The Sierra Club Unmasked

Michael Shellenberger, a pro-nuclear environmentalist, recently gave a TEDx talk about nuclear fear. You can watch it here. In the talk he discusses the origins of nuclear fear and how the Sierra Club created this fear campaign, which was wildly successful at stopping the construction of dozens of nuclear plants in the 1970s.

I will let you decide for yourself if his argument for how nuclear fear will end is persuasive or not, but first, I will show some of the critical statements that reveal the history of the Sierra Club and their anti-human leanings.

Many people are unaware that the Sierra Club was at one time in the 1960s pro-nuclear and believed that it was necessary for conservation of the environment.

sierra1Then, in the early 70s, the Sierra Club, reversed its position and became and remains vehemently anti-nuclear.

To tell the story, let me start with my favorite moral midget, Amory Lovins, the caudillo of the Rocky Mountain Institute, who says we can power civilization with energy efficiency and renewables.

sierra5Amory claims to be a physicist, and thus would have to have known that we did discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy locked inside the nuclei of certain heavy metals. When I say we, I really mean Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn, and Fritz Strassmann, who discovered nuclear fission. Later Glen Seaborg and John Gofman (who later became an anti-nuclear crusader) discovered U233 and its ability to be efficiently bred from thorium. Seaborg called this a 50 quadrillion dollar discovery ($50,000,000,000,000,000). Amory calls this a disaster. That’s why I call him a moral midget.

The following quotes continue Amory’s misanthropy.

sierra4I find it interesting that anti-nuclear types now claim that nuclear was never cost competitive. Curious, then why did the Sierra Club need to embark on their fear campaign in the 1970s, when they explicitly stated that their fear campaign was intended to increase nuclear regulations and costs, if it was already non-competitive?

sierra3Note to Mr. Litton: Every evil tyrant in history has used your exact thinking, that the ends justify the means. I won’t mention names, but a little Austrian comes to mind.

sierra2Brower prefers scenic vistas to human beings. He eventually left the Sierra Club and founded an even more radical misanthropic, anti-nuclear organization, Friends of the Earth (FOE). Amory Lovins was the first employee of the organization, which was started with a $200,000 donation from Robert O Anderson, chairman of ARCO.

I always find it interesting that corporate haters like Brower are more than willing to take corporate money from corporate oil interests. Perhaps it was just a cosmic alignment of the stars. Brower gets his own FOE and Anderson gets a bulldog to take out his nuclear competitors. (This is just a supposition, but maybe Brower agreed to not oppose the Alaskan pipeline in exchange for the money to start FOE.? ARCO was the lead company in building the Alaskan pipeline.)

This post is already getting way too long, but some important characters in the fear campaign still need to be introduced, Jane Fondue and Moonbeam (Moonshine?) Jerry Brown.

(I have just barely scratched the surface of this history that involves many players and many angles. Ten graduate students in history could spend their lifetimes researching this.)

In short, Jane was friends with Jerry, who was governor of California.

sierra7Jerry was anti-nuclear.

sierra6The anti-nukes equated clean, peaceful nuclear power with nuclear weapons. Notice the mushroom cloud in the background.

sierra12Jane made a movie in 1979, The China Syndrome, that played on nuclear fears. It was released 12 days before the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania and was eerily similar. How they were so prescient in making and releasing this film escapes human comprehension, unless it wasn’t an accident.

sierra11At the same time Moonshine, as governor of California, is opposing nuclear power, he is directing his bureaucracies to plan to build coal fired power plants.

sierra8Coal fired power plants lead to the death of many because of air pollution. Nuclear does not. (I prefer coal fired electricity and possible air pollution deaths in the future to freezing to death today. See my previous post about the praises of coal, oil, and gas. I further prefer molten salt reactors to coal fired plants.)

sierra9Moonshine helped close San Onofre nuclear power plant (NPP), which has increased emissions in California.

sierra13If Moonshine and others are successful in closing Diablo Canyon NPP, premature deaths could result from the air pollution caused by fossil fuel burning to replace the electricity produced by Diablo Canyon.

sierra10 I will end now, after briefly showing how the Sierra Club created a fear campaign to foment opposition to nuclear power and to increase regulations and costs on the nuclear industry.

Please comment on the end of the talk. Will love really overcome fear of nuclear?



In Praise of Coal, Oil, and Gas

A belated Merry Christmas to my readers!

img_8924img_8952On Christmas Day 2016, it snowed 12 inches at my house in Northern Utah!

img_8976img_8958The following machines make life bearable in this kind of climate. They run on coal, oil, and gas.

img_8956img_8962The cars run on gasoline, refined from oil.

img_8944Running, potable water comes to the house courtesy of electricity, 70% powered by coal. The water is heated with natural gas.

img_8946The furnace keeps the house warm and livable, without having to chop 20 cords of wood every year. The hot water and blower are powered by electricity, which is 70% coal fired.

img_8938The garage heater, useful for doing projects and fixing cars in the winter is powered by natural gas and electricity.

img_8929 This natural gas fireplace keeps the family room warm.

img_8951This snowblower runs on gasoline/oil. It’s a 2 stroke.

Thus, coal, oil, and gas make life in Northern Utah bearable and even possible, so I am thankful for them.

Nuclear, and especially molten salt technology, has the potential to make life enabling and life powering energy available more abundantly. That’s why I am for it!


Reforming the NRC

Drain the swamp, baby.

I propose the following to fix the NRC. If this doesn’t work, it can’t be fixed and should thereafter be abolished. (Yes, the NRC is broken.)

The NRC will now have one application and one application only, whether it be 1 page or 10,000 pages. Applicants will fill out the form and pay a $100,000 filing fee. The NRC will have 4 weeks to review the application and then they must issue a permit, combined construction and operation. This new application will be available January 31, 2017. (The NRC better hurry, they only have 2 months.)

I think this is analogous to gun permits, once a person fills out the permit and meets the requirements, the state must issue the permit. Anti-gunners have tried to delay these permits in the past, but baloney. Likewise, the NRC must issue the permit within 4 weeks after the applicant has filled out the application and paid the fee.

My next proposal concerns the funding of the NRC. The NRC ought to suffer the fortunes and misfortunes of the industry they regulate. Here is how it will go:

Take the NRC annual budget of 2015 and divide by 10. Then, divide this by the total number of kilowatt-hours produced by the nuclear fleet in 2015. This is the base rate.  Each NPP will then pay this base rate to the NRC annually based on the electricity generated. If the total kilowatt hours produced declines in a year because of closure of existing power plants, then the budget of the NRC will be lower.  New plants coming on line will also pay this amount, when they start delivering commercial power. Note, however, that new plants will not pay anything beyond the $100,000 application fee until they actually deliver commercial power.

If the NRC shuts down the fleet or a single NPP, those plants will pay no fees to the NRC until they again produce commercial power and pay fees at the base rate. It is believed that these changes will make the NRC balance public safety with the production of electrical power/economics.

It’s a thought.


Here are the numbers for the base rate:

2015 Budget of the USNRC is about a billion dollars

kilowatt hours produced by the US nuclear fleet in 2015=  797.2 billion kWh

$1 billion divide by 10 = $100 million

$100 million divided by 797.2 billion kWh = 0.000125 $ per kWh base rate (just over one one hundredth of a penny per kilowatt hour generated. (Yes, Virginia, this is a lot less than the NRC is currently receiving. Do we have your attention now?)


My Daughter is Not (That) Radioactive (Anymore)

A couple of posts ago, I used a Geiger counter to demonstrate the radioactivity of Tech99, with a half life of 6 hours.  The Geiger counter was beeping like crazy a few hours after the procedure, but two days later, only 0.3 percent of the Tech99 remained.

Half life is an important physical property of radioactive materials. The shorter the half life, the more intensely radioactive the element. The longer the half life, the less radioactive the element. For example, Tech99 has a half life of 6 hours and is very radioactive, but thorium has a half life of 14.5 billion years, so it is not very radioactive and there is still a lot of it around since it was created at the beginning of the universe. Tech99 does not exist naturally.

My daughter is still a little radioactive, just like me and you and everybody else. We have Carbon14 and Portassium40 in us, from the things we eat. Our cells can’t tell the difference between “natural” radiation and “man-made” radiation. The effects are the same, but depend on dose and dose rate.



Some Nuclear Fun

You gotta have some fun once in a while, or you might go nuts.

Here are some fun graphics I freely stole off social media. molten-salt-homer-simpson


log-scale-2On a more serious note:

japan-energy-after-fukushimaThis shows graphically the government mandated closure of all the nuclear power plants in Japan after the damage to the Fukushima reactors caused by the tsunami. The electricity previously generated by nuclear fission was replaced with gas, coal and oil. This cost the Japanese an additional $150 billion dollars. Notice I said an additional $150 billion. Money that would not have been spent to buy oil, gas, and coal if the undamaged nuclear power plants would have been allowed to continue operation.

How fun is that?



My Daughter is Radioactive!

From Theo Gray's periodic table of the elements

From Theo Gray’s periodic table of the elements

It’s true. My daughter is radioactive! She had a diagnostic procedure done today using technetium99m. It is called a HIDA scan. The tech99m has a half life of 6 hours, so 93.75% of it is gone within a day. The radiation is gamma with 140KeV energy.

Check out the video (but please ignore the Michigan sweatshirt, jk):

Tens of millions of procedures like this are done every year.

This article claims the HIDA scan for gall bladder problems is very effective. I might also say that it is very safe.

My point is that nuclear technology like this is a great benefit to mankind. Molten salt reactors produce can produce vast amounts of energy and isotopes like tech99 for the benefit of mankind!

Also, note that the patient, was given no instructions to avoid other people or to pee in special containers that have to be stored at Yucca Mountain for 10,000 years. (Yes, I know the half life is 6 hours, but the longer the half life, the less radioactive the element is.)

Contrast this with the berserk response when a minuscule amount of radioactive tritium is found around a nuclear power plant.



MSRE Video!

This old video looks and feels like an Epcot Center or maybe a World’s Fair, but it is an informational video that shows important details of Molten Salt Reactor Experiment that was conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab 50 years ago.

Note the “computer” they used. My smartphone probably has 100 times the computing power of that old thing and 100,000 times the memory.

I continue to be amazed at this technology and even more amazed that it has gone unused for my entire lifetime.

Enjoy the show, folks!


Good source of Information about the History and Current State of Thorium Reactors

If you have the time, this video is very informative. It tells the basic history of nuclear power, starting with the Manhattan Project, and how uranium got the upper hand. The video was produced in Europe and is mostly in French, with subtitles. (sorry, but still very valuable)

The narrator is the ghost of Alvin Weinberg. There is a cameo of Kirk Sorenson and many others involved in promoting Thorium.



Ending the ruinous addiction to oil

“Ending the ruinous addiction to oil”

That sounds like something I might say, but those are the words of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. His entire article can be found here.

I will use my regular format to discuss this article; Kennedy’s words are in block quotes, and my comments follow.

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after the agency’s creation. Syrian patriots had declared war on the Nazis, expelled their Vichy French colonial rulers and crafted a fragile secularist democracy based on the American model. But in March 1949, Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Quwatli, hesitated to approve the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. In his book, Legacy of Ashes, CIA historian Tim Weiner recounts that in retaliation for Al-Quwatli’s lack of enthusiasm for the U.S. pipeline, the CIA engineered a coup replacing al-Quwatli with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, four and a half months into his regime.

Thus, the US has been meddling in foreign affairs in the Arab world for seven decades and for what? Oil, of course and an oil pipeline, specifically.  The CIA and Big Oil (I know, I am repeating myself) always follow the same playbook: Overthrow the existing ruler, who is not supporting Big Oil with a combination of propaganda, covert and overt force and put in place a stooge who does support Big Oil.

Fast forward to 2009:

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. It is important to note that this was well before the Arab Spring-engendered uprising against Assad.

Thus, nothing has changed in 70 years. This is the legacy brought to the world by Big Oil and corrupt US foreign policy. What has been the cost of the most recent shenanigans in the Middle East?

The million refugees now flooding into Europe are refugees of a pipeline war and CIA blundering.

Let’s face it; what we call the “war on terror” is really just another oil war. We’ve squandered $6 trillion on three wars abroad and on constructing a national security warfare state at home since oilman Dick Cheney declared the “Long War” in 2001.

Remember, these are not my words, but the words of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

He ends with these words:

It’s time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy. We should let the Arabs govern Arabia and turn our energies to the great endeavor of nation building at home. We need to begin this process, not by invading Syria, but by ending the ruinous addiction to oil that has warped U.S. foreign policy for half a century.

I doubt that I would agree with Kennedy’s ideas of nation building here at home, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the focus of Chain Dickey, but I do agree that we should mind our own business.

Kennedy is incorrect that it has only been half a century of oil intervention. By his own article, it is close to 70 years that the US has been meddling in Syria for oil on behalf of the Dulles Brothers and clients. I submit that it has not warped US foreign policy, but is the very quintessence of US foreign policy.

I promote nuclear energy because there is enough and to spare for the entire world. Since nuclear is a million times more energy dense than fossil fuels, no pipelines are needed, neither are oil tankers and neither is Chain Dickey.

Nuclear cuts to the heart of the global control of people and resources. Thus, it is no wonder that nuclear finds itself slandered from every quarter by those who stand to lose that global control


Energy Lies from H & M

I was at the H&M store in City Creek in Salt Lake (with my wife, of course, why else would I go there?) and saw this incredible statement:

HandM LiesThey claim that 100% of their stores in the US are powered with renewable electricity. What is that supposed to mean? There are a few electrons in the MWh they use that come from wind and solar? I think the statement is meaningless PR drool (aka lies).

I have written about Utah’s mix of electric power before. Seventy-eight percent of the electricity in Utah comes from coal.

Every store in City Creek could claim their store is powered with renewable electricity, since the entire complex is grid connected. What then is the point? We are trendy and believe in trendy things like renewable energy?

Hey H&M, why don’t you leave the energy thing to grownups and stick to what you know best – fashion?