Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tim Dean Selling Nuclear Who Doo Voo Doo Touting Thorium?

In Issue 8 of Cosmos, April 2006 (the Cosmos Science Magazine) Jim Dean writes an article that has gotten him a lot of attention and mileage. Problem is, is the man selling the world a water pipe dream in trying to paint Nuclear out as some great green, misunderstood SUPER ENERGY that can save the world from Global Warming with a little bit of tinkering inside the reactors, a change over to a different kind of fuel. His article is pasted below, my commentary is inserted in red...hope you enjoy the debate, the point counter point on the Commercial/Military Fuel Cycle that will destroy the world given less than half a chance. (Entergy's Indian Point is a good example to explain this cryptic remark.)

BUCHANAN - Indian Point 2 has sprung a new leak of radioactive water that may force company officials to shut down the nuclear reactor to repair a cracked pipe about 8 feet below ground.

The 8-inch pipe is leaking about 18 gallons of tritium and water a minute, and workers at the plant have been digging since early Monday morning, when water showed up near a manhole cover, regulators and plant officials confirmed.

The leaking pipe connects to a tank that stores condensation from steam generators used to turn turbines that produce electricity. The pipe is not on the nuclear reactor side of the operation, so concentrations of radioactive tritium are about 2,000 picocuries per liter, a tenth of federally allowable maximum levels for safe drinking water.

New age nuclear
Think Dalai Lama meets Carly Simon
by Tim Dean

Nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gases (So very not true...if you go cradle to burial to final decay, Nuclear Energy is one of the most CARBON INTENSIVE energy sources known to mankind...DOE, NRC, NEI, and the Nuclear Industry hide this reality by only wanting to look at what is happening inside the reactor, rather than the entire fuel cycle process.), but it has many drawbacks. (Like the fact the industry in over 50 years has been able to properly and safely dispose of NONE OF ITS CANCER CAUSING RADIOACTIVE WASTE STREAMS.)Now a radical new technology based on thorium promises what uranium never delivered: abundant, safe and clean energy - and a way to burn up old radioactive waste. (Do not get your panties wet with excitement folks. First, thorium reactors ARE NOT NEW, the theory has been around for thinks someone is stretching some truths here. Remember when they introduced "The Friendly Atom"? Promised us that nuclear reactors would produce electricity so cheaply it would not even pay to meter it? We all know how well that Nuclear Industry Promise worked out now don't we?)

What if we could (Notice how Tim phrases this, sets it up...what if, as in a question, or perhaps a whimsical hope spoken onto the written page in the hopes of pulling you the reader into his fantasy.) build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? (Remember your mother telling you, "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is?)And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? (Just a few hundred years...few is defined as 2-9, so he is saying these waste steams could be around for up to 45 Generations of YOUR CHILDREN!) It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality. What makes this incredible reactor so different is its fuel source: thorium. (Notice...they are working on it. How close are they to successfully building one if the world is trying to talk us into spending TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS in YOUR TAX MONEY building the AP1000 or similar reactors that rely on the same fuel rods in use today?)

Named after Thor, the warlike Norse god of thunder, thorium could ironically prove a potent instrument of peace as well as a tool to soothe the world's changing climate. With the demand for energy on the increase around the world, and the implications of climate change beginning to strike home, governments are increasingly considering nuclear power as a possible alternative to burning fossil fuels. (Nice touch there Tim...try to pull in the Depleted Uranium, High Strength Weapons Grade Plutonium, Anti War folks with your tale...DAM, Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill would be proud of this yarn.)

But nuclear power comes with its own challenges. (Like the BURST pipe at Indian Point that spilled 100,000 gallons of radiated water this past month?) (But folks, nuclear is CLEAN AND GREEN...ask Entergy.)Public concerns over the risk of meltdown, disposal of long-lived and highly toxic radioactive waste, the generation of weapons grade by-products, and their corresponding proliferation risks, all can make nuclear power a big vote-loser. (Rightfully so...oh, and lets not forget about all those CO2's in what is the most CARBON INTENSIVE FUEL PRODUCTION PROCESS KNOWN TO MANKIND...kind of the Inconvenient Truth if you know what I mean there Tim?)

A thorium reactor is different. (Shaking head as I snicker a little.) And, on paper at least (on paper at least...priceless, a Kodak Moment), this radical new technology could be (again, that COULD BE, the whimsical sigh of a Pro Nuclear numb nut who spent too much time hanging out in the spent fuel pool.) the key to unlocking a new generation of clean and safe nuclear power. (notice the way he says that...unlocking a new generation in nuclear renaissance...but, the use of the word unlocking all but says the old generation, the current generation of aging reactors was and IS NOT CLEAN AND SAFE.) It could prove (again that DREAMY could be.) the circuit-breaker to the two most intractable problems of the 21st century: our insatiable thirst for energy, and the warming of the world's climate. (Maybe, just maybe we all would be far better off if we forgot about the failed experiment that is nuclear energy, and instead embrace the adage that LESS IS MORE.)

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