Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Different Battle for Terra

Bill Gates usually doesn't send his money after lost causes, just solvable causes. So with that in mind I am hoping that  TerraPower  will be successful in its mission to find a solution to our accumulating nuclear waste with the development of its next generation technology.

I know that many scientists are working to develop a technology that will feed on nuclear waste and I know that finding a solution is decades away at best. What I don't know is this new technology going to run to all the nuclear sites now in operation and feed like hungry piglets at the teats of the mother sow?

My gut tells me this is not what is suppose to happen. I think we are still going to be stuck with the piles and piles of spent nuclear fuel that is currently on hand. And we still need to find a solution to permanent storage for this waste.

An article in the New York Times today Atomic Goal: 800 Years of Power From Waste gives this scenario:
"The quest is for a new kind of nuclear reactor that would be fueled by today’s nuclear waste, supply all the electricity in the United States for the next 800 years and, possibly, cut the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation around the world."
"But no one disputes that this is a very long-term bet. Even optimists say it would take until at least 2030 to commercialize the technology." 
In the meantime we need to move forward and get our spent nuclear fuel out of the temporary storage pools and safely tucked away on a permanent basis. The clock is ticking.

There is a growing controversy over the "facts" given in Robert Stone's documentary film "Pandora's Promise" which was released earlier this year. Stone is accused of parlaying his environmental past into a less than accurate reassurance about nuclear energy.

In Stone's own plot summary of film he writes:
"A feature-length documentary about the history and future of nuclear power. The film explores how and why mankind's most feared and controversial technological discovery is now passionately embraced by many of those who once led the charge against it. Operating as history, cultural meditation and contemporary exploration, PANDORA'S PROMISE aims to inspire a serious and realistic debate over what is without question the most important question of our time: how do we continue to power modern civilization without destroying it? Written by RS" ~ from IMDb
Here is a summary of what Beyond Nuclear considers to be Pandora's False Promises. Read it, it is a worthwhile use of your time. And for those of you who like to read here is Beyond Nuclear Full Report - Pandora's False Promises

CNN plans to air the documentary on their channel so if you plan to watch it do yourself a favor and read the other side before watching it. Beyond Nuclear is hoping to obtain equal time to report the true facts.

Mark Bittman wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times last August The New Nuclear Craze. In it he wrote:

"Before we all become pro-nuclear greens, however, you’ve got to ask three questions: Is nuclear power safe and clean? Is it economical? And are there better alternatives? 
No, no and yes. So let’s not swap the pending environmental disaster of climate change for another that may be equally risky."

And with that being said, I rest my case (for now).


  1. You sure packed a lot into that post. Links galore. Thank you. I will now go pursue them.

  2. Thanks for the post.

    Regarding Pandora's Promise, I agree that there are some things that were glossed over a little bit. But Beyond Nuclear's report swings way to the other side, so I would reckon that claiming they report "true facts" is a bit of an embellishment itself. I wrote a retort to the retort, which is posted here:

  3. Thanks for taking time to post a comment Nick, appreciate your views. Yes, my "true facts" usage was an embellishment, I did second guess myself but decided to leave it as is. I'm glad I did maybe its use encouraged you to comment. The more information we all have the better off we all will be. Thanks again. A.A.