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RE: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...

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  • Robert Johnston
    There was a recent note in Chemical & Engineering News describing a Japanese project to dispose of nuclear waste by use of an accelerator. A posting
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 22, 2006

      There was a recent note in Chemical & Engineering News describing a Japanese project to dispose of nuclear waste by use of an accelerator.  A posting describing similar technology was recently posted on the Greenpeace website, which refers to it as “nuclear spallation”.  The technology purportedly will allow destruction of nuclear wastes through conversion to new elements with short half lives, rather than being resigned to the mega-half life decay rate assumptions underlying current thinking about nuclear waste disposal ( Yucca Mountain , etc.).  Another development is reprocessing technologies that recycle most of the waste uranium etc. in spent fuel (only a fraction of it is actually reacted).  These sound like ways to deal with many of Bashir’s concerns (in principle, I assume one could even subject plant pipes, etc. to such a process), while gaining the benefits from eliminating CO2 generating technologies. Bashir, any comments on the viability of accelerator based waste disposal?  There seems to be a lot of scientific support for the viability of the idea.


      Robert Johnston





      Article on accelerator driven waste disposal:



      Article on reprocessing:



      The Greenpeace posting:





      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bashir Syed
      Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2006 10:47 AM
      To: Michael K Ewert
      Subject: Fw: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...


      Second attempt

      ----- Original Message -----

      Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2006 10:22 AM

      Subject: Re: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...


      The Founder of the Green Peace should be taken to Chernobyl or Three Mile Island to not only see the worst which happened there but also experience the neutron environment. Trained as Physicist, and having served on NASA's Environmental (terrestrial and space) Radiation Safety Committee, I could tell him that he is full of hot air, and perhaps paid like a journalist Jacque Srouji, (who was paid to write a book CRITICAL MASS, in order to promote Nuclear Energy, without ever knowing the difference between an atom or molecule). Germany is the only sensible country to adopt Renewable Energy (Wind and Solar -Thermal & PV) and announcing the decommissioning of her Nuclear reactors before the end of this decade. Since the United states has a huge stock-pile of Uranium (some highly enriched brought from Central Asian Republics of ex-Soviet Russia and some recently removed from Iraq without informing the IAEA) and the rate of growth of nuclear energy down to 0.6 percent, some associates of current President wrongly advised him to not only to use it domestically but also make money by selling it to other countries (like India, China, etc) and to defense industry for making more Depleted Uranium munitions from it before it becomes a serious problem in this country. Uranium has a half-life of about 4.5 Billion years, and it takes about 5 half lives to reduce its radioactivity considered to be a safe level. 

      Now here is what happens in a nuclear reactor, not only does it create highly radioactive byproducts of FISSION reactions (which are deadly and creating a problem for storage even deep underground at Yucca Mountain in New Mexico), but within the reactor itself. The neutron flux within the reactors continuously bombards the stainless pipes used as heat exchangers to produce steam (which in turn is used to generate electricity with steam-turbines). Neutron with no charge cause structural damage by striking individual atoms and cause displacement which over a period of time makes stainless steel brittle. Once a crack develops in these heat exchanger pipes, it is literally impossisible to repair such damage due to extremely high levels of radiation near or inside the reactor, and the occurrence of such a crack can cause leakage of these deadly radioactive fluids (fission byproducts) within the reactor and pollute the water which poses the greatest health risk to marine life as well humans causing cancer. Just last week, manager of one of the reactor had to apologize to the inhabitants living around this reactor that the management deliberately didn't disclose to the media about the leakage of Tritium which has occurred a few times but they did not want to create panic. Tritium is a gamma emitter isotope of Hydrogen (containing two additional neutrons in the nucleus with half life of 12.3 years). Such accidents are bound to happen, and nothing known to man can stop it from occurring. Thus the radiation from such spills or discharge into rivers or streams, although invisible and tasteless, could prove deadly. The other thing which is hard for people to understand is that the radiation monitoring instruments contain Solid-State electronic devices, in which the continuous bombardment of radiation (neutrons and gamma) alters the performance characertics of these devices, changing the calibration, and one day leading to a situation (like meltdown) that occurred with Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl reactors. Thus the claims that this form of energy does not produce green-house emissions is totally misleading, because the byproducts of fission are far worse harmful than the carbon-dioxide and other pollutants - as they are silent killers without any remedy. 

      Thus anyone promoting nuclear power is nothing but an enemy of humanity as he/she has no idea about the harm other than making a quick buck for self enrichment (that too is questionable - because no matter how rich a person might be he can buy treatment for cancer). 


      BASHIR A. Syed

      Member: Amer. Phys. Soc., IEEE (Nucl. & Space Radiation Effects), Union of Concerned Scientists, Amer. Sol. Energy Soc. and Senior Memb. of International Solar Energy Society.  



      1. Ernest Sternglass, "SECRET FALLOUT: Low-Level Radiation From Hiroshima to Three-Mile Island ," (Introduction by Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, George Wald), McGraw-Hill Paperbacks, New York 1972 and 1981. 

      2. National Public Radio, April 21, 2006: from Archives:

      a. Voices of Chernobyl Survivors, stories.

      b. Chernobyl copes with Fallout, 20 years later

      c. Covering the Chernobyl Crisis

      d. At Chernobyl , Building a Shelter for a Shelter.

      3. Jacque Srouji, "CRITICAL MASS - Nuclear Power, the Alternative to Energy Famine," Aurora Publishers Incorporated, Nashville/London 1977. Srouji served as a newspaper reporter at "Tennessean" and paid by nuclear industry to write this book with having any background in Nuclear technology or physics. She also served as an FBI informer and delved into Karen-Silkwoods life after her mysterious death. Embedded in the book is a sinister plan to ruin the character of Karen Silkwood (Chapter 13: "Silkwood, Karen Gay: Former Kerr-Mcgee Employee," pages 261-359, which have absolutely nothing to do with nuclear energy but character assassination, even  by publishing secret FBI documents related to her death).

      NOTE: Missing in the graphic presentation is data regarding Renewable Energy for comparison with Nuclear energy - very clever! 


      ----- Original Message -----

      Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2006 12:12 AM

      Subject: RE: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...


      You didn’t tell us your opinion Charlie.   J


      I’m not totally opposed to nuclear energy and the article makes some good points, BUT…

      As president of the Houston Renewable Energy Group I have to say something.  I’ll pick on this point:

      - Nuclear energy is expensive. It is in fact one of the least expensive energy sources. In 2004, the average cost of producing nuclear energy in the United States was less than two cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable with coal and hydroelectric. Advances in technology will bring the cost down further in the future.

      Does that include the capital cost of the plant and disposal cost of the nuclear fuel and reactor at end of life and health effects?  I did some research.


      Here is one good review article by Uranium Information Centre  with all the data below in it:



      French figures published in 2002 show (EUR cents/kWh): nuclear 3.20, gas 3.05-4.26, coal 3.81-4.57. Nuclear is favourable because of the large, standardised plants used.

      Source: US Utility Data Inst. (pre 1995), Resource Data International (1995- )
      Note: the above data refer to fuel plus operation and maintenance costs only, they exclude capital, since this varies greatly among utilities and states, as well as with the age of the plant. On the basis of the OECD projections opposite, capital costs in USA are 55% of total for nuclear, 45% of total for coal and 16% of total for gas. Grossing these up on this basis for 2001 gives 3.73 c/kWh for nuclear, 3.27 c/kWh for coal and 5.87 c/kWh for gas.

      nuclear coal gas









      US 2003 cents/kWh, Discount rate 5%, 40 year lifetime, 85% load factor.
      Source: OECD/IEA NEA 2005.

      At 5% discount rate nuclear, coal and gas costs are as shown above and wind is around 8 cents.

      A 2004 report from the University of Chicago , funded by the US Department of Energy, compares the levelised power costs of future nuclear, coal, and gas-fired power generation in the USA . Various nuclear options are covered, and for ABWR or AP1000 they range from 4.3 to 5.0 c/kWh on the basis of overnight capital costs of $1200 to $1500/kW, 60 year plant life, 5 year construction and 90% capacity. Coal gives 3.5 - 4.1 c/kWh and gas (CCGT) 3.5 - 4.5 c/kWh, depending greatly on fuel price.

      Present-day cost of generating UK electricity (p/kWh) from new plant


      Basic cost

      With back-up

      With £30/t* CO2





      Gas-fired CCGT




      Coal pulverised fuel




      Coal fluidised bed




      Onshore wind




      Offshore wind





      I don’t think any of these include ‘external’ costs (except CO2 in the last one), which the same article mentions as “Nuclear energy averages 0.4 euro cents/kWh, much the same as hydro, coal is over 4.0 cents (4.1-7.3), gas ranges 1.3-2.3 cents and only wind shows up better than nuclear, at 0.1-0.2 cents/kWh average.”.


      At this point, I’m believing that nuclear is a much better deal than coal (all things considered) and can be cheaper than combined cycle gas or coal if we build enough of them.


      http://www.nonukes.org/r08truec.htm points out the other end of the timeline – past experience:

      Commercial atomic power has thus far cost $492 billion dollars, $97 billion of which has been in the form of federal subsidies. They take only those costs that could be fully documented and rigorously quantified. It shows that atomic-generated electricity has cost consumers an average of a least 9.0 cents a kilowatt-hour.  Excluded costs, such as health effects of radiation, accidents, adequate insurance, could well total another $375 billion.

      http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/no.nukes/nenstcc.html#1 :

      In the late 1990’s, the renewable industries have been aggressively competitive. The following table shows the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, even ignoring the environmental costs associated with fossil and nuclear generated electricity (for further information on Renewable Energy Technologies, see Annex I).

      Figure 2 : Commercial renewables against proposed and actual nuclear costs (NEPI: Nuclear Energy Policy Issues Proposal for Sizewell C, 1994; NUFFO figures from Grubb & Vigotti, 199710).

      This article by Greenpeace also makes an excellent point about energy efficiency:

      Several technologies were considered, including compact fluorescent lamps, improved refrigerators and water-heaters and motor improvements. While the best electric-efficiency costs less than 1 cent per kWh of electricity saved, the average cost weighted over a wide range of electric efficiency improvements was around 2 cents.


      If you’re still with me, I’d say I have not made a case against nuclear, but against coal.  I’ve not made a good case for solar (or even wind), but for energy efficiency. [see also RMI http://www.rmi.org/ ]  However, solar (and even wind) are not mature industries.  Boy what we could do with the $492 billion nuclear got!

      So, we renewable energy advocates have our work cut out for ourselves.  This gives some idea what we are up against.  Through innovation, information and integration into our lives, we’ve got to make many forms of renewable energy cost competitive with nuclear energy, or else live with the alternative…


      -----Original Message-----
      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of chasmauch@...
      Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 11:16 AM
      To: houstonpeakoil@...; hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...


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