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Thread: The Carbon Crunch

  1. #101  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Chad

    I have no interest in attacking solar power. But it still has one major drawback - cost. This is even more true for thermal solar. check for yourself.
    Cost of electricity by source - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    By comparison, nuclear power costs to produce, an estimated 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Solar thermal is 25 cents. Photovoltaic cells are getting better and are down to 16 cents. They may yet catch up and become cheaper than nuclear. If so, then they will be a great addition to the range of methods.

    Sadly, I cannot see thermal solar power becoming economic any time soon, and probably not any time at all.

    In my link above,

    China reduces solar power costs with large-scale manufacturing - YouTube

    China is talking about bringing the price of solar down, to 14-16 cents per kilowatt hour in a few years. China is investing huge amounts of money in solar power, the Chinese believe in solar.


    This is not about saving a few cents, its about stopping the Earths temperature from rising to the point, were food crops will no longer grow, where they do now.
    You should have watched the links I gave in my first post.

    All the regular Americans who have (no) electric bill, because they have a solar/wind system in their backyard, would disagree with everything you say.
    And this worlds scientists would also disagree with everything you say.

    Solar is now, and solar is certainly the future.
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  2. #102  
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    Chad

    All that is fine and well. But numbers are important. The numbers right now show PV solar catching up and thermal solar still way behind. With all the good will in the world, and all the desire to cut greenhouse gases, solar will not become widespread until it competes on $$$$.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I have just read the book review in the New Scientist of the above title by Dieter Helm.
    The Carbon Crunch: How We're Getting Climate Change Wrong - and How to Fix it: Amazon.co.uk: Dieter Helm: Books

    Some provocative ideas.
    Helm identifies coal as the big problem in fossil fuels, as the worst emitter of greenhouse gases. He says that we need, as a matter of top priority, to remove coal as an energy source. He claims that 'green' strategies such as wind farms and solar panels are not the way to do it. The reason is that they take enormous amounts of financial resources and return very little in terms of reducing greenhouse gases.

    Helm suggests that the new sources of fossil fuel, such as shale gas, should be pursued with vigor. They produce a lot more energy per tonne of fuel compared to coal. This is, of course, an interim measure, but Helm considers it a vital interim measure. Burning natural gas to make electricity, for example, produces only half the CO2 per unit electricity of coal.

    Hard nosed realism, according to Helm, is to pursue these fossil fuels, and do so to avoid burning coal. It implies that greenies are living in a fantasy land in pushing alternatives that really are not doing much to reduce greenhouse gases, while nevertheless consuming enormous financial resources and drawing attention away from a much better interim technology.


    The author of your source talks about great ideas.
    It seems these ideas would instantly cut CO2 emissions by around 1/2.
    Perhaps these ideas are the most important thing that humans could do at this moment, to combat global warming.


    But in an ideal world, these above (highly) important ideas, would only be used for a short period of time.
    From the way most/many scientists see things, solar and wind power will be able to provide a huge percentage of this worlds energy needs, in a very short time from now.
    And they produce -0- emissions. Greenies are not living in a fantasy land, rather they are working on energy sources that will one day soon, power much/most of this planet.

    That being said, I believe your thread speaks about, one of the most important things humans could do at this moment, to combat global warming.

    Chad.
    Last edited by chad; December 21st, 2012 at 10:54 PM.
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    "Greenies" aren't going to fix this. If anything "Greenies," with their largely irrational arguments, do more damage to the cause than they advance it.

    Our problems will be fixed in part by conservation done in a way to maintain or improve our current lifestyles, huge development of nuclear power which is the safest means of power generation by far and gets us several decades, and engineers backed by huge corporations working in cooperation with government.
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    "Green" politics and policies only stand out as solutions because they look like the only serious choice for that big section of the public who do think it matters. They become the default in the absence - and because of the absence - of serious and effective policies arising out of mainstream politics. They got sufficient mainstream numbers (where they got enacted) out of populism, not because they were expected by the 'credible' and 'serious' to succeed. They probably should never have ever been the default choice but I haven't seen serious mainstream political backing for things like "huge development of nuclear power". The politically expedient choice within mainstream politics to give huge political backing to climate science doubt and denial killed that far more effectively than all the open opposition of anti-nuclear activism. It's not the strength of uncompromising opposition, which is really that of a small vocal minority, but the weakness of support of a powerful majority, that has put nuclear into a hole it's struggling to keep from disappearing into.

    I think the 'green' policies only got sufficient numbers from the middle for the sake of cheap populism, because they were not really expected to achieve anything significant beyond feel-good populism and would ultimately be discredited in the eyes of the public; the default choice would revert to allowing the existing status-quo to continue unimpeded, exactly where the vested interests wanted it. When 'green' schemes get tried and fail to live up to expectations that should not be justification for abandoning all efforts but unfortunately I think that is the motivation of the most vocal critics.

    Photovoltaics are now cheaper than any of those critics could ever have admitted possible, wind is cheaper and more widespread than anyone 'credible' or 'serious' predicted. Ironically the failure to push for nuclear gave renewables a window of opportunity they would otherwise never had gotten and I think they've made remarkable progress that only looks insignificant because of the enormous scale of existing infrastructure and the enormity of the problems being addressed. And that well of innovation is far from dry yet - a pumped heat electrical storage system expected to be cheaper than pumped hydro is being trialled in the UK: the use of graphene is tripling the storage capacity of Lithium ion: novel ways to make solar cells keep being developed with no clear winner in sight yet.

    Blaming 'greenies' for the failures of mainstream politics isn't good enough, not when the mainstream keeps a policy of doing the least it can get away with as the default position. That is where blame for failure really belongs.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; December 23rd, 2012 at 02:26 PM. Reason: clarity
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  6. #106  
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    They probably should never have ever been the default choice but I haven't seen serious mainstream political backing for things like "huge development of nuclear power".
    I'm not so sure. My feeling is that the biggest problem with nuclear power is its own supporters. Pooh-poohing the issue of their huge subsidies and the financial problems of long term storage of waste. Pretending that the number of deaths from Chernobyl is trivial rather than acknowledging that when things go wrong badly, people are badly affected.

    The real issue with the Chernobyl incident from the perspective of the non-technical general public is that they know what people are like. Saying that this was just a few people getting things wrong is no answer. We've all worked with over-confident people. We all know someone who talks about management fools or worksite clowns who happily sidestep or violate safety rules to save money, or because they're in a hurry, or because "no-one tells me what to do", or 'we'll show them who gets results'. Our friends might be those kinds of people. And now we have Fukushima where it's plain that managements and government agencies fell down on the job of proper procedures or even got procedures changed - all to save money - at the expense of good management of nuclear facilities.

    And the industry itself behaves a lot like the US car industry of 10 years ago. No real interest in developing anything except bigger and better versions of what they already do. The arguments that thorium hasn't 'proved itself' sound just like the arguments that no-one wants a more efficient or hybrid or electric vehicle.

    They've been dodging and weaving around the issues of insurance and finance and government subsidy and waste management for so long that I doubt they know what else to say. Until they can come up with a new approach rather than new versions of their tired old schtick I don't see them getting very far.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  7. #107  
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    Yet, Adelady, nuclear power, in terms of human deaths per terawatt year of electricity produced, is still pretty much the safest form of power generation.
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    I'm a supporter of Nuclear power- but I have heavy issues with the waste products.

    The energy problem is a damned if you; damned if you don't type of problem.
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    The thing is, though, Neverfly, that the total tonnage of waste from nuclear plants is actually very small. I read one estimate in Scientific American that the total tonnage of actual nasty radio-isotopes was less than 200 tonnes per year globally. OK, most waste is radio-isotopes blended with vast amounts of inert materials, making the actual total tonnage in the thousands of tonnes. But the nasty stuff is not much.

    However, for the same amount of electricity produced, coal burning power stations actually generate more radio-isotopes. It is just that their radioactive waste is mixed up in millions of tonnes of coal ash, making the actual concentration very low. But if we took the nuclear waste and blended it with millions of tonnes of clay/sand etc., we would have a waste less toxic than coal ash.

    There are several ways of disposing of nuclear waste safely. The problem is that any proposal to do so is jumped on by Greenies who operate according to the NIMBY philosophy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    There are several ways of disposing of nuclear waste safely. The problem is that any proposal to do so is jumped on by Greenies who operate according to the NIMBY philosophy.
    Expand on this, if you could. I've been following articles that are scarier than 2012 propaganda...
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    Neverfly

    I can suggest two systems. Both systems are preceded by storage under water for 20 years to let the short half life radio-isotopes decay.

    1. In both Australia and southern Africa, there are deserts with almost no people, in a geologically stable environment. There are occasional mineral deposits, which led to mining. Some of those mines are now worked out and abandoned. The result is some enormous holes (a kilometre deep and a couple in diameter) in a place that will not experience earthquake or volcano for a million years plus, with no people, and no groundwater.

    Nuclear waste is already transported in carefully designed, crash-proof, containers (proven by the fact that they have been in several train crashes without spilling a gram). Simply pile these waste filled containers in those enormous holes till it is only 500 metres deep, and back-fill with dirt. The waste will become sufficiently less radioactive over the next 10,000 years to no longer pose a hazard.

    2. Dissolve the waste in concentrated sulfuric and nitric acid, and dilute in 500,000 tonnes of water. Place in a giant tanker, and steam out to trickle dump it into the Gulf Stream. Dilution will be so massive that the waste is instantly non hazardous. Since the oceans already contain 50 million tonnes of radioactive uranium 235, at the dump rate of 200 tonnes per year of radio-isotopes, it will take a long time to affect the background radiation enough to be biologically of concern.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Both systems are preceded by storage under water for 20 years to let the short half life radio-isotopes decay.
    Man-made pools?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    1. In both Australia and southern Africa, there are deserts with almost no people,
    See, my brain doesn't stop at just the people. I'm thinking of the ecology. An area can be very densely populated and have no people.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Nuclear waste is already transported in carefully designed, crash-proof, containers (proven by the fact that they have been in several train crashes without spilling a gram). Simply pile these waste filled containers in those enormous holes till it is only 500 metres deep, and back-fill with dirt. The waste will become sufficiently less radioactive over the next 10,000 years to no longer pose a hazard.
    Let me find a link for you about those crash proof things leaking... arKane had posted a link elsewhere.
    ETA: Found it: http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news...-unknown-risks
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    2. Dissolve the waste in concentrated sulfuric and nitric acid, and dilute in 500,000 tonnes of water. Place in a giant tanker, and steam out to trickle dump it into the Gulf Stream. Dilution will be so massive that the waste is instantly non hazardous. Since the oceans already contain 50 million tonnes of radioactive uranium 235, at the dump rate of 200 tonnes per year of radio-isotopes, it will take a long time to affect the background radiation enough to be biologically of concern.
    How long?
    What do you mean when you say the ocean already contains it?
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  13. #113  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Man-made pools?
    Yes. That is where the waste is right now. The silliest disposal system ever. Sheer idiocy. Giant 'swimming pools' filled with waste as a 'temporary' storage system.

    The oceans contain right now around 50 million tonnes of radioactive uranium 235 isotope. This is the result of billions of years of rivers slowly leaching the uranium out of rocks and carrying it down to the sea, where it is right now in solution. Uranium is a natural component of the world. There are even radioactive uranium atoms in your body. There is a background level of radioactivity to which we, and all Earth life, is adapted.

    How long would it take nuclear waste dissolved in the ocean to affect the level of background radioactivity, to the point of biological concern?

    If we got really conservative and assumed the equivalent of 1000 tonnes per year of uranium 235 equivalent, and assumed no loss due to radio-decay, then it would take 50,000 years to double the background. However, we know that double is something that has no measurable effect on living things. So even 50,000 years would not be enough.
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  14. #114  
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    Dissolve the waste in concentrated sulfuric and nitric acid, and dilute in 500,000 tonnes of water. Place in a giant tanker, and steam out to trickle dump it into the Gulf Stream. Dilution will be so massive that the waste is instantly non hazardous.
    How many ships are we talking about? How on earth would you persuade people that there was no possibility of a spill?

    Neither the shipping industry nor the oil industry nor the history of the nuclear industry would instil confidence in the general population that this would be done well. As for getting a government or an alliance of governments to do this, people have long memories about the incompetence and waste and idiotic tendering processes of government activities.

    Regardless of your own or anyone else's opinions about public sentiment on this issue, it's a reality that governments have to deal with. Which gets us to .....

    In both Australia and southern Africa, there are deserts with almost no people, in a geologically stable environment.
    Considering the effects on "almost no people" of the nuclear weapons testing, and the aftermath fiasco, at Maralinga, the chances of getting agreement from traditional owners of any such lands in Australia for any such project are about Buckley's and none.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Adelady

    You put your finger on the real problem. That is, the NIMBY attitude. Either of the systems I suggested would take care of the nuclear waste problem. Neither is likely to be implemented due to human stupidity.

    On ships and spills. One ship. There are already oil tankers able to carry up to 500,000 tonnes at a time. Spills might happen. After all, minor accidents are inevitable. But a minor spill will be unimportant bearing in mind the dilution factor. If we ran a ship load each month, that is 6 million tonnes of water. If all 200 tonnes of waste per year is dealt with using this method, the dilution is 1 part in 30,000. A small amount of radio-isotope waste at that dilution being spilled will be pretty much harmless. A major spill is another matter, but that is an issue faced by dozens of industries 365 days a year.

    There is an alternative method, which is a pipeline carrying the waste out into the ocean, to dilute the waste stream into an ocean current. This would have the advantage of permitting a massive dilution initially. The pipeline might dilute the 200 tonnes into 100 million tonnes of water, or more.

    On the desert disposal, this is quite different to the nuclear weapons testing program. We are talking of safely burying waste in a bloody great hole. You could probably live right next to the hole and suffer no increased chance of cancer. Not that I am suggesting that. There need be no one living within 100 kms or more. Not even Australia's native people. Some deserts are inhospitable even to them.
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    There need be no one living within 100 kms or more. Not even Australia's native people. Some deserts are inhospitable even to them.
    100 kms? Not a concept we use much in these areas. It's more like how many hours or days by whatever means of transport you happen to be considering. 100 kms is about an hour away from anything in a 4 wheel drive, even on unmade roads, unless there are some very unusual features of the landscape.

    If you could find just one such area that didn't need access by traversing traditional lands and that didn't contain any traditional trade route/ sacred/ dreaming features I'd be surprised.

    It doesn't get much more remote than the NW corner of South Australia in the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) lands - and the anangu lands are not just SA, they extend all the way to Uluru. And if you can find a usable, unclaimed path between the anangu lands and the Arrernte lands (to the east and north of Uluru - including Alice Springs) to get to western Northern Territory or NE Western Australia regions, you'll be doing very well.



    Remote as they are, this fairly limited map of artist groups (and associated primary schools) shows just how large these sparsely populated traditional regions are.

    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Adelady

    The point of the 100 km measure was not related to how long it would take to get there, but how far away from a perceived danger people might live. I suspect that if Australia set up a nuclear waste dump in a remote area, there would rapidly be a township spring up nearby, to support the workers. That would be fine, since the exposure to radiation would be utterly minimal. However, I understand that people get a bit paranoid, and rational thinking is a rarity, so an isolated spot 100 km from the nearest other town might be required.

    As far as transport goes, a road or rail or both would be needed to get the waste to the dump site anyway. Such a project would make big bucks, since dump fees could be outrageous. So workers could be paid a lot of money. Also, if the dump site or the access crosses aboriginal land, a financial arrangement could be proposed that would be extremely attractive. A dump site of this nature could be very lucrative for Australia as a whole.

    Or, of course, one of the southern African countries might pick up the idea and make the money. I understand that Namibia has lots of geologically stable desert.

    Such a project would have minimal impact on the local people (except through an injection of $$$), and almost no effect on local ecosystems, because you would be using an existing hole in the ground.
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    Lynx Fox, I personally consider the adoption by mainstream political parties of climate science denial to be more irrational than the anti-nuclear sentiment within organised environmentalism. Is trying to avert a global environmental/agricultural disaster by selective means more irrational than pretending the science supported by every peak science body is an exaggerated beat up of "irrational greenies" with accusations of hating progress, civilisation, freedom, democracy an humanity itself thrown in?

    The damage that has been done by the idiocies of mainstream politics have been more far reaching and more damaging than those pesky "irrational greenies".

    Has nuclear's strongest political support network throwing full support behind fossil fuels, to the extent of embracing and promoting willful ignorance, distortions and lies about the nature and very existence of the problem - that they allegedly believe nuclear is best suited to solving - has been a superior and more rational approach than the renewables only 'greenies' how?
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    Ken I think it's just as bad. If not for the great and irrational fear of nuclear power, our atmospheric CO2 would probably be a decade or more behind the levels if it now. Kyoto might have actually become a realistic goal. Turning away from the only realistic alternative to this point has done us great harm.

    Has nuclear's strongest political support network throwing full support behind fossil fuels,

    Such as?

    About 50 miles from me sits Satsop nuclear plant, about 80% complete, but never finished. A few "Greenie" friends of mine considered it a great triumph. But they don't look at the other side and ask: How many millions of salmon was that worth killing because hydro power? How many thousands of commercial fishing jobs was that worth loosing? How many thousands of acres were clear cut and dozens of human lives lost building and maintaining wind farms along the Columbia Gorge to replace its potential power? How many eagles and hawks have been killed? Now Satsop's twin towers sits like a monument to American irrationality that can be seen nearly 50 miles off on a clear summer day.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; December 23rd, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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    Where is the willingness of mainstream politics to really fight for nuclear as the primary solution to the emissions problem, like the future prosperity and security of nations and globe are depending on it and they believe it's the best and only rational choice? As far as I can see they aren't, not in the USA and definitely not here in the world's biggest coal exporter, Australia. That's not because anti-nuclear opposition is so all-powerful, but because mainstream politics is so committed to doing the least it can get away with and it's politically expedient to blame a relatively small but vocal element for their own failings.

    A bunch of irrational environmentalist radicals that the mainstream parties, especially on the Right, consider below contempt are setting the agenda for our future energy choices? That's nonsense. It's a politically expedient spin that takes advantage of existing, organised anti-nuclear opposition and it's historic alignment with left politics. If left-green anti-nuclear opposition didn't already exist the incumbent industrial and commercial interests, with their established visions of how the future should play out to their advantage would have to instruct their astro-turfers and 'free market' think tanks to invent it. If elected representatives and community leaders took their positions of trust and responsibility seriously and seriously believed anti-nuclear opposition is dangerously destructive they would seriously oppose it, with as much, or more organised effort as they use to promote climate science denial. They don't.

    As long as the climate problem is treated by the mainstream as one that doesn't matter that much, is some kind of exaggerated beat-up that needs to be opposed, or is too hard and they don't and won't develop and push forward their 'rational and sensible' solutions the focus on the inadequacies of policies of a vocal minority will continue to be nothing more than political sleight of hand to distract from their own profound unwillingness to act.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; December 25th, 2012 at 04:53 PM.
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    Ken,
    Maybe it makes you feel better to pin all the blame on someone else. The fact is that the greens carry plenty of responsibility for the problem. They have managed to kill off Yucca Mountain on political grounds without proposing any alternatives. Don't you think that regulatory uncertainty has an impact on anyone thinking about building a nuclear plant? Meanwhile their solution is a "faith based" reliance on renewable power. They don't know how grid storage is going to work. They don't care, they just have faith that something will turn up. This fascination with renewables approaches a religion, especially in places like Germany where they have gone completely off their rockers, even shutting down safe, carbon free nuclear generating capacity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Ken,
    Maybe it makes you feel better to pin all the blame on someone else. The fact is that the greens carry plenty of responsibility for the problem. They have managed to kill off Yucca Mountain on political grounds without proposing any alternatives. Don't you think that regulatory uncertainty has an impact on anyone thinking about building a nuclear plant? Meanwhile their solution is a "faith based" reliance on renewable power. They don't know how grid storage is going to work. They don't care, they just have faith that something will turn up. This fascination with renewable approaches a religion, especially in places like Germany where they have gone completely off their rockers, even shutting down safe, carbon free nuclear generating capacity.
    I'm all for renewable solutions, but at this time they just can't meet our power needs and may never be able to. The nuclear industry has come a long way in making safer reactors, however most all the reactors in service now are old models that should be mothballed for newer safer models. But when an old model goes wrong the whole industry takes a beating in the public sensationalism that follows. Why isn't the government doing more to educate the public? We do have more to fear from climate change than we do from rare nuclear accidents that will never affect more than a small local population when they do happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    There is an alternative method.
    Theres also an alternative perspective:
    "Waste is just resources in the wrong place."
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    Good point, Sigurd.
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    Harold, Anti-nuclear activism has never been the primary reason why nuclear is in a hole. It's activists, like you, may think that the case but they are wrong; their power and influence has never been that great.

    It's always been the weakness of support for nuclear, not the strength of opposition that's kept nuclear down. That weakness of support goes way back before organised opposition to action on climate undermined the most compelling reason to support nuclear, but that more recent bit of political expediency weakened it's prospects in ways that a bunch of 'irrational radicals' could never do, right at the moment in time when nuclear's big moment was at hand. An anti-nuclear minority didn't do that, mainstream politics did. There was a time, pre-Fukushima, when opposition to nuclear was diminishing amongst 'green' minded Australians, but even before that incident mainstream politics here in Australia had positioned themselves to oppose action on emissions and chose not to support nuclear as their response to the climate problem. Even before Fukushima nuclear had no real backing - and afterwards it had no real defenders. That was not the doing of a bunch of 'irrational extremists'.

    I still maintain the impacts in the USA of the US Republican party refusing to accept the need to shift away from fossil fuels has had a more profound impact on America's energy choices than anti-nuclear activism - and the course the USA takes impacts the entire world. But even if organised Environmentalism did a 180 shift on nuclear (some leading voices have btw) that would not cause the opposition to action on emissions within the Republicans to change that position and that position inhibits nuclear. That's because it's expedient choice to obstruct action on emissions and climate isn't aimed at supporting nuclear, it's about maintaining the fossil fueled status-quo and avoiding the costs and difficulties associated with making any profound change to the way energy is produced. Emissions reductions are the most compelling reason to promote nuclear and it's been the 'rational' and 'sensible' mainstream politicians that have worked to prevent effective emissions reductions targets being adopted.

    Organised anti-nuclear activism is a minority has been allowed to run it's course largely unchallenged and effectively unopposed for decades. Except for scattered voices there has been no concerted effort from within mainstream politics to counter anti-nuclear sentiment. The choice to not counter it is a choice that mainstream politics has to bear responsibility for. Certainly nothing like the network of organised opposition through, lobbying, PR, advertising and tankthink that has been constructed to oppose action on climate has been developed to counter anti-nuclear activism. Ultimately the successes of that organised opposition on emissions hurts the prospects for nuclear at least as much as it does renewables and it does that by undermining public acceptance of the most compelling reason to expand the use of nuclear power. Opponents of nuclear may take advantage of that and claim credit when nuclear plans are dropped but the choices were those of mainstream politicians and pushing the responsibility for their choices onto that noisy minority is little more than convenient spin.

    Why hasn't the energy industry - the most influential lobbying force on energy policy, eclipsing that of anti-nukers by far - organised itself to oppose anti-nuclear activism? I suggest it is because the energy industry is dominated by fossil fuel interests and those interests have always seen nuclear as their most viable competitor and thus the greatest threat to their long term interests. I think they were confident that renewable could never be a serious energy source and therefore it was hardly worth organised opposition to prevent - the predicted failure of renewables would see the fossil fueled status quo strengthened. To some extent that has worked but that complacency is probably being regretted, as wind and solar become cheap enough and widespread enough to eat into the most profitable area of electricity supply - peak demand.

    You are wrong Harold - blaming a vocal minority for the failures of mainstream politics to deal effectively with future energy is a cop-out, a convenient denial of responsibility by those who are most responsible.
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    Ken. There's also the elephant in the nuclear room. Cost.

    Nuclear has never been a good financial investment for anything except getting government funds into private hands. I realise that fossils have always had their hands out for tax and other benefits, but they could have operated profitably without subsidies. They happily took the subsidies and tax breaks offered for quite small (in proportion) efforts in lobbying. And got a bit of unearned profit that way.

    Nuclear has never been in that position. Even in France, it's mostly owned by the government and all decommissioning costs will be borne by the government. I presume they're not insured privately either - the government has to guarantee the costs of dealing with any problems.

    Until the industry can come up with reactors that can be profitably operated privately - with commercial finance and commercial insurance arrangements, I don't see that the situation will improve any time soon. (Though I still have hopes for thorium.)
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    I am not sure I agree with that. Nuclear is still cheaper than wind power and solar power, though wind and PVC's are catching up. Given a similar level of investment in developing the technology, and especially with thorium, I suspect nuclear would become cheaper still.

    The biggest financial problem with nuclear is simply the initial capital cost. To build a 2 GW nuclear power station requires a lot of $$$, whereas a wind tower is relatively cheap. Lots of wind towers, of course, to replace one single nuclear power station, will cost more than the nuclear power station. But they can be set up piecemeal so that the individual tower costs look good. There are major economies of scale for nuclear power, meaning that a large capacity plant is needed to maintain low production costs.

    Interestingly, though, several new designs over the past few years, are for mini nuclear power plants. They would have specific and specialised application. I would like to see serious attention paid to mini nuclear power plants for shipping. A properly sealed reactor would be safe even if a ship sank or burst apart on the rocks, and would be a lot safer ecologically than ships which currently carry thousands of tonnes of highly toxic high sulfur diesel.
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    Adelady - I won't disagree that much of nuclear's longer running lack of support arose simply because it's more expensive - perhaps more so than out of any direct concern of fossil fuel interests of being supplanted. But those interests didn't have to engage in opposition to nuclear - it was being done independently of them. Yet there was - and still remains - no strong incentive for them to counter anti-nuclear activism. At the lobbying for energy policy level, the energy sector in Australia at least, remains predominately concerned with lobbying in favour of fossil fuels. Lobbying against climate action and emissions reductions works against nuclear.

    Note that I haven't been directly discussing the pros and cons of nuclear energy. I have my own reservations about it's rapid, planet wide deployment - besides the need for high safety standards to be maintained the need for effective global regulation and enforcement to prevent equipment, materials, skilled workers and knowhow being siphoned off into weapons projects is high on my list of concerns.

    Anti-nuclear activism can't prevent nuclear energy being more widely used and, as the world gets serious about emissions, the nations that adopt nuclear early will probably have a distinct economic advantage. Yet renewables continue to improve, already far beyond the expectations of their critics - and even many of their proponents. Energy storage has admittedly lagged - if R&D on storage get's a fraction of a percent of what nuclear gets I'd be surprised - but it's catching up in leaps and bounds. Graphene in Lithium Ion batteries can triple it's capacity, pumped heat electricity to electricity storage system claimed to be cheaper than pumped hydro have gotten some serious investors... The days when nuclear stood forth as the only possible low emissions alternative are gone. Back when it was, mainstream politics refused to get behind it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Why hasn't the energy industry - the most influential lobbying force on energy policy, eclipsing that of anti-nukers by far - organised itself to oppose anti-nuclear activism?
    There is no such monolith as the "energy industry." There is the nuclear industry, which does have a lobby, but is not all that powerful. Then there are the gas, coal and oil industries, which are sometimes pitted against one another. Electric utilities don't care. Whatever makes them a profit, that's what they will use. If the government guarantees them a profit by subsidies for installing wind turbines they will go ahead and jump on that, even if they know it is a poor idea. Many of them pander to the environmentalist lobby, because they want to look good in the public eye.

    I suggest it is because the energy industry is dominated by fossil fuel interests and those interests have always seen nuclear as their most viable competitor and thus the greatest threat to their long term interests. I think they were confident that renewable could never be a serious energy source and therefore it was hardly worth organised opposition to prevent - the predicted failure of renewables would see the fossil fueled status quo strengthened. To some extent that has worked but that complacency is probably being regretted, as wind and solar become cheap enough and widespread enough to eat into the most profitable area of electricity supply - peak demand.

    You are wrong Harold - blaming a vocal minority for the failures of mainstream politics to deal effectively with future energy is a cop-out, a convenient denial of responsibility by those who are most responsible.
    Are you denying the point I made before - that activists killed off Yucca Mountain? Who are these "most responsible" people you are blaming? In a democracy, the general population are responsible for laws. They need accurate information to make their decisions. I blame the news media.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Adelady - I won't disagree that much of nuclear's longer running lack of support arose simply because it's more expensive - perhaps more so than out of any direct concern of fossil fuel interests of being supplanted. But those interests didn't have to engage in opposition to nuclear - it was being done independently of them. Yet there was - and still remains - no strong incentive for them to counter anti-nuclear activism. At the lobbying for energy policy level, the energy sector in Australia at least, remains predominately concerned with lobbying in favour of fossil fuels. Lobbying against climate action and emissions reductions works against nuclear.
    People will lobby for what they perceive to be their own self interest. If you don't have any nuclear industry in Australia, don't expect to see much pro-nuclear lobbying. The "environmentalists" won't do it, although they should.
    Note that I haven't been directly discussing the pros and cons of nuclear energy. I have my own reservations about it's rapid, planet wide deployment - besides the need for high safety standards to be maintained the need for effective global regulation and enforcement to prevent equipment, materials, skilled workers and knowhow being siphoned off into weapons projects is high on my list of concerns.

    Anti-nuclear activism can't prevent nuclear energy being more widely used and, as the world gets serious about emissions, the nations that adopt nuclear early will probably have a distinct economic advantage. Yet renewables continue to improve, already far beyond the expectations of their critics - and even many of their proponents. Energy storage has admittedly lagged - if R&D on storage get's a fraction of a percent of what nuclear gets I'd be surprised - but it's catching up in leaps and bounds. Graphene in Lithium Ion batteries can triple it's capacity, pumped heat electricity to electricity storage system claimed to be cheaper than pumped hydro have gotten some serious investors... The days when nuclear stood forth as the only possible low emissions alternative are gone. Back when it was, mainstream politics refused to get behind it.
    Your faith in renewables is touching. Yes, it will grow up to a certain point, where the grid cannot handle it any more, or the subsidies dry up. Grid storage with lithium batteries or pumped heat is a wet dream, not something that is anywhere proven, let alone ready to implement.
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    The greens really are red.
    The origin of the anti nuclear campain was in the opposition to nuclear weapons...
    The whole business was supported by the Soviet Union.
    There was no green party at the time.
    But its early development was heavily supported by the communist party.
    Perhaps the greens now are self sufficient but I suspect "the strings" are still there.
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    We sometimes call the greens, the "watermelon party."
    That is : green on the outside but red in the middle.
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    lol!
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    The whole business was supported by the Soviet Union.
    What?! The main competitor in the arms race supported opposition to nuclear weapons. Nuh.

    It was just another cynical move by political operatives trying to find a 'weak spot' to foment worldwide revolution against capitalist governments. That turned out really well. Not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdV View Post
    The greens really are red.
    The origin of the anti nuclear campain was in the opposition to nuclear weapons...
    The whole business was supported by the Soviet Union.
    How?

    In the US its seemed a lot more to be associated with the broader environmental movement, a group with deep roots but strongly mobilized by a series of shocks during the 60's and 70's such as rivers catching fire, collapse of Lake Erie and Newfoundland fishery, decimation of our birds of prey including our national emblem, the bald eagle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The whole business was supported by the Soviet Union.
    What?! The main competitor in the arms race supported opposition to nuclear weapons. Nuh.

    It was just another cynical move by political operatives trying to find a 'weak spot' to foment worldwide revolution against capitalist governments. That turned out really well. Not.
    It was a plan to destabilise the WESTERN economy: The Sovjet Union had no wish to stop their own nuclear development...only ours!
    Dont you think they succeeded rather well?
    Sweden halfed its nuclear program. What happened to yours ... You tell me whats left of it.
    Now Germany is going all the way. Germany of all countries! Any ideas as to why?
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    It was a plan to destabilise the WESTERN economy:
    Having a plan doesn't mean squat or that it happened that way.

    Where's your evidence of this influence? Show us the money trail?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It was a plan to destabilise the WESTERN economy:
    Having a plan doesn't mean squat or that it happened that way.

    Where's your evidence of this influence? Show us the money trail?
    Sorry its difficult for me to be of any assistance to you. Here in Sweden it was discovered (but NOT by me) that the communist party got lots of money from The Soviet Union. And connections between greens and reds are easily observed. I suggest you dig where you stand if you are interested. I have no idea of your situation... Are you denying red involvement in the green movement and in the opposition against nuclear technology? Whats your colour? Red, green or blue?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdV View Post
    The greens really are red.
    The origin of the anti nuclear campain was in the opposition to nuclear weapons...
    The whole business was supported by the Soviet Union.
    How?

    In the US its seemed a lot more to be associated with the broader environmental movement, a group with deep roots but strongly mobilized by a series of shocks during the 60's and 70's such as rivers catching fire, collapse of Lake Erie and Newfoundland fishery, decimation of our birds of prey including our national emblem, the bald eagle.
    Look at any demonstration and you will see wolves among the sheep. If you think the sheep are unaffected by the wolves im afraid you are hopelessly naive. Its the same in all levels of society: check religion for instance, if the nice ordinary believer took a firm stance against radicals and terrorists there would be peace on earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    arKane

    Come to NZ. We are about the safest country on the planet in terms of nasty beasties. We just do not have them. .
    What about the orcs?
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  41. #141  
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    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    sigurdV][/B]
    Sorry its difficult for me to be of any assistance to you. Here in Sweden it was discovered (but NOT by me) that the communist party got lots of money from The Soviet Union. And connections between greens and reds are easily observed. I suggest you dig where you stand if you are interested. I have no idea of your situation... Are you denying red involvement in the green movement and in the opposition against nuclear technology? Whats your colour? Red, green or blue?
    ...
    Look at any demonstration and you will see wolves among the sheep. If you think the sheep are unaffected by the wolves im afraid you are hopelessly naive. Its the same in all levels of society: check religion for instance, if the nice ordinary believer took a firm stance against radicals and terrorists there would be peace on earth.
    I'm in the US.

    Provide some examples...What media was put out by the USSR that influenced the green movement? What anti-nuke demonstrations did the USSR arrange for? What films? What books? What organizations were fronts for the USSR to do these things..and were is the proof of that?

    Connect the dots for us....

    If you cant' come up with anything more than unsupported rhetoric don't bother to post, or keep it in the philosophy sub forum--you're just wasting our time.
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    I doubt the Soviets ever stopped any nuclear power programs. However, it makes a great story. All of us pro-nuke people can blame the Soviets and tell the world to reinstate nuclear power to thwart those nasty communists!
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  43. #143  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    sigurdV][/B]
    Sorry its difficult for me to be of any assistance to you. Here in Sweden it was discovered (but NOT by me) that the communist party got lots of money from The Soviet Union. And connections between greens and reds are easily observed. I suggest you dig where you stand if you are interested. I have no idea of your situation... Are you denying red involvement in the green movement and in the opposition against nuclear technology? Whats your colour? Red, green or blue?
    ...
    Look at any demonstration and you will see wolves among the sheep. If you think the sheep are unaffected by the wolves im afraid you are hopelessly naive. Its the same in all levels of society: check religion for instance, if the nice ordinary believer took a firm stance against radicals and terrorists there would be peace on earth.
    I'm in the US.

    Provide some examples...What media was put out by the USSR that influenced the green movement? What anti-nuke demonstrations did the USSR arrange for? What films? What books? What organizations were fronts for the USSR to do these things..and were is the proof of that?

    Connect the dots for us....

    If you cant' come up with anything more than unsupported rhetoric don't bother to post, or keep it in the philosophy sub forum--you're just wasting our time.
    Youre quite obviously red...shame on you! Im nothing but an innocent bystander... Remembering some of whats been published in open news Media Here in Sweden. I never bothered to use a scissor to save the relevant juicy bits for your inspection. You can prove what you want Ill be laughing! Anything more on the Swedish Scene you want memorial reports from? Hows the destabilisation of USA proceeding? How did you like it when the red money flow stopped...(If it did)
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    Environmentalists stopping nuclear or communist pushed Environmentalists? Neither has ever had that much power.

    It takes enough mainstream political support to be carried for any fringe position to be taken up. That may be partly down to politicians cynically tapping into populism but there has to be some genuine doubt and or opposition to nuclear within the mainstream to make the choices they have. That mainstream doubt and opposition is probably a mix of 'too expensive', 'excessively risky' along with uninsurable and contributing to global nuclear weapons proliferation. But the attempts to blame a noisy minority on the fringe for their mainstream decisions are pure political expediency.

    I don't believe the pro-nuclear comments here have addressed the problem of the divergent and incompatible motivations of those who genuinely want it as the best and essential solution for emissions reductions and those for whom it is about something else, and who can simultaneously maintain staunch opposition to policies intended to reduce emissions - policies that would directly and indirectly favour nuclear.

    I would like to see the problems for nuclear energy from entrenched opposition to emissions reductions within mainstream politics addressed by advocates on nuclear energy.

    I'd like to see the inconsistencies and consequences of nuclear's strongest political backers being the strongest political opponents of climate action examined.

    Prior to climate change being on the agenda, a lot can be put down to the 'nuclear is complicated and expensive whilst fossil fuels are abundant and cheap' line of reasoning - no need to spend political capital on promoting nuclear or countering it's opposition. But climate change did come along. Environmentalism may have pushed for harder choices than nuclear, which, whilst still not easy, was easier than building renewables from scratch. But the easiest choice of all for mainstream politics has been to do as little as possible; they've failed to commit to anything but insufficient and ineffective compromises who's failures they blame on 'irrational, unrealistic, impractical greenies'.

    "It's the greenies fault" is a cop-out.
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    Again nothing.

    And a day off for wasting our time in the hard science side of the forum as well as the flame instead of providing a reasonable supported argument.
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  46. #146  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I don't believe the pro-nuclear comments here have addressed the problem of the divergent and incompatible motivations of those who genuinely want it as the best and essential solution for emissions reductions and those for whom it is about something else, and who can simultaneously maintain staunch opposition to policies intended to reduce emissions - policies that would directly and indirectly favour nuclear.
    ken,
    Could you please re-write this paragraph?
    I find it difficult to see what you are driving at.
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    Skeptic, I reread it and I think it makes sense as it is. There is some crossover/compatibility between advocates of nuclear as solution to emissions and the advocates of nuclear who oppose emissions reductions policies - but the climate problem is not their reason for favouring nuclear; urging others to favour nuclear for that reason lacks sincerity and appears disingenuous. With fossil fuels remaining abundant and cheaper than nuclear (ignoring the climate costs), a potent reason to urge rapid adoption of nuclear is absent - except as a criticism of others.

    Care to address the problem for nuclear of having many of it's staunchest mainstream political supporters being opposed to emissions reductions targets, carbon pricing or other emissions reductions policies?

    I really don't think what I'm saying is unreasonable or incomprehensible - opposition to emissions reductions within mainstream politics is an impediment for nuclear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Skeptic, I reread it and I think it makes sense as it is. There is some crossover/compatibility between advocates of nuclear as solution to emissions and the advocates of nuclear who oppose emissions reductions policies - but the climate problem is not their reason for favouring nuclear; urging others to favour nuclear for that reason lacks sincerity and appears disingenuous. With fossil fuels remaining abundant and cheaper than nuclear (ignoring the climate costs), a potent reason to urge rapid adoption of nuclear is absent - except as a criticism of others.

    Care to address the problem for nuclear of having many of it's staunchest mainstream political supporters being opposed to emissions reductions targets, carbon pricing or other emissions reductions policies?
    So, are you saying that you are opposed to nuclear because you don't like some of the people who support it? That is an ad hominem fallacy.
    I really don't think what I'm saying is unreasonable or incomprehensible - opposition to emissions reductions within mainstream politics is an impediment for nuclear.
    Yes, and so are you.
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    Harold you are dodging the issues I've raised as well as drawing inferences that aren't there.

    I think that the greatest impediments to solving the climate/emissions problem are lack of acceptance of it's seriousness and political opposition to effective policy actions. Stronger acceptance, especially by that section of mainstream politics that so far has opposed action would flow through to more promotion and greater acceptance of the need for a transformation of how energy is produced. They would be more active and more determined promoters of low emissions technologies, including and probably especially nuclear. And this is wholly independent of what anti-nuclear environmentalists say or do.

    But I've said this, in multiple variations in this thread and others. I don't believe that you fail to understand my points even if you appear to misunderstand my intent. I do believe you are dodging the issues I've raised.
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    Ken

    It sounds to me as if you are saying that supporters of nuclear also support coal? Or is that a wrong interpretation?

    As soon as realistic emissions regulations on coal are implemented, the cost advantage over nuclear will disappear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Harold you are dodging the issues I've raised as well as drawing inferences that aren't there.
    Not sure what you mean. Maybe I missed something because admittedly, I don't have the patience to read all of your long rambling posts.
    I think that the greatest impediments to solving the climate/emissions problem are lack of acceptance of it's seriousness and political opposition to effective policy actions. Stronger acceptance, especially by that section of mainstream politics that so far has opposed action would flow through to more promotion and greater acceptance of the need for a transformation of how energy is produced. They would be more active and more determined promoters of low emissions technologies, including and probably especially nuclear. And this is wholly independent of what anti-nuclear environmentalists say or do.
    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. It doesn't change the fact that anti-nuclear environmentalists do have an impact.
    But I've said this, in multiple variations in this thread and others. I don't believe that you fail to understand my points even if you appear to misunderstand my intent. I do believe you are dodging the issues I've raised.
    Multiple, and multiple, and more multiple. You seem to get fixated on an idea and nothing is about to dislodge it. Your main purpose seems to be to classify and pigeonhole people, assign blame accordingly, and to make sure you classify yourself in the good-guy pigeonhole.
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    Skeptic, some do support coal. I recall a regular contributor to BraveNewClimate.com (posting at OnlineOpinion.com.au) urging the expansion of the use of coal on economic grounds until the regulatory hurdles for nuclear are removed. I don't recall "realistic emissions regulation on coal" getting a mention - IIRC it was in the context of opposition to carbon pricing. For some it could be a political ideal of freedom of freedom of choice, with the 'free' market the arbitrator.

    As long as they oppose "realistic emissions regulations on coal" the cost advantage of coal will be retained and their advocacy of nuclear for emissions reductions lacks sincerity and fails nuclear on the 'strength of support' criteria.
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    Ken
    You are probably right.
    Those who oppose nuclear are now using Fukushima (which hurt no one) as an excuse to remove nuclear.
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    Of course anti-nuclear activists have used the Fukushima disaster to build support for their cause. That's what they do. That's an example the strength of opposition part of the equation.

    We can turn the discussion to how much or how little harm can and will result and what anti-nuclear activists are saying and doing, but I think it's a distraction from the points I've been making about the weakness of support part of the equation. And weakness of support also equates to lack of commitment to countering that opposition. If emissions aren't a problem, doing as little as possible to change global energy infrastructure makes sense. There is no need to expend valuable political capital to replace fossil fuels with nuclear - or to counter the opponents of that minority player in the energy market.

    As long as opposition to climate action and support for nuclear are embodied within the same political entities, both action on climate and nuclear as it's solution will suffer. And, yes, the converse argument can be made - that having support for action on climate and opposition to nuclear embodied in the same political entities sees both suffer. The thing is the former are mainstream political entities whilst the latter are not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    As long as opposition to climate action and support for nuclear are embodied within the same political entities, both action on climate and nuclear as it's solution will suffer. And, yes, the converse argument can be made - that having support for action on climate and opposition to nuclear embodied in the same political entities sees both suffer. The thing is the former are mainstream political entities whilst the latter are not.
    How are you defining mainstream political entities? We have laws that require electric utilities to convince their customers to use less electricity, give away free energy saving light bulbs, etc. There is no other industry I know of that is forced to tell their customers to use less of the only thing they produce. Now, who is in the political mainstream, the side that is eating the shit sandwich, or the side that is doing the force feeding?

    Look at Germany. Radical environmentalism is not only mainstream, it's practically the national religion.
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