Skip to main content

Political progressives should be very excited about the potential of Thorium fusion nuclear reactors for energy generation.

Thorium is an abundantly-occurring radioactive element that is usable for nuclear reactors. The United Stated military operated a Thorium reactor for several years until it was shut down and research discontinued. Instead, they chose to develop and subsidize Uranium reactors, which produce a weaponizable waste product.

Thorium molten salt reactors (MSR) have the potential to be technically, economically, and environmentally superior to Uranium reactors.  Research has been restarted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the US Energy Department, and other governments including India, China, Germany, Canada,  and private investors.

Thorium is three times more abundant than tin and about as abundant as lead, and several hundred times as abundant as Uranium-235.
Extracted Thorium does not require enrichment.
Thorium fission requires continuous priming. If that is removed, the reaction stops. No chain-reaction meltdown is possible.
Thorium produces 10-10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste.
Thorium has the potential for locally-produced energy from reactors small enough for individual towns.

Links:
Thorium Energy Alliance (TEA) http://thoriumenergyalliance.com/
EnergyFromThorium http://energyfromthorium.com/
Google Tech Talk: The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be  http://www.youtube.com/...
Motherboard Documentary: http://motherboard.vice.com/...  
TEDx Talk: Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel http://www.ted.com/...
American Scientist: http://www.americanscientist.org/... (subscribers or purchase article)

Originally posted to ChumForThought on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Thorium - Better Nuclear Energy.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm happy to see thorium getting a mention... (17+ / 0-)

    but I think you meant fission, not fusion in the lead-in sentence.

    Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

    by protothad on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:34:31 PM PDT

  •  Kinda makes one wonder why nobody has jumped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl

    on this seemingly sweet well-known obvious great deal long long ago ....
    yep yup yep, gimme a break pal.   Wanna but a 100 MPG carbourator?

    "Four more years!" (Obama Unencumbered - The Sequel)

    by jwinIL14 on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:36:08 PM PDT

    •  David, please forgive my tone. I respect you for (6+ / 0-)

      writing a diary, and caring.  The comment above sounded rude & I apologize.

      Lots of good people here agree to disagree politely, ans is what I meant to do.

      "Four more years!" (Obama Unencumbered - The Sequel)

      by jwinIL14 on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:52:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wired has a pretty great article (14+ / 0-)

      explaining both the science and the history - one of the reasons thorium wasn't pursued is because uranium's byproduct was more useful to the military, which how uranium won a quasi-monopoly in the business during the pivotal years when the tech was developing.  I'm cautiously optimistic about this one, because unlike other types of high-promise nuclear tech that have proposed, this one's already been built, and tested, and used.  That is, a primitive version of it... The jury is out on some aspects of the technology that would be necessary to make it feasible in the long-term.  It's worth reading the whole article.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:52:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Appreciated reply. Thanks (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, JeffW, elwior, Wee Mama

        "Four more years!" (Obama Unencumbered - The Sequel)

        by jwinIL14 on Sun May 20, 2012 at 10:57:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes indeed, I have an encyclopedia from (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, kbman, pico

        about 1952, and there's an article about one of the first cold war nuclear reactors constructed for the production of plutonium and the authors lamented/predicted how vast amounts of energy were just going to waste the could in theory be used to generate electricity for commercial sale . . .

        Then, once that aspect was perfected (not in time for inclusion in that particular encyclopedia, but not all that long afterwards) the US military launched a huge propaganda campaign to sell nuclear energy in Japan in the early to mid 1960s.   It was quite a heartwarming example of mutual cooperation between the military and Big Industry that benefited (almost!) everyone . . .

      •  Science Friday just had the author of that article (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David Satterlee, pico, carver

        earlier this month:

        http://www.sciencefriday.com/...

        He just published a book promoting thorium reactors. They also had a second guest who raised many safety and security issues, as noted by some of the comments below.

      •  Thorium vs. Uranium (0+ / 0-)

        The weapons material production capability of uranium reactors wasn't the real reason uranium power-generating reactors became the standard design in the 1950s in the US and elsewhere. By the time the 1960s rolled around countries like the US, Britain and France had about as much plutonium as they needed for their nuclear weapons stockpiles -- right now those countries have tens of tonnes of surplus weapons-grade Pu on their hands due to overproduction and negotiated treaties requiring reduction of weapons stocks. They didn't need much more of it derived from power reactors, and they all had specialised reactors to produce the Pu they did need for weapons. There were a few dual-use reactor designs like the British Magnox and the Soviet-era RBMK-4 but they were rarely if ever actually used to make material for nuclear weapons.

         The main reason that uranium won out over thorium for power generation is that it's a much simpler element to fission to produce thermal energy -> steam -> electricity. Thorium is not fissile by itself; the attempts to design and build "conventional" pressure-kettle reactors similar to the existing uranium reactor designs all require some enriched uranium and/or plutonium in the fuel mix to provide a "sparkplug" of extra neutrons to fission the thorium and produce energy. India, a country which has few natural sources of uranium has been developing thorium reactors for this reason.

         The liquid fluorine thorium reactor (LFTR) being touted by many folks is a much more complex system than the simpler uranium pressure-vessel reactors which also have a sixty-year service history to base new designs on as well as fuel making infrastructure, transportation systems, reprocessing etc. If uranium was becoming scarce then LFTR designs would become more viable but the known exploitable reserves of uranium ore are easily capable of supplying the existing demand for at least 60 years, and that's only at current prices (about 100 dollars US per kilo of refined metal). If the price were to go up due to extra demand a lot more known ore bodies would become economically viable.

  •  A LFTR (6+ / 0-)

    would produce waste components in Uranium 232, Technetium 99, and Iodine 129.  In what levels, it seems, people simply don't know.  A LFTR does seem to be the safest possible nuclear reactor, but seems is quite different than is.  

    U-232 is particularly dangerous, and the by-product production levels are of primary concern.  As I understand it (which is not well) U-232, and Protactinium 231 would be reactor stable and only be an issue during reactor decommission.  Both can be actively extracted, but P-231 decay is part of the fuel cycle and should not be extracted, and I can't imagine why anyone would want U-232.

    Technetium and Iodine have medical uses, and can be considered a valuable by-product that could conceivably enhance commercialization of thorium reactors.  

    The problem of eco-friendly batteries are still an issue with electric generation.  Nickel cadmium, nickel hydroxide, are dirty technologies.  Lithium polymer tech is not as dirty, just really dangerous.  Explosion due to cell damage is a real concern.  Primary advances have to be in storage for electricity generation to overtake oil.

    It's interesting technology, but still not quite there yet.  However, it does represent the most stable and safest nuclear option.  I don't really understand why thorium hasn't been explored other than the defense of the status quo.

    What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

    by Mr Jones on Mon May 21, 2012 at 12:12:47 AM PDT

  •  Seems promising (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Satterlee, carver

    We should funnel all the loan guarantees and other pork the nuclear industry receives towards setting up a LFTR research reactor.  We need to see how these things will operate commercially before we start building them for civilian power purposes.  The MAIN problem with Light Water Reactors is that they were rushed into production before we knew how expensive it would be to build, maintain and operate them with the requisite level of safety that their failure modes required.  In other words, a nuclear meltdown is so horrible that preventing one from occurring over the 40 - 80 years a plant will be in operation is prohibitively expensive.  We are learning this hard lesson once again as the $14B Vogtle plant in Georgia just had a $900M increase in its cost because some re-bar wasn't installed properly.

    Hopefully, LFTRs can do a lot better, but I'd like to find out before we build a whole industry around them.

  •  Political economy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl

    Political economy is not the public interest in how we conduct exchange and trade, but rather the reliance on exchange and trade to manipulate and control the public.  
    "No free lunch" is shorthand for making people pay money to sustain their existence and regulating the conditions under which people gain access to the money they need.  Money is an instrument of population control, not in the sense of limiting directly the number of humans allowed to exist, but in the sense of being in charge of every aspect of their lives.
    Why would someone want to do that?  Mostly, I suspect, because some people are basically incompetent to do for themselves and find it necessary to coerce their sustenance. To satisfy their demand, the producers have to be taxed.  And, for some reason, the demands are boundless.  Their impulse to accumulate is never satisfied.
    When control is the issue, monopoly is desired because monopoly is easier to regulate.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:30:36 AM PDT

  •  Fusion? Are you sure about that? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Wee Mama, pico

    Fission I could believe, but...

  •  It will happen in China first. (5+ / 0-)

    China has working prototypes and a pressing need to reduce reliance on coal, which it is pursuing on multiple fronts.

    Given the fact much of China is land-locked and arid, molten salt reactors are an attractive technology, and small modular reactors a safer/faster alternative than conventional water cooled reactors.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Mon May 21, 2012 at 05:47:10 AM PDT

    •  Here's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      a link about that.

      It must be nice to live in a country not filled with anti-science nutcases!

      •  Ummm.. progressives and environmentalists (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, kbman, koNko

        have been the big obstacle in the way of ANY testing/research of nuclear reactors.

        I will grant you that most of the GOPers are too stupid to even know about the possibility of Thorium reactors, but the knee jerk reaction by progressives to anything containing the word "nuclear" over the last 4 decades has by far stifled research the most.

        •  Yes, that mentality is definitely highly evident (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerry J, kbman, pico, koNko

          in the need to rename NMR to MRI to gain acceptance as a medical diagnostic process!

          •  Yes.. in the early days of NMR research (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy, kbman, pico, koNko

            I worked at a medical research facility.. they used the term NMR exclusively..  I was surprised when not too many years later they changed the term to MRI when it became standard medical testing.

            •  Yes, similar experience here. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerry J, Roadbed Guy, pico, koNko

              I had a job as a co-op student working in the Lab for Technical Development at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda.  Our lab chief, Dr. Robert Bowman was one of the pioneers of NMR work - something that they initially used to measure flow rates in piping, and then extended that to measuring blood flow.  His technician assistant in much of this, a Russian emigre television and electronics engineer named Kudracev, also did some consulting with the folks who developed MRI imaging.  I later helped "Kood", as he was called in the lab, record some of his memoirs regarding this early NMR work.  I knew that NMR was being developed to do whole body imaging and was quite surprised to hear it called MRI.  But then again, I worked at NIH in 1978 and 1979.  I seem to recall some event on March 29th that second year that changed a lot of things.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:03:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes. (0+ / 0-)

        When they are not busy tripping over our own anti-science/standard-issue nutcases!  

        You know, China has plenty of irrational people with nutty ideas and our own breed of trollish Right-Wing Idiots.

        On the plus side, science and education are not dirty words, but we still manage to screw-up plenty of things.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue May 22, 2012 at 05:08:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  i can't agree more ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, kbman

    with the limited information that i have reviewed online and other resources, thorium based reactors seem to be more safer and addresses radioactive material issues better than current uranium based designs

    I know that India is investing heavily into a thorium cycle reactor. i wish US did the same

    •  The USA? Invest in science??? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InfiniteThoughts, kbman, highacidity

      What are you, a Communist? I bet you believe in global warming, too.

      (/snark)

      Sometimes . . . I feel . . . like a redneck with chopsticks . . . Dreaming of squirrel while I'm sucking down squid . . .

      by Pale Jenova on Mon May 21, 2012 at 06:57:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman

        but you can get support from republicans as well. how? The market for nuclear reactors from China and India alone is $250 bn over the next 20 years. Why not invest to get some action in that pie?

        •  What to do about the poison waste, again? (0+ / 0-)
          •  thorium as a secure fuel (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            David Satterlee

            From ENSEC

            The waste profile of the thorium fuel cycle is a vast improvement.  The vast majority of the waste is the 233-uranium isotope.  233U can be reprocessed to be used as fuel in a closed thorium fuel cycle, however the technology for this is not yet available.  In the meantime, 233U cannot be used to make bomb material because of its natural properties.  Specifically, it is because 233U contains 232uranium isotopic content, whose decay products give off significant gamma rays, that would fry the electronics in any conceivable bomb mechanism not to mention being fatal for any human being within several meters, making transport of weapons impossible.  Moreover, these gamma rays would be immediately detectable by the most basic satellite surveillance.  Bomb fabrication from 233U, though technically possible, is so impractical that it is considered impossible.  Minor actinide waste in the thorium fuel cycle is reduced by as much as 99.99% in some models
            My PoV is that US should invest in Thorium reactors and i am sure that investment for a decade or so will help us address important qestions on waste disposals
  •  It sounds so good, doesn't it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    S F Hippie, Russgirl, chmood

    On its face, it's easy to see why people might be excited about Thorium as a greener nuclear energy alternative, for all of the reasons the diarist lists. Some environmentalists have placed a lot of hope in these reactors. I know that when I first read about it, I know that it seems initially very promising.

    But the problem with Thorium is that it still creates radioactive waste with all of the storage and disposal issues associated with nuclear power waste, alpha and beta radiation, with the same health and environmental consequences associated with traditional nuclear plants. This waste is still highly radioactive as I understand. Also, unless new technologies are more widely implemented, thorium reactors still need U-233 to irradiate the thorium. While it's not weapons-grade Uranium, some express concern that a small amount of U-233 than a larger amount of U-235. As I understand this, U-233 still produces U-232 with a half life of over 150,000 years, in addition to 1-129 (another monstrous half life), technetium-99 (300,000 years), and several others. What are we to do with this nuclear waste? Send it out into space? Bury it? We cannot afford to create more new nuclear waste recklessly.

    Economically speaking, they're more costly than regular reactors and certainly much more costly than sustainable or renewable alternative energy sources and technologies. They aren't currently considered economically viable. Then again, economics shouldn't be the only consideration one has when dealing with energy issues. Sadly, most Nations do think about costs and work to create the cheapest solutions -- not to mention regulatory agencies. Obviously nuclear regulatory agencies and companies are also a strike against Thorium plants; if Fukushima had been a Thorium plant, we'd still have seen the same mendacity from TEPCO and the Japanese Gov't with also-disastrous results. So why should we still place our faith in these people? That's "the enemy that we know," even if the reactor material shifts around a little bit.

    Ultimately, I know that we are seeking a solution very hard to the problem of clean energy to save the ecosphere and our climate. We all want this. We all care deeply, or we wouldn't even discuss alternatives. But the real issue is some deeper problem with our addiction to energy, our overpopulation, and our desire for quick fixes. Especially when the clock is ticking. At times like these, we can become a little frantic too; it's more important now to really be wary of letting that desperate hope get ahead of our better judgement.

    Thorium reactors still cause unmanageable nuclear waste in addition to a host of other problems. We need to carefully, carefully think about what we really hope to achieve with them. Let's not have it simply be "At least they aren't traditional Uranium reactors." That's a low, low bar to set. One which could prove highly damaging.

    You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 06:54:22 AM PDT

    •  The comparisons with the waste from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, kbman, David Satterlee

      LWR is false. "All the problems with..." no. Not even close.

      Long half lives are generally not an issue...the longer the half life, the LESS dangerous it is. It's the really active (as in "radiao-ACTIVE") that are throwing up decay particles that make it so dangerous. But I digress...

      The total waste for a LFTR is one ton a year assuming it's a 1GW reactors (which no one is working on, everyone appears working on a 30 to 100MW ones, so proportionally less). While antis would have you believe that 'waste' is like pollution, it's not. It doesn't get into the environment...not even at Fukushima did this happen...the Spent Fuel Ponds shows NO sing of damage or file.

      The LFTR was is 26 to 34 times LESS than a light water reactor. And, it's ALL processed so that the actual nasty fission products are reduced to a few, well managed pounds of real waste. The bulk of the 1 ton is safe after 200 to 300 years. The it can be recycled as various metals.

      U233 gets burned up along with most of the dangerous stuff that is produced along with it. As a LFTR reprocesses it's own fuel stream, there is no Protactinium left over, it all decays into U233 and is reused as starter fuel for new reactors.

      I've written man diaries here on LFTR here:
      http://davidwalters.dailykos.com/...

      and here:

      http://davidwalters.dailykos.com/...

      and here:

      http://davidwalters.dailykos.com/...

      and about a dozen others.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Mon May 21, 2012 at 07:57:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The comparisons are not false (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl

        The statement wasn't comparing the two. It was remarking that both have problems with being potentially damaging to human health as well as the environment.

        That's correct.

        Also, I do believe waste "gets into" the environment. I think that's not really arguable and am not sure how one can really assert that there is no nuclear waste contamination in the environment? That nuclear waste contamination poses no health or environmental concerns?

        The EPA doesn't view this idea as even remotely peculiar. I suppose it's pretty commonly acknowledged!

        It does. And thorium reactors do. Can you please clarify this part of your statement? Because to me, I think to myself "If Thorium reactors create radioactive waste, and radioactive waste causes damage to human health and the environment, then Thorium is an unacceptable solution."

        Of course, environmental/health concerns were only one part of my original statement about the reasons why Thorium reactors are not preferable, other than if one sets their bar simply lower than the reactors in existence now.

        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

        by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 08:10:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  To me it remains massively inexplicable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi, kbman

        how a relatively tiny amount of radioisotopes released from nuclear power are WAY more dangerous than the massive amounts released by virtually any other method electricity is currently generated (with the possible exception of hydroelectric)

        Strange, strange stuff!!

        •  Go to Japan - see it firsthand... do something (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          positive for a change to help PEOPLE first.
          Forget profit.

          The nuke industry can't clean up their ongoing mess and you STILL proposal "tiny amounts"?

          Get real RBGuy.

          People ARE AWAKE and will no long be considered "collateral damage" to fill the pockets of poison industry at OUR expense.

          NO more.

          •  It IS tiny amounts compared (0+ / 0-)

            to sources such as coal, solar, and wind.

            The information is freely available on the internet if you wish to avail yourself of it.  In fact, as you well know, I've supplied it myself.

            Not that that did any good . .. .

            •  Interesting take on it. Ill bet you can buy some (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive, Russgirl

              prime real estate aroud Fukishima really cheaply.

              •  I actually laughed out loud (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Russgirl

                and hoped it was just a "misspeak."

                You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:27:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Or for that matter around Bukit Merah (0+ / 0-)

                in Indonesia that has been massively contaminated with radiaoactive waste from rare earth mines needed in "clean energy"

                Rare earth elements are a group of 17 elements indicated in the attached periodic table.  They are not rare, but can be found everywhere.  However, they are not usually found in sufficient concentrations to justify economical extraction, and thus their name.  The problem with rare earths  is that they are often found together with radioactive elements, which are primarily thorium and uranium.  Therefore, as the rare earths are refined, the radioactive elements are too:

                Rare earths are vital to today’s high-tech gadgets including green products also.  They are typically used as additives to enhance specific characteristics.  Since they are so essential to modern life, most of us do not agree to a complete stop to this industry.  None however will deny that the current waste disposal method is simply awful.  The refineries in Baotou dump their waste into a toxic depository dam.  As a result, health problems and cancer rates soar, farmlands are poisoned and livestocks die inexplicably.  This is no different from Malaysia’s past experience.  Mitsubishi Chemicals operated the Asian Rare Earth refinery in Bukit Merah in the ‘80s and caused a sudden surge in leukemia, birth defects and miscarriages among the residents there.
                link

                Similar situations exist from rare earth mines in California and South Africa . . . get your real estate now!!

                AND - here's the 970 pound gorrilla in the room - 97% of rare earth metals are mined in China where I suspect envirnonmental standards are much worse if they exist at all, so that's just the tip of the iceberg.

                Of course, from Scientific American - here's the 990 pound gorrilla:  Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste

                •  To clarify, I don't think anyone was necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                  harmed by the California mine (unlike the situation in China, Indonesia, or South Africa).

                  Nevertheless, Mountain Pass mine WAS shut down for several years for spilling radioactive waste into the environment (for more context, see the Atlantic Monthly's article Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret).

                  For better or worse, it's now back in operation, yay! (jobs!!)

            •  Are you suggesting that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Russgirl

              nuclear power is LESS harmful than wind? Because as I read your statement, that is what you've said: that the amount of radiation from nuclear power is lower than the amount of radiation produced by wind energy. You said that nuclear energy creates a tiny fraction of the amount of monstrous, massive nuclear radiation which wind farming produces.

              So then, wouldn't the whole world be made better, healthier, less carcinogenic, and even less radioactive by going to spots using wind power and carting in some friendly nuclear power! Problem solved!

              I can see the campaign for it now; I'd wager it weren't particularly well-received though. ;)

              You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

              by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:25:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, nuclear power is less harmful than wind (0+ / 0-)

                of course the people harmed are Americans, so who gives a flying fuck!!

                •  It's a funny concept (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy, Russgirl

                  By extension, one should import nuclear power plants in the stead of wind farms to get rid of wind's bad radiation!

                  I'm all for solving the world's energy crisis, and I'm sure you are as well. But certainly not by falsely elevating the value of nuclear power beyond reason?

                  You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                  by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:41:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Import it from where? (0+ / 0-)

                    I really don't trust Mexican engineering all that much and the Canadians seem to prefer to sell oil and hydroelectric . .  . (we don't seem to have much propensity to buy their CANDU reactors for one reason or another).

                  •  About the funny concept of inporting nuclear (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    power - yeah, it IS funny, I totally agree with you on that one, at least in the context of Germany, which is phasing out nuclear power in favor of inporting nuclear power generated electricity from neighboring countries:

                    Nuke-Free Germany Isn't Exactly Nuke-Free

                    It is absolutely rip-roaring hilarious that Germany is now going to rely on (instead of their own for-all-intents-and-purposes-competently-run-nuclear-power-plants) Soviet era nukes in the Czech Republic.

                    Funny, funny stuff to be sure.

                    •  That's an important article (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      translatorpro

                      I think the Germans might want to protest all over again. It took them serious tenacity to assert their political will on this issue. Now it really just looks like political grandstanding. At least, according to the article, they will stop importing the 3% that they are now importing (they say) in the long term. It's a damn shame to me that Germany's neighbor there is willing to sell them out like that though. And no way should Germany purchase the power only to keep their own hands clean. Way, way too NIMBY for me. Ugh. Not funny at all.

                      You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                      by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:14:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It's also an old article, with no (2+ / 0-)

                        figures or sources whatsoever. This is the scenario the Czech Republic was hoping for, but because energy based on renewables has become quite competitive and quite plentiful in Germany, this wishful thinking remains just that.
                        It's late here now, so I'm not going to look up the figures now, but will get back with references tomorrow. Whenever Mr. Roadbed Guy writes anything about Germany, he's usually basing his conclusions on outdated or inaccurate material.  I've refuted his claims on numerous occasions.

                        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                        by translatorpro on Mon May 21, 2012 at 04:59:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I look forward to seeing what you (0+ / 0-)

                          bring to the table! Also, I wondered where you'd gone off to! Nice to see you back.

                        •  The article is from last fall . . . (0+ / 0-)

                          and by "refuted" do you really mean fully obscure anything that goes against the pie in the sky narrative spun by those who spin completely unrealistic scenarios?

                          In other words, when a proposal that Germany will meet the increased demand by either coal, gas, or imported nuclear power (in reality it will be some mix of the three) you point at a bright shiny object and say "look over there!"  To me, this is definitely much less objectionable to continueing to subsize coal for several more years or dramatically increase natural gas imports from central europe.  

                          but not to everybody!

                          •  Your arguments are nonsense. My only interest is (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            in providing facts, not cherry-picked newspaper articles that only support your side of the issue. It's ridiculous to draw conclusions from 2, 3, 4 or even 20 articles about an entire country, with its own culture, politics and structures, and especially so if there are zero sources to back them up. Secondly, the Green Party is not in power, but Angela Merkel's conservative government is. OF COURSE, the Green Party doesn't like what she's doing. Duh. Neither do I, but it a long shot better than the pathetic efforts on the part of the US to curb their wasteful energy consumption.
                             I don't have time to hang out on DK all day, as you seem to, since I have a business to run, and I'm not going to translate the good stuff for you because I generally get paid for that, but I will provide the link to official statistics, some of which are in English but much of it is not. Use Google to translate, since you seem to have time for this.
                            Just below this is where you'll find all the exact numbers you need, according to the amount of energy generated by source, to import/export figures, etc. etc. At the bottom of the left column is an English flag, which means you can view some of the content in English, but be forwarned, it's UK English. Not sure you are fluent in it.  :-)
                            http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/...

                            Apart from that, I'll refer you to a series of posts I wrote a month ago which contain a lot of useful information:

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...
                             

                            Your information isn't complete by a long shot. (8+ / 0-)
                            How much more lignite are they burning? The number went from 23% to 25% from 2010 to 2011. 2%. The trend may be a very slight increase right now, but the overall tendency, as you will see in the second source below, is that emissions are FALLING, despite the doomsayers' predictions.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/....

                            According to the latest figures [Jan 2012], we [Germany] had the following distribution of gross power generation in 2010: Lignite 23%, nuclear 22%, bituminous coal 19%, renewable energy 16%, natural gas 14% and Other for the remainder.
                            In 2011 the figures are as follows: Lignite 25%, renewable 20%, bituminous coal 19%, nuclear 18%, natural gas 14% and other.
                            The usage of lignite rose slightly, as nuclear energy dropped by 4% after 8 reactors were shut down in March. Bituminous coal and natural gas stayed the same. Yet it also shows that what was lost in nuclear was made up for with renewable, so the construction of new coal powered plants won’t be necessary. What we need more is grid integration and a continuation of renewable. The German government plans to increase the percentage of renewable to 35% by the year 2020. We believe, however, that we can increase the share to 47% renewable energy sources by 2020.
                            And in other news dated 11 April 2012:
                            http://www.renewablesinternational.net/....

                            Lower carbon emissions in 2011
                            Last week, it was reported that emissions for the EU trading system fell by 2.6% in 2011, mainly due to the weak downturn. But the real news was in Germany. Not only did the German economy keep growing strongly, but the country also managed to shut down 40 percent of its nuclear capacity without increasing carbon emissions.
                            Thirdly, from an article last week : http://www.renewablesinternational.net/....
                            German wholesale power gets cheaper

                            Last year, when the German government resolved to shut down 40 percent of its nuclear capacity, critics warned that the move would simply make Germany an importer of conventional power from adjacent countries, but ironically it seems that the opposite is happening. Most cross-border power purchases are made based on price, not because of a power shortage at home, and with German power companies increasingly desperate to get rid of conventional power, prices are only going to become lower. As a result, German exports of power may actually increase considerably over the year.
                            And to ward off accusations of cherry-picking information, I offer you the following from a  pro-nuclear power source, the "World Nuclear News" (wnn), this article from April 13 of this year:
                            http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/....
                            Germany escapes carbon emissions rise
                            Official figures from the Federal Environment Agency were released yesterday, showing total greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of 917 million tonnes for 2011, down by 20 million tonnes (2.2%) on the year before and about equal to 2009's low when manufacturing was hit by the financial crisis.
                            You may be a smart guy, but no one can know everything, and I think a lot of the misinformation on Germany's energy policy I see around here is that too much opinion is based on too little knowledge of the facts, cultural, political and social influences that make up an entire country of ca. 83 m people. Plus you cannot help but view the situation through your own cultural lens, which may not give you a true picture.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...
                            As to your question re the emissions, here's the original press release from the Bundesumweltamt (German Environmental Agency) referred to in the sources above:
                            Emissions Trading: CO2 emissions fall in 2011 despite strong economy
                            Nuclear phase-out has apparently been compensated for
                            At 450 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, 1,640 power generation and industrial facilities required to participate in emissions trading in Germany emitted approximately one percent less climate-damaging CO2 in 2011 than in 2010. Despite a very strong economy and nuclear phase-out, the reduction of CO2 emissions has continued since 2008. According to preliminary calculations, CO2 emissions were especially reduced in the energy sector compared to 2010. In this sector, emission reductions are between two percent in large combustion facilities and six percent in smaller combustion facilities.
                            Read the whole thing for more details at:
                            http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/....
                            Have fun Roadbed Guy.

                            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                            by translatorpro on Tue May 22, 2012 at 07:22:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It seems like you can find links that state (0+ / 0-)

                            that emissions fell while I can find links that state the opposite.

                            The key thing is to parse the details - it appears that yes, emissions fell IN GERMANY (your point, apparently) while INCREASING EUROPE-WIDE due to increased import of electricity by the Germans (my point!).

                            When worrying about a global problem, somehow the "big picture" continent-wide numbers seem more important to me.  But again, maybe that's just me.  I suppose if I actaully lived IN GERMANY I'd have more of a propensity to jump aboard your NIMBY bandwagon . . . but then again, maybe not (based on the precedent that I'm thoroughly disgusted with my own country's record, I hesitantly venture that I'd be no more inclined to whitewash things if I lived elsewhere).

                          •  My overall message is: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            David Satterlee

                            I think your time would be better spent doing something besides bashing Germany, because apart from the fact that you are pretty much always wrong about it, that country is going in the right direction in switching a major economy (one of the world's top five) from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources as fast as they can, and the progress has been pretty damned remarkable in 12 years, when the policy was first introduced (German Renewable Energy Resources Act of 2000). Nuclear was never a top energy source, and Chernobyl pretty much sealed the long-term fate of that industry there because for some odd reason (snark), the Germans weren't enthused about clouds of radioactive substances wafting across their neighborhoods. I lived in the northern part at the time so was not as affected as people in the southern part, where many locally grown foods were not fit for consumption. Certain foods, particularly mushrooms, were contaminated for years, and gathering wild mushrooms in the fall is a popular pastime in some places.

                            This energy policy is a work in progress, and won't be perfect - everyone with 2 brain cells should realize that, and the Germans are the first to admit that there have been and will be mistakes. The conservative government tried to walk it back some, but Fukushima happened, and when 90% of your population doesn't want nuclear power plants, you had better listen. But they have invested an awful lot in this "adventure" (they have no costly wars to finance, for one thing) and if anyone can make it work, the Germans can. (The Americans could, too, if they tried a bit harder...)

                            If you are going to bash any country, look to our very own US and work on improving things there. Just sitting around at your computer bitching about another country is not helping the environment and won't change anything. If I were in the US, I'd be out knocking on doors and doing everything in my power to make sure more and better Democrats are elected so that there will even BE a safe place for the next generations to grow up, and not sitting in my office defending Germany's energy policy to compatriots who don't really know what the heck they are talking about, reading an article here and there and drawing sweeping conclusions that are wrong or full of factual errors because they DON'T LIVE HERE, don't know the language or culture, or have no clue about how things are done, like policy, in Germany. So please, use your time in a more productive way. I'm a member of Democrats Abroad, doing what I can from across the Big Pond.
                            Now I have work to do, and will not spend any more time in fruitless arguments with you. Call me names like NIMBY if you want, if that's all you've got, have at it. I don't stoop to name-calling, that's a last-resort thing, when people have nothing of substance to say. I hoped you would be better than that.

                            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                            by translatorpro on Tue May 22, 2012 at 08:56:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Pie fight (0+ / 0-)

                            Um, I'm not 'spossed ta put the knuckles to comments from others on my own diary... so let me just comment that this pie fight is getting awfully close to the right margin. And, after that, I'm afraid that DK, and maybe even the rest of the universe, might suffer a spontaneous nukular implosion. It's not evidence-based; I've got no citations for that; it's just an intuitive thing.

                        •  Here's a more recent article, from only (0+ / 0-)

                          one month ago (I doubt that THAT much has changed since then):

                          After Germany last year committed to closing its nuclear reactors, it's relying more on coal and importing power from neighbors that use nuclear energy.

                          Just goes to show that I don't just totally pull shit out of nowheres, exactly what was predicted years ago (and "refuted" by you, ha ha, on an ongoing basis) is exactly what actually is happeing - i.e., increased fossil fuel use and importation of nuclear power from neighboring countries.

                          •  Here's the take home message (0+ / 0-)
                            To make up for the lost nuclear power, which supplied 22% of Germany's electricity before the phaseout began, the country has increased its reliance on brown coal, a particularly high emitter of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and a major contributor to global warming. Brown coal now supplies 25% of Germany's electricity, up from 23% a year ago.

                            Previously a net exporter of electricity, Germany now imports as much electricity as it sells abroad. Removing so much German electricity from the market has benefited power companies in neighboring countries that rely heavily on coal and NUCLEAR POWER, thereby undermining Germany's environmental goals and its nuclear safety concerns.

                          •  I would also like to remind you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            of this exchange:
                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            PS. That same Wikipedia article also says: (3+ / 0-)
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/....

                            Top ten emitters
                            What follows is a ranking of the world's top ten emitters of GHGs for 2005 (MNP, 2007).[56] The first figure is the country's or region's emissions as a percentage of the global total. The second figure is the country's/region's per-capita emissions, in units of tons of GHG per-capita:
                            China1 – 17%, 5.8
                            United States3 – 16%, 24.1
                            European Union-273 – 11%, 10.6
                            Indonesia2 – 6%, 12.9
                            India – 5%, 2.1
                            Russia3 – 5%, 14.9
                            Brazil – 4%, 10.0
                            Japan3 – 3%, 10.6
                            Canada3 – 2%, 23.2
                            Mexico – 2%, 6.4
                            Look at those per capita numbers, dude. Then tell me again how horrible Germany/Europe is in working to change things for the better.

                            So before you cast stones, sweetheart, tend to your own glass house. What do you do to conserve energy in your own life, if anything? It might be a good time to think about where you can start saving the environment in our own country.

                            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                            by translatorpro on Tue May 22, 2012 at 07:30:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I typically don't bend data is support (0+ / 0-)

                            the USA - yeah, we suck.

                            That doesn't counteract the fact that Germany is currently replacing domestic nuclear with foreign nuclear and coal.

                            That is quite clearly stated in the LA Times article I just linked.

                            But in case anyone missed it, here it is again and here's another look at the consequences:

                            Last year's shuttering of eight of the country's 17 reactors has led to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions of 25 million tons annually in Europe, said Laszlo Varro of the International Energy Agency, a European intergovernmental organization.
                          •  Hopeless. You are not reading the info I provided (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PreciousLittle

                            because it doesn't conform to what you want to believe - which is where we started. Have a nice day, I have more important things to do than waste any more time with circular arguments.

                            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                            by translatorpro on Tue May 22, 2012 at 08:34:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I did read it, quite carefully in fact (0+ / 0-)

                            so as to be able to figure out that if one carefully parsed things, one could make the claim (as you do) that German carbon emissions went down - yay!!

                            Until one stops to consider (as I linked elsewhere) that that decrease was more than compensated for by increased emissions elsewhere needed to supply electricity to Germany for the resulting electricity deficit.

                            And no, I'm not making this up - I've found corroborating links for the LA Times article (yeah, they may tend to be a tad RW and untrustworthy, I grant you that) from the UK and  Australian media.  With the Australian piece more or less gloating over their resulting coal exporting prospects.   Not really sure why they'd make that up out of thin air, especially with the current booming demand from Japan and India  . . ..

                          •  More craziness (0+ / 0-)
                            In Germany, power companies are building 11 new coal-burning plants, including the world's largest lignite or brown coal plant, a 2.1GW giant at Neurath.
                            from an article 3 weeks old (i.e., not ancient history).

                            Really, how crazy is that? Once these plants are built, they are more or less guaranteed to be operated for 5 or 6 decades, at precisely the time that coal should be being phased out . . . .

                            (note that if the link doesn't work, google "germany building new coal fired power stations")

              •  To emphasize, since it it relevance to this (0+ / 0-)

                diary - rare earth mining actually widely disseminates THORIUM into the enviroment (from the link I give above):

                LAMP will use 720 tons of concentrated hydrochloric / sulphuric acid per day and generates 32,000 tons of  thorium and uranium containing wastes per year.  Lynas has built huge storage cells to house them temporarily at the site, but has no permanent waste management plan.  Shockingly, the executive chairman of Lynas Nick Curtis claims that Lynas has intended the temporary depository to be permanent which the Malaysian regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) immediately refuted.  It turns out that Lynas is still trying to figure a way to deal with 146,113 tons of its annual wastes, which is clearly stated in the Radiological Impact Assessment (RIA): “The company is developing plans for research and development of valuable uses for residues, and also permanent disposal options”.

                The LAMP covers an area the size of 140 football fields!  A huge portion of this area is earmarked for waste storage over the 10 years LAMP will be in operation.  The local residents are terrified that their backyard will be the final resting place for the wastes, one of which contains thorium-232 with a half life of 14 billion years!

                Perhaps an irony here is that the hydrocloric/sulfuric acid involved is almost certain WAY more dangerous the thorium and uranium but it's not radioactive so it's all good, I suppose . . .
                •  Red herring (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Russgirl

                  No one in this diary has brought up "rare earth mining" at all, nor has it been a part of this conversation at all. Please return to the original conversation about wind being more dangerous than nuclear waste, thank you much.

                  You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                  by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:42:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  YOU did (0+ / 0-)

                    in this post where you tout wind energy.

                    Seriously, you cannot have wind energy without the requisite rare earth minerals.

                    Double seriously, look it up on the Google.  I personally am becoming weary of dealing with those who I have to judge are acting willingful obtuse for some unknown reason . . ..

                    •  I'm not being willfully obtuse (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Russgirl

                      I am surprised that you think this. Maybe I'm just naturally obtuse?

                      Again, can you show me where wind farming is more radioactive than nuclear energy? Other than the idea that wind can move radioactive particles around (which makes the particles radioactive; not the wind).

                      I'm genuinely a bit confused by this claim. Also, wind farming is rather robust in my area. Should I be alarmed by all of the nuclides tossed around at the cows willy-nilly? Without their consent even. At the sheer whim of the Gods. Every single day. It's entirely disconcerting.

                      You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                      by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 11:03:53 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're just fucking with, right? (0+ / 0-)

                        perhaps to get back at me for past real or alleged insults?

                        (Yeah, I can get a bit ornery at times, for sure - I guess I should work on that!).

                        •  Ooops, forgot a "me" in the title (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mahakali overdrive

                          see, I'm not entirely egocentric after all.

                          just atrocious grammar wise.

                        •  Did you insult me? (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Roadbed Guy, Russgirl, chmood

                          I doubt it. You aren't a bad egg. Sure, ornery sometimes. So what? At the end of the day, we're all just people. Flawed completely, every one of us. Anyone who says otherwise is pretty ridiculous, IMHO.

                          I know you aren't budging on your point. You know I'm not budging on mine. At least I hope we've enjoyed the conversation. It's really not about being right or wrong all the time. All conversation isn't a battle. Sometimes, it can be just a conversation to unpack ideas, shake them out, look at them, turn them around some more.

                          Off to go hiking here. Have a good day.

                          You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                          by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 11:14:01 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  OK, very well, since I'm sure (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            you totally realize that * something * is needed to turn the mechanical energy generated from the wind turbines into electrical energy.

                            And that something (more often than not) is neodynium, a rare earth metal, whose mining in other part of the globe massively spreads radioactive waste into the local environment over there.

                            To me, and maybe it's just me, it bothers me that somebody in rural China or Indonesia is harmed so that we can have "clean" energy in upstate NY or even Kansas .. .

                          •  I actually did not know about the neodynium (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            mining in China and Indonesia. That's troubling and something that I will look into further. I absolutely agree that we have no right to promote a first-world standard of living by in any way exploiting third-world workers :/

                            You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                            by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:09:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In that case, it might be useful to Google (0+ / 0-)

                            something like "neodymium wind turbines" and get a sense of what's going on (I suggest you do it yourself, so that I cannot be accused of cherrypicking articles that favor my POV . . .. ).

              •  Another thing about wind is that it kills bats (0+ / 0-)

                And bats are quite valuable:

                Gary McCracken, head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, analyzed the economic impact of the loss of bats in North America in agriculture and found it to be in the $3.7 to $53 billion a year range.
                link

                So, if bats are killed and can't eat insects, I'm sure Monsanto will be happy to step in and sell the corresponding amount of pesticides.

                Delighted, in fact.

                Which brings up the schizophrenic nature of this site - when a whole different set of DailyKossers get wind of Monsanto's good forture in this regard, THEY are going to be outraged (eheh ehhehe heheh hhe heh meh).

                But that's why we're progressives, right - we have an endless capacity to get outraged!!

                •  Wind kills bats. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Russgirl

                  Oh boy. Bats them around and is fatal-like and all that. I see. It's almost like some sort of intentional genocide put on by nature. It's as if life causes death. Between wind and then potential skin radiation from the moon, this could prove very damaging to these creatures. I say buy stock in bat mortuaries. That strikes me as the real solution!

                  I don't have an endless capacity to get outraged, FWIW. I'm sitting here drinking some coffee with my cat, waiting for my husband to finish up his shower so that we can go for a hike while it's lovely outside. I get outrage fatigue quite easily myself and think logic, humor, and kindness are all better tools for progress.

                  You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                  by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 11:10:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hmm, from the general gist of your posting (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    history I would have thought that you'd be a tad more concerned about bat fatalities.

                    But whatever, I guess this just goes to say that this proves what happens when you assume . ..

                    •  I'm not concerned by fatality per se (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy

                      I'm concerned by quality of life, more so.

                      It's an important and interesting distinction.

                      You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                      by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 11:15:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, that is an interesting distinction! (2+ / 0-)

                        In this case it seems like a tradeoff between a cleaner local atmosphere wrt to energy-related emissions and increased pesticide use due to less bats that would otherwise eat massive amounts of insects.

                        I'll have to go ponder for a while which I'd choose, at the outset neither appear all THAT appealing.

                    •  Just in case anyone is interested in more (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mahakali overdrive

                      information on this topic, here's a US government (yay Obama!) link:

                      Bat Fatalities at Wind Turbines: Investigating the Causes and Consequences

                      •  Much food for thought in all of this (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roadbed Guy

                        As a committed environmentalist, sometimes it's really hard to find a balance with one's humanist commitments. Or maybe I have too much sun after hiking. I'll read through that. They should do more to protect the wildlife from wandering into any sort of energy source. Like bats don't have enough problems with white nose syndrome which, I read in the New Yorker was thought to be caused by human carelessness, basically.

                        I was probably a little brash talking about bats so cavalierly. I regret that now and appreciate the article. It's hard to do the whole coexistence thing. Kind of off-topic, but not entirely, when I was hiking, I went by a pond and saw these enormous toads. A bit later, I asked the ranger about them since they were really huge, bigger than any I'd seen before. She said they weren't supposed to be there and were eating the turtles and screwing up the ecosystem.

                        It's hard to keep everything in perspective. But it's so important. I am not one who can say a solution is good because other solutions aren't good, but I also don't want to fall prey to the perfect being the enemy of the good myself. I feel like there is a solution out there which requires serious human consideration. My personal background here stems not from Science really, but from long research in bioethics actually (mainly AI though).

                        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                        by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:23:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The bottom line is that there really is no (0+ / 0-)

                          such thing as "clean" electricity - if you sit down carefully account for all the hidden costs the picture can be quite bleak.

                          Even things like hydroelectric aren't universally acclaimed, for example I lived in Boston in the late 1980s and there were vociferous protests by the environmentalists against HydroQuebec's scheme to sell electricity in New England - for one thing, alot of First Nations land was flooded leading to mercury contamination of their fish supplies.  Interestingly, some of that very same (environmentally unfriendly) cheap power is now being used to manufacture solar panels:

                          Norwegian solar company Renewable Energy Corp. plans to spend at least $1.2 billion US and employ 300 people to build a silicon materials plant for solar panels in Bécancour, Que.

                          Premier Jean Charest is to participate in a news conference Monday to formally announce that Hydro-Québec, the province's energy utility, will provide the Norwegian company with a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity at a "competitive industrial rate."

                          The cheap energy supply was key to the location of the plant, because the production of polysilicon is energy intensive.

                          On the plus side, at least THIS is (most likely) not happening in Quebec:  Solar Power Pollution Causes Riots in China  - but again, this is just another example of things not being quite as sunny as they might appear on the surface . . ..
            •  Again... clean up your poison mess. NO nukes. (2+ / 0-)

              On April 25, YAMATANI Eriko, Member of the House of Councillors (National Diet of Japan) read an interview with Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of Futaba, translated by Fukushima Diary
                 

              [...] Japanese government submit SPEEDI data to US and concealed it from Japanese people.
              Even now, SPEEDI data is not given to Futaba town.

                  [...] We were not even informed of venting.

                  [...] I’m losing my hair and have nosebleed everyday. The other day, I asked for blood test at a hospital in Tokyo because I’m exposed but they refused it.

              We were even exposed and there is even no treatment, or proper inspection. Medical check up for Fukushima citizens are not detailed enough either.
              http://enenews.com/...

              •  This poor man has been through so much (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Russgirl

                Your comment prompted me to look further about him and Der Spiegel wrote a pretty outstanding piece on him, and Futuba, which is WELL worth the read:

                http://www.spiegel.de/...

                You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                by mahakali overdrive on Mon May 21, 2012 at 03:31:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for sharing! Every person has a story. (2+ / 0-)

                  We are all Japan... we must continue to stand up against this ongoing horror show for the good of ALL MANKIND and our future.

                  Crazy that folks STILL support this w/no place to put the poison waste.

                  The sick truth is happening right now - no amount of diversion from pro-nukers can change that.

                  Let's all hope and pray for a better tomorrow, eh?

                  As Albert Einstein wrote after the war ended, in his
                  1946 book Out of My Later Years:
                  “If I had known the Germans would not succeed
                  in constructing the atom bomb,
                  I never would have moved a finger.”
                  He went on to describe atomic energy as “a menace.”
                  •  Einstein is one of the greats IMHO (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Russgirl

                    He was, this is embarrassing but true, one of my first crushes! For his mind and also, I think he's ridiculously handsome since I was a wee girl.

                    I think all earnest people do want the same thing: a more functional energy system that works well for all people and is clean for the environment. I take people at their word about that, even those who have been industry people. I know they believe they are doing the right thing (most of the time). It's important to acknowledge that. Einstein, ever a peacenik of the highest order, would have approved. The best thing is to just state your truth as you see it, to testify to what you know, and to live your life as you see fit.

                    Sorry, you caught me in a really philosophical mood!

                    •  Agreed and understand completely. (2+ / 0-)

                      First...do no HARM comes to mind when I read about the real life horror in Japan.  

                      I have family in Tokyo so I am concerned, yet

                       - there are no borders where radiation is concerned
                      -  so we are all affected regardless of our personal viewpoints.

                      Unless pro-nukers have a cure for Cancer, heart attacks, leukemia, etc?
                      "crickets"
                         

                      Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Chief Nuclear Engineer: Unit 4 is weakened… I think about a M7.0-M7.5 quake will knock that building to the ground…

                          The fuel is still hot enough where it can begin to burn… cesium and plutonium and all that…

                          It would volatilize as the fuel burns, it creates a pyrophoric fire which is a fire that water cannot put out.

                          Likely resulting in an evacuation of Tokyo at the least, and potentially contamination of the entire northern hemisphere.
                      http://enenews.com/...

  •  Reply to mahakali overdrive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carver, David Satterlee

    Mahakali, in my comment about comparison it's just plain silly to "compare" a LFTR with a LWR. By conflating the two it's like comparing apples and organges. THAT waste exists and that IF the wastes in ENOUGH quantities gets into the ecology then it's dangerous. This is a useless comparison. The waste from nuclear plants simpy doesn't get into the ecology in any meaningful quantities. EPA reports included. Thus simply 'being nuclear' waste really doesn't say anything.

    It is exactly the difference in safety between a LWR and it's SPF and the way in which the fuel cycle is closed in a LFTR that makes the difference and why a lot of people are getting interested in it; why China is developing LFTR and the British are interested.

    LFTR has 26 times LESS waste than a LWR. Is this good or bad? I think it's good. Does a LFTR recycle it's fuel? Why, yes, it does. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Instead of just looking "oh, it creates radioactive material, bad", you really need to look at this technology. If it lives up to it's potential (the Chinese will prove this one way or another) then it virtually solves the energy crisis.

    On quantity and quality.

    Generally, 'almost never',  High Level Waste of the kind everyone is afraid of, never gets into the environment. it is solid form and exists as spent control rods. Even in this form, world wide, there is less than 300,000 tons. About one days 'quantity' of a large coal plan of coal ash. This 300k tons is after 50 years of producing low carbon energy.

    The same amount of energy could of been produced with leaving only 10,000 tons of waste and 'deadly' or only 200 or so years. That to me is progress.

    But...SNF is in solid form, generally. The High Level Waste is. It's dry casked and doesn't leak. Ever. I do NOT know what form exactly the 1/26th amount of waste from a LFTR, where ALL the energy and fissionable products is used up is in what form. No doubt vitrification of the fuel/salt mixture can solidify it.

    You need to look into LFTR more carefully before condemning it.

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Mon May 21, 2012 at 02:56:35 PM PDT

    •  Whatcha gonna do? (0+ / 0-)

      We bleeding heart liberals can sure get our knickers in a bunch sometimes.

      How guilty should I feel for driving the car 6 miles for a pint of Chunky Monkey? ...for leaving the central air on for two hours while I'm playing tennis? ...for owning a minivan because I want the kids to be safer.

      The "American way of life" that we enjoy and defend is the envy and dream of billions of others who are no less deserving. We use energy for everything. We use rare earths in everything.

      Why not buy our rare earths from the places they are most concentrated and abundant? Don't the emissions from coal power plants kill more bats (and babies) than than wind turbines?

      I don't know. I still leave my computer on all night, but I traded in my CRT monitors for energy-star flat panels and they shut down after 10 minutes of non-use. You just gotta keep wanting to be aware and spread awareness. You just gotta pray that our congressmen look to the future and decide to invest in research that can make things better for our children, and our neighbors, and this fragile world.

      Doing a bit better, bit by every ever-lovin bit. Anyhow, it looks like Thorium reactors are very promising and I hope that we can encourage the conversation, public awareness, and research that doesn't think it has to wait for the status-quo to get so radically bad that we can no longer put it off.

      BTW davidwalters: I know it looks like I picked your part of the thread to take a dump on a variety of earlier comments, above. It seemed like a good place to put it. Nothing personal.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site