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Nader writes: "On Wednesday October 9, an accident resulted in six workers being doused in radioactive water. Accidents and mishaps at the Fukushima site are regular occurrences. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now asked the world community for help in containing the ongoing Fukushima disaster, as it continues to spiral out of control."

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader. (photo: Meet the Press)
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader. (photo: Meet the Press)

Atomic Energy - Unnecessary, Uneconomic, Uninsurable, Unevacuable and Unsafe

By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

12 October 13


t has been over two years since the earthquake and tsunami that brought about the nuclear reactor crisis in Fukushima -- the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The situation at the six plants is still grim. Four of the reactors are damaged. Hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater are reportedly seeping into the ocean every day. Nearly 83,000 people were displaced from their homes in the approximately 310 square mile exclusion zones. On Wednesday October 9, an accident resulted in six workers being doused in radioactive water. Accidents and mishaps at the Fukushima site are regular occurrences. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now asked the world community for help in containing the ongoing Fukushima disaster, as it continues to spiral out of control.

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion in New York City called "The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons." The event featured notable long-time experts on nuclear technology discussing the crisis in Fukushima and the current state of the heavily subsidized nuclear industry in the United States. The panel participants were former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner and later Chairman Peter Bradford, former NRC Chairman Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen.

Mr. Bradford presented a detailed power point that showed how competing forms of energy already are leading to the decline of the nuclear industry.

The panel discussed safety concerns regarding the Indian Point nuclear power plant located about 30 miles from New York City. Indian Point has long been rife with safety problems and its location near an earthquake fault is a source of great concern for many New York residents. You can view Tuesday's event, in its entirety, here.

In the 1960s, The Atomic Energy Commission determined that a class-nine nuclear power plant accident could contaminate an area the size of Pennsylvania and render much of it uninhabitable. A nuclear disaster at Indian Point would threaten the entire population of New York City and its outlying metropolitan area. The continued existence and operation of Indian Point is like playing a game of Russian Roulette with the lives and homes of the nearly 20 million people who live within a 50 mile radius of the plant. Consider the difficulty New Yorkers have simply commuting to and from their workplaces during rush hour and imagine the horror of a mandatory evacuation due to a nuclear emergency at Indian Point. The NRDC estimates that a serious accident could, in addition to massive casualties, "cost ten to 100 times more than Fukushima's disaster" which would be in the trillions of dollars.

If Indian Point were closed today, there is enough surplus energy capacity to last the state until 2020 as alternative energy sources are developed and deployed. Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for the shutdown of Indian Point, as did Hillary Clinton during her time in the Senate. A main reason is that an emergency evacuation of the population up to 50 miles around these two nukes is impossible.

So what's the delay? Mainly resistance from the nuclear industry and a compliant regulatory agency. The NRC has faltered in its watchdog role by acting to protect and even bolster the dangerous, expensive and unnecessary nuclear industry. The industry's last claim is that it avoids greenhouse gases. But as physicist Amory Lovins says, if the investment in nuclear plants was shifted to renewables and energy conservation, it will produce less demand and more environmentally benign BTUs by far, and with more jobs.

Anti-nuclear advocates have warned against potential dangers such as earthquakes for decades. Although a new nuclear power plant has not been ordered and built in the United States since 1974, there are currently 65 nuclear plants operating 100 reactors in the United States -- many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, many of them still not in compliance with NRC fire prevention regulations, all of them significant national security risks. Under President Obama, the first two nuclear reactors since 1978, were authorized to be built at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. (Panel participant Dr. Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenter in the 4-1 NRC approval vote.)

To truly understand the cost of nuclear energy, one must consider the absurdity of the nuclear fuel cycle itself. It begins with uranium mines and their deadly tailings, then the fabrication and refinement of the fuel rods, the risky transport of these rods to the multi-shielded dome-like plant where they are installed, and then firing up the plant so it goes critical with a huge amount of radioactivity. Dealing with volatile nuclear reactions requires flawless operation. And then there is the storage and guarding of hot radioactive wastes and contaminated materials that persist for 250,000 years. No permanent site has been located and licensed for that lengthy containment.

What is the end purpose of this complex and expensive chain of events? Simply to boil water -- to generate steam to turn turbines to produce electricity.

With all the technological advancements in energy efficiency, solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, surely there are better and more efficient ways to meet our electricity needs without burdening future generations with deadly waste products and risking the radioactive contamination of entire regions should anything go wrong.

It is telling that Wall Street, which rarely considers the consequences of gambling on a risk, will not finance the construction of a nuclear plant without a full loan guarantee from the U.S. government. Nuclear power is also uninsurable in the private insurance market. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 requires taxpayers to cover almost all the cost if a meltdown should occur.

No other industry that produces electricity poses such a great national security risk should sabotage or malfunction occur. No other means of generating power can produce such long-lasting catastrophic damage and mayhem from one unpredictable accident. No other form of energy is so loaded with the silent violence of radioactivity.

Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, unevacuable and most importantly, unsafe. The fact that it continues to exist at all is a result of a ferocious lobby, enlisting the autocratic power of government, that will not admit that its product is unfit for use in the modern world. Let us not allow the lessons of Fukushima to be ignored. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+18 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 09:15
For me, the most important fact about nuclear energy, and one that I think needs to be solved by its proponents is this:

How do you plan to store the radioactive waste for the next 40,000 years until it becomes safe to re-enter the environment?

Think about that one. That means every single nuclear power plant on Earth (and there are already hundreds) will eventually add unacceptably dangerous amounts of radioactive waste to the environment where we live.

Yeah, coal, oil, and natural gas are causing global warming, and yeah, natural gas is extracted by a process that is poisoning our drinking water, but something that's even worse (in the long run - even though "conservatives" don't care about long-term anything) is being touted as "clean" energy.

There are only 2 forms of easily used clean energy: wind and solar. And, a combination of both could supply us with all the energy we need, but it's hard to make as much profit off of something so abundant. So, we won't be converting our power grids over until the dirty fuel moguls making a killing off of killing future generations get sick of having too much money.
-7 # ericlipps 2013-10-12 15:24
Billy Bob. the horse is already pout of the barn on that one. We ALREADY have huge quantities of nuclear waste which must be stored safely for long periods. We need to solve that problem, period.

Of course, if we do, one of the biggest scare arguments against nuclear power disappears--mea ning that nuclear power opponents have a vested interest in its not being solved.
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 17:20
You're right. I have a vested interest in solving that problem. So does my entire species. I don't which species you can speak for.

Feel free to solve it. No one is stopping you.

Solve it FIRST. Then, let's talk about the wonders of nuclear energy.
0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 02:43
Quoting Billy Bob:
You're right. I have a vested interest in solving that problem. So does my entire species. I don't which species you can speak for.....

Just so. And Nader's headline on this article speaks the entire truth. We don't need this horrendous industry.

And, for anyone who can actually stomach some no-kidding GOOD news, I recommend a site called,
along with a televised speech made by Michael Brune, head of the Sierra Club, on PBS, available at

The stunning truth is that wind/solar are RIGHT NOW beating the pants off of all other forms of energy in terms of cost effectiveness, and reliability.

Michael Brune describes the way that activists have managed in the last ten years, to shut down 140 of the worst polluting coal-fired electric plants, and they are just getting started.

To quote Brune: "If anyone tells you that we can't power this country on wind and solar, don't believe them. If anyone tells you that we need coal as part of our energy policy, don't believe them. If anybody tells you that we need a combination of coal, nukes, and fracking gas, don't believe them."

He then uses as an example the newest, and largest wind farm in the country just opened in Oregon. On one windy day, said farm provided 85% of the energy that the Bonneville Power Admin normally supplies to the Pacific Northwest.

He reinforces the fact that the "future" of energy is literally and already right here, right now.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 12:39
Thank you. Great comment!
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 17:33
One question, are there any forces PREVENTING the nuclear industry from solving this problem?

The U.S. nuclear industry reported a 36 BILLION DOLLAR revenue this year alone. That should be enough to fund some research, eh?

Of course, it's even more profitable in other countries, so worldwide, I think they can muster the cash.

How much money do you think those with a "vested interest in not solving it" have on hand? Here, let me check my wallet...

NOPE! A lot LESS than 36 billion in MY wallet!

Of course the Union of Concerned Scientists is worried about the fact that the nuclear industry is seeking tens of billions MORE, from U.S. TAXPAYERS to fund "research".

I think THEY are the ones with the "vested interest".
0 # Glen 2013-10-12 16:30
We are all awaiting the government and nuclear plants to turn a jaded eye toward the states we live in. Kentucky is a perfect example of where garbage/nukes are dumped. Small islands off the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and no telling where else around the planet.

You are right. It is a major concern that many U.S. citizens cannot fathom quite yet. Just as chemicals were dumped into the Gulf after WWI and WWII that are now leaking out of the metal barrels they were contained in, nuclear waste will do the same.

The planet is being destroyed, one year at a time. Did you read the report of the fracking waste dumped in N. Dakota? "If it can happen it will happen". Nuclear waste is as bad or worse.
-14 # gae10231 2013-10-12 10:21
Nader, who is often right, is really wrong on nuclear power. The owners of Fuk. were advised to raise their inadequate seawall 1 year before the tsunami. They didn't. The Onagawa plant, which was closer to the epicenter of the quake survived the tsunami because it had a seawall 2 times as high as FuK. In addition, the Fuk. emergency generators were stupidly housed in the BASEMENT, which flooded! No one has died in the Western Hemisphere or in WESTERN Europe from nuclear power. For more details on Fuk. and Chernobyl - and for info on proposed, safe, highly efficient nuclear power plants that create NO CO2 and 1% of the waste of current uranium plants, check the Thorium Energy Alliance on the web and email George Erickson at
0 # Malcolm 2013-10-12 16:12
You're unfortunately not addressing MOST of Nader's concerns. Also, do you believe it's only at Fukushima where stupid mistakes are made?
As far as Fukushima being warned to raise their seawall-if it was-would they have been able to do this before the quake?

How about all the other oceanfront reactors? How high are their seawalls? AND HOW HIGH WILL FUTURE TSUNAMIS BE??

BTW, Fukushima hikes were 40-50 miles from the quake's epicenter. What happens to the hikes built close to, or ON a faultline?

Sorry I'm not up to speed on "safe" thorium nukes. Considering our current nuke promoters' hyper (safe, clean, "too cheap to meter") this thorium style "safe Nike" sounds like an oxymoron.
+1 # Malcolm 2013-10-13 08:03
Sorry, folks. My kindle's auto-correct apparently doesn't like the word "nukes" and changed it to hikes. And changed "nuke" to Nike. Oops.
0 # Glen 2013-10-12 16:35
Are you absolutely certain no people have died because of nuclear power and the contamination? No reason to excuse nuclear power plants due to seawalls. Earthquakes can rip apart anything, without a storm surge or tsunami.

Are you certain Chernobyl did not contaminate people and land. Better double check on that.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 12:44
Of course he's not including cancer. That number is incalculable and the industry would like to keep it that way, however, RSN did an article recently about the higher incidents of childhood leukemia around nuclear reactors:

Note, the article found 2,753 known cases of childhood leukemia aroung MODERN reactors, IN FRANCE ALONE.
-1 # diacad 2013-10-12 11:49
I agree with Nader that nuclear plants in this country, based on 40 year old designs ("Gen II") present waste, proliferation, and safety problems. He doesn't mention that these are plants based on the uranium cycle. Thorium cycle designs (prominently the LFTR, or liquid fluoride thorium reactor) cannot go critical or explode, have very little waste products, and effectively solve the proliferation problem. We had an operating thorium reactor at Oak Ridge for several years, but it was killed under Nixon for political reasons. Now other countries (China, India, Norway among them) are reviving the concept and developing thorium reactors. Under uranium-cycle industry influence, the US so far seems to be ignoring the thorium alternative. See the documentary 'Thorium Dream" at and get the book "Thorium: Energy Cheaper Than Coal" by Dr. Robert Hargraves
-9 # Mike Carey 2013-10-12 12:26
Mr. Nader was once concerned about the unnecessary deaths of Pinto owners caused by their gas tank design flaws. Perhaps he should consider the peer reviewed study coauthored by James Hansen (yes, that James Hansen) on the relative health affects (mortality) of fossil fuels and nuclear power as cited in Wikipedia:

"In March 2013, climate scientists Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen published a peer-reviewed paper in Environmental Science & Technology, entitled Prevented mortality and greenhouse gas emissions from historical and projected nuclear power.

"It estimated an average of 1.8 million lives saved worldwide by the use of nuclear power instead of fossil fuels between 1971 and 2009.

"The paper examined mortality levels per unit of electrical energy produced from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) as well as nuclear power. Kharecha and Hansen assert that their results are probably conservative, as they analyze only deaths and do not include a range of serious but non-fatal respiratory illnesses, cancers, hereditary effects and heart problems, nor do they include the fact that fossil fuel combustion in developing countries tends to have a higher carbon and air pollution footprint than in developed countries.

"The authors also conclude that the emission of some 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been avoided by nuclear power between 1971 and 2009, and that between 2010 and 2050, nuclear could additionally avoid up to 80 to 240 billion tonnes."
0 # Malcolm 2013-10-12 16:19
James Hansen? The "HIDE THE DECLINE" James Hansen?

I've NEVER heard Nader giving out disinformation. I actually RESPECT Nader. I have NO respect for Mr. HIDE THE DECLINE.

1.8 million lives saved? Horse puckey.
-5 # DrAlexC 2013-10-12 12:32
To the fellow who helped W. get elected -- a little factual data: wait for Nixon et alia to pass by on the 2nd video here ( and note the graphic way nuclear power's 56 years of unmatched safety becomes obvious to us all, and obviously embarrassing to naive or fibbing anti-nukes like Nader.

Being anti-nuke kills, just as being a global warming deniers kills and worse.
Dr. A. Cannara
650 400 3071 (call me any time, Ralph)
-2 # Malcolm 2013-10-13 10:05
Quoting DrAlexC:
To the fellow who helped W. get elected --

Are you referring to the fellow who gave us a chance to vote against THE MACHINE?

Thank-you, Mr. Nader.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 14:44

"a 2010 National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) report (PDF)concluded the thorium fuel cycle 'does not currently have a role to play in the UK context [and] is likely to have only a limited role internationally for some years ahead' – in short, it concluded, the claims for thorium were 'overstated' "[...]

[...] "But even were its commercial viability established, given 2010's soaring greenhouse gas levels, thorium is one magic bullet that is years off target. Those who support renewables say they will have come so far in cost and efficiency terms by the time the technology is perfected and upscaled that thorium reactors will already be uneconomic. Indeed, if renewables had a fraction of nuclear's current subsidies they could already be light years ahead."
+4 # Helen 2013-10-12 12:41
Already in the late 1950s, Albert Schweitzer's articles in the Saturday Review warned us of the horrors we were unleashing with nuclear power. And now, whether or not you blame him for our electing Bush instead of Gore, Nader is absolutely right about our continued use of nuclear power. It still presents an enormous safety risk. We are very foolish to keep trusting the nuclear industry. We should be smarter than that.
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 13:27

To the commenters I've never heard of before, but suddenly seem to crawl out of the woodwork every time there's an article about nuclear energy, as though they were trolling the waters, waiting for a "nuclear article" to pounce on:

Here are a few links which, very specifically, dispute their claims:






Nuclear energy output in China has boomed since 2007 with average annual growth of about 10%. Nuclear now provides about 2% of the country’s electricity.

Renewable energy, mostly hydropower, made up 19.3% of China’s electricity generation near the start of 2011. Wind, solar and biomass together accounted for just 1.3%. But in the Chinese energy sector, the striking development during the past few years has been the soaring rise in the output of wind and solar power. Wind power generation last year leapt by 35.5% to slightly exceed the figure for nuclear, which grew during the year by 12.6%.

-1 # Mike Carey 2013-10-12 16:06
Billy Bob, your passion is commendable, but to quote the RSN Team:
"We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation."

For anyone else interested in James Hansen's response to his critics, he did so, and it is available to all.

Response to Comment on Prevented Mortality:
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 17:23
You don't get a free ride like that. Let RSN do the moderation. I'm sorry you don't want to hear the truth.

Your link is not a response to any of the issues I brought up. Too bad RSN doesn't have a policy statement on using straw-man arguments.

Why don't you answer them yourself, since Hansen has NOT?
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 17:44
If you consider any opinion which disagrees with your own to be "vitriol", perhaps you'd be better served, by a web site that censors voices like mine. There are plenty of them out there. You don't need to try to turn this into another one.
+1 # Nominae 2013-10-13 19:58
Quoting Billy Bob:
If you consider any opinion which disagrees with your own to be "vitriol", perhaps you'd be better served, by a web site that censors voices like mine. There are plenty of them out there. You don't need to try to turn this into another one.

Way to go, Billy Bob - these nuke peddlers will do anything to get on / stay on, the government teat.

Carey's attempt to hide behind RSN's skirts is typical of the kind of cowardly illogic and childish misdirection I've come to expect from nuke proponents. Since there *IS* no sane application for nuclear power, these clowns are forced to employ deceit, lies, misinformation, disinformation, and just keep repeating it like Chinese Water Torture until we all go blind.

Kudos to you for seeing through the crap.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 20:24
Thanks. And thank you for sticking it out on this thread with me. These people would like nothing more than to silence their opponents. That's always the way when greedy maniacs need to keep the truth hidden in the shadows.
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 13:32

“Across the wind-rich northern provinces,” the Earth Policy Institute reported last year, “wind mega-complexes of between 10,000 and 38,000 megawatts each are now under construction. By 2020, these ‘wind bases’ will approach 140,000 megawatts of total installed capacity — more than the entire world had at the close of 2008.”

The Earth Policy Institute describes China’s wind resource as “staggering”, noting a study that assesses the country’s wind generation potentPAGE 2:

“Across the wind-rich northern provinces,” the Earth Policy Institute reported last year, “wind mega-complexes of between 10,000 and 38,000 megawatts each are now under construction. By 2020, these ‘wind bases’ will approach 140,000 megawatts of total installed capacity — more than the entire world had at the close of 2008.”

The Earth Policy Institute describes China’s wind resource as “staggering”, noting a study that assesses the country’s wind generation potential at 12 times its 2010 consumption of electricity.

The study, by scientists from Harvard and Beijing’s Tsinghua University, concludes that even without large incentives, wind power in China “could accommodate all of the demand for electricity projected for 2030, about twice current consumption.”

0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 13:33


Through the use of IFRs, proponents like Hansen maintain, huge quantities of energy could be created without major emissions of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, the costs and dangers of uranium mining and enrichment would be avoided. With plutonium and highly radioactive wastes never leaving the reactor sites, security would be easier to manage. From being a massive obstacle, end-product waste storage would become quite feasible.

Unfortunately, IFRs do not offer a solution to global warming. The catch, above all, is in the time lines. There is simply no way that IFRs can be designed, brought to practical operating status and built in massive numbers during the few years – barely a decade, if something like today’s natural world is to survive – that the greenhouse emissions budget allows us.

Developing workable IFRs would not be straightforward or quick, even if massive resources were assigned to the task. Since the 1950s nuclear engineers have acquired considerable experience of fast-neutron reactors. Mostly, this experience has been with so-called “fast breeder” reactors, designed to maximise plutonium output for bomb making and reactor fuel, rather than with “burner” reactors like IFRs. But the message is the same for both types: fast-neutron reactors are particularly complex, have a high rate of accidents and breakdowns, and are fiendishly difficult and time consuming to service and repair.

0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 13:34

Needing to maintain high neutron energy levels, fast reactors cannot use water as a coolant, since this would slow the neutrons down. The coolant of choice is molten sodium metal. Sodium is highly reactive, burning readily in air and exploding on contact with water. If leaks are not to result in sodium-air fires, the reactor vessel and coolant pipes must be surrounded with inert argon gas, adding to complexity and costs. At a certain point, the sodium coolant must be used for steam generation; here, it is separated from high-pressure water by only a thin barrier of pipe metal, any flaw in which can have drastic consequences.

The sodium that passes through the reactor core becomes highly radioactive. This means that an extra coolant loop must be incorporated, isolating the reactor coolant from the steam-generatin g equipment so that an explosion cannot disperse radioactive sodium; again, the additional complexity raises capital costs. For various repair and maintenance procedures, the sodium must be drained and the pipes flushed. This has to be done with regard for the radioactivity, while taking care to prevent fires. Even minor malfunctions can result in months of down time.

+2 # Billy Bob 2013-10-12 13:39

Get the actual facts. Don't just go along with a barrage of nuclear trolls appearing out of nowhere, specifically to stifle the debate from the other side.

That last article I cited was a very long one, and goes into a great amount of detail, concerning MANY MANY issues associated with "new and improved" nuclear power. I had to narrow my focus and pick only one of those issues to list here, because 5 pages is enough, but I could go on ALL DAY.

"Modern" or "4th generation" nuclear, are NO DIFFERENT than "clean" coal, or calling natural gas "environmentall y safe" and "clean".

It's called "GREENWASHING", and it's a very well-funded form of something we used to call "BULLSHIT".

-3 # mehl 2013-10-12 16:15
Mr Nader --

Fukushima was designed and engineered poorly and in a location that people 800 years ago knew was subject to tsunamis.

Alternative, "green" sources of energy are not cost effective.

Not all methods of generating energy with a nuclear reaction are dangerous, etc.
Please educate yourself on LFTR reactors using Thorium.

THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal
Robert Hargraves.
SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future
Richard Martin

Larry Mehl
-1 # diacad 2013-10-13 05:14
I agree with you, Larry. It is frustrating. Thorium shows the most promise as a solution to the energy crisis, but Nader and most other US commentators (both pro- and anti-nuclear power)avoid even mentioning this alternative - probably because it spoils both arguments. Meanwhile, other countries are actively developing thorium; India and presumably China already have working reactors. Norway and other European countries also have projects. Ironic that, although the US is a pioneer in this field, we may be paying royalties on process patents by the time we wake up and smell the coffee.
-1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 12:49
It doesn't "spoil arguments" any more than "clean" coal does. You need to actually read what has been said about it, from people not embedded with the nuclear industry.

If you don't want the whole truth, then your utopian panacea sounds great.

What do you say to the parents of the 2,753 children with leukemia, from living near "MODERN" reactors IN FRANCE ALONE?

I noticed you haven't mentioned anything about THAT little statistic. Could it be because it "spoils" YOUR arguments?
-1 # mehl 2013-10-13 17:55
diacad --

Yes. China is heading toward having a lock on rare earth minerals. We can't convince our legislators to take a realistic view on enabling their use in the US.

Did you attend the TEAC conference in Chicago this May, perhaps under a different name?
It is a good source of information and contacts

-1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 19:35
I'll make you a deal. I'll start taking your nuclear-industr y-funded links more seriously, when you start answering the serious questions raised in my own links.

0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 20:09
Quoting mehl:
Mr Nader --

Alternative, "green" sources of energy are not cost effective.

Straight-up misstatement of observable fact, there Mehl.


Green sources are EVEN NOW beating fossil and nuke sources of fuel in terms of cost effectiveness. The "picture" is changing so fast right now that your above statement, to be incredibly generous, is *badly* outdated.

You may (or may not choose to) know that Germany has recently dumped *ALL* of their nuke plants, and they are already pulling 50% of their energy needs from wind and solar.

Putting your fingers in your ears and yelling: "Nah-nah-nah" may give you comfort, but it is hardly an energy policy.
0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 20:57
Quoting mehl:
SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future

From Wikipedia :

"Thorium produces a radioactive gas, radon-220, as one of its decay products. Secondary decay products of thorium include radium and actinium. In nature, virtually all thorium is found as thorium-232, which undergoes alpha decay with a half-life of about 14.05 billion years."

Yeeowzah ! A half-life of *ONLY* 14.05 BILLION years ! At which *brief* interval it becomes only HALF as deadly as it is NOW ?

What could *possibly* go wrong ? The Earth itself is only 1/3 that old now !

Yessir ! I know that would be *MY* first choice when all I need to do is to *boil water* !

I mean, if nothing else, gawd knows we need more radon220 gas in our atmosphere as a by-product of mining Thorium, Right ?

"Crowd control", let's call it, since we already KNOW that exposure to radon causes leukemia.

The financial and environmental costs of exploring, locating, mining, transporting, processing, and *using* this radioactive material just makes *SO* much more sense than using stable, safe, increasingly ABUNDANT, and just recently more-than-cost- effective energy from the ever present sun, and the often present Wind.

Golly, you can SEE why there's just no sensible argument to be made *against* thorium reactors, except that they are simply a hare-brained, boondoggle of an idea on all fronts,
from financial to environmental, to technical ?
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 09:00
Great comments. Well put:

"Why rely on the sun and wind, when we can spend through the teeth for many generations to come, to line the pockets of people who know the REAL money is in using RARE materials?"
-1 # mehl 2013-10-12 16:21
LFTRs can consume existing nuclear waste as a fuel.

Let's reduce the emotional content of postings about this issue and understand the science.

L Mehl
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 12:57
Some of us are emotional about the water supply, the air we breathe, and our children's futures. Forgive us for our human weakness.

How about, instead of reducing the "emotional content", we resolve to reduce the amount of industry-funded misinformation?

How about we reduce the condescending attitude and requests to censor our comments, while we're at it?

If you want to discuss "science", let's discuss the fact that your opinion is a minority opinion among actual scientists, and any attempt to paint it otherwise is dishonest, to put it mildly.

B Bob
0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 21:08
Quoting mehl:
LFTRs can consume existing nuclear waste as a fuel.

Let's reduce the emotional content of postings about this issue and understand the science.

L Mehl

Yeah ..... let's understand the science, starting with you boyz.
Thorium power is *not* "unicorns and rainbows", so drop it.

And, by all means, let's *FORGET* the fact that the Nuclear Industries, like the Oil and Tobacco Industries, have been consistently *LYING* to the public since before the first day that Nuclear Power went online.

Look at Japan last month: "Everything is under control".

Part of your PR problem here lies in the fact that you have DECADES of B.S. to live DOWN, before people are going to be more receptive to this B.S. du jour.

And, you will no doubt earn your "bonuses" now that Alternative Green energy has finally achieved and exceeded basic cost effectiveness.
0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 23:52
Quoting mehl:

Let's reduce the emotional content of postings about this issue and understand the science.

Yessirree bob-tailed Pony ! Let us DO deal with the science.

There is actually *ONE* place where nuke proponents and Alternative Green energy advocates have common ground.

Alternative Energy advocates are enthusiastic fans of *ONE* HUGE source of thermonuclear energy ! It is endlessly productive, and it is SAFE due to it's comfortable proximity
of 93 MILLION miles *away from* the Earth.

Add to that the fact that the Earth itself is *already* shielded from it, (even AT that distance) with a *huge* electromagnetic shield, AND an atmospheric Ozone Layer as well. All courtesy of that *most* intelligent of all scientific engineers, Mother Nature.

Just regular folks like us know it as "The Sun".

Now that it's radiation *IS* cost effective to convert to electric power, the guideline favored by engineers, called "Occam's Razor" applies, i.e. recognition of the fact that the simplest solution is usually also the BEST solution.

So, Solar radiation from a star that is scheduled to burn itself out LONG before we reach the first 14.05 billion year half life from our first batch of Thorium, or the entire exploration, location, mining, transportation, processing and dangerous use OF Thorium ?

The solar solution is obvious. The Thorium Solution is like using the 16" guns of a U.S. Battleship to swat flies in your living room.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 09:02

THANK YOU for your last few comments!
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 14:33
CLAIM: LFTRs can 'burn up' high level waste from conventional nuclear reactors, and stockpiles of plutonium.

RESPONSE: if LFTRs are used to 'burn up' waste from conventional reactors, their fuel now comprises 238U, 235U, 239Pu, 240Pu and other actinides. Operated in this way, what is now a mixed-fuel molten salt reactor will breed plutonium (from 238U) and other long lived actinides, perpetuating the plutonium cycle.
3.7 Cost of electricity
0 # phrixus 2013-10-12 17:19
"Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, unevacuable and most importantly, unsafe.

I agree 100% with Mr. Nader.

To the nuclear apologists I offer the following:

1. Three-Mile Island
2. Chernobyl
3. Fukushima

Enough is enough.
0 # futhark 2013-10-12 22:28
I would like to see a quantitative analysis of NET energy gain from nuclear power, including the energy used to discover, mine, refine, transport, protect, contain, and dispose of the spent residue. My guess is that it would be a net loss and that nuclear power is a kind of parasite on fossil fuels.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 12:51
It has been done and the results show that the gains were miniscule, when compared to environmentally friendly (not greenwashed) sources like wind and solar.

AND, with the added benefit that windmills don't cause cancer.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 17:36
When the right can't dominate the debate and censor disagreements from the other side, it resorts to its last resort:

anonymous thumbs down.
-2 # mehl 2013-10-13 17:47
Billy Bob, phrixus, futhark --

Educate yourselves. I suggest looking for facts.

L mehl
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-13 19:33
What do you suggest, after we HAVE looked at the facts, and the facts don't support your wild claims?

B bob
0 # Nominae 2013-10-13 21:13
Quoting mehl:
Billy Bob, phrixus, futhark --

Educate yourselves. I suggest looking for facts.

L mehl

In which case "facts" are defined as: Industry PR men generated distortions, misdirection, and pettifoggery.

Because the *Actual* facts are 100% counter to your stated opinion.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 14:27
As Dr Peter Karamoskos says:

Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-14 20:45
So, without massive taxpayer-funded big government subsidies, the nuclear industry would never be able to compete against, wind and solar for cost effectiveness.

Imagine if environmentally friendly industries had, even a substantial fraction of the handout that is currently given to develop the thorium fantasy! This is energy that is readily available NOW, and doesn't cause cancer.

Thorium, on the other hand, is just another snake oil.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-15 20:09
I put this comment out there as bait. It's obvious that one of the thorium-pushers is still watching. He's run out of valid arguments, so he's laying low, but continuing to vote. Someone gave me a positive, on a comment made LONG after most people have already lost interest in this article. That positive was erased by an even-LATER negative, by someone who really wishes there wasn't another side to the argument.

I've come back to this article, over and over, to make a point:

People who care more about our children and the future of the human species are never going to just step aside for your profit margins.

I'm just one guy, and even I'm able to silence their entire argument, by not buying into their bullshit and calling them out on it.

If future viewers ever come back to this article, I hope they take notice of what it takes, and the fact that we don't have to just sit back and let these snake-oil salesmen have free reign.
+1 # tmaloney 2013-10-19 15:11
My reply to Ralph ran seven pages, so won't fit here. I sent it by Certified Mail.

It's detailed, with a lot of numbers and with many links.

If interested, see

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