On air: Do you trust nuclear power?

About 100 staff at a nuclear plant in southern France have been exposed to a low dose of radiation. They were “slightly contaminated” by radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe at a reactor complex in Tricastin, according to power firm EDF who run the plant. The incident comes two weeks after a leak forced the temporary closure of a reactor at the Tricastin facility and is the fourth incident at a French nuclear site in recent weeks.

Earlier this month an earthquake hit Kashiwazaki in north-western Japan the location of the world’s biggest nuclear power plant – the site of seven nuclear reactors. It led to at least 50 malfunctions including burst pipes, water leaks and radioactive waste spillage.

Across the world it’s a hot issue – a few countries with a nuclear focus….

* France gets up to 80% of its power from Nuclear

* In Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to slow Germany’s planned phase-out of nuclear energy, amid growing fears it will be impossible to slash greenhouse gas emissions without it.

* The British government has opted to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

* Egypt has decided to revive the civilian nuclear power programme it froze 20 years ago following the accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine.

* In the US Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain says he wants to build 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030, a course he called “as difficult as it is necessary.”

Here is an interesting map – Nuclear power country by country.

Do you still trust nuclear power, if you ever did? If it’s not safe, would you trust your government to tell you?

Would you welcome a nuclear power plant being built near you because of the jobs and boost to the local economy? Or by it’s very nature does nuclear power make you feel uncomfortable?

130 Responses to “On air: Do you trust nuclear power?”

  1. July 24, 2008 at 14:34

    No most certainly not. Look at the most cogent findings ever by British residents as detailed in brilliant studies available at http://www.llrec.org/
    Look at how the Robert Clive mentality of deception and dishonesty is still driving the authorities almost everywhere and try to be honest and forthright.

  2. 2 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 14:38

    Earlier this month an earthquake hit Kashiwazaki in north-western Japan the location of the world’s biggest nuclear power plant – the site of seven nuclear reactors. It led to at least 50 malfunctions including burst pipes, water leaks and radioactive waste spillage.

    What?! You mean we, as humans, don’t have complete control over everything?! Fancy that. Risks such as these are a shining example of why I don’t trust nuclear power.

    They were “slightly contaminated” by radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe at a reactor complex in Tricastin

    And how long does this ‘slight contamination’ last? It’s not something you can go home and wash off.

    If it’s not safe, would you trust your government to tell you?

    Of course I wouldn’t trust the government to tell me. Unless the lobbyists and campaign backers are anti-nuclear. Which the way things are going does not seem to be the case. When those funding and throwing ‘presents’ in the way of officials who should be making decisions to protect the people that elected them to serve, those contributions from interest groups such as pro-nuclear companies can skew the decisions made and what is said to the public.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    [insert rebuttal that nuclear is the silver bullet to climate change and that these are necessary risks, OMG there is no other way!!!]

  3. 3 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 14:41

    Sooner or later we must begin the process of “walking away” from such a large dependence upon petroleum but know that petroleum products are so pervasive throughout our economy we will never be free of petroleum.
    It seems to me that fuel cell powered cars are the ultimate answer for transportation as the end product is water. Anyone who has driven an electric car falls instantly in love with them. Honda has a fuel cell car now.
    Hydrogen recharges a fuel cell and existing gasoline stations can be outfitted to dispense hydrogen thus taking advantage of the existing infrastructure that works well.
    Hydrogen is produced by releasing it from water. That takes massive energy.
    Producing no greenhouse gassers Nuclear power is the answer to shore up our existing electric needs and reinforce the grid. At night the excess power produced by nuclear power can be used to produce hydrogen.
    Certainly there are those that are frightened about what can or might happen but discovery and the advancement of civilization was made by people that took risks.
    We need to gather all of our courage and “sail out onto the open seas” to forge the next advancement of civilization. We cannot be ruled by those that are too frightened to get out from under their beds, are too scared of what might happen, believe in wind, solar or pixie dust.
    If we take bold action now we can solve this problem in our generation.
    Was I controversial enough? Maybe but I believe that nuclear is the answer.

  4. 4 steve
    July 24, 2008 at 14:46

    I think nuclear power would be an excellent source of power, IF and ONLY IF, governments didn’t grant contracts to lowest bidders who cut corners. If they didn’t try to save money by cutting corners, it would be fine. The problem is cutting corners in building and maintenance of it. It’s potentially incredibly dangerous, and if you decide to use nuclear power, you MUST spare no money when it comes to safety. If you aren’t prepared to do that, then don’t use it.

  5. 5 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 14:49

    We still haven’t tackled what to do with the spent fuel. Besides turning it into weapons and munitions to use illegally in our international war endeavors.

    Burying this stuff underground in an ‘out of sight out of mind’ set of thinking, and pretending that future generations will not have to deal with it at some point is unacceptable.

    Trust lies not only with the execution of nuclear power to generate electricity, but throughout the entire cycle; From the mining of the material and risks associated with it, to its conversion into a power source and those associated risks, all the way to the end of it’s ‘useful life’ into a waste product posing a risk to plant and animal life. Which is what? Millions of years?

  6. 6 Bob in Queensland
    July 24, 2008 at 14:51

    Do I trust nuclear power to be totally safe and accident free? No. No system ever is. Do I like the idea of becoming reliant on nuclear energy? Certainly not. Do I think we might have to do it? Yup, afraid so.

  7. July 24, 2008 at 14:57

    Speaking from America … the first issue is to tell the truth about what it means to use nuclear power … unlike hydro power there is an extremely dangerous bi product from nuclear energy use … I, for one do not think the solution to one problem is to create another even more devastating problem. So until we figure out how to use the power captured in the zero point field without poisoning ourselves to death for generations to come … we should leave it where it is. I do believe there is a solution , we just haven’t figured it out yet. Where is Tesla when you need him?

  8. July 24, 2008 at 15:01

    I don’t beleive that been in a possession of Neclear weapon means being a super power,Germany ,US and Britain do believe that they are super powers and this is to me very wrong

  9. 9 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 15:10

    When those in charge and making the decisions and those building the power stations will agree to live in the town or area where ‘their’ plant is built, with their families, and where their waste is disposed of in the ground, I will trust that corners wouldn’t be cut and that there may be a little extra attention to detail made.
    I still won’t trust Nuclear Power. Just that there will be a lesser likelihood of disaster.

    It’s always easier to make the call to ‘do it in someone else’s backyard’; Whether its the Station itself or the disposal site/s.

  10. 10 Julie P
    July 24, 2008 at 15:13

    When it comes to nuclear energy Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl spring to mind. Those may be extreme examples of what can go wrong with nuclear energy, but nuclear energy still remains slightly more dangerous than other used. If more nuclear power plants are to be built there needs to be extremely high building standards, along with training, and emergency respones to disasters. In the TMI case, standardized were implemented since there was too much inforamtion for them to go through and people reacted poorly under stress.

  11. 11 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 15:25

    @ Julie P
    The truth about Three mile Island & Chernobyl is as follows.
    At Chernobyl a Communist Party official NOT a nuclear engineer decided to run tests and despite the warnings from the engineers he proceeded threatening Party retaliation to anyone who did not cooperate.
    At Three Mile Island the leak was contained and follow up studies showed that there was no increase in cancers or other diseases surrounding the plant. In fact you would be in greater danger from second hand smoke.
    I think your fears are unfounded based on hysterical/sensational media reports.
    Finally as with anything it takes time and maturity to understand what can and usually goes wrong and how to react.
    Every technological advancement has come with risks and we have managed those risks well.

  12. 12 Graceunderfire
    July 24, 2008 at 15:29

    As a scientist I trust nature, and thus nuclear physics, implicitly. It’s people trying to make money with nuclear physics I don’t trust. More profit always means less safety.

  13. 13 John in Salem
    July 24, 2008 at 15:37

    Human beings can get all the safe, dependable energy they will ever need from one single nuclear reactor.
    It’s called the Sun.

  14. July 24, 2008 at 15:42

    Nuclear energy should be the last option for developing countries because of the risks it entails in case of a natural disaster or under-funding for the maintenance of the nuclear centres.

    It can also be used as a weapon by the developed countries that provide its technology to developing countries. In case of economic sanctions, the first thing to do is to deprive the target country from nuclear fuel. Understandably, any developing country wanting to acquire nuclear plants should do so under international supervision. For any country, it can be easy to buy as much oil as it wants and establish oil refineries without being under suspicion.

    The world currently holds 1.24 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves and 6,263 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/24/business/24arctic.php . As the current daily need of oil is 86 million barrel a day, this means the world has enough oil for the coming 40 years, without counting future oil reserves discoveries.

    It will be better to develop clean energies from water, the sun and the wind. Efforts should be made to invent machines needing less energy consumption. Nuclear energy should be the last resort and not the priority, if there are no other options.

  15. 15 Julie P
    July 24, 2008 at 15:43


    Thanks, for the analysis, but I am aware of the events of Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl. However, you pointed obvious problems with nuclear energy, politicians sticking their noses in to a complicated operation. It doesn’t matter if they are a communist or not. Three Mile Island, in spite of its sensationalist nature, still was a disaster regardless. It released a lot contaminants regardless of any position a person may take. However, if you read all of my comment, I called for strict building codes, and training for personnel. I missed politicians.

  16. 16 selena
    July 24, 2008 at 15:45

    I don’t trust anything that humans build. There doesn’t seem to be as much pride in building a better mouse trap these days. However, that may just be perception.

    Having said that, I don’t believe nuclear is as unsafe as we are being made to believe. It is akin to the fact that there is always a big deal made put of plane crashes when far more people die from automobile accidents.

  17. 17 Vijay Srao
    July 24, 2008 at 15:58

    If European countries don’t build nuclear power plants they will be at the mercy of Russia and the Gulf states.
    Just as most countries were abandoning nuclear power Finland and France went ahead with more nuclear power plants and are reaping the benefits.

    Nations should have a diversified energy portfolio,so
    that fluctuations in gas and oil are neutrilised.

    Yes,I trust nuclear power but I am aware of the Homer Simpson/Chenobyl factor.

  18. July 24, 2008 at 16:04

    The nuclear power proposal sounds too ominous for my liking.

  19. 19 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 16:07

    Nuclear power is a topic unfortunatley clouded with hysteria. From a technical perspective I trust it. My concern would start with politians and managers.

    From the numbers I remember being shown during safety courses at university, it is as safe as industries of a similar nature, like gas, both for the workers and the surroundings. The difference is that you are swapping the unlikely chance of a major incident (three mile island and Chernobyl) with the more frequent but less dramatic accidents else where (like death by carbon monoxide poisoning). In that perspective I trust it.

    I know there is the issue of the waste. The amounts are small and there are technical solutions so in the technology side I again trust it. What i do not trust is the political will to push through the arrangements needed to deal with it.

  20. 20 Nick in USA
    July 24, 2008 at 16:07

    Well, it’s a bit of a dilemma isn’t it. On one hand, if proper precautions and maintenance are performed, then nuclear power is a very good way to make energy. On the other hand, whenever you put people wanting to make profit in an extremely dangerous industry, they will cut corners. My point is, there are countless things that can go wrong with a nuclear power plant, which means that if every possible precaution isn’t taken, thousands of people could die. Since regular citizens have no oversight of the people making the decisions at these plants, perhaps it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  21. 21 Tim O'Kennedy
    July 24, 2008 at 16:07

    Nuclear power should form a significantly greater part of our energy generation than it does. The dangers are often way overstated, especially when compared to the alternatives.

    Do we believe that no-one dies or is maimed on the oilfields of the world? Coal mines? Of course they do.

    Do we believe that people won’t die or be injured building and maintaining wave energy generators, solar panel arrays and wind farms? Of course they will.

    It’s a very simple trade-off: by shutting down nuclear power, we can avoid the VERY SLIM POSSIBILITY of a significant nuclear accident of some kind, but we will also prolong the EVERYDAY CERTAINTY of growing CO2 emissions plus the substantial direct/indirect loss of life associated with fossil fuels.

    There are around 435 nuclear reactors in operation around the world. They are conspicuously SAFE by comparison with any other source of competitively priced, large volume energy – even when factoring in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

    Should we view nuclear power as the ultimate and permanent solution? Certainly not. But right now, nuclear is a damn-near miraculous answer to the C02 problem, and would certainly tide us over until true renewables are completely up to speed.

  22. 22 John in Salem
    July 24, 2008 at 16:08

    There are two major problems that need to be solved before another nuclear plant is built.

    1. What do we do with the waste?
    2. How do we keep Homer Simpson out of the control room?

  23. July 24, 2008 at 16:12

    @ John IN SAlem

    What do you mean when you say “1. What do we do with the waste?
    2. How do we keep Homer Simpson out of the control room?”

    I guess nobody will understand this!,please respond soon before I go for my Maqribe prayers! and as I read an email from Chloe!

  24. July 24, 2008 at 16:14

    There are people who accept nuclear energy as an alternative in view of the soaring oil prices. But at the same time, they say, there can be a nuclear station, except in their area.

    Although nuclear accidents are rare, their disaster can be far worse than that of an oil refinery bursting into flames.

    Some may argue that nuclear weapons are safe as long as they have never been used. They’re kept under heavy guard. The same can apply to nuclear stations if rigorous security standards are maintained. However, the problem with nuclear stations is the nuclear waste that should be kept in safe places. Dumping underground with vast and growing nuclear waste- should all countries opt for nuclear energy- can itself become a time bomb, threatening the soil which is the source of life.

  25. 25 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 16:25

    There are two major problems that need to be solved before another nuclear plant is built.

    1. What do we do with the waste?
    2. How do we keep Homer Simpson out of the control room?

    I was hoping someone would touch on #1 also which is why I spoke of it in an earlier post.

    What about turrists too? Any worries there? Not only for the reactors and facilities themselves but also the waste, transport and storage. Some of the crazies out there would love to get their hands on that nasty stuff that no one else seems to want.

  26. 26 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 16:28

    @ Julie P
    Three Mile Island was THIRTY years ago. However I believe that your characterization of “It released a lot of contaminants” is wrong as there was very little radiation released.
    As for your observation about Politicians I am afraid you are correct. Thankfully they are not allowed to touch the controls in any nuclear power plant. All Politicians can do is hold endless hearings and then make the wrong choice resulting in ill considered legislation.
    That is why I trust business more. They neither want to get sued nor do they want their familes exposed to radiation.
    Vijay ad it absolutely right….we need to keep Homer Simpson out of the control room.

  27. 27 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 16:30

    @ Dan:

    Three Mile Island was THIRTY years ago

    … Which equates to the blink of an eye when your talking about the million/s of years that this stuff is dangerous for.

  28. 28 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 24, 2008 at 16:32

    My answers to Chloe questions:

    Do you still trust nuclear power, if you ever did?

    I think nuclear power is a great discovery, a milestone in science; however, it was used in the wrong way (to make nuclear weapons), so the negative stigma will be always be attached to it.

    In addition, the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disaster did not contribute to make better its already bad “reputation” amont the common people.

    I think nuclear power management should be handled with a great deal of responsibility and care. First safety for all the people involved in the industry, then the profits. The danger, as Steve said before, is that people responsible for it, cut corners regarding safety issues, building requirements, training, etc. to make more profits.

    If it’s not safe, would you trust your government to tell you?

    Sadly, no. There is a lot of corruption and mismanagement in my country government.

    Would you welcome a nuclear power plant being built near you because of the jobs and boost to the local economy?

    I would be scared, but only because I might fear that it was not built properly and that the people working there might not have adequate training. As I said before, there is a lot of governmental / private industry corruption in my country.

    Or by it’s very nature does nuclear power make you feel uncomfortable?

    I think someday we will have to get used to it, we cannot afford not to.

  29. 29 Anthony
    July 24, 2008 at 16:34

    I think it’s fine. Would someone PLEASE send a link (the one R. Ashok Kumar posted is dead) showing that current nuclear power is “bad”?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  30. 30 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 16:34

    The point is that in 30 years we have learned and made the reactors safer. Nothing in life is without risks and the nuclear power risk has been minimalized.
    If you have true concerns about the emissions of greenhouse gasses, then I know you will support nuclear power.

  31. 31 Brett
    July 24, 2008 at 16:41

    @ Anthony:
    I think it’s fine. Would someone PLEASE send a link (the one R. Ashok Kumar posted is dead) showing that current nuclear power is “bad”?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    Would someone please send a link showing that current coal power is “bad”?

    Nothing is wrong with the power itself, it’s the waste. Just as with coal and CO2, mercury, etc, Nuclear has it’s waste. It’s not the power, it’s the byproducts.

    And I’m not defending coal power here, BUT, what happens if something goes wrong in a coal fired power plant and god forbid, it leads to it blowing up or catching fire? Now what happens if the same scenerio occurs but in a Nuclear station.

    There is a risk, no one at all can deny that, and if they do, they are not paying attention to facts. It just boils down to which bad energy source you support until we can get renewables into mass use (assuming that’s even possible with our energy hungry and intensive lifestyles); Both are bad, both have tradeoffs, which risks and implications are you willing to accept? And at the same time, which risks and impacts are you willing to pawn off on our future generations?

  32. 32 Count Iblis
    July 24, 2008 at 16:53

    Nuclear energy is the best energy source that we have available. The waste problem is a non issue. It can be stored easily, it just takes up a little space. If we use fast breeder reactors we can get rid of most of the long lived radio-isotopes and we’ll only have to worry about waste that remains radioactive for a few thouand years at most.

    Fast breeder reactors are necessary anyway if we switch to nuclear energy, because there isn’t enough U-235 available to power the world. Fast breeder reactors can convert non fissile U-238 to fissile Pu-239 and also non fissile Th-232 to fissile U-233. The known thorium and uranium reserves are then enough to power the world for the next 30,000 years.

    To put the waste problem in perspective, compare a 1000 MW coal fired power plant to a nuclear power plant. Every hour a big truck with coal arrives at the coal fired power plant. All that coal goes up in smoke within an hour’s time. CO2 is dumped in the atmosphere which contributes to the greenhouse effect. A lot of fine dust is dumped in the atmosphere, which causes lung diseases, leading to the deaths of many people.

    At the nuclear power plant, a small van with a few uranium rods will arrive every few weeks or so. The old rods will be taken out for reprocessing, the new rods will be installed.

  33. 33 Julie P
    July 24, 2008 at 16:59


    You may want to go back and reread my original comment. Clearly, you are making too much of a deal out of it than it needs to be. I wrote “extreme examples”, is there something unclear about that wording? I did write in my original comment that were lessons learned from Three Mile Island and I sited procedural changes and why they occurred. Was that unclear too? Accidents can and do happen, and, even though rare, need to considered when using something like for energy, especially near highly populated areas. History does have a way of repeating of itself, even something as “old” as 30 years ago. It appears that words of caution bother some.

  34. 34 Will Rhodes
    July 24, 2008 at 16:59

    Do you still trust nuclear power, if you ever did? If it’s not safe, would you trust your government to tell you?

    I can only echo what others have said. Nuclear power is safe – but when there is a mishap then it is headline news. The years roll by and nothing is heard about the station – until, and if, something goes wrong.

    My problem is, as Brett pointed out, is what to do with the waste. As far fetched as it is – that stuff needs to be got off the planet, not in it.

    Do I trust government to tell me if it’s not safe? No, I don’t. Especially the government that Britain has now. Yet that can be extended to all governments.

  35. 35 Rob the School Bus Driver
    July 24, 2008 at 17:00

    Nuclear power is a good, clean source of energy. No, I do not fear it. What I do fear is the cutting of corners in the construction of nuclear plants which leads to failures and release of radiation. Nuclear waste can be loaded on a rocket and blasted directly into the Sun. But of course then you have the problem of a Challenger-like blow up and the stuff all over everything. But it is a good source of energy.

  36. 36 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 17:03

    @ Count Iblis
    Thanks …. great explanation and technically right on.
    You seem to know the issue well. Will Fusion reactors be able to consume the nuclear waste from Fission reactors?

  37. 37 Anthony
    July 24, 2008 at 17:07

    @ Brett

    So no link. When’s the last time (in the U.S.) there was any significant trouble? Even if there was something to happen, the U.S. plants have so many layers of different kinds of “shells” that if it were to break through, it would be caused by something more dangerous than a “plant meltdown”. And last time some waste was spilled, into a water souce for all things, it was still safe enough to drink.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  38. 38 CJ McAuley
    July 24, 2008 at 17:12

    While in university (30+ years ago), I wrote a paper on “What to do with Nuclear Waste?”. They were talking about “geologic sequestration” back then in everything from the spent salt mines to the Canadian Shield and all in between. Not much has changed since then, beyond the Nuclear Industry’s more effective sales-pitch, for the nuclear waste from that time is still sitting in barrells. I am not such a Luddite that I do not realize the role it plays today and will have to tomorrow. That said, it is akin to the on-going struggle to get people to recycle properly! It truly appears that “mankind” is the only animal that is willing to foul its own nest. My bottom line is this: they have not proven to me that a solution exists to the waste problem. Until they do, I will remain opposed to nuclear power expansion!

  39. 39 Asad Babyl
    July 24, 2008 at 17:15

    I was born in the area of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl fallout and I still trust nuclear power. It’s the only efficent way to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  40. 40 Drake Weideman
    July 24, 2008 at 17:23

    Although nuclear energy may entail the greatest risk, in practice it has proven itself to be relatively safe.
    In the 50 or so years that nuclear plants have been operating there has been one incident that has caused major problems…Chernobyl, and that happened because poor attention was paid to safety. I don’t like to use stereotypes, but it is reasonable to acknowledge that the old Soviet government was not overly concerned with safety matters.
    In the US our overall safety record is fairly good. Folks will point out Three Mile Island, even though no one was adversely affected. There have been other, less publicized events, but again these incidents resulted in no loss of life that I’m aware of.
    France is a better example to examine, as they have used nuclear energy more than any other country…and there again the overall record is pretty good, and I don’t know of any individual deaths, much less multiple deaths, that have happpened there as a result of nuclear plants.
    I think a great resource of information may be the US Navy, as they have used nuclear power plants in many of their ships for decades, and in their nuclear submarines these nuclear power plants are in relatively close quarters, so we can also see if living in close proximity (up to a few hundred feet) to a nuclear power plant 24/7 is hazardous.

  41. 41 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 24, 2008 at 17:28

    Keeping in view of Nuclear desaster in war & peace, I am totally against Nuclear technology, though educational aspects of this technology may be allowed under supervision of scientifically qualified experties with trust & confidence.
    Russian Nuclear accidents & desaster gave us the message of leave this technology alone, so do the Stragen Bay power plant of Wisconsin USA & rest of the European’s countries.
    May God bless all of us with positivity in our choices.

  42. 42 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 17:31


    Your last comment about risk and impact is slightly wrong (this may just be going overboard on terminology I’m sorry). In safety engineering the notion of risk is decided by two things, impact and frequency. Risk already contains the factor of frequency in it. Another less contraversal example but using the exactly the same principle and method is train safety. After every rail accident there is outcry and call for more money. But trains are still safer than cars per mile driven.

    A coal and nuclear plant should carry the same risk with them. They are design to the same safety criteria (for safety and accident risk, the equipment is different I will add) . However the lower impact of the coal facilty accidents means it can tolerate more frequent accidents, and in often do in industry. The larger impact of the nuclear reactor means there equipment and organisation must be more rubust to ensure the frequency is kept done. Once you can quantify risk (which again included both the impact and frequency data) you can easily compare the different options and using statistics it is possible to quantify those risks.

    Other risks to balance include global warming vs radioactive waste. Again the risk based model may allow comparision of these issues.

    A cynic may suggest the question boils down to “do we want lot of little bangs that kill us one at a time (COAL) or one big bang that gets us all at once(NUCLEAR)”.

  43. 43 Jens
    July 24, 2008 at 17:39

    Why always to uproar about nuclear power? the topic is way to emotional. yes if it goes wrong its spectacular, but then so are plane accidents compared to cars accidents. you may ask why this comparison?

    simple. cola firing plants have killed many many more people tha nuclear power, but everybody accepts that risk. the same many more people die in car crashes but airplane crashes make world news (even though airplanes are one of the saves means of travel).

    the problem is simple. we all want power, but nobody wants the solar farm, wind farm, hydro dams, coal plants, nuclear plants etc in their backyard.

  44. July 24, 2008 at 17:54

    Hi everyone
    Akbar here in Tehran
    The nuclear issue is sad for Iran since the one billion dollar plus price tab for Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is simply not worth it. It has Chernobyl written all over it and puts the entire Gulf region in danger.
    True we are short of electricity and power cuts are becoming more frequent in Tehran. That’s because we are supplying Armenia and Herat Province in Afghanistan with electrical power. In the latter case, Iran is also supplying free gas to Herat, by order of our sacrosanct prelates.
    Back to the nuclear issue, there have been repeated calls this week for Iran to ditch uranium enrichment, but no one here is taking much notice. It is like talking to a blank wall. The Arabs are terrified, Europe is worried, The Iranian nuclear issue could possibly erupt into some sort of conflict, if it doesn’t blow up before then.
    Barack Obama says he will pull US troops out of Iraq if he is elected President. What then? WAht to do with Hezbollah in Lebanon? Waht happens to the numerous militias in Iraq? Who is going to bail us out from this quagmire of indecision, intransigence and war mongering?

  45. 45 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 18:00

    @ Syed Hasan Turab
    Every advance in technology & civilization came with risks and people died.
    What happened in Russia was more a problem of a very poor design as the Soviets cared little about safety & people so it is a poor example of nuclear safety but an excellent example of how the West which valued people and the environment produced a superior design.
    If we continue down the petroleum highway we will be increasingly held hostage to Governments and polluted ideologies that hate us and control our destiny’s.

  46. 46 savane, nairobi kenya
    July 24, 2008 at 18:00

    I’m not a fanatical Green Warrior. I use solar power. Judging by earlier comments:


    Watched any PC ads from the oil companies ‘alternative exploration’ R&D Divisions? Can you hear the arrogant whine (accompanied with the empathetic background music): “please stay with us! We’re trying because we care! Promise!!”.

    Why do we spend so much time trying to sell the benefits of oil and nuclear energy?

    Why are solar and wind power so low on the energy list? What are the ‘hidden’ disadvantages that keep them there? No big money to be made? Too easy to ‘capture’ and use?

    When I look at the source of the River Nile in Uganda, and the mouth of the Nile in Egypt, the water’s still there!!!

    Can we focus on what we have that is clean and natural before CO2 emissions and an ‘oops’ at a nuclear plant, turn off the sun and kill the wind?

    Come on, people!

  47. 47 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 24, 2008 at 18:02

    I trust nuclear power/ nuclear energy. However, I realize there are real risks with it. I was raised closed to the SRS, a nuclear materials processing center in South Carolina. My relatives used to describe stories of a town close to the site that was moved to another location because there was environmental containmination.

    Nuclear power is the way of the future. Most energy sources have associated risks, wether health or environmental. It just goes with the territory.

  48. 48 Mike
    July 24, 2008 at 18:05

    I live in St. Lucie County, Fl, USA where one of the newest (not very new at all) of the AMerican Nuclear reactors is located. I also used to live in Pennsylvania where coal is a prominent fuel for energy. The landscape is greatly different, and the cost is still large. I only hope the US revisits nuclear power and assuages public fear. In my opinion, nuclear energy is the panacea for American power plant energy independence.

  49. 49 John
    July 24, 2008 at 18:07

    Do I trust nuclear power? Hell, no!

  50. 50 Debris
    July 24, 2008 at 18:09

    I should like to say that I have lived thinking that the risk and responsibility that goes with nuclear power was the problem of the builders and operators as of the government. As a consumer, I have never analysed its risks and uses and it seems to me that no degree of interest would affect the industrial and economic processes viewing them from the position in which I am.

  51. 51 jason
    July 24, 2008 at 18:10

    Nuclear power is safer than coal. Coal plants release more nuclear radiation than most nuclear plants ever will. The statistics are astounding. Nuclear plants, however, generate alot of excess heat which is counterproductive to the goal of reducing global warming. The only good energies are wind, solar and geothermal. Nuclear may be used as a way to bridge the gap as fossile fuels are depleted but in the long run they are not the solution.

  52. 52 Jim, San Francisco, CA
    July 24, 2008 at 18:10

    The power behind nuclear power is no different than other power players in the world today, and with their destructive self-motivation of profit above all else, what is there to trust in?
    The destructive impact of uranium mining and the inability to safeguard fuel and waste for as long as they require continue to be unanswerable problems with the nuclear industry.
    And nuclear power cannot be separated out from the nuclear weapons industry, try as people might.
    Finally, the real potential for people to thrive while rethinking, reducing, reusing, recycling, respecting and restoring is ignored because the big business proponents of nuclear power don’t want people to believe that we can survive without them.

  53. 53 Justin from Iowa
    July 24, 2008 at 18:11

    i don’t really trust or distrust nuclear power. The risk/reward of nuclear power, well managed, is acceptable to me. What my objections is, resolves around McCain’s comment about new nuclear power plants being necessary… I see this as a cop-out. Wind, wave, and solar energy all provide bounteous, and mostly untapped, energy potentials. But they are harder to sell to the American public, to his republican base, so he takes the easy way out. Dissapointing.

  54. 54 Mason, Park City, Utah
    July 24, 2008 at 18:12

    I do trust nuclear power.  Technological advancements have greatly reduced the possibility of accidents, but not eliminated them all together.  The problem is that when something does go wrong, the consequences are disastrous for large areas.  Nuclear power is not the answer to our energy woes:  nuclear power plants are costly and take a long time to construct, and it is not a clean source of energy; we must find a suitable way to dispose of the waste.  

  55. 55 Shirley
    July 24, 2008 at 18:17

    I do not believe that there is any such thing as safe or clean nuclear power. The nuclear plants in the U.S. are old, leaky, and under-guarded. The plant in Dimona, Israel is also old and leaky. In the age of solar panels and windmills, nuclear plants are dinosaurs and should go the way of dinosaurs.

  56. 56 Wes, Orlando, Florida
    July 24, 2008 at 18:17

    I think that nuclear power is just as damaging as coal or gas power. Their environmental effects produced through heating the water in the surrounding area are just as damaging as fossil fuels. I feel we need to continue furthering development of solar and wind power as much better and safer alternatives.

  57. July 24, 2008 at 18:17

    There’s nothing wrong with nuclear power, but the scale is all wrong.
    I carry a lighter in my pocket, no problem. But standing next to 20,000 cubic meters of butane makes me nervous.
    The other side of nuclear energy is called fusion.
    What’s better about nuclear fusion is that it creates less radioactive material than fission, and its supply of fuel can last longer than the sun.
    But this needs work to develop it.
    Unfortunately the hawks favor the fission variety with it’s handy bomb making attachment. Shame about that,


  58. 58 Trinity, Trinidad and Tobago
    July 24, 2008 at 18:18

    The reality is that the currency of development is energy. To continue to the pace of development, or even the quality of life that we have become used to we are going to need to find alternative sources of energy. Is nuclear the ideal? By no means but, we are going to run out of fossil fuels and none of the alternatives presented i.e. solar, wind, wave, hydroelectric, have shown the large-scale potential to sustain human’s considerable energy needs. In this world of terrorism, the idea of making the decision to produce large amounts of waste that must be secured for HUNDREDS of years because it can potentially be turned into ad hoc weaponry, seems one of the riskiest things to do, forget the risks of human contaminations as what has just happened in France or poorly stored waste leakage. But what are the alternatives?
    Humans are not addicted to oil we are addicted to energy and we need to find alternative sources of it… fast. Nuclear is not ideal but it is in the best position to take up the mantle of humans energy needs.

  59. 59 Mason, Park City, Utah
    July 24, 2008 at 18:19

    The affect of an oil spill can be as devistating to a region as a nuclear leak, yet we have no fear of it.  Nuclear Power is NOT a green energy source and because of this is not the answer, but it is a part of the answer.  Limited building, in the correct areas can be very useful, but we can not switch our addiction to oil with an addiction to the atom.

  60. 60 1430a
    July 24, 2008 at 18:21

    hello everyone,
    well this topic is very tricky.On one hand Nuclear energy has its good uses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

    And many harmful uses.
    hundreads of people are being harmed(healthwise)and it is obviously not good for the human race.
    Yes i do agree with the fact that the energy that it provides is useful ,but the oportunity cost is too high(human lives).
    So i would not totally trust Nuclear power.
    Thank You
    Abhinav Khanal

  61. 61 Dan
    July 24, 2008 at 18:23

    @ savane, nairobi kenya
    The obvious disadvantages of Wind & Solar are that the wind does not blow all the time, birds fly into the blades, noise and wealthier communities do not want their “view” spoiled. Solar takes up enormous acreage and while efficiency is improving it is not fantastic.
    Neither is a long term solution as oil, coal & gas will still be burned to generate electricity and cars will still burn gasoline.
    Hope that clarifies.

  62. 62 Dave Bancroft
    July 24, 2008 at 18:23

    The main drawback of nuclear power is secure and safe disposal of highly radioactive waste with a half-life of thousands of years. The best solution proposed is deep underground disposal where the radiation levels on the surface are normal.
    Why not go one step further and build the power plants deep underground, adjacent to the waste storage areas, in the first place? You could then use the latest robotic and sensor technologies to operate the power plants remotely, as far as possible, to virtually eliminate the possibility of dangerous exposure to radiation.
    Dave Bancroft, Vienna, Austria

  63. 63 Justin from Iowa
    July 24, 2008 at 18:23

    I couldn’t agree more with Mason.

  64. 64 Dave - Austria
    July 24, 2008 at 18:23

    Dear BBC,
    The main drawback of nuclear power is secure and safe disposal of highly radioactive waste with a half-life of thousands of years. The best solution proposed is deep underground disposal where the radiation levels on the surface are normal.
    Why not go one step further and build the power plants deep underground, adjacent to the waste storage areas, in the first place?
    You could then use the latest robotic and sensor technologies to operate the power plants remotely, as far as possible, to virtually eliminate the possibility of dangerous exposure to radiation.

  65. 65 Robert
    July 24, 2008 at 18:23


    The focus should not be put into renewable energy sources, it should be into fuel cells.

    The major issue holding back renewable power at the moment (except hydroelectric) is there is no way of storing the power. Fossil fuels and nuclear can be turn on and off on demand, nature can’t. Batteries are an environmental disaster. All those metal oxides an a small toxic pill to the environment.

    What is needed is a reliable means of store power when it is plentiful (bright sunny days for solar, moderately windy days for wind) to sell at time when there is no generation (like at night).

    The fuel cell technology is coming on in leaps and bounds but it until it can be done on an cheaply industrial scale it will always hold back renewable sources.

  66. 66 Tom D Ford
    July 24, 2008 at 18:25

    No. We need many and diversified energy sources spread out around the world.

    A nuclear plant lets a private corporation monopolize the energy source and financially rape the public and it makes one target for anyone interested in terrorism attacks.

    Many and widely diversified energy sources make any idea of a terrorist attack essentially useless and even makes useless any idea of a corporate monopoly controlling energy to the detriment of people.

    Windmills are the Haute Couture of energy and the wind is free, clean, and does not create the problems that Radioactivity does.

  67. 67 Rashid Patch
    July 24, 2008 at 18:26

    The grave problem with nuclear power is still what it always has been – the disposal of radioactive waste. Whenever there is a reactor accident (and there will always be accidents in any industry) the problem is simply increased. Chernobyl was “solved” by burying the site in a mountain of concrete – which has left the “waste” in site, and spread over the surrounding countryside. Other major nuclear accidents which spread radioactive debris over wide areas – like at Kashtym, Three Mile Island, or Windscale, were similar. After the event is over, even when it is declared “cleaned up”, the physical mass of the reactor – pumps, tanks, piping, thousands of tons of metal, bricks, cement, etc. – all remain “hot”; and there is no way – after 63 years of unremitting esearch effort – to dispose of it, or render it safe. Nothing made by our technology will be able to keep nuclear waste contained for the millions of years it will require, to decay to harmlessness.

    The only – and I must stress, only – suggested method of disposal that has a theoretical chance of working – burial in deep-ocean subduction-trench zones – has not been attempted even on a trial scale. For this method to be successful, it would require a transport and engineering infrastructure of an enormous scale, comparable to establishing colonies on other planets. Despite concerted research efforts for sea-bed mining projects since the 1960s, deep-ocean seabed engineering operations have not been successful. The environment under several miles of water has proven far more difficult to reach and work in, than the surface of the Moon. The costs of establishing a deep-ocean nuclear waste disposal infrastructure, and the continuing transport costs of hauling nuclear waste to subduction zone sites, and continuing costs of massive engineering operations at deep-ocean depths, could easily exceed all the possible economic gains produced by nuclear power plants. There could very possibly be a net loss.

    The nuclear power industry has never been held responsible for the costs associated with waste disposal, even minimally. The responsibility for ultimate disposal of waste has always been more or less covertly shifted to governments; and governments have promoted nuclear power, because they need a nuclear industry to make nuclear weapons.

    Surface-generated wind and tidal power are available now with current technology and profitable returns-on-investment; and orbital-generated solar power transmitted to earth via a geosynchronous space-elevator structure, would require less engineering effort, and far less overall cost, than deep-ocean subduction disposal of nuclear wastes. (The orbital elevator project would have the added benefit of reducing payload-to-orbit costs by a factor of 10,000 or more – from $30,000 / lb to $1 or $2 / lb)

  68. 68 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 24, 2008 at 18:35

    In the early 80’s I wrote a report for school that took a look at nuclear power as an alternate source of power. At the Three Mile Island was fresh in the minds of Americans. A few years later I went to the area and it was safe to be there. I know that nuclear power is feared. If we continue to use other sources and dismiss others (like coal) what are we going to use? Are we not poisoning ourselves with pollution anyway?

  69. 69 Carter Howe
    July 24, 2008 at 18:38

    Nuclear is not as bad as it used to be and in my opinion is about equal with coal in potential negative consequences.

    Why don’t you talk about the fact that uranium production will peak in a couple of decades. When that happens countries relying on Nuclear power will be in the same situation of increasing costs of nonrenewable resources that we are all dealing with in the Oil market right now. Nuclear is short sighted solar, wind, geothermal, tidal energy, and compressed gas energy storage are the future!

  70. 70 Dylan Kennard
    July 24, 2008 at 18:38

    If President Carter, who was a nuclear engineer, scaled back nuclear production in the US when he was President to me that says a lot.

    Also the only good comment I have ever heard of properly disposing of the waste is putting it back where the uranium was harvested from. If it leaks then at least goes into where it came from.

  71. 71 Hanford Downwinders
    July 24, 2008 at 18:48

    The guy from the Hanford nuclear plant area sounds like someone from the nuclear power industry. People should look up anything on The Hanford Downwinders — people who lived near or downwind from the Hanford nuclear plant — and how they were poisoned with radioactive releases and fallout (many, in particular, suffered with thyroid poisoning, as well as with other radioactive exposures and/or poisonings) for years while the U.S. government LIED to them and tried to cover up both the radioactive leaks and the medical side effects and poisonings from the Hanford nuclear plant over the DECADES.

    If WHYS has someone cheering the Hanford nuclear plant, then WHYS needs to exercise _good journalism_ and have someone on from the Hanford Downwinders group or someone who is an expert critic of or expert historian on the Hanford nuclear plant. All WHYS has to do is to do a web search on the Hanford nuclear plant and this information and these sources would readily come up. Often WHYS has a problem with _balance_ on its show with particular guests or with WHYS’s own show preparation research [like the guest on a previous day who said, unchallenged by the host or any other guest, that Barack Obama was Marxist or socialist — what a laugh!: I guess that WHYS was going for sensationalism].

  72. 72 Guillermo - México
    July 24, 2008 at 18:50

    If the oil will sometime dissappear, it is the moment for using alternative power. Nuclear power is clean. With the bad experiences of the past, security on nuclear plants have improved. The future of the civilization is now in hands of the use of energy.

  73. 73 CJ McAuley
    July 24, 2008 at 18:51

    It is gratifying to read people like Dave-Austria and Rashid Patch express that they are thinking about nuclear waste. Intriguing idea there, Dave, and I wonder if any of the “powers-that-be” are even contemplating it? But I will repeat this: we cannot even get regular waste disposal right, by and large, so there is a rather large bridge to cross for nuclear waste disposal to cross!
    BTW: the constant talking over someone else does NOT help ANY case!!!

  74. 74 George
    July 24, 2008 at 18:51

    Ill tell you what. the nuclear industy is anxiously waiting for an american leader to push the nuclear option all the way to the bank. With the political climate and global instability and past disasters, (chernybol) einviroment, (ground water) the nuclear option is not a step in the right direction. Consider the implications.

  75. 75 Elle in Oregon
    July 24, 2008 at 18:52

    The radiation at nuclear plants is not equivalent to “natural” doses, but much higher.

    And the problem is: where there are human beings, there will always be mistakes and accidents. Nothing is fool-proof.

    Also regarding the caller from Washington, and the Hanford site: fish in the Columbia River are still being found to have unusually unsafe levels of radiation.

  76. 76 Lise- Portland USA
    July 24, 2008 at 18:52

    Not safe and not cheap and not carbon neutral. Uranium mining is incredibly destructive.
    Solar and wind are here but large corporations can’t get enough graft from them so they back nuclear.
    Energy efficiencies will save us so much that we won’t need nuclear.

  77. 77 Asad Babyl
    July 24, 2008 at 18:52

    I’m listening to these so-called experts on air and I’m reading some responses about Chernobyl, and I want to suggest that people read something on the issue BEFORE make any claims.

    The Chernobyl accident happened due to HUMAN error, not technological. Over 30 nuclear reactors of the same type are still in operation in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus today.

    Nuclear power is a safe alternative to the current systems. Human error can be quickly minimized and since we already have the technology, we must implement it before it is too late.

  78. 78 George
    July 24, 2008 at 18:56

    Nuclear’s Fatal Flaws: Cost

    Nuclear power came out a winner in the energy bill in 2005, largely due to a renewed push by the Bush administration to build new nuclear reactors for the first time in nearly 30 years. Consumers and the environment lost big. But nuclear power is not a solution to our country’s energy needs. Here are five key reasons: cost, security, safety, waste, and proliferation.

    Despite its promise more than 50 years ago of energy “too cheap to meter,” the nuclear power industry continues to be dependent on taxpayer handouts to survive. Since its inception in 1948, this industry has received tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies but remains unable to compete economically on its own.[1] On August 8, 2005, President Bush signed an energy bill that included over $13 billion in tax breaks and subsidies, as well as other incentives, for the nuclear industry. Here’s a rundown of some of the giveaways to the mature, wealthy industry included in the bill:

    Expansion of Current Programs
    Limited Liability: The Price-Anderson Act, enacted in 1957 as a temporary, 10-year measure to support the fledgling nuclear industry, limits the amount of primary insurance that nuclear operators must carry to $300 million and caps the total liability of nuclear operators in the event of a serious accident or attack to $10.5 billion. A serious nuclear accident could cost more than $600 billion in 2004 dollars[2] – taxpayers would be responsible for covering the vast majority of that sum. Price-Andersonfor commercial nuclear plants had expired as of Jan. 1, 2004for new reactors only. Reauthorizing the Price-Anderson Act to 2025, as the 2005 energy bill does, extends this subsidy to the proposed new generation of nuclear power plants. The nuclear industry claims that the new designs are “inherently safe.” Inherently safe should mean inherently insurable; therefore, nuclear operators should be able to privately insure them.

    License Application Costs: The Nuclear Power 2010 program promotes the building of new nuclear power plants by 2010 by paying for half of the cost to apply for license applications. Through this program, which has received more than $120 million since FY2001, Exelon, Entergy, and Dominion have received funding for three pending Early Site Permit applications to site new reactors in Illinois, Mississippi, and Virginia, respectively. These companies are also part of two of the three consortia that have indicated that they intend to apply for a combined Construction and Operation License (COL) in 2007. DOE has agreed to provide $260 million to the NuStart consortium, and the Dominion-led one has asked for $250 million. The ESP applicants, Entergy, Exelon and Dominion, had combined profits of $4 billion in 2004. The COL consortia members are among the wealthiest corporations in the world, including Bechtel, General Electric, and Duke Power, with more than $27.3 billion in combined profit in 2004.[3] If the nuclear industry believed that the next generation of nuclear plants is a good investment, they would be fully capable of financing both the plants and the research themselves.

    Research and Development: The Department of Energy’s Generation IV program provides funding for up to half the cost of the development of new reactor designs. This program has already received more than $92 million since FY2001. The research and development costs for a single design are estimated to range from $610 million to $1 billion, depending on the type of reactor.[4] The nuclear power industry has been given more taxpayer dollars for research and development than all other energy sectors combined. The 2005 energy legislation authorizes another $2.9 billion for nuclear R&D and licensing.

    Federal Energy Supply R&D Expenditures, 1948-1998[5]

    Energy R&D Program
    Total Federal Expenditure (2003 dollars)

    Nuclear Energy
    $74 billion

    Fossil Fuels
    $30.9 billion

    $14.6 billion

    Energy Efficiency
    $11.7 billion

    Other Subsidies for New Plants
    Taxpayer-financed New Plant Construction: Despite the current subsidies, the industry wants taxpayers to pay for building new reactors, too. The bill authorizes another $1.25 billion for a nuclear plant in Idaho to co-generate hydrogen fuel. While hydrogen may one day fuel our cars, using nuclear power to create the hydrogen fails to meet clean energy goals by creating thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste.License applications for new nuclear reactors are also now exempted from NRC antitrust review.

    “Risk Insurance”: The energy bill authorizes $2 billion in “risk insurance” to pay the industry for any delays in construction and operation licensing for 6 new reactors, including delays due to the NRC or litigation. Not only is this a waste of taxpayer dollars, it will put pressure on the NRC to rush its review of applications, shortchanging the public of its opportunity to participate in the process and jeopardizing public safety. This provision was not in either the House or Senate bill; it was added in the 11th hour during conference report negotiations.

    Production Tax Credits: In order to attempt to make new nuclear power plants appear competitive with other sources of energy, the bill authorizes tax credits for the electricity produced by these reactors. According to the Energy Information Administration, a 1.8-cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity from new reactors during the first 8 years of operation will cost $5.7 billion in revenue losses to the U.S. Treasury through 2025.[6]

    Loan Guarantees and Power Purchase Agreements: To mitigate the high capital costs of building new reactors, the bill authorizes the federal government to provide unlimited loan guarantees for 80% of the cost of new reactors. This will allow the industry to borrow at government treasury bond rates, rather than at rates typically paid by a large utility making a risky investment. The risk of loan default is estimated to be “well above 50 percent.”[7] The Congressional Research Service estimated that the taxpayer liability for loan guarantees covering up to 50% of the cost of building six new reactors would be $6 billion.[8]

    Shutdown Subsidies: The bill changes the rules for funds that are to be used to clean up closed nuclear plant sites, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion.

    Anti-Trust Exemption: Exemption of construction and operation license applications for new nuclear reactors from an NRC antitrust review, a potential windfall for energy companies and boondoggle for consumers.

  79. 79 Donald
    July 24, 2008 at 18:56

    You have not mentioned some basic scientific facts about nuclear power and radiation danger.

    One problem with nuclear power is partly the low level radiation leakages.

    But nobody has discussed the fact that the nuclear power plants actually create high-level extremely radioactive unstable elements which DO NOT EXIST naturally, and which pose a very great threat to life, and which have half lives of tens of thousands of years. There is NO KNOWN WAY to dispose of these high level wastes.

    The health danger of even very small amounts high level waste is that a single small particle, which does not cause a large amount of radiation measured at a distance, but exposure to a single particle of this high level waste can cause cancers which take years to develop, because the high energy particles cause such damage to the cell reproductive system.

  80. 80 Alex J in Oregon
    July 24, 2008 at 18:58

    Smaller exposures to radiation may have little obvious short-term effect, but I suspect some corporations and governments have a vested interest in suppressing alarm when releases occur. Today’s technology IS safer, but nothing’s perfect. With nuclear, the more plants are built the higher the odds of an adverse event. We also need to see the waste issue better addressed. Reprocessing is possible, but it’s still fraught with technical and security issues, and must be heavily subsidized along with the rest of the nuclear industry. The sad thing is, the world has moved too slowly toward deploying other alternatives and improving efficiency. Now we may have little choice but to expand nuclear fission, at least to supply the next few decades.

  81. 81 Bob in USA
    July 24, 2008 at 18:59

    “It’s a lie, it’s a lie’ it’s a lie …” What incisive debate from the South African anti-nuclear caller. Does he think that helps his cause?

  82. 82 Helen
    July 24, 2008 at 19:01

    I trust the technology and the science which makes it accessable.Everything there is to know isn’t known yet.I trust tornadoes and bad drivers and bad people A LOT LESS.

  83. 83 Hanford Downwinders
    July 24, 2008 at 19:03

    I tried to have a friend, call in to the WHYS show studio call-in line, who is a member of the Hanford Downwinders give quite a different — and negative — _experience_ regarding the Hanford nuclear plant, different from the blindly trusting, rosey view that the Washington state guest [like a nuclear power spokesperson] on WHYS gave, but a WHYS telephone recording said that today’s show was not [live?] on the air! Was today’s WHYS show a rebroadcast?

  84. 84 Dennis
    July 24, 2008 at 19:04

    Yes, i trust nuclear power in most cases…

    Syracuse, New York

  85. 85 Dennis
    July 24, 2008 at 19:06

    Was today’s WHYS show a rebroadcast?

    that would be an interesting question to? if i am allowed to ask it?

    Syracuse, New York

  86. 86 John in Salem
    July 24, 2008 at 19:08

    The guest who talks about radioactivity being benign because it’s present in the natural world is using trash logic.
    Just because anthrax and cyanide are also present in soils everywhere doesn’t mean it’s okay to concentrate them and use them for household pest removal.

  87. July 24, 2008 at 19:11

    People who live within 10 miles of a nuclear plant are given a alerting radio and given anti-radioactive drugs to take such as the names as Potassium Iodide. It can be taken in a liquid or pill form.

    Radiation sickness is like the flu. It keeps your immune system weak and you catch colds easy. Children their hormones can not develop efficiently. A major boost is needed such a ACTH to shock into place the interaction of hormone production.

    Any nuclear battery, I don’t care what the purpose, is going to leave some sort of radiation effect in a living body.

    Nuclear medicine as well it will eventually be the catalyst of a future end of ones life. Radiation burns and it’s lifetime is not as it is being predicted, it last longer than the lifetime of any human being than has been to ever exist. (Biblical measures as well.)

    Nuclear mass is not worth the detrimental damages. Oh, those who run nuclear plants like it for sure because the cost of producing electricity far out weighs the use of any other fuel to produce it. The money eyed beast don’t give a flying —- who was destroyed in the past, who is being destroyed or in 1000 years or more will fall prey to it’s toxic waste. And be assured the savings of producing that electricity is not being passed on to you!

    This is not second hand information!!!

    The multi-production of electricity through environmentally friendly avenues will in the long term be far more economical in the future if they were of production and widely utilized. Solar Cells, fuel cells, solar furnace, even the combustion of vaporized air. (The change of air to a gaseous state comes about under the compression of air. The differentiation of two temperatures of compressed air united within a chamber. The air in a instant condenses, the gasses are then ignited and combustion produces usable mechanical force to turn generators, to produce electricity or power a automobile..)

    Alpha Omega Broadcasting 24/7.

    Think for yourself, I won’t think for you. I did not say I couldn’t. I said I won’t! (That gets into the length of radio frequency waves used by human beings. I am speaking about Alpha, Beta, Theta, Gama and Delta type brain waves, the assimilating patterns that you easily fall into synchronism to.)
    Thought if it is perfect, everyone wants it.

    Ye Ha, listen to the Rebel Yell from Deep Down South in Dixie’. A little vulgarity, is the spice of life. Piece Out and Peace Out.

  88. July 24, 2008 at 19:16

    My god.

    1.) An atomic reactor costs 2,000,000,000 EUROs of money to build.

    2.) Deconstrucation of an atomic reactor costs much more and takes a longer time (ever seen a plasma cutter? – hard work!). Can your country afford this in future? Or will every atomic power plant be a waste disposal? As some in the U.S.

    3.) 1 ton of uranium causes 2000 tons of radiative waste. Is this economical? Is this efficient?

    4.) Atomic power is HIGHLY subsidized with YOUR money – without YOU knowing it (37,000,000,000 EUROs of money)

    5.) Worlds first underground disposal ASSE II (Germany) will be closed till 2014, because of safety problems. Which disposal is next?

    6.) Yucca Mountain was only called “safe” because of congress, the Governor said “no” at that time. Learn history.

    7.) FUSION is not an option: The ITER reactor in France costs 10,000,000,000 EUROs of money.The E.U. wants to spend 100,000,000,000 EUROs of money in Fusion till 2050 – THIS IS TO LATE to stop climate change. So they rebuild an atomic renaissance – in order that the same people who are making big money now, can big money in then. Atomic power is the bridge for Fusion power. Both are money printers and money destroyers at the same time.

    8.) FUSION is a centralized kind of energy – just like atomic power – THIS IS NOT AN OPTION for intelligent energy.

    9.) Today was the 4TH ATOMIC SCANDAL in two weeks. More to come.

    Forget the atom.
    Take the photon.

    Read books, not only Wiki.



  89. 89 Pangolin- California
    July 24, 2008 at 19:28

    There are houses and buildings all over the US that get every bit of their power usage from the solar panels on the roof. Some places in the north might have a small windmill. My 70 year old mother has solar panels over her carport and a local brewery has solar panels shading it’s parking lot.

    There is no need to produce nuclear power and it isn’t safe. If the money spent to promote nuclear power was spent to install solar, wind and geothermal/geo-exchange power sources it would produce power in 6 months rather than 10 year at best for nuclear power.

    Nuclear power is promoted by those who count on their ability to bribe elites and milk the rest of us dry. When your entire economy is run on nuclear power the people who control the plants and control the waste own everbody else. Give a politician a light switch and he WILL turn it off just to make you squirm.

  90. 90 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    July 24, 2008 at 19:42

    Nuclear power is conceived negatively in developing world for making weapons, but it has positive side such as generating power…then but but what kind of science? science is not of loving one another, tolerate one another, accepting one another, then is not science.

  91. 91 Jens
    July 24, 2008 at 20:24


    photovoltaic cells are not the answer. you cannot store the energy and it only works reasonably well in southern sun rich parts of the country. plus it takes over 4 years to recoupe the emissons it took to produce the cells. solar power using sterling engiens makes sense (see nevada one)

  92. 92 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 24, 2008 at 21:30

    After using petroleum about hundrad years we are able to discuss the advantages & disadvantages of the product as the available product is God gifted.
    On the other hand more technology & Scientic expertiees is involve in Neculare Tecchnology with a serious physical harm in both sitution’s of use.
    Being a energy users we are the only available hostage to the Government’s of the world, because of investment, technicalities, physical harm & plorification issues. If we are expecting replacement of Petroleum Technology with Atomic we are really way behind in positive Atomic technology at this time though Uranium is God gifted too. In the presance of harm & lak of knowledge raw material cost is immetrial.
    Therefore to resolve the future Energy Crises we need a non political Atomic Club to discuss the reserch & finding’s to resolve the crises, any way reserch & finding may not be considerd secrets of a nation, society & group of people, as the cost & enverimental issues already forced corporate’s to move & transfer the technology to China.
    There are so many issues to discuss in this regard, at least we are determind for positive Atomic use, which is good.

  93. July 24, 2008 at 21:44

    This is not an area I have much knowledge in, but I do think that nuclear fuel as a clean alternative is more maligned than it deserves to be.

    Coal energy, something we don’t give much thought to in the US, is far more damaging both to the environment, and in terms of death and disease, than nuclear power.

    Hydro-electric is not without its pitfalls, either – especially in the emerging economies, such as India and China, where dams not only disrupt aquatic life, but have disastrous social consequences – by displacing people and tribes who have lived and sustainaed themselves for generation find themselves out of work and displaced in every dimension – economically, socially, culturally and psychologically.

    Even renewable energies, with our current technologies, are not completely green, since producing solar cells, entail their own pollution during manufacturing – as do hybrid cars.

    Nuclear power, I believe, shares the media reputation of air-travel. Even though air travel is one of the safest forms of travel – far safer than crossing an urban street, or driving a car, air crashes make big news, just as nuclear plant mishaps do.

    Having said that, yes, ideally we should get all our energy from renewable sources + reduce our energy consumption to meet future needs for energy safely, and sustainably.

    However, till we get to the point, where all our energy is sourced from renewables, nuclear is one of the safest interim choice, and no technology is without risk, because the humans who finalyl operate it – are not infallible. Most accidents, happen because of human failures in the tehcnological chain of operation.

    But the first step to resolving the energy crisis, is “less is more”, as I learned in my years as a sustainable building design specialist.

    Aditi Raychoudhury
    Oakland, CA

  94. 94 Jens
    July 24, 2008 at 22:05

    Syed Hasan Turab,

    may i point out that neither oil nor uranium are god gifted. it si purly science and engeneering, which ahas allowed us to use these resources. science and god are mutally exclussive.

  95. 95 Shakhoor Rehman
    July 24, 2008 at 22:29

    I trust in nuclear power as surely as I trust in God. Famous scientists such as Charles Darwin and Johannes Keppler both believed in God along with countless others famous and not so famous. It was that belief that enabled them to make their brilliant discoveries.

  96. 96 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 24, 2008 at 22:41

    Infact first impression & introduction of Atomic technology was & is horrible, this is why majority of the residents of Global Village have lot of doubts & concern’s to support & adopt this technology.
    To conveyance & satisfy the residents first we have to resolve political issues in a satisfactory manner as the International concess is required to resolve the Energy crises for betterment of our society & living condition’s.
    On the other hand country like Pakistan & Isriel are achieving peace because of Atomic capabilities with an ability to reach the political opponant, on the other hand EU, Russia & USA are in dictateable postion.
    A recent Russian’s statement is reviving the Cuban Misile Crises on the other hand Chavaz is willing to join them, what a joke with peace.
    This is why in the presance of doubts & political issues posibilities of Negative Atomic use may not be denied. No doubt USA got most advance technology, in this political senaro USA have no other choice. Please dont blame us we are united against any one who pose a harm to us.

  97. 97 Jens
    July 24, 2008 at 23:15

    Shakhoor Rehman,

    Charles Darwin DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. This is a lie spread christians.

    you should look at the very very very long list of scientists that DO NOT believe in God. the few that do are a tiny minority. Keppler did not have but a chance of believeing or better pretend to believe in god since the catholic church was the one that could make or break your life.

    it is funny how intelligence/sciuentific achievment and believing in god is diametricaly opposed.

  98. 98 Jens
    July 24, 2008 at 23:37

    “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God”


  99. 99 Pangolin- California
    July 25, 2008 at 01:01

    Jens- Solar power can definately be stored in thermal form as hot salts, steam, or ice, it can be stored in kinetic forms using flywheels, it can be stored in electro-chemical form using batteries, or it can be stored in chemical form by using concentrated solar power to crack water into free hydrogen and hydroxide and CO2 into carbon monoxide and oxygen (which can be stored as methanol, a liquid).

    For those of you wondering how solar power can be stored as ice look up ‘solar thermal adsorption cycle.

    None of these methods require the use of materials that are radioactive or need armed guaurds to oversee. It’s extremely difficult for your government to increase the cost of your solar power system once it’s on your roof and Vladimir Putin isn’t going to shut off the sun if you don’t agree with him.

    Since no nation would be so foolish to use exclusively solar power it is likely that wind, power, hydropower and geothermal power could provide on days when the sun doesn’t shine.

  100. 100 theinterested
    July 25, 2008 at 01:18

    The main problem of nuclear reactors is not only accidents but especially the permanent disposal of the nuclear waste. Because it will radiate forever, it is a major risk for drinking water reservoirs, plants and everyone who drinks or eats them, such as animals and human beings! The only solution for that problem would be to release it into outer space, but who could pay for that?

  101. July 25, 2008 at 02:08

    1. Nuclear power is the safest energy available, bar none.
    Deaths per terrawatt year [twy] for energy industries, including
    Chernobyl. terra=mega mega

    fuel……… ……..fatalities… …..who……… …….deaths per twy
    coal……… ………6400…… ……workers……….. ………342
    natural gas….. ..1200…… …..workers and public… …85
    hydro…….. …….4000….. …….public………… …………883
    nuclear…….. ………31…… ……workers………… ………….8

    Nuclear power is proven to be the safest. Source: “The Revenge
    of Gaia” by James Lovelock page 102.

    2. Natural background radiation has always been there and is
    1000 times what you get from a nuclear power plant including
    Chernobyl. How do you think we date ancient mummies?

    3. Coal contains uranium and coal fired power plants burning
    average coal put 100 times as much radiation into your
    environment as nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl. Coal
    kills 24000/year in the US and 1 Million per year in China.
    Coal cinders are a good ore for a long list of elements including
    uranium and thorium. Thorium can be bred into uranium.

    4. Nuclear fuel is recyclable. The US used to recycle nuclear
    fuel. France recycles nuclear fuel. Nuclear “waste” is also good
    for making nuclear batteries for heart pacemakers. There is no
    such thing as nuclear waste. Nuclear fuel is being wasted for
    political reasons.

    5. A nuclear power plant canNOT explode like a nuclear bomb.

    6. The latest 2 types of American reactors canNOT melt down.

    7. There is nothing a terrorist can do to a nuclear power plant that
    will cause a radiation release. Terrorists cannot rob reactors and
    get uranium.

    8. If we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, particularly coal, we will
    go extinct in about a century when H2S starts coming out of the

    9. Neither solar nor wind nor geothermal nor all 3 combined can
    provide base load power for most of us. Solar never works at
    night and would multiply your electric bill by 600. Wind never
    works when the wind isn’t blowing and would likewise multiply
    your electric bill by a large number. Geothermal isn’t where it is
    needed. Transmission of electric power further than 1500 miles
    doesn’t work with technology we already have. Nuclear power
    is the only way to avoid extinction of the human race.

    Yes, I am willing to live near a nuclear power plant or a nuclear
    fuel recycling plant. I will give you the references and details in
    following posts.

  102. 102 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:20

    Coal fired power plants put 14.7 MILLION TONS of CO2 into the air every
    year for each 1000 Megawatts generated for one year. Nuclear plants put ZERO
    CO2 into the air. The CO2 cost of building coal vs. nuclear is the same and
    negligible. The CO2 cost of mining and transporting coal is large and not
    included in the 14.7 MILLION TONS of CO2. The mining and transportation
    cost of nuclear fuel is zero since Yucca Mountain is full of fuel that needs to be
    reprocessed and put back into reactors. Each 1000 Megawatts of nuclear power
    needs so little uranium that you could easily carry an equal weight in a suitcase.
    Burning 4 MILLION TONS of coal makes 14.7 MILLION TONS of CO2. As I
    have pointed out many times, burning 4 MILLION TONS of coal puts enough
    U235 into the air and cinders to fuel a nuclear plant, or enough uranium +
    thorium to fuel hundreds of nuclear plants if breeding is allowed. There is no
    way to get there from here without nuclear power, like it or not.

  103. July 25, 2008 at 02:21

    It is better for the lower income countries not to plans to build the nuclear power. It is very costly even deadly to dam up it worst near the society and danger during some heavy natural disaster actions. But if any governments and their nations can manages to deal with these matters then is good for them. Above all, this is 21st century and freedom of sciences for all nations in world. There is one wicked nation with her allies are using indirect chemical Deplated urainum around the world since world war two. The world need to set laws for all people to be save from expose to chemical deplated uranium. Specially these nations who are way from political instabilities are the world should stand and play role of peace and only for these nations wanted nuclear power for energy.

  104. 104 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:27

    32 countries have nuclear power plants.
    9 countries have the bomb, counting North Korea.
    What’s the matter with those 23 countries that have nuclear power
    but not the bomb? Are they reneging on their obligation
    to proliferate?

  105. 105 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:31

    COAL contains:
    Let’s start with a list of the heavy and light elements in coal.
    Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine,
    Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium,
    Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine,
    Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much
    of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually
    valuable ores. We should be able to get all the uranium and
    thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by
    using cinders and smoke as ore. Remember that, to get a given
    amount of energy, you need on the order of 100 MILLION
    TIMES as much coal as uranium. That means the coal mine has
    to be 100 million times larger than the uranium mine, not counting
    the recycling of nuclear fuel. We can keep our mountains and
    forests and our health by switching from coal to nuclear power.

    Chinese industrial grade coal is sometimes stolen by
    peasants for cooking. The result is that the whole family
    dies of arsenic poisoning because Chinese industrial grade
    coal contains large amounts of arsenic.

    I have zero financial interest in nuclear power, and I never have
    had a financial interest in nuclear power. My sole motivation in
    writing this is to avoid extinction by H2S gas due to global

  106. 106 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:34

    Yucca Mountain contains an enormous supply of nuclear fuel that
    should not be wasted. We don’t recycle nuclear fuel because
    spent fuel is valuable and people steal it. The place it went that it
    wasn’t supposed to go to is Israel. This happened in a small town
    near Pittsburgh, PA circa 1970. A company called Numec was in
    the business of reprocessing nuclear fuel. I almost took a job
    there, designing a nuclear battery for a heart pacemaker. [A
    nuclear battery would have the advantage of lasting many times as
    long as any other battery, eliminating many surgeries to replace
    batteries.] Numec did NOT have a reactor. Numec “lost” a
    quantity of reactor grade uranium. It wound up in
    Israel. The Israelis have fueled both their nuclear power plants
    and their nuclear weapons by stealing nuclear “waste.” See:
    It could work for any other country, such as Iran or the United
    States. It is only when you don’t have access to nuclear “waste”
    that you have to do the difficult process of enriching uranium,
    unless you have a Canadian “CANDU” reactor or a British
    Magnox reactor, both of which run on unenriched uranium.
    Numec is no longer in business. The reprocessing of nuclear fuel
    in the US stopped. That was the only politically possible solution
    at that time, given that private corporations did the reprocessing.
    My solution would be to reprocess the fuel at a Government
    Owned Government Operated [GOGO] facility. At a GOGO
    plant, bureaucracy and the multiplicity of ethnicity and religion
    would disable the transportation of uranium to Israel or to any
    unauthorized place. Nothing heavier than a secret would get out.

  107. 107 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:47

    Why terrorists can’t rob radioactive materials from nuclear

    Suppose a gang of terrorists tries to do a bank robbery type of
    operation against a nuclear reactor. What problems do they
    encounter that they wouldn’t when robbing a bank?
    1. There is no nuclear fuel within reach of any human.
    2. The fuel is inside a containment building that is harder to
    penetrate than a bank vault.
    3. The fuel is inside a machine that was not made for human
    access. Fuel isn’t something in a fuel tank that the reactor takes
    some of each minute. The fuel is an internal component of the
    engine. Stealing fuel is more like stealing a piston out of an
    engine than siphoning gasoline out of a gas tank. The robbers
    would be like somebody trying to steal a piston out of an engine in
    a busy Wal-Mart parking lot, not like somebody trying to steal a
    cell phone out of an unlocked car in a dark alley. Fuel is removed
    and replaced in a reactor at most once a year and often only once
    every 10 years. Reactors could be built to be fueled once in the
    reactor’s lifetime. NASA’s RTG reactors are fueled only once.
    For example, the power sources on the Voyager spacecraft that
    are now exiting the solar system have the same nuclear fuel they
    had 30 years ago when they were launched. The Voyagers still
    have power. Fuel that is removed from a reactor can be recycled
    and put back into a reactor. The volume of the fuel doesn’t
    change as it is used.
    4. The fuel is not like money in several ways:
    a. The fuel is radioactive enough to kill the robbers immediately.
    b. The fuel is far too heavy for the robbers to carry.
    c. The fuel is sealed in steel capsules inside steel rods inside the
    reactor core inside a coolant system, etc.
    d. the temperature of the fuel is more than hot enough to burn
    e. If they got the fuel out, they would have to carry it in lead
    containers that would weigh many tons.
    f. etc.

    To get fuel out, the reactor must first be shut down. The robbers
    don’t know how. The reactor must be allowed to cool. Cooling
    takes time, like days. The fuel can only be removed by a robot.
    The robot may not be present. The robbers don’t know how to
    operate the robot. The robbers don’t have a way to move fuel
    rods out of the containment building. The robbers would have to
    have a big truck with a lead container to carry the fuel in. Big
    trucks are not good getaway vehicles, especially when heavily
    IF the robbers knew how to do all of the required jobs, it would
    still take them weeks to rob a reactor. Don’t you think somebody
    would notice when the people who work at the reactor didn’t
    come home for a few weeks? Do you think the cops and the
    army are going to give the robbers weeks? The result of such an
    attempted robbery would be robbers killed by bullets. Guards are
    not needed. Fences are not needed. Guards and fences are there
    purely because paranoid people want them there. Do not be like
    a person who wears an aluminum foil hat to keep the government
    from reading his or her thoughts. The government can’t read
    thoughts anyway, and terrorists can’t steal fuel out of a nuclear

  108. 108 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 02:56

    A friend of mine from Oak Ridge National Laboratory wrote to
    me: “The reactor that had the accident at Chernobyl was very out-
    of-date (1st generation) design that has to be precisely controlled
    to prevent cooling water from boiling. Water carries away heat
    and moderates far better than bubbles, and as bubbles form in
    water, the reactor goes increasingly unstable. What caused
    Chernobyl to blow its top was residual water in the core suddenly
    going to high pressure steam and erupting into a steam explosion.
    Since the building top was simply resting by its weight on the
    walls, not a containment vessel at all, the steam explosion burped
    the top off its position allowing outside air in, subsequently
    igniting a carbon fire.” The United States and other Western
    countries DO NOT now build and do not now posses or operate
    ANY reactors of such primitive design. Nor do we allow
    containment buildings to have easily removable tops.
    Containment buildings in the Western hemisphere are required to
    be pressure vessels.
    The Chernobyl accident released only 200 tons of
    radioactive material, as much as a coal-fired power plant would
    release in 7 years and 5 months. The Chernobyl accident had a
    shorter “stack” than coal-fired power plants. The radioactive
    material was released in a short time at ground level. That is why
    the Chernobyl accident had impact. The Three Mile Island
    incident did NOT release a noticeable amount of radiation into its
    neighborhood because it had a good containment building and
    because it was a more modern design.
    The reason is that the Soviet Union didn’t spend money on R&D
    for nuclear safety. The US did. Over 60 years, American
    reactors have become so safe it is ridiculous. We have way
    overspent on nuclear reactor safety, driving up the cost of
    electricity. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, coal fired electric
    power plants kill 24,000 people per year in the US according to
    Discover magazine. Reactors built in the US in 2008 are nothing
    like the very first reactor ever, built in the US in 1944. Soviet
    built reactors were just copies of the 1944 reactor.
    The book: “Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy”, by B. Comby
    has more truthful information on this if you are interested. Don’t
    believe the urban legends that were started by coal companies.
    Order the book from: http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm
    See: http://www.ecolo.org for more information on the book.
    Most books on the subject in most libraries may be there because
    of coal industry pressure.

    I have no connection with the nuclear power industry. Nobody is
    paying me to post this. I have never worked for the nuclear
    power industry.

  109. 109 P Hoss
    July 25, 2008 at 03:07

    What a wonderful topic!

    I am a nuclear engineer and I have a design for a green nuclear plant that generates a minimum amount of radioactive waste. It uses thorium-232 as breeder/converter to produce uranium-233 fuel. This variety of power plant can be produced very quickly in a matter of months if not weeks. I have estimated that energy from these units should not cost more than € 0.02/kwh to the end consumer.

    To me, the question is can we trust our government to return the benefit of nuclear power to the people.

  110. 110 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 03:26

    I may not be able to give you all the references I promised because my computer
    is running out of memory to hold the long page we are commenting on. My computer
    is about 2 decades old.

    We have enough nuclear fuel for FIVE THOUSAND YEARS

    according to “Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy”, by B. Comby. “Breeding”
    fissionable fuel and recycling nuclear fuel greatly extends the supply. We have
    many possible uranium mines that we haven’t started mining. The reasons we are
    not doing so are political and psychological. Most people have an irrational fear
    of anything nuclear caused by coal industry propaganda.

    Everything, including yourself, is made of atoms. All atoms have nuclei. You
    have many atomic nuclei inside yourself since you are made of atoms. The
    simplest nucleus is one proton. That would be a hydrogen atom. An oxygen
    atom has 8 protons and either 8, 9 or 10 neutrons in its nucleus. All other nuclei
    also have neutrons. Uranium has 92 protons and either 143 or 146 neutrons. If it
    has 143 neutrons it is U235. If it has 146 neutrons, it is U238. Nuclear fuel is
    only 2% to 8% U235, the kind that fissions/divides, providing energy. The rest is
    U238 that doesn’t fission. A nuclear reaction happens when a neutron is captured
    by a nucleus. If a U235 nucleus captures a neutron, the nucleus and the atom split
    approximately in half and 2 or 3 neutrons are released because the 2 smaller
    nuclei don’t need so many neutrons. If a U238 nucleus captures a neutron, it
    ejects an electron and the neutron becomes a proton. The U238 thus becomes
    Plutonium 239. Plutonium is fissionable, which means that plutonium is a good
    fuel. If you add Thorium to the fuel, you can make more fissionable uranium. If
    a Thorium atom nucleus captures a neutron, it ejects an electron and the neutron
    becomes a proton. The Thorium atom thus becomes U233. U233 is fissionable.

    Depending on the design of the reactor and the mix of the fuel, the fuel % in the
    reactor can either grow or shrink. It is kind of like the fuel gauge can go either up
    or down, but it is more like the reactor can run hotter or cooler over time. The
    temperature is kept constant by adjusting the control rods. A breeder reactor is a
    reactor designed to make the fissionable part of the fuel load grow rapidly.
    In the US, fuel is left in the reactor for about 10 years, or 10% of the fuel is
    replaced each year. The reprocessing step sorts out the fuel and puts the
    percentage of fissionable fuel back to the starting percentage. In the process,
    plutonium may be removed and either wasted or used as fuel. If we add thorium
    to the fuel, we can make more uranium than we put in. Since the earth contains
    more than twice as much thorium as uranium, it would be wise to make thorium
    into uranium. By reprocessing nuclear fuel, we get an enormous, many centuries
    long fuel supply. The products of fission are also removed when fuel is
    reprocessed. These are just other ordinary atoms that are no longer useful as fuel.
    The quantity is very small. We should reprocess fuel to keep the fuel load at the
    correct percentage of fissionable fuel for the particular reactor design. Instead, we
    go through the expensive process of making more “virgin” fuel for each new fuel
    load. This greatly increases the price you pay for electricity. We are not
    reprocessing nuclear fuel for political reasons.

    I have zero financial interest in nuclear power, and I never have had a financial
    interest in nuclear power. My sole motivation in writing this is to avoid extinction
    by H2S gas. H2S is how global warming kills everybody if we don’t act.

  111. 111 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 03:32

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear

    Bombs are completely different from reactors. There is
    nothing similar about them except that they both need fissile
    materials. But they need DIFFERENT fissile materials and they
    use them very differently.
    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile
    material into a small space. There is no other material in the
    volume containing the nuclear explosive. The fissile material is
    either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium. If it is uranium, it is
    at least 90% uranium 235 and 10% or less uranium 238. There is
    no isotope separation problem if the fissile material is plutonium.
    These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress.
    Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive [high
    speed explosive] is required to compress them. Pieces of the
    fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear
    reactions to take place.
    A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power
    generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may
    be 2% uranium 235 mixed with uranium 238. A mixture of 2%
    uranium 235 mixed with uranium 238 cannot be made to explode
    no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium mixed
    in with the uranium can not change this. Reactor fuel still cannot
    be made to explode like a nuclear bomb no matter how hard you
    try. There has never been a nuclear explosion in a reactor and
    there never will be. [Uranium and plutonium are flammable, but
    a fire isn’t an explosion.] The fuel is further diluted by being
    divided and sealed into many small steel capsules. The fuel is
    further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules
    and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place
    where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. A
    reactor does not contain any high speed [or any other speed]
    chemical explosive as a bomb must have. A reactor does not
    have any explosive materials at all.
    As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no
    possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear
    bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and
    bombs are really not even related to each other.
    Reccomendation: Nuclear power is the safest kind and it just got
    safer. Convert all coal-fired power plants to nuclear ASAP. See
    the December 2005 issue of Scientific American article on a new
    type of nuclear reactor that consumes the nuclear “waste” as fuel.

  112. 112 Bob in Queensland
    July 25, 2008 at 03:53

    @ Asteroid Miner

    With respect, I don’t think there are many people out there who seriously think a nuclear plant will explode like a bomb.

    What people ARE concerned about are:

    1. Human or design error leading to leaks of radioactivity or (at worst) an uncontrolled melt down. Yes, Chernobyl was an old design badly maintained and operated–but the last time I was in Scotland (a couple of years back) sheep and cattle were still being monitored for contamination and hotspots occasionally found. Try telling a Scottish shepherd how safe nuclear is.

    2. The disposal and storage of waste products. Name me one thing ever constructed by man that has lasted as long as will be necessary for the safe disposal of the worst of the by-products. We’re leaving our children a legacy that we just can’t be sure of.

    As I said in a post above, I fully accept that some nuclear might be the lesser of evils–but I’m never going to feel warm and cuddly about it! (And if I do feel warm then I’ll start to worry! Just kidding! Honest! )

    @ P Hoss

    Fascinating post. May I ask if your designs are generally accepted by other engineers as feasible and/or have they gone through any form of peer review?

  113. 113 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 04:37

    Coal is almost pure carbon, except for the URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD,
    MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine,
    Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium,
    Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum
    and Zinc that are coal’s impurities. Coal smoke and cinders are commercially
    viable ORE for the above elements.
    Chinese industrial grade coal is sometimes stolen by peasants for cooking. The
    result is that the whole family dies of arsenic poisoning because Chinese
    industrial grade coal contains large amounts of arsenic. Coal varies a lot.
    You have to analyze it not only mine by mine but even lump by lump.
    by Alex Gabbard
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    Oak Ridge, TN
    Selections from the 19th Annual Conference
    March 14,15,16, 1996
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Published by the
    Edited by Jack D. Arters, Ed.D.
    Conference Director
    The truth is, all natural rocks contain most natural elements. Coal is a rock.
    The average concentration of uranium in coal is 1 or 2 parts per million. Illinois
    coal contains up to 103 parts per million uranium. A 1000 million watt coal
    fired power plant burns 4 million tons of coal each year. If you multiply 4
    million tons by 1 part per million, you get 4 tons of uranium. Most of that is
    U238. About .7% is U235. 4 tons = 8000 pounds. 8000 pounds times .7% =
    56 pounds of U235. An average 1000 million watt coal fired power plant puts
    out 56 to 112 pounds of U235 every year. There are only 2 places the uranium
    can go: Up the stack or into the cinders.
    Since a reactor full fuel load is around 11 tons of 2% U235 and 98% U238, and
    one load lasts about 10 years, and what one coal fired power plant puts into the
    air and cinders fully fuels a nuclear power plant.
    Compare 4 Million tons per year with 1.1 tons per year. 1.1 divided by 4 Million
    = 2.75 E -7 = .000000275 =.0000275%. Remember that only 2% of that is
    U235. The nuclear power plant needs ~44 pounds of U235 per year. The coal
    fired power plant burns coal by the trainload. The nuclear power plant consumes
    U235 in such small quantities yearly that you could carry that much weight in a
    See also: http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html

  114. 114 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 05:04

    It was by the grace of America engineering that 3 mile island didn’t burn like
    Chernobyl. American engineers and scientists are very clever people, and they
    have spent huge efforts at improving reactor safety. The Soviets just copied our
    1944 reactor rather than do the necessary work to make a better reactor. The
    former Soviets would do well to copy or purchase our latest technology.

    There are two types of 21st century reactors that cannot melt down no matter how
    badly they are treated. Safety is guaranteed by laws of physics.
    In the pebble bed reactors, stopping coolant flow removes the space between
    fuel pellets. The space between fuel pellets must be filled with moving water.
    The water is the moderator to slow down the neutrons so that the reaction can take
    place. No coolant flow, no reaction. These pebble bed reactors will never
    experience a meltdown. It just can’t happen because of laws of nature. The US
    has 2 pebble bed reactors.
    In the recommended and newly invented helium cooled reactor, the core is
    made of high temperature [refractory] materials that simply will not melt if coolant
    flow ceases. The core is cooled from a higher temperature by heating the
    containment building, which also does not melt. The containment building heats
    its surroundings in the case of coolant flow loss. The helium cooled reactor uses
    helium as the working fluid to turn a turbine. Helium gas is the ideal fluid to turn
    a turbine because it can be made very pure so that the turbine blades will last a
    very long time.
    Safety is assured in all US built reactors by the containment building, which is a
    pressure vessel and which, as in the case of the now obsolete 3 mile island reactor,
    can and did contain the overheated core. There were ZERO casualties.

    American reactors are now too safe. Nuclear power is overpriced because of the
    excessive safety. 20,000 to 30,000 Americans die each year because of those
    poisons I listed below that come out of coal fired power plants. It is C O A L fired
    power plants that kill 20,000 to 30,000 Americans each year. Nuclear power
    plants kill ZERO Americans each year. It is COAL burning that will make us go
    extinct in about 200 years if we keep doing it.

    The problem is that we OVERSHOT on safety design because of people who
    protest nuclear power. American reactors are TOO safe. It is C O A L fired
    power plants that give you 100 times as much radiation. Coal is almost pure
    carbon, except for the URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony,
    Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron,
    Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium,
    Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc that are coal’s impurities.
    We could fuel our nuclear plants from the uranium and thorium in the smoke and
    cinders from coal fired power plants. Coal cinders are an economically viable ore
    for several of the listed impurities.

    French reactors use American technology that is about 3 decades old.

  115. 115 Asteroid Miner
    July 25, 2008 at 05:32

    Background radiation
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Background radiation is the ionizing radiation from several natural radiation
    sources: sources in the Earth and from those sources that are incorporated in our
    food and water, which are incorporated in our body, and in building materials and
    other products that incorporate those radioactive sources; radiation sources from
    space (in the form of cosmic rays); and sources in the atmosphere which primarily
    come from both the radon gas that is released from the earth’s surface and
    subsequently decays to radioactive atoms that become attached to airborne dust
    and particulates, and the production of radioactive atoms from the bombardment
    of atoms in the upper atmosphere by high-energy cosmic rays. Since 1945 it also
    comes from low levels of global radioactive contamination due to nuclear testing.


    Natural background radiation

    Natural background radiation comes from three primary sources: cosmic radiation,
    terrestrial sources, and radon. The worldwide average background dose for a
    human being is about 2.4 mSv per year. This exposure is mostly from cosmic
    radiation and natural isotopes in the Earth.

    Cosmic radiation

    The Earth, and all living things on it, are constantly bombarded by radiation from
    outside our solar system of positively charged ions from protons to iron nuclei.
    This radiation interacts in the atmosphere to create secondary radiation that rains
    down, including X-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and
    neutrons. The dose from cosmic radiation is largely from muons, neutrons, and

    The dose rate from cosmic radiation varies in different parts of the world based
    largely on the geomagnetic field and altitude.

    Terrestrial sources

    Radioactive material is found throughout nature. It occurs naturally in the soil,
    rocks, water, air, and vegetation. The major radionuclides of concern for terrestrial
    radiation are potassium, uranium and thorium. Each of these sources has been
    decreasing in activity since the birth of the Earth so that our present dose from
    potassium-40 is about 1⁄2 what it would have been at the dawn of life on Earth.
    Some of the elements that make up the human body have radioactive isotopes,
    such as potassium-40, so there is also a very small amount of internal radiation.


    Radon gas seeps out of uranium-containing soils found across most of the world
    and may concentrate in well-sealed homes. It is often the single largest contributor
    to an individual’s background radiation dose and is certainly the most variable in
    the United States. Many areas of the world, including Cornwall and Aberdeenshire
    in the United Kingdom have high enough natural radiation levels that nuclear
    licensed sites cannot be built there—the sites would already exceed legal radiation
    limits before they opened, and the natural topsoil and rock would all have to be
    disposed of as low-level nuclear waste.


    The exposure for an average person is about 360 millirems/year, 80 percent of
    which comes from natural sources of radiation. The remaining 20 percent results
    from exposure to artificial radiation sources, such as medical X-rays and a small
    fraction from nuclear weapons tests.



  116. 116 Neil
    July 25, 2008 at 05:33

    It’s obvious that many if not all of the posters here who have stated their fear driven objections to Nuclear Energy have not done much (any?) research on the topic and are simply exhibiting knee-jerk reactions based upon all the media hype and urban myth about nuclear energy. I challange them all to read Gwyneth Craven’s book entitled: Power to save the world…the truth about Nuclear Energy.

    The facts presented in this book are overwhelming counter arguments to the baseless myths that so many people cling to. READ THE BOOK!!

  117. 117 P Hoss
    July 25, 2008 at 05:37

    @ Bob in Queensland

    Feasible? It is entirely feasible.

    The design principles are similar to what has been advocated by nuclear physicist and Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia. The design also embraces some early Godiva nuclear technology which was abandon due to material deficiencies at the time (1940’s) that no longer exist. If you would like to know more, please contact me at phoss01ATgmailDOTcom.

  118. 118 peter mose
    July 25, 2008 at 08:51

    i dont trust the gov to tell the truth on this subject because of the great lengh they go to to conseal the truth=they went to a lot of trouble to conseal the fact that fish and other water life on the coast of ireland were shown to be damaged by radiation
    from the reactor on this side of the channel,

    conpensation paid on the quiet = a lot of powerful politicians burying the evidence
    shuffling the money though grants for this and that,
    lets face it we are known as the dirty old man of europe/we have the worst standards of /education /living /highest cost of fuel /insurance green cars/ but we do have the ,
    highest paid politicians in the world,with the worst record of excess,

    there is nothing wrong with the sience its the morons in charge thats the problem.
    peter mose
    fully trackable

  119. July 25, 2008 at 14:32

    I am so sorry I stated the British address of the Low Level radiation Campaign incorrectly. The correct URL is: http://www.llrc.org

  120. 120 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 25, 2008 at 18:16

    You sound like you are in 19th century, fully motivated with “Burtend Russel’s ” theories, findings & astrogical view of the Universe.
    Secret of our sucess & theory of our war against communist’s purely based on “IN GOD WE TRUST” & we win, even Bin Ladin, Alquida & Talaban were our collusion partner in communist war because of “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
    Any way Burtend Russel was a great Psylopher of 19th century & contributed a lot for our debates, discussion’s & theories.
    May God bless America as ” IN GOD WE TRUST” is written on US green Dollors.

  121. July 26, 2008 at 10:08

    Nuke is only good if it is used to generate energy. Not for killing another existing species. Nuke waste disposal is more important. If managed properly Nuke energy is the only way forward for the high demand of energy needs for the future.

  122. 122 Shakhoor Rehman
    July 26, 2008 at 12:59

    Jens, Charles Darwin was officially an agnostic that means he believed that the existence of God could not be proved. That is radically different from being an atheist. It is also the case that he participated in church activities in the village where he lived, Down. Concerning Keppler you seem to want your cake and eat it too. Keppler was so committed to belief in God, that he wrote the inscription on his tombstone specifically stating that his soul originated in Heaven. Are you seriously saying that he was in mortal fear of the Catholic Church even to his dying breath? The fact is that concerning the number of scientists who do or do not believe in God there are no official figures but there are plenty of scientists who do believe and that is sufficient. A more pertinent question would be why do scientists believe or not believe in God?

  123. 123 Rick
    July 27, 2008 at 05:20

    Scientists believe or not in god because their just like every body else. Religion is a heart thing not a brain thing. You must take a blind leap of faith to believe regardles of how smart or well educated you are. Some people just can’t deal with their own mortality and god is the secruity blanket they need.

  124. July 27, 2008 at 08:18

    I get sick of the hysterical references to Chernobyl, the world’s only big nuclear bang, and Three Mile Island, able to be contained, and without loss of life. Both due to inadequate training coupled with self aggrandisement at Chernobyl if I believe what is noted above. Sure there have been and always will be minor problems as others have illustrated so there have been with oil and gas extraction and delivery and particularly coal extraction where there have been thousands killed over hundreds of years. Nuclear power may not be green but it is certainly clean and I will live alongside a nuclear plant in Australia any time.
    Problems with nuclear waste are always dramatically exaggerated. To read the facts about processing nuclear waste go to the Environmentalists For Nuclear energy website and have an unbiased read. Efficient waste disposal is already being practiced. Bruno Comby has already painted the picture on that fallacy.
    I am a Local Correspondent in Australia for EFN and remain amazed at the ignorance of many folk who can only relate to Hiroshima and Nagasaki coupled up with Chernobyl. We have nearly half a century of nuclear development and from some 450 plus nuclear stations around the world a near to trouble free delivery of clean electricity. I an sick of breathing CO2 at around twice the volume intended.

  125. 125 peter mose
    July 27, 2008 at 11:42

    ok i am not a scientist ,and i do live in england ,our voltage is 250v highest in the world not to mention dangerous,america =110v ,so how much does it cost in energy
    to run a 1/4 hp electic motor for 1hour @ 110v and then @ 250v.

    why do we still put 250v into a light bulb [ fluro ] when it runs on a fraction of that,
    =[more small trans formers ]

    televisions /stereos/computers/ all have transformers yet can and do run on 12v

    led for lights, 12v for heating pumps /valves/ the list goes on ,ok a frezzer /fridge /washing machine /dryer may well need the higher voltage ,
    but one 12v transformer installed for all of the low voltage use must surley cut consumption down dramaticly ,yes i know the power companies will not like it nor will the gov=less[ tax ] .

    in holland they a small community ,eg 3farmers purchase a wind generator
    they get a green tax brake on it and the maintenance and running cost ,
    = less carbon ,any xcess sold back the grid for a fair price,

    in england unless your a big company or an mp you wont get a green tax break
    you would be leagaley required to sell any excess to the grid for a pitance,

    greed and control play a very large part in the status quo,
    so there is little or no incentiv in this country ,as long as the gov can get weapons grade material /to prop up the oil wars ,

    but you can make the difference the more people who come up with idears to save on power the more surplus they got = less generation.

    so come on all you bods rip this to bits [thats what debates about right[

    peter mose
    fully trackable

  126. July 27, 2008 at 11:43

    We should consider following Italy’s example of letting the local people decide where such plants are to be located. It makes sound democratic sense. The fact is it has decomissioned all nuclear plants gone in for other sourcesof energy ! Where there is plenty of sun and wind opting for these forms of renewable energies seem to make a lot of sense. Going nuclear should be an option of last resort if all else fails should people opt for it.

  127. July 27, 2008 at 21:10

    A comment from Roberto of Argentine.
    Excellent explanations of ” Asteroide Miner”
    The book mentioned by Neil: “Power to save the world…the truth about Nuclear Energy.” (Gwyneth Craven’s book )as well as “Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy of B .Cumby” are some of the books to be read by the public in order to remove “fears” about nuclear energy . In front of the challenges of the human being, nuclear energy is a real and available means to supply energy and the same time take care of the environmental and human health…
    Long lived of the radioactive waste can be transmuted to middle lived term by proper burner, as it was mentioned by one of the posters .
    By the way: Terrestrial energy is the heat at the earth’s core This heat derives largely from a single source – the radioactive breakdown of uranium and thorium. . Then bring this heat source-uranium thorium disintegration to the earth surface it is not the role of the nuclear reactor?

  128. July 29, 2008 at 11:03

    i dont trust uNclear power.if i were to trust it,i wouldnt doubt my neighbour using it.uNclear power is like a dump site.

    david lulasa(the last don)

  129. August 9, 2008 at 17:32

    Natural background radiation has always been there and is
    1000 times what you get from a nuclear power plant including
    Chernobyl. How do you think we date ancient mummies?

    Life has adapted to natural background radiation.
    But not manmade radiation.
    Simply because manmade radiation is added to the natural background radiation. Every serious medic or physician would agree.

  130. August 9, 2008 at 17:38

    It’s NOT 22 years AFTER Chernobyl.
    It’s 22 years on going Chernobyl.
    The E.U. is spending 368,000,000 EUROs of money into Chernobyl since 2007.
    A Chernobyl crash in the U.S. would cost 5,000,000,000,000 EUROs of money.
    Goodbye exports.
    No reactor is assured. Doesn’t this worry you? How come?
    It’s the American people who would have to pay for it NOT the operators.
    Letting reactors running is a crime. And a money black hole.
    Today is Nagasaki Day, atomic reactors and atomic bombs are siamese twins.
    We had 7 atomic accidents in Europe in only one month.

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