Reprocess? - ask Japan

The U.S. and Japan will begin to cooperate on “advanced fuel cycle technologies” for nuclear plants, or reprocessing nuclear waste, according to the Environmental Capital blog.

Reprocessing helps get rid of nuclear waste, which is why both France and Japan have been big advocates.  The U.S. killed a reprocessing plan in the ’70s.   Then, the Bush Administration began the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership which included reprocessing and sodium-cooled fast burner reactors.  GNEP remains alive internationally; but, domestically advanced nuclear R&D is on life-support funding levels only.

In 2007, Columbia Basin Consulting Group studied the Hanford 400 Area for Advanced Nuclear R&D.  Valuable facilities exist including the 400 megawatt Fast Flux Test Facility – now in mothballs – awaiting decision making at the DOE.

If the U.S. is serious about international collaboration, we would open up and make available the world’s most advanced fast reactor testing facilities for combined international use.  Without these facilities, collaboration from our side has proven fickle.

Coal Burner - 1 GW

A typical 1GW coal plant releases the following pollutants INTO THE AIR every DAY:

- 10,136.986 metric TONS of CO2 (per day, per plant)
- 27.397 metric TONS of SO2 (per day, per plant)
- 1.370 metric TONS of “small particulate matter” (per day, per plant)
- 27.945 metric TONS of NOx (per day, per plant)
- 1.973 metric TONS of CO (per day, per plant)
- 0.548 metric TONS of ‘volatile organic compounds’ (per day, per plant)
- 0.466 pounds of Mercury (per day, per plant) (That’s enough to kill two hundred 200lb men in 15 seconds, if ingested.)
- 0.616 pounds of Arsenic (per day, per plant) (That’s enough for roughly 1320 toxic doses for a 200lb human! Are we having fun yet?)
- 0.312 pounds of Lead (per day, per plant)
- 0.014 pounds of Uranium (per day, per plant)
- 0.028 pounds of Thorium (per day, per plant)

There are roughly 600 coal power plants operating in the United States today.

A GW nuclear power plant releases…….

6th Plan

The NW Council is preparing its 6th Plan that projects 85% of future, 2030 energy generation to be supplied by conservation, the rest in wind.  In order to achieve such draconian cuts, local networks will plan implementation of smart grid to whip its wasteful consumers into shape.  To work efficiently, smart grid requires allowing the individual consumer some control over the quantity, price and time of electricity consumption.  Lower price could be available with excess non-spinning reserve supply.  Factories could lower electrical costs by working only when the wind blows.  New aluminum refineries shall not consider the NW in their strategic plans, as old ones close the doors.  Boeing prospered because of the abundance of aluminum.  I wonder if Boeing’s strategic plan looked at the 6th Plan and wondered how they were to build more aircraft while reducing electricity consumption 85% by via conservation?
It is time that there is an open conversation about the future cost and availability of abundant electricity.  I don’t like the prospect of being cold in my own home.  Isn’t Columbia Generating Station (nuclear) providing our lowest cost electricity today?  Why not consider nuclear power?
Best regards,

“…stupid for us not to…” Obama on Nuclear & Clean Energy

Senator Alexander and Senator McCain are leading a large choir and gaining voices daily.  “A sea change” notes Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).  Senator Kerry (D-MA) supports nuclear power in new energy legislation.  Carol Browner, an Obama administration official said, “…nuclear energy…  It’s something that we believe should be in a comprehensive energy package.”

Simultaneously,  Russia and China signed high level agreements including nuclear power.  China has purchased two BN-800 fast reactors from Russia.  This is the first time that fast reactors have been traded in international commerce for the production of electricity.  The fast reactor is the energy production machine of the advanced fuel cycle.

Thanks Marjorie for the post:

Nuclear Power an Important Part of Russia/China Economic Agreements

by Marjorie Mazel Hecht Managing Editor, 21st Century Science & Technology

October 21, 2009 —Russia and China will undertake an advanced nuclear project as part of the package of bilateral agreements signed last week.

In addition to conventional nuclear reactor projects, Russian Prime Minister Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed an agreement to proceed with the design work for two 850-megawatt sodium-cooled fast breeder reactors to be built in China. This advanced nuclear reactor will help China achieve self-sufficiency in its nuclear fuel cycle by “breeding” new nuclear fuel as it produces power. Russia and China already cooperate in the operation of a small, 65-megawatt fast reactor, the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor at the China Institute of Atomic Energy near Beijing.

In the Atoms for Peace days of the late 1950s and early 1960s, fast breeders were viewed as an essential part of the atom’s incredible potential for uplifting the world economy and living standards, because the fast reactor can produce more nuclear fuel than it consumes, thus eliminating future fuel scarcity and giving real meaning to the concept of renewable energy. In order to reduce world population, the Malthusian oligarchy moved to prevent breeder reactor development by equating fast reactors with plutonium bombs, in the name of “nonproliferation.”

The fast reactor works by using fast neutrons from the fission reaction, to convert a “blanket” of fertile (but non-fissile) material around the reactor core—uranium-238 or thorium-232—into plutonium for new fission fuel.

In a conventional reactor, fast neutrons from the fission process are slowed down by a moderator, usually water, in order to maintain the most efficient fissioning of enriched uranium to produce heat. In the fast reactor, the fast neutrons are not moderated. Each fission produces 25 percent more neutrons than in the uranium fuel cycle; the excess neutrons convert the non-fissionable blanket fuel into fissionable plutonium.

Aside from producing power and fuel, the fast reactor can also use the fast neutrons to burn up the high-level radioisotopes in spent nuclear fuel. It can also be coupled with the fusion process in a fusion/fission hybrid, which was envisioned as a stepping-stone to a full fusion reactor.

- U.S. Left Behind –

Japan chose the fast reactor as its reactor of the 21st Century, with the intention of becoming self-sufficient in power production by producing its own nuclear fuel. India plans to use a fast reactor with a thorium fuel cycle, because it has plentiful supplies of thorium. The Russians used a fast reactor for desalination; Russia’s BN-350 reactor operated for 27 years in Kazakstan. Another fast breeder, the BN-600 has been supplying power to the electricity grid since 1980, and Russia has a larger fast reactor and other fuel cycle designs in the works.

The United States has been left behind. Although the U.S. pioneered the breeder design, operating an experimental breeder, EBR 1, in Idaho in 1951, which produced enough power to run its own facility, the fast reactor program has been repeatedly shut down, including the Clinch River Breeder Reactor in the 1980s, and the Integral Fast Reactor in the 1990s. The Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) in Washington state came under continuous attack, and then received a death sentence under George W. Bush in 2005. At the same time, Bush instituted a nominal fast reactor development project under GNEP (the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership), but in reality the goal was to cripple fast reactor development and fuel reprocessing by tying it to “nonproliferation,” and scaring people with the lie that plutonium equals bombs.



The FFTF can still be available for advanced energy research.  See the file on this site, AFTRC.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu must decide.  The fast reactor technology decision is on his watch.  All is not lost, yet.

Also see:

Thank you for visiting usa-cargo.

Best regards,  Carlgh

GNEP lives – internationally

Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) was initiated by the USA in 2006 and 54 nations signed on.  A NEPA Environmental Impact Statement was initiated.  Multiple locations submitted proposals for siting GNEP facilities.  Then, 4 industry teams were funded to competitively propose the Closed Fuel Cycle.  The teams were:  GE-Hitachi, AREVA, Energy Solutions, and General Atomics.  The final reports have been submitted.  It is disheartening that there is no U.S. GNEP program to read, understand and implement the GNEP vision for assuring a sustainable energy future & the essential role of nuclear energy.

From the wire today:  Has USA lost its relevance?

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said China is ready to deepen international cooperation in this respect by promoting mutual benefit and win-win of all parties. GNEP is an international organization aimed to accelerate development and use of clean fuel technology worldwide and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.
Li said GNEP provides a platform for relevant countries to carry out exchanges and cooperation. He expressed the wish that GNEP partners should adhere to the principle of equality and seeking common ground through consultation.

BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — The third Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Executive Committee meeting was held here on Friday, on which its member countries stressed to support a peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy. Zhang Guobao, director of the National Administration of Energy, presided over the meeting. In an opening address, Zhang said nuclear energy that is clear, safe and greenhouse gas emission-free, would play a crucial role in the world energy system.
At the meeting, the Executive Committee reconfirmed that safety, security and non-proliferation were fundamental prerequisites for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. All partnership activities should be conducted in a manner to enhance them.
According to the GNEP Joint Statement issued at the meeting, the partners will further strengthen cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other relevant international organizations.
Partners will also consider new approaches to enhance international collaboration on nuclear power infrastructure, and to make nuclear energy more widely accessible to the international community in accordance with safety, security and nonproliferation objectives.
“The expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy would help lead to the creation of employment and sustainable economic growth.” said the joint statement.
Yury Sokolov, Deputy Director General of the IAEA, appraised GNEP’s achievements, promising the IAEA will continue to work with GNEP and experts from GNEP member states to provide coordination with the agency’s work.
The GNEP is an international organization aimed to promote the use of clean fuel technology worldwide and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, with participation from 25 partners, 31 observer nations, and three international organizations.

Norman Bourlaug's Contribution to Planet Earth

Credit:  Mike Fox’s, Hawaii Reporter,

On September 13, 2009 Dr. Norman Borlaug died at the age of 95. Borlaug was a giant in the field of agricultural sciences, and became a master of bioengineering to increase production and meet local demands for variations in these food crops. For a variety of reasons Borlaug was not well known in the US, but he certainly was in many parts of the world. Some have called him the greatest man to ever live. He is credited with saving the lives of a billion people by creating grain crop variants which flourished in climates, soils, and water conditions where little had grown before. Gregg Easterbrook recently wrote about Dr. Borlaug ( and his many achievements. Borlaug represented the very best in science, not only for his major advancements in science and his modest demeanor in carrying out his work.
When Borlaug began his work in 1950 the world produced an estimated 692 million tons of grain for about 2.2 billion people. By 1992 when many of Borlaug’s grain crop improvements had been adopted, 1.9 billion tons of grain were produced for 5.6 billion people.

One would have expected that the environmental movement would have been more supportive of such monumental achievements for humanity. But they weren’t.


I understand why the environmental movement wasn’t supportive.  Roll back to 1970.

I was in business school in 1970 during the Club of Rome time when they predicted that the resources of the planet could not sustain the population, so food, water and raw materials were at a crossroads going from supply to demand driven.  There was to be famine and disease.
So, I thought that high volume agriculture was the place for me.  I finally had to get out because the world was awash in abundant food supplies.  Thanks to Norman Borlaug and others of the green revolution, & I had done my job well.
Today we are again facing the same agenda.  I can see bounty in the future, particularly via abundant, clean nuclear power; but, there are those that want to destroy the inputs for such bounty – like abundant electricity, etc.

Thanks for remembering Norman Borlaug and his abundance.

From:  The Limits to Growth,  The Club of Rome (1972)

Is it better to try to live within that limit by accepting a self-imposed restriction on growth? Or is it preferable to go on growing until some other natural limit arises, in the hope that at that time another technological leap will allow growth to continue still longer? For the last several hundred years human society has followed the second course so consistently and successfully that the first choice has been all but forgotten.

In 1993, it published the The First Global Revolution. According to this book, “It would seem that humans need a common motivation…either a real one or else one invented for the purpose….In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

Energy Density Rules!

The National Research Council’s Report, America’s Energy Future, projects that the amount of electricity produced by nuclear power in the U.S. could double by 2035 to an annual output of about 1650 TWh (800 TWh currently).  This would come from many more nuclear reactors.

The Red Book [OECD (2007)] projects worldwide nuclear capacity to grow to 509 – 663 GWe by 2030 (compared to 370 GWe currently).

September 16, 2007 Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, “As the world moves to address the climate crisis and cut carbon pollution, it is clear that nuclear energy has a major role to play in our energy future,” said Secretary Chu. “This agreement* reflects our commitment to a new, clean energy economy and strong partnerships with nations around the world to address our shared climate and energy challenges.”  * (to save the South African Pebble Bed project)

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) September 17, 2009, Wall Street Journal.

Is the federal government showing any concern about this massive intrusion into the natural landscape? Not at all. I fear we are going to destroy the environment in the name of saving the environment.

Renewable energy is not a free lunch. It is an unprecedented assault on the American landscape. Before we find ourselves engulfed in energy sprawl, it’s imperative we take a closer look at nuclear power.

New Reactor Needed - Where's Moly?

Desperately Seeking Moly

Unreliable supplies of feedstock for widely used medical imaging isotope prompt efforts to develop U.S. sources.

Science News

PS  There is a perfectly good reactor in Richland.

Nuclear Energy Endorsements

Government Officials:

” The best way to diversify . . . away from dependence on foreign sources of energy, is for us to take advantage of new technologies and expand safe nuclear power in the United States of America. To me, that would achieve several objectives. One, it’s a renewable source of energy; two, it’s a domestic source of energy; and three, it would help us meet our obligations to clean air requirements. . . . I think it is a way for the United States to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy, which is good for our economy, and, frankly, helps us with foreign policy.”
— President George W. Bush Electoral Palace, Mainz, Germany February 23, 2005

“America is poised to reinvest in nuclear energy as part of a larger strategy to move away from our over-reliance on natural gas. Nuclear energy is clean, reliable and affordable. We are planning the construction of new nuclear power plants and the implementation of improved waste strategies.”
— Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) February 2, 2004

“I was reminded again of the amount of carbon dioxide that nuclear power plants do not put into the air, . . . the amount of dollars that reliance on nuclear energy does not add to our trade deficit,…the reduction in imported oil that a reliance on nuclear power for the generation of electricity affords us. [I]t is important that we continue to maintain and strengthen going forward our reliance on nuclear energy.”
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) Hearing, U.S. Senate, Committee on Environment and Public Works, May 20, 2004

“It is clear . . . that the environmental and energy security benefits of nuclear power are so compelling tht not only must we ensure the continued operation of our existing nuclear plants, but we must also encourage the construction of new nuclear plants . . . to help meet the projected increase in electric power demand.”
— Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) June 2003

“Our nation’s future electricity needs cannot be met almost exclusively by natural gas, but must be a reasonable combination of efforts that include energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear energy and clean-coal technology.”
— U.S. Conference of Mayors Resolution June 2004

Wall Street

“We see a convergence of powerful economic and political forces . . . that should lead to a renaissance of nuclear power. The momentum for new nuclear construction has been building quietly over several years, sustained not only by the industry but also by federal officials who believe strongly in the future of nuclear power as an emission-free and secure source of electricity. Nuclear has an increasingly strong case to make.”
— Prudential Equity Group, LLC “Back On Line: U.S. Nuclear Power Generation Set For Resurgence” January 2005

“The favorable trend for all these measures of plant performance can be attributed in part to changes in the way that the NRC measures plant performance, as well as the sector’s proactive response to meeting much stricter inspection requirements imposed by the NRC.”
—Moody’s Investors Service “Nuclear Power Trends in the United States” February 2004


“After engineering costs are paid and construction of the first few nuclear plants has been completed, there is a good prospect that . . . lower costs would allow nuclear energy to be competitive in the marketplace. Federal financial policies that could help make early nuclear plants more competitive include loan guarantees, accelerated depreciation, investment tax credits, and production tax credits. In the long term, the competitiveness of nuclear power could be further enhanced by the rising concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel power generation. . . . A transition from oil-based to hydrogen-based transportation could, in the longer run, increase the demand for nuclear power as a non-polluting way to produce hydrogen. If gas imports increase, nuclear power could substitute for gas and contribute to energy security.”
—University of Chicago “The Economic Future of Nuclear Power” August 2004

“Over the next 50 years, unless patterns change dramatically, energy production and use will contribute to global warming through large-scale greenhouse gas emission. . . . Nuclear power could be one option for reducing carbon emissions.”
—Massachusetts Institute of Technology “The Future of Nuclear Power” 2003

“A portfolio of technologies now exists to meet the world’s energy needs over the next 50 years and limit atmospheric [carbon dioxide] to a trajectory that avoids a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration. . . . [A] wedge of nuclear electricity would displace 700 gigawatts of efficient baseload coal capacity in 2054. This would require 700 gigawatts of nuclear power with the same 90 percent capacity factor assumed for the coal plants, or about twice the nuclear capacity currently deployed.”
—Steven Pacala and Robert Socolow, Princeton University “Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years With Current Technologies” Science Magazine August 2004

News Media

“With a barrel of crude hitting a record $55 on Oct. 25, more Americans are coming to see nuclear energy as a cost effective and environmentally acceptable alternative to fossil fuels, which could boost national security by reducing dependence on Middle East oil.”
—BusinessWeek “With Oil Over $50, Nukes Are Back.” Nov. 8, 2004.

“If oil prices stay high, if people worry about carbon dioxide causing global warming, if the Middle East stays violent, nuclear power stands a good chance of making a huge comeback in this country.”
—Forbes “The Silence of the Nuke Protesters” January 31, 2005

“Nuclear power didn’t go away. Instead it got better. Nuclear power today supplies 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, second only to the 52 percent generated by coal. Nuclear power has other advantages. It doesn’t come from politically unstable countries and it doesn’t release greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. That last point is critical.”
—Charles Stein “Diversified Energy Options Should Include Nuclear Power” Boston Globe Oct. 24, 2004.


“In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust… Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change. …”
— Patrick Moore, Washington Post, Sunday, April 16, 2006; Page B01 “Going Nuclear – A Green Makes the Case”

“By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly, but only one immediately available source does not cause global warming, and that is nuclear energy. . . . Nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources . . . We have no time to experiment with visionary energy sources; civilization is in imminent danger and has to use nuclear—the one safe, available, energy source—now or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted by our outraged planet.”
—James Lovelock, leading environmentalist, creator of the Gaia theory, The Independent (UK) “Nuclear Power is the Only Green Solution” May 24, 2004

“By the mid-1980s, . . . I became aware of the emerging concept of sustainable development: balancing environmental, social and economic priorities. . . . Since then, I have worked under the banner of Greenspirit to develop an environmental policy platform based on science, logic, and the recognition that more than six billion people need to survive and prosper every day of the year. . . . Renewable energies, such as wind, geothermal and hydro are part of the solution. Nuclear energy is the only nongreenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand.”
—Patrick Moore, leading ecologist and environmentalist, founder of Greenpeace, Chair and Chief Scientist of Greenspirit The Miami Herald Jan. 30, 2005

“I have been a committed environmentalist for man years. It is because of this commitment and the graveness of the consequences of global warming for the planet that I have now come to the conclusion that the solution is to make more use of nuclear energy.”
—Hugh Montefiore, former Bishop of Birmingham (UK) and former chairman and trustee for Friends of the Earth, The Tablet (UK) “Why The Planet Needs Nuclear Energy” Oct. 23, 2004.

“If we NIMBY anywhere and anytime, we should not expect the utility industry to provide electricity to everyone, everywhere, all of the time. If we believe that global warming is a real threat to our planet, then the very best way to provide base load electricity is through emission-free production of nuclear power.”
—Norris McDonald, President, African American Environmentalist Association October 22, 2003

'The Road to Energy Independence

The US Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy division has long been a source of long term energy goals. During the last decade, it produced a far reaching and logical approach to robust utilization of nuclear energy anchored on spent fuel re-processing, closed fuel cycle, and a combination of fast breeder/burner and traditional light water reactors. The essence of this approach is found at this roadmap web site.