Friday, October 21, 2005

Rethinking The Nuclear Power Option

I consider myself a liberal, probably left of left, who has tried to keep an open mind over the years regarding the use of nuclear power as an alterantive power source. Actually if it wasn't for a lifelong buddy of mine who works in the industry I'd have the whole business neatly filed away in my liberal agenda under "Do Not Touch."

Recently while I was in Grants Pass visiting with him, he brought up the topic of breeder reactor technology and outlined a list of wonderful things they offer all of mankind, if only our countrymen would get over their misguided fears. We liberals, he tells me, succesfully killed our only breeder reactor program over 30 years ago during the Carter administration. This was due mainly because of the proliferation of materials they would produce that could be used to make nuclear bombs with.

Too bad I thought, for what I was hearing about the potential benefits just sounded to good to be true. So I consulted the googlegod to see what I could learn about the subject hoping I could understand the highly technical and scientific articles I would probably come across. I did come across an article that piqued my interest and seemed to dispell most if not all of Carter's concerns. The article is titled "Nuclear Waste and Breeder Reactors - Myth and Promise." by R.G. Williscroft, PhD (Robert) (his blog)

After reading this, I felt an instant urge to go outside and wake up the neighborhood announcing that the world no longer needs to continue destroying itself by creating more greenhouse gases caused by our dependence on fossil fuels. (a notion my good buddy DOESN"T believe in anway) We've had the answer under our noses all this time, we've just been dupped by our own fear and stupidity to continue exploring this alternative.

Overwhelmed, not really knowing much about blogging, I decided to see if I could use this medium to get a discussion going with others interested in our future, who also find this "too good to be true" as I did.

Below is a list of things I gleaned from the article and welcome any thoughts or comments that anyone might have that would correct my current perceptions. If you feel you can debunk the whole business, please do so as I've yet to read anything that refutes this.

1) Breeder Reactor technology promises that we can recycle our spent fuel from current warm water reactors creating more energy than they burn. (you can google the science behind this)
2) We need to kill the myth that the Plutonium-239 created in these reactors, the stuff sought out to make bombs with, CANNOT be separated from the other isotopes for use in making bombs. The primary reason from what I've read that caused these programs to be killed in the first place.
3) The other amazing and "sounds to good to be true" fact is that in this recyling process the current half life of 25,000 years for the waste we now want to stuff into Yucca mountain can be clipped down to 40 to 50 years at the end of this recycling process.
4) Hydrogen fuel can be produced with nuclear energy vs using fossil fuel energy which currently would cancel any benefits of using hydrogen for use as a fuel in trucks and automobiles.

Question: If this is all correct? Who would benefit the most from a program of disinformation to kill nuclear power use in this country? I know, conspiracy, smiracy!!!

If all these benefits of recyling nuclear waste are true, then why don't we see other countries already flaunting this technology and pulling ahead of us economically with a cheap and inexhaustible energy supply? So far I've only read of experimental projects going on in Japan and in France when it comes to breeder reactor technology. Please send me a link detailing who if anyone is doing this and I'll link them to this page...

Anyone have anyting to add to this...?