The stability of the world’s climate and the productivity of the world’s oceans are being severely threatened by the effects of continuously dumping massive quantities of CO2 (and other more noxious combustion byproducts) into our global atmosphere. That dumping is caused by the fact that 85% of human society’s energy needs are supplied by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.
The only reliable alternative to continuing to burn hydrocarbons is fissioning uranium in nuclear energy facilities. World-wide, starting from proof in 1942 that it was possible to build a reactor that could sustain an energy producing chain reaction, hundreds of thousands of highly trained and educated engineers, technicians and scientists have worked diligently to develop nuclear power systems that now produce the energy equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day (as much as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined).
That incredible feat has come with less than 100 fatalities around the world - quite an impressive safety record for such a productive industrial enterprise.
There are a few isolated critics with accepted technical credentials who do not like the technology and work diligently to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. At least some of those critics, like the quoted Gundersen, do it for a substantial paycheck (often $300 per hour) for his “expert witness” services. That beats the $40K per year he was earning as a school teacher after being fired from his job as a corporate VP in the early 1990s and before he took up antinuclear activism as a product line for his consulting company.
Fossil fuel interests provide at least some of the money that funds the organized opposition groups that are fighting against the only real competition that the fossil fuel industry has. Those interested parties (oil&gas; companies, pipeline companies, banks, governments, oil oligarchs, OPEC, Russia, etc) want to keep their 85% market share and the wealth and power that goes with it.
The AP1000 is a safe design that is being built today in China. It was developed over a long period of time with strong support from US taxpayers. It should be built in large quantities here in the US.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Posted by Rod Adams on Jul 23, 2011 at 3:17 AM
The premise of this article could not be further from the truth. In fact, the recently release NRC Task Force 90 day report on Fukushima clearly states that the design certification of the AP1000 and ESBWR, both passive safety function designs, should proceed without delay.
These passive reactors can automatically stabilize themselves without any pumps, power, or even human action for 72 hours using natural forces like gravity. This is exactly the kind of design that could have prevented the meltdowns at Fukushima.
Now I’ll give you this, the report did mention certain changes to other reactor designs that don’t use passive systems, like the ABWR, APWR, and EPR as a condition of licensing. Those are reasonable requirements that can be met in a short time, at little cost and in no way will significantly delay those designs.
But for you to repeat a bunch of antinuclear talking points that have been around since years before the 9.0 earthquake and 45’ tsunami as reasons Fukushima should delay the AP1000 is dishonest to say the least. Once again that facts and the truth simply don’t support the antinuclear position.
Posted by Jack Gamble on Jul 23, 2011 at 5:54 AM
It’s true that John Ma is a senior NRC engineer, and has issues (a “Non-Concurrence”) with the AP-1000 shield wall (SC) design (not the same as the reactor containment, RC). His exact quote is:
“If a tornado-generated missile or aircraft missile hits a ductile wall, such as the RC wall shown in Figure 1, and causes local failures, such as punching a hole through the wall, forces or energy in the shield building can be redistributed around the failed region to other regions due to ductility of the wall, and the building is unlikely to collapse. However, if the same missile hits the brittle SC wall module #2, the impact energy could shatter the wall as it does to a glass cup.”
It’s also true that an even more senior NRC engineer, Thomas Bergman, finds the design satisfactory. So do elite teams of engineers from Westinghouse, Toshiba, and the CAEA (China Atomic Energy Authority) who have reviewed and approved the construction of twelve AP-1000 units. The first four are currently under construction in Zhejiang and Shandong, on schedule and budget.
If the same standard were applied to the issue of the SC wall as for Global Warming, we would say the scientific consensus is that the design is safe, and “the debate is over”, or should be.
But with Ma’s unfortunate choice of the glass cup analogy, boosted by some creative editing and the mandatory quotient of fear-mongering, made it immediately sound-bite-worthy for Rep. Markey and every methane-funded professional anti-nuclear group on the planet.
Posted by Atomik Rabbit on Jul 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM
In the David and Goliath struggle, whom is David and whom is Goliath? You underestimate the influence that the multi *TRILLION* dollar fossil fuel industries can have in protecting their markets from the upstart whipper-snapper Westinghouse.
Nuclear Energy *took* 20% of the electrical generation market away from The fossil Industries in a single score of years.
Think what would happen to Goliath if ... the strong force were UNLEASED! The strong force would be lean, mean, and mighty green!
Carbon would fade into a dark, dangerous past.
What’s fossil Carbon’s response? They point us into the direction of weak force (sunshine) and weak Kinetic energy systems, that maintains their primacy.
Do you really believe the multi *TRILLION* dollar fossil industry influences none of the groups you mention? If so, I have a cubic mile brown coal slag heap for sale. How about a thousand cubic miles of spent Carbon O2 gas? Escaped Methane to your liking?
I realize you get more mileage out of an article that is congruent to Goliath Industries, knocking real challenges to their huge market shares, but isn’t it really more fun rooting for the humane underdog? C-mon! Get on board the Strong Force Express! Chugga, Chugga, Chugga,.....
Posted by John Chatelle on Jul 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM
This is really a Tragedy for Japanese people and May God bless them all to survive in this critical situation.
This catastrophe let the Japanese 5 yr back in Technology as they were in 2011.
They have to start building their new homes, means to restart their life again. I have seen many news about this fear on so many <a >TV shows</a> but it is only a rumor, nothing else..
Posted by Smiara Grace on Dec 14, 2011 at 1:32 AM
Japan have been hit hard by this tragedy but the people have shown great resolve to bring their country back to where it was before this tragedy happened. It was impressive to see that there were no looting or any other disturbing behavior during these times but people just helping one another out Home Improvement
Posted by eric Lambertoni on Feb 25, 2012 at 12:26 AM