Monday, April 07, 2008

Old Friends and Foes

Christopher Paine, the Washington-based director of the nuclear program for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, had seemed for awhile to be considering nuclear energy as a viable addition to the energy mix, especially as increased awareness of climate change altered the terms of the discussion.

About a year ago, he said this:

"Our position is that nuclear is not off the table as an energy source, but we believe there are cheaper, cleaner and faster ways to reduce pollution and provide reliable energy than nuclear power."

But Paine has now been making the rounds in Utah with the old arguments made in the old way.

Right now, at a time when nuclear power is increasingly being considered a cleaner source of energy than coal-fired plants, Paine questions the claim by some that the alternative of actually scaling up nuclear power production can be done safely around the world, even under international ownership and control.

"If history is a guide, then the peaceful atom has turned into the military atom quite a few times," Paine said.

Actually, it seems the other way around, but the closer you can link the promise of nuclear energy with a big boom, the more points you get. Feels very eighties, very stale.

Here's a little more:

   Nuclear reactors are too expensive, he told an audience at the University of Utah Wednesday. They can't be built fast enough in enough places to truly offset the gasses blamed for global warming. And expanding nuclear technology to new countries spreads the risks of accidents and proliferation, he said.  

I guess he's given nuclear energy some thought and decided to think no more.

----

On the other hand:

Nearly one fifth of New Zealanders now favour nuclear power as the best energy source for the country in the next 10 years, according to a survey.

This is remarkable because New Zealand has been one of the least nuclear friendly countries. The poll shows them enamored of wind and solar energy, but then, so are we. It's all in the mix and if the Kiwis see the value of nuclear energy in it, er, power to them.

23 comments:

Kirk Sorensen said...

Thanks for the heads-up...I went and dropped a note. Looks like a few other people did too.

Anonymous said...

Paine questions the claim by some that the alternative of actually scaling up nuclear power production can be done safely around the world, even under international ownership and control.

"If history is a guide, then the peaceful atom has turned into the military atom quite a few times," Paine said.


Ah, I love that argument!

Nuclear is not a solution for the World hence we cannot use it.

That train of thinking is so ridiculous and so full of itself, so pretentious. Navel gazing idiots!

How about the NRDC tones down its delusions of grandeur and global leadership and, first things first, tries to solve the problem at home? Or, at least, tries not to be a roadblock for nuclear power in the US?

Of course, nuclear power is above all a solution for first world countries. But those first world countries, which have proven that nuclear power can be deployed safely and efficiently, are also the largest energy users. If they switch to nuclear power, it will free up a lot of resources for less advance countries to use and fuel their development.

Anonymous said...

Costs too much and takes too long. I love the smell of anti-nuke duplicity in the morning. They drive up the cost of completing plants by filing frivolous lawsuit after lawsuit, and then claim nuclear is no good because it costs too much. Then they turn around and claim nuclear is no good because it takes too long to build the plants, yet who are the ones filing frivolous lawsuits for years on end, delaying completion of construction? Why, the anti-nooks, of course. So after they've filed their lawsuits and delayed construction by decades and inflated the cost by orders of magnitude because of carrying charges, they have the gall to turn around and say nuclear is no good because it takes too long and costs too much. Duplicitous SOBs, the lot of them.

Gunter said...

Anon claims that it is "frivalous lawsuit after lawsuit" that drives up the cost of nuclear power... you wish.

Not so...no permit has been applied for let alone fact that construction has not even started and FPL projections to Florida Public Service Commission for a $9 to 12 billion unit (a tad higher than NEI's $3.5 billion/unit cost)---- not result of lawsuit.

Plain and simple, its an exobediently expensive technology for boiling water.

That said, you all can count on legal challenges and assertions of what due process is still provided.

This just in, Bellefonte joins South Texas COLA with the filing deadline just extended by 60 days. Poor applications.

David Bradish said...

Paul,

This is a completely different topic but would you mind telling us where NIRS and Beyond Nuclear get there funding? Many on this blog and other blogs have been speculating and wondering who funds many of the anti-nuclear groups. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If you can't answer their arguments, then challenge "there" motivation. or funding.

Given most nuclear utilities also operate fossil-fired capacity, I'd wager NEI gets a lot more money from the coal industry than does the anti-nuclear movement.

David Bradish said...

Anonymous Grammar King, did I say anything about fossil-fired motivations? I'm not challenging, I'm asking.

Given most nuclear utilities also operate fossil-fired capacity, I'd wager NEI gets a lot more money from the coal industry than does the anti-nuclear movement.

Probably not. One nuclear plant's annual revenue is about $500-$600M. NEI's budget is less than one-tenth of that.

So you're saying the anti-nuclear movement gets money from the coal industry?

Anonymous said...

Spelling King, actually.

I'M not saying anti-nukes get $ from Big Coal. They're not as far as I know. But that's what a lot of bloggers here like to suggest, always without any supporting evidence.

Those who think there's some vast, well-funded anti-nuclear conspiracy have obviously never been to any of these groups' offices. Most of them operate each year on less than any one of NEI's top executives takes home annually (before bonuses).

David Bradish said...

I'M not saying anti-nukes get $ from Big Coal. They're not as far as I know. But that's what a lot of bloggers here like to suggest, always without any supporting evidence.

Where's YOUR supporting evidence?

Anonymous said...

in NEI's tax filings, which are a matter of public record. Several top execs each make hundreds of thousands annually, which is far more than most anti-nuke groups operate on.

Anonymous said...

Don't try your shtick with me, Gunter. I lived through the Diablo Canyon debacle. I know the kind of crap you guys pull. I did the seismic analysis for the retrofits on that plant. You forced them to install unnecessary systems at outrageous costs and kept that facility idle for going on ten years for no good reason. When it was all said and done those snubbers and hangers will withstand a mag 11 seismic event. You know what that means? Enough energy release to drive a fissure 20 feet wide and 30 feet deep a length of over 30,000 miles, which exceeds the circumference of the Earth. Basically the whole planet is going to shake apart before that plant comes down. And you really want me to believe that your doubledealing doesn't drive up the cost of plant construction? Like I said, a bunch of duplicitous schmucks.

David Bradish said...

anonymous spelling police,

You didn't answer my question. I asked you to prove this statement: I'M not saying anti-nukes get $ from Big Coal. They're not as far as I know. But that's what a lot of bloggers here like to suggest, always without any supporting evidence.

Everyone here is aware of NEI's tax filings. We want to see the tax filings from NIRS and Beyond Nuclear. So far you or Paul can't answer my original question.

Luke said...

"Plain and simple, its an exobediently expensive technology for boiling water."

Not if it's a gas-cooled nuclear reactor in a Brayton cycle power plant.

Anyway, as far as common Rankine cycle power plants using water as the working fluid go, nuclear fission heat sources are certainly economically competitive.

Anonymous said...

I asked you to prove this statement: I'M not saying anti-nukes get $ from Big Coal. They're not as far as I know. But that's what a lot of bloggers here like to suggest, always without any supporting evidence.

Unfortunately your blog's search engine does not return results from comments. But I've seen several such remarks in the last year.

As for these groups' tax returns, I can't provide them; have no affiliation with them. But if they're a 501(c)(3) or other tax-exempt group, they're publicly available. Do a little legwork.

David Bradish said...

You're obviously not understanding the question so let me simplify it for you. You say the anti-nukes are not getting their money from Big Coal. Prove it.

Anonymous said...

what, guilty until proven innocent? that's ridiculous. the burden of proof is on the accuser.

you'd laugh me out of the room if I said, with no evidence to back me, "PROVE NEI is not funded by the Moonies."

Those who believe there's an anti-nuke cabal with Big Coal should support their claims; it's not someone else's burden to refute it.

David Bradish said...

It's called the Smoking Gun series by Rod Adams. Here's part one. It looks like he's written 10 so far. You can find the other nine parts here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for wasting my time. NOT A SINGLE ONE of Adams's posts you cite SAYS WORD ONE about Big Coal supporting US anti-nuclear groups.

I assume you were just hoping no one would actually read these completely tangential posts about how Australian and German politicians don't like nukes. So freekin what?

so, back to you: as you say, PROVE IT.

David Bradish said...

Wasting your time? You were the one who butted into the conversation. I asked Paul a question which he still hasn't answered. If you go to that question you will see there are no accusations being made there. You were the one who brought up the coal connections and said we were wrong. If you can't answer the simple question I asked Paul, don't comment.

I see you anti-nukes can't handle defense without getting all hot and bothered.

Anonymous said...

Whoaaaaa....Looking for commies under the bed, Admiral? I'm not even anti-nuke. I just don't like unsubstantiated propaganda from either side. It does no service to an important energy debate.

David Bradish said...

Fair enough. Next time just say that so we don't waste two days of each other's time.

Anonymous said...

If comments on this post consumed your whole day, you've got too much time on your hands.

David Bradish said...

Now you're acting like a pest. You've added nothing to this comment string except to say you don't like unsubstantiated propaganda. You know how much I care about that anonymous opinion from you? Zilch. Write back only if you can answer my original question to Paul Gunter.