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Richard Rhodes on the need for nuclear power

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Richard Rhodes (Image credit: Inmenlo)

Richard Rhodes – who has spent his entire career looking at the lives and work of men and women who wrested energy from the atom – has a cogent rumination on the need for nuclear power, stimulated in part by Robert Stone’s noteworthy new documentary Pandora’s Promise which I previously reviewed here. His thoughts have been highlighted by NYT columnist and blogger Andrew Revkin.

For environmentalists and concerned citizens like Rhodes, the transition from nuclear power skeptic to enthusiastic supporter was driven in part by simple logic and research and, more urgently, by concerns about global warming:

We all, one way or another, started out opposed to nuclear power. Each of us then learned more about it or confronted challenging conditions — global warming in particular — that led us to reconsider our opposition and change our minds. That intrigued Stone, since we all now speak and write in favor of expanding its use.

(Gweneth) Cravens and I, for example, both encountered respected scientists, men of honesty and integrity — in my case, the Nobel laureate physicists Hans Bethe and Luis Alvarez, among others — who quietly educated us in the relative risks and benefits of nuclear energy. As a result, we both concluded, independently, that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.”

I highlighted in a previous post a study by the father of modern climate change science, James Hansen, that demonstrated that the replacement of fossil fuel plants by nuclear power plants has likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives which would otherwise have been lost to air pollution and associated chronic diseases. Unfortunately, the much touted expansion of natural gas enabled through fracking, grudgingly admired even by some of its detractors (it has, after all, reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the last five years), is by no means a permanent or even a long-term fix in a world plagued by global warming.

“The World Health Organization estimates that preventable deaths from air pollution, meaning soot and smog from burning wood, coal, oil and gasoline, total more than two million per year worldwide. James Hansen, a prominent climate scientist, calculates the positive benefit of nuclear power as having saved about 1.84 million lives by reducing such pollution. Natural gas — methane — which anti-nuclear environmentalists lately seem to be embracing, is a greenhouse gas more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. No one except their stockholders really likes fossil fuels, but neither do they call out riverkeepers breathing fire.”

No one can ignore the one crushing, sobering truth that every time environmentalists vote against nuclear power, they are inevitably voting in favor of the fossil fuel industry and this is a curse they have to live with. I am sure fossil fuel proponents rub their hands with glee every time this happens, since they know that for the foreseeable future, the only thing that can stand in for all those nuclear power plants which picketers shut down are their brand new coal-fired and natural gas plants.

Rhodes wants to explore the reasons why people fear nuclear energy and he hits upon what’s certainly a dominant driving force- the conflation of nuclear power with nuclear weapons. I have written before how the world might have been very different had nuclear energy first impinged on our consciousness in the form of Shippingport and not Hiroshima, and Rhodes reinforces this perception while noting how many of the fears about proliferation have simply not borne fruit.

“After researching and writing four volumes on the history of the nuclear age, I think I understand the fundamental and unacknowledged source of nuclear fear. There’s a glimpse of it in one of the first attacks on “Pandora’s Promise,” a review by Mark Hertsgaard in The Nation. Hertsgaard notes that breeder reactors, for example, breed plutonium in the course of their operation, which can be recycled to extend the energy productivity of their nuclear fuel. Such recycling, he argues, “would dramatically increase the risk of nuclear war.” He thinks so because all that plutonium could be extracted and made into weapons. Which is true: it could. But deciding to develop a nuclear arsenal is a political decision, not a technological imperative. Any technologically advanced nation has the knowledge to pursue developing nuclear weapons if it chooses to do so. There are about 37 such nations in the world today. Only nine of them maintain nuclear arsenals. The others choose not to do so. Most have signed a solemn treaty to that effect…

Nuclear testing, nuclear crisis and nuclear power were all born together in the long wake of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. I’m not surprised that the clean and peaceful technology, which today provides about 13.5 percent of world electricity without air pollution or greenhouse gases, was tarred with the same brush as the Bomb. I am surprised, however, that idealistic, intelligent people who want to clean up the air and limit global warming are opposed to nuclear power. They might as well be out there promoting fossil fuels. In effect, they are.”

Rhodes is absolutely right that most people’s ominous view of nuclear power stems from their view of the invisible entity called radiation, but the real reasons stem from deep psychology. The psychologist Paul Slovic has described how, when asked to imagine the consequences of a reactor meltdown, many people invoke completely unrealistic images of devastation by nuclear weapons. This kind of study certainly demonstrates ignorance about the true effects of radiation, but it also speaks to deeply rooted psychological fears about mysterious entities that we can’t see or touch. Fear of radiation and nuclear power touches upon the instinctive fear that was engineered in our primitive brain by evolution to keep it safe from predators on the Savannah. But this is 2013, and we should know better; there is no dearth of images of mangled bodies and explosions in car accidents, and yet we embrace the automobile, not only because the tradeoff seems completely worth it but because we have trained ourselves to distinguish between rational expectations and gut feelings. We need to do the same for nuclear power. Especially with brand new reactor designs and vastly improved safety, cost and energy efficiency on the horizon, nuclear power seems poised to bring more benefits to our world than ever before.

Rhodes ends with a plea to support nuclear power with the same fervor that we should employ in the abolition of nuclear weapons. He points out the simple correlation between electricity usage and standard of living, a correlation that will continue to be embraced by the developing world with unremitting enthusiasm. If we can improve the correlation coefficient of this relationship while putting the brakes on global warming, it’s the kind of development that every single one of us – affluent and poor, environmentalist and stockholder – should stand behind.

Electricity consumption correlates positively with extended lifespan and quality of life. In the years to come, with the third world emerging from poverty, we will need all the electricity we can get. Renewable sources such as solar and wind will find their useful application. Coal and oil will continue their long decline as a percentage of world energy. Nuclear power and natural gas, the only major energy sources presently enlarging their share, will rise to dominate world energy production. We should welcome both, and work at their improvement, even as we continue to dismantle the expensive, dangerous bombs.

Ashutosh Jogalekar About the Author: Ashutosh (Ash) Jogalekar is a chemist interested in the history and philosophy of science. He considers science to be a seamless and all-encompassing part of the human experience. Follow on Twitter @curiouswavefn.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. tharriss 1:05 pm 07/23/2013

    I’d like to have seen the continuing serious problems with Fukushima discussed in the context of this article as well… You can have 1000 plants operating safely (although waste disposal also wasn’t really addressed either) and all it takes is one Fukushima to do huge environmental damage, threaten the health of a large number of people, and add significantly to the overall cost of the technology.

    Link to this
  2. 2. joelbass 1:49 pm 07/23/2013

    Yes, there seem to be some real blind spots in this article. I think it’s a little strange to assume that people are opposed to nuclear energy because of some vague association with nuclear weapons when we have some very real, concrete examples of the horrific damage nuclear power plants can do when something goes wrong. Fukushima is in the news this week, in fact, which just might temper people’s enthusiasm about nuclear power. None of us has yet lived in a time when nuclear power was completely safe and problem free. None of us has yet lived at a time when there were clear solutions to getting rid of nuclear waste.

    I also bristle at the assertion that those who oppose nuclear power support the use of fossil fuels. I’ve never met any environmentally-aware individual who feels that way. Why should we pollute the world with nuclear waste OR carbon dioxide when we meet most of our needs through solar and wind energy – the two technologies that NO ONE can associate a horrible disaster with?

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  3. 3. joelbass 1:59 pm 07/23/2013

    In that last paragraph, I meant to say “…we could meet most of our needs through solar and wind energy…”

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  4. 4. Mark Goldes 1:59 pm 07/23/2013

    “A massive release of radioactivity from Fukushima fuel pools remains a time bomb: ‘No matter where we are on this planet, our lives are still threatened every day by a Unit 4 fuel pool left hanging 100 feet in the air. At any moment, an earthquake we all know is coming could send that pool crashing to the ground.’ This ‘fragile pool laden with enough fuel rods to poison countless millions …remains horrifically vulnerable to seismic activity that could send it crashing down to a permanently contaminated earth.’” Harvey Wasserman Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

    An all too possible solar superstorm could cause “hundreds of Fukushimas”.

    Burning more radioactive fuels is a non-starter.

    Revolutionary alternatives are emerging. Cold Fusion is one example. In spite of the name, some recent variations appear to be non-nuclear. And none need radioactive fuels.

    See CHEAP GREEN at http://www.aesopinstitute.org

    A conference is now in progress at the University of Missouri at which several cold fusion systems appear en-route to commercialization.

    An engine has been invented that substitutes atmospheric heat for fuel. Prototypes are in the works. Once validated by an independent laboratory, plastic desktop versions of these piston engines are likely to prove that what almost all scientists and engineers consider impossible, is practical. Larger versions of these engines are expected to replace all sizes of diesel engine/generators. See the same AESOP Institute website.

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  5. 5. Mark Goldes 2:00 pm 07/23/2013

    “A massive release of radioactivity from Fukushima fuel pools remains a time bomb: ‘No matter where we are on this planet, our lives are still threatened every day by a Unit 4 fuel pool left hanging 100 feet in the air. At any moment, an earthquake we all know is coming could send that pool crashing to the ground.’ This ‘fragile pool laden with enough fuel rods to poison countless millions …remains horrifically vulnerable to seismic activity that could send it crashing down to a permanently contaminated earth.’” Harvey Wasserman Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

    An all too possible solar superstorm could cause “hundreds of Fukushimas”.

    Burning more radioactive fuels is a non-starter.

    Revolutionary alternatives are emerging. Cold Fusion is one example. In spite of the name, some recent variations appear to be non-nuclear. And none need radioactive fuels.

    See CHEAP GREEN on the AESOP Institute website.

    A conference is now in progress at the University of Missouri at which several cold fusion systems appear en-route to commercialization.

    An engine has been invented that substitutes atmospheric heat for fuel. Prototypes are in the works. Once validated by an independent laboratory, plastic desktop versions of these piston engines are likely to prove that what almost all scientists and engineers consider impossible, is practical. Larger versions of these engines are expected to replace all sizes of diesel engine/generators. See the same AESOP Institute website.

    Link to this
  6. 6. sonoran 2:16 pm 07/23/2013

    “Harvey Franklin Wasserman (born December 31, 1945) is an American journalist, author, democracy activist, and advocate for renewable energy. He has been a strategist and organizer in the anti-nuclear movement in the United States for over 30 years.”

    Nothing sensationalist about his statement, eh? The fact is that even counting the deaths legitimately associated with Chernobyl and Fukushima; by replacing fossil fuels nuclear energy has on net, saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Link to this
  7. 7. curiouswavefunction 2:29 pm 07/23/2013

    In its recent report, the WHO predicted almost no measurable increase in cancer rate for Fukushima or its surroundings.

    http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/fukushima_risk_assessment_2013/en/index.html

    As for waste, I would rather have short-lived waste (with the longer lived fissile waste burnt in a molter salt reactor) carefully sequestered using dry-cask and other technologies than unsequestrable CO2 waste polluting the skies and warming the planet.

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  8. 8. Scienceisnotagenda 2:30 pm 07/23/2013

    A naive article. One can advocate against wearing seatbelts…never had an accident. It only takes ‘one’ accident tomorrow to kill you.

    Also, the economics are a potential disaster. Build a hundred more nuclear plants in the USA…have one major accident after trillions spent building them…they will be mothballed.

    This article disdains human hysteria, ignorance etc, The irony is that it assumes that these traits would disappear after more nuclear plants were built. No, they are the very reason not to invest in this industry. That ‘one’ accident will happen and the reaction is quite predictable. NIMBY would be stronger than ever.

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  9. 9. Scienceisnotagenda 2:39 pm 07/23/2013

    Thariss in the first post. Exactly. After Three Mile costs became prohibitive. Tens of billions invested in unfinished nuclear plants. They will never be ‘safe enough’ for the public unless so many hoops are jumped through that the final price tag is insane.

    The engineers may know best…after all, they knew best at Three Mile, Chernobyl and Fukishima. The fourth won’t happen ? The fifth. Trust us?

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  10. 10. curiouswavefunction 2:51 pm 07/23/2013

    Apart from the capital costs nuclear is already quite cheap. Also, the Breakthrough Institute just released a report about reducing capital costs significantly. I will be blogging about this soon.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/how-to-make-nuclear-cheap/

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  11. 11. JPGumby 2:51 pm 07/23/2013

    “James Hansen, a prominent climate scientist, calculates the positive benefit of nuclear power as having saved about 1.84 million lives by reducing such pollution”.

    The three accidents listed together had a tiny negative impact by comparison, and the worst, Chernobyl, was of a design obsolete 50 years ago.

    But, it would appear that for many nuclear power is a “no matter what the proof, no matter what the need” kind of thing. That’s an agenda, not science.

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  12. 12. Scienceisnotagenda 3:05 pm 07/23/2013

    Curiouswavefunction…’apart from capital construction nuclear is already quite cheap’

    Huh?…that’s like saying a diamond might cost only a million but after that, it’s a cheap to run good glass cutter.

    Capital construction is billions of borrowed money. Money folks in many states are still paying for on their utility bills. Go to Wikipedia and look up unfinished nuclear plants. Mothballed plants that are not producing a watt of power are costing billions a year. Less that a quarter of proposed nuclear plants ever made it past a year…3 of 280 proposed plants ever became economically viable.

    Forbes called nuclear a fiscal disaster for the competitiveness of US industry in the 1970′s.

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  13. 13. M Tucker 3:19 pm 07/23/2013

    Just one year ago the NRC approved construction of two new nuclear reactors just south of Augusta, Georgia at Plant Vogtle. This is a 14 BILLION DOLLAR project! Rate payers ALREADY PAY extra for the construction. Of course they don’t benefit from any electricity from the plants but they already pay more. Now, just one year later, we have a major delay and a $700 million cost overrun. What a surprise! I never saw this coming. Delays and cost overruns in just one year of construction! “Georgia Power has already twice postponed the date of the opening of the new nukes and is now pushing back the online dates more then a year.” And guess what, Georgia Power wants the ratepayer to pay more. Yep, MORE! This is what needs to be discussed. Not BS crap about nuclear explosions. Not a trip down memory lane. We can look up the history. We know what sorts of accidents can happen. We know nuclear power plants will not explode like Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    “The Vogtle expansion is considered the vanguard of a possible revival of nuclear power construction in the United States,…It is also a test of whether the industry can smoothly build and bring online new reactors without major cost and technical problems.” Well I guess that is a big fat fail! The cost overruns are caused by ‘technical problems.’ Take a guess what they were…some nuclear engineering issue?…no, that’s not it. They used the wrong steel. Yeah, stupid crap that is costing the ratepayers $700 million. This is what needs to be discussed. These are huge complex operations and cost overruns can be caused by simple crap that can cost millions.

    These two new reactors are the latest design but our ability to efficiently construct these things is plagued by all our old nemesis, human error, simple crap that costs hundreds of millions of dollars. South Carolina is thinking about building a couple of nukes. The cost of construction and the long payback time for ratepayers seems to be the biggest issue there as well.

    Just search Georgia nuclear plant or South Carolina nuclear plant in Google news to keep up with developments.

    “Nuclear power and natural gas, the only major energy sources presently enlarging their share, will rise to dominate world energy production. We should welcome both”

    Mmmm, sweet, sweet natural gas…WAIT! No, I though I was suppose to oppose n. gas…

    “I am sure fossil fuel proponents rub their hands with glee every time this happens [because] the only thing that can stand in for all those nuclear power plants which picketers shut down are their brand new coal-fired and natural gas plants.”

    So which is it? N gas good or n gas bad. Is it easy to build a new coal plant in the US today with new EPA regulations? What has the World Bank said about coal plants? Let’s keep up with new developments please. No, actually, n gas is being build instead of both coal and nuclear. So Rhodes gets half of what he wishes for.

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  14. 14. sault 3:23 pm 07/23/2013

    Agenda,

    Here’s the worst examples of cost overruns from failed nuclear reactor builds:

    15% of power bills in the Pacific Northwest are due to bad debt from WPPS’ failed nuclear power effort

    http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2008082460_nukeop31.html

    Ratepayers in Ontario still on the hook for $19B of bad nuclear debt AFTER already paying $20B in interest on said debt:

    http://www.thestar.com/business/2010/08/06/ontario_hydros_legacy_of_debt.html

    You see this story of poorly-managed reactor builds and the resulting bailouts that socialized the losses onto the public time and time again. “Too cheap to meter” has become “too expensive and slow to matter”. History is repeating itself at VC Summer and Vogtle as we see more schedule delays and ballooning costs. The utility customers are already on the hook for billion$$$ in “cost recovery” that shows up on their monthly electricity bills YEARS before the nuclear reactors are completed…or even if they’re completed at all. Whatta deal!!!! (for the utility that privatizes the profits, that is!)

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  15. 15. Owl905 3:29 pm 07/23/2013

    The article is unconvincing. A strong emotional attachment to the people and the chemistry and the industry is acknowledged.
    If the fear about the technology is undeserved, take the sanctions off Iran and North Korea. Those sanctions are testimony to the dangers of misuse and legitimate fear.
    If the fear about the downside of problems is undeserved, repopulate the forbidden zone around Chernobyl, and sell the mutant produce from around Fujukima.
    The reason for reluctance and rejection doesn’t stem from psychology – it stems from a track record of global headlines when it goes wrong, in any form. Saving 2 million lives a year won’t cut it when the downside is a trillion dollar disaster or two.
    The industry oversold ‘safe’ half a century ago, and now it has a hollow ring to it. Statistically it is safe. But on the street, every unsafe event wipes that record out.

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  16. 16. kugelis1 3:33 pm 07/23/2013

    Proliferation cannot be swatted away so easily, look at AQ Khan, who worked in Europe and used his contacts there to easily ship and circumvent safeguards to help build the Pakistan nuclear weapon program. The ability of nuclear proliferation safeguards to contain the spread of nuclear technology to more nations, non-state players and terrorists would be greatly reduced if we would increase the amount of nuclear power by 10 times as this author has indicated earlier. One cannot put the genie back in the nuclear bottle but we should not have a Costco of nuclear weapon technology either. It needs to be at a level that can be policed in this dangerous world and we are at that level.
    Many nations have nuclear power programs just to be able to be able to go towards a weapons program quickly and that is why Thorium, which is proliferation resistant has been ignored by countries including the U.S as they want their supply of enriched uranium ready to upgrade to weapon grade. Also lets not forget that the Soviet Union used nuclear power as political and economic power to maintain control over an empire that was 11 time zones as it was centrally controlled by Moscow. It was these political considerations that changed me from a nuclear power supporter to someone who looks at more than a facile analysis that Ash does of problems with the politics of nuclear energy. As he has said before , nuclear energy is awesome, yes splitting the atom is a tremendous thing but we live in a certain period in the history of nation states and nuclear power cannot be considered to be the best source with issues such as proliferation, centralization of political and economic power, terrorism, corporations and states that will not always do their best to protect their citizens, the need to spy on citizens such as the NSA does which I support grudgingly due to the proliferation worries and to maintain nuclear waste means we must trust that our political systems will last as they are for thousands of years. If we are to accept these unique risks with nuclear technology as needed to prevent the pollution and climate change problems associated with fossil fuels than we all better also do all possible first with conservation, efficiency, and all alternate sources which do not have those unique risks and problems as nuclear as many nation states and corporations prefer nuclear energy to maintain their political and economic power and then we would only be doing their bidding.

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  17. 17. sault 4:19 pm 07/23/2013

    While “advanced” reactor designs incorporating Thorium or promising lower costs / safer operation look good on paper, we are nowhere near being able to build commercial reactors with these technologies. “Breeder” reactor technology has been in development for decades and will likely take another few decades of research and commercial development before we can be confident that they will be able to play a significant role in combating climate change.

    So while we should continue to research advanced nuclear reactors, we should not let their potential distract us from the very real pollution reductions that energy efficiency and renewable energy are achieving today. If these advanced nuclear power concepts pan out (possibly by the 2030′s or the 2040′s), then we will STILL have emitted less CO2 and made climate change less severe through efficiency and renewables. If advanced nuclear doesn’t turn out to be all that great after all, then we’ll still be well on our way to a clean and sustainable energy supply.

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  18. 18. rkipling 5:37 pm 07/23/2013

    Dr. Jogalekar,

    Good article. It’s your business of course, but there are commenters who are impervious to rational discussion. But perhaps your replies are for the benefit of others who may read them?

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  19. 19. Data 9:40 pm 07/23/2013

    Dangerous nuclear energy: Exposure to radiation causes birth defects or abnormal sex ratios http://j.mp/Dangerous_Nuclear

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  20. 20. singing flea 12:11 am 07/24/2013

    Having lived both on the power grid and off the grid feel I am qualified to say that conservation and alternative energy sources are both viable and economical. The problem is that the vast majority of the population are greedy fools. Nuclear energy sure ain’t gonna cure that illness.

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  21. 21. sethdayal 2:32 am 07/24/2013

    Actually contrary to Tucker’s nonsense the Vogtle plant even with the cost overrun caused by political appointees to the world’s most powerful antinuclear organization the NRC – the plant now over 30% complete still has a net present value of $4B over the gas alternative.

    The VC Summer plant is a few monthes behind schedule, hoping to make it up, and on budget at a cost of $4.5B – 7 cents a kwh and cheaper than the 8 cent a kwh gas alternative.

    The stupid American fascist has yet to realize that public power operators like OPG, TVA, and Bonneville are the most efficient way to generate electricity and having the taxpayer pay for nuke plant construction in advance is an effort to move in that direction decreasing long term rates.

    All 7 Candu’s built in that last 20 years were build on time in 4 years and less and on budget at 3 cents a kwh. All 4 of Japans ABWR were built in the last decade on time on budget at $2B/Gw 3 cents a kwh in less than 3 years. Note that latest biggest wind farm at Shepherd’s Flat took a little over 3 years to build at 15 cents a kwh.

    Nukes only competitor – gas – is formidable only because of corruption. Today’s fascist business interests would rather spend a small amount of capital on gas plant and collect a lucrative gratuity on future fuel sales paid for by the taxpayer, than a large amount of capital and no gratuities on nukes. They pay a lot of graft to our corrupt politicians and media to keep that scam going. If they had to guarantee their prices for the next sixty years like nukes in effect do, not a gas plant would ever be built.

    No matter how many times Sault is corrected he parrots the same mindless spew about Gen iV reactors being far in the future.

    The Soviet Alfa sub ran successfully for years on Gen IV lead based nukes and several SMR’s with the same technology are on track for service in less than 5 years. The Russkies have worked out their BN-600 fast reactor in commercial service for the last 10 years, and both India and Russia have new commercial designs going into service this year in India’s case at less than 3 cents a kwh and first of 5 to 2000. China’s commercial HTGR is under construction for 2017 service after a successful run as a test unit.

    THe only US advanced nuclear power R&D is on its HTGR, forecasted for service in 2030 or never if the antinuclear White House can delay it enough with its tiny pittance of funding. Sad from a nation once the worlds leader now sold out to 3rd world status by its to Big Oil corrupted politicians for a few campaign donations.

    GE Hitachi seems to know the exact cost of its Prism reactor, enough to know the modular production cost of these reactors to the nearest cent per MWh. They say they can produce the first-of-a-kind in 5 years on receipt of order at their cost and after at about the first score built, the learning curve will flatten out built times to 36 months.

    PRISM can be configured as a breeder reactor and in the UK we have enough of this precious energy resource to provide all of our power for 500 years.

    According to Flibe Energy now attempting to develop a small MSR for service 5 years from now, with an all out national effort costing less than $5B a utility class MSR would be available in two years. Flibe energy is run by American’s top nuclear scientists and engineers led by Presidents Blue Ribbon Commission member Dr Per Peterson.

    While a 100% fossil to nuclear conversion at a 40% rate of return on investment is easily possible over the next ten years or so (France went 0 to 80% nuke in a little over ten years), we have to recognize that Big Oil owns 100% of our politicians and media. Without a major breakthrough from the Chinese in Gen IV nukes, or a major global warming event killing millions, giving the oh so stupified masses an understanding of the corruption that killed them, we may have to count on geoengineering. The end of millions of annual deaths from fossil pollution is appears to be a meaningless benefit to the ghouls that make up our political, media and largely antinuclear green community.

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  22. 22. Owl905 4:05 am 07/24/2013

    Sethdayal’s pixie dust track record doesn’t exist. The Candu reactors have been beset by premature wear n tear in the tubing, all the way up to the infamous cost-overruns (refurb – dare him to show the ‘last 7 delivered on time and on budget). The overruns crippled Ontario Hydro to the point where it was sold off; it knocked Canada out of the competition for the expected next-round nuke revival; and it eventually turned into headlines when Chalk River problems affected the global supply of medical isotopes.
    Sell the sunny side of CANDU somewhere else … M.Tucker’s fume about cost over-runs and mid-life crisies with this technology is well-known and commonplace.

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  23. 23. sethdayal 12:50 pm 07/24/2013

    I always get a kick out the always low information know nothing Owl who seems to want to compete with his sidekick Sault.

    Yes the 25 year old Candu’s need tubing refurbs – the new 6E design doesn’t. When Owl advances to the Grade 3 level in arithmetic, he will learn that factoring this cost into the original reactor cost adds less than 5% to the cost.

    The twit lacking the reading skills of that same Grade 3 student, is unable to find anything about the last 7 Candu builds. Maybe he can get a friend at home that completed Grade 3, to read and explain the following to him.

    http://www.cnnc.com.cn/tabid/168/Default.aspx

    When Owl is studying for his grade 3 final, he will learn about Fascism, that first made its appearance in a Western Democracy with Ontario Fascist leader Mike Harris. Fascists hate public enterprise and sold off a lot of Ontario’s assets including freeways, and public buildings for pennies on the dollar. Ontario is still suffering.

    The first of a kind Candu 6′s at Darlington were $2.6B/Gw an increase over the budgeted $2B/Gw – still the cheapest energy available by far. The rest of the cost overruns where caused by a stupid socialist by the name of Bob Rae who kept stopping and restarting the project and financing it with long term bond purchases at 19% per annum.

    Ontario Hydro still exists as OPG and the Bruce Nuclear plant is leased to an IPP which like OPG sells its power to the ISO at 6 cents a kwh. With OPG’s nuke cost at 3 cents a kwh its Candu’s are all paid for, and well it’s no selling point to ghouls like owl continues to save the lives of a thousand Ontario citizens from air pollution annually.

    When Owl finally gets his reading ability up to the Grade 3 level, he will find that the problems at Chalk River had nothing to do the Candu. They were a symptom of another Fascist government starving nuclear research so it could send $10′s of billions to its pals at Big Oil.

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  24. 24. rkipling 11:11 am 07/25/2013

    I have watched comments on these environmental blogs with some curiosity. Anything having to do with climate change or energy draws the same players. They leap from blog to blog making the same arguments. And they seem to have formed into troops. They have to know there is no chance they will convert anyone from the other troop.

    I started to say it must be like the Hatfields and McCoys. But on reflection I think the waterhole scene from 2001 A Space Odyssey may be closer. Enjoy your tapir tartare folks.

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  25. 25. Carlyle 5:55 pm 07/28/2013

    The damage caused to Western economies by those who oppose nuclear power will take generations to recover from. This will result in China becoming the leading world power. If China was a democratic country with the same respect for individual freedom & other western values, that would not necessarily be a bad thing. If however you place a value on freedom of speech & the press with the virtually unfettered right to criticise government or public figures, keeping the countries that champion these rights strong needs to have some priority, particularly when the technology is there & proven safer & cleaner than the alternatives.

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  26. 26. KeytoClearskies 7:17 am 08/21/2013

    Chronicles of Mark Goldes, the Perpetual Scam Machine

    1976: Goldes seeks investors with fraudulent claims to have developed a production-ready wind-propelled, wind-rechargeable motorcycle that can reach 60 mph:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19761211&id=iHMjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=P2cEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4233,4597316

    1998: Goldes fools the witless US Air Force with his “room temperature superconductor” scam, receiving over 400,000 dollars in “Innovative Research” grants. No superconductor is produced.

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/1998/07/13894

    2005: Goldes seeks investors with fraudulent claims that his company, MPI, is developing “Magnetic Power Modules”:

    http://pesn.com/2005/06/17/9600113_MagneticPowerInc_Pre-Production/

    2008: Goldes seeks investors with fraudulent claims that “MPI is also developing breakthrough magnetic energy technologies including POWERGENIE (Power Generation of Electricity by Nondestructive Interference of Energy).” Goldes claims to have “run an electric car for more than 4,800 miles with no need to plug-in.” According to Goldes, “[MPI] Revenues from licenses and Joint Ventures are conservatively projected to exceed $1 billion annually by 2012.”

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=27&ved=0CF8QFjAGOBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.renewableenergyworld.com%2Fassets%2Fdocuments%2Fstory%2F2008%2FExecutive%2520Summary%2520Current%25206-2-08.doc&ei=1CsEUrvtCqHJygHY0oCQAQ&usg=AFQjCNGegBprShggPPevHT-PmI74uf32EA&sig2=1SNV5eOyPOOB4Oe56MzonA&bvm=bv.50500085,d.aWc

    2009: Goldes seeks investors with fraudulent claims that his latest scamporation, Chava Energy, “has been developing enhanced theoretical and practical paths that lead towards commercialization of energy conversion systems that utilize hydrinos.” He now claims to be “developing a Self Powered Internal Combustion Engine – SPICE(tm) powered by hydrinos.”

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Hydrinos–One-Barrel-of-W-by-Mark-Goldes-090506-117.html

    Link to this
  27. 27. KeytoClearskies 7:18 am 08/21/2013

    Questions for Mark Goldes, the Perpetual Scam Machine:

    “Where’s the magic overunity transformer? You’ve said you’ve had one working since 2004.

    “Where’s the magic overunity tuning fork? You’ve said you’ve had that working since early 2007.

    “Where’s the magic overunity motor? You’ve said you’ve had that since mid 2007.

    “Where’s the magic ambient heat engine? Over a year ago you said you had a car that ran 4800 miles on it.

    “You said the transformer broke. You said you never built another one because it so much faster and easier to build your magic tuning forks. That was three years ago. After a year and a half of the tuning fork ruse, you switched to the ambient heat scam. The car, the outboard motor, the golf cart you said ran from ambient heat alone, you cannot produce for inspection. You told the childishly ridiculous story that the inventor removed the engine, and sold the car. The car is gone but where is the magic motor that you say propelled it? Was it siezed with the outboard motor and golf cart by agents of big oil or aliens? And now you’ve moved on to the hydrino scam…”

    “You’ve established a quarter century history of telling fantastical tales of nonexistant wonder energy machines. The quantity, variety, and persistence of your storytelling in exchange for investor cash earns you the dishonorary title of: ‘The Baron Von Munchausen of the Free Energy Circuit.’”

    - Penny Gruber, 09/08/2009

    http://energybiz.com/blog/09/09/battery-manufacturers-vs-v2g-no-easy-winners

    Link to this
  28. 28. KeytoClearskies 11:41 pm 11/19/2013

    Mark Goldes’ make-believe “refrigerator that generates electricity” would not merely “circumvent” the Second Law of Thermodynamics – it would actually DISPROVE the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    A “refrigerator that generates electricity” from strictly ambient heat would need to be able to DECREASE the entropy of the universe. The Second Law tells us that we can never decrease the entropy of the universe.

    As a consequence of this law:

    “It is impossible for any device operating on a cycle to produce net work from a single temperature reservoir; the production of net work requires flow of heat from a hotter reservoir to a colder reservoir.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Second_law_of_thermodynamics

    In Goldes’ make-believe strictly ambient heat engine there are not two heat reservoirs at different temperatures; no reservoir would be available at any temperature other than the ambient temperature. No matter what cycle we design with this constraint, we will find that the cycle would have to decrease the entropy of the universe in order to do any work.

    In Mark Goldes’ patent application for his “POWERGENIE” horn-powered tuning-rod engine, he described the tuning-rod as “an energy transfer and multiplier element.”

    But of course, for the tuning-rod to “multiply” energy, it would need to disprove the law of conservation of energy. (Obviously the Patent Office should never have allowed such a description.)

    Goldes’ use of the term “energy multiplier element” reflects his pretense that the “revolutionary breakthrough” of the amazing “POWERGENIE” could disprove the law of conservation of energy, by presenting the world with a working “energy multiplier.”

    But it seems that most people, for some reason, had difficulty accepting the notion that the law of conservation of energy could be proven false.

    And Goldes no doubt noticed that the Second Law of Thermodynamics – that “the entropy of an isolated system tends to increase with time and can never decrease” – is much less clear to most people than the conservation of energy.

    So now, after leaving aside the pretense that he could somehow “multiply energy” with a magnetized tuning-rod, Goldes has chosen to focus, instead, on the pretense that he can disprove the Second Law with an engine powered by strictly ambient heat.

    There is no “new science” in any of Goldes’ “revolutionary breakthroughs.” There is only pseudoscience and pretense – and nothing new, at all.

    http://physicsreviewboard.wordpress.com/aesop-institute-s-purely-ambient-heat-engine-is-pure-fraud/

    Link to this
  29. 29. RrobertMiller 10:35 pm 07/19/2014

    After founding Magnetic Power Inc in the mid-eighties, Mark Goldes and MPI proceeded to develop most of the fraudcraftings which would serve as Goldes’ offerings in fraudcraft for the next thirty years, not only at MPI, but also at Chava Energy LLC, and at his so-called “Aesop Institute.” Goldes’ partnership with Hagen Ruff, the other Co-founder (as well as CEO) of Chava Energy LLC, gave the Goldes-MPI fraudcraft a new lease on life, and accordingly it may now be termed most properly the “Goldes-Ruff Fraudcraft.” For the past five years or more, while serving as a Co-founder and a Chief Officer of Chava Energy LLC, Goldes used his mgoldes @ chavaenergy.com email address as his Aesop Institute email address as well, at least until his very recent ejection from Chava Energy. In practice, Goldes made continual use of Aesop Institute to bring investors to Chava Energy, which for five years has based its pretenses on nearly all the same fraudcraft used by Goldes at Aesop Institute. The common fraudcraft included the fraudcraftings of pretended development of water-fueled “Fractional Hydrogen” engines, of generators supposedly powered by Zero Point Energy, of “Ultraconductor” wire and “Ultraconductor” energy storage systems, and of strictly ambient heat engines – along with endless false claims that these concepts were currently being “prototyped,” and would soon provide wonderful alternatives to fossil fuels.

    Mark Goldes’ “Aesop Institute” is simply an elaborate fraud. After founding Magnetic Power Inc in the mid-eighties, Mark Goldes and MPI soon developed most of the fraudcraftings which would serve as Goldes’ offerings in fraudcraft for the next thirty years, not only at MPI, but also at Chava Energy LLC, and at his so-called “Aesop Institute.” Goldes’ partnership with Hagen Ruff, the other Co-founder (as well as CEO) of Chava Energy LLC, gave the Goldes-MPI fraudcraft a new lease on life, and accordingly it may be most properly termed the “Goldes-Ruff Fraudcraft.” For the past five years or more, while serving as a Co-founder and a Chief Officer of Chava Energy LLC, Goldes used his chavaenergy.com email address as his Aesop Institute email address as well, at least until his very recent ejection from Chava Energy. In practice, Goldes made continual use of Aesop Institute to bring investors to Chava Energy, which for five years has based its pretenses on nearly all the same fraudcraft used by Goldes at Aesop Institute. The common fraudcraft has included the same fraudcraftings of water-fueled “Fractional Hydrogen” engines, generators powered by Zero Point Energy, “Ultraconductor” wire, “Ultraconductor” energy storage systems, and strictly ambient heat engines – along with the same false claims that “prototypes” of all these concepts were being developed, and would soon provide wonderful alternatives to fossil fuels.

    For five years, Hagen Ruff allowed Mark Goldes, a Co-founder as well as a Chief Officer of Chava Energy, not only to use his mgoldes @ chavaenergy.com email address to solicit loans to Goldes’ so-called “Aesop Institute,” but simultaneously to solicit loans to Aesop Institute and investments in Chava Energy in the course of discussions and communications with prospects who had reached Goldes by way of aesopinstitute. In effect, Ruff allowed Aesop Institute to become a fund-raising extension of Chava Energy. Starting in 2009, if not before, Goldes posted thousands of fraudulent comments advertising the aesopinstitute website and promoting the Goldes-Ruff fraudcraftings on dozens of different websites. On Huffington Post alone, as the user “Overtone,” he posted over three thousand such comments. When people contacted Goldes after visiting the aesopinstitute website, they would learn from Goldes not only about Aesop Institute but also about Chava Energy, and Goldes would solicit loans to Aesop Institute or investment in Chava Energy, whichever the prospect preferred, at the same time. This was his standard practice for years. By allowing this entangling of Aesop Institute with Chava Energy LLC, Ruff has incurred responsibility not only for the false and fraudulent pretenses of Chava Energy, but for those of Mark Goldes’ “Aesop Institute” as well. For this reason, although neither the Kenneth Rauen strictly ambient heat engine pretense nor the Boris Kondrashov self-powered turbine pretense have been directly used or presented by Chava Energy, as they have by Aesop Institute, they still deserve full recognition within the ensemble of Goldes-Ruff fraudcraftings.

    For five years since it was founded, Chava Energy LLC tried to promote itself chiefly by means of false and fraudulent claims and pretenses, that it was developing “revolutionary energy breakthroughs,” including “Fractional Hydrogen” engines utilizing nonexistent states of hydrogen, magical Ambient Temperature Thermionic Converters, and magnetic generators supposedly harnessing Zero Point Energy. Recently, most of the material containing these false and ludicrous claims was suddenly removed from the Chava Energy website, although much of the flimflam related to Zero Point Energy still remains.

    In addition, Hagen Ruff quietly ejecting Chava Energy’s Co-founder and Chief “Market Research” Officer, Mark Goldes.

    And then came the lies.

    Despite the fact that Chava Energy itself for five years had described Mark Goldes on the Chava Energy website as a Co-founder and Chief Officer, and despite the fact that hundreds of people all over the world have received mgoldes@chavaenergy.com emails in which Goldes describes himself as Co-founder of Chava Energy, and despite the fact that dozens of web pages still cached by Google show beyond question that Chava Energy regarded Goldes as a Co-founder and employed him as an active Chief Officer from the very start until recently, we are now told by the other Co-founder of Chava Energy, Hagen Ruff, that far from being any Co-founder or Chief Officer of Chava Energy, Mark Goldes was not even part of it, at all!

    In fact, although Chava Energy LLC did not file as an LLC until May 2010, the Chava Energy website was presented in April 2009, and both Hagen Ruff and Mark Goldes were already in 2009 referring to Chava Energy as a new business entity. From the outset until his very recent ejection from Chava Energy LLC, Mark Goldes was listed and described on Chava Energy’s “Team Members” page as “Co-founder” as well as “Chief Market Research Officer.” But in fact Goldes’ true role was not to conduct “Market Research,” but to attract investors and solicit investments. Accordingly, Mark Goldes made continual use for five years, until his recent ejection, of his Chava Energy email address (mgoldes@chavaenergy.com) to communicate with prospective investors, many of whom had no doubt learned of Chava Energy from one of Goldes’ countless internet postings claiming “revolutionary energy breakthroughs.”

    If Chava Energy’s claims regarding their pretended Revolutionary Breakthrough development of “Fractional Hydrogen” “SPICE” engines, Ambient Temperature Thermionic Converters, “Ultraconductor” wire, “Ultraconductor Energy Storage Systems,” and Zero Point Energy harvesting “MagGen” generators were not false and fraudulent, why did Hagen Ruff suddenly remove those claims from Chava’s website?

    In fact, all of those fraudulent claims came originally from the very same source: Chava Energy Co-founder and Chief Market Research Officer Mark Goldes, and Goldes’ previous company, Magnetic Power Inc.

    We do find and state that Hagen Ruff’s Chava Energy LLC has made a great many utterly false and fraudulent claims and statements, showing very unscrupulous dishonesty, on the matters of “Fractional Hydrogen” engines, Ambient Temperature Thermionic Converters, and “MagGen” generators that supposedly harness Zero Point Energy. Chava Energy’s claims and statements regarding “Ultraconductor” wire and “Ultraconductor Energy Storage Systems” were also false and dishonest to some degree, in various ways.

    The relentless and pervasive dishonesty, fraudulence, and unscrupulousness, that characterized Mark Goldes’ use of his company Magnetic Power Inc for over twenty years prior to the founding of Chava LLC and Chava Energy LLC, has also characterized Mark Goldes’ and Hagen Ruff’s use of Chava Energy LLC and Aesop Institute since 2009.

    If there had ever been any chance at all that Chava Energy LLC could be transformed into an honest and honorable company despite its five-year specialization in fraudcraft, that chance was wiped out by Hagen Ruff’s most recent communications, in which he embarked on some brand new pretenses, no less ludicrous than his fraudcraft of “Fractional Hydrogen.” He now wants to pretend that his very active Co-founder, Mark Goldes, the very same person who has been his Chief Liar for five years, was actually never a part of Chava Energy, at all! And he also now wants to pretend that none of Chava Energy’s fraudcraftings came from Mark Goldes or MPI – even though, in fact, they all did – every one of them.

    http://physicsreviewboard.wordpress.com/category/chava-energy-llc/

    Link to this

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