[] On Behalf Of John Clark
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2013 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: Nuclear power


On Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 2:21 PM, Chris de Morsella <>


 >> A regular reactor produces lots of neutrons but a LFTR makes less of
them, so it needs all that U233 to keep the chain reaction going, if you try
stealing some the reactor will simply stop operating making the theft

> Agreed again - but again by the time it is realized it may be too late.

>>Why would it be too late? It seems to me that a reactor immediately
stopping and a city going dark would be a pretty effective burglar alarm, it
would grab people's attention that something was wrong much better than just
ringing a bell.  


Again you are assuming a centralized plant scenario serving an entire metro
area. What if that metro area had twenty or small scale modular LFTR
reactors sprinkled here and there - as is in fact the stated proposal of
many of the new nuclear reactor ideas - including Terrapower backed by Bill
Gates. You say it is a bad idea to have many small modular reactors
sprinkled all over the place - which I agree is a terrible idea - and then
you say "don't do it". Where we differ is that I continue to consider the
scenarios, which you exclude because they are clearly a bad idea, but bad
ideas get deployed out into the world with a surprising regularity and just
because something is a bad idea does not ensure that it will not - for other
reasons say profit motive - become a fact on the ground.

In a scenario with many small widely distributed LFTR plants how could they
all be protected?



> No one has shown me any fundamental reason why this very rapid rate of
growth in the PV sector will slow in the near term. 

>>I can think of one thing that could dramatically not just slow but reverse
the growth of photovoltaics, removing the tax incentives and subsidies. In
effect government has been lying to the free market about the true cost to
the economy of solar cells. Someday it may be different, I hope so, but
right now solar just can't compete against coal or oil or natural gas or
nuclear unless government distorts reality, but this deception cannot
continue indefinitely because as Richard Feynman said "reality must take
precedence over public relations for nature cannot be fooled".  

Sure it can. Solar easily beats nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas as the
low cost supply of electricity when ALL subsidies for ALL energy systems are
removed. If you complain about the subsidies that solar receives shouldn't
you also address the huge in built subsidies enjoyed by these other energy
systems: including special tax breaks, legal caps on liabilities (for both
nuclear and oil sectors I know about - and very possibly also the gas and
coal sectors as well), all the externalized costs of coal, oil and nuclear.

By all means lets level the playing field and see what energy systems
prevail. But in order to do so the playing field has to be transparently
level and all thre energy systems must bake their true actual long term
costs into the market price they need to charge. If coal had to charge the
actual cost for burning the coal -even just factoring in all the downstream
healthcare costs attributable to the mining, burning and the waste of
burning coal, which is currently dumped onto the public in terms of raising
all of our health care rates to cover the large expenses incurred in
treating the many chronic illnesses of coal, coal would need to raise its
market price to the point that it would no longer be the cost leader, but
would be one of the most expensive supplies.

Even the energy playing field, but complaining about subsidies for
renewables, while failing to complain about subsidies for other energy
sectors is to  -- wittingly or unwittingly - participate in a big lie. The
big lie being that nuclear, coal, gas and oil don't get any subsidies - or
other benefits that amount to subsidies. Let me illustrate with one more
example. Not a single nuclear power plant would be built or even a project
started without the massive subsidy of the "legal" artifact that there is a
very low cap on the maximum liability that a nuclear plant can occur - NO
MATTER HOW MUCH DAMAGE it causes. Without this cap on their potential
liability no nuclear project could afford to get insured. This is a subsidy.
Because it confers an unfair competitive advantage to nuclear power; I would
love to have a beautifully low cap on my liability in a traffic accident -
it would sure lower my car insurance rates with regard to other drivers who
had no cap on their liability. 

Our corporatist system is riddled with these special laws and tax loopholes
and the fossil fuel sectors continue to enjoy the huge subsidy of being able
to offload onto the commons most of their costs. So by all means - please -
let's get rid of all subsidies and force energy suppliers to build the
actual cost of using their product into the price they charge in the market
and see what comes out on top. I can tell you one thing for sure - it will
not be nuclear - which has been coddled with subsides from the very
beginning and would have never existed -- as a sector -- without numerous
government incentives, tax and legal protections etc.

By all mean level the playing field, but to complain about subsidies for one
sector while remaining silent about all the subsidies other sectors enjoy is
not being honest.



  John K Clark 


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