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U.S. ex-nuclear chief says nuclear power should be phased out


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Typo? I believe the first sentence should read "As radiation spews from Japan’s nuclear disaster since three years ago, ..."

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Its called cutting all ties and reducing legal liability. Obviously someone has finally gotten through to the Nuke lobby that earthquakes can lead to China syndrome.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you're talking uranium-fueled pressurized vessel reactors, I concur heartily, given all the issues of trying to shut down an active reactor if the coolant supply is cut off for any reason.

Besides, we have the technology to replace it with a far safer nuclear reactor design: the molten salt reactor, where the reactor fuel is commonly-available thorium-232 dissolved in molten fluoride salts--in short, a liquid fuel. MSR's don't need pressurized reactor vessels, are very easy to do an SCRAM (emergency) shutdown (just dump the liquid fuel out of the reactor), and the radioactive waste amount generated is very small and only have a radioactive half-life of around 300 years, which means really cheap waste disposal (if the nuclear medicine industry doesn't take it first!).

I support MSR's not only because of its inherent safety, but also because thorium is commonly found on Earth (and scientists estimate there are huge deposits of thorium on the Moon, too). That means a huge supply of nuclear fuel that could last potentially tens of thousands of years.

This is why I encourage Japanese companies to start heavily investing in MSR technology, especially companies like Hitachi and Toshiba. Because of its very safe design, MSR's can replace all the conventional nuclear reactors in Japan, vital given Japan being very earthquake-prone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is zero doubt that Japan needs more energy than can be economically produced via non-nuclear means. The same can be said about China and India. Ensuring Safe reactors is a costly must have. If MSR's can be established and be cost effective to put on-line, that could be a significant step to reducing today's current energy costs.

I don't think that many who object to nuclear power understand the economics behind nuclear vs other technologies.

Safety must be achieved and the organizations/politicians behind the technology must be transparent in all aspects of the technology. A real debate, with comprehensive real data would give everyone a chance to intelligently make a decision as to how they want their society to pay for their energy needs.

India and China have already made up their minds; I believe they felt they had no choice.

I would prefer more comprehensive data coming from the nuclear industry. I would hope then that people could make a more informed decision.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

His resignation from the NRC, three years into his five-year term as chairman, followed complaints about his management style.

Right. It was his management style. Nothing to do with being an honest gentleman where honesty could harm profits. Nothing at all.

His 50 evacuation warning was spot on. It was a warning, NOT an order. And if you go to the wiki on the disaster and look at the map entitled NIT Combined Flights Ground Measurements 30Mar 03Apr2011 results.jpg you can see how many contaminated areas are in that 50 mile radius. So what sinister motivation could anyone have to complain about that warning? Money? No. Lets call it greed.

Gregory Jaczko is a hero.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The idea that a plant wouldn’t be under control three or four days after an accident was unthinkable before Fukushima, he said.

Exactly..... What in the World is TEPCO trying to Recoup??? There is No salvaging any of reactors 1-3.... Retrieval of melted cores......What for???? Salvage??? TEPCO has to get out of the mindset that they can Fix this because it really just needs to be buried and not thought of again..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good for japan to get rid of nukes.. people need to as a whole cut down on electric use and every house and building top needs to have solar panels made in Japan.. glass windows in all new high rises... can be solar windows.. alternative energy.. magnetic energy is free... endless.. the kids know.. it is the old corrupt system that makes money off of people who are stuck in their ways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I find it interesting that without nuclear energy, both within the earth's core, and in the Sun, there would be no life on Earth.

However, I find it alarming that nuclear reactors, and the spent fuel that they have used, are allowed to threaten large swaths of civilization with uncontrolled, lethal radiation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan has two problems when it comes to nuclear power. One is that the country is earthquake prone. The other is the incompetent and secretive character of the Japanese establishment. Combined, they give a good reason why japan should shut its n power for ever.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I just found a Aneutronic Fusion Reactor - Eco-friendly Energy No radioactive nuclear waste, just clean and safe neutron-free fusion energy


1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Ah_so, the biggest problem is that Japan is still using old-style uranium-fueled pressurized water reactors (PWR's), which are inherently dangerous because you have to keep the coolant flow constantly going to prevent a potential major disaster from the uranium fuel rods overheating and causing a massive explosion that can literally blow the top off the pressurized reactor vessel. There's a reason why nuclear reactors in the USA are usually located inside a thick steel and concrete containment structure--and it proved its worth during the Three Mile Island incident in 1979.

That's why I favor the molten salt reactor, where you don't need a pressurized reactor vessel, can easily shut the reactor down just by dumping the liquid nuclear fuel, and the nuclear waste generated is very small in amount and only has a radioactive half-life of under 300 years. The ease of a quick shutdown is very important given Japan's high level of seismic activity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The continued use of fossil fuel powered electricity generation is unacceptable due to the rapidly approaching cumulative atmospheric CO2 limit set to avoid global catastrophic climate change (currently 500GtC atmospheric carbon set on December 3 2013 by James Hansen). Even 2 deg C warming will lead to 4 - 6 m sea level rise after a few centuries and Tokyo is on average 5m above sea level.

Japan like all nations must rapidly develop renewable energy and implement energy conservation. Regulations to mandate super insulation of all habitable buildings such as the European “Passivhaus” methods is cost effective and environmentally sustainable. Japan can also make greater use of distributed photovoltaic electricity, solar thermal generated electricity, ground sourced heat pump heating and cooling and geothermal energy.

Public transport as well as modern safe bicycle networks and pedestrian paths should be given higher priority over the use of grid locked roads for cars. Cars and trucks should also be progressively moved to electrical power and renewable fuel sources such as algae produced bio-fuels. Better urban design is required to minimise travel time and energy wastage.

Nuclear electricity is beneficial to the extent that greenhouse gases are not emitted but as Japan well knows this industry presents other serious environmental hazards as well as major financial burdens arising from the high construction cost, waste management cost, decommissioning cost and the cost of accidents and disasters.

Current reactors are inherently dangerous and should be phased out as soon as possible. The nuclear industry has been badly regulated by the Japanese National Government and industry has acted irresponsibly with reactor location and with non-fail-safe designs. Public support has been squandered and without public consensus more short sighted, economically wasteful and environmentally damaging solutions are likely to be implemented. If renewable energy sources and aggressive conservation measures prove insufficient to meet demand then safer third and fourth generation nuclear reactors may be a good supplementary option.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Next month the first new geothermal plant since 1999 will start operating.

There is an abundance of geothermal power sources. It is estimated that the country should be able to generate as much as 23 million kilowatts of energy, the third largest in the world after the United States and Indonesia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A Stanford University professor did the math and economics and solar, wind and other alternative energy sources introduced over the next 50 years in the United States would serve to meet the United States total energy needs at lower cost and sooner than sufficient nuclear could be online.

The bugaboo about no sunshine at night? Energy storage already exists in the form of molten salt for solar among others such as hydrogen generation during daytimes operations as well as likewise serving as a non polluting fuel.

Japan itself is near ideally suited for wave and tidal generation being surrounded by water and being that power would not have to be transmitted over large distances.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"as the country debates what role nuclear power should play in its future."

They're still debating it?

"There is zero doubt that Japan needs more energy than can be economically produced via non-nuclear means. The same can be said about China and India. Ensuring Safe reactors is a costly must have."

Amazing how these countries did without nuclear power for thousands of years, up til WW2.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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