Secretary Chu on Facebook

Open Letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

Pro-nuke euphoria followed President Obama’s generally welcomed pronouncement supporting nuclear power and your Facebook posting, http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=336162546856&comments#!/notes.php?id=79707582290

There is talk of a renaissance and environmentalists’ recognition that nuclear power can provide large amounts of carbon-free power that is always available.

But what is the status of your infrastructure from decades of decline?

Medical imaging is entering a crisis. Moly99, a reactor produced medical isotope is just becoming unavailable. 40,000 procedures a day are coming to a grinding stop. The U.S has no domestic supply for 40,000 procedures a day, and two international reactors have failed, simultaneously.

The Department has known of this deficiency since the 2001 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement evaluation of the reactor infrastructure needed for medical isotopes.

Our deep space probes will remain at home because the Department cannot produce the Pu-238 required for space power because there is no domestic research reactor.

New civilian reactor concepts like the Traveling Wave, Pebble Bed, Molten Salt, etc,, require fuel and material testing for design and certification but there is no domestic reactor for such tests.

Many have asked the Department, β€œIsn’t it time to bring back the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF)?”

The FFTF sits in cold standby, with deactivated systems, but maintained with protective argon gas.

You recently wrote,

β€œThe closed fuel cycle cannot be implemented without a fast neutron spectrum…research is needed now to provide options for future policymakers…other nations are pursuing the technology…If the United States does not have a broad fast reactor research program we will have no opportunity to influence design of these foreign reactors from a vital national security perspective such as proliferation resistance.”

The FFTF now remains preserved giving “options for future policymakers.” This fully licensed test reactor has a certified 20 year full-power core life. Deactivated, yes; preserved, yes; and, recoverable, yes.

Will your upcoming Decision destroy the FFTF?

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3 comments to Secretary Chu on Facebook

  • Please see my todays Email to Red EArth the American Indian Efforts in energy development.

    If jobs and capital are the main short term problems, an almost universal answer to the energy problem is to make use of what we have here and now in America. Using common sense the first answer is to develop and release a new mission for the Hanford Complex. World and national advantages can come from such a revision to the Hanford mission–JUST DO IT!!! rej 3-1-10

  • We [our Team of hundreds of professionals] are still very active in energy development, mainly medical isotopes and nuclear power.

    Are you current with what I call the septic tank reactor {15MW with very limited refuel;almost totally self contained} and ideal for small villages, small industrial uses, and 3rd world nations? Reasonable cost also. It is a Japanese design and as I understand it entered into the licensing process of the NRC. Marvin Yoder has recently opened a blog.

    Hanford urgently needs a new mission to further a) the cause for nuclear proliferation as #1 choice for the first world GNEP station; b) save by previous estimates 10 years of advanced nuclear power development time, or shortened time for oil independence; c) save tens of billions of dollars by making use of existing Hanford capital facilities with tested security systems in place; making use of spent fuel and isotopes already located at Hanford. Essentially all this info is available in DOE files relating to a) a call for industrial input for nuclear development and b) GNEP studies and responses. Our Team has most of this available.
    rej 3/1/10

  • While this was posted in February of 2010, it is still superbly relevant. Recent (Nov 2011) NRC presentation at local ANS meeting showed lack of thrust in this area, mis-information as to type and class of reactors being considered, and an exceedingly slow process. In addition, the administration has continued to emasculate (de-fund) the development cycles within the DOE and to short circuit used fuel storage at every turn. Per Secy Chu’s own words we are losing “opportunity to influence design”. Consistently it is delay upon delay. Their appears to be no interest in using the resources already paid for by the taxpayers or the enabling of those ready to go forward.

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