Lewis Strauss and Hugh Hefner

Maybe I have a penchant for wacky and obscure analogies, but bear with me on this.

 Lewis Strauss was chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission from 1953 to 1958, under President Eisenhower (Ike).

I started this article somewhat differently than where it is now leading me, but to make a long story short, Lewis Strauss was a member of the establishment elite and a significant one. He was the personal financial adviser to the Rockefeller Family, whose fortunes came from oil and banking. This was in 1950 when Strauss had just left the AEC as a commissioner and before returning as the chairman in 1953, at the request of Ike.

That this has to be spelled out is disturbing in and of itself. Here is a man beholden to the Rockefellers and their oil money becoming the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission in 1953. Did anyone notice at the time?  Did anyone think that Strauss had a conflict of interest?

Here is an analogy that most Utahns will understand: Having Lewis Strauss as chairman of the AEC is like have Hugh Hefner (the pornographer) as the president of the young woman’s mutual improvement association. There was a blatant conflict of interest that was damaging to nuclear power in the case of Lewis Strauss.  I don’t have to research all the great things he allegedly said about nuclear this and that when he was in the AEC. What I need are 10 professional researchers and access to the AEC and Rockefeller archives for about 10 years to attempt to reconstruct what was really done and not what was said.

Please remember that in 1953 the Eisenhower Administration and the CIA overthrew Mohammad Mosaddeq as prime minister of Iran so that five oil companies (Standard Oil of New Jersey, Socony-Vacuum — formerly Standard Oil of NY, and now Mobil — Standard Oil of California, Gulf, and Texaco) could get 40% of the oil coming out of Iran.

Am I really supposed to believe that Lewis Strauss, the personal financial adviser to the Rockefellers did not doing their bidding in the AEC at the same time that the CIA was doing their bidding in Iran?

Again, I am not calling for the reform of the NRC (successor of the AEC) to make things less bureaucratic for nuclear power. I am calling for the dissolution of the NRC. Defund the NRC!

This leads me to a question:

Why are American political institutions so ridiculously easy to take over? As I have discussed, oil had its man in the AEC from the very beginning in 1946.

I don’t want the ring of power, I want it thrown into Mount Doom.

bwr

 

Gresham’s Law

Maybe you have heard about Gresham’s Law? Simply stated it says that bad money drives out good. Here is how the Bionic Mosquito states it:

Gresham’s Law is often stated: bad money drives out good. This is incomplete, and an incomplete statement of Gresham’s Law. It is more accurately stated: Bad money drives out good if their exchange rate is set by law.

If different “money” is free to trade, without any hindrance from legal tender laws, tax preferences, etc., bad money will not drive out good, nor necessarily will good money drive out bad. Different “monies” will find their value in the market, and will trade. Period.

However, if one money is protected by legal tender, and the valuation is fixed by government, then yes, the bad money will drive out the good. All will get rid of the over-valued (by government decree) money, as it MUST be accepted by the counter-party, and accepted at a value higher than the market would determine.

This is how it works. Up until 1965, the US 25 cent piece, a “quarter” was 90% silver. The metal content of the quarter was more than 25 cents and the US Mint was losing money making them. So, the marvelous Battelle Memorial Institute came up with the sandwich quarter made of copper and nickel, which has been in circulation since. Since both coins are valued by law as having a value of 25 cents, people who are smarter than the decrees of the feddle gummint keep the silver coins and use the sandwich quarter for purchases. (Perhaps you ask why the the US Mint didn’t just continue making the silver quarter and sell them to the public at market value and not legal tender/face value? Well, because then the counterfeiting/money debasement operation of the Feddle Reserve, in full swing since the beginning <1913> would be obvious to everyone. We can’t have that. <sarc>)

What does this have to do with electricity? A lot. Bad (unreliable) electricity drives out good (baseload) electricity . Let me explain. When net metering laws value unreliable electricity the same as nuclear baseload, the unreliable electricity (wind and solar) drives the good baseload electricity (nuclear) out of business. How does this work in practice?

We have actually seen this in practice.

Consider when nuclear baseload is producing electricity and the wind starts blowing. By law, the utility companies have to buy this power, sometimes at retail rates when it is produced. Since the baseload can’t be throttled in an instant, (that’s why it’s called baseload.) the excess electricity has to go somewhere, which means that sometimes the utilities have to pay someone to use the electricity.

This undervalues nuclear baseload generation and overvalues unreliable and unpredictable wind and solar. The results are as predictable as with silver and sandwich coins.  The silver coins go into hoards and the sandwich coins circulate widely. In the case of nuclear, fewer, if any plants are built, others are closed while more and more wind and solar are installed. (Tell me that this was not the plan in the first place.) The result is increasing electricity costs and more outages.

bwr

A Way Forward

In my occupation as an engineer, I regularly field questions regarding the products my company produces.  Someone will call me and tell me a story about such and such that happened while the product was being manufactured, or this and that happened during transportation of the products from point A to point B and are the products still good?

My first response to such questions is to ask if something similar has happened before.  Frequently, the answer is yes. “Well then,” is my response, “let’s just do what we did last time this happened. No need to reinvent the wheel.”

This is also a good experience to apply to the NRC, DOE and FERC.  What have we done in the past to bloated, inefficient, anachronistic bureaucracies that have outlived their usefulness, if ever they had one? We got rid of them. They no longer exist.

For example, let’s consider the state of affairs in 1969 with the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the telephone companies.

Airline regulation was an oligopoly. The Civil Aeronautics Board controlled ticket prices for all interstate flights. It controlled flight routes. That disappeared a decade later under Jimmy Carter. There is price competition on a scale never dreamed of prior to Carter’s presidency. It is cheap to fly anywhere in the world.

Or what about the Interstate Commerce Commission?

The Interstate Commerce Commission still controlled freight rates in 1969. That organization was literally shut down in 1995. There is freedom on the highways as never before.

And the Federal Communications Commission?

 The FCC controlled the licensing of airwaves broadcasting. It still does, but broadcasting is fading in importance. (It is fading very fast. ed.)

What about telephone companies?

We lived under a virtual monopoly of the telephone system. Then came the 1968 Carterfone decision by the Supreme Court. That broke the monopoly of the telephone cartel.

Each one of these changes was opposed by those whose illegitimate income depended on officers with guns enforcing the arbitrary rules against upstarts and entrepreneurs.

Does anyone want to return to 1969?  Some might ask what will we do without the NRC, the DOE and FERC? The same questions were asked a generation or two ago. Today we know the answers. We will have more freedom and richer lives with products we never before dreamed of.

The sky is the limit and let nuclear innovation go forward! Goodbye to the NRC, DOE and FERC. Life will be better without them.  That is the path forward for a nuclear renaissance!

The quotes are from Dr. Gary North.

Integral Fast Reactor

Rod Adams (check out his website) put me onto this fantastic book about the Integral Fast Reactor that was developed by Argonne Labs (now Idaho National Lab) from 1984 to 1994.

Plentiful Energy CoverI have been reading the book for the last few days and find it fascinating. Even though I have been a nuclear advocate for decades, I continue to learn new things about nuclear all the time.

I am also amazed at how much the anti-nuclear folks have defined the terms and framed the area of acceptable debate regarding the role of nuclear energy in the US for the last 40 years. In short, they have created the reality that they want.

Consider this paragraph from page 108 of the book:

This is the situation: Plutonium, as used in the IFR, cannot be simply demonized and forgotten. It is the means to unlimited electricity. The magnitude of the needs and estimates of the sources that might be able to fill those needs lead to one simple point: Fast reactors only, taking advantage of the breeding properties of plutonium in a fast spectrum, much improved over any uranium isotope, can change in a fundamental way the outlook for energy on the necessary massive scale. Their resource extension properties multiply the amount of usable fuel by a factor of a hundred or so, fully two orders of magnitude. Fine calculations are unnecessary. Demand can be met for many centuries, by a technology that is known today, and whose properties are largely established. This technology is not speculative, as are fusion, new breakthroughs in solar, or other suggested alternatives. It can be counted on.

Instead of plutonium being the most evil and toxic thing on earth (according to the antis), it is in fact, the means to “unlimited electricity”.

The book is well worth reading.

bwr