Thursday, September 20, 2012

Regarding Nuclear Power: Japan May Not Be as Stupid as Germany

Japan's government is suggesting that it may not be ready to shut down its nuclear power plants by the year 2040, as was previously suggested.
The Japanese government backtracked Wednesday on its aspirations to go nuclear-free, refusing to give full cabinet approval to a plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2040 following sharp criticism from the pronuclear business lobby.

Japan's Economy Minister Motohisa Furukawa told reporters that the cabinet has decided to take the nuclear-free plan unveiled last week "into consideration" when formulating the country's long-term energy policy rather than giving the entire plan formal cabinet approval. _WSJ
Europe is a stronghold for the irrational green dysfunction, but few other parts of the world have become quite so deranged and divorced from reality.

Nuclear power is set to grow over the next four decades even after Japan shuts down its reactor fleet, the International Atomic Energy Agency says.

Global installed capacity is set to rise to at least 469 gigawatts of energy by 2050 from 370 GWe today, according to the IAEA's most pessimistic scenario. Nuclear capacity may reach as much as 1,137 GWe in a more favorable investment climate, the Vienna-based agency said.

There are presently 435 nuclear reactors in 30 countries worldwide, according to the IAEA. Sixty-four additional nuclear power plants are under construction. _NorthJersey Bloomberg News
The technology of nuclear power continues to advance, leading toward advanced reactors which are cleaner, safer, cheaper, more scalable, and more reliable with longer useful lifetimes.

General Atomics is working hard to develop one such type of advanced nuclear reactor:
The EM2 uses helium to cool the reactor and directly drive the turbine with gas heated to 856 degrees Centigrade — more than twice the light water temperature. The helium will turn an enclosed turbine at an incredible 6,000 to 12,000 revolutions per minute for 30 years before the reactor has to be shut down. By contrast, conventional reactors have to be shut down and refueled every 18 months.

...The EM2 is designed to produce 240 megawatts of electricity, but a smaller 71-MWe version will come first. The cost of EM2 electricity is expected to be about half that from today's water reactors. Most light water reactors are in the 1200-MWe range.

...It will use uranium as a starter fuel, enriched to 12 percent of fissile uranium 235 to get a neutron flux going, but after that it will burn nuclear waste or depleted uranium. It will effectively eliminate the nuclear waste issue and multiply the power gained from uranium fuel by a factor of 262 times over today's water-cooled reactors.

The essence of a fast reactor is the high energy of the neutrons, ergo their ability to react with the fissile material left in nuclear waste and depleted uranium. Being a fast reactor, EM2 will both burn up nuclear waste and generate enough radioactive "seed" during its operational cycle to refuel another reactor. _WHChronicle
With new nuclear technologies such as the EM2 coming along, the way will soon be clear to burn conventional LWR waste and/or depleted uranium for fuel. In addition, the ability to use high temperature heat for both electrical generation and for industrial processes will free up hydrocarbons for more lucrative uses -- such as the creation of high value chemicals, lubricants, polymers, fertilisers, jet fuels, and other materials.

Societies have been steeped in dysfunctional philosophies of resource scarcity and unlikely eco-catastrophe. Instead, children should be trained to develop their problem-solving ingenuity in ways that will make resource scarcity most unlikely and costly eco cleanups unnecessary.

Instead of indoctrinating our young in negativity -- as the green lefty-Luddite dieoff.orgiast stasists are apt to do -- we should be training them to use their minds in positive, creative, and productive ways. But then, if that were to take place, 90% of college administrators, politicians, attorneys, lobbyists, environmentalists, and other parasites, would be out of work.

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