Friday, July 01, 2005

Trip Synopsis: Grand Gulf DEIS NA-YGN, ANS, & NEI Activities

On Monday, June 27, NA-YGN members Bill Casino, Kelly Taylor, and myself took vacation from our day jobs and left for Jackson, MS. Skip Hartman (a friend of Kelly’s) provided transportation via his single-engine, four-seater plane from Louisa airfield, which was a convenient and exciting way to travel! After dodging several thunderstorms, we arrived in Jackson around 4:30 PM CDT.

Live TV and Radio Interviews

Our schedule was packed with activities. Starting at 4:15 Monday morning, Kelly Taylor, Scott Peterson (Vice President of Communications, NEI), and I headed to WAPT Channel 16 for a live televised interview. Channel 16 had attempted to get an anti-nuclear person for the interview, but was unable to find one.

During the interview, Scott Peterson and I fielded questions such as: Why nuclear energy? Why now? What about Chernobyl? What about the pollution and waste? We were able to provide strong, positive statements for each and every question. When asked about the waste, I even produced a plastic fuel pellet from my pocket and handed it to the interviewer. I don’t have a transcript (I’m still waiting for the tape), but here’s a close approximation of what I said:
[Holding up fuel pellet, for the camera to get a close-up]

"This is what it looks like when it goes in, and this is what it looks like when it comes out. It is a solid ceramic and will not leak into anything. Waste is actually one of the best things going for nuclear because it is able to provide tremendous amounts of energy for an extremely small amount of waste. This waste can be contained and monitored. The best news is that nuclear ‘waste’ is not waste at all. There’s still a tremendous amount of energy in the used nuclear fuel, which will ultimately be put to use when the fuel is recycled."
Scott Peterson was phenomenal. We have a lot of sound bytes to learn from the master.
At the exact same time that our interview was being broadcast, Jim Reinsch (president of ANS and Bechtel) and Norris McDonald (president of the African-American Environmentalist Association) were being interviewed live before the cameras of WLBT Channel 3. I have not seen their interview, but they also were unopposed by anti-nuclear representatives.

Later that day, Kelly Taylor and Bill Casino were interviewed on the Gallo Radio Show on WFMN-FM 97.3. Jim Riccio (a nuclear policy analyst for Greenpeace) represented the anti-nuclear voices this time, along with a local citizen from Mississippi named Ruth. During the interview the antis were so talkative in expressing their usual emotional opposition to nuclear energy that even Paul Gallo was having trouble getting a word in.

At several points Jim and Ruth were even talking over each other. Eventually, Kelly and Bill figured out that unless they were willing to talk over top of Jim and Ruth, they weren’t going to get a word in edgewise.

The good news was that Paul Gallo was obviously skeptical about the anti-nuclear propaganda and posed some very good questions. At one point, while Jim Riccio was talking about how easy it would be for a terrorist to get into the control room to melt the reactor, Paul asked if Jim would demonstrate how easy it was to gain access to a nuclear facility by trying to do it, himself.

If he was successful, he could come back and tell his listeners about it. Kelly then told him: (again, paraphrasing) "I was an operator at a nuclear facility. I held a license to operate the reactor for five years, and I’m telling you that you are wrong. If you want to know how it works, then you should take the word of a licensed professional instead of gleaning your information from reading some web site."

Clean Green Power Machine Rally, State Capitol Building, Jackson

The noon rally on the capitol steps was a tremendous success. It was incredibly hot, but regardless of the heat, about 85 committed people, including guest speakers, interested citizens, and news media personnel attended the hour-long rally.

Master of Ceremonies, Grand Gulf Site VP, George Williams, introduced each speaker to a cheering audience of supporters. As far as I could tell there were no anti-nuclear activists present. Speakers included:

  • Jim Reinsch, President of ANS and Bechtel, who shared the national perspective of nuclear energy.
  • Amelda Arnold, Mayor of Port Gibson, who described the local perspective and voiced the strong community support.
  • Norris McDonald, President of AAEA, who addressed the environmental justice issues, and led the rally attendees in several energetic chants.
  • As the, Public Information Officer of NA-YGN, I stated that I was representing hundreds of young professionals who are entering the industry, who care about the environment and have a stake in the future.
  • James Miller, Claiborne County Administrator, who echoed Mayor Arnold’s statements by reiterating the strong local support for building a new nuclear facility at Grand Gulf.
  • Scott Peterson, who spoke eloquently about the benefits of nuclear energy.

It was an overwhelmingly positive rally. The heat did not dampen our spirits at all.

Afterwards, Kelly Taylor and I decided to stay for the scheduled anti-nuclear rally. While waiting, I was interviewed by a member of the Jackson Free Press who asked about the waste issue. I again produced the pellet and explained to him that when compared to the waste emitted by competing, viable energy supplies, the amount of waste is incredibly small, and best of all -- able to be recycled.

Finding the anti-nuclear "rally" was like playing "Where’s Waldo?" There were so few protesters, they were hard to find. Easy to spot were Brendan Hoffman of Public Citizen (who was not surprised to see us this time) and Paul Gunter of NIRS. Eventually, about 20 people gathered inside the rotunda. During their rally, which was more like a small press conference, they made claims of environmental injustice -- how the industry wanted to site the reactor in Port Gibson because it was a "poor, African-American community." I find this an odd assertion, since none of the other sites going through the ESP process are similarly located.

The highlight of the anti-nuclear rally was an ice sculpture of a cooling tower and a fuel pool, which were supposed to represent a meltdown. These sculptures were finished with dry ice to provide steam from the top of the structures. Notably absent from this display was the only thing at the plant that can even theoretically melt down -- the reactor core. But fiction was a running theme for this rally.

The only apparent reporter covering the event was from the Jackson Free Press and was the same one who interviewed me earlier. He performed a reality check by asking us a couple of questions related to the statements being made by the anti-nuclear speakers. We were able to provide our perspective on these statements, which he seemed happy to hear. At one point, he asked, "Well how about that cool ice-sculpture?" To which I responded, "You need a lot of glitz and glamour to make up for lack of substance." Harsh, but true.

DEIS Hearing, Port Gibson

Port Gibson is a small town. The meeting was held in the Port Gibson City Hall. Most people expected about 100 attendees maximum at the meeting. There were about 160 in attendance. An overflow room with a video feed was set up for those who couldn't get a seat in the meeting room upstairs. The outside of the building was decorated with a lot of colorful pro-nuclear signs and banners and there was an information table, which was manned by local ANS members.

There were 21 public comments: 14 were for, 5 against, and 2 neutral. Of the five who spoke against, two were from Washington, D.C., two local people were anti-nuclear, and the remaining person had nothing to say about nuclear power at all. Those with objections most often cited hard feelings over the unusual tax structure in Mississippi, in which the utilities' tax payments go first to the State of Mississippi and then the State divides the revenue among several localities. Among those who spoke in opposition were: Paul Gunter, Brendan Hoffman, and Evan Doss. Evan is the former tax collector for Claiborne County, and a former office holder in the NAACP. He is locally well known for his opposition to the current tax structure related to the existing nuclear power station at Grand Gulf. Conspicuously absent from the meeting were the emotional rants about cancer and radiation poisoning, and -- besides Brendan and Paul -- the people who attended the anti-nuclear rally.

Claiborne County is nearly unanimous in support of a new reactor. We were told that citizens in the community do not respond favorably when people from outside the community arrive and try to claim the proposed siting is an environmental injustice, particularly when the community which is 85% African-American is eagerly seeking the new development.

The meeting ended about 10:30, after Chip Cameron, the NRC mediator, asked if anyone else wished to comment that had not signed up, and there were no takers.

Right before the NRC meeting started at 7PM, another ice sculpture mock-up of a cooling tower and a spent fuel pool were set up on the front lawn to represent a nuclear meltdown. Both structures were still in place when the meeting ended at 10:30 PM, even though the outdoor temperature was about 85º F -- ironically, one could interpret the sculpture as demonstrating that it is extremely difficult to cause a meltdown, even when you’re trying.

In summary, this was the best pro-nuclear trip yet. The enthusiasm and energy of local ANS members and nuclear professionals, active participation by local government officials, media coverage, and the support of the NEI, NA-YGN, and ANS organizations all contributed to make this event and outstanding success!


DV8 2XL said...

"Right before the NRC meeting started at 7PM, another ice sculpture mock-up of a cooling tower and a spent fuel pool were set up on the front lawn to represent a nuclear meltdown. Both structures were still in place when the meeting ended at 10:30 PM, even though the outdoor temperature was about 85º F -- ironically, one could interpret the sculpture as demonstrating that it is extremely difficult to cause a meltdown, even when you’re trying."


Rod Adams said...

I loved the stories. The best defense is often a good offense and it sounds like NA-YGN, ANS and NEI are doing a great job bringing factual information to the public.

Of course, the anti's are going to do all they can to portray those messages as slanted and hopelessly rosy, but the information about nuclear power is so positive that it is hard to give facts without becoming a huge supporter.

Keep on charging!

Rod Adams

Paul Gunter said...

Can you tell me who Channel 16 Jackson tried to contact for the TV spot that NAYGN and NEI were on?
Paul, NIRS

BTW, our "inherently frozen" advanced design melted down by the next afternoon.

Paul Gunter said...


Thanks for getting me back on the blog...

There's a slight misunderstanding about our ice sculptures. Sorry, we didn't spend a decade constructing it, so you get what you get.

But how about a short dialogue on BWRs.

Let's start with our model of Entergy's Grand Gulf GE BWR MARK III.

This was GE's third try to get it right after the MARK I and II raised significant strutural and operational issues for a primary containment system. You can't build a MARK I or II now and even NRC wouldn't license it for you, that went out in the early 70's.

Still, the MARK III design winds up with its spent fuel pool elevated into the upper portion of the reactor building above primary containment for the reactor. Not exactly a best effort, I'd say, from a security point of view, or heavy load movement, for that matter,(like one of those 100-ton + casks needed to house those "inconsequential" iddy biddy mock fuel pellets that NA-YGN carry around in their pockets. BTW, you would not want to carry one around in your pocket after it went through a typcial 6-year fissioning cycle. We could have a side discussion on "fuel fleas."

The intent of the ice sculpture was to visually locate the Grand Gulf fuel pool in the reactor building. So you were looking at both a mockup of the reactor building with the fuel pool on top.

This curious location is in part the subject of the National Acadamy of Sciences critical report "Safety and Security of Commerical Spent Nuclear Fuel."

This report was released to the public in its redacted for safeguards information version in early April 2005. An interesting read for national security buffs, considering BWR locations near metropolitan centers like NYC, Detroit, Philadelphia, etc.
Consider that Chicago is surrounded by 6 BWR units with approx. 5000 metric tons of HLRW located in vulnerable positions.

Basically, the NAS panel, none of whom are particularly antinuclear, concludes that the billion or so dollars dropped on recent commercial nuclear security upgrades is not enough to protect the tremendous inventories of HLRW in the pools in the BWRs nor the PWRs where the fuel pools are in aux buildings.

One germane point is that NAS concludes that vulnerability of the HLRW is dependent on its relative exposure to attack. Consequently, the elevated storage ponds are at greater risk of a drain down and a catastrophic zircoloy fuel fire.

Now, don't tell me you agree with NRC that a fully involved fire involving over 700 metric tons of HLRW up on the roof of Grand Gulf
will not have any significant consequence. Their "proof" has to be classified and contracted by its pre-9/11 version that ballparks 27,000 cancer fatalities out to 500 miles from the fuel pool fire. We want to know if this latest twist was even peer reviewed by NAS? Any of you know?

Considering how much radioactivity particulate could be lofted in such a fire I tend to side with NRC's pre-9/11 report.

Anyways, you'd also have to agree with Commissioner Diaz's notion that you can control a zircoloy fuel fire with a "garden hose," or standard fire hose for that matter. That will do about as much for your credibility as it has for Commissioner Diaz's, not much.

A fully involved zircoloy fuel fire has the interesting feature of being able to turn water into fuel (separating the hose stream into its elemental components of H & O). Actually, powdered zirconium is highly explosive and used in flash bulbs, explosives, primers, fireworks and ammo tracers. So, its no wonder that exposed fuel cladding would burn with such intensity.

So... here's your receipt for a security nightmare that includes it as an ingredient along w/HLRW, configured into high-density storage racks (so it can all burn in a single fire), and perch 700+ mT on the roof of Grand Gulf.


Paul, NIRS

Michael Stuart said...

Paul, before I can address your concerns, you need to understand the difference between scientists and engineers.

Scientists will postulate the most incredible circumstances (and by incredible I mean NOT credible) to try to determine a worst (or sometimes BEST) case scenario. As a little boy I would look at Popular Science magazines and imagine that I would travel to the moon for vacations and while on Earth, be transported around in my personal flying car.

An engineer on the other hand will consider realistic and even unrealistic but plausible, conditions to try to determine scenarios that are within the realms of real-world possibilities.

Not that scientists or engineers are being unethical in any way, it's just what they do.

The scenario you've described is science fiction. It is based on possibilities so remote that they are just not plausible.

In the real world, 15,000 people per year die as a direct result of our use of fossil fuels. That is based on REAL world data. That is without any incredible assumptions of a terrorist attack or human error. That's 15,000 Americans each year who have lost their lives to something that could have been prevented by the use of nuclear energy.

Before you get here too upset about what "might happen if" why not take a look at what "may be happening now":

Paul Gunter said...

Thanks for addressing the concerns with your explanation on the difference between science and engineering, but, c’mon, this is a dodge.

Check out the press release for the NAS report on the vulnerability of spent fuel pools:

Notice that the report came from the National Academies: "Advisors to the Nation on Engineering, Science and Medicine."

I am trying to have a conversation here on the "real world" and its not very convincing nor credible for you to set up engineers as having anything over scientists.

Let's talk about matters of substance here or not at all.

Paul, NIRS

Michael Stuart said...


I have read the report. Basically it asks: "Can you imagine a scenario...?"

Certainly, I can imagine a scenario. We deal with them all of the time in our emergency drills. But, in order for us to make the drill worthwhile, we have to make unrealistic assumptions. Such as defeating an array of safety measures that defy all odds of anything within the realm of plausibility. This is what scientists do best.

Can you imagine a scenario in which one could be a victim of spontaneous human combustion? Is it something you would want to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to protect yourself from?

Now, instead of imagining an extremely unrealistic situation, please take a look at the links that I sent you and explain why you do not consider 15,000 deaths per year from fossil fuel pollution "a matter of substance"?

This is real world data, not unrealistic, hypothetical scenarios. Nuclear energy can save lives in real and measureable ways.

Considering the vast amount of pollution (mercury, SOx, NOx, CO2, etc.) that has been avoided by the use of nuclear energy, I contend that it has already saved literally hundreds of thousands of lives.

Paul Gunter said...

"extremely unrealistic"?

U.S. reactors were licensed without analysis on the consequence of explosion and fire of aircraft crashes on safe shutdown equipment inside containment factoring things like distance from flight path, pilot actions, etc. to jack the probability up to dismiss concerns from an accidental aircraft crash.

No one contemplated a deliberate attack from a hijacked commercial airliners on skyscrapers or for that matter a private aircraft laden with C4 on any one of these elevated storage ponds.

Unless you're in a state of denial or trying to obfuscate the truth, its not considered unrealistic, anymore. What is unrealistic, is an unrealisticly low DBT when we have already experienced a homeland attack from 19 men in 4 coordinated teams. At minium, that's the security bar, now. And more and more are recognizing it including 8 Offices of Attornies General.

An already non-competitive nuclear industry is simply unwilling to pony up the cost of real security to match the DBT demonstrated on September 11th, which would need to include significant "bricks and mortar" changes at sites like the MARK I, II and III. Add up those costs and these nukes will be shutting down overnight as they should.

Paul, NIRS

Anonymous said...

In a comment above, Mr. Gunter said...

"Still, the MARK III design winds up with its spent fuel pool elevated into the upper portion of the reactor building above primary containment for the reactor."

This is not correct. The spent fuel pool for BWR/6 plants with Mk III containment is in a separate fuel building. There is a small pool in containment that is used as a temporary holding location during refueling or full core offload. Fuel is never kept in this pool during operation.

The comments about fuel being perched on the roof of Grand Gulf are simply non-sensical.

Paul Gunter said...

Dear Anonymous,

See for yourself...

Perhaps its a good thing that its not really easy to find a diagram of the elevated spent fuel pool at a MARK III from my home computer over a holiday. But you should take your "non-sensical" comment regarding BWR/6's like Grand Gulf's elevated spent fuel pools to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Here you will find a diagram of the Clinton nuclear power station (GE BWR/6 MARK III).

Please notice the elevated spent fuel storage pond OUTSIDE primary containment (the pressure suppression system).

Puncturing the pool and causing a drainage by suicide airplanes, missiles, or other explosives. For the case that spent fuel pools are located above ground level, a suicide airplane could breach the pool bottom or sidewalls and cause a complete or partial drainage.
A US NRC study estimated that a large aircraft (one weighing more than 5.4 tonnes) would have a 45% probability of penetrating the five-foot thick concrete wall of a spent fuel pool. The NRC staff has decided that it is prudent to assume that a turbine shaft of a large aircraft engine could penetrate and drain a spent fuel storage pool. (US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants (NRC, NUREG-1738, 2001).

Paul, NIRS

Rod Adams said...

Mr. Gunter, a career anti-nuclear activist, exposes his real goals when he mentions that the "brick and mortar" changes that he would like to have made at nuclear power plants would be so costly that the plants would have to shut down if they were imposed.

There are PLENTY of targets in the United States whose destruction by highjacked commercial aircraft or "private aircraft laden with C4" would have more severe and long lasting consequences than would any similar attack on a licensed nuclear power plant. I will not elaborate, but just imagine that kind of attack on a major refinery with its thousands of feet of exposed piping and valves. A chemical plant working with toxic materials also comes to mind as a particularly vulnerable installation with the potential for massive public health effects.

By his standards, we would have to shut down a lot of facilities that enable the country to operate, on the very remote chance that our enemies can figure out ways to attack them.

Engineers make prudent choices based on all available data and recognize that nothing is perfectly safe.

However, as an engineer that has operated a number of different kinds of power plants and as a career military officer that has taught courses in weapons and targeting, I have a pretty reasonable basis for my belief that the attacks that Mr. Gunter postulates are extremely unlikely to cause major public health effects.

IMHO, our current nuclear plants are the most difficult targets in the country, and our next generation plants are going to be even easier to operate even in an environment where such attacks may have to be considered in the design basis analysis.

I do not have quite the same feeling about competitive energy supply systems, but I accept that we will have to live with that vulnerability as long as we insist on making enemies that are mad enough about our policies to want to destroy us.

Rod Adams

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gunter,

Read what I wrote. I merely said the spent fuel pool (for BWR/6 with Mk III) was in a separate fuel building, not inside containment or the reactor building as *you* stated. I didn't mention elevation at all.

You later went on to discuss 6 BWRs around Chicago with fuel in "vulnerable" positions. What I can't figure out is if you think Quad, La Salle, Dresden, and Clinton are all the same? Or do you just lump them all together and call them "bad" because they're nuclear plants, regardless of the very different design features?

By the way, you are spelling zircaloy incorrectly.

Michael Stuart said...


There is a huge difference between a skyscraper and a nuclear facility. (Obviously, since skyscrapers have been successfully attacked resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans and releasing enormous amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment, yet you do NOT seem to object to the presence of, or future building plans for skyscrapers).

You are against nuclear energy. To borrow your addage: "Duh!"

*IF* the issue with which you are concerned was addressed to *your* satisfaction, I do not believe you would drop your objections to nuclear energy.

There are an infinite number of unlikely scenarios to choose from. I believe you would simply pick up the banner for the next one.

Therefore, there's not much point in continuing this argument, is there?

Paul Gunter said...

Dear Anonymous and Rod,

Nobody needs to try to discover or expose anybody's agenda here, yes, I am happy to disclose the obvious about being antinuclear. As a matter of fact, I have been to jail numerous times over simple/criminal trespasses onto the Seabrook construction site way back when and made friends in law enforcement and the nuclear industry at the same time.

And yes, there are plenty of targets out there, too many. I am more than acutely aware of this riding the DC Metro everyday next to toxic rail shipments coming through the nation's capital, for example.

But whether you're pro- or anti-, makes no difference to me, today's economic reality is the cost of new electrical generation capacity will need to factor how much it costs to keep it secure. Not a startlingly new concept, just one that the USA now must recognize with these homeland attacks.

Disturbing though, there remains the fact that this concept was lost, ignored or avoided in the first generation of nuclear power stations. Moreover, some,including yourselves and NEI are saying that we should continue to ignore and avoid these very real costs.

It is now the ongoing cost of doing business and more jersey barriers, orange cones and some guard towers don't constitute enough, so to speak. For example, only a couple of current sites have marine intrusion devices around their intake structures today now pushing 4 years from 9/11. How cheap can you get?

Centralized power systems which can also be used to enhance terrorist attacks to damage, contaminate, and create large areas of population and economic dislocation and distruption are going to require more meaningful and costly security.

From this point of view, distributed generation of safe energy sources coupled with a reduction in demand through efficiency and conservation are not only more attractive but more secure.

Paul, NIRS

Paul Gunter said...


With regard to those "unlikely scenarios" and the probabilities of an terrorist attack on a nuclear power station, here's something of interest from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

We view nuclear power stations as pre-deployed WMD, particularly the MARK I, II and III.

And, yes there are a number of other reasons why we are trying to phase out nuclear power which we can take up in another forum. This one is on security and structural vulnerability of nuclear power stations.

Paul, NIRS

June 23, 2005

Nation at risk of major attack, study says

The Associated Press

Washington - The world faces an estimated 50 percent chance of a nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack over the next five years, according to national security analysts surveyed for a congressional study released yesterday.
Relying on a poll of 85 nonproliferation and national security experts, the report also estimated the risk of attack by weapons of mass destruction at as high as 70 percent over the coming decade.
The study was commissioned by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., whose nonproliferation efforts in Congress have been credited with helping the states of the former Soviet Union lessen their stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
"The bottom line is this: For the foreseeable future, the United States and other nations will face an existential threat from the intersection of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction," Lugar said.
Committee aides sent surveys asking respondents the percentage probability that a biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological attack would occur over the next five and 10 years.
"If one compounds these answers, the odds of some type of WMD attack occurring during the next decade are extremely high," the report said, using the acronym for weapons of mass destruction.
The study said the risks of biological or chemical attacks were comparable to or slightly higher than the risk of a nuclear attack. However, the study found a "significantly higher" risk of a radiological attack.

Anonymous said...

"Committee aides sent surveys asking respondents the percentage probability...." Now there's some hard science to base our national energy policy on...

Paul, were these "85 nonproliferation and national security experts" the same guys that said WMD in Iraq is a serious and imminent threat?

I guess NIRS would chastise them for getting that totally wrong, but believe they are totally right in this case. They sound like credible enough sources reasons for everyone to rally behind NIRS' "shut all the nukes down" battle cry.

On the chemical or biological fronts, which your quoted "experts" say an attack is just as likely or more more likely in the next five years, I suppose you are looking for consistency here. Don't they deserve similar demanded actions for similar risks?

The 60 Minutes, Dateline, and 20-20 crowd would be pretty busy then, calling for closure of subways, high-rise office buildings, large public venues, the US postal Service, and public schools.

After all, when the building permits for all those public schools were issued, no one contemplated a deliberate attack from terrorists that would kill hundreds of children...

I guess with the anti-nuclear movement's skewed vision of risk and reality, some experts would bet you and your colleagues are going to be very frantic and sleepless during that five-year period...

Is this skewed perception of reality and risk the reason the public advocacy groups are still focusing efforts on the one terrorist target class that is the most hardened, the one that has the best tested emergency response plans, the one that has never been struck? What was the Design Basis Threat for that school in Russia again?

You are obviously proud to wear your badge of past criminal activity. What's the real motivation for someone to be willing to break the law and go to jail, protesting something they don't even have a full technical grasp of?

Why is the antinuclear crowd from the 70s still hand-picking statistics, half-reading scientific studys, and now even resorting to "surveys" to back an almost religious argument? Why did you in thins case ignore the rest of the congressional study that says chemical and biological attacks are just as likely or more likely to occur?

Are anthrax and serin gas just not romantic enough for to save people from? Perhaps there just aren't enough public donations in this area to support cross-country travel?

Perhaps it just wouldn't be as gratifying to save people from terrorist threats that have actually materialized and even killed people?

Since the birth of the Clamshell Alliance, how many people have died on the highways, or died from medical mistakes? Aren't there bigger battles out there to fight?

Aren't there real (not theoretical) lives out there to save? Why aren't those tens of thousands of "real" lives lost every year more important than fighting this one technology that is feared as "too dangerous?" If nuclear is so dangerous, why has no one died from the worst nuclear power accident in this country? (One word - containment)

Even if the reactor head at Davis Besse had corroded comepletely through, it would have still had even less consequence than the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island. It's a vastly different industry now.

Defense in depth in the American nuclear power industry works... just look at the safety record.

Has anyone checked into the safety record and current preparedness of the petroleum, chemical or transportation industries? Passionate people could make a positive impact there and actually save lives ...

The rest of the world's tehnological nations are embracing nuclear as a vital enabler to sustained growth, while minimizing the risk to the environment as compared to other baseload energy sources.

Rod Adams said...

Paul Gunter wrote:

From this point of view, distributed generation of safe energy sources coupled with a reduction in demand through efficiency and conservation are not only more attractive but more secure.

Exactly what do you consider "safe" energy sources? You have already stated that you do not like the nuclear plants that provide 20% of the nation's electricity. Do you believe that the "safe" sources are the coal fired generators that provide 50% of the nation's electricity, the natural gas fired generators that provide 17%, the large hydroelectric dams that provide 7%.

Perhaps you think that they are the "Wood, black liquor, other wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas, sludge waste, tires, agriculture byproducts, other biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, photovoltaic energy, and wind" that currently make up the 2.25% of the nation's electricity that fall into the Energy Information Agency's "other renewables" category. (Source: 2004 numbers)

Tell us, Mr. Gunter, what are you for? It is much easier to be against stuff and claim that it is unsafe, but how do you propose to keep the lights on, even if they are super efficient compact fluorescents?

If you like none of the above (and I can describe significant vulnerabilities in each one of them from a safety perspective) then perhaps you advocate a wholesale rebuilding of our entire infrastructure, an act that would cost just a tiny amount of money.