Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going Nuclear

There have been a couple of stories that I have read recently that caught my interest.  The surprising one is Bill Gates promoting nuclear power.  The other is the a nuclear process developed by the TVA back in the 50’s.

Bill Gates being a liberal, one would think he would be very anti nuclear.  Instead he is pro nuclear.  He sees electricity as one of the key elements in the Third World’s development.  Low cost electricity for developing/poor countries is very critical, as he sees it.  Looking at that, one can see how it would affect the creation of jobs and how poor people live.  Even in the USA, utility bills impact the poor and elderly.  Good low cost energy is critical for all people involved and Bill Gates sees this in the development of a new nuclear process.

The process that the TVA developed was put into moth balls and the back shelf, as a result it was forgotten about.  Probably some political skullduggery involved.

The TVA process used an isotope that had a life of about 100 years and very little by product.  Disposal was not a problem for in a 100 years it would be harmless.

With these things I wonder why nuclear power is not in use more.  What nuclear power plants that are in use today are very efficient and produce a low cost product.  Surprising, the USA gets about 25% of its electricity from nuclear power plants.  Then there is the Navy, how many of their ships are nuclear powered I’m not sure, but I would venture a guess that it is a vast majority.  The carriers and submarines are the most oblivious.  I see the spent cores from some passing through here on the railroad occasionally.

But why are so many people anti nuclear?  First thing that comes to mind are the bombs dropped on Japan, WWII.  Then there have been the accidents in the past that have caused some problems.  Then there are the anti mind set people.  If one side of the fence is for something this group will come out against it.

This small group of anti people create lots of problems for being such a small minority.  As a result things tat could be of great benefit to society is ignored because they raise such a ruckus.

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One of the anti groups, the Sierra Club, bragged on their web page they had stopped over a 100 coal fired power plants.  That is a lots of lost electrical power generation. If your electrical rates are going up, this is one of the reasons.  And, Yes Coal is dirty, but there is a scientist who has developed a process to clean up coal fired plants.  The anti people do not want to hear this, they do not encourage his research.  There are others out there doing similar research but the anti groups cloud things in legal lawsuits. 

As I look at the costs these anti groups are causing to consumers, it becomes frustrating.  For this anti mind set is part of the reason Nuclear power is so frowned on.  Yet in nuclear power there appears to be some hope.  With the proper mind set it could probably be developed and used in a safe manner. 

It would be nice to see the anti people try to help society rather then being a hindrance.

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One of the things that has happened is the power companies are switching to natural gas to keep the nay sayers off their back.  This is also pushing up the cost of energy.  Everything that is produced in the US is rising in cost because of the rising energy prices.  People focus on the price of gasoline, as that increases so does the utilities increase.

Jobs are lost, homes are lost and people tend to become poorer because of rising energy costs.

So is nuclear the answer, only partial but it should be looked at.  Particularly after the calamity of the tsunami in Japan.  There were problems at their plants but they were fixable and life goes on.

Look at how many nuclear power plants that are operatizing in the United States. 

Rather then being so negative, the anti people need to become part of the solution rather then being s problem. 

Wind power is 30-50 years in the future and is not reliable.  Solar is someplace in its infancy and it is also not reliable.

Overheard a comment from a nay sayer, "Return the land to where it was a 100 years ago.”  Wonder if he realizes how many people would have to die to get the land back to how was 100 years ago and what all would have to be destroyed.

Stewardship of the environment is a major job.

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