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Sat Mar 31, 2012, 03:51 PM

Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed

Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed
A new report from a University of Vermont researcher says the cost of the safety measures needed for nuclear energy will eventually make the power source economically unviable

By Jason Koebler
March 30, 2012

..."From my point of view, the fundamental nature of [nuclear] technology suggests that the future will be as clouded as the past," says Mark Cooper, the author of the report. New safety regulations enacted or being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.


... according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 80 percent of America's nuclear reactors are vulnerable to at least one of the factors involved in the Fukushima disaster, including vulnerability to earthquakes, fire hazard and elevated spent fuel.

Retrofitting existing reactors with the latest safety equipment is extremely expensive, Cooper says.

"Regardless of what Congress does, the NRC has put on the table very serious and important changes in how we look at safety after Fukushima," Cooper says. "There was one permit [for a new reactor] issued recently, and there's a second one expected in the near future. Frankly, that's about it. I don't see any other reactors moving forward. The economics are so unfriendly that I don't think the rest of the [proposals] are very active."



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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed (Original post)
kristopher Mar 2012 OP
chknltl Mar 2012 #1
NV Whino Mar 2012 #2
kristopher Apr 2012 #5
NNadir Apr 2012 #3
kristopher Apr 2012 #4
txlibdem Apr 2012 #6
kristopher Apr 2012 #7
txlibdem Apr 2012 #10
PamW Apr 2012 #8
kristopher Apr 2012 #9
txlibdem Apr 2012 #11

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 04:46 PM

1. yeah but, who believes in experts?

Actually the better question is who DOESN'T believe in experts. Considering the conservative war on science...... well it was a rhetorical question anyway. I likely should not even have posted this having not read the material YET. As I have strong anti-nuke energy feelings, I could not pass up adding a word or three to my Kick and Recommended. Bookmarked for a near future reading. Thank you for this OP.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 05:40 PM

2. Should we send flowers?

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Response to NV Whino (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 2, 2012, 04:46 AM

5. Make sure they are artificial. nt

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 12:03 PM

3. This is exactly what the stupido Amory Lovins said in 1980. He wrote a very stupid...

...article in <em>Foreign Affairs</em> on the topic:

1980 anti-nuke wishful thinking from Lovins

Here's a quote from the self declared "expert's" very stupid and delusional paper:

In fact, the global nuclear power enterprise is rapidly disappearing. De facto moratoria on reactor ordering exist today in the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, and probably the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and Canada. Nuclear power has been indefinitely deferred or abandoned in Austria, Denmark, Norway,
Iran, China, Australia and New Zealand

Here are EIA figures for the output of nuclear energy, which after 32 very stupid years of grousing by Lovins and his fellow innumerate wishful thinking denizens:

Nuclear Power Production Since 1980

The number of anti-nukes who can compare the numbers 2,619.854 with 684.381 - the latter figure being the number of billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by nuclear means in 1980, the former being the figure for 2010, exactly thirty years after Lovins unilaterally referred to nuclear power as "disappearing" - is the same as it has always been, zero.

Anti-nukes all cite each other from their fast circle jerk of innumeracy, but I note that China, one of the nations that Lovins declared would not develop nuclear power, couldn't give a fuck what a circle jerk of self declared "experts" think.

The reactors they brought on line in the last two years easily outproduce all of the stupid unreliable whirlygigs in Denmark in energy production, and do so without requiring much land mass.

Of course some people identify Amory Lovins as an expert, although others - and I would certainly include myself here - regard him as a snake oil salesman.

His "futurism" is about as believable as Newt Gingrich's "futurism," and it only looks backward, not forward.

One of his more fun futurist ideas was the very stupid and delusional claim that we'd have hydrogen HYPErcars in showrooms by 2005.

Self Declared Expert: Hydrogen HYPErcars may hit showrooms by 2005

The more the delusional anti-nukes quote one another, the more we can understand that they are, um, well, delusional.

Have a nice day.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 01:19 PM

4. Good articles, thanks.

Of course, your understanding of what was written and how what was written fits into the context of actual events is nothing short of delusional, but the articles themselves are excellent.

Nuclear Power and Nuclear Bombs
By Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins and Leonard Ross
Summer 1980

After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future of the world depends.

-Wallace Stevens

The nuclear proliferation problem, as posed, is insoluble. All policies to control proliferation have assumed that the rapid worldwide spread of nuclear power is essential to reduce dependence on oil, economically desirable, and inevitable; that efforts to inhibit the concomitant spread of nuclear bombs must not be allowed to interfere with this vital reality; and that the international political order must remain inherently discriminatory, dominated by bipolar hegemony and the nuclear arms race. These unexamined assumptions, which artificially constrain the arena of choice and maximize the intractability of the proliferation problem, underlay the influential Ford-MITRE report and were embodied in U.S. policy initiatives under Gerald Ford and especially Jimmy Carter to slow the spread of plutonium technologies.1 Identical assumptions underlay the recently concluded multilateral two-year International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), whose lack of sympathy for those U.S. initiatives is now being cited as a political and technical rationale for dismantling what is left of them.2 Unfortunately, INFCE's assumptions were widely represented as its conclusions, ostensibly resulting from a careful assessment of alternatives which never actually took place.

Our thesis rests on a different perception. Our attempt to rethink focuses not on marginal reforms but on basic assumptions. In fact, the global nuclear power enterprise is rapidly disappearing. De facto moratoria on reactor ordering exist today in the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, and probably the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and Canada. Nuclear power has been indefinitely deferred or abandoned in Austria, Denmark, Norway, Iran, China, Australia and New Zealand. Nuclear power elsewhere is in grave difficulties. Only in centrally planned economies, notably France and the U.S.S.R., is bureaucratic power sufficient to override, if not overcome, economic facts. The high nuclear growth forecasts that drove INFCE's endorsement of fast breeder reactors are thus mere wishful thinking. For fundamental reasons which we shall describe, nuclear power is not commercially viable, and questions of how to regulate an inexorably expanding world nuclear regime are moot...


The rest is behind a firewall at your link but here is a place to download it from the author:

In relation to the it-just-ain't-happening nuclear revival that GW Bush and his crony Dick Cheney tried to launch, you might also be interested in this most recent development:
Vogtle nuclear plant loan guarantees may not be finalized

Amory Lovins wrote another great article in 1977 on nuclear (including the social consequences) and the options that were available besides nuclear:

NYT review from 1977

‘Soft’ Energy, Hard Choices
What passes for a national energy debate is bogged down in the Senate in what seems to be a classic confrontation between consumer and business interests. But another debate—potential- ly far more significant—is raging below the surface. It speaks to fundamental sociopolitical questions, and it centers more and more on a controversial scientist named Amory B. Lovins.

His thesis, in brief, is that the "hard" energy technologies— giant centralized electric power stations, for example—now turning the wheels of the economy must give way to "soft" technologies based on renewable sources of energy, such as solar power. But to put his position that simply makes Mr. Levin’s argument sound like just another environmentalist's plaint. In fact, he is far more than a dreamer.

Soft energy, he says, is economical as well as environmentally sensible. His thesis includes attacks on present energy inefficiencies and proposals for the optimum allocation of energy resources. And he even suggests that the nation can use the free market to gain the soft-energy path.

But the choice must be made now, he insists, before the hard- est of hard technologies—nuclear power—becomes uncontrol- lable. "The soft-energy path is the only way to come up with an intellectually consistent nonproliferation policy," he says....

The article itself:

Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?
By Amory B. Lovins

WHERE are America's formal or de facto energy policies leading us? Where might we choose to go instead? How can we find out?

Addressing these questions can reveal deeper questions—and a few answers—that are easy to grasp, yet rich in insight and in international relevance. This paper will seek to explore such basic concepts in energy strategy by outlining and contrasting two energy paths that the United States might follow over the next 50 years—long enough for the full implications of change to start to emerge. The first path resembles present federal policy and is essentially an extrapolation of the recent past. It relies on rapid expansion of centralized high technologies to increase supplies of energy, especially in the form of electricity. The second path combines a prompt and serious commitment to efficient use of energy, rapid development of renewable energy sources matched in scale and in energy quality to end-use needs, and special transitional fossil-fuel technologies. This path, a whole greater than the sum of its parts, diverges radically from incremental past practices to pursue long-term goals.

Both paths, as will be argued, present difficult—but very different— problems. The first path is convincingly familiar, but the economic and sociopolitical problems lying ahead loom large, and eventually, perhaps, insuperable. The second path, though it represents a shift in direction, offers many social, economic and geopolitical advantages, including virtual elimination of nuclear proliferation from the world. It is important to recognize that the two paths are mutually exclusive. Because commitments to the first may foreclose the second, we must soon choose one or the other—before failure to stop nuclear proliferation has foreclosed both.1

Most official proposals for future U.S. energy policy embody the twin goals of sustaining growth in energy consumption (assumed to be closely and causally linked to GNP and to social welfare) and of minimizing oil imports. The usual proposed solution is rapid expansion of three sectors: coal (mainly strip-mined, then made into electricity and synthetic fluid fuels); oil and gas (increasingly from Arctic and offshore wells); and nuclear fission (eventually in fast breeder reactors). All domestic resources, even naval oil reserves, are squeezed hard—in a policy which David Brower calls "Strength Through Exhaustion." Conservation, usually induced by price rather than by policy, is conceded to be necessary but it is given a priority more rhetorical than real. "Unconventional" energy supply is relegated to a minor role, its significant contribution postponed until past 2000. Emphasis is overwhelmingly on the short term. Long-term sustainability is vaguely assumed to be ensured by some eventual combination of fission breeders, fusion breeders, and solar electricity. Meanwhile, aggressive subsidies and regulations are used to hold down energy prices well below economic and prevailing international levels so that growth will not be seriously constrained....

Can be downloaded here: http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/E77-01_EnergyStrategyRoadNotTaken

Also see:
Nuclear Spread: The Cure Begins at Home
Journal or Magazine Article, 1976 http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/1976-01_NuclearSpreadCureBeginsHome
In this “New York Times” op-ed, Amory Lovins commends the paper for calling attention to the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and provides further commentary about the social, political, and economic logic of pursuing a non-nuclear energy future.

Other articles that are more recent.

Four Nuclear Myths: A Commentary on Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline and on Similar Writings
Journal or Magazine Article, 2009

Nuclear Power’s Competitive Landscape
Presentation, 2009

A hotly debated topic, the present and future state of nuclear power and it’s competitors is the subject of this presentation by Amory Lovins at RMI2009. This presentation was part of a plenary debate with Robert Rosner entitled, “Nuclear: Fix or Folly?” The accompanying video of the entire debate is available at http://www.rmi.org /rmi/Videos.

Nuclear Power and Climate Change
Letter, 2007
This 2007 e-mail exchange between Steve Berry (University of Chicago), Peter Bradford (former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner and senior utility regulator), and Amory Lovins illustrates the cases for and against nuclear power in relation to climate and the environment.

Nuclear Energy Debate
Journal or Magazine Article, 2001

In 2001, Amory and Hunter Lovins participated in a published debate about nuclear power with the editors of “USA Today.” The Lovins’ argued against nuclear power.

Nuclear Power: Economic Fundamentals and Potential Role in Climate Change Mitigation
Report or White Paper, 2005

In this presentation, Amory Lovins provides evidence that low and no-carbon decentralized sources of energy have eclipsed nuclear power as a climate friendly energy option. He argues that new nuclear power plants are unfinanceable in the private capital market and that resource efficiency provides a cheaper, more environmentally viable option.

Nuclear Power: Competitive Economics and Climate Protection Potential
Presentation, 2006

In this presentation to the Royal Academy of Engineering, Amory Lovins explains the economic and environmental impacts of nuclear power. By showing that companies and governments have cut energy intensity without the use of nuclear power, Lovins shows that nuclear power is not a necessary step in the fight against climate change.

Nuclear Power: Economics and Climate-Protection Potential
Journal or Magazine Article, 2006

This paper makes an economic argument against the use of nuclear power. The authors argue that, despite strong governmental support, nuclear power is unfinancible in the private capital market.

And last but not least:

PS Nearly every automaker will be rolling out at least one battery electric auto by 2013. In 2001 the advances in lithium were just over the horizon.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 2, 2012, 09:09 AM

6. "I can't tell the difference between peaceful nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs"

"I must be stupid"

Quote from an Anti-Nuclear Cult member.

"PS, I believe whoever writes the longest post on DU and fills it with the most links." (same ANC member quote.

I sure am glad that I'm not a member of the ANC.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 02:07 AM

7. You have a very odd perspective.


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Response to kristopher (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:31 AM

10. It's fossil fuels like coal that have got us into the climate mess we're in now

Anyone who cares about their grandchildren, IMO, will be in favor of nuclear power because of it's zero carbon output.

I can't believe there are so many who are spoon fed lies and half truths about nuclear power and just swallow it hook line and sinker. Nuclear power didn't produce the brown skies over Beijing yet so many are jumping onto the ANC bandwagon and forgetting that more coal plants will result - just like it did before. I am seriously concerned about the world my future grandchildren (I don't have any yet) will inherit from us, from our stupidity, from our gullibility and lack of forethought.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 10:24 AM

8. Lovins knows NOTHING about nuclear weapons.

Amory Lovins knows NOTHING about nuclear weapons.

I can't count the number of times he's proved that by writing some inane article; some Congressman or Senator reads it and gets upset. They then call on the true experts from Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Labs, that design the USA's nuclear weapons; to give Congress testimony that shows that Lovins is all wet.


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Response to PamW (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 12:06 PM

9. Another Lovins hating nuclear booster...

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Response to kristopher (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:32 AM

11. I love some of Lovins' ideas

I just happen to disagree with him on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

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