April 19, 2014

"A group of MIT scientists want to revive the nuclear industry in the post-Fukushima era by moving it offshore."

"Literally."

30 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

More creative liberals keeping America strong.

Drago said...

AReasonableMan: "More creative liberals keeping America strong."

LOL

The left has been and is, almost to a person, opposed to expansion of US nuclear power generation capacity!

Thanks for playing ARM.

Ron said...

I'm envisioning a Dr. Evil-like device such as a giant robot whale that will come from under the sea and swallow the whole thing....

Rusty said...

One word. Thorium. A much safer nuclear fuel.

PB Reader said...

One word: Thorium.

Great for use in nuclear power generation, less expensive, more abundant and far safer that uranium. Of course, you can't make bombs with it.

john said...

Floating nuclear power plants have been in existence since 1955. Their safety record has been nearly perfect. Better than my driving record, and probably better than ARM's, but that's a guess.

Fandor said...

Early talks between the MIT scientists and Godzilla are at an impasse. He's still upset over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Illuninati said...

Rusty said...
"One word. Thorium. A much safer nuclear fuel."

Gold star. Incidentally Jimmy Carter, one of AReasonableMan's "creative liberals", seems to be the president who first opposed breeder reactors.


Joe said...

Could a Floating Nuclear Power Plant Prevent Another Fukushima?

They already exist.

The real solution is breeder reactors as demonstrated by EBR-II, which democrats gleefully shut down.

Michael K said...

"More creative liberals keeping America strong."

When the left accepts the role of nuclear power, I will start to believe they are really concerned about carbon accumulation in the atmosphere. Until then, they are noise.

cubanbob said...

Not a good idea. Too much can go wrong. A better idea is to research and develop nuclear power from a purely power generation perspective and not as an offshoot of a power system that spun off from a military needs perspective. Pressured water cooled nuclear power systems were designed for use on warships for the simple reason they could be made small enough for a warship. A land based power plant doesn't have to take size as the primary consideration. A much larger and even less efficient reactor would be far more preferable if it's design is inherently more fool-proof.

Rusty said...

It seems like something Elon Musk should be interested in rather than those sparky cars.

The Godfather said...

I don't know whether @cubanbob is right or wrong about these floating reactors, I have no expertise in this area, but I do know from observing the world that there are always those who will reject solution A to any problem, on the ground that there's a better solution B out there somewhere. And when solution B is proposed, some will oppose it because there's a better solution C out there.

And the damn' Keystone pipeline still isn't being built. Just sayin'.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Nuclear power is safe, economical and much better for the environment than all other major sources of power. If you are concerned about global warming, you should be promoting nuclear. If the USA had built as many nuclear power plants as planned we would be burning far less coal. And we would be producing far less CO2, far less pollution and killing far fewer coal miners.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

By the way, nuclear power plants are safe, there is no good reason to move them offshore.

cubanbob said...

@godfather if all of the worlds current and future nuclear power plants were operated by former US Navy nuke guys I would feel a lot more confident. However they are not and never going to be operated only by former Navy nuke guys so a better way to go is to reasearch and engineer plants that assume a less competent lot running them and design plants that are much more inherently fool-proof. The choice isn't between fantasy power and nuclear power but between pressurized water cooled reactors and reactors that don't need active cooling systems that could fail. As for floating platforms, could they work? Sure they could but the maintence issues would be substantial. A land based plant designed not to need active cooling systems is in my opinion the better way to go. The less there is, the less to go wrong.

Lucien said...

@Diogenes of Sinope:

AND When all of those billions of people in the developing world want more power, we won't want them burning coal, so the US of A should be gearing up now to sell them 5th, 6th and 7th generation fission plants, so that they won't be buying the Chernobyl 2.0 version from someone else.

AReasonableMan said...

Rusty said...
It seems like something Elon Musk should be interested in rather than those sparky cars.


This is an odd comment given that nuclear power plants produce ... electricity.

William said...

I thought the Chernobyl disaster was a byproduct of Russian know how and Three Mile Island a byproduct of Jane Fonda stupidity. But the Japanese are pretty smart about things like this, and yet they had the worst melt down. I read somewhere that if a few things more had gone wrong half the island would have been uninhabitable.....Nuclear energy is a solution and a problem. If they irradiate the Pacific Ocean won't the price of tuna go up?

n.n said...

Over 400 civilian reactors in active operation world-wide. Over 50 in France accounting for 70% of their electrical production. Over 100 in America accounting for 20% of our total electrical production.

Those sea platforms, they're called carriers. Perhaps we should enlist the Navy to operate future nuclear power plants. It would enable a quick transition to "green" energy technology, operated by highly competent individuals with a proven track record.

Then again, over 100 civil reactors in America. The civilian population has its qualified operators, engineers, and technicians.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Rusty said...
It seems like something Elon Musk should be interested in rather than those sparky cars.

This is an odd comment given that nuclear power plants produce ... electricity.


Nuke plants make electricity. They don't store it. Batteries store electricity and right now they do it very inefficiently. What's the point of having a car that can go 150 miles on a charge when it takes eight hours to charge back up again.
I'd of thought a man of your obvious liberal intellectual gifts would have figured that out.

Bruce Hayden said...

TMI was apparently the result of stupidity. Apparently, the US put techs in charge of our nuclear plants, while the French, with a much better safety record put scientists. The problem is that the techs in charge of TMI really didn't understand what was going on, and guessed. They knew that they could ignore certain things and turn off alarms at certain times. The problem is that they did it at the wrong time.

Somewhat like when I used to work in operating system software. Our operators, who ran the mainframe systems would try to explain to me what was going on inside the systems, based on what they saw from the console. Being the guy who was charged with looking under the hood, I would try to explain what was really happening in the systems, to no avail. Even though I was the one who fixed things when they broke, I was never able to convince them what was really happening inside the computer systems.

Something somewhat similar apparently happened at TMI. The techs based their idea of what was happening on the gauges and the like that they read, with little understand of what was really happening. And, the result was our biggest domestic nuclear disaster.

Bruce Hayden said...

That said, thorium is just one of the new nuclear technologies that seem ready for use, or at least serious testing. One thing that distinguishes the new nuclear technologies is that they are "fail safe" instead of "fail dangerous", like many of the nuclear reactors implemented in this country and in many others. The difference is what happens if there is a problem. Do you need to do something to shut the system down? Or, will the failure to keep them running shut them down automatically? For safety's sake, you want a reactor that you need to constantly do something to to keep it running, and when you quit doing it, the reactor automatically shuts down. To take a simplistic example - if you have to force two masses together to get critical mass, quitting the pushing them together results in them separating, and losing critical mass, automatically shutting down the nuclear reactions. Just as TMI failed dangerous, so did the Japanese reactors. The plan was to use water to cool down the reaction. But, when the water becomes unavailable, or the reaction gets too hot too quickly, it soon gets to the point where there is a runaway reaction, and there is a chance of release of radioactivity, as the reactor then melts down.

Fen said...

Thanks Bruce. Good info.

Robert Cook said...

"I thought the Chernobyl disaster was a byproduct of Russian know how and Three Mile Island a byproduct of Jane Fonda stupidity."

Really? Three Mile Island was a "result" of a movie made about the incident after the fact starring Jane Fonda? Really?

"But the Japanese are pretty smart about things like this, and yet they had the worst melt down. I read somewhere that if a few things more had gone wrong half the island would have been uninhabitable....."

Don't breath yet, the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima may still render half the island uninhabitable, not to mention rending great swaths of the sea radioactive, poisoning sealife with radiation, including much sealife that the Japanase--and we--eat.

"Nuclear energy is a solution and a problem. If they irradiate the Pacific Ocean won't the price of tuna go up?"

Won't it go down when it does happen, given that no one will want to chance eating irradiated tuna?

In theory, perhaps, atomic energy is clean energy...in theory...perhaps. However, given that nuclear plants cost money to design , build and operate, and given that cost-cutting is a primary aspect of building and operating any such expensive facilities--at least if operated by private, profit-seeking concerns--and given that humans are fuckups, we can assume any nuclear plant will always be a disaster waiting to happen.

Rusty said...


In theory, perhaps, atomic energy is clean energy...in theory...perhaps. However, given that nuclear plants cost money to design , build and operate, and given that cost-cutting is a primary aspect of building and operating any such expensive facilities--at least if operated by private, profit-seeking concerns--and given that humans are fuckups, we can assume any nuclear plant will always be a disaster waiting to happen.



Then lets not do it. Got any better ideas, Bob.

Robert Cook said...

No, Rusty, I don't have any better ideas. I'm just pointing out that we're hurtling toward disaster. Consider my remarks not as an advisory to a pilot to change course while the plane is already plummeting earthward, but as the observation of a passenger in the cheap seats of his own and his fellow passengers' imminent demise, (those in first class not excepted).

Rusty said...

I thought not.

Robert Cook said...

There are no better ideas when one is on the Titanic after it has struck the iceberg...there is only facing the inevitable.

Peter said...


"No coal, no nuclear" is a formula for expensive electricity, unless your country has huge hydroelectric capacity.

I'm quite sure I'd prefer to live next to a nuke than to a coal burner as the former probably won't hurt me but the latter surely will.

In any case, demanding that nuclear power be perfectly clean and risk-free is unreasonable, as all forms of power generation will come with some environmental problems and some risks. The question is, is it better than the alternatives?

I don't know why power generation has become political, but it has. In the left-enviro future, electricity becomes scarce and therefore costly. Because it's expensive, there will be gov't programs to help the poor pay for it. And it probably will be rationed.

Which means, in the left-enviro future there will be no electric cars; instead, there will be massive gov't "nudges" to live in high-density housing to reduce demand for transportation.