The World in 2050: Nuclear Powered

MatildaWay1_Neil HewettWORLD leaders are meeting in Italy and high on the agenda is climate change, in particular the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s declaration to reduce emissions by 50 percent globally by 2050 is aspiration. I say this because if it were imperative the timeframe would be a bit more meaningful.

Indeed few of today’s leaders will still be alive in 2050 and none of them will be in power.

So what will the world be like in 2050 and will this target have been achieved?

I am going to be my usual optimistic self and suggest that the target will be achieved and that earth won’t have experienced a climate crisis in the meantime. But I hesitate to predict whether the average global temperature will be slightly warmer or cooler in 2050 than it is now in 2009.

Global warming will still be an issue, but not the key issue that it is now. Indeed I suspect it might still be on the agenda at meetings of world leaders, but their declarations on this issue won’t make the evening news.

Sometime in between now and 2050 there will be praise for President Barrack Obama for supporting a nuclear future for the world. Following the US President’s leadership, Julia Gillard, one of the longest reigning Australia Prime Ministers, will support a nuclear future for Australia.

The history books will claim that carbon trading was a useful first step towards avoiding the climate crisis, but that it was new nuclear technologies that eventually solved the problem and averted the crisis.

Al Gore will have had a huge statue built to his memory in London. But Beijing will, by 2050, be the financial capital of the world.

In Australia most people will be vegan and taking iron supplements. There will be no whaling, no zoos and the right to ride a horse will be under threat because of concerns about cruelty. Indeed there will be a need for permits for horse riding and rules about horse to rider weight ratios. There will be tough regulations for cat owners and following a severe bird flu pandemic backyard chickens banned.

The big environmental issue will be population. China, now the super power, will have imposed a one child policy on the rest of the world. But the most contentious issue won’t be the one child policy, but whether we have a right to live beyond say 100 years old and the extent to which ‘life extensions’, possible because of medical break throughs, should be subsidized by government.

We will still use oil, especially to make plastics, but the world will be primarily powered by uranium.

I will be 87 years old – fit, happy and still blogging.


Notes and Links

World leaders, including US President Barrack Obama, are meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, and climate change is a priority agenda item:

“The struggle against climate changes is one of the Italian Presidency’s priorities on the G8 Agenda. It is necessary to define a global response in which the leadership and commitment of the industrially advanced countries is paralleled by an active contribution from the emerging and developing countries on the basis of a balanced sharing of responsibilities. In that sense, the L’Aquila G8 Summit, which will also be hosting the first ever meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) at leadership level, is going to be a vital step in paving the way for the success of the United Nations Conference in Copenhagen next December.”

And today the leaders declared:

“We reaffirm the importance of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and notably of its Fourth Assessment Report, which constitutes the most comprehensive assessment of the science. We recognise the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2°C. Because this global challenge can only be met by a global response, we reiterate our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050…,2.pdf  

Around the world carbon trading is emerging as an integral part of capitalism:   

The photograph was taken by Neil Hewett, from Cooper Creek Wilderness, earlier this year at Matilda Way, Queensland, Australia.

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48 Responses to The World in 2050: Nuclear Powered

  1. sod July 10, 2009 at 3:13 am #

    your optimism is nice. will you pay, if things go horribly wrong?,,4464985,00.html

    The Swedish operators said the head of the reactor had broken an agreement with German authorities to install discharge detectors on a transformer.

    Nuclear energy is dead, as long as companies handle nuclear power plants as if they were a popcorn machine.

  2. Henry chance July 10, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    When I discuss nuclear with some uneducated environmentalist, I usually hear they are not only not safe but we have had none built successfull in america in decades. Last winter the George Bush aircraft carrier was commissioned. It is a great nuclear powerd mobile plant. Many thousands of sailors call it home. It is safe, it is efficient and it is modern.
    The lefties really want America and other powers to go back to sailboats for battle. Nuclear subs work fine.

    For some reason a few people drool and slobber at the thought of windmills. Any farmer with windmill driven water suppy switches as soon as electric power is nearby.

    It looks like T boone Pickens has bailed on his wind farms. 687 towers and not only are none up, they are giving up.
    Maybe he read the news about the failure of Babcock and Brown Broke wind

    3 billion dollar company down the drain. That sucks and blows at the same time.

    Since wind companies are going broke, it tells us their concept is wrong. Scams do not last.

  3. Harry chance July 10, 2009 at 5:31 am #

    It was a short-circuit on one of the transformers that caused the Kruemmel plant to shut down last weekend, thus restricting power supplies across much of the city of Hamburg.

    Vattenfall has now said it will not repair the electrical transformers, responsible for the supply of power to on-site machinery, but will replace them entirely. As a result, the reactor will not resume operations for several months.

    sod. You can’t decieve me. The link you provided reported an electrical problem It was not a nuclear problem It seems you just post things without reading them or are desparate. Coal generating stations have transformers as do hydroelectric.

    Sod, the baloney get old.
    You are not honest enough to admit that if the wind dies, the fans won’t create electricity. No equipment failure. They just do not turn. These brown outs turn into blackouts. Wackos want brownouts. That way we can’t turn our computors on and read their false claims. 1 block from a new headquarters building I moved into many years ago was a nuclear plant control station. They were placed here in town 150 miles from their generation. They used diesel generator sets for back up power supplies. I used high voltage batteries for our systems. A telecom regional headquarters across the street also used diesel. tower systems have a high failure rate.

    So your link was not a nuclear failure but an electrical transformer problem. Do you blame your dentist for a urological problem?

  4. Eyrie July 10, 2009 at 8:52 am #

    The huge statue of Big Al will be labelled “greatest con artist of all time”.

    Barack will be remembered as “worst American president ever”.(maybe even last)

    As for Gillard as PM, please. The essence of science fiction is willing suspension of disbelief. This one doesn’t pass that test.

    Enough of the dystopic vision of the future already.

  5. Ian Mott July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Jen, your prediction on social change are out of step with your economic predictions. Yes, China may well be the centre of economic gravity, provided they continue to restore individual rights and liberties, so why would anyone assume that the prevailing trends in the declining west will prevail? History shows that the customs of the economically dominant culture will become the norm while the trends in the declining economies will revert to quaint anachronism.

    And the one sure bet over the next 50 years is that the Chinese will never turn vegan. And that means the world will not turn vegan. Indeed, the most likely outcome of chinese cultural dominance is that more and more species will be added to the menu.

    So when “Uncle Hu” gets a report on the global shortage of protein, do not imagine for one moment that he, or his massive constituency, will have any reservation whatsoever in eating whales, kangaroos, horses, donkeys, emus, crocodiles, padaemellons etc. Infact, “cullinary novelty” based on the consumption of exotic local species, is already a major element in chinese domestic tourism with early evidence of the same trend in the west, as in ‘Roo meat and croc burgers.

    And with all the new fertility technology available there will be no need for a “one child” policy because the Hindu, Muslim, Confucian desire for male offspring, coupled with increased exposure to cyber fantasy, will do the job for him, as is already the case in middle class India. It will only take one generation of serious gender imbalance and population growth rates are fundamentally altered to fit the limited supply of breeding females. So forget “eco-tourism”, in 50 years time “sex-tourism” catering for cashed up surplus males will dominate the global tourism industry.

    As for Nuclear power, China and India have already made major investments in this field and this will continue. The French have demonstrated that there are huge financial advantages in multiple production of reactor parts. The green morons who base their nuclear costings on the early “once-off” reactor designs have completely ignored the fundamental lesson provided by Henry Ford. Mass production achieves incredible cost reductions that can fund incredible improvements in product quality, performance and reliability. In nuclear terms we are only just working on the “T-Model”.

    And as Henry Chance has pointed out, nuclear power plants are already being produced in compact, highly mobile form in submarines and aircraft carriers. We are not very far away from the time when major power sources can be placed on mobile platforms so they can supply peak power to grids in two or more locations around the world at different times of peak demand. Run that sort of scenario through the electricity costings and global base load prices will take another major drop, leaving the so-called “alternate” supplies even higher and dryer.

    Bob Dylan may not have understood the true relevance of his words when he sang,
    “get out of the new world if you can’t lend a hand, ’cause the times they are a changin”.

  6. spangled drongo July 10, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    The greens don’t want nuclear because they see in it mankind’s greatest achievment; to have an unlimited, affordable supply of energy.
    They see only downside in this.
    They don’t seem to realise that this then provides the world’s social service system and thereby reduces the need for large families and ever increasing population.

  7. diogenes July 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Hmm, I think you have all missed the greatest change likely to happen between here and 2050: the continuing increase in technology. Specifically, by 2050 it is most likely that every function that humans can perform will be surpassed by that of computers and robots. We are currently at just the very start of twilight for the age of homo-sapiens and the dawn of the age technological-machines.

  8. cohenite July 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    “Do you blame your dentist for a urological problem?” Well put Harry and the answer is, only if you demand he changes your nappies and he doesn’t.

  9. Ron Pike July 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    I suspect that on a cold miserable winters morning you are simply stiring a pot of philosophical stew, however in the same vein I would like to add some thoughts.
    Obviously predictions of world events even 4 months away are perilous and become less and less likely to be accurate as the time from prediction increases.
    However I believe your predictions regarding the worlds ability to reduce CO2 will not be achieved.
    Forty years from now I believe the world will look back at the present with disbelief. Unable to fathom how advanced mankind was for a short time (hopefully) drawn into an age of unreason.
    A time when science, truth and reason were overturned in pursuit of fundamentalist hypotheses, that were pursued with religious like fervour.
    The belief that man could somehow change and then remarkably correct changes to the earths climate will be looked upon as unbeleivable.
    I agree that the earth will be using much more nuclear power, but any carbon trading scheme will be viewed as a self fullfilling farce.
    Future generations will wonder at our stupidity if we go down this mindlees path.
    The world will never exhaust its supplies of oil or other resources, providing Governments stay out of the market place.
    As one resource (say oil) becomes less available, the price will increase and more expensive reserves will be exploited while other forms of energy will be developed.
    The dopiest and most economicaly stupid action a Government can take is to try and influence the market as this Gov. is doing.
    Such as: Green cars, Wind power, solar power.
    This is counter productive and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
    The Governments job is to freely allow for the provision of all servives in the most economical way and thereby at the loest cost.
    Presently we have a Government doing exactly the oppersite.
    Therefore I cannot see Gillard being a long serving PM.
    Australia standard of living will, as a result of silly policy, be falling so badly that Labour will be tossed out of office.
    I strongly disagree with your assumption that Beijing will be the financial capital of the world.
    While the recent rise of the Chinese economy is impressive, it is not a safe place to do business.
    I did many trips up there in the 90s for a number of companies and despite the progress, China does not have the business integrity or commercial law to safeguard investor funds.
    What is happening with Rio Tinto is a reminder that investors in China need to be aware that any business, anywhere at any time can be taken over, changed or stopped from operating at the whim of the Government or a corrupt official thereof.
    In China saving face will always trump truth and integrity.
    This mindset seems to be so ingrained into the Chinese D&A, that I doubt there will be sufficient change to allow China to dominate the world in any sphere. Even low cost manufacturing.
    I would strongly argue that by 2050 the USA will still be predominate and China will have been through some troubled times.
    ” Around the world carbon trading is emerging as an intergral part of capitalism.”
    This statement is to me not just an oxymoron, but defies any understanding of economics.
    Carbon trading is the best example yet of Governments passing a law that will have no positive result. It will
    Increase costs across the whole economy.
    Produce another and ever growing Gov. bureauracy.
    Lead to more and more legislation for support.
    Reduce the capacity of the economy to adapt and importantly slow development of alternate technology.
    This whole AGW issue is a clasic case of Government developing a problem that doesn’t exist, wrongly diaognising it and then delivering the worst and must expensive remedy.
    Finally Jennifer on a lighter note it seems to me that the Presedent of Italy, rather than having his priorities on global warming, is more inclined to be seeking bed warmers.
    Just some thoughts to share with your philosiphical stew.

  10. Graeme Bird July 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    “I am going to be my usual optimistic self and suggest that the target will be achieved and that earth won’t have experienced a climate crisis in the meantime. But I hesitate to predict whether the average global temperature will be slightly warmer or cooler in 2050 than it is now in 2009.”

    They cannot achieve it without disaster Jennifer. Energy economics is not like any other area. Transitions are by their nature inherently slow. I want to go hell for leather for nuclear as well. But it is the case that when a rising energy source hits 5% it always takes another 15 years at least to break 10%. And then usually substitution from the current primary source to the next primary source get going at the rate of only about 1% per year. Since energy sources are complements more than competitors the attempt of these lunatics to slow down carbon-based energy will hamper nuclear with it. Because energy, more than anything else, requires capital creation. And capital goods are energy intensive to both produce and operate. Hence their efforts will slow capital creation more generally.

    There is no chance at all that mid-century will be as warm as today. Since mid-century leaves too little time for us to climb out of the hole that solar cycles 23, 24 and 25 will throw us into. And besides there is no chance of us climbing out of that whole entirely anyway anytime soon since twentieth century solar activity was extraordinary. Like nothing seen for 8000 years it seems. At least 1150 years is the usual qualifier.

    The leftist scoundrels must not be ALLOWED to succeed. They must not be allowed to attempt to try to succeed. We need greatly expanded hydro-carbons and to take other measures to expand our capital creation in order to produce all these nuclear reactors and things. We cannot contemplate a situation where these liars and enemies of science continue to hijack policy with their malice and hatred of industrial civilisation. Thats contemplating defeat and its a rumble we cannot afford to lose.

    Whether we can get the daily production of oil to exceed the plateau its hit since 2005 is not yet known, since if we are able to do this it will come from an whole new generation of deep sea drilling. And much deeper drilling more generally. Requiring new equipment. So one way or another, in the medium term daily oil production is going to begin to fall. So we have to expand synthetics. But these lunatics waving carbon taxes at us make it a much more difficult and slower process to expand synthetics.

    You may have seen this movement as just an attack on science but its so much more than that. The movement could not be more strategically focused to hobble us and create poverty if it spent all its time only sitting around trying to think of how to achieve that goal alone. Perhaps people don’t realise this since they are used to the idea of tapping a new North Sea oil giant and pretty soon pulling out millions of barrels of oil a day. But generally speaking energy production requires a great deal more capital investment than this.

    Since capital is needed to gather energy and energy is needed to create capital, this goon-show of anti-science thugs…… risks pushing us into a capital-energy vortex. One that we may not be able to climb out of as a global economy.

    These guys are set to cause more deaths than any world war could, unless we can stop this movement and get them all sacked from the public sector.

  11. Doug Lavers July 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Bearing in mind:

    a) MSU temperatures indicate that the planetary temperature is not much different from 30 years ago

    b) The last quarter of the 20th Century enjoyed the most active sun for 8000 years in the middle of a warm PDO phase

    c) The Mediaeval Warm Period appears to have been 1-2 degC warmer than today

    d) The sun is behaving in a horribly similar manner to the beginning of the Maunder Minimum

    My prediction is that by 2050 the world will be looking back at 30 years of brutal cold and mass starvation. Perhaps mercifully, I won’t be around to see it.

  12. Larry July 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    On a lighter note. You forgot to mention the methane tax on beer, cabbage, lentils, and other fartuitous ingestables.

  13. Graeme Bird July 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    “My prediction is that by 2050 the world will be looking back at 30 years of brutal cold and mass starvation. Perhaps mercifully, I won’t be around to see it.”

    Exactly. Thats what the science says. We ought not be ignoring the science. People just don’t seem to get the urgency of matters. The urgent requirement to reduce parasitism, increase investment and defeat these compulsive liars.

  14. Jeremy C July 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm #


    Interesting and fun post. Isn’t it interesting how the greenies are pushing advanced nuclear technologies such as IFR while sensibly pointing out the economic and operational failings of Gen I and II nuc (remember the list you asked me to provide of greenies who support nuc). Can anyone here swallow their ideology and admit this? I’m waiting………..!

    Yeah, I know its a bit hard when nuc makes people feel big and tough and in charge of things………..

    As to nucs on military ships, yes they are great and have worked fantastically well. However you can’t translate their operational record to civilian power plants because the military plants are designed for a different operating environment and do not have to work to the same set of economic circumstances. And don’t forget while nucs on subs give a great deal of power and range they make the sub noisy unlike diesels. I remember one Australian submarine commander telling me how playing hide and seek with a Brit hunter killer in the english channel resulted in the extra power available to power the sonar on the hunter killer enabling the brit commander being to find his australian counter part when ever he moved so the only thing he could do was lie on the bottom (I’m not sure if a hydrogen pyroxide power plant makes constant noise and then the Germans have produced that coastal sub that uses a fuel cell for the power plant).

    Don’t forget Carter was a Rickover boy and Oliphant worked on the Manhattan project (lets see if the ideologues here know their nuclear history).

    But, what the heck its ideology, so let it flow, let it flow, let it flow…….

  15. Graeme Bird July 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    What the hell are you talking about? You are talking around the subject like DRUG TALK or something. You haven’t made a valid point at all.

    Snap out of it will you dummy. This is a serious subject. If you have an actual point to make make it. Instead of making phantom points against breeder-reactors make a real point if you have one.

  16. Louis Hissink July 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    Jeremy C

    Let’s test your knowledge – are the NR’s on the American ships Light water reactors, or graphite modulated ones, and additionally explain the difference.

  17. Jeremy C July 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm #


    They are PWRs’ so graphite don’t come into it, why do you ask???? Sod or SJT can lay it out for you in easy-for-Bird-to-understand terms if you ask them.


    “Instead of making phantom points against breeder-reactors make a real point if you have one.” Since when was spruiking IFR being against breeders!?! You really don’t know what you are talking about do you. Can you enligyhten him please Louis

  18. Ian Mott July 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    Jeremy is talking through his backside again. His post reads like a 4 cone conversation.

  19. sod July 10, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    sod. You can’t decieve me. The link you provided reported an electrical problem It was not a nuclear problem It seems you just post things without reading them or are desparate. Coal generating stations have transformers as do hydroelectric.

    you are uninformed. Krümmel was forced into an emergency shut down, by the damage in the transformers. this shut down caused 3 additional problems: broken nuclear fuel rods which lead to increased radioactivity in the reactor water, a problem in the cooling of the water clearing system and a broken electronic part in a security system.

    Mit dem neuesten Geständnis setzt sich die Pannenliste nach dem Störfall fort: Zunächst gab es am Samstag um 12.02 Uhr den Störfall selbst. Dann versäumte Vattenfall es, die Atomaufsicht schnell zu informieren. Am Sonntag räumte Vattenfall drei Folgeschäden der Notabschaltung des Reaktors ein: Wegen eines defekten Brennelementes kam es zu einer Erhöhung der Radioaktivität im Reaktorwasser. Außerdem kam es zu Problemen bei der Kühlung des Reaktorwasser-Reinigungssystems. Des weiteren war ein Elektronikteil kaputt, das der Sicherheit eines Steuerstabes dient.,3672,7602135,00.html

    but the worst part was, that Vattenfall did NOT install an observation instrument in the transformers, that they were required to install by official order! this was the reason, why the boss of the Krümmel plant was fired.

    Am Dienstag musste Betreiber Vattenfall einräumen, dass eine behördlich vorgeschriebene Überwachungseinrichtung am betroffenen Maschinentransformator nicht installiert war. Ein Kurzschluss an genau dieser Anlage war es, der am Samstag zur Notabschaltung von Krümmel geführt hatte.

    it is exactly this accumulation of minor problems, that coupled with lax security measures leads to major disasters, like in Tschernobyl.

    Krümmel was out for 2 years. ran for a couple of days and now is out for at least months again. i think that most wind parks were delivering more electricity over that period…

    people who downplay the problems, have most likely notz seen pictures or videos of the fire 2 years ago.,1020,905653,00.jpg

  20. Jeremy c July 10, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Sod, Can you do us a favour. Louis thinks reactors are ‘modulated’. Can you enlighten him please.

  21. kuhnkat July 11, 2009 at 6:16 am #


    since you think the reactor problem was so serious, please tell us how much radiation was released. That is, how much contamination was caused in the environment, even if only in the occupied areas of the plant.

    I believe the designs take into account pretty much all of the issues you try to bring up so that they “Fail Safe.” Yes, humans aren’t perfect and there will be problems. Good designs prevent humanity from causing serious contamination of the environment.

    The process worked as needed. A HUMAN, not doing his job, was fired BEFORE a serious incident happened contaminating the environment.

    Here in the US, Nuclear detractors keep ranting about the 3 Mile Island accident. Seen any reports on health or environmental problems actually caused by this accident??

    Jeremy C,

    ALL reactors are “modulated.” In PWR the water itself is the modulator. Even Wikipedia gets this right!!

    IFR Reactors, from Wikipedia,

    “Reprocessing nuclear fuel using pyroprocessing and electrorefining has not yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale. As such, investing in a large IFR plant is considered a higher financial risk than a conventional light water reactor. ”

    Does anyone have any new information on this??? Until this process is proven Commercially feasible there will be no Commercial IFR reactors in the US and a number of other countries. Whether the concerns of Plutonium proliferation are valid or not, it is another strike against this technology by Anti-War/Anti-WMD/Peace groups.


    does Plasma Universe/Electrical Universe theory have anything to say about decay rate modification??

  22. sod July 11, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    since you think the reactor problem was so serious, please tell us how much radiation was released. That is, how much contamination was caused in the environment, even if only in the occupied areas of the plant.

    released radiation is the worst possible effect. that no radiation was released, does NOT make an accident irrelevant.

    ALL reactors are “modulated.” In PWR the water itself is the modulator. Even Wikipedia gets this right!!

    “moderated” seems to be the word, that most people use….

  23. Jeremy C July 11, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    Thankyou Sod.

    Kuhnkat, now that Sod has gently corrected the mistake both you and Louis made, if you are genuinely interested in IFR then you will find that the greenies and other assorted environmentalists have been looking at it for a long time. So, take a look at the greenie site which has assembled information, discussions and debates on IFR and related nuclear technologies. You will find it a refreshing difference from ideological driven ignorance

  24. Graeme Bird July 11, 2009 at 8:16 am #

    “Kuhnkat, now that Sod has gently corrected the mistake both you and Louis made, if you are genuinely interested in IFR then you will find that the greenies and other assorted environmentalists have been looking at it for a long time…”

    No thats just a lie as I told you before. Widespread greenie interest in nuclear is of very recent vintage. Not preceding the recent cooling of the planet. They have been a rabid and mindless force against nuclear. Thats just a fact. Stop lying.

  25. Graeme Bird July 11, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    “Does anyone have any new information on this??? Until this process is proven Commercially feasible there will be no Commercial IFR reactors in the US and a number of other countries. Whether the concerns of Plutonium proliferation are valid or not, it is another strike against this technology by Anti-War/Anti-WMD/Peace groups.”

    There is no non-rigged energy market in the world. People say all sorts of stupid stuff about nuclear. They say that the electricity is expensive? How can they say that? On what basis? The variable cost is tiny.

    We know that net of the initial capital costs this is the cheapest way to produce electricity. What will be the capital costs? Well we don’t know that yet. Thats up to the project managers of the individual plants being commissioned. Thats up to the government staying home. Stopping this endless round of vogue-posing overseas and coming home and minding the store. And instead of trying to glad-hand overseas leaders start getting round to talk to OUR premiers, OUR mayors and start making it a buyers market for people who would want to buy land for nuclear and other energy projects.

    What they have to do is convince all the locals to pre-approve thousands of potential sites ahead of the investors even thinking about one site or another. They have to do this for potential sites for wharves as well. Since shipping is the lowest energy cost transport for heavy cargo.

    See we don’t want Canberra running everything. We want local sovereignty. So whats needed is leadership and PERSUASION. Not the heavy hand but if these guys stay home and start minding the store they can start PERSUADING local government to pre-approve all sorts of public and private land for these sorts of things so the investor has no red tape to contend with and no possibility of being obstructed by the bad guys.

    Now why am I saying all this? Why is all this tangential talk relevant to the actual cost of electricity coming from breeder-reactors.

    Because if the capital costs are the really significant costs in nuclear power it makes a difference if the nuclear entrepreuners can buy the land cheaply, with lots of different options, and then set up the plant in four years flat. Instead of whats become the usual deal now and it taking maybe 15 years to get it up and running.

    Its only when we can get this four year and no red tape situation going that we can have a true look at where the costs are. All we have to do is get rid of taxation on retained earnings, slash the size of government and pre-approve vastly more land then can ever be invested in for these strategic goods like nuclear plants, wharves and coal liquification factories.

  26. Jan Pompe July 11, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    sod jeremy : ““moderated” seems to be the word, that most people use….”

    Reduced to playing playing childish games are we. I knew he meant “moderated” why didn’t you?

  27. Graeme Bird July 11, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Excellent explanation why we must massively increase energy productions for MORAL or ETHICAL reasons. This is something that is likely missed by Australians being as we are fortunate with our energy resources. We need to think about the rest of the world as well. This ethical explanation is the first part of his talk. Later the scientist goes on to explain a potential future energy source

  28. Craigo July 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Getting back to the Chinese question, will China get to a point when the emerging middle class increases to the point they become nett consumers rather that an export driven economy? Will this change the financial position of China? Will we see the problems that come with increased wealth i.e. increased expectancy of freedoms etc. The recent unrest suggests that all is not well. With the growing exposure of chinese to overseas influences and growing capitalism, where does this lead?

    And who will tell them that they need to reduce emissions?

  29. Craigo July 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Whilst all are still crystal gazing, where are our “new green age” materials going to come from?

    A quick list of current materials suggests we may have a problem…
    Steel – needs evil “big coal”
    Plastics – oops “big oil”
    Aluminum – needs lot and lots of power for new production.
    Wood – well isn’t this an interesting one – can’t cut down old growth forest, can’t clear land for forestry. Harvesting does lock up the CO2 but buildings have reduced lifespan especially with fast growth softwood.
    Concrete – well cement is a big CO2 demon and then you need steel.
    Advanced composites – still pipe dreams and chemical intensive (which usually means power hungry)

    Any suggestions how we will build our brave new green world?

  30. spangled drongo July 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Graeme, that was a fascinating proposition on nuclear fusion. Equiv of $3 bbl or 2 cents litre fuel cost!
    Any further developments known?
    It seems such a tiny project compared with other fusion projects yet seems to offer achievable outcomes.
    If I knew who to contact I’d tip a few bikkies in.

  31. louis Hissink July 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm #


    The decay rate modification was initially raised by the late Ralph Juergens who thought that the propensity for a nucleus to allow ejection of a particle depended on the magnitude of the ambient electric field the nucleus was in. It came about from trying to make sense of Gentry’s work on polonium. It’s complex to be sure and S. Warren Carey cited work by Briden and Gass in his book, The Expanding Earth, in which they noted a clustering of radiometric dates at the three major tectonic events – the Pangaean, Gondwana and Alpide events. No dates outside these events have been recorded, so despite the fact that radioactivity is not invariant, it does seem to indicate a measure of relativity of crystallization events in the rocks.

    Nuclear decay rates therefore depend on the magnitude of the ambient electric field. Note that all the experimentation on radioactivity was done in the earth’s ambient electric field, which remained the one field which the physicists did not include in their experimentation. Bit tricky trying to create a zero electric field space inside the earth’s own electric field. It is true that magnetic, gravitational and EM fields don’t affect nuclear stability, but variations in the electric field do. This has even been picked up by recent research in which they attribute the change in decay to the position of the Earth along its elliptical orbit. What they haven’t realised is that it’s the position of the Earth in respect of the sun’s electric field that is probably causing the behaviour of the studied nuclei.

  32. Louis Hissink July 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    Jeremy C,

    Trick question but nuclear reactors which use graphite as a moderator are designed to produce weapons grade plutonium. LWR’s are designed for civil use and can use U238 as well and do not produce weapons grade by products. As the moderator is water, when the water starts to boil, the nuclear reaction stops, so the LWR’s are ultra safe in use.

    Incidentally I have made no mistake.

  33. Louis Hissink July 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    Oh I see – I used the term modulated – should have been moderated, though the term modulated is applicable in a sense. But if Jan understood what I meant, and you and SOD not, well. what could we say.

  34. sod July 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Reduced to playing playing childish games are we.

    playing childish games, is what you guys are doing. the claim that accidents that don t release nuclear material are irrelevant is childish.

    an emergency shut down is a risky procedure. Vattenfall did not provide informations immediately. after being forced to, they decided to admit follow up problems. they did not comply with an official order to install an instrument, and now had a new problem at exactly the same location, that caused them to be out for 2 years.

    even the ultra conservative and pro nuclear BILD paper is angry with them:

    (they replaced the damaged transformer with a used one, that is older than the Krümmel reactor itself, saving 80 million euros)

    the fast shut down of the big reactor caused massive problems in hamburg. traffic lights were out and loss and return of pump pressure damaged many water pipes.

    again: this accident was not a small problem. but the disaster is, the way it was handled. and that it could happen at the same part of the same installation.

  35. sod July 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    they replaced the damaged transformer with a used one, that is older than the Krümmel reactor itself, saving 80 million euros

    sorry, my fault, one zero too much. they saved only 8 mio euros (the cost of a new one..)

  36. Jeremy C July 11, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    Weelllllllll Louis,

    Be honest, admit it, you were smugly trying to trip me up and just snarled yourself, first by the question then by using the wrong term and blundering about with excuses – seeing you have made basic scientific and engineering howlers before no one should assume that you are thinking the same as them. And from your last post you haven’t learnt when to stop digging your own hole. And you denialists wonder why it is only non entities like myself that interact with you………

  37. Graeme Bird July 11, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Its you that is the denialist dummy. Why not re-read what Ian Mott said with reference to the satellite record about 100 or 200 time. 30 years of rising CO2 levels and nothing to show for it.

  38. Jan Pompe July 11, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    sod “playing childish games, is what you guys are doing”

    not sticking to the point is the childish game

  39. Jeremy C July 12, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    The way Louis enlarges holes he’s stuck in………..

    Post 1……

    “Comment from: Louis Hissink July 10th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Jeremy C

    Let’s test your knowledge – are the NR’s on the American ships Light water reactors, or graphite modulated ones,”

    Post 2……

    “Comment from: Louis Hissink July 11th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Jeremy C,

    Trick question but nuclear reactors which use graphite as a moderator are designed to produce weapons grade plutonium.”

    Louis, Louis, let me stop modulating with laughter long enough to ask you…….. since when did the US Navy start producing nuclear weapons onboard ships?

  40. Eyrie July 12, 2009 at 7:27 am #


    Search for “Bussard polywell” for another fusion approach. A small team lead by Richard Nebel is working on this on a US Navy contract. So far no show stoppers and they’ve gone a long way already. If this works out Doc Bussard’s name will shine through the centuries to come.

  41. Louis Hissink July 12, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    Jeremy C

    US naval reactors are pressurised water ones, so perhaps the howlers you seem to have spotted might have more to do with hearing your own howling.

  42. Walter Starck July 12, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Politicians make a fantasy promise of imaginary achievement to be effected by unknown means 40 years in the future but are clueless as to what to do about an existing economic situation which will decisively determine any such future capability. It’s no wonder faith is so revered when belief is so difficult to achieve.


  43. Jeremy C July 13, 2009 at 6:47 am #

    Another example of Louis unable to stop digging holes…………….

    ‘Comment from: Louis Hissink July 12th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Jeremy C

    US naval reactors are pressurised water ones, so perhaps the howlers you seem to have spotted might have more to do with hearing your own howling’

    ‘Comment from: Jeremy C July 10th, 2009 at 11:03 pm


    They are PWRs’ so graphite don’t come into it, why do you ask????’

    Can anybody read which date is the more recent and then explain it to Louis. Given his continual mistakes its as though Louis was Plimer’s researcher for ‘Heaven and Earth’.

  44. spangled drongo July 13, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks for that. Great stuff! Sad to read about Doc Bussard after all that work with limited funding. Ironic when you see how much money the AGW alarmists are given for such pathetic contributions and a project as fundamental to the survival of us all is starved.
    These two systems seem similar which indicates that they are on the right track.

  45. Ray July 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    Jeremy C wrote: > Isn’t it interesting how the greenies are pushing advanced nuclear technologies such as IFR while sensibly pointing out the economic and operational failings of Gen I and II nuc

    Isn’t it even more interesting how if left up to the greenies, the Advanced Liquid-Metal Reactor (the development of which began in 1984, five years after the meltdown of the uranium core at Three Mile Island) would never have been developed in the first place? Isn’t it also interesting how with the election of William Jefferson Clinton in 1992, and specifically his appointment of the environmentalist Hazel O’Leary as Secretary of Energy, there was nonstop pressure from environmentalists to cancel IFR?

    Isn’t it especially interesting how in speaking of the greenies, the following greenies are evidently not among the greenies, because the following greenies oppose nuclear energy and always have:

    Sierra Club


    Audubon Society

    Friends Of The Earth

    World Wildlife Federation

    Institute for Local Self-Reliance

    Mother Earth News

    Center for Health, Environment, and Justice
    Clean Water Action
    Environmental Working Group
    Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)\
    Indigenous Environmental Network
    Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
    Progressive Democrats of America
    Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG)
    Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
    New England Coalition
    Northwest Energy Coalition
    Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
    Alabama Environmental Council
    Alaska PIRG
    Arizona PIRG
    Arizona Safe Energy Coalition
    Democratic Processes Center, Inc.
    Pray for Peace Foundation
    The Nuclear Resister
    Bay Area Hunters Point Community Advocates
    Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition
    Better World Group
    Blue Water Network (a Division of Friends of the Earth)
    California Communities Against Toxics
    California Environmental Rights Alliance
    Clean Water Action (CA Chapter)
    Committee to Bridge the Gap
    Earth Action Network
    Environment California
    Global Community Monitor
    Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
    Healing Ourselves & Mother Earth (HOME)
    Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
    Planners for Social Responsibility
    Planning and Conservation League
    Public Citizen – California
    Redwood Alliance
    SLO GREEN Party Committee on Nuclear Waste
    Tri-Valley Communities Against A Radioactive Environment
    Boulder Renewable Energy & Efficiency Working Group
    Center for Resource Conservation
    Colorado Environmental Coalition
    Colorado Renewable Energy Society
    Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association
    Environment Colorado
    Rocky Mountain Peace And Justice
    Western Slope Environmental Resource Council
    Women in Sustainable Energy
    Center for Resource Solutions
    Clean Water Action (CT Chapter)
    Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
    Energy Solutions
    Green Delaware
    Clean Water Action (FL Chapter)
    Florida PIRG
    Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation
    Pegasus Foundation
    Safe Earth Alliance
    Action for a Clean Environment
    Center for a Sustainable Coast
    Savannah Riverkeeper
    Georgia PIRG
    Ahahui Malama i ka Lokahi (Hawaiians for the Conservation of Native Ecosystems)
    Snake River Alliance
    Illinois PIRG
    Nuclear Energy Information Service
    Valley Watch, Inc.
    Iowa PIRG
    Enviro-Health Concerns
    Kentucky Environmental Foundation
    Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
    Alliance for Affordable Energy
    Louisiana Environmental Action Network
    Environment Maine
    Friends of the Coast
    Natural Resources Council of Maine
    Chesapeake Climate Action Network
    Clean Energy Partnership
    Clean Water Action (Chesapeake Chapter)
    Cleanup Coalition
    Sun Day Campaign
    Clean Water Action Alliance (MA Chapter)
    Del Amo Action Committee
    Green Futures from Fall River
    Lawrence Environmental Action Group, Inc.
    Lawrence Environmental Justice Advisory Committee
    Massachusetts Citizens for Clean Energy
    Solar Design Associates, Inc.
    Clean Water Action (MI Chapter)
    Don’t Waste Michigan
    Ecology Center
    Michigan Environmental Council
    West Michigan Environmental Action Council
    Clean Water Action (MN Chapter)
    Honor the Earth
    Mankato Area Environmentalists
    Clark Fork Coalition
    Montana Environmental Information Center
    Oasis Montana Inc.
    Western Nebraska Resources Council
    Nevada Conservation League/Education Fund
    Nevada Environmental Coalition, Inc.
    The Organization for the Protection of Nevada’s Resident Tortoises Inc.
    Clean Water Action (NH)
    New Hampshire PIRG
    New Jersey Environmental Federation
    New Jersey PIRG
    New Mexico Environmental Law Center
    New Mexico Physicians for Social Responsibility
    New Mexico PIRG
    Southwest Climate Council
    Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
    Community Health and Environmental Coalition
    Council On Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy (CIECP)
    Environmental Advocates of New York
    People’s Environmental Network of New York
    Renewable Energy Long Island
    Appalachian Voices
    Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
    Canary Coalition
    Conservation Council of North Carolina
    North Carolina PIRG
    Protect All Children’s Environment
    Clean Water Action (ND Chapter)
    Earth Day Coalition
    Independent Environmental Conservation & Activism Network
    Ohio PIRG
    Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security
    Oregon Natural Resources Council
    Oregon State PIRG
    Trout Unlimited – Oregon Council
    Clean Water Action (PA Chapter)
    Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP)
    Apeiron Institute for Environmental Living
    Brown University Environment Action Network (BEAN)
    Clean Water Action (RI Chapter)
    Environment Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
    Rhode Island PIRG
    York County Greens
    South Dakota
    Clean Water Action (SD Chapter)
    Cumberland Green Bioregional Council
    Clean Water Action (TX Chapter)
    Galveston Houston Association for Smog Prevention
    Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance
    Hudspeth Directive for Conservation
    Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition (SEED)
    Texas Environmental Democrats
    HEAL Utah
    Fairwind Vermont
    Vermont Green Building Network
    Vermonters for a Clean Environment
    CLEAN (Citizens of Lee Environmental Action Network)
    Clinch Coalition
    Coalition for Jobs and the Environment
    Devil’s Fork Trail Club
    Patrick Environmental Awareness Group (PEAG)
    People’s Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE)
    Virginia Forest Watch
    Community Coalition for Environmental Justice
    Solar Washington
    Waste Action Project
    Voices Opposed to Environmental Racism
    Clean Water Action (WI Chapter)
    Clean Wisconsin
    Sunny Solutions Energy Company
    GLOBAL 2000
    Citizens for Renewable Energy
    David Suzuki Foundation
    Sierra Club of Canada
    No More Nuclear Power Movement
    People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
    Global Anti-Nuclear Alliance
    Russian Green Party “Green Russia”
    Swedish Antinuclear Movement

    Obviously, for reasons of space, I must confine myself to that small sampling — not, however, for want of additional resource — the main point being that in June of 2005, the above greenies (who are not to be confused with the greenies, mind you) signed the following statement:

    Environmental Statement on Nuclear Energy and Global Warming

    As national and local environmental, consumer, and safe energy organizations, we have
    serious and substantive concerns about nuclear energy. While we are committed to
    tackling the challenge of global warming, we flatly reject the argument that increased
    investment in nuclear capacity is an acceptable or necessary solution. Instead we can
    significantly reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money by increasing
    energy efficiency and shifting to clean, renewable sources of energy.

    For at least 30 years, the public, policymakers, and private investors have viewed nuclear
    power as uneconomical, unsafe, and unnecessary. As a result, no new reactors have been
    ordered in this country. With respect to these serious concerns, nothing has changed.
    While we urgently need to reduce our global warming emissions, nuclear power still
    remains the least attractive, least economic, and least safe avenue to pursue.

    Nuclear Power Is Unnecessary

    We can meet our future electricity needs and reduce global warming pollution without
    increasing our reliance on nuclear energy. For example, a 2004 study by Synapse Energy
    Economics found that the U.S. could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity
    generation by more than 47 percent by 2025 compared to business as usual and meet
    projected electricity demand, while saving consumers $36 billion annually. In fact, we
    can do this while cutting our reliance on nuclear power by nearly half.

    The states are moving forward with clean energy solutions. Nineteen states have passed
    renewable electricity standards requiring an increasing percentage of energy to be
    generated by renewable energy sources. Replicating this effort nationally would increase
    our ability to reduce global warming emissions, while benefiting public health,
    consumers and the environment. Several states are working to increase efficiency
    standards for appliances, while many are working to reduce global warming pollution
    from cars. The states are demonstrating that there is an effective arsenal of clean energy
    solutions that can significantly curb our global warming emissions; it is these ideas that
    we need to draw upon.

    Nuclear Power Is Too Expensive

    The economics of nuclear power remain so unattractive that without additional federal
    subsidies, no new plants will be built. Despite 50 years and more than $150 billion in
    federal support, the nuclear power industry is still seemingly incapable of building a new
    plant on its own. In fact, the U.S. DOE’s Energy Information Administration stated in its
    2005 Annual Energy Outlook that “new [nuclear] plants are not expected to be

    Dominion CEO & Chairman Thomas Capps has stated that:

    “If you announced you were going to build a new nuclear plant,
    Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s would assuredly drop your bonds
    to junk status, hedge funds would be bumping into each other
    trying to short your stock.”

    Not surprisingly, private investors have shown such disinterest in supporting new nuclear
    power plants that the industry is, yet again, at the mercy of federal handouts. In 2003,
    Senator Domenici included extensive federal incentives in his original energy bill,
    including loan guarantees and power purchase agreements covering up to half the cost of
    building a new plant, as well as clean air credits and federal lines of credit. Despite this,

    Standard & Poor’s concluded:

    “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has found that an electric
    utility with a nuclear exposure has weaker credit than one without
    and can expect to pay more on the margin for credit. Federal
    support of construction costs will do little to change that reality.
    Therefore, were a utility to embark on a new or expanded nuclear
    endeavor, Standard & Poor’s would likely revisit its rating on the

    Due to the lack of private investment, it is the inevitable that any new nuclear
    construction will result in significant public cost to taxpayers. Between 1950 and 1998,
    the federal government spent 56 percent of the energy supply research and development
    on nuclear energy, while only 11 percent was invested in all renewable technologies. If
    the federal government is going to spend any money on energy, those dollars should be
    focused on clean and safe technologies.

    Nuclear Energy Is Too Dangerous

    Nuclear energy has never been safe, but post 9-11 nuclear power plants and radioactive
    waste storage facilities have become terrorist targets as well. Al-Qaeda operatives were
    surveying nuclear power plants as potential terrorist targets; in the post 9-11 world these
    risks are only elevated. The National Academy of Sciences has raised serious concerns
    about the safety of irradiated nuclear fuel storage facilities from terrorist attacks in its
    report entitled “Safety and Security of Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage.” Furthermore,
    protecting the fuel from terrorists as it is moved to longer term storage facilities, if they
    are ever built, will be nearly impossible.

    The fact that reactors in the U.S. are also deteriorating with age and inadequate oversight
    by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission provides further reason for concern. Just three
    years ago, for example, a nuclear reactor in Ohio came within one-fifth of an inch of
    stainless steel from a rupture that would have vented radioactive steam into the reactor’s
    containment building and could have led to a meltdown.

    Nuclear Power Is Too Polluting

    Beyond operating concerns remains the unsolved and disturbing issue of waste disposal.
    Some 95 percent of the radioactivity ever generated in the U.S. is contained in the
    nation’s civilian high-level atomic waste. Despite almost two decades of pushing to make
    Yucca Mountain in Nevada the nation’s high-level waste repository, it has not been
    shown scientifically to be suitable to safely store the waste. The Yucca Mountain project
    is further thrown into doubt by the recent revelations of the falsification of scientific data
    by USGS scientists, as well as the court ruling that found EPA’s public health standards
    for the site to be illegal. No country in the world has solved its nuclear waste problem. It
    makes little sense to begin building new reactors when we don’t know what to do with
    the lethal waste from the ones we have.

    Using Nuclear Power to Address Global Warming Would Exacerbate the Problems

    Major studies, such as those by MIT, agree that using nuclear power to have any
    significant effect on global warming would require building at least 1,000 new reactors
    worldwide. This would exacerbate all of the problems of the technology: more terrorist
    targets, more cost (potentially trillions of dollars), less safety, need for a new Yucca
    Mountain-sized waste site every four or five years, more proliferation of nuclear
    materials and technologies, dozens of new uranium enrichment plants, and, even then, a
    severe shortage of uranium even within this century, while displacing the resources
    needed to ensure a real solution to the global warming issue.


    We believe that the financial and safety risks associated with nuclear power are so grave
    that nuclear power should not be a part of any solution to address global warming. There
    is no need to jeopardize our health, safety, and economy with increased nuclear power
    when we have cleaner, cheaper solutions to reduce global warming pollution.

    I urge all readers not to be duped by the sloppy propaganda polemics. Don’t be duped into believing for even a fraction of a moment that environmentalists are defenders of nuclear energy. They are not. They never have been. On the contrary, in fact, environmentalists have a long and undistinguished history of being at the forefront of antinuclear technology, and anyone who tells you differently is incorrect — though it is true that some environmentalists have come around at last to the blindingly obvious: namely, that nuclear energy is by light years the cleanest, most efficient energy source known to humankind; but these environmentalists are hardly the norm. Quoting the American physicist Mark Mills:

    “What landed the greens of both camps in their present quandary [concerning nuclear energy] was their joint pessimism about nuclear power two decades ago. The anything-but camp had been agitating against nukes long before the March 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. But after that accident this camp had a real meltdown to rally around. That was it, politically speaking — there would be no new nuclear power plants built. The plan was to invest, instead, in ‘efficiency’ and ‘renewables.’ What we in fact did in those twenty-plus years since was burn an additional 400 million tons of coal a year. Electric efficiency rose sharply in motors, lights, and refrigerators everywhere, but total consumption of electricity rose equally fast, so we burned more coal” (The Bottomless Well).

    As I’ve mentioned before — and can never mention enough — the Three Mile Island accident was so overblown by antinuclear groups that it went virtually unnoticed how the containment vessel had done its job and prevented any significant release of radioactivity.

    And for all this extra coal we’ve been burning for the last thirty years — roughly 400 million tons per year — we have the environmentalists and the other antinuclear groups to thank.

  46. Larry July 14, 2009 at 2:50 am #

    Jennifer wrote:
    “I will be 87 years old – fit, happy and still blogging.”

    My stoopid question of the day. Why did you choose the blogging format, rather than the phpBB forum format? I’m not saying that you should have gone the other route. But some day when I’m more organized, I’d like to start either a blog or a forum on DIY approaches to health, and I don’t have enough information to choose between the two formats.

  47. jennifer July 14, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Hey Larry,
    I didn’t do a lot of research. The blog was essentially set up for me by a friend – my boyfriend at the time who runs an IT business. After it was up and going it took me a long time to build up the courage to actually post that first time. Now it is easy.

  48. Larry July 14, 2009 at 4:47 pm #


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