Friday, February 10, 2006

CBS News on Nuclear Energy

Click here for a report from CBS News' Jim Axelrod on the resurgence of the nuclear energy industry. It orignally ran on February 2, but we found it through the Truveo video database.

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10 comments:

Starvid said...

Are American news shows always this infantile? The reporter sounds like a five year old and every thing is incredibly dumbed down, with a dozen 10 second clips, aaargh.

No matter, if this is what it takes to make Americans pro-nuke, then by all means continue.

Hehe, at least this gave an intersing glimpse into American society. ;)

Paul said...

Hi,

The clip was far from "pro-nuclear."

It didnt take CBS News long to sniff out that Patrick Moore is "a paid consultant to the nuclear industry."

On the one hand you have industry mouthpiece Moore crying out for more money for nukes to abate global warming and on the other you have Bush's mouthpiece Deutsch decrying that global warming is even happening to protect oil and coal profits.

Paul Primavera said...

I would never expect CBS News be anything other than "far from 'pro-nuclear'".

BTW, exactly how much has Patrick Moore been paid and by whom? Where is the documentation for this. And exactly what has he said (whether on behalf of the nuclear industry or the Green movement) that is scientifically incorrect?

I wonder why it is OK for a person to be a paid mouthpiece for anti-nuclear activism, but somehow it is 'morally wrong' for a person to be a paid mouthpiece for pro-nuclear activism.

Pro-nuclear activism supports the advancement and prosperity of mankind; its mouthpiece certainly deserves fair pay for promulgating the truth.

Paul said...

Well, if you clock it, the CBS piece gave more air time to the pronuclear side to state its case.

Understandably you need it.

There are clearly very obvious and looming issues; not least of which "it looks like a pretty big terrorist target to me."

What are the real costs of security seeing as how we are now in a war for the "long term" according to the Bush Administration?

One would think that the nuclear industry security bar should be raised and afforded as a cost of doing business at least enough to repel an adversary the equal of 9/11 (by air and by a minimum of suicidal adversaries coordinated into four teams). However, that would add appreciably to the already mounting security cost that NEI and industry seek to contain. So the security bar remains artificially lower than the attack we have already experienced.

My understanding is that Moore admitted it to CBS News. As many times as I have witnessed Patrick's presentation (several now), Moore makes very little if any scientific contribution to the argument for nuclear power. He is far better a technical spokesperson for geothermal heat pumps. In fact, the bulk of his Congressional testimony focused on geothermal heat pumps as his center piece.

Clearly, his purpose is to serve as the industry's attack dog on opposition to atomic power.

Starvid said...

Well, the terrorism part was both anti-nuclear and anti-scientific.

When they said "it looks like a pretty big terrorist target to me." I thought, yeah, with a 6 feet thick reinforced concrete containment.

Crashing airplanes into reactors is a non-issue. Reactors are built to survive that and the DOE recently made a study on it and could not identify any danger.

But if anyone crashes an airliner into a Soviet RBMK we are in deep trouble...

Paul Primavera said...

Paul Gunter,

Some of the best pro-nuclear advertising is simply the increasing higher costs of fossil fuel such as gasoline, oil and natural gas. Consider what Rodney Adams writes at:

Pound of uranium - how a man can carry thirty tanker trucks worth of energy
< http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/2006/02/pound-of-uranium-how-man-can-carry.html >

Or better yet, the article entitled "The 2006 Economic Forecast: Oil Remains a Wildcard" at Energy Pulse pointed out by Rodney:

< http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=1200 >

But truly, the very best advertising is how "Anti-Nukes Harass Miss Nevada", or how activists trample on private property with no respect for individual rights in Brattleboro, VT.

The public support for nuclear power is increasing and I suspect that is exactly the reason for your posts here. When fossil fuel costs get high enough, then unreasoning fear of a miniscule amount of radiation will be surmounted by the very real fear of freezing in the dark.

Paul said...

Starvid,

The containment on a PWR is actually more like 2.5 ft thick in the upper portion of the dome.

To the contrary, reactors were not built to withstand aircraft crashes and have not been analyzed for the impact of explosion and fire, particularly for fire involving the safe shutdown features (power, instrumentation and control). They were licensed based on PRA that likelihood of an accidental crash was so remote (flight planes and pilot actions) that it need not be considered. That was pre-9/11.


Mr. Primavara,
I suppose all those lunch counter sit-ins in the segregationist South trampled on private property rights, too? Having been involved in non-violent civil disobedience with many of the folks involved in that sit in the lobby of ENVY, its safe to say their conduct was impeccable.

Paul, NIRS

David Bradish said...

Paul,

You are correct. Reactors weren't built with the consideration a plane would crash into them. However, it doesn't mean they can't withstand the crash. NRC has done studies on this type of scenario and have concluded that the containment structure can withstand an airplane impact.

Here's an analogy. Picture the containment structure as a fire hydrant and picture a pop can as an airplane. Now imagine a pop can trying to penetrate a fire hydrant. That's the same comparison you can make between the reactor and airplane.

paul said...

David,

I am also correct that the bulk of containment above the base is 2.5 thick of reinforced concrete. The combustion of just a small portion of aeorsolized jet fuel inside that structure after penetration by hijacked aircraft is very likely to have devastating consequences and should be addressed immediately by the Nuclear Security Incident Response division of NRC. Instead it is being ignored or obfuscated.

Unfortunately for us all, you are wrong about penetration studies. NRC does not have to publish its secret study to reveal that not only are the containments penetrable but the control rooms and the spent fuel pools outside them are vulnerable to aircraft attack. National Academy of Sciences has published some of this work with precisely the opposite conclusion.

The Sandia study for NRC that simulated an FB-111 collision into concrete was not a penetration test but rather an impact study. The concrete block was floating on a cushion of air and allowed to move. Sandia openly refuted the industry authors in "Science" that tried to pawn the experiment off as proof of containment integrity. Their debunking was published in the New York Times.

We should be proceeding on more than wishful thinking or worse yet deliberately misleading the public on how much safety and security margin is really there.

Paul, NIRS

David Bradish said...

Paul,

Here's a link to a study done by EPRI.

http://www.nei.org/documents/
EPRINuclearPlantStructural
Study200212.pdf

I guess we could pull out all the studies supporting each of our sides but it's not going to get us anywhere. Your claim could be right. All these studies were computer simulations and to my knowledge I don't know of any actual tests done of a plane crashing into a reactor.

However, the probability of anything catastrophic resulting from an airplane crash is very small if not nil. The containment is a difficult target to hit for a plane, spent fuel pools are even harder. Even if it's a direct hit, the probability that it breaches the containment is still negligible.

You present important concerns and it's important for us to discuss the issues. But the last thing we at NEI do is mislead the public about the truth. If you want to accuse all the nuclear engineers, physicists, security experts and anyone here who has worked and has been to a nuclear power plant of lying then so be it.