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Germany’s Naked Green Hypocrisy
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  • dfooter

    Oh, Germany recognizes it. That is why they are desperate for the other countries of Europe to drive off the green cliff with them, so that they can continue to compete economically with their neighbors. While it is a bald-face lie that nuclear is more expensive, adding the emotional, environmentalist religion sways ill-informed voters before they see the disastrous consequence in their energy bills.

  • Kevin

    Is nuclear really dangerous when the alternative is turning to coal as Germany has? Coal mining and the air pollution form burning it have killed farm more than nuclear power has.

    • Fat_Man

      Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste: By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation” By Mara Hvistendahl • • Thursday, December 13, 2007

      “The popular conception of nuclear power is straight out of The Simpsons: Springfield abounds with signs of radioactivity, from the strange glow surrounding Mr. Burn’s nuclear power plant workers to Homer’s low sperm count. Then there’s the local superhero, Radioactive Man, who fires beams of “nuclear heat” from his eyes. Nuclear power, many people think, is inseparable from a volatile, invariably lime-green, mutant-making radioactivity.

      “Coal, meanwhile, is believed responsible for a host of more quotidian problems, such as mining accidents, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions. But it isn’t supposed to spawn three-eyed fish like Blinky.

      “Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.”

  • Fat_Man

    TAI has made repeated calls for increasing R&D investment in non-fossil fuel energy production. I have repeatedly criticized this call on the ground that there is no headroom in most of these technologies to expect any real return on the investment. Wind, solar, and batteries are each more or less fully developed. Each of these technologies is subject to severe constraints due to intermittency, land requirements, and transportation and backup costs. Additional R&D money is therefore well into the curve of declining marginal utility.

    R&D on nuclear energy was choked off by cold war politics when the idea was less than a generation old. Much of the anti-nuclear position of the greenies is inherited from the cold war left and was created by Soviet dezinformatsiya operations. Nuclear R&D is one place where there is a great deal of technological head room.

    Some of that headroom, such as liquid thorium salt reactors, modular reactors, pebble bed reactors, and integral fast reactors has been mentioned int these pages. I am not a nuclear engineer and cannot begin to tell what the pros and cons of each technology are. I do think that it would not be a waste of money to investigate them, in order to determine their safety and economic viability.

    One reason to believe that there is technological head room in nuclear technology is given by the revelation that Lockheed-Martin’s famous skunk works (the operation that created the SR71 and the Stealth Fighter) has announced that they are working on a fusion reactor:

    Skunk Works Reveals Compact Fusion Reactor Details: Lockheed Martin aims to develop compact reactor prototype in five years, production unit in 10″ by Guy Norris in Aviation Week & Space Technology on Oct 15, 2014.

    “Dubbed the compact fusion reactor, the device is conceptually safer, cleaner and more powerful than much larger, current nuclear systems that rely on fission, the process of splitting atoms to release energy. Crucially, by being ‘compact’, Lockheed believes its scalable concept will also be small and practical enough for applications ranging from interplanetary spacecraft and commercial ships to city power stations.”

    Of course the announcement should be taken with a grain of salt. For the past 60 years fusion has been the technology of the future, and it still is. But, Lockheed-Martin is a large and respected corporation with a long record of technological innovation. Nor are they completely alone:

    Cheap fusion beats fossil fuels” by R. Colin Johnson on October 13, 2014. “Researchers at the University of Washington (Seattle) claim to have invented a simpler fusion reactor that is more economical than a coal-fired power plant, yet produces zero green house gases.”

    • CaliforniaStark

      Thank you for posting these informative comments.

      • Fat_Man

        Think nothing of it.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    “The fact is, these are heady days for nuclear technologies as a new generation of safer, more efficient, and even modular reactors is currently being developed.”

    Yes, but not in the US, Europe or Japan. Technologically advanced countries, such as China, will lead the way. Perhaps they will sell us some of their reactors one day, if we can still afford them.

  • Andrew Allison

    Suppose you were a Green, and suppose you were a Hypocrite; but I repeat myself. Add electric vehicles which are significantly more harmful than internal-combustion powered vehicles ( to the list of so-called “Green” fantasies.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Nuclear energy is so cool that Iran insists it must have some, even sitting on lots of oil. That should tell us how important nuclear is to the future, right?

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