Exploration – July 21, 2015

Lester Grant The Great TransitionScience News
a) space probe to Pluto
b) Iranian nuclear treaty
c) Cascadia earthquake fault

Special Guest: Lester Brown, speaking of his latest book Great Transitions (from fossil fuels to solar).

Hosted by Dr. Michio Kaku

  • David Walters

    Dr. Kaku, I listened with great interest to Dr. Brown’s comments about nuclear energy toward the end of your interview with him. He does a great disservice to the anti-nuclear movement by arguing that nuclear is ‘dead’. He was factually inaccurate about his belief that “no one is building nuclear power plants” anymore in response to your question about the “Nuclear Renaissance”. In fact, FOUR new reactors are being built today in the United States by Southern Energy and Georgia Power in S. Carolina and Georgia.

    This was just announced in fact in S. Korea “South Korea currently has 24 reactors in operation and a further ten
    either under construction or planned. Unit 1 of the Kori plant is
    currently scheduled to close in 2017, so the country would have 35 units
    in operation by 2029. Nuclear energy’s share of the country’s
    generating capacity is expected to increase from 22.4% in 2014 to 28.2%
    in 2029. Under the previous plan, nuclear share was to have increased to
    27.4% by 2027.”

    And China and India are currently building *dozens* of nuclear power plants. Wow…some countries have not received the word that the Nuclear Renaissance is dead! To argue that “no one” is building nuclear power plants greatly disarms the anti-nuclear, pro-renewables and pro-natural gas forces.

    • (I tried posting this 10 days ago, but since I had the temerity to include TWO links it’s been locked in Moderation Jail since then – let’s try a link-fakeout):

      That’s right David – Rosatom, for one, is almost oversubscribed on new nuclear orders: nucleardiner(dot)com/2015/02/18/can-russia-afford-its-reactor-exports/

      In Turkey alone, Rosatom-designed VVER (PWR) units at Akkyuyu on the Mediterranean coast are a Build-Own-Operate project financed by Russian banks, expected to start in earnest next year: world-nuclear(dot)org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/Turkey/
      After that, two other Turkish sites, built by other vendors, are in the pipeline for two units each.

      In UAE, all four Korean APR-1400 units at Barakah have broken ground – the first will come online in 2018.

      I could go on and on, but just wanted to point out to other readers here (I’m sure you already knew this, David) that there is a big difference, as exemplified by Dr. Brown, between facts and hopes. That he could be tapped as an “expert” is laughable, given his superficial, hand-waving dismissal of the inherent unsustainability of the massive materials requirements (and impossibly low EROI) of solar-coupled grid-scale battery storage. But he apparently served to confirm Dr. Kaku’s fantasy beliefs, so he got the invite.

      Dr. Brown also seemed to think “subsidies-driven” RE is the same thing as “market-driven”. And both forgot to mention that the administration’s unilateral shutdown of the Yucca Mountain repository was in direct violation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. That error will eventually be corrected, either at the polls or by the courts. This temporarily stranded “nuclear waste” will eventually serve as Gen IV reactor fuel anyway.

      As Dr. James Hansen, and an ever-growing cadre of eco-pragmatists have stated repeatedly, If there is any realistic hope of maintaining a modern electrically-powered society, while reducing carbon emissions and raising developing nations out of poverty, it will only be through a massive worldwide deployment of next-generation nuclear energy technologies. Let’s cut the fantasy and misinformation and get on with it.

      • Yes, I didn’t want to get overly detailed. There appears to be a cognitive disconnect among anti-nuclear supporters, which is why I poised my comments more factually than polemically. The idea that nuclear is ‘dead’ and the industry on it’s last legs. Ugh. IF I were anti-nuclear, which I’m not, I would be so pissed at this disarming information. I heard it against yesterday on Kaku’s show with Michael B. from NIRS. Better than the first speaker but still amazingly inaccurate.

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