Nuclear Power Is Inevitable

Nuclear Power is Inevitable

Recently, I woke up one morning with a profound confidence regarding nuclear power. I have no idea what triggered this, but I will accept the gift with appreciation and gratitude. Here are some things we have going for us:

  1. We have the truth about nuclear power. We don’t have to tell lies about fossil fuels.
  2. Nuclear power is millions of times denser than fossil fuels.
  3. Nuclear power is millions of times cleaner than fossil fuels.
  4. Nuclear power can provide for the needs (at Western living standards) for the entire world. (Yeah, I know that scares the beejeebers out of the green crowd.)
  5. There is enough uranium, plutonium, and thorium to power the entire world for millennia.
  6. The technology has been demonstrated again and again.
  7. Truth and charity are more powerful than lies and greed.
  8. The world needs what nuclear alone can provide.

What I am not saying about the new nuclear age:

  1. Incumbent energy providers are not going to resist the setting of their stars and the rise of everyone else’s.
  2. Incumbents won’t use their political allies to try and stop the new nuclear age.
  3. Incumbents won’t continue to fund greenies to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about nuclear power.
  4. There won’t be opposition in all things.
  5. It will happen overnight.
  6. It won’t take years.

The incumbents are going to resist, I expect them to. But nuclear power is a million times denser, a million times cleaner, more abundant, etc.

Can you imagine the whale oil folks resisting the coming of petroleum 150 years ago? I’m sure they did resist, but petroleum was so much better than whale oil. Think of fossil fuel as the whale oil of tomorrow.

The new nuclear age is still years away and I have my work cut out for me, but I am full of confidence, thanks to the gift!


The Nuclear Regulatory Comission – Defund!, Not Capture

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – Defund!, Not Capture

What I am working toward is more than a nuclear renaissance. I am working for a nuclear age, one that is particularly marked by an abundance of clean nuclear energy for the entire world. What it will ultimately take to achieve this is unknown at this point, but like the proverb says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I believe that there are a number of things wrong with the way that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates commercial nuclear power in the US, which has hamstrung the innovation and deployment of nuclear power since it was created in 1974. Compare the work of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) under the real scientist, Glenn Seaborg and the work of the NRC under Gregory Jackzo, a political hack from the offices of Senator Harry Reid. During the AEC, many reactors were licensed.  Mr. Jackzo voted against licensing 2 reactors while he was at the NRC

I could lament about how long it takes the NRC to license reactors or even re-license research reactors. I could explain to you, the reader, about how the NRC really only knows light water reactors and is at a total loss to license new types of reactors, which we desperately need. And how the NRC enables the abuse of the federal judiciary to delay, delay, delay the licensing of new reactors until the investors cry uncle. Furthermore, I could relate the illogical way that power plants are charged for their license, which has distorted the size and siting of reactors. But, I am not going to do this.

What I am going to do is this – I call for the complete defunding of the NRC, lock, stock and barrel. May I quote from Dr. Gary North,

“You don’t need a revolution to escape the system. You need secession. You need a withdrawal of support for the existing systems. You need to revoke the legitimacy which you extended to these organizations. You need to do it, and everybody else needs to do it. Nobody organizes this. People just learn, scandal by scandal, bureaucratic snafu by bureaucratic snafu, that the system is irreparable. It cannot be reformed. It must not be captured. It must be defunded. The secret of liberty is not revolution; the secret of liberty is to defund the existing centralized order.”

Let the states regulate nuclear power and let there be many flavors and many levels. One size does not fit all. I suppose that California will always hate and reject nuclear power. So what! Let the entrepreneurs in Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, and Baja California Norte (that’s part of Mexico) build nuclear plants in their states/countries and sell electricity to California.

The nuclear age that I envision isn’t going to happen by doing things the same way they have been done for 4 decades. What we need is a new vision and this is my vision. Bye, Bye NRC!

Selling Refrigerators to Floridians

There is an old saw about the skills of a salesman who is so persuasive that he was able to sell refrigerators to Eskimos. The whole idea is that Eskimos do not need refrigerators because they live in the frozen Arctic, but they buy the refrigerators against their better judgement because of the salesman.

Well, this post is about the refrigerator that no one bought, not even Floridians, who along with the rest of us really need refrigerators.

Below are the specifications for a reactor that was designed to produce 50 Megawatts thermal power and 20 Megawatts electrical power and it just happens to be the size of a modest sized refrigerator (19.6 cubic feet). You can read the whole paper here.19 point 7 cubic foot refrigerator

Here are the specifications:

Refrigerator sized reactor specsThis reactor is powered by uranium not thorium, but so what.  The thing I found interesting is that it was designed in 1955 by H. A. Ohlgren of the Engineering Research Institute at the University of Michigan. 1955! More than half a century ago!

I keep coming back to the fact that these amazing machines could have powered our civilization for the benefit of all, but for reasons that were both banal and nefarious we are still burning fossil fuels. (See Rod Adam’s Smoking Gun Archives.)

I live in Brigham City, Utah, a community of 18,000, whose peak electrical usage is ~30 megawatts and we pay premium rates if we exceed 30 MW. I like to imagine this refrigerator-sized reactor providing 20 MW of base load day and night. We could put it almost anywhere.

Who says geeks can’t be dreamers?


M & M’s or Skittles?

M & M’s or Skittles?  Which do you prefer?  A single M & M or skittle weighs about a gram. And did you know that a gram of thorium would provide all the energy an average American uses in one year?skittles 081That one gram of thorium burned in a molten salt reactor would provide the energy equivalent of 16.5 tons of coal. Isn’t this superior to all other sources of energy on a mass basis alone? What about the ash from 16.5 tons of coal as compared to the nuclear ash from 1 M & M or skittle? There would be about one million times less nuclear ash than coal ash and flue gases.

I prefer M & M’s and skittles to coal.