclear energy.

  122. unclefrogy says

    one the things I like least in arguments like the ones EL is using here is the one he reaches for at the end of one of his rebutalls. and seem to underlie the whole thing. the greens want us to go without all the modern comforts the technology has given so we can go back to or live in harmony with nature and be poor or words that re-enforce that exaggerated perspective
    . In contrast the arguments seem to be pointing to only big solutions of removing people from the land and moving them to cities where all their needs will be supplied by mega corp mega solution huge power plants a vision right out the Disney GE world of tomorrow from 1955 that vision should be used all over the world.
    we are given that choice
    his favored outcome of course preserves the wealth and power of the existing energy structure with all of its waste also preserved.
    it looks to me that we have traveled down this path off development for some time and it is showing up some major flaws it might be time to really use the tools we have developed to do some deep analysis and look at what we are doing without weighting in favor of the vested interests of the big corps now in power.
    the world of tomorrow from 1950’s was a fantasy then and is still one today.
    this post and EL’s response to it just says we will not solve it the planet will work out its own solution and it should be remembered that nature and natures laws does not have a vested interest in any solution or outcome what ever it is just changing continuously which is one the few things you can count on.
    uncle frogy

  123. consciousness razor says

    I have some unsolicited advice for Enlightenment Liberal, along with several questions about your strategy.
    First silly piece of advice: have something like a thesis. Preferably, it should be one about which you can be reasonably confident of its truth. How you came to this degree of confidence may be a matter of some concern, but it is important simply that you do genuinely have it and that it at least pertains to something that you believe is true about the world. If there aren’t facts in the vicinity of it, and if you’re not willing to defend it as something other than just some bullshitting, it’s probably not the best idea you could come up with. And you should not be too surprised that people don’t appreciate that shit.
    It also helps if it is something which you think others ought to know, so that there is a reason for you to communicate this to them. I may confidently know something factual about the number of stray cats which were making noise outside yesterday morning, but I have not (yet) convinced myself that somebody would probably benefit somehow from hearing about it. If it turns out to be important in some other circumstance, which perhaps I’m even incapable of envisioning at this time, that’s okay, since nothing will prevent me (presumably) from doing so then.
    Suppose you’ve started writing something, and you’re not sure yet what your thesis is (or whether you have one at all). Be prepared for lots of editing and much less publishing, in that order. Maybe you have more than one thing to say (like I do right now, for instance). Try to determine that you’re in this kind of situation before you’ve written thousands of words spread over of dozens of confusing comments. Then, prioritize what it is you most want to say, letting that be reflected by the quantity of words you send to us through the intertubes. People are questioning your motivations, and that should not come as a huge surprise, when you send them the wrong signals about what motivates you. It’s often a matter of emphasis. If, for instance, you wrote 1000 words about how much you hate SJWs, I think that will count quite a bit more than a few where you say you consider yourself a progressive. That is too much noise and not enough signal. You may be tempted to tell yourself a nice story about why these stupid/bad people are failing to appreciate the message you wanted to send (because they’re the bad guys, deluded, brainwashed, part of the conspiracy, etc.), but at least some part of the problem was that a big chunk of your message was not doing what you wanted. Those people gave a pretty fucking normal response to the stimulus you gave them, so if that’s not actually what you were aiming for, consider a different one next time.
    There were a couple of points that you wanted to make….
    Claim #1 is something to the effect that “assorted people {P1 … Pn} are more responsible for the undesireable effects X, Y, Z, compared to people {Q1 … Qm}, although people in both sets should be considered nefarious.” I’m intentionally keeping this one very abstract, with the hope that it’s not detailed enough to misrepresent you. It’s also not at all clear to me what content it’s supposed to have when totally filled in, but it’s good enough for these purposes. Leaving aside all of that, whether such terms are even well-defined, whether there is any factual basis for it, etc., here’s one pertinent question: what’s the point of telling us something like that anyway? That’s not meant rhetorically, not denying that there could be a point, but as a serious question. If I suppose claim #1 is true, then … does it matter? What’s it good for? Do we need it for anything?
    Claim #2 is basically that “nuclear power ought to be a major part of a comprehensive plan to confront to climate change.” Often, yours is a much stronger claim, but I’ve tried to make it as reasonable as I can. In any case, what you’ve said, truthfully or not, is that this is what you’re here to talk about. (Meanwhile, the veracity or even validity of #1 is apparently of little consequence here, which of course hasn’t prevented you from getting into prolonged disputes about it.)
    I hope it’s fairly obvious that criticism along the lines of #1 is not supporting the #2 project, because even if it’s true, it would not establish anything about the importance of nuclear power at dealing with climate change. It is just plain irrelevant whether its opponents have always been thoroughly horrible people who’ve been up to all sorts of shenanigans (morally, scientifically, logically, and so forth). If they were all literal Nazis, to take it to a certain extreme, what you’d still have is an ad hominem argument, one which obviously doesn’t contain a single informative bit about the pros and cons of nuclear energy or how it compares to the alternatives. Or, what you might be doing with #1 is offering some (more or less conspiratorial) excuses as to why your preferred “solution” to climate change hasn’t already been adopted: because the fucking Nazis thwarted your plans. But even if that’s so, there are still questions about whether we are in the audience who should hear you tell that story right now in this thread. Because it’s coming at the expense of a clear explanation of why we should support nuclear power. It’s not just derailing that conversation (one you tried to initiate, no less), but it also muddies the waters considerably. It’s at best a distraction, but it’s simply not useful to me to get your opinions about who I should blame for climate change (misleading as that is, given that we all share responsibility), when the point is to make rational decisions about nuclear power. If you told me it was supported by clowns, and if I hate clowns (as I do), you could hope that I will come to your side for totally irrational reasons like that. You might believe that’s a satisfactory result, however unfortunate it may be for me. But if you wanted something as impactful as this to have widespread and long-term support, like you should want for plans that could combat climate change, that is not a reliable way to obtain it.

  124. consciousness razor says

    If you told me it was supported by clowns, and if I hate clowns (as I do), you could hope that I will come to your side for totally irrational reasons like that.

    Correction: if I was led to believe that nuclear energy was opposed by clowns, when it’s stipulated that I will do the opposite of whatever they want, out of spite or whatever. It’s too early in the morning for Sophisticated Logic like this … need more coffee, but in the meantime, I apologize for getting it mixed up.

  125. Jazzlet says

    EL

    Never said that. I even said the exact opposite in extremely explicit language in recent posts. I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t strawman me.

    If you don’t like being strawmanned …

    This is a very common Green defense mechanism. It shuts down the conversation, and allows the Green to avoid critically examining their own beliefs. “It’s too complicated for me to know”, they say. The belief that there is a solution – that is a faith belief, and the entire Green energy movement is a misanthropic regressive religious cult.

    perhaps you shouldn’t strawman others.
    Having said that:
    – as Consciousness Razor suggests you have written so much here that expecting anyone else to have read it all, taken in your aguments and retained them all is both incredibly self-centred and unrealistic. You may well have changed your position, but I stopped reading your responses, too many, too long, too much straw manning before you got to the gist of what you wanted to say. I appreciate that being concise and sticking to the gist of your argument takes more effort, but if you are serious about convincing others that effort is the least you can do
    – I said the whole issue was complicated, that doesn’t mean I think it is too complicated to understand, and I don’t think I suggested that in what I said. I do think that arguing about the technical solutions to reducing carbon emissions is the easy stuff and that the social solutions required to achieve those technical solutions are both harder and far, far, far more important. Without the backing of societies as a whole the world over the technical solutions will not be implemented fast enough or widely enough to make a difference. That is why we shoud be talking about how to get people everywhere behind the necessary changes.

    TL;DR The technical solutions are the easy part, getting enough people the world over behind the need to implement them is the hard part and what we most need to work on right now.

  126. John Morales says

    [slithey, you don’t need to include the FaceBook Click Identifier parameter; doing so helps FB track stuff]

  127. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To quasar
    4000 vs 400 is not the hill that I will die on. I think my arguments stand together either way.

    Having said that, I found the same IAEA report:
    https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/chernobyl-true-scale-accident

    Let me quote from the W.H.O., which may be quoting the same report. (It’s unclear to me in my brief look whether it is the case.)

    https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/

    About 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children and adolescents at the time of the accident, have resulted from the accident’s contamination and at least nine children died of thyroid cancer; however the survival rate among such cancer victims, judging from experience in Belarus, has been almost 99%.

    Cancer sucks, but if you have to get cancer, you want to get thyroid cancer, because it has a 99% survival rate with treatment and relatively early detection. I know that some estimates say 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, but with full treatment, that would be like 40 deaths. The number of deaths will probably be higher due to some victims being in remote areas without access to proper detection and care.

    It’s possible that the IAEA is reporting “expected 4000 excess thyroid cancers” as “expected 4000 deaths”. I honestly don’t know at this point without more research.

    When I said that your claims were tabloid level bullshit, I meant that the specific claim of widespread birth defects is tabloid level bullshit. There has never been any proper evidence to support that notion. Again, from the same W.H.O. page:

    Most emergency workers and people living in contaminated areas received relatively low whole body radiation doses, comparable to natural background levels. As a consequence, no evidence or likelihood of decreased fertility among the affected population has been found, nor has there been any evidence of increases in congenital malformations that can be attributed to radiation exposure.

    See also:

    Poverty, “lifestyle” diseases now rampant in the former Soviet Union and mental health problems pose a far greater threat to local communities than does radiation exposure.

    Relocation proved a “deeply traumatic experience” for some 350,000 people moved out of the affected areas. Although 116 000 were moved from the most heavily impacted area immediately after the accident, later relocations did little to reduce radiation exposure.

    Persistent myths and misperceptions about the threat of radiation have resulted in “paralyzing fatalism” among residents of affected areas.

    To consciousness razor

    First silly piece of advice: have something like a thesis. Preferably, it should be one about which you can be reasonably confident of its truth.
    […]
    Be prepared for lots of editing and much less publishing, in that order.

    How about I just defer to the experts in this topic, like I’ve been doing before, including the two open letters from leading climate scientists and other experts to the Green energy movement, asking them to to reconsider their position on nuclear power in order to effectively fight climate change.

    I get the feeling that you’re treating me as a crank that needs to go through peer review. My point is that the scientific consensus is on my side, the nuclear side, and they’re against the anti-nuclear Greens.

    And finally, because the conversation devolved into an argument over experts, the only option left open to me was to attack the “authority” of experts on the other side, and to note that the scientific consensus is on my side against a few token frauds like Mark Jacobson, Helen Caldicott, etc.

    To Jazzlet

    I do think that arguing about the technical solutions to reducing carbon emissions is the easy stuff and that the social solutions required to achieve those technical solutions are both harder and far, far, far more important.

    it appeasr to me that you are fulfilling my cliche that most Green advocates are anti-progress anti-tech luddites. With nuclear power, combined with a solution for transport (i.e. batteries, synthetic gasoline), it might be true that we don’t need social changes. However, rather than be a positive, the idea that we can fix things without behavior and lifestyle changes is viewed as a negative by many Greens, and it seems like you are in the same boat. Are you? Could you please clarify yourself on this point?

    TL;DR The technical solutions are the easy part, getting enough people the world over behind the need to implement them is the hard part and what we most need to work on right now.

    I agree insofaras this: The primary, and practically only, obstacle to fixing this problem is the anti-nuclear crowd. That’s the only social problem – the continued resistance to large-scale deployment of nuclear power. With nuclear power ( and a solution for transport), it seems like we might be able to plug-and-play nuclear in place of fossil fuels, and continue on as business-as-normal, and moreover rather than a joyous conclusion that it should be, it’s seen with suspicion and outright hostility from the Greens.

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    consciousness razor probably deserves a better response. Let me do that.

    My thesis is simply a thesis that has been informed by, and closely mirrors, the thesis of (pro-nuclear) eco-modernists like James Hansen and Michael Shellenbeger.

    Claim #1 is something to the effect that “assorted people {P1 … Pn} are more responsible for the undesireable effects X, Y, Z, compared to people {Q1 … Qm}, although people in both sets should be considered nefarious.”

    Germany has spent enough money on solar and wind that if it had spent that money instead on nuclear, the entire electricity grid would be CO2 emissions free, and there’d probably be enough left over to eliminate CO2 emissions from its cars too. Moreover, I believe that this sentiment is extremely widespread, and it’s the dominant mode in the west of fighting climate change. If you accept this claim, then it seems hard to me to avoid the obvious conclusion that if one changed a single variable, anti-nuclear Green movement to a pro-nuclear eco-modernist movement, then we would be quite well on our way to solving climate change – at least halfway there already. By comparison, if we changed a single different variable, climate change deniers to climate change advocates, we’d still be stuck in the same mess that we are now of spending money on near-useless Green projects.

    does it matter? What’s it good for? Do we need it for anything?

    Yes. If you accept my train of thought above, then the single biggest target that we need to attack and destroy (convert to our side) is the mainstream environmentalists, the Greens. We need to change them from anti-progress anti-tech anarcho-communists, whose primary goal seems to be an anti-corporate agenda instead of an environmentalist agenda, into true environmentalists ala eco-modernism.

    Of course, I’m willing to entertain that the entire Green energy movement edifice is just a fifth column being funded by fossil fuel moneys, and there is some weak but interesting evidence to support a watered-down claim to that effect. A similar political strategy should still be adopted, which is to attack the Greens (and ideally try to convert as many as we can).

    PS:
    If you think that I didn’t address any questions clearly enough, please let me know. It’s hard to know if there was anything more that you wanted a specific answer to.

  129. consciousness razor says

    EL:

    Moreover, I believe that this sentiment is extremely widespread, and it’s the dominant mode in the west of fighting climate change. If you accept this claim, then it seems hard to me to avoid the obvious conclusion that if one changed a single variable, anti-nuclear Green movement to a pro-nuclear eco-modernist movement, then we would be quite well on our way to solving climate change – at least halfway there already.

    Lots of funny business here. I’ll try to talk my way through it.
    If the situation in Germany was a decent representation of half of the problem, then I could at least imagine that something like that could represent half of a solution to it. Ultimately, I would still want some facts, but not necessarily while I’m just imagining random things with you. I still don’t know what to make of it, since it doesn’t seem to say anything about half of our global problem. (Yes, I mean in reality, not whatever you arbitrarily use as a substitute while you engage in some handwaving.) As an aside, “solution” is inappropriate, since climate change will of course continue to present problems which will remain unsolved — significant damage has already been done and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

    You spoke of the “dominant mode” of fighting climate change (in “the west,” which is both poorly defined and arbitrarily chosen). In other words, you’re talking about attempts to address the problem in a constructive way. I’ll point out right away that these are good things and not bad ones; but for some strange reason, those are nevertheless thought (by you) to be the types of things that ought to change in order to get the desired result. This is very far from obvious. Let me put it this way: friendly-fire is usually thought of as something to be avoided, not the main method of conducting an attack. Unless this really is the rare type of situation where the goal is to excel at shooting yourself in the foot, then I think it’s fair to say that this seems to require a nonstandard concept of what it means to successfully engage in problem-solving. That’s a nice way to put it, and I’ll be nice for the moment. Besides, I just don’t see where that kind of idea is supposed to come from — you merely assert it or you appeal to authorities who’ve asserted it or something like it. (I suppose it could be coming from sheer enthusiasm for nuclear energy. But I sort of doubt there is a rational method of generating such enthusiasm in a person who doesn’t already have it, so that wouldn’t be helpful.)

    You might be suggesting that these sorts of things in general (or more specifically, solar and wind) put us at 0% of the way there, which is odd, considering that they shouldn’t count as the only mode but as the dominant one (since, among other things, nuclear is already being used and you presumably think it already does something). Still, that interpretation would be consistent with your statements above, which you should find problematic even if it’s not your intent. But really, you just don’t say explicitly how to accurately represent our progress in the current state of affairs. So if there is supposed to be some kind of implication that one should draw from it, there is no way to tell what it may be.

    What you do give is a number (actually an indeterminate range, consisting of half of all possible values), which is meant to reflect the results of your modification of this “variable.” That somehow takes us from the mystery place (which also has nuclear) to at least 50% of the way there (which has … more nuclear). Whatever that means, and wherever there is. Can’t argue with that, so … congratulations, you win? But seriously, how much does nuclear add to what we’ve got, or how will it approach something like 50% or more of whatever you’re setting as the target? I clearly don’t know. And whatever it is we’re buying here, what exactly do we have to pay to get it? No fucking clue. I don’t think we have a deal yet.

    So, that argument (or the lack thereof) is not too impressive. Also, if you wanted something like a logical conclusion which was obvious and hard to avoid, there are some things that aren’t so obvious or inevitable about it. In addition to the criticisms above, you should have also thought to represent things which aren’t constructive approaches to address climate change. Those are also things in the real world, with effects that are relevant to how much progress we have made (and are making, will make) regarding climate change. What about them? What I have in mind are individual climate change deniers, powerful political parties catering to such people, lobbyists for fossil fuel industries, and so forth. Like the positive contributions of renewable energy sources above, all you’ve done is fail to give an account of the negative contributions of these bad actors.

    You just pull a number out of your ass, as if that were enough to say it all, even if we had been given good reasons to take its value seriously, which we weren’t. But there’s no stopping now … what you expect me to do is accept something, as if there were a definite conclusion with clearly-stated premises. There isn’t one.

    Yes. If you accept my train of thought above, then the single biggest target that we need to attack and destroy (convert to our side) is the mainstream environmentalists, the Greens.

    But no, as you can see, I got off that train a while ago.
    I’m not phased by the pointless name-calling. To you, I may count as an anti-progress, anti-tech, anarcho-communist Luddite with an anti-corporate agenda and a side of fries. It doesn’t exactly sound right, not all of it at least; but on the other hand, it also doesn’t seem to matter. However, I would take offense at the suggestion that I’m not a “true environmentalist.” But if once again it’s merely what you take to be true, rather than what is true, I won’t care a whole lot about that either.

  130. lochaber says

    Another issue:

    Uranium ore, like any other mineral, is a finite resource. What happens when we run out?

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    However, I would take offense at the suggestion that I’m not a “true environmentalist.”

    Thus far, you haven’t attacked my proposed technological solutions by saying that it doesn’t address these other concerns of mega-corps, consumerism culture, etc. You haven’t attacked it by saying that we need changes in behavior and lifestyle among the general public in order to solve for other claimed problems. You haven’t said that a technological fix that allows “business as usual” while preventing climate change is a bad thing. Thus, I wouldn’t say that you are one of the standard Green regressive luddites, unlike for example nomdeplume.

    In other words, you’re talking about attempts to address the problem in a constructive way.

    friendly-fire is usually thought of as something to be avoided, not the main method of conducting an attack.

    Like the positive contributions of renewable energy sources above

    This is a huge difference between you and me. You seem to think that funding for deployment of Green tech is worthwhile. I think it is not. I think that it is mostly counterproductive from two arguments.

    1- Every bit of money (and labor, and energy, etc.) being spent on solar cells, wind turbines, etc., is money that is not being spent on tooling up the large manufacturing base for nuclear that we need. How we spend our money is not precisely a zero-sum game, but it’s pretty close. (And again, I want continued R&D into “all of the above”.)

    2- When you look at the real historical data, deploying solar and wind barely, if at all, reduces a country’s carbon intensity (a measure of CO2 emissions per unit of produced / consumed energy). In many places, adding more solar and wind means adding more natural gas in order to cover the intermittency because storage tech at the scale we need and the cost we need just doesn’t exist. Whereas, nuclear has been shown to be able to quickly and drastically reduce a country’s carbon intensity from electricity.

    Again. Greens are not my allies. Attacking them is not friendly fire. To use your analogy, attacking Greens is shooting at the enemy. Their hearts might be the right place (sometimes, when they’re not promoting eugenic-like racist policies), but intentions are not magic, and good intentions can pave the road to hell. By contrast, climate change deniers are sometimes inconvenient, but they’re not opposing nuclear power deployment with every effort – Greens are. Under the current US administration, we’re getting some funding for nuclear R&D, paltry as it is. Whereas, Obama appointed pure obstructionists to the NRC. The practical difference here is pretty clear.

    You might disagree with me on the facts, or on the priorities of goals that we should target, but you should at least be able to understand my arguments. They’re really quite simple.

    50%

    My apologies for using the “50%” number without context. There are several factors in play.

    There’s the question of how much money has been spent on solar and wind and other Green debacles worldwide that could have been spent on nuclear. I don’t know that number offhand. Even if we spent all of that on nuclear, it’s unclear to me now how much that would have reduced CO2 emissions worldwide because it’s unclear how much money was spent.

    There’s also the fact that nuclear alone (e.g. nuclear without a solution for transport) only solves like 50% grossly-approx of all human CO2 emissions. If you get CO2 free electricity, you can also move heating and cooling (including industrial heat) to electricity pretty easily, and that’s like 50%. Then, fixing transport gets us closer to like 85% of all human CO2 emissions, and it seems quite likely that any solution for transport will rely on clean, cheap, abundant electricity. Even then, as I’ve been saying, maybe 85% reductions are not enough. I’m covering the stuff that looks easy. The remainder may be hard, and might require some lifestyle changes, or maybe some other technology that I don’t know about right now, or some combination. I’m just talking about the low-hanging fruit which is electricity, heating and cooling (including industrial heat), and transport fuels.

    There’s also the question of time. Nuclear rollout in France did take like 15 or 20 years, and so if Germany started spending that money on nuclear instead of solar and wind and other Green stuff starting about 8 years ago, they wouldn’t be quite done yet with converting their electricity to nuclear, but instead they’d be about halfway there.

    I meant “halfway” as some very general approximation, as some indicator that at least some substantial progress would be done, compared to the extremely small progress, and sometimes regressions, that has been done with Green tech and policy.

    For another perspective, consider California in the 70s. There were plans to build additional nuclear power plants that were scuttled by the Greens and Gerry Brown. Had those nuclear power plants have been built, California today would have CO2 emissions free electricity. The Greens are the enemy of climate change and the environment.

  132. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Uranium ore, like any other mineral, is a finite resource. What happens when we run out?

    Covered this already. Post 68. tl;dr nuclear fuel is inexhaustible with breeder reactors, and supplies for less-efficient conventional reactors is much higher than commonly believed, and sea-water extraction may make it inexhaustible, and even if we run out of nuclear fuel in 20 years, a nuclear rollout plan would be a massive success. That’s 20 years of zero-CO2-emissions, allowing 20 additional years of R&D that we would desperately need to mitigate the effects of global warming.

    For climate change, what matters the most is the next 20 years, not 1000 or 100 years. We’re at the brink, and we need to do something now.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, and don’t forget who closed down the IFR program in 1994: the Clinton administration.

  134. lochaber says

    People thought oil and coal were inexhaustible at one point.

    I’ll admit I know very little about breeder reactors, but you are making them sound like a reboot of a perpetual motion machine. And whatever the breeder reactors are converting to viable fuel is also a finite resource. It may kick the amount of that finite resource up a couple orders of magnitude, but it’s still finite.

    Sea-water extraction is the proposed solution for any rare element, but I’ve yet to here of an actual working model. And, any effective technology for sea-water extraction is only going to get less effective as more of the desired element is extracted, reducing the concentration, and making extraction more difficult.

    And again, you are shifting the goal posts from making claims that 100% nuclear is the only option, to any reduction in carbon by the use of nuclear is a “win”

  135. consciousness razor says

    Thus far, you haven’t attacked my proposed technological solutions by saying that it doesn’t address these other concerns of mega-corps, consumerism culture, etc. You haven’t attacked it by saying that we need changes in behavior and lifestyle among the general public in order to solve for other claimed problems. You haven’t said that a technological fix that allows “business as usual” while preventing climate change is a bad thing. Thus, I wouldn’t say that you are one of the standard Green regressive luddites, unlike for example nomdeplume.

    Okay, well, I’m wiling to claim all of those things. So what do we do now?

    Do you think it is a serious way to address those other concerns? If not, then what’s your complaint supposed to be about? Try to formulate it without implying that criticizing nuclear power on any grounds whatsoever, or citing any of its possible inadequacies at resolving any set of imaginable problems, is itself a form of anti-environmentalism. Because that’s what I’m apparently reading, and that doesn’t make any sense. That’s not the sort of thing the term suggests to me. If you think you could use a word for it, I don’t know an existing one that would be appropriate, but it’s not that one.

    But let’s not argue over words. I have more than one problem to worry about, EL, as I’m sure you do. I’m a true atheist, because I think there’s no god, and yet there are numerous other claims I’ll also make about all sorts of other things, just like anybody else would. So, yeah, I would say I’m a true environmentalist, who also has other concerns — like religion, for instance. Should I ask whether you are a true atheist or (if not) a true environmentalist? That’s not a good question, because there is no contradiction in being both at the same time.

  136. says

    EL’s wet dream of course that big energy corporations could lobby government to ban all solar panels and wind turbines. Then the corporations could demand that endless trillions of taxpayer dollars be funneled their way so that they could replace all current energy production with centrally controlled nukes. This would be a “war on carbon dioxide”, promoted by Rupert Murdoch and his cronies.

    Just imagine how much of that money could be funneled off into private bank accounts!

  137. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    In case you are interested, we’re up to nearly 150 responses to the OP, and zero substantive discussion of climate change, its consequences or any realistic proposals for mitigation.

    EL, the troll, wins again. A pity, really, because there is a lot going on with climate right now. The article mentioned in the OP is probably on the alarmist side. It doesn’t really understand why climate science tends to err mainly on the side of optimism. However, there really are very serious climate threats that need to be discussed and addressed. There really are serious attempts at a solution–and “build more nukes” ain’t one of them. “Plant more trees” ain’t gonna do it either
    Nukes are likely to be a part of a solution. We probably have no choice in that. Also reforestation, biochar, etc.. Unfortunately, it’s going to have to go beyond that. We are likely going to have to develop carbon-negative technologies, and geo-engineering, with all its risks is probably inevitable.

    We’ve squandered over 30 years where we haven’t addressed this issue. We’ve lost the luxury of being choosy about solutions. So when someone like EL tells you all we have to do is build more nukes or plant more trees and all will be well, he’s lying–and the lies and the division they sow are bringing us closer to the future envisioned in the Wallace-Wells article.

  138. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To lochaber
    Extraction from everyday granite would mean that nuclear fuel is inexhaustible in the same sense that the sun is inexhaustible. We’ll run out of sun at some point in the future, but it’s not the most pressing of concerns. Similarly for rock, we’ll run out of rock eventually, but it’s not the most pressing of concerns. Again, everyday granite rock would have more energy than the same volume of coal x20 – we will never run out of nuclear fuel.

    To consciousness razor
    Then yes. If you feel that a technical solution that would permit replacement of fossil fuels with otherwise business as usual behavior would be a bad thing, then you’re an anti-progress luddite. Just because it doesn’t address your pet issue doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It would be fixing one of the most threatening issues to human civilization, with everything else remaining more or less the same, and I fail to see how that can be anything except a huge win.

    Do you think it is a serious way to address those other concerns? If not, then what’s your complaint supposed to be about?

    My complaint is that you’re taking a piss on a fix to the most pressing issue to human civilization because it doesn’t do anything substantially positive or negative to your other hobby horses. I am not saying to shut up about your hobby horses. I am telling you to fuck yourself because you say that nuclear is bad because it doesn’t solve your other hobby horses.

    realistic proposals for mitigation.

    Nuclear power is the one and only realistic proposal for its mitigation, and the Greens are the biggest obstacle by far to reaching that goal.

    are likely going to have to develop carbon-negative technologies, and geo-engineering, with all its risks is probably inevitable.

    And guess what? Most of those are going to require a shitton of energy, which again means nukes. Speaking on that topic, here’s one of my favorite geo-engineering proposals for negative carbon emissions.

    https://www.energycentral.com/c/ec/carbonate-solution-part-1-brute-force

    he’s lying

    I am not lying. The environmentalists are lying. The environmentalists are not with the scientific consensus, but against it. Perhaps the scientific consensus hasn’t reached my position yet of nukes doing it alone for electricity, but the Greens are wildly against the scientific consensus by preferring to shut down nuclear plants over shutting down coal plants. They’re not just Luddites, but they’re actively harming the environment.

  139. Jazzlet says

    EL
    If you think Green oposition to nuclear is the only socal problem there is in relation to climate change you are just ignorant, so ignorant that any discussion with you is pointless.

  140. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL: “Nuclear power is the one and only realistic proposal for its mitigation, and the Greens are the biggest obstacle by far to reaching that goal.”
    Suffer from tunnel vision much?

    Ant that, precisely, is your problem. There is no ONE solution, and by pounding ONE solution, you are driving us toward no solution.

  141. says

    @EL, I am with you on the point that nuclear has ben overtly and unreasonably demonized by the Greenpeace and, here in Europe, the Greens (political parties). Greenpeace lost my support when twenty years ago they handled me a pamphlet demonizing nuclear fusion reactors because they produce a massive ammount of waste (not only do not nuclear fusion reactors even exist in economicaly feasible form, the waste they produce is Helium, which is totaly harmless). I forgot what the rest of the pamphlet was about, only that it was full of anti-scientific ignorant nonsense.

    I agree with you that Greenpeace and Greens probably did cause a serious setback by this fearmongering. A setback that has caused harm that might prove to be irreparable. Because by propagating obviously and provably false information they gave to AGW deniers better footing to attack them from with regard to fence-sitters.

    Germany shutting down their nuclear power plants after Fukushima was ill-informed and nonsensical, I said so at the time and continue saying so today. When a colleague at the time told me that with coal plants there is no risk of sudden 60 km exclusion zone, I pointed to him te multiple times over bigger moonscapes in Ge that are produced by coal mining – not sudden, true, but much, much bigger exclusion zones. When he tried to play the radiation is harmful gambit, I pointed out long term effects of floating microscopic coal ash and the thousands of deahts caused by it every year.

    That being said, nuclear is not “the only” option It is not the saviour we need. It is a vital part of a healthy energy mix and it needs to be recognized as such, but nothing more. It could provide a stable baseline for the transition period towards full renewables over the few decades that are needed, and it is a shame we lost that opportunity.

    But we have to go full renewable, sooner or later. Because even if the radioactive fuel is limitless, the materials to build reactors are not – and many materials, once irradiated, are subsequently not safe to work and use and cannot be easily recycled from one decomisioned reactor to the next one. The same for land.

    And as it is with speculating about alternative histories, maybe if there was no anti-nuclear propaganda and we had ample nuclear powerplants now, that itself would still not guarantee that we would be combatting global warming now, or that it would be less dire. We might have more cars that run on petrol etc. for example. We might waste a lot of energy in other ways.

    Because the biggest problem in adressing the global warming over the last half of a century were not the Greenpeace with their ill-informed attitudes towards nuclear (and a lot of other issues), but the fossil fuel lobbies that spent a lot of money on propaganda denying the existence of AGW outright. Scientific consensus on AGW was there in the 70’s, General population started only in last years to barely squeak by majority on that issue, especially in USA. That denial of a problem existing is what held us really back, and the culprit for the existence of that denial is not Greenpeace..

  142. Jazzlet says

    ARIDS
    How can you accuse EL of thinking there is only ONE TRUE SOLUTION? He assured me I was wrong to do so! ;-)

  143. unclefrogy says

    OK EL here is my understanding of the nuclear issue.
    in theory your contention is correct that nuclear energy could be a big help in staving of climate change to at least on a geological time frame. Unfortunately we do not live in a theoretical world all of the engineering we do, in fact everything we do we do in the real world of fallible, ignorant, lazy, corruptible human beings. Ordinary people know this almost instinctively, we all can be convinced by the right story from time to time to believe in the impossible or at least improbable ideas i myself have still own stock that I new was a good long bet that is now worth .7% of what I payed for it I keep it to remind me of myself and the real world
    People are afraid of nuclear energy because of its history. Nuclear reactors depend on no one making any mistakes ever, no one cutting any corners ever, everyone working at their peak all the time. The waste storage depends on perfection to the same degree. Just look at the the accidents we have had the ones that have become public and the majority were at the root caused by human error. how about the simple error in waste storage reported of replacing a clay based absorbent with an organic plant based cat litter type absorbent that ended up catching fire.
    some numbers of nucs may be needed but to trust all of our needs on operating a tech that requires that level of perfect no fault operation for those kinds of time frames that has such intrinsic danger seems very foolish to ordinary people who see the incompetence, fallibility and corruption of their fellows illustrated every day.
    uncle frogy

  144. consciousness razor says

    If you feel that a technical solution that would permit replacement of fossil fuels with otherwise business as usual behavior would be a bad thing, then you’re an anti-progress luddite. Just because it doesn’t address your pet issue doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

    Business as usual behavior is a bad thing. The fact that it’s a bad thing means it’s a bad thing, trivially. I understand that what you’re referring to is B.A.U. “in the West” as you put it before — we should simply accept the status quo, here and now, without ever thinking about whether we should preserve that. It would turn into a long conversation, but I could give a whole lot of reasons why we shouldn’t.
    If it were morally acceptable, there would be no such criticism to make about your so-called “solution.” But it isn’t acceptable, so this is the sort of issue which you do have to take seriously as a moral agent. That much at least is straightforward and not controversial. I don’t know whether one can give an adequate response, and I haven’t ruled that out. However, I’m certain that calling the entirety of our current moral/political situation (modulo fossil fuel consumption) my “pet issue,” and calling me a stupid name, is a very long way from adequate.

    It would be fixing one of the most threatening issues to human civilization, with everything else remaining more or less the same, and I fail to see how that can be anything except a huge win.

    You fail to see it because you have tunnel vision. It may be a win with regard to your pet issue / hobby horse (we can both play this game, asshole). However, in fact, it is something other than that, which is immediately obvious when you actually look at anything other than that. And in fact, I’m not required to look at only the subset of consequences you’re most interested in. For honesty’s sake, if for no other reason, I am willing to do that. Why shouldn’t it be the same for you? Is there supposed to be a reason why it’s okay to disregard any and all negative side effects which aren’t negative with respect to the climate? Because I don’t think there is one, and you certainly haven’t offered a reason like that.

    My complaint is that you’re taking a piss on a fix to the most pressing issue to human civilization because it doesn’t do anything substantially positive or negative to your other hobby horses. I am not saying to shut up about your hobby horses. I am telling you to fuck yourself because you say that nuclear is bad because it doesn’t solve your other hobby horses.

    You’re twisting this into me saying “nuclear is bad.” Maybe that’s my fault, but that is a serious misunderstanding. I would like you to welcome criticism of nuclear, just like it were anything else, not go around saying that it should not be subject to any criticism whatsoever. Because then I’ll feel a little bit more like I’m not being indoctrinated into a fucking cult.

  145. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Jazzlet
    k

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    That’s true only if you’re right and I’m wrong, and obviously I disagree.

    To Charly
    We don’t have to go full renewables ever. Your apparent understanding of the health harms of radiation are greatly exaggerated. You forgot that whatever non-fuel building material limitations that nuclear has (i.e. concrete, steel, etc.), solar and wind have it worse by a factor of 100. The biggest impediment to fixing global warming is not the global warming deniers, but the Greens, as evidenced by the facts that Germany and California would both already have zero CO2 electricity, and on the way to fixing their transport too, if not for the Greens. Consider this: the global warming deniers can still support nuclear for other reasons, such as: It is cost competitive. It allows for national energy independence and national security. It saves money and lives by preventing needless foreign wars for oil. It’s environmentally cleaner and safer than the alternatives: coal and natural gas. It can raise people out of poverty worldwide with clean and safe energy which is a moral good unto itself. Also, by raising people out of poverty, we can stop human population growth which is also a good thing. None of those benefits require believing in climate change. Preventing climate change is just another – very important – benefit among many other benefits.

    To unclefrogy
    As above, your seeming understanding of the health dangers of radiation are greatly exaggerated. Even with all of that human error, even with the worst accidents imaginable, Chernobyl killed a few hundred people from radiation, and Fukushima is going to kill about 0 people from radiation, and Three Mile Island is going to kill about 0 people from radiation, and for comparison, coal kills more than 300 every hour from premature deaths from airborne particulates alone. That’s more than the entire death count from radiation from all nuclear accidents in the history of mankind combined, for a single hour of coal business-as-usual. Moreover, nuclear is only getting safer and cleaner with newer tech and more experience, and coal is not. Similarly, the waste issue is a non-issue, because small leaks hundreds or thousands of years from now will not harm anyone because radiation is not infinitely dangerous, and sufficient dilution makes it safe because the linear no-threshold model is false, and because it’s still safer and cleaner than all other claimed alternatives – it’s safer and cleaner than even wind and solar which themselves produces hundreds if not thousands times more toxic waste that is dangerous forever because it doesn’t decay over time. Nuclear waste is the best kind of waste because we can safely dispose of it because there’s so little of it, unlike the waste from every other kind of energy production which we just dump into the air, or dump into some lakes, or otherwise dump somewhere without any concern at all for it leaching into the environment.

    To consciousness razor
    I guess I just have a difference of priorities. Preventing the next mass extinction event on the planet is more important than the anarcho-communist agenda of gaining extreme decentralized energy production. Moreover, there are other ways to tackle the problems of corporations and capitalism which don’t involve sacrificing the biosphere, such as progressive taxation and other wealth redistribution programs, proper government regulation of large corporations, etc. And moreso, the pitch of solar and wind giving energy without mega-corps is a lie – those wind turbines and solar cells still require large-scale centralized mining (hundreds of times more than nuclear), and large-scale centralized refining, and large-scale centralized manufacture, and large-scale centralized recycling and decommissioning. It’s simply a lie that we’re going to get away from large centralized means of production. Instead, we need to properly regulate and oversee those centralized means of production.

  146. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL, to quote H. L. Mencken:
    “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

    Congrats. You’ve found it.

  147. dianne says

    I haven’t had a lot of luck getting exact numbers for the number killed by the Fukushima disaster, but there are numerous articles on its effect on everything from cardiac disease to renal disease to pneumonia (all negative.) So it’s hard to see this as a minor, dismissible problem.

    I will give EL this: The core issue, if you’ll excuse the phrase, was not nuclear energy per se but regulatory capture: The plant was allowed to run with inadequate safety measures because there was inadequate government monitoring of its safety due to industry influence. This is dramatically and obviously a problem for nuclear plants, but other industries, including other power producing industries, are not free from it either. Government corruption kills.

  148. dianne says

    EL made a mention of “extraction from granite”. Does anyone have a good link to explain this technique to me? (Apologies if it’s up thread and I missed it.) It sounds rather energy intensive and potentially polluting in a fracking sort of manner, given that granite isn’t terribly radioactive, but I don’t know much about it so could be misjudging.

  149. John Morales says

    OTOH, EL is (vaguely) correct about the amount of atmospheric radionucleotides released by burning coal greatly exceeding those from nuclear power stations.

    (No clickety-clicking, but the info is there)

  150. lochaber says

    Funny how EL is talking about the harm from mining components for wind and solar, yet proposes we can extract unlimited uranium from granite.

    I did a bit of poking around, and it looks like typical granite might have a few ppm uranium and thorium. So it would take processing a thousand tons of granite to maybe get a couple of pounds, and only a small fraction of that would be fissionable material, and would involve excessive processing and acid soaking, amongst other issues. And extracting fuel from granite was only mentioned once I questioned the feasibility of extracting fuel from seawater.

    EL is very careful in pointing out every single potential problem with any other enregy source, ignoring current solutions to those potential problems, while gish galloping and goalpost shifting and handwaving any problem with nuclear energy.

    Their main goal seems to be dragging the “Greens” and painting them as the enemy to everything from reducing poverty to curing cancer. They are not arguing in good faith.

  151. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To dianne
    Are any of those papers claiming a causation from radiation? Of course in a tsunami disaster, you’re going to see lots of negative health effects. Of course in a mass evacuation, you’re going to see lots of negative health effects from stress. The W.H.O. above says that the false narratives of greatly exaggerated harms from radiation are doing more damage than the radiation itself. The same is true of Fukushima. The radiation is harming practically no one at Fukushima, but lots of people are being harmed at Fukushima because of the false beliefs that radiation is much more harmful than it is.

    As for the idea that you can “burn” everyday rock in a nuclear (next-gen breeder) reactor. The original paper on 1959 can be found here:
    https://energyfromthorium.com/energy-weinberg-1959/

    It is aimed at addressing the very problems of resource scarcity in the very long term, and what can be done about it. Example quote:

    Eventually, as Harrison Brown has stressed, mankind will have to make do with only four basic raw materials: the sea, the rocks (of average composition since true ores will have been exhausted), the air, and the sun. […] The question really is not whether we shall reach this state—it is merely when we shall reach it.

    And then the paper goes on to show that everyday rock has a lot of useful, extractible energy (more extractible energy than the same volume of coal x20), and that it’s economically and thermodynamically possible to extract and use that energy to power human civilization.

  152. John Morales says

    [bah. radionuclides (radioisotopes), above]

    Point being, EL rightly considers a great deal of the problem is due to general power generation, (as opposed to other sources such as farming or manufacturing (cf. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/25/concrete-the-most-destructive-material-on-earth)), and given the prevalence of coal plants for that purpose, imagines that straight replacement with nuclear to avoid CO2 is the solution, purely on the basis (as I noted above) of baseload needs — which is why I noted storage is a possible solution.

    (Of course, a joule saved is a joule that need not have been generated — I’m thinking of you, BitCoin, or Nascar or whatever. Demand vs supply, and EL focuses on supply rather than demand)

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales
    I’d appreciate if you engage with my links just a modicum instead of calling bullshit. I supplied the link to the paper when I first made the claim, and I supplied the paper again. It’s also easy enough to calculate yourself how much energy is contained with just a few ppm thorium and uranium, assuming close to 100% fission rate instead of today’s 0.7% approx fission rate. It’s not bullshit. You’re just going full Dunning Kruger – claiming certainty in spite of profound ignorance.

    To lochaber
    We mine coal. Granite contains more useful energy than the same volume of coal x20. The paper written more than 50 years looked into this in detail, citing other known work of the time. The acids can be recovered cheaply enough, and the entire energy requirements of the process are much smaller than the energy that you get out of the uranium and thorium in a breeder reactor. The last time that I did the calculations, it’s within a factor of 2x of positive energy output for a modern reactor with a fuel usage rate (amount of uranium / thorium that fissions) of about 0.7%. Multiply that by 100, and we’re in business forever.

    It may look like it’s a substantial problem at first glance, but common sense is not a substitute for the proper mathematical and engineering analysis and experience. I am being fair. Solar and wind don’t work. Whereas, surprisingly, mining everyday rock for its nuclear fuel can work. That’s because nuclear fuel is a million times more energy dense than chemical fuels, so even though uranium and thorium in everyday rock is only a few ppm (parts per million), at a million times the energy content, the math works out, and so too does the practical engineering, which is cited in the above paper.

  154. John Morales says

    dianne:

    I haven’t had a lot of luck getting exact numbers for the number killed by the Fukushima disaster, but there are numerous articles on its effect on everything from cardiac disease to renal disease to pneumonia (all negative.) So it’s hard to see this as a minor, dismissible problem.

    Thing, it’s localised. Not a global effect.

    (Also, note that Bhopal was demonstrably way worse than Fukushima in human terms, but it was chemical, not nuclear)

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL is very careful in pointing out every single potential problem with any other enregy source, ignoring current solutions to those potential problems, while gish galloping and goalpost shifting and handwaving any problem with nuclear energy.

    I am not gish-galloping. I am addressing the points that have been raised to me. It is not my fault that there are many important factors in this conversation. If you feel that I have not adequately addressed any point, I will be more than happy to go back to that point and defend it in more detail.

    And as I said before, I am making a fair and neutral analysis of nuclear vs Green. Nuclear without Green can work to solve for over 50% of our emissions, and with a solution for transport from clean electricity, about 85% of our emissions. Green without nuclear cannot solve for electricity. Widespread installation of Green tech with current tech is mostly a waste of money that would be better spent on nuclear installations and continued R&D into everything.

  156. dianne says

    @EL: Why does it matter whether it was caused by the radiation or some other aspect of the disaster? Even if the damage is “just” due to infrastructure disruption, it is damage resulting in deaths. If your energy supply source is vulnerable to disasters that require major population relocations, that is part of its potential cost.

    @John Morales: Thank you for the info. Mining is generally a high environmental cost activity and I’m dubious about this idea of mining granite…of course, solar also needs rare earth elements and coal is a disaster environmentally, politically, and in terms of public health, so that needs to be taken into account too. Really, “X will solve all your problems” is a dubious statement no matter what “X” is.

  157. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Why does it matter whether it was caused by the radiation or some other aspect of the disaster? Even if the damage is “just” due to infrastructure disruption, it is damage resulting in deaths.

    The harms done, according to my understanding, are due to a mostly needless evacuation, and due to the stress of that evacuation, and the stress induced from being told that they have been harmed by radiation in ways that are grossly exaggerated.

    The harms for the most part, as far as I know, were not done from lack of power supply. Moreover, it seems likely to me that any centralized production facility would fare about as well in the face of a once-a-century tsunami. The principal harms from this accident were first the deaths and damage from the tsunami, and then from the excessive fear-mongering about radiation, and only then do we get to unavoidable objective harms from the nuclear power plant accident.

    Mining is generally a high environmental cost activity and I’m dubious about this idea of mining granite

    This is only far into the future, assuming we haven’t found anything better by then. For me, it’s mostly academic. I’m concerned about what happens in the next 20 years, not the next 1000 years. Maybe we’ll be using something entirely different 1000 years from now. Having said that, it seems quite clear that it’s totally practical and possible.

    Again, keep in mind that because everyday rock has like x20 more useful extractible energy compared to the same volume of coal, that means we would need about 20x less mining of rock for its nuclear fuel compared to coal for the same energy output. Again, obviously that’s less than ideal, and that’s still a lot of mining, and maybe we can figure out something better in the future, but that’s less-bad than what we’re doing now. Still, this question need not bother us for probably at least a hundred years, and maybe longer, and by then who knows what technological breakthroughs we will have made.

    EL, you do amuse me.

    Why granite, and not seawater?

    https://www.pnnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=4514

    As far as I know, the science for extraction of trace uranium and thorium from everyday granite is much more demonstrated and proven compared to seawater extraction, and that’s why I mentioned it. If you look at where I first mentioned burning the rocks above in this thread, I also mentioned seawater extraction of uranium as a possibility, and the Alvin Weinberg paper also delves into the possibility of uranium extraction from seawater. I simply know less about seawater extraction of uranium, and of what little I know, it seems less certain that it’s practical at scale compared to granite extraction, and I went with what I knew and what seemed like a surer bet.

  158. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction:
    https://energyfromthorium.com/energy-weinberg-1959/
    I don’t think that Weinburg in this paper addresses the possibility of uranium extraction from seawater. I just skimmed it again, and I don’t see a mention. However, I did mention uranium extraction from seawater in passing immediately after posting a link to this paper for the first time in this thread.

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales
    I agree that we wouldn’t need to do this for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years, and maybe longer. I said this before, several times. And yet you pretend as though I said the opposite. Why? Could you point out where I did that please?

    I also don’t recall ever mentioning EROEI of oil. Could you please point out where I did that please?

    Here are two things that I’m very sure that I never did, and even said the explicit opposite, and so either I’m going crazy, or you need to work on your reading skills. This is a recurring theme whenever we try to have conversations. I say something, and then you attack me for the saying the opposite. It’s getting really tiresome.

  160. John Morales says

    EL:

    I agree that we wouldn’t need to do this for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years, and maybe longer. I said this before, several times. And yet you pretend as though I said the opposite. Why?

    @68: “What matters now is not what happens in 1000 years from now, or a 100 years from now, but 20 years from now.”

    Let’s get back to basics. First, the OP is about doomishness in general — climate change is one of the biggies, but itself only a component of ecosystem collapse and malthusian growth.

    So; climate change, the factor you purport to address. No dispute that it’s due to anthropogenic greenhouse emissions, right?
    No dispute that the issue at hand is to not just decrease the rate of increase of such emissions, but indeed to cease them, right?
    And no dispute that there’s a small and ever-decreasing window before the effects become too extreme for adequate remedial action. Like, within 20 years.

    So, your very thesis (again) was that bulk power generation should be decarbonised ASAP. No dispute there, right?
    And you think the only possible way to do that is by replacing all coal plants with fission plants running non-stop for baseload. Right?

    Now, you can advocate for it as a short-term fix, or as a long-term one.

    But to do both is… um, less compelling.

    I also don’t recall ever mentioning EROEI of oil.

    You’re right; I was misremembering your response to gnokgnoh @68.

    (But you are insinuating that, so long as it’s positive, it’s acceptable, regardless of its magnitude)

  161. John Morales says

    As an aside, the marker for the anthropocene will be the isotopic anomaly we leave behind, akin to the iridium anomaly that marks the K-Pg boundary.

    (Deep time, man. Deeeep)

  162. quasar says

    This thread went from an argument to a parody of an argument at some point.

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space wrote:
    “There is no ONE solution, and by pounding ONE solution, you are driving us toward no solution.”

    EnlightenmentLiberal responded:
    “That’s true only if you’re right and I’m wrong, and obviously I disagree.”

    No, it’s true even if you are right. There does not exist enough political motivation right now to overhaul the worlds energy generation capacity by governmental fiat.

    There is an approach that is working, though: by making renewables as cheap and efficient as possible, we’re competing with the fossil fuel industry on an economic level. Renewable industries are expanding rapidly as a result, displacing emissions-based forms of power generation.

    This isn’t a complete solution, of course, and I won’t pretend it is capable of solving the whole problem without better storage technology or something as a source of baseline power. However, it’s working to displace coal, which is more than I can say for the nuclear industries efforts. I don’t care whether you blame “the Greens” or the industries spotty record for that: it’s irrelevant. Point is, nuclear has been unable to get the political and financial capital to build new reactors and displace coal plants. Renewables have both, and by attacking them in order to make your case, you are actively harming one of the few strategies to combat global warming that is actually working.

    Other strategies that are working? Lifestyle adjustments. Replacing incandescent bulbs. Buying energy efficient appliances. Energy efficient cars. All the non-supply-side approaches EL seems determined to characterize as ‘anti-progress, anti-technology, back-to-nature hippy bullshit’ (paraphrasing) in his efforts to promote his One And Only Panacea For Global Warming, Nuclear Fission.

    I’m afraid I remain unconvinced.

  163. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    I’m pretty sure that a description of the whole solution doesn’t exist because the whole solution doesn’t exist. It’s a unicorn. It’s fictional. [where “whole solution” means a solution to energy generation, transport and storage that is carbon neutral but adds no new fission reactors]

    I’m perfectly happy to say that I don’t know a whole solution, but I know that there are solutions that could contribute a lot more than they are doing now. For instance, solid state electrical storage (batteries and/or capacitors) are struggling to achieve a combination of price, energy density, & power density needed for personal transport … but for corporations that are able to get (and service) the loans to bear up-front costs, the semi-trucks and many other transports are economically viable with existing tech… though there will need to be some industrial capacity buildup to take prototypes to mass production. Meanwhile, the electrical car solution works very well for a 2nd car and a lot of Canadian (and US) families have a 2nd car. Government spending to subsidize these vehicles can make these attractive enough to consumers at around Can$6k-12k. I’m not sure how many tons of carbon are offset by this expenditure and there may be others spending priorities that appear at first glance to be better per dollar at reducing CO2 emissions, but with consumers buying these cars, that creates a market for charging stations, which means that subsidizing the cars simultaneously subsidizes (by creating the market) for charging stations. The economic “ecosystem” may benefit significantly more than can be calculated by the cars alone. In any case, more educated people than I have looked at these policies and decided that they’re worth it in pretty much all the Canadian provinces, but with especially generous subsidies in Ontario, Quebec, & BC.

    Which is all to say, there are things we’re doing now that could be increased and/or could be spread to the US where adoption of such policies is much more hit-and-miss.

    So I have no problem advocating many “green” solutions even without knowing the entire, ultimate solution for energy generation, transport, and storage.

    But say that this is a good criticism that should give us pause (rather than causing us to surge even faster forward). In that case it should be recognized that no one yet has developed a “whole solution” for nuclear generation. A whole solution would plan for mining, processing, transport, storage, use, disposal, and whole-cycle security of nuclear material. AFAICT, there’s not even agreement on what tech should be the primary tech used for electricity generation in reactors being built today, much less those who plan ground-breaking 1-5 years from now, etc. You can say that there’s no significant nuclear waste problem (and I agree that whatever the problem it should be compared to what we’re doing now, not to a “perfect” world in which electrical generation never causes a single death), but however insignificant you believe it is, there still has to be a plan.

    Is you plan to just educate people until they agree with you that nuclear waste is fine to store in any convenient closet? If not, what is your plan? Because you have to admit that a number of plans have been proposed over the decades in the US and no long-term plan has been made law.

    All of which is to say, why would you bother to discourage solar, wind, and other non-nuclear techs the way you do on the basis of the lack of a “whole solution” when you are not discouraging nuclear power on the basis of a lack of a “whole solution”.

    This seems to me to be special pleading.

  164. John Morales says

    CD:

    All of which is to say, why would you bother to discourage solar, wind, and other non-nuclear techs the way you do on the basis of the lack of a “whole solution” when you are not discouraging nuclear power on the basis of a lack of a “whole solution”.

    Baseload. EL doesn’t think storage solutions are amenable.

    (See, the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine… though the tides do come in and out)

  165. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Right?

    All correct. (Well, drastic reductions of CO2 emissions is the goal, not the literal goal of absolutely zero CO2 emissions ever.)

    Now, you can advocate for it as a short-term fix, or as a long-term one.

    But to do both is… um, less compelling.

    I don’t try to lead with the long-term sustainability of nuclear fuel, but if someone else says that nuclear fuel is not sustainable, and they use that to critique nuclear power, I feel a moral duty to correct that wrong claim, in addition to saying that even if the claim were true – and it’s not – 20 years of reduced CO2 emissions would be a fabulous success and we should do it anyway.

    I know that generally, one should stick with strong arguments and de-emphasize or even drop weak redundant arguments, but I feel that in this particular case, both are important to mention.

    (But you are insinuating that, so long as it’s positive, it’s acceptable, regardless of its magnitude)

    I don’t think EROEI is a very useful metric on its own, except to determine which it’s greater or less than 1. What is important is: How much resources, including money, human labor, and raw materials, do you need to dedicate to the tech to produce the needed amount of (reliable) power.

    I think that human labor is especially important. Hamsters in wheels may have an EROEI of greater than 1 (I haven’t checked), but that doesn’t mean that it’s practical. Consider the human labor requirements of such a system, and specifically the power output per human worker who works in a power generation plant that relies on hamsters in wheels. In this hypothetical, there is net power output, but it’s so small that it cannot sustain our society. Consider our target needs of like 3 KW to 9 KW (depending on assumptions, etc.), and compare that to the power output per human worker in the hamsters in wheels system, and we might calculate that it requires 200% of the working adult population needs to work in hamster-power in order to supply the 3 KW per capita that we need. That wouldn’t work.

    Consider what our society looked like before energy-dense fuels. In that kind of society, most people worked in farming, using their labor directly, or amplified through the use of farm animals. The use of coal power is a multiplier of human labor, allowing human workers to accomplish more output for the same amount of input labor. I think that about 1% of our working population works in energy supply. That’s the neighborhood of what we need to be aiming at in order to allow other workers to do other things in society, like hospitals, arts, etc., and to reduce required work-hours of each worker.

    Now, consider a similar sort of story for the raw material usage. If EROEI > 1, but the total system requires covering 200% of the Earth’s surface to accomplish, then it’s not going to work.

    EROEI is a sometimes useful approximation for these sorts of considerations. However, the correspondence between our real concerns (labor and resources) and EROEI is probably not the best, and I don’t like relying on EROEI numbers when we can get data that directly addresses our real concerns of labor and resources.

    Solar and wind perform much worse on these measures compared to nuclear, and this can be explained in a simple way: power density. Solar and wind, combined with chemical batteries to provide reliable power, is dangerously close to EROEI < 1, and might actually be EROEI < 1, especially for lower-grade ores for the batteries. Whereas, for extracting uranium and thorium from everyday rock for breeder reactors, it’s surprising, but it’s totally doable, and again that can be explained in very simple way: The energy density of uranium and thorium in a breeder reactor is a million times more than the same volume of coal, oil, lithium battery, and the power output of a breeder reactor is like a hundred or a thousand times more than a solar cell or wind turbine. To the first approximation, it’s all about power density.

    However, it’s working to displace coal,

    Do you mean that’s the intention, or that’s the practical effect? I believe that this is the intention, but I believe that the practical effect is hard to notice and quite small. If you look at real countries, it’s hard to gather data in the broad sense that solar and wind reduce CO2 emissions.

    which is more than I can say for the nuclear industries efforts.

    Catch-22. Self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Renewables have both, and by attacking them in order to make your case, you are actively harming one of the few strategies to combat global warming that is actually working.

    I firmly believe that renewables are not capable of drastically reducing CO2 emissions like nuclear can.

    Come on. I feel like I’m talking to a wall. You should know that this is my position. I’ve said it enough already. At least treat me with enough respect to talk to my actual position, instead of lecturing me like a child as though I don’t know anything at all. I know that you believe that the claim is true. You could at least pretend to care enough to properly address my position which I believe that the claim is false.

  166. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Crip Dyke
    Prescript: I’m glad that we can still talk. It is really unfortunate what last happened when we talked about this. I want to apologize, but I’m not sure what for, because I read it several times again, and had family members read it again, and they agree with me that they see it mostly my way. Having said that, I still want to apologize, for something, because you are an intelligent, generally reasonable person, and I greatly value your insights and your knowledge in our conversations, and I would hope that they can continue. Even though I think you were wrong in the last conversation (including being wrong about what you said and what I said and who was being reasonable) – even after that, you still have a great deal of respect from me.

    I am for continued R&D into everything. I could even be for some amount of guaranteed purchases as another, very effective, means of driving down prices. However, I cannot support widespread adoption beyond those goals, especially at the exclusion of other technology choices, if the level of tech does not warrant it.

    I have some ideas for transport, but I know and admit that the transport space is more fluid, and the answers there are less clear, although there are several contenders.

    I’m not sure how many tons of carbon are offset by this expenditure and there may be others spending priorities that appear at first glance to be better per dollar at reducing CO2 emissions,

    Valid concerns. I don’t know either. I will take this opportunity to again mention that this plan requires reliable, affordable, clean, abundant electricity, and that’s where nuclear comes in.

    So I have no problem advocating many “green” solutions even without knowing the entire, ultimate solution for energy generation, transport, and storage.

    I do. If you believe like I do that climate change and ocean acidification are the biggest threats facing human civilization today, and that they are immediate threats, then there is no other way for me to say it: I think that your expression here is the height of irresponsibility. It reminds me of the fabled ostrich, burying their head in the sand. We have to come up with a real action plan, and throwing shit at the wall without having the foggiest idea of whether it will work is not a real plan.

    We’re out of time, and we need to make a plan now that we know will work, and that means going with tech that we have now, and that means conventional nuclear reactors. We’d also continue R&D into everything, and with some luck, we’ll get next-gen designs online in a decade or less, and we’ll start building those instead of gen3 reactors. And maybe, on the chance that some other technological breakthrough happens in some other tech like batteries, which I consider to be very unlikely, then we can revisit the plan, revise it, or even through it out and start over. We need to make a plan now, but it doesn’t mean that the plan needs to be written in stone.

    In that case it should be recognized that no one yet has developed a “whole solution” for nuclear generation. A whole solution would plan for mining, processing, transport, storage, use, disposal, and whole-cycle security of nuclear material.

    As it related to our prior conversation, I disagree. I believe that these are already solved problems. This is because I believe different things about the real dangers of radiation and nuclear power. I believe that radiation and nuclear power are far less risky and dangerous than you believe that they are. I also believe that green techs are far less likely to work than you believe. Finally, maybe it’s also true that I am much more worried about climate change and ocean acidification than your are. Combined together, this is why I believe that these “problems” of nuclear power that you cite are not problems at all.

    but however insignificant you believe it is, there still has to be a plan.

    For the high level waste, e.g. spent nuclear fuel from gen3 reactors, put them in water cooling ponds on site for 5 or 10 years, and then put them in concrete casks on site, and keep them there, indefinitely. That’s my starting plan. In other words, exactly what we’re doing now in the US.

    All of which is to say, why would you bother to discourage solar, wind, and other non-nuclear techs the way you do on the basis of the lack of a “whole solution” when you are not discouraging nuclear power on the basis of a lack of a “whole solution”.

    Again, I don’t mean to be rude, but I honestly believe that these problems of nuclear are fictions created by the mainstream environmentalists which have little to no basis in reality. I really do believe that the Green energy movement is filled with liars and fools who exaggerate the dangers and harms of nuclear by factors of 1000x. Yes, that is a very crude number, and what might I mean by that number? We had this discussion last time. For example, look at the death toll according to one of the leading Green voices, Helen Caldicott, who says that Chernobyl killed 1 million people, and says that the entire medical and scientific community, including the W.H.O., Lancet, etc., are engaged in a systematic cover-up, and that it’s the biggest coverup in the history of medicine. Whereas, if you look at the W.H.O. reports, the total number of deaths from radiation from Chernobyl is likely just a few hundred. That’s a difference of a factor of a thousand (closer to ten thousand) (not to mention that one of the leading Green voices is a raving conspiracy theorist who says that the entire medical and scientific community is lying about Chernobyl). If you start drilling down into Green reports of the dangers of nuclear and the problems of nuclear, and then compare the claimed size and scope to the size and scope in reality, I suspect that you’d often find a similar difference in terms of cost, or death count, or fuel supplies, etc.

    Put simply, nuclear is here, and we can do it now, near trivially. France demonstrates this. France exists. Whereas, Green cannot do it now, as demonstrated by California, Germany, and others. Whatever problems that you have, and whatever holes in my nuclear plan that exist, France demonstrates that they’re solvable, and all we have to do is to look at other countries that have already succeeded to show us the way, such as France for complete electrical conversion, or South Korea for keeping construction costs low.

  167. says

    @EL:

    I firmly believe that renewables are not capable of drastically reducing CO2 emissions like nuclear can.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that renewables can only reduce CO2 emissions by 4% max.

    What is the point of discouraging them, even a little, if they can do this?

    Moreover, I think that one of the most intriguing uses for wind turbines and solar is rural electrification in countries without a national power grid.

    There’s no doubt that electricity saves lives. There’s no doubt that building a national grid is expensive. There’s no doubt that fossil fuels used in rural communities produces truly excessive greenhouse gas emissions because of the inefficient process of transporting the fossil fuels for the generators. Fission reactors are completely infeasible for these communities as well.

    Therefore, in order to save lives, reduce poverty, increase education, and spur economic development, it seems to me we should be relentlessly advocating the small-ish, community scale renewable techs (this would technically be distributed generation, but not in the sense of per-home generation the way this term is used in the US and Canada).

    I’m still willing to be convinced that nuclear generation should form the bulk of baseload power in North America, but rural communities without electrification now are clamoring for energy, and since nuclear power is unworkable for the vast majority of these communities, it would seem to me that wind, solar, and other distributable techs would be absolutely key to preventing the growth of CO2 emissions, even conceding that it may not be key to reducing CO2 emissions where national power grids already exist.

    Would you agree?

  168. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What is the point of discouraging them, even a little, if they can do this?

    I believe that there is a large portion of the voting block who believe that renewables can do it without nuclear. I believe that they are the primary reason, the primary impediment, to why we’re not building more nuclear (and there’s many reasons to be building more nuclear beyond climate change). I believe that if I could somehow convince these portion of the population that they’re wrong about renewables (and perhaps several other points), then they would become pro-nuclear, and then I believe that we would build more nuclear and finally begin our task to fight and maybe even defeat climate change and ocean acidifcation.

    Is this really such a hard train of thought to follow? Am I being punked? I understand why others might disagree, but I don’t understand how so many others seem incapable of even understanding my position, in spite of me describing it clearly ad nauseam.

    Fission reactors are completely infeasible for these communities as well.

    Therefore, in order to save lives, reduce poverty, increase education, and spur economic development, it seems to me we should be relentlessly advocating the small-ish, community scale renewable techs (this would technically be distributed generation, but not in the sense of per-home generation the way this term is used in the US and Canada).

    I’m willing to bet that stringing a long-distance transmission line is going to be cheaper for the same reliability and environmental impact in most cases.

    For the remainder, sure. Throw wind, solar, and batteries at it. For that remote off-grid application, those things are quite suited. You’ll probably need a diesel backup too, but we can afford a small amount of emissions for a small portion of the population, and maybe we can make synthetic petrol too which would be CO2 neutral when burned because it was made with CO2 from the air.

    This seems to be a rounding error in terms of the big picture. I’m considering the plan to get us to the goal, and that means focusing on the 99% of the problem, which means focusing on people who we can string a power-line to. Again, for the 1% in extremely remote areas, sure, go nuts, I don’t care.

  169. John Morales says

    EL:

    Solar and wind perform much worse on these measures compared to nuclear, and this can be explained in a simple way: power density. Solar and wind, combined with chemical batteries to provide reliable power, is dangerously close to EROEI < 1, and might actually be EROEI < 1, especially for lower-grade ores for the batteries.
    […]
    Consider our target needs of like 3 KW to 9 KW

    So, yeah, baseload is your basis. You’re affirming what I noted!

    (And again with the batteries! Storage, not batteries. Batteries are a form of storage, but not all storage is in the form of batteries. cf. #78)

    Perhaps you miss the basic issue of my disputation.
    I’m not saying that building a sufficient number of nuclear fission plants wouldn’t enable the decomissioning of extant coal and gas plants, but rather that it’s by no means plausible that there is no other achievable way to achieve that.
    Possibly for less social and monetary cost, even.

  170. consciousness razor says

    Come on. I feel like I’m talking to a wall. You should know that this is my position. I’ve said it enough already. At least treat me with enough respect to talk to my actual position, instead of lecturing me like a child as though I don’t know anything at all. I know that you believe that the claim is true. You could at least pretend to care enough to properly address my position which I believe that the claim is false.

    I’m trying not to laugh, but it’s hard. When I said above that renewables are a positive contribution[1], you disputed it then as well. What’s the source of the dispute? Apparently, just your own personal incredulity. What I got in response, instead of evidence or justification, was some apologetics, which of course barely even touched on the question but rambled off into other directions. If only it were a genuine apology, after having gotten something meaningful out of the experience. But no, it’s always about doubling-down with you, or else you tell me what I want to hear until the same shit pops up again later on.
    Anyway, you didn’t have definite or reliable numbers to work with, so you went with little more than how you feel in your gut about it, even though as I said that was barely capable of being internally consistent (and not in a way that you’ll actually defend).[2] For fuck’s sake, if something like that requires a serious response, other than “okay, duly noted, you were bullshitting,” then I don’t know what it should be…. But yes, sure, that’s your belief. You’ve got it. What am I supposed to do with it? I won’t try to explain why you have the feeling that people aren’t properly addressing it. So what would be the proper way to do that? Since we’re all doing such a bad job of guessing how conversing with you should work, maybe give us a few hints. Do I need to start by giving myself a fucking stomach ache, so we’ll have similar gut feelings? Do I need to have a job as nuclear engineer? Do I simply have to agree with whatever you already think? How about you tell me what you think the rules are?

    [1] Not that this should need defining, but for you….. positive means it’s greater than 0, while it does not mean “a big quantity that will satisfy whatever criteria EL feels like talking about at the moment.”
    [2] But now quasar makes a similar point, and it’s right back to your “firm belief” with nothing else to back it up. Talking to a wall, indeed.

  171. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor
    I made one error already in this post, and I admitted the error and apologized (post 75). When I think I’m right, I will “double down”.

    Ok. Definite numbers time.

    France. Practically zero CO2 emissions from electricity production. Why? Because they built lots of nuclear, plus some amount of hydro.

    Germany. Lots of CO2 emissions from their electricity production. Why? Because they didn’t build lots of nuclear, and because they shut down their nuclear in face of fossil fuels and renewables. Starting from 2000, one source says that Germany has spent about the equivalent of 222 billion USD on renewables. At a fair price of 4 billion USD for 1 GW of nuclear power plant, that is about 55 GW of nuclear power that they could have built. Germany’s yearly-average electricity demand is about 58 GW. Combine that with their pre-existing fleet of nuclear reactors that they shut down, and they could have easily decarbonized their entire electrical grid. Instead, their CO2 emissions per capita and carbon intensity have been mostly flat since 2000, and a lot / most(?) of the reductions over that time can be attributed to the reunification of East and West Germany and the consequent shutting down of lots of industry in East Germany that failed in a market economy.

    Scotland. Here’s a source that the total wind subsidy might be about 6 billion pounds, or about 7.8 billion USD.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/windpower/10122850/True-cost-of-Britains-wind-farm-industry-revealed.html

    So, using the same number for nuclear cost, that money is enough for about 2 GW of additional nuclear power. According to Wikipedia and other sources, Scotland’s domestic electrical consumption is about 4.2 GW (I’m getting conflciting numbers from different sources, but they’re all about 3.5 GW to 4.2 GW). According to other sources, Scotland has about 2.3 GW of nuclear capacity already. So, had they spent that money on nuclear instead of wind, they could have shut down their 1.2 GW capacity of nat gas generators and 0.14 GW capacity of diesel generators, and also be enjoying reliable, CO2-free electricity with plenty to spare because they already have about 0.6 GW of hydro generation (aka about 1.66 GW of hydro nameplate capacity, assuming a 40% capacity factor). (Forgive me for using outdated or incorrect numbers here – finding data on this is surprisingly difficult compared to what I expect it to be, and it’s hard to sustain the effort because I expect to be dismissed anyway.)

    What other countries do you want to look at? As far as I recall, there is not a single success story for renewables except for poor and low-population-density countries that rely primarily on hydro, and there’s at least one success story for nuclear (France), and other stories that are uniformly positive for nuclear (South Korea construction costs). Please, point me out a counter-example, and let’s see how they did it, and let’s see if we can learn from it to develop a similar approach for Germany, or India, or China.

    Again, let me remind you that I have experts on my side, and the Green side has frauds and charlatans and incompetents like Helen Caldicott, Mark Jacobson, and others. I shouldn’t have to make the case myself (but I’m willing to try). In light of these facts about the experts, surely I should enjoy the default position, and you should bear the burden of proof to demonstrate that renewables are worthwhile and can sufficiently reduce CO2 emissions sufficiently for global warming and climate change.

    For example: James Hansen says that using solar or wind to power places like the US, India, and China is like believing in the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny.

    https://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/

    For example: Michael Shellenberger has done more thorough analysis than I have, and the observed conclusion is that the link between “spending money on solar and wind” and “seeing reductions in carbon intensity” is extremely small or non-existent, compared to the same trends for nuclear and hydro.

    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/11/7/the-power-to-decarbonize

    I was both surprised and unsurprised when they showed me an early version of the four-square chart (See Figure IV.) that aggregated the national cases depicting the relationship, or lack thereof, between the per-capita deployment of nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar and carbon intensity of energy. I was unsurprised in that it showed what I had come to expect: the deployment of nuclear was strongly correlated with declining carbon intensity of energy. I also wasn’t particularly surprised by the correlation between the deployment of hydroelectricity and energy decarbonization, given how much power large dams generate.

    On the other hand, I was surprised to see no correlation between solar or wind and the carbon intensity of energy at an aggregated level. After all, both clean energy sources are associated with the decarbonization of electricity, and the deployment of wind appears to have caused the decarbonization of energy in Denmark. Additionally, the decadal “peak deployment” bar graphs had suggested some correlation between solar and wind deployment and decarbonization, albeit a far more modest correlation than that between nuclear and hydro deployment and decarbonization. (I was further surprised nobody had conducted a similar analysis before — something we address directly in this report.)

    Again, why do you think that you have the default position and I have the burden of proof? It should be the other way around.

  172. unclefrogy says

    you can dispute any part of the negative aspects of nuclear energy or dismiss any or all with a wave of your hand but it is the history of nuclear energy that makes people uneasy. You can say that nothing really bad has happened it was all blown out of proportion by the greens and the press. any thing you want it wont change a thing.
    When any none nuclear conventional power plant is decommissioned all of the metal is cut up and recycled, the concrete is broken and can be used of base in road construction and in use in the manufacture of asphalt paving the biggest headache is asbestos insulation followed by the vinyl wire insulation and when all finished the ground can be used again for some other project. the same can not be said for nuclear power plant.
    I will give you that coal and oil power plants are very dirty coal is not only dirty at the stack with gas and particulates but the resulting ash present its own problems.
    I think that those plants have been getting a free ride using the same kind of arguments you use here short term ones that push all of the ignored costs off to some future where the government will be forced to pay for it. The profits of course will be reaped by the operators and the builders.
    it just does not matter if you are theoretically correct or not in the real world it is just too fucking hard to do anything to the level of perfection long term that nuclear energy requires.
    uncle frogy
    the reason the real reason nuclear power is not winning over more support is that the industry as exemplified by you and your arguments has discounted all the problems before the plants are built and then made excuses afterward when something goes wrong.. In california they built a plant at san Onfre were they fucked up a repair and now there is on the beach a power plant than can never be used again and a large part of it can not recycled and will cost multiple millions to decommission. the owners and the rate players are going to be stuck with the bill for as long as anyone now alive lives. You see the nuclear industry has lost the trust of the all mighty market and no amount, of rationalizations, scolding or pleading will get it back
    unclee frogy

  173. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    but it is the history of nuclear energy that makes people uneasy

    The hell if I know why. The history of nuclear power is amazing. Saved millions of lives by replacing coal and the consequent premature deaths from airborne particulates. Substantially reduced CO2 emissions by again replacing fossil fuels where it is used. The history shows that even with horribly design, and completely incompetent management, on total it’s the safest and cleanest energy source by a substantial margin, even beating out solar and wind.

    I don’t know why the historical of nuclear power makes people feel uneasy. By any objective look at the history, the technology is absolutely amazing.

    I think that those plants have been getting a free ride using the same kind of arguments you use here short term ones that push all of the ignored costs off to some future where the government will be forced to pay for it. The profits of course will be reaped by the operators and the builders.

    You seem to be ignoring the same problems for wind and solar, which are actually worse than nuclear power plants.

    You see the nuclear industry has lost the trust of the all mighty market and no amount, of rationalizations, scolding or pleading will get it back

    Then the biosphere and human civilization is probably doomed.

  174. unclefrogy says

    By any objective look at the history, the technology is absolutely amazing.

    yes the tech is amazing but it has two problems it is cheaper in the short term but not in the long term. the other problem is the human beings that are meant to implement it are not all that amazingly perfect and make mistakes that this tech have been shown to be exceedingly expensive.
    well I am going to do my best with what we have and what people will agree to a little flooding, a little weird weather a few killer heat waves in places that are not used to those kinds of temps. we will see I am not giving up just yet but I am only one person. If people wont do what you think is the best solution then find out which of your second choices you can help with it is going to take all of us.

    uncle frogy

  175. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    it is cheaper in the short term but not in the long term

    Again, just for clarity and emphasis – false. The only way to reach this false conclusion is by grossly exaggerating the real danger to human health (and the environment) from radiation. It’s very dangerous, but it’s not magically dangerous which is the premise that one needs to reach that conclusion.

    And again, you also have to ignore the realities of wind and solar, and how they produce more toxic waste than nuclear simply because they require hundreds of more raw materials, including toxic heavy metals. In the case of wind, it requires lot of rare earth metals, which invariably come with large amounts of thorium. There is a reason that China has 95% of all rare earth metal mining, and it’s not because they have 95% of the deposits. It’s because their environmental standards are less than almost anyone else, and they create these massive, massive environmental disasters when they mine that neodymium and other rare earth metals to make your wind turbines, and that stuff remains toxic forever.

    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/big-winds-dirty-little-secret-rare-earth-minerals/

    it might well be true that this rare earth metal mining for wind turbines creates more (low-level) radioactive waste than nuclear power. (Looking this up is on my to-do list.) You are simply misinformed about the relative legacy that solar, wind, and nuclear will carry forward. Nuclear is far better because you grossly overestimate the lasting harms of nuclear and because you grossly underestimate the lasting harms of solar and wind.

    If people wont do what you think is the best solution then find out which of your second choices you can help with it is going to take all of us.

    There is no second choice. There is no backup plan.

  176. John Morales says

    EL, you’re still amusing me. Rare earths indeed, but why single out wind turbines?

    Just how exactly do you imagine coal and nuclear power plants generate electricity from thermal energy, anyway?

    Wikipedia says “A fission nuclear power plant is generally composed of a nuclear reactor, in which the nuclear reactions generating heat take place; a cooling system, which removes the heat from inside the reactor; a steam turbine, which transforms the heat in mechanical energy; an electric generator, which transform the mechanical energy into electrical energy.”

    See, those wind turbines skip the heat generation and its conversion (with due entropic loss) to mechanical energy, and start from there.

    And guess what: photoelectrics skip all those, and directly convert EM into EMF. Wow! ;)

  177. John Morales says

    PS

    The history shows that even with horribly design, and completely incompetent management, on total it’s the safest and cleanest energy source by a substantial margin, even beating out solar and wind.

    Depends on your scale.

    Do you know about Stirling engines? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine)

  178. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales
    You’re not as smart as you think you are. Take some engineering classes. And if you have taken some, then you need to take some more.

    https://sciencing.com/magnets-used-generate-electricity-6665499.html

    How a Typical Power Plant Generator Works

    Large power plants have big, room-sized generators that produce electricity using magnetic fields from electric magnets. Usually the electric magnets are mounted on a shaft and are connected to the electric power supply. When the electricity is switched on, the electric magnets create powerful magnetic fields. Coils of wire are mounted around the shaft. As the shaft with the magnets rotates, the coils of wire are exposed to changing magnetic fields, and an electric current is generated in the wires.

    The magnets can be permanent or electric magnets. Permanent magnets are mainly used in small generators, and they have the advantage that they don’t need a power supply. Electric magnets are iron or steel wound with wire. When electricity passes through the wire, the metal becomes magnetic and creates a magnetic field.

    PS: Even if that wasn’t true, I could just make the argument from power density.

  179. consciousness razor says

    Ok. Definite numbers time.

    You should’ve just written “42.” It would’ve also been a waste of time (perhaps a little less wasteful), and it would’ve been just as relevant as the various numbers you produced. A bunch of numbers purely about nuclear again, which you obviously had prepared in advance, and again, little or no thought about the conversation you’re having.

    What is the tangible effect on the climate (rendered accurately, in numerical form) of the “Greens” you so despise?
    What is the effect (in the same form) of climate change deniers, who are not so despicable or no big deal when you look at them in the “correct” EL-approved light?
    If you don’t know, you can say “I don’t know.” You wouldn’t have to bullshit, and every now and then, you could try something other than reading your script to us. There wouldn’t be the kind of uncertainty requiring you to appeal to notions like the burden of proof, for instance. You could present this case in factual terms, if you had them to start with, and that would be that. But here we are, where that is clearly not that.

    Again, why do you think that you have the default position and I have the burden of proof? It should be the other way around.

    So, when you make claim, it should be the other way around, such that I have to produce evidence against it? Or is it my job to produce evidence for it? Doesn’t matter either way, I guess… When the fuck did I sign up for that shit, and who do I have to call to cancel my subscription?

    What other countries do you want to look at? As far as I recall, there is not a single success story for renewables except for poor and low-population-density countries that rely primarily on hydro, and there’s at least one success story for nuclear (France), and other stories that are uniformly positive for nuclear (South Korea construction costs). Please, point me out a counter-example, and let’s see how they did it, and let’s see if we can learn from it to develop a similar approach for Germany, or India, or China.

    It’s funny. I had a pretty simple question. If it’s the case, for the sake of argument, that some plan you’re imagining which drastically increases nuclear power production would get us to 50% of some target, then where did we start? That is, you’ve got a prediction and presumably there will be a particular sequence of events as we approach that target. So what are the initial conditions describing our current situation? Should I believe that your prediction is likely to be a reliable one, if you can’t say anything definite about that? For that matter, would it be something to take seriously, if the target is not even well defined?

    In the process of responding to a simple question like this, you could give me a simple, straight fucking answer. Or you could use it as yet an opportunity to disparage your opponents and plaster this thread with more advertisements for your favorite brand of climate change solution.

    Here’s a shocker. I’m pretty fucking sympathetic to nuclear, no thanks to you. I think we should use more. Should it be the entire plan, or should I be happy if that were all we did regarding the climate? No and no.

    But you know what? It’s not clear that you would need to convince people of anything more than that. Have you considered that possibility? I know it wouldn’t matter to me, since here I am, on board with nuclear yet entirely unconvinced by your bullshitting in this thread. It sure doesn’t seem like people would need to agree with you about any of this other crap, if all you really wanted is for them to give nuclear their political support. If there’s something more important to you than that, what do you think that might be?

  180. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Unfortunately, EL’s pathology is not rare–folks much smarter than him have fallen victim to it (e.g. Freeman Dyson). Basically, the problem is that climate change is an extremely complex threat. EL (or Dyson) doesn’t want to take the time to understand it thoroughly, so he seizes on “the solution,” and ignores all the countervailing arguments. And then he can get back to living his life guilt-free and making no changes, because it’s all the fault of “those damned hippies”.

    In actuality, I am not particularly anti-nuke. I think that given the 30 years we’ve wasted with most of the developed world in denial of the problem, nukes will inevitably play a part in any solution–but only a part. Renewables are already displacing fossil fuels more rapidly than nukes–that is undeniable, despite EL’s continued denials. And I acknowledge the problems with nukes–mainly:
    1)the fact the people are really stupid some times, and stupid people can be smarter than the failsafes designed by geniuses
    2) nuclear waste–a problem that no country has yet resolved (the Swedes have come closest)
    3) proliferation–especially if we use the breeder reactor technologies EL insists will make nuclear fuel “inexhaustible”

    EL is just going to continue being a pathetic clown.

  181. says

    I’ll just point back up to my own comment at #13 there, which still embodies my greatest concern. It’s like the difference between the brochure and the actual vacation hotel, or swimming pool or new garage or whatever. You get what you pay for, and we live under a “billions for graft but not one road-rashed penny for infrastructure” style of government, even in the best of times.

  182. unclefrogy says

    Again, just for clarity and emphasis – false. The only way to reach this false conclusion is by grossly exaggerating the real danger to human health (and the environment) from radiation. It’s very dangerous, but it’s not magically dangerous which is the premise that one needs to reach that conclusion.

    you fail again to really answer just waving your hand a making declaration and you wonder why the market is not adopting this amazing tech allover the place. i tried to indicate where those costs might be but you ingore them. Up until now industry has done its best to externalize as much as they can and the government has abetted it.
    what is the cost of the long term sequestration of the highly radioactive waste like the fuel rods where are they going to be kept and who will pay for all of that it is not in the bid proposals I have ever heard of.what is to be done with the lower level waste that is accumulating who is going to pay for that, what of the costs of decommissioning of the plant after it can no longer be operated because of the deterioration of the core and everything close to it including the containment vessel. what is that cost and who will have to pay for sequestration of all of that. those are the things that industry excludes from costs that is the up to now government subsidy.
    If iI was in charge I would make all industry operate with as little waste and pollution as was possible so do not through at me but they get to do it like an 8 year old complaining that the other kids get to do it. it is a stupid thing to say and you know it
    those costs are real and are part of the overall cost much of that is not included.
    if we required coal powered power plants to solve their waste and pollution problems at least the particulate and ash problem and included that in to the cost of the energy they produce they would probably be even less competitive then they are now.
    I am done with this thread it has become to tedious.
    uncle frogy

  183. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor
    I mostly did not prepare those arguments ahead of time. I knew that Germany would be a good example, but I looked up the numbers in response to your request for hard numbers. I didn’t know exactly what I would find. At the same time, on the spur of the moment, I also looked up the numbers for Scotland, and I had very little idea of what to expect. Conveniently, it worked out for my argument, which I did partially suspect, but I had never heard someone make that exact claim before, and I had not looked up those numbers before.

    I also don’t understand why it’s a negative thing for me to use canned arguments. Surely it should be something admirable for a person to be prepared and knowledgeable heading into a debate. It seems like you’re trying to paint that as a negative. There is no fucking appeasing you, is there? Jesus Christ.

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Renewables are already displacing fossil fuels more rapidly than nukes–that is undeniable, despite EL’s continued denials.

    This is one of the main points of contention.

    Citations please for your argument. In other words, why do you believe it’s true? Saying it’s “undeniable” isn’t a proper argument. It’s not a proper reason to believe that something is true.

    I’ve provided my own citations for my position in this argument. I’ve provided a specific analysis of this claim by Michael Shellenberger’s organization. I’ve also posted the expert opinion of James Hansen who says that believing in this is like believing in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I’ve also provided arguments for Germany and Scotland as well.

    As I’ve been asking many people in this thread, I’d really like to know why you believe these things to be true when they appear quite false when I look up the relevant facts and analysis. To paraphrase Matt Dillahunty’s usual opening “What do you believe? And why do you believe it?”. Like many religious apologists, you’ve done a really great job explaining what you believe, but you’ve done a really poor job explaining why you believe it. Even though I would probably disagree, I would like to know why you believe it to be true.

  184. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Dude. Renewables are growing (8.3% in 2017). Nukes aren’t–at least not nearly as dramatically. And you still haven’t addressed the waste question…at all..

  185. consciousness razor says

    I also don’t understand why it’s a negative thing for me to use canned arguments.

    Well, I won’t get much out of talking to a chatbot. But more importantly for you, it’s about relevance. It would’ve been possible to have prepared a response that was relevant to the specific topic I was addressing. Unfortunately, your response wasn’t engaging with that, as I said. We’re talking about some fairly generic and predictable objections to your own claims, so it’s not exactly coming out of nowhere. Still, you just don’t need to anticipate everything and I don’t expect as much. But I would like something resembling a satisfactory response, not just any old thing you happen to write down.

  186. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Dude. Renewables are growing (8.3% in 2017). Nukes aren’t–at least not nearly as dramatically.

    That is a separate claim. Earlier, you said:

    Renewables are already displacing fossil fuels more rapidly than nukes–that is undeniable, despite EL’s continued denials.

    Renewable deployment is growing more rapidly than nuclear which is shrinking worldwide because of the foolish policies of many countries.

    Are renewables replacing fossil fuels? Basically no. It’s pretty rare for a fossil fuel plant to actually be turned off and replaced with renewables.

    Does deployment of renewables have a direct causal link with decreasing CO2 emissions? For example, it could be possible that new construction in some places is mostly renewables, and is thus displacing potential future coal and natural gas construction. Is that true anywhere? Also mostly no. That’s the point of the analysis that I linked-to before by Michael Shellenberger. When you compile the historical data and look at it, deployment of renewables is not correlated with reduction in carbon intensity of energy production. There’s like an outlier or two, but not the ones that you would think of. Not Germany. Not California. Renewables might be growing by an absolute generation measure, but in most countries with growing renewables, fossil fuels are growing as fast or faster.

    In the case of Germany, it’s hard to say, because while they have large increases in renewables, that happened at the same time as large decreases in nuclear. You can also look at France, which recently increased its renewables, and also increased its CO2 emissions. Both of these are good indicators that renewables and nuclear don’t play well together because nuclear has slower ramp rates compared to natural gas, and therefore large penetrations of renewables are usually accompanied by large deployments of natural gas in order to provide power when the solar and wind is not, and natural gas turbines are better at that then nuclear power plants (ignoring the CO2 emissions problem, and the worse safety record of natural gas turbines, etc.).

    By comparison, the historical shows that deployment of nuclear is highly correlated with reduction in carbon intensity of energy production. So, correlation might not show causation, but it’s highly suggestive that there is no causation if you can show that there is no correlation.

    Again, a dispassionate look at the historical data suggests that deployment of solar and wind doesn’t do anything to reduce carbon emissions. You’re at the baby-level of analysis, and you need to step up your academic game.

    And you still haven’t addressed the waste question…at all..

    Yes, I have. Several times. You just didn’t like my answer. For example, I did so quite specifically in post 179. This is what I said:
    >
    For the high level waste, e.g. spent nuclear fuel from gen3 reactors, put them in water cooling ponds on site for 5 or 10 years, and then put them in concrete casks on site, and keep them there, indefinitely. That’s my starting plan. In other words, exactly what we’re doing now in the US.
    <

    To consciousness razor
    Ok. So, you say that my semi-canned response didn’t engage with your complaints or questions. Did I get that right? Could you please rephrase your complaints or questions so that I can try again, please?

    To John Morales
    Ok. Now we’re playing a war of expert sources.

    It’ll take me some time to digest the sources, understand them, and understand their assumptions, and understand the reasoning that they’re based on, and who their authors are, and whether it’s peer reviewed, if they have conflicts of interest in their funding, etc. I’ll get back on this point later.

    Having said that, I will note that as far as I can tell, based on surveys of actual scientists, most scientists, including most climate scientists, are still in favor of nuclear power. So, even if this source says what you imply it says, and even if I cannot shut it down, I will note that in the battle between appeals to authority, I think that my appeal to authority is currently better.

    And having said that, I’ve done a little bit of digging.
    https://www.iea.org/weo2018/scenarios/

    The World Energy Outlook (WEO) does not aim to forecast the future, but provides a way of exploring different possible futures, the levers that could bring them about, and the interactions that arise across a complex energy system.

    It seems that your own source is telling you that you’re incorrectly using them as a citation. However, they do also say this:

    None of these potential pathways is preordained; all are possible. The actions taken by governments will be decisive in determining which path we follow.
    […]
    The World Energy Model

    Since 1993, the IEA has provided medium to long-term energy projections using the World Energy Model (WEM) – a large-scale simulation model designed to replicate how energy markets function. The WEM is the principal tool used to generate detailed sector-by-sector and region-by-region projections for the WEO scenarios.

    So, it looks like that they’re doing some sort of independent work. If they are taking government targets as possible without doing work to show that they are possible, then I could dismiss it as just second or third-hand accounts of the fantasies of Greens. That leads to this link:
    https://www.iea.org/weo/weomodel/
    They are claiming that they’re doing some real analysis, and the sort of analysis that I have been demanding. Let me poke at it. I need to see what sorts of assumptions its making, and dig more into the analysis. The only comparable work that I know of offhand is the work of the fraud Mark Jacobson. Let’s see if this work is obviously fraudulent or not.

  187. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I have some concerns about some of the IEA models.

    For example, the “new policies scenario” of the IEA model does not claim to reduce CO2 emissions enough to prevent more than 2 C.

    I also have some concerns raised by the following sources that the IEA models that achieve the most CO2 reductions in large part / primarily by the massive deployment of negative emissions technologies.

    http://priceofoil.org/2018/10/31/explainer-iea-scenarios-and-the-paris-goals/

    The IEA has since suggested that the SDS sets the world on course for 1.7 to 1.8°C, by comparing it with scenarios that deliver that outcome, as shown in Fig.3. Again, as can be seen, this assumes large-scale use of “negative emissions” technologies (NETs). The IEA itself has warned of the risks of such assumptions.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/international-energy-agency-steering-world-climate-disaster-93973/

    When Oil Change International spoke to IEA staff on this, they admitted that many of the 1.7 – 1.8°C scenarios depend on extensive, and likely unrealistic, amounts of negative emissions.

    Be sure to see the graphic from the first link which is from the IEA report which shows huge amounts of negative emissions at play.

    This is partially confirmed by the IEA themselves here:
    https://www.iea.org/weo/weomodel/sds/

    Other important sectors for innovation include carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and so-called “negative emissions” technologies that allow CO2 to be withdrawn from the atmosphere at scale in the second-half of the century.

    So, this is a rather large problem for you John Morales. Assuming the facts as I’ve discovered them to be true, the IEA reports that you cite do not claim to show that renewables can be used to reduce CO2 emissions enough to avoid catastrophic warming. Instead, it seems that the IEA reports that you cite merely say that if we can achieve unrealistic levels of negative emissions, which could be powered by renewables or something else, then we’ll get to where we need to go. Basically, they’re cheating. It reminds me very much of when I spent some time looking at Mark Jacobson’s work.

    I’m also very concerned about the real possibility that they’re using unrealistic performance numbers for renewables and storage tech. It’s very hard to tell because I cannot find those numbers anywhere, or the other assumptions that they’re making. I could buy their 500+ page report. I wonder how much it costs. I don’t know if it’s enough to win an argument with someone on the internet who has demonstrated that they have a preconceived conclusion that they’re more than willing to bullshit in order to defend (i.e. the insinuation that large steam turbines at nuclear and coal plants use neodymium permanent magnets). My interest is waning in researching the IEA report more. Why should I spent that amount of time and money on an argument where it doesn’t matter even if I can show that the report is full of shit? I’m decently convinced that it wouldn’t matter for you John Morales at all, and that there’s no amount of evidence that I could show you here that would change your mind. What would change your mind? Hmmm? What would it take to convince you that the Green lobby is full of shit, and that the majority of scientists and climate scientists are right that we need lots of nuclear right now?

  188. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John Morales
    I became quite well aware of that in my research. The IEA reports consistently underestimated solar deployments. Doesn’t do anything to diminish in my mind the critique that I just posed, and also the serious questions at the end of whether this actually matters for you and what it would really take to change your mind.

  189. consciousness razor says

    Could you please rephrase your complaints or questions so that I can try again, please?

    You can decide whether you want to read it for comprehension. I don’t think repeating it will help, and it would be a waste of my time.

    The World Energy Outlook (WEO) does not aim to forecast the future, but provides a way of exploring different possible futures, the levers that could bring them about, and the interactions that arise across a complex energy system.

    It seems that your own source is telling you that you’re incorrectly using them as a citation.

    Sounds pretty boilerplate to me. If they wanted to say “John Morales is incorrectly citing us,” I don’t think that’s how they would have done it.

    However, they do also say this:

    None of these potential pathways is preordained; all are possible. The actions taken by governments will be decisive in determining which path we follow.

    Well, there you go. See things from their point of view….

    Suppose I can give you some information about the future. You would get $1000, if you pull lever A. And if you pull lever B, there’s a significant chance that you’ll be bitten by the rattlesnake inside the box next to B. Now, I could “predict” that lever B is likely to be pulled (maybe it’s closer to you so it has higher odds than A) so you will probably be bitten by the rattlesnake. But you might be able to use this information to your advantage and pull lever A instead. So what I do is share the information I have with you, at which point what happens in reality is that you do in fact pull lever A. If you did that and then you told me I’m a terrible predictor who was making bad predictions about B (which didn’t happen), then you would not understand what my goal was. It was to give you useful information by exploring the possible futures, not to predict what will happen with some probability, no matter what you or anyone might try to do about it, particularly given the information that I’m able to provide.

    This is the sort of thing that you can imagine economists have to worry about too: they’re not bad economists, when people do listen to them and follow their (good) advice, which might be thought to undermine the predictions that the economist had made. Anyway, I don’t think you can use this kind of statement as a reason to ignore everything they’re saying. It is a very inventive excuse to remain willfully ignorant, though, I will give you that.

  190. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor
    Just wow. You just stopped reading that post after that line and you didn’t read the follow up post, right? It seems pretty apparent that you’re not actually bothering to engage with what I’m writing. You’re projecting. In that same post, I said that the IEA claims to do actual modeling and analysis, something you would have known if you didn’t stop reading at the precise moment that you found something that you could attack. You’re such a dipshit.

  191. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    EL: “Renewable deployment is growing more rapidly than nuclear which is shrinking worldwide because of the foolish policies of many countries.”

    Because capitalists just love, love, love to leave money on the table, amirite? Dude, if nukes could compete on their own, they would. Certainly fossil fuels are not shrinking, despite at least as much opposition as we see to nukes.

    As to “displacing fossil fuels,” I mean that fossil fuel plants are not being built because renewables are growing so rapidly.

    As to your plan for nuke waste–fucking brilliant. It’s even stupider than what they tried to do at Yucca Mountain. Nuclear waste degrades the casks–it’s nasty not just in its radiology, but also in its chemistry. And even if you start out with favorable geology/hydrology, over time, the heat from the casks actually causes contact metamorphism with the surrounding rock, so you get seepage and eventual infiltration into ground water. Did you ever even read the reports from Yucky Mountain?

  192. consciousness razor says

    You just stopped reading that post after that line and you didn’t read the follow up post, right?

    No, and I still don’t see you retracting your statement anywhere, if that’s what you’re going with now. So maybe I’m missing something or misinterpreting, but is there some reason why I wasn’t supposed to respond to what you were saying?

  193. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor
    Same post, I wrote:

    So, it looks like that they’re doing some sort of independent work. If they are taking government targets as possible without doing work to show that they are possible, then I could dismiss it as just second or third-hand accounts of the fantasies of Greens. That leads to this link:
    https://www.iea.org/weo/weomodel/
    They are claiming that they’re doing some real analysis, and the sort of analysis that I have been demanding. Let me poke at it. I need to see what sorts of assumptions its making, and dig more into the analysis. The only comparable work that I know of offhand is the work of the fraud Mark Jacobson. Let’s see if this work is obviously fraudulent or not.

    Stop being a dipshit already.

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    Nukes are not competing in the marketplace because of widespread Green government regulations. These are plethora. For examples

    There are widespread regulations in the United States in many US states that require the energy of that state to be at least a certain percentage to be from clean sources, and by clean, I mean non-nuclear renewable. Hard to compete when the law says that nuclear is legally forbidden to compete for some of the marketplace.

    There are also legal delaying tactics employed by Green groups everywhere, and the delaying tactics drive up real costs and also investor costs, and that makes nuclear less competitive.

    There are environmental and human safety government regulations which are based on the Green pseudoscience known as the linear no-threshold model of human health harm from radioactivity. In other words, the “as low as reasonably possible” standard. This imposes substantial costs on nuclear operators with practically no direct health benefit.

    We even know that Green groups have been planning since the 1970s to destroy nuclear power by scaring the public in order to cause government to create needless regulations in order to price nuclear power out of the picture. We even have a secret memo from the Sierra Club that this is their plan. (The Sierra Club was the prominent environmentalist group in America at that time.)

    I recently did this same exercise in another forum, and they pressed for direct examples, and so I happen to have these examples handy.

    Examples of green lobby intentions
    Here’s that Sierra Club memo, and a few other choice quotes from the most prominent environmentalists of the 1970s. People say that I’m espousing a conspiracy theory that it’s all the fault of the Greens, but here are the Greens telling us exactly what they plan to do:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/06/11/if-nuclear-power-is-so-safe-why-are-we-so-afraid-of-it/
    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/3/28/why-the-war-on-nuclear-threatens-us-all

    “Our campaign stressing the hazards of nuclear power will supply a rationale for increasing regulation […] and add to the cost of the industry […]” – Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael McCloskey, 1974.

    The above articles cite the following book for that quote, and I plan on buying and reading that book in the near future:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Masses:_Opposition_to_Nuclear_Power_in_California,_1958%E2%80%931978

    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins
    “If you ask me, it’d be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.” – Amory Lovins

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/09/anti-nuclear-bias-of-u-n-ipcc-is-rooted-in-cold-war-fears-of-atomic-and-population-bombs/

    Neo-Malthusian conservationists often hid their motivations. When asked in the mid-1990s if he had been worried about nuclear accidents, Sierra Club anti-nuclear activist Martin Litton replied, “No, I really didn’t care because there are too many people anyway … I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine.”

    And so they grabbed on to the fall-out scare pioneered by Lapp. “[A] million people die in the Northern Hemisphere now, because of plutonium from atmospheric [weapons] testing,” claimed Sierra Club’s Executive Director.

    And more.

    I encourage you to read the articles that I provided in full, and to do your own research.

    Examples of “as low as reasonably possible” driving up costs:

    Here’s a great example of cost increases from regulatory burdens based on mythical harms to human health based on LNT. (Bolding in original.)
    https://atomicinsights.com/opportunity-use-science-establish-radiation-standards/

    The Kr-85 standard is illustrative of this stretching. It took several hours of digging through the 240 page final environmental impact statement and the nearly 400 page long collection of comments and responses to determine exactly what dose the EPA was seeking to limit and how much it thought the industry should spend to achieve that protection.

    The EPA determined that allowing the industry to continue its established practice of venting Kr-85 and allowing that inert gas to disperse posed an unacceptable risk to the world’s population.

    It calculated that if no effort was made to contain Kr-85, and the US industry grew to its projected 1000 GW of electricity production by 2000, an industry with full recycling would release enough radioactive Kr-85 gas to cause about 100 cases of cancer/year.

    The EPA’s calculation was based on a world population of 5 billion people exposed to an average of 0.0004 mSv/year per individual.

    At the time that the analysis was performed, the Barnwell nuclear fuel reprocessing facility was under construction and nearly complete. It had not been designed to contain Kr-85. The facility owners provided an estimate to the EPA that retrofitting a cryogenic capture and storage capability for krypton-84 would cost $44.6 million.

    For reference, typical human exposure from natural sources is 3 to 10 mSv / year.

    https://atomicinsights.com/petition-stop-wasteful-practice-of-using-lnt-as-basis-for-illogical-regulations/

    The silliness and wastefulness of our current regulatory regime using that basis is best demonstrated by the requirement to prove that no one would be exposed to more than 15 mrem (0.15 mSv)/year during the next 10,000 years as a result of long term storage of used nuclear fuel at a permanent repository. That dose is just 1/20th of the average background exposure for an American, even if you ignore the additional 300 mrem (3 mSv)/year that is added to the average as a result of medical treatments.

    https://atomicinsights.com/cost-increasing-results-of-accepting-the-linear-no-threshold-lnt-assumption-of-radiation-health-effects/

    I have begun an effort to find sufficient references to convince him that the LNT is the source of a substantial portion of the costs associated with nuclear energy. Its application has increased both capital costs and operational costs.
    […]
    One of the many cost increasing effects of the LNT was the decades long effort by the nuclear industry to eliminate steel alloys that contain cobalt
    […]
    The Electric Power Research Institute undertook a lengthy materials research program to find alloys that could perform the same functions but did not include cobalt.
    […]
    This makes the components for nuclear plants even more “special” and custom than they otherwise would be. As anyone who has purchased a home or an automobile will know, special materials and custom design cost money.

    https://atomicinsights.com/reducing-nuclear-operational-and-capital-costs-by-improved-technology/

    I received a link from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to a fascinating video about their recent efforts to develop CoSecTM, a new resin technology that is more effective at capturing cobalt-60. Most of the radiation doses that nuclear workers receive come from this single isotope.
    […]
    I can personally testify – without any details at this point due to non disclosure agreements (NDAs) – that engineering design efforts to eliminate cobalt from primary components are very expensive.

    https://atomicinsights.com/evidence-suggesting-lnt-fabricated-purposeful-effort-hamstring-nuclear-technology-development/

    The effort expended to protect people from exposure to ionizing radiation is perhaps the single biggest driver of cost and schedule challenges associated with the design, licensing, construction, operation, maintenance and security posture of nuclear power plants. The high cost of the effort is driven by the demand for nearly perfect protection from all radiation.
    […]
    If there is a way to add a layer of protection that reduces the probability of a release, it is often added without much consideration of the cost.
    […]
    As instruments have become more sensitive, enabling the measurement of ever tinier quantities of radiation or radioactive materials, the drive to achieve the lowest possible doses has been made even more expensive.
    […]
    Despite a voluminous and growing body of contrary evidence, a significant portion of the population still believes that all ionizing radiation, down to single gamma rays or high energy electrons, is capable of causing cancer.
    […]
    The assumption that all radiation is hazardous is the root cause of the passion that activists bring to battles opposing all uses of nuclear energy and even all uses of radiation to diagnose medical conditions, treat afflictions and sterilize food.

    Example of Green delaying tactics

    https://atomicinsights.com/foes-manipulative-legal-strategy-closing-nuclear-reactors/

    […]So nowhere did the ALSB state the process was unsafe. They stated that, based on the direction provided to SCE from the CAL written by the Commission, the restart process would be an unevaluated condition and outside the existing tech specs in force at that time. The ASLB did not describe an unsafe condition, but an unevaluated condition that is therefore subject to the 50.59 license amendment process.

    This, of course, was the goal of professional intervenors like you. Force SCE into a full license amendment process to lock up the restart process for years since a public comment period would be required by the legal process the NRC and the utilities must follow. The legal strategy rests on using the current set of rules and laws, not to ensure safe operation as they were meant to be utilized, but to force a nuclear power plant to shut down. This is a fully developed legal strategy that is backed by an established war chest and documented intent. […]

  194. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I believe I was asked “but what about nuclear waste leaks?” several times. Let me try to give a better answer. I found this article, and I like it, and I also like a comment on it. I encourage reading the article. I’ll post a snippet from the comment.

    https://jmkorhonen.net/2013/08/15/graph-of-the-week-what-happens-if-nuclear-waste-repository-leaks/

    It is highly instructive to note how anti-nuclear activists seek to discredit the science here. They may well know that even using highly pessimistic assumptions about e.g. the copper canister and the bentonite clay, there is an overwhelming probability that any doses caused to the environment or to the public will be negligible. Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps simply because they themselves honestly believe that any leakage results to immediately horrendous effects, they completely ignore the crucial question: “so what?”

    What would happen if a waste repository springs a leak?

    What would be the effects of the leak to humans or to the environment?

    Even if you search through the voluminous material provided by the anti-nuclear brigade, you most likely will not find a single statement answering these questions. Cleverly, anti-nuclear activists simply state it’s possible that nuclear waste can leak – which is not in doubt, anything is possible – and rely on innuendo and human imagination (fertilized by perceptions of nuclear waste as something unthinkably horrible) to fill in the gaps in the narrative.

    Whether you go along with this manipulation is, of course, up to you.

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