Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy

After hearing a presentation from Ariel Levite, the former Principal Deputy Director General for Policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Eric Wesoff at Greentech Media is slowly changing his mind about nuclear energy:

I am a knee-jerk environmentalist and have a visceral response to the word “nuclear.” But the more I learn and read, the more experts I speak with, the more my mind is changed — nuclear is a necessary part of the energy mix, albeit with enormous risk.

These risks need to be confronted head-on by sound technology, policy, diplomacy and science.


rks said...

Some nuclear experts might like to get across to theoildrum and comment on Gail the Actuary's careful analysis of the Uranium supply issue. I guess we already know that the current style of once-through nuclear power stations is not going to work for long. How quickly can we switch to something better?

David Walters said...

I's a huge hit piece on nuclear energy fuel supplies.


Anonymous said...

David, I concur too. The Club of Rome mindset strikes again. News idiots. Same idiocies.

It's a shameless hit piece based on a grotesque and willful misunderstanding of the NEA stated reserves. Using the current estimate - 4.7 millions metric tons of U metal - as a definitive assessment is a sorry joke.

Just one resource - the Moroccan phosphates - blows up all their assumptions: at least, 6 millions metric tons of U metal according to IAEA estimates and Areva's engineers actually think it's north of 10 million metric tons.

Oooppps! I feel sorry for the Oil Drummers. Their estimate is off by at least a factor 2.5 and more likely 3.5 and all of that on the basis of a single mining resource.

I'm afraid Doomsday and the Collapse of Civilization As We Know It has been, again, pushed back to a later, yet to be determined date...

Anonymous said...

Nuclear Power, plus electric cars can bring a bright future to the world. Nuclear power will be the worlds primary energy source at some point. There is too much evidence for climate change for the world to ignore it (hopefully we are rational in the aggregate). The alternatives are simply not practical (wind, solar) especially in countries without vast expanses that they could sacrifice to wind or solar farms. We must increase education efforts on nuclear power to dispel the widespread myths regarding the technology (e.g. Gwyneth Cravens --- 'Power to Save the World'). 

We must encourage the development of safety regimes and the training of nuclear engineers. It appears that the UK will be one of the countries leading the way, along with India, China, and probably Italy (and hopefully the US). I believe that as the benefits become more obvious there will be a rapid acceleration in the development of nuclear power around the world, which will not only bring great economic benefits, but may avert an ecological catastrophe. 

In the more distant future there are dozens of very interesting ideas for advanced nuclear designs (Thorium reactors, high-T gas reactors, etc.) but for the present we can not wait for these technologies to be sorted out and developed but should go ahead with the proven designs we have today.

Anonymous said...

You're completely ignoring the political context of this comment.

Little wonder a high official of the Israeli AEC is embracing nuclear power. The "research" reactor at which his nation has produced the plutonium for its vast nuclear weapons arsenal, Dimona, is beyond the end of its safe operational lifetime. They need a new reactor in the short to medium term.

And Israel is not an NPT member state. Any bets on whether the new reactor, whatever its declared purpose, will be placed under IAEA safeguards?