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Open Thread 25

Time for a fresh open thread! (the old one being weighed down by over 1000 comments).

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the general content of this blog.

The sort of things that belong on this thread include general enquiries, soapbox philosophy, meandering trains of argument that move dynamically from one point of contention to another, and so on — as long as the comments adhere to the broad BNC themes of sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and policy, energy security, climate impacts, etc.

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

590 replies on “Open Thread 25”

What could happen in 20 years to decision-making processes that could affect responses to climate change?

If things continue as there are there will be increasing dissatisfaction in different nations and there will be growth of the left and right extremes of politics with unstable fluctuations between the two.

I am trying to infer into the future what better possibilities there could be. There are differences that could count. There are informed decision-making processes and advances in theory on governance and management practices. There are enormous opportunities for communication that could overcome ignorance.

Cultural changes are needed; we need to move from using the social media to reinforce whatever views we have to one of valuing unity (or something like that) such that we are all willing to change and seeking to persuade others to reconsider their views. We need the respect to understand that it is difficult for people to change their paradigms.

I think there will be changes that are difficult to conceive that bring together technical advances in databases, artificial intelligence, political theory, psychology and social media into a process that addresses and resolves complex issues facing society.

It is my hope that we will see such a change in the next 20 years. Hopefully these can happen before we reach dangerous climate change.


I suggest we start by talking to grocers and farmers. I have found both willing to listen to discussion of GW because it is in their business interest for the weather to remain good for agriculture. Farmers remember those recent years of unusual weather.

Farmers and grocers make a voting block.
–Hmmm the lights are blinking. There may be more severe weather nearby.–


Has anyone calculated how much earth temperature rise we can expect from all those nuclear reactors pumping out high potency BTU’s?


Jack: Yes, we did that computation. The waste heat from power plants [all kinds] makes no difference for the next 2 centuries. Nuclear doesn’t reject enough more heat than coal to notice. The problem is CO2 for the next 275 years.

“Galactic-Scale Energy | Do the Math”
“In 2450 years, we use as much as all hundred-billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy.”

Really? No. We haven’t invented warp drive. And the human population will crash very soon.


Something I just posted at The Energy Collective (awaiting moderation):

If you have the deep geological repository, you get more bang for your buck if you have any atmospheric carbon capture method that requires less energy (or cheaper energy) than calcining limestone does. Calcining lime requires about 180 kJ/mol while the thermodynamic limit for concentrating atmospheric CO2 is 20 kJ/mol.

If you can hit twice the thermodynamic limit with some thermally-regenerated sorbent which desorbs at 250°C or less (perhaps a tailored zeolite), you can use direct LWR steam to drive the process. If the Diablo Canyon units are roughly 3.4 GW(th) each and half the thermal output is diverted to carbon capture @ 40 kJ/mol, that’s 85,000 mol/sec or 3.74 metric tons per second. Off-peak steam from Diablo Canyon could extract several hundred thousand tons of CO2 per day, almost 120 million tons per year.

Multiply this by 50 (roughly the nuclear capacity of the USA) and you get 6 billion tons per year. Total US CO2 emissions from energy use were only about 5.5 billion tons in 2011. This appears VERY doable.

There’s your triple threat from nuclear:  it displaces fossil fuel combustion directly, diversion of heat to a chemical desorption process provides an alternate load for load-following on the electric grid, and it can sweep up after our fossil-fuel burning habits.

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Robert Lawrence: The jet stream crossing the equator thing makes me worry about this year’s harvest. I think most people will die of starvation still “believing” nonsense. The history is that when a collapse happens, people change religions, but they don’t change to no religion. Maybe this time will be different. There is an alternative and we represent it.


Samenow on WaPo points out that the high altitude air flow across the equator is not the ordinary jet stream. Others state it is not uncommon and in any case only half the speed of the actual jet stream.


Hi Barry, What are your thoughts on replacing legacy coal fired power stations in La Trobe valley with nuclear plants in same locations? Would it save on infrastructure costs? Would it help the region transition to a new economy (jobs etc)?


Juan Cole, on his Informed Comment blog, carries on today about green electricity. Some others may care to comment there.


Why bother? In looking at some of what he has written, it is clear that he sees renewables as the complete solution to CO2-free power.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Sun, Jul 3, 2016 at 7:04 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> David B. Benson commented: “Juan Cole, on his Informed Comment blog, > carries on today about green electricity. Some others may care to comment > there.” >


Ultimately the root of the problem is that while everyone seems to have an opinion on the subjects of climate change and energy, few have the grounding in the basics to follow the arguments. There is a breathtaking degree of ignorance out there over what electric power even is, let alone the factors involve with its generation, transmission, switching and distribution. Nor is there any idea of scale. The same holds true of climate change where there is no real grasp of the impacts and consequences. Productive discussion under these conditions is next to impossible.


I left a neutral comment which is awaiting Juan Cole’s moderation. I’m not optimistic that it will be published.


Juan Cole is reasonable and corrigible. He is just now starting on electricity generation, a subject far from his specialty.

On another topic I disagreed with what he wrote and the comment was accepted.


If we could extract CO2 from air that cheaply, wouldn’t we first want to replace petroleum by making liquid fuels with that CO2?

I don’t think so.  The first priority should be to displace as much liquid fuel as we can with electric power.  Synthesizing liquid fuels is inefficient and costly, and should run a distant second.

Fortunately, using carbon capture as a “dump load” for nuclear power allows nuclear to follow a much “bumpier” load profile and help charge PHEVs when they need to be charged.  Even 10 miles of all-electric range, used most times after any stop of an hour or more, would eliminate a large part of most people’s fuel consumption.


Jim says: If we could extract CO2 from air that cheaply, wouldn’t we first want to replace petroleum by making liquid fuels with that CO2?

It’s a good idea. And face it, having removed the CO2 from the ultimate rubbish dump, we would have nowhere left to dump it.

Beware that a token removal operation would almost certainly be used as an excuse for vastly greater emissions elsewhere.


climate code red
What Brexit teaches us about climate change communications
Posted: 03 Jul 2016 03:21 PM PDT
by George Marshall, COIN

See my comment there. OF COURSE the elite did a disinterpretation on the Brexit vote. What it is all about is stopping the divisive disinterpretations that the elites always do to prevent popular action and democracy. We have to keep immigrants out because there are too many people. The very wealthy can’t see that.

We are headed for a human population crash from 7.5 Billion to 70 thousand or zero people some time between 2022 and 2040. We don’t have time for research or fooling around with renewables. Causes of a population crash:

Global Warming [GW] will cause civilization to collapse within 13 years give or take 6 years because GW will cause the rain to move and the rain move will force agriculture to collapse. Famine has been the cause of many dozens of previous population crashes.
Reference “Overshoot” by William Catton, 1980 and “Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse” by William Catton, 2009. Catton says that we humans are about to experience a population crash. Population biologist William Catton says that the US is the most overcrowded country. Collapse from overpopulation could happen any time now. The Earth has 4.5 Billion too many people. An overshoot in population requires an equal undershoot. We overshot by 4.5 billion, and the consequence is an undershoot by 4.5 billion. The carrying capacity is 3 billion. 3 billion minus 4.5 billion is zero because there can’t be minus 1.5 billion people. This can happen even if there is enough food.

Catton tells the story of an island with deer but no wolves. The deer population increased to ~3500. There was still plenty of food, but the population crashed to 35. The reason was overcrowding.
Sharing kills everybody because you can’t survive on half of the required calories. 7 billion people is 4 billion too many no matter how you slice it. “We” didn’t make “Them” have too many children.

Aquifers running dry No irrigation, no wheat. No wheat, no bread. The “Green Revolution” was a bad idea. It caused India to double her population rather than get out of poverty. Now Indian farmers have “discovered” that water is a limiting resource. Water is a limiting resource in the US as well. When, not if, the aquifer under the high plains runs dry, there will be no bread and no pasta in the US.
We didn’t “cause” third world poverty. They were never “unpoor” in the first place. They were stone age, not poor. We invented science. They didn’t. Their failure to invent science is not our fault.
Resource depletion
4A oil
4B minerals
In the book: “Too Smart for our Own Good.” by Craig Dilworth, says we were better off in the stone age. Dilworth is a sophisticated luddite, not recognizing that we cannot stay on one planet for ever. Dilworth denounces capitalism and profit as the main culprits in our demise by Global Warming. Dilworth also denounces the solutions.

War will kill a lot of people. Famine will kill 8 billion out of 7.5 billion. 7.5-8=-0.5, but with population, the crash ends at zero.

Will there be survivors? Nobody knows. Nor does anybody have any idea who or where the survivors might be, if any.

NATURE has lots of other ways to kill humans. Don’t provoke her.


having removed the CO2 from the ultimate rubbish dump, we would have nowhere left to dump it.

Put it in deep ocean sediments, as clathrate.  Wrap it in polyethylene if you have to.  Or if you want to accelerate the ultimate disposal, electrolytically acidify a saltwater solution to dissolve silicate minerals and free up calcium and magnesium ions which can bind CO2 as carbonate.

I haven’t done the calculation of the actual mass involved, but we’ve got a huge amount of CO2 to get rid of to get the atmosphere back down to 350 ppm.  We’re not going to do this by making synthetic gasoline.

We need the Koch Brothers dead or in jail for 100 years

Scapegoating the Kochs won’t stop emissions in Chindia.


The Koch brothers represent a class. It would have to be world wide. The idea is to create a penalty for genocidal behavior that would actually deter coal burning. Fines would do nothing. A fee and dividend would work once it got high enough, but there must be a penalty for cheating. The penalty cannot be just money.

How would you do it? This requires some thought.


The idea is to create a penalty for genocidal behavior that would actually deter coal burning.

People need the things that coal burning provides.  To get them to stop, you need to provide the same things another way.

The Koch brothers represent a class.

People who need warmth will dig coal with pickaxes and carry it back to their homes in burlap sacks to burn in cast-iron stoves.  We are barely half a century past this being the NORM in England, and it’s still common in China and elsewhere.

Coal serves a need.  We need to serve that need better.


Engineer-Poet: Of course you are right in saying that people will get energy any way they can. I never said they wouldn’t. But we have an obvious alternative today. Nuclear.

Are we going backwards? Or only reacting negatively? We have all read the following: “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan
“Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway

We all know that the only reason the building of nuclear power plants stopped was because of propaganda from the fossil fuel industry, notable among them Koch Industries.

Nuclear power has always served them better, safer, etcetera. There shouldn’t be any need to repeat all of that.


No doubt they would find electric heaters more convenient than coal. With plenty of nuclearly generated electricity available, that would be possible. Otherwise, this attitude would prevail:

“Lots of coal making lots of heat….”

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haven’t done the calculation of the actual mass (of excess CO2)

It’s a very easy calculation: there is 2 kg/m2 of excess CO2. Getting all of it somewhere else is so difficult as to be impossible. Consider the average square metre, with 2 kg or 1000 L of gas above it. Where are you going to put it? Wrap it in a plastic bag, you say, okay now where are you going to put a cubic metre balloon except above the square meter it belongs to?

(130 ppmv of excess CO2 is 2.0 kg/m2 and 1.0 kL/m2 at STP. But that is only as of July 2016, next year it will be 14 L/m2 more.)


Roger Clifton — We have been through some of the places to put it. Biochar wood, compress the biochar and then bury it. Also, some of the biochar can be buried to improve soils. Finally, enhanced weathering of mafic rock.


And every one turns out to be totally inadequate for anything ecept token gestures. Two kilograms cannot be made to vanish into thin air when it is already up there. Neither is there room for a permanent tomb for it under that square metre. These sequestration schemes are as useless as the desperate medications of a dying patient.


Roger Clifton — Compressed biochar is similar to anthracite. Put it back in the coal mines.

The basalt outflows are many hundreds of meters thick.

There is plenty of room. There are plenty of methods. All that is lacking is the will.

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By focussing on the average square metre, the vast quantity of excess CO2 is made tangible – and claustrophobic – at 2 kg/m2 above and a similar mass below. We can imagine extraction processes that only cost a dollar or so and a few kWh to capture that 2 kg, turn it into a block of synthetic coal or a few litres of active sludge, and then bury it deep under that square metre.

But the analysis must be followed by the multiplier – the area of the Earth, 510 Mm2. Those few dollars, energies, kilograms and litres must each be multiplied by a factor of 5×10^14, five hundred trillion times. The cost alone is many times more than gross world product, and the energies, masses and volumes to an engineer spell “impossible”.

The problem is that we are dodging doing the arithmetic. When the numbers are so simple as “2 kg/m2”, we should not excuse ourselves.


$200 billion should first go into nuclear, IF it was a choice between nuclear & carbon capture and storage. But if our world leaders gain a glimpse of how serious climate change really is, I don’t see why we can’t spend ALL we need to on building 115 reactors a year AND increasing public transport AND electrifying transport AND using biochar more in farming AND olivine to soak up excess CO2 permanently.

Olivine could soak up all our annual emissions for $200 billion. Download the author’s PDF (not mine!) that is merely stored on my website.

We need a carbon free energy system, reforms in agriculture to save us from that sector’s emissions, AND a massive carbon extraction industry to return us to 350. According to the papers I’ve quoted previously and, on olivine, that paper above, I think it’s all doable. Affordable even, especially when one considers the cost of inaction!

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Every square meter of my yard produces what seems like several kg of biomass per year.  What this is in dry carbon equivalents I don’t know, but it can make impressive piles when I forget to mow it for a week and have to deal with the overgrowth.

Putting 10 kg of biochar into every square meter of my lawn scarcely looks difficult.

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Molecular weight of carbon dioxide is 12+2×16=44 versus 12 for ordinary carbon. So for each kilogram of carbon dioxide it is only necessary to find a place for 12/44, a little more than one quarter, kilograms of carbon. Most of it came from coal mines so most of it can go back there together with all the other abandoned mine shafts, drifts and adits.

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Putting 10 kg of biochar onto every square meter of your lawn, or anywhere between the grass and the water table, would poison it immediately. The area would remain poisoned for the several years (LOL!) it would take for the most active of the pyroligneous acids to break down and return to the greenhouse.

Now to do the arithmetic… Five hundred trillion, right? Quite apart from the capture, the equipment and the persuasion, you still have to put back into the carbon all the energy that had been extracted from it. That was thermal energy, so about 5 kWh per kilogram. Times that factor, right? Considering that the entire land biomass productivity is only about 200 Gt/a, it seems that electricity must be used instead. Several times as much as was obtained from emitting the CO2 in the first place. Generated by ….?


The current gross world product in nominal terms is close to US$84,000 billion.

Assume the desired 115 nuclear power plants per annum are US$5 billion each. That’s 575 billion per annum, not even the US DoD yearly budget and besides, there is a cash return on this investment. Now US$150 billion per annum ought to be enough for the irrigated afforestation of the Sahara desert and the Australian outback. That will sequester more than 1 but less than 2 ppm of carbon dioxide per annum according to Ornstein et al. Ultramafic rock accelerated weathering at US$200 billion per annum would sequester about the same.

So a flat tax, not that I recommend such but it is easy to calculate, of but
925/84000=0.011012, just over one per cent, suffices for it all.

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Roger Clifton — I fear you mean something else by the term ‘biochar’ than is commonly accepted now. Biochar, produced by fast pyrolysis, is a form of activated char which many farmers and even more gardeners know is a highly desirable soil additive. It is easy to build a home reactor. Try it yourself if you don’t believe the statements and photographs on many web sites devoted to the topic.


Biochar itself is not the sole answer for soil. Biochar is not terra preta, but terra preta includes biochar. It’s one factor, there are many. But biochar does seem to form the backbone or coral reef of the soil, allowing other microorganisms to bring the soil back to life if the right other conditions are also present. In other words, biochar with the right other nutrients will last longer and eventually produce far better soil.

Roger, the biochar process is the source of the energy. They can fine tune it so that the syngas runs the next burn.

Personally, I’d prefer it to be running on nuclear so we can prioritise ANY sources of cheap alternatives to natural gas and oil where they are most needed.

Who said we’re trying for 100% of our emissions from biochar? It’s one segment that has such important win-win-win conditions it is worth talking about, but it’s only ever been proposed to absorb a ‘wedge’, about a seventh of our annual remissions. Now please remember, I want to see this as reverse wedge, with the ultimate goal to have an economy that is not just carbon neutral, but as carbon negative as today’s economy is carbon positive. In other words, this is just one reverse wedge. There are others, such as reforestation & afforestation that DBB has mentioned, and of course Olivine could absorb the WHOLE lot for $200 billion, much of which eventually goes back into the oceans to help de-acidify the oceans.

And if you don’t think de-acidifying the oceans needs to happen, then I think you need to watch a few more documentaries on just how bad our oceans are!


DBB, thanks for putting numbers to paper. Where does the ”115 reactors” come from? Reduction of 4 kg/m2 @ 5 kWh/kg, times the planet area, would require a million GW-annum of energy, back in the category of “impossible”.

Composition of biochar? Web entries on “biochar” variously avoid specifying the chemistry, implying only that it is full of natural goodness, retains all its original carbon despite yielding profitable heat, and lasts forever in any type of soil, which it vaguely “improves” regardless. However the general absence of such material in soils naysays its longevity. In my own experience with pyrolysis, most of the carbon is lost as volatiles and the residue consists of charcoal and some of the heavier tars. As thermo-cracked compounds, the tars are unstable and slowly break down. At temperatures above 100 C and short of full pyrolysis, wood is caramelised – partial dehydration of [CH2O] polymers loses some of its order, delaying biological attack.


Roger Clifton — Eclipse Now supplied the figure of 115 nuclear power plants per annum. That is not original with him, but I disremember the source.

One has to do biochar correctly. If medium speed pyrolysis is used the result is a mess. The lack of biochar in soils is due to the fact that nobody added the biochar. There are a few places where wildfires, presumably, buried charred wood which has persisted for thousands of years. Of course, agriculturalists have done this in the Amazon and in West Africa for a long time. Radiocarbon dating shows the biochar is up to thousands of years old.

The biochar is the result of pyrolysis of plant materials. Other than irrigation the energy added comes from the great fusion reactor in the sky.


This is a regular copy & paste I use all over the net, as appropriate.

Sadly, many groups quote Dr James Hansen on the problem of climate change, while ignoring his preferred solution.
He says:
1. Believing in 100% RENEWABLES is like believing in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. (Yes, he’s aware of all the ‘studies’ that say we can, but still thinks storage is ridiculously expensive and cannot do the job).

The world should build 115 reactors a year*
(Note: on a reactors-to-GDP ratio the French *already beat this build rate back in the 70’s under the Mesmer plan. 115 reactors a year should be easy for the world economy. France did it faster with older technology, and today’s nukes can be mass produced on an assembly line. Also, GenIV breeders are coming that can eat nuclear waste and covert a 100,000 year storage problem into 1000 years of clean energy for America and 500 years for the UK with today’s levels of nuclear waste).


Now to do the arithmetic… Five hundred trillion, right? Quite apart from the capture, the equipment and the persuasion, you still have to put back into the carbon all the energy that had been extracted from it.

The grass and weeds I cut on my lawn capture quite a bit of energy all by themselves.  This energy is currently going to waste.  If 50% of the captured carbon was lost in the process of converting it to char, it’s better than the 100% that’s lost in the process of rotting.


If I was willing to bag my grass instead of mulching it, I could sun-dry it and then convert it to char somehow.  If I could run my lawnmower on char (gasogenes can do that), I could close the loop on that part.


Engineer-Poet: I replaced my grass with rocks and gravel. Concrete would avoid having to put vegetation killer on some areas, the rest is becoming a forest. I used “river rock” and limestone. I don’t know if you could get basalt or not at a reasonable price.


The closest basalt to me that I know of is up in the Keewenaw peninsula, in copper country.  There are thousands of acres of crushed basalt “stamp sand” heaped tens of feet deep, the tailings from copper mining.  Nothing grows on it; there’s no soil and water goes right through it, leaving desert-like conditions on the surface.

Why you think I’d want to kill off everything living from much of my land, I don’t know.  On the other hand, if I can get a battery-electric riding mower which can handle a couple of acres I’ll happily switch one more load away from petroleum.  That goes double for a robot mower that I don’t have to fuss with so much.


Engineer-Poet: If anybody mows my yard I have a breathing [lung] problem for about 3 days. I’m allergic to the pollen, mold spores and fine particles of grass, among other things. As far as I am concerned, a dead yard is a good yard. Forest is second best, except for certain kinds of trees. Checked Google maps. A yard made of water would be better yet. You must have great air there if you didn’t mess it up by mowing grass and planting flowers. Of course I have air conditioning and the best filtration, but houses are not air tight. If I believed in the devil, I don’t, I would say that lawn mowers must have been invented by the devil.

If you had a yard of olivine or pyroxene wouldn’t that take CO2 out of the air whenever it rained? It does rain where you are, doesn’t it? So the stamp sand must be dissolving into the lake, taking CO2 with it.


Since about 2005, the Council has annually assessed the adequacy of the power supply five years out as an early warning system. The 5 percent maximum limit for a likely interruption is the current Council standard. But, as the power supply becomes more complicated, with more wind and solar and with greater interconnectedness among regions, the standard will need to be revisited. The goal is to continue to improve these assessments so that when you flip a switch in the future, the lights will still turn on. from
which I take as a fancy way of stating that they are worried.


EN linked us to an article (James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley) estimating a need for a building rate of 115 “reactors per year” by which they apparently mean 115 GW/a.

Considering that the electricity (alone) consumption by Australians is 1 kW each, and that there will ten billion people by 2050, implies a market for 10,000 GW. But the quoted rate would take until 2100 to build that capacity. And we would probably need double that to provide carbon-free heating and transport.

However a target rate of 115 GW/a is scary enough. I wonder, what it would take to maintain that rate?


Roger Clifton: I don’t understand why you say: “a target rate of 115 GW/a is scary enough” since there is nothing scary about nuclear power. We can build a lot more than 115 GW/a nuclear.

10 Billion people? Isn’t going to happen. We are going to have a population crash long before then. See Syria, South Sudan and other places where it has already started. IF, and it is a big if, anybody survives…… You are not going to be among the survivors, and neither am I.


Roger Clifton — Assuming each nuclear power plant requires 5 billion US dollars to construct, less than one percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Only the will is lacking.


DBB: Roger that. Going 100% nuclear is cheap, given that the alternative is certain death by Global Warming. We have the means, we also have clowns who would rather die of starvation than change their foolish ways.


What’s scary about 115? As the article says:

<For example, a build rate of 61 new reactors per year could entirely replace current fossil fuel electricity generation by 2050. Accounting for increased global electricity demand driven by population growth and development in poorer countries, which would add another 54 reactors per year, this makes a total requirement of 115 reactors per year to 2050 to entirely decarbonise the global electricity system in this illustrative scenario. We know that this is technically achievable because France and Sweden were able to ramp up nuclear power to high levels in just 15-20 years.

Now, if anyone has the time, I’d love them to double check Tom Blees claim that the French already had a faster build out rate per unit GDP back in the 1970’s. French GDP / reactor in 70’s, compared to world GDP / reactor today.

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Yes, we must convert the world’s power supply to nuclear. I believe the political will be found after a happenstance series of horrific climatic disasters breaks through the prevailing public apathy. I say happenstance, as the increasing rate will make a chance cluster of events occur that much sooner.

It is the likely bottlenecks that I find scary, as little work is going into solving them. Tooling up for a mass roll-out requires planning and preparation. And international agreements, signed with fanfare and photographs.

Mass production is possible with the SMRs. But 115 GW/a of 50 MW NuScales would imply 115/.05= 2300 units/a. That would be how many factories in which countries? Big PWRs require big pressure vessels, whose heads require massive forges, each capable of only a few jobs per year. There are currently few such forges.

Each GW would be fissioning 1 ton of U235 (Pu and MOX would not be deployed outside the nuclear countries initially), so each year of extra 115 GW fissioning capacity would an extra 115 tons/a of enrichment capacity. The most likely type would be PWRs, requiring low-enriched uranium, whose enrichment requires the least separative work. But the proliferation of separative capacity will be a nightmare for the nuclear prohibitionists. Iran as a supplier?

Heavy water moderated reactors would relieve the enrichment bottleneck, but they in turn would require an acceleration of deuterium production. Off-peak work?

Fast neutron reactors require too much start-up fuel to get priority in an urgent roll-out. They must wait for a future where the increasing tonnage of once-used fuel can supply them with their initial loads of ~5 tons of fissiles per GW. Hot recycling plants at repositories worldwide ?


Thanks, Roger.

These are the type of numbers that we will need to become familiar with and confident that they will be met.

There are interesting times ahead.


There is a considerable supply of weapons Plutonium which can provide a starter for fast reactors.


I think I should have obtained a box of clown stickers about 60 years ago, for use in answering letters by provokers and clowns. Of course, being retired, I am no longer forced to take clowns seriously. I can even send clown stickers to the draft board.


Hi DV82XL,
any nuclear factories in that, or are they all single builds? I’m keen on the shipyard or airline construction yard model, with a reactor per week coming off the line. Anything like that being built anywhere yet?


These all seem to be in situ constrution for the most part rather than the prefab type of construction you envision. Nor is that sort of manufacturing likely to happen until there is a market for some SMR design that would yield the sort of economies of scale that would make it practical.


DV8’s target of 61 or 66 new reactors per yearis still a long way short. Following the links to the original report gets you to:

61 per year is far more than quoting a figure of 66 “under construction”. It is perhaps 10 per year maximum.

The salient Ecowatch quote is:
“Currently, the industry provides 10 percent of the world’s electricity, but its target is to supply 25 percent by 2050—requiring a massive new build program. The plan is to open 10 new reactors a year until 2020, another 25 a year to 2030 and more than 30 a year until 2050.” The figure of 25% needs to be raised to within the range 50% to 100%. (Factor of 3, say.)

Thus, the current nuclear power industry’s PLANNED build rate is a factor of 6 short of DV8’s 61. The industry’s goal amounts to 700 by 2050; ie about 12 years’ worth of DV8’s goal of 61/year. 61 * 34 = 2074. (Another factor of 3, say.)

DV8’s targets presumably include an assumption that all of the remaining electricity is produced by hydro and weather-dependent sources.

But what about energy other than electricity? Gas, liquid, industrial, fertilizer, plastics, cements, metal smelters, military, district heating? They have to make the switch also and they are two thirds of global energy. (Another factor of 3.)

Round trip energy cycles from electricity to battery or H2 or other gas or liquid energy stores or CAES or whatever, involves losses of that magnitude. (Yet another factor of two or three upwards?)

Sticking with a notional timeline of 2050 and given that every CO2 molecule released has to come from the remaining budget, then even 60+ nuclear builds per year will be grossly inadequate. It seems to me that 300+ builds per year is closer to the mark. That is 10 times the industry’s plan for 2040 onwards.

This still doesn’t address growth arising from relieving the poverty of the world’s poor, land use or vegetation loss. It doesn’t address compensating for the effects of sea level rise, or the effects to global fisheries, etc, due to acidifying oceans. It doesn’t allow for security issues such as increased migration pressures and risks of asset wars, even up to thermonuclear war.

It doesn’t even allow for retirement of the current and future nuclear power station fleet at 30 to 60 years of age. Indeed, the current 10 builds per year are comparable to the annual retirement rate of capacity withdrawn from in-service fleet of 450 or so. The net capacity increase at current planned build rates of 10 per year is effectively zip, nil, nada.

There’s a world of difference between annual build rates of 10 and 300+. By “world” I mean the biosphere.

In 2050, my beautiful grand-daughter will be 35. Our grandchildren need us to do this for them at 20, 30 or 40 times the current nuclear build rate as planned by the industry. Even then, they will need everything achievable by way of renewables and efficiency.

10 GW of new nuclear annually is going backwards, not forwards.

Where am I wrong? This has been a very depressing message to type. I really do hope that I am wrong, but where?

Liked by 2 people

Probably we will need to get close to 100% of our power from non-CO2 emitting reliable sources BEFORE the year 2050. I very much doubt that we will do it because it would take more commitment than is likely. Even if we do it, global warming will still be a serious problem.

Your grandchildren will have some very difficult problems to face.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 6:38 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> singletonengineer commented: “DV8’s target of 61 or 66 new reactors per > yearis still a long way short. Following the links to the original report > gets you to: 61 per > year is far more than quoting a figure of 66 “under constructio” >

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Yes I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole there just to table a link to that report. Clearly current builds fall far short of what is required and indeed as mentioned above, to even hope to meet projected needs, a turnkey design that can be built in a dedicated facility and shipped to a site for quick installation is required.

As I’m sure we all know, there are several candidates out there that only need the political will to move forward, indeed there is no reason why there should be only one sent to market – after all several makes of aircraft are available at any given time.

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EN wrote, “Accounting for increased global electricity demand driven by population growth and development in poorer countries, which would add another 54 reactors per year, this makes a total requirement of 115 reactors per year to 2050 to entirely decarbonise the global electricity system in this illustrative scenario.”

Actually, increased global demand for electricity would also be driven by moving away from gas and other fossil fuels for heating and cooking, by the need for more air conditioning, by the need for far more sea water desalination, and by the need to eliminate using fossil fuels for transportation. Also, population migration from uninhabitable areas will require more residence building and other building to accommodate them. That makes it significantly more challenging.

Perhaps I should consider myself fortunate to be old enough that I won’t live to see the worst of global warming.


I don’t see anything close to a realistic solution emerging for this world’s climate woes.

I will now hide under a rock for a day or two while I concentrate on problems which are, in the long run, irrelevant but at least they have a chance of successful completion.

They include attending to the lawn and the wood-heap. Both of which involves carbon emissions.

I will leave to others, at least for a while, do decide:
(1) How to focus on the task ahead (200 or 300 GW new nuclear energy/year starting tomorrow) and
(2) How to avoid celebrating as successes, each announcement of another acre of glass panels or wind turbines or a build rate for nuclear reactors that is, in reality, only a single digit percentage of the absolute minimum requirement,each of which confirms a very steep slide towards failure?

In truth, no single country of our ever-smaller world’s 200+ is on track.

Why celebrate failure?

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*Until I attended a meeting at the local power company I did not completely understand the importance of small modular reactor units which could be factory assembled. Generally, larger items are more cost effective, but there are other considerations. The huge reactors which are assembled on site are commonly larger than necessary and require a larger investment than many power companies are willing to make. Smaller factory manufactured reactor assemblies permit power companies to add capacity as it is needed. So, even they cost a bit more for the capacity they have, they make more sense in many situations. And, because they would be cookie cutter similar, licensing should be faster and easier.*

*It would be good to know how close to being available these smaller factory assembled reactors are.*

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 8:00 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> singletonengineer commented: “I don’t see anything close to a realistic > solution emerging for this world’s climate woes. I will now hide under a > rock for a day or two while I concentrate on problems which are, in the > long run, irrelevant but at least they have a chance of successful ” >


Singletonengineer has at least pointed to some important middleground: the world’s decision-makers also have grandchildren. Since that is also true – or imminently true – of the broader public, the possibility of a revolutionary change in public apprehension and political will is all that much greater.


Roger Clifton: Reference book: “The sociopath next door: the ruthless versus the rest of us” by Martha Stout. New York : Broadway Books, 2005.

According to Martha Stout, 4% of all people are born sociopaths/sciopaths/psychopaths. There is no cure because it is caused by a part of the brain simply being missing. A written test, the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can identify sociopaths before they cause destruction.

Everybody should have to take the MMPI in high school. Psychopaths should be barred from CEO positions and high political offices. Most CEOs and politicians are probably psychopaths. Who is a psychopath should be public knowledge.

Psychopaths do not care. Corporations are psychopaths.


the world’s decision-makers also have grandchildren.

Angela Merkel doesn’t, and some of them would rather have their own be top dogs in the best parts of a devastated world than preserve the world at the cost of their investment portfolios.  They’re used to being able to buy the best of everything; they don’t care about the rest.

Psychopaths should be barred from CEO positions and high political offices.

Do you have any idea how much harm e.g. a psychopathic judge can do?  That list of prohibited occupations needs to be VERY long.


DV82XL says mass production needs “a turnkey design that can be built in a dedicated facility and shipped to a site”

Well, that is what SMRs are supposed to be. The 50 MW NuScale can be bought off-the-shelf, trucked onto site and produce power within 2 years. That’s after approvals, ~2025. Larger SMRs, up to IRIS” at 300 MW are designed, but yet to go find funding, development and go through NRC checks. Prism (300 MW) is a more mature design, not needing a pressure vessel, but as a fast reactor, needs several tons of fissiles at startup.

On that last point, there is currently 500 t of separated plutonium, including ex-military, which could startup up to 100 GW of fast reactors. The limit of 100 GW is temporary — when fully reprocessed, once-used PWR fuel would yield 0.2 ton of Pu for every GWa of PWR production. Eventually, reprocessed fast fuel would yield up to 1.2 t per GWa, depending on design.

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Yes. GW-a is the symbol for gigawatt annum. It was used to denote the production of a gigawatt reactor across one year, by Ian Hore Lacey, when writing in the precursor to the World Nuclear Newsletter. It was an excellent compromise, allowing outsiders to the industry to understand in simple SI units how much this or that reactor was producing over a year or its lifetime. It has since dropped back into jargon, so many billions of kWh, which is not tangible to anyone, let alone the all-important intelligent layman.

In the current discussion one GWa is equated with 1 tonne of fissioned fuel. It’s only a rough equality, more accurately it is 909 GWd/t, that is 2.49 gigawatt years per tonne of heavy metal fissioned. Since that is thermal rather than delivered electricity, it amounts to (roughly) one gigawatt annum per tonne, electric. Thus a 1 GW reactor fissions 1 ton of fuel per year, if it delivers one gigawatt annum of electrical energy.

The annum is an “allowable” unit in the SI system, whereas the hour is in the lesser category of “accepted”. The year is the conventional unit for handling salaries, planning, geological time and the astronomical distance scale.

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“Thus a 1 GW reactor fissions 1 ton of fuel per year, if it delivers one gigawatt annum of electrical energy.”

It’s all so neat and tidy, with our 365 days actually equalling a 1GW (e) reactor burning 1 ton, that one would almost think it a universal constant to GET US TO USE THIS STUFF NOW! Sorry. Feeling frustrated that, if even I can get some of these basics, that our politicians are still bowing to the god of fossil fuels.


Another related approximation is to say that each of us creates only one gram of fission products per year. That is on the basis that Australians, like many other people, use about one kilowatt of electric power. So, if a gigawatt annum creates a million grams (1 tonne) of fission products, then a kilowatt annum creates only one gram of waste. We can say it out proud and loud, “only one gram per year, easily buried, deep underground”.

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EN says it’s neat, 1 GWa “actually equalling a 1GW (e) reactor burning 1 ton” of fissiles. It’s only the value of 909 GWd/t thermal that is exact from the physics, the further step to 1 GW electric assumes the generators to be 40% efficient, which is somewhat more than achieved in the average NPS. (Yes, it is kind of neat.)

Around the world, electricity consumption varies a lot from 1 kW per capita, but among “high income” countries it averages 9084 kWh/a or 1.04 kW per person.


Does frequent discussion of SMR’s as alternatives to Giga-watt size nuclear plant help or hinder decarbonisation of our energy?

It seems that whenever nuclear power is mentioned, SMR’s bob up as alternatives to massively expanded nuclear power. Thus, the discussion generates nothing except expectations and more delay of the roll-out of nuclear power of any description.

Possibly, when SMR’s become available in quantity, this same argument will be had in reverse.

Delay, in climate terms, equals death.

What is needed is an “all of the above” real world push for zero carbon energy. Everything is needed, is useful and can be encouraged. The markets will separate the best from the rest.

Argument along the lines of “Wait till 2025, when the Great White SMR Force will ride over the hill and save us all” are as misguided as would be an argument that SMR’s or Gen IV not be developed at all because Gen II is able to be scaled up.

What’s wrong with “Get moving as fast and as soon as possible with whatever is practical today (including Gen II+, which has been around for almost 50 years)”, followed up immediately with..

“And hydro, geothermal, wind, solar PV, solar thermal and, when designs are approved and manufacturing facilities are available, SMR’s, Gen III+, Gen IV, more advanced solar, electricity-to liquid oil replacers, and more?”

Why the incessant and unproductive efforts to knock each other out of the ring? This isn’t a zero-sum game. Success on one front should be the springboard for other successes – that’s the way things develop. If, by plan or by accident, all the zero-carbon eggs were placed in one basket, will that work?

Maybe the discussion should be broken down into fields of endeavour:
1. Where can the greatest gains be made within one year? Perhaps LULUCF will top this list, or extension of life of existing nuclear plant (eg Japan,Germany, Sweden…)

What can be achieved within 5 years?
Strategic HV transmission upgrades to enhance low carbon electricity’s availability to consumers?
Advanced solar and wind?
Life extension of existing plant?
Commencement of construction of plant using existing designs?
25 years
Direct carbon removal and sequestration from the atmosphere.
First roll-out of commercial SMR’s…

… and so on. This will be a very long list.

Notice that this removes the false perception of competition between low carbon options.

It is entirely possible that zero carbon energy’s greatest challenges are not due to the much hated fossil fuel industry. Struggles within the zero carbon energy sectors could well be the greatest threat to effective action against climate change.

Another example: despite my doubts about the prospects of large scale soil carbon, knocking it acts only to slow progress in the field, not to advance any of the many other potentially fruitful carbon emissions reduction pathways.

Among friends and family, I learned long ago that arguing against solar panels is not going to win support for nuclear power. It does, however, promote defence of rooftop solar. Careful discussion of nuclear power’s cost, safety, waste management and so forth have occasionally softened strong resistance, even from the politically active committed anti-nuclear friends.

If my observation is correct, then why is it happening on Brave New Climate? And, yes, I am guilty of posting strong words about weather-dependent and thus unreliable electricity generation. To that extent, I have been part of the problem that I’m trying to address.

BNC already has a policy of not welcoming discussion about whether damaging anthropogenic climate change is or is not happening.

Maybe a similar policy is appropriate when it comes to criticism of parallel efforts to deal with facets of the conundrum called climate change.


The fact is that SMRs are not necessarily novel technologies that are untested or unproven – marine reactors are in essence SMRs afloat. Bad attitudes based on hollow reasons over using HEU for civilian power plants are the only thing preventing their use.

There are other small reactor types like Canada’s SLOWPOKE series that could have been deployed, several of those were built and are still operating. They are the only design deemed so safe they were licenced be left for extended periods unattended. There were scaled up versions for small community heat and power never built due to lack of market.

These and a few other types could have been deployed any time in the last thirty years, had there been the will.

Large nuclear stations are mostly built because the approval process is so onerous that utilities want the most bang for the buck.


This is not a discussion about SMR=Good, Large NPP’s = Bad.

Agreed, various small reactor designs are not novel, but the reality is that prospects for commercial production of SMR’s before 25 years is very small.

The examples you cite have been around for 30 years on paper but have not progressed. Surely that tells you something!

The nuclear power industry’s plans are only to achieve a miserly installation rate of 20 GW capacity per year in 25 years’ time.

The question is not how much of that 20GW will be SMR, but what SMR can achieve in addition to their larger cousins.


The power industry does not have a free hand; it has to abide by the demands of various state and local governments which greatly restrict what can be done.

Here in the U.S. state of New Mexico, Power New Mexico (PMN) is actually required to instal and encourage customers to instal renewable systems. The risk of installing a large nuclear power plant is too high for them although if it were practical they might consider installing a small modular system.

To instal nuclear power plants at a reasonable rate would require changes in regulations by state and local governments and possibly the federal regulators. That would require changing public attitudes. At this time, the most productive approach would be to work on changing public attitudes to favor nuclear power.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 7:01 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> singletonengineer commented: “@DV8: This is not a discussion about > SMR=Good, Large NPP’s = Bad. Agreed, various small reactor designs are not > novel, but the reality is that prospects for commercial production of SMR’s > before 25 years is very small. The examples you cite have been ar” >

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@ freggersjr:
Understood. Freggersjr has highlighted a precondition to progress.

In Australia, the world’s largest repository of uranium after the oceans, it is forbidden by federal statute to plan, construct or operate a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power, per se, is not the true goal, which is carbon-free electricity, as a step towards the ultimate goal of safe global climate.

An early activity on the critical path for establishment of nuclear power as an option for either PMN or Australia is changing the law. That is, in project management terms, an essential preceding activity to others such as selection of preferred power station design and obtaining planning approval for the site.

That does not prevent achievement of other shorter term goals in other locations as parallel paths to the shared objective of a safe climate.

We can and must consider, plan and discuss each path on the network separately. NPP, SMR, Marine, Solar… there is nothing to be gained by trying to force other options off the table or to follow a diversion such as SMR and then marine.when one’s earlier post (DV8) was exposed, in his own words, as “engaging in a bit of hyperbole”.

If you want to discuss SMR’s, etc, then do so, but please not at the expense of other alternatives.


Figure out the price of the battery. For the US, it is about a quadrillion dollars. We can’t build it in real time. Maybe in a century, but that is 80 to 90 years after the crash.

Fact: Nuclear is our only hope, and this is not hype or hyperbole.

Yes, I know a lot of battery research is going on, in particular in batteries that involve molten metals.

Engineer-Poet is correct in the next comment.


None of the small reactors I mentioned in my previous post are ‘paper reactors’, all are very real and have many working examples, and units still in service at this very moment. These are proven commercial products, particularly the marine power plants, and production could be ramped up tomorrow if the will was there. The only thing that keeps them out of the market are site licencing costs due to the massive bureaucratic overhead, stupid attitudes over highly enriched fuel AND NOTHING ELSE


Marine reactors are a diversion if the topic is large larger scale reactors such as the industry was referring to in and as cited by DV8 in his post which set the stage for this discussion.

My point that marine applications, and SMR’s are separate to and run parallel courses from the others stands.

We can and probably will have civilian marine, SMR and other families of nuclear power plant, but in the context of the current discussion, introduction of them is a diversion AND NOTHING ELSE.


the further step to 1 GW electric assumes the generators to be 40% efficient, which is somewhat more than achieved in the average NPS.

That’s because S-PRISM supplies steam to the turbine throttle at 468°C, as much as 200°C hotter than PWRs.  Higher temperature yields higher thermal efficiency.

What is needed is an “all of the above” real world push for zero carbon energy. Everything is needed, is useful and can be encouraged.

Sadly, that is NOT true.  Some things cost more in money and energy than they can ever pay back in grid service.  PV is one of those things.  Wind is only energy-positive up to a certain penetration level, where the inefficiencies it creates in the balance of the system consume more energy than its useful payback.

Perhaps we could have “all of the above” if all the renewables had to sell at spot wholesale rates with no mandates, RECs or tax credits of any kind; enough hours of zero or negative rates would stop new installations cold.  We don’t live in this world.  Heck, if I was Cal Abel I’d probably be crunching numbers to see what sort of profit I could make by taking wind and solar electricity for free and dumping it to heaters in my molten-salt storage tank.

1. Where can the greatest gains be made within one year?

a.  Eliminate ALARA both for nuclear workers and the public; set all standards based on prompt and chronic tolerance doses of not less than 10 rad/yr.
b.  Eliminate absurd security standards for nuclear plants.  If crucial electric substations have no armed guards, nuke plants don’t need their own SWAT teams.
c.  Mandate that nuclear generation be treated the same as renewables for dispatch priority, market preferences and environmental purposes; put them all under the same umbrella.

What can be achieved within 5 years?

d.  Go to a war footing and have Lightbridge fuel certified and prototypes of NuScale and S-PRISM operating by 12/31/2021.

Notice that this removes the false perception of competition between low carbon options.

They ARE in competition.  “Renewables” are the biggest front of attack on nuclear power.  When an unreliable source of generation ramps up, something else has to ramp down (absent storage which we don’t have and couldn’t build fast enough).  The whole shutdown of Diablo Canyon was based on the grid priority of wind and PV generation over nuclear.  This CANNOT be ignored.

It is entirely possible that zero carbon energy’s greatest challenges are not due to the much hated fossil fuel industry.

The fossil industry knows that “renewables” are its best weapon against nuclear; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. admitted as much one day.

The first and biggest barrier is the superstitious fear of radiation.  The rest is just engineering.


E-P is correct.

He and I probably agree that the missing ingredient from my post is leveling the playing field.

Is this achievable in 5 years? Maybe 10?

That adds another suite of constraints that must be accommodated in the immediate term and overcome asap; more delays.

Unfortunately, the rest isn’t “just engineering” when so much money rides on the outcome.


singletonengineer: The problem is that you think we are going to avoid or survive the crash. That’s what it seems like, anyway. I don’t think so. Stock up on ammunition. You will need a lot of it during the crash.


For electricity generation the issue remains balancing generation to meet the, maybe slightly managed, demand.


“the issue remains balancing generation to meet … demand”

Yes, currently the increases in spikey wind generation are being balanced by increases in use of fast-responding open gas turbines. Wind fanatics insist — via the must-take provision — that it is the grid operator’s problem to balance the spikes . Sooner or later, carbon-cutting programs are going to have to cut back on the use of OCGT. (If we don’t, the world will be stuck at 100:100 wind:OCGT. That’s a capacity ratio, the generation ratio would be more like 30:70)

At some point, the grid operator must be relieved of the must-take requirement, so that the auction system can pursue ever-lower carbon generation mix by including more CCGT and nuclear. The responsibility would shift to the wind generator when to buy balancing OCGT and make a mixed bid, or to not bid at all.

Elimination of carbon emissions requires that gas must go. As it goes, so must unbalanced spikey generation. Wind must eventually decline to allow carbon to vanish.


Re the cost of balancing wind.

The current system whereby wind (etc) does not pay for balancing the fluctuations of supply. Agreed.

There is an alternative to requiring wind generators to bundle their support from (usually) open cycle gas is for the regulator to view non-supply of wind exactly the same as it views non-supply of (for example) coal fired power.

The supplier which fails to achieve the agreed generation profile is paid market rates for overs and (ie no change) and has two choices regarding unders.

The first is Roger’s: arrange with other suppliers, via contracts, for them to respond at agreed rates. That removes the market uncertainty from their business model.

If the undersupply exceeds contracted limits, then the market price for additional power applies. In Australia, that can be very large indeed – up to $1200 dollars Australian per MWh when I last checked.

Most, perhaps all, Australian large generators have long term off-market replacement power agreements in place and have done so for decades and the system works faultlessly, provided that transmission capacity is not constrained.


Limiting discussion to large nuclear reactors, and only large nuclear reactor ignores some real bottlenecks beyond bureaucratic ones that will inhibit any deployment of the sort of scale needed to address carbon reduction, the biggest of which is the lack of foundries that can produce the required number of huge pressure vessels needed. With the exception of the CANDU design, (which is likely dead as far as new builds are concerned) this lack of capacity will limit the rate of new nuclear power stations that can brought on line for any given interval.

Currently Lloyd’s Register shows about 200 nuclear reactors at sea, and that some 700 have been used at sea since the 1950s. These are hardly the numbers of a marginal technology, and Lloyd’s certainly cannot be accused of engaging in hyperbole. With more than 12,000 reactor years of accumulated operation these can hardly be described as novel or unproven designs.

While it is true that these marine type reactors are currently unsuitable for deployment in the Third World there are no major technical reasons why they cannot serve in civilian rolls particularly in those countries that already have nuclear powered ships in their fleets.

The economics of a district-heating system based on SDR technology like the SLOWPOKE (again a design with several working examples) were proven to be competitive with that of conventional fossil fuels back in the late Seventies particularly for isolated Arctic and Sub Arctic communities. Indeed this idea is still being considered, albeit with different designs. While this is by no means a market of the same magnitude as that of electric generation, the use of fossil fuels to provide heat in these places exposes some very vulnerable areas to damage by both combustion products and the risks of transporting fuel to them in the first place.

Given these facts it is ludicrous to contend that these should not form part of the core discussion by asserting that they are not ready to contribute to the overall solution. The fact is that they face basically the same problems of policy and fear restrictions that large designs are contending with but fewer of the technical points of congestion of the latter.


“Limiting discussion to large nuclear reactors, and only large nuclear reactor ignores some real bottlenecks beyond ”

I did not state that, DV8 did.

A thread was introduced by one person who claimed that 64 NPP’s under construction currently is a good sign, when actually it signals failure on a grand scale. It did not equate to 61 new large NPP’s per year, as referenced by DV8.

The response was that he had used hyperbole, when in fact it was either exaggeration beyond rational belief or straight out fibbing – or someone simply didn’t know the magnitude of the error that his “hyperbole” introduced.

That person again responded with a “look over there” argument, by diverting the topic which he had introduced to SMR’s and subsequently expanded that to include marine nuclear propulsion, which are two different families, as I pointed out. That totals one excuse followed by two diversions, so far.

I repeat here that contributions from SMR’s in 25 years would be welcome avenues to decarbonisation, but they are not on the same critical path as larger NPP’s. They merely are irrelevant to the statement made by DV8 when introducing the topic of the build rates of large NPP’s. The 25 years figure came from somebody else, not me.

I also wrote to the effect that we need to include everything in our responses to the climate change problem – everything including technologies that others will recognise as not receiving my current support – eg the dream of 100% electricity from weather dependent unreliables such as wind and PV. It is not productive to stand in their way. If something that looks good today turns out to be less good, eventually that will be evident to all, the primary effect being only wasted money, which is, in the long run, only pieces of paper.

I also agreed that the regulatory playing field, which is not fair to all, should ideally be level.

I recognised the need to advocate SMR, marine and large NPP’s.

I remind DV8 that discussion of large NPP’s was introduced by him but that it was I who dug two layers deeper to find the source of his reference, which was a spokesman for the nuclear power industry. Of course the industry was referring to LARGE NPP’s when mentioning (a) the present target of 10 new LARGE NPP’s and (b) projected future production to 2050.

This side-track has been interesting in parts, because it illustrates that we must be very clear about what we are discussing. Why can’t we consider small, marine and large NPP’s separately, in their very different contexts?

It is not either/or, it is all three, but each in their own niches and time frames and with different logistical, safety, regulatory and other concerns. I never stated otherwise. Conflating the three muddies the waters and gets nowhere, except adding to the already substantial supply of FUD. It will certainly not alter the fact that the original quote and comment were presented as evidence of of acceptable progress, when it actually demonstrated current and planned future failure of large NPP to achieve construction rates that are consistent with meeting the target provided indirectly by DV8 for decarbonisation of global electricity generation by 2050.

It is not a zero sum game. Losers will eventually lose, regardless of the outcomes for the other technologies. Technological and other developments will, over time, turn winners into losers and vice-versa. Let it happen.


You know it was dealing with pendants and jackasses that made me realize that I had been wasting my time on nuclear blogs and was one of the reasons I stopped doing so years ago. I see that things haven’t changed, and furthermore the discussion is still circular and non-productive and I have better things to do.


Edward Greisch wrote, “Big green organizations have been bought by the fossil fuel industry.”

I wouldn’t doubt it. However, documentation might help us to propose a course of action.


“Big green organizations have been bought by the fossil fuel industry.”

Actually, I do doubt it. Evidence?

This is exactly the kind of alienating and divisive post we need to be wary of. We don’t need to be unnecessarily rude about the intentions and motives of Greenpeace etc. We don’t need to see them as “the enemy”. We need to be saner, calmer, and more logical. We need to be patient. We need to watch Ben Heard’s talk on how to reach out to them. These are our brothers and sisters in fighting climate change: we just need to educate them. They can be won over. How do I know?

I was once one of them.

Now there are certain coalitions of gas funded wind and solar groups in America that are currently funding anti-nuclear activism in certain regions. The Breakthrough institute is tracking such groups. But to generalise that all wind and solar activists have been bought by fossil fuel groups is simply wrong, and ultimately shooting ourselves in the foot. Rather than drawing paranoid conclusions about these people, we need to reach out to them. Be friendly. Put up positive posters about nuclear power. Again. And again. And again!

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Actually, my post was a diplomatic attempt to determine whether there was actual proof. I also have doubts that the fossil fuel industry is actually funding renewables but thought that attacking the position would be less effective than encouraging him to do some research.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 5:30 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> Eclipse Now commented: ” “Big green organizations have been bought by the > fossil fuel industry.” Actually, I do doubt it. Evidence? This is exactly > the kind of alienating and divisive post we need to be wary of. We don’t > need to be unnecessarily rude about the intention” >


Anybody Eclipse Now disagrees with, Eclipse Now calls “rude.”

“Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations”

Reference: “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan
“Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway
“Denying Science” by John Grant

Massive Online Open Courses from Coursera and others.

If Eclipse Now was not rude, Eclipse Now would not make such accusations/insults. Eclipse Now: Lurk a while before making assumptions. The rest of us read the above references long ago.
It is a matter of simple mathematics that wind and solar are decorations, not sources of energy. If you can’t do the math, start with bravenewclimate from about 5 years ago and read up on it.

Eclipse Now: What is your real objective here? If you are trying to get paid for advertising, forget about it.


Er, guys, shouldn’t we engage with the message rather than its author ? We are here for the ideas, after all.


After several attempts to draft a middle ground or conciliatory response to DV8’s last post, I have come to realise that a bridge, once burned, cannot be crossed.


Fred Eggers — Rod Adams, on his Atomic Insights, wrote about the formation of Fiends of the Earth, misspelling intentional, by David Brower using funds contributed by a major stockholder in a large oil company. Carl Pope, while director of the Sierra Club, accepted a large donation from the natural gas industry to start the Say No to Coal campaign. The Sierra Club still has nothing nice to say about nuclear power which is why I do not contribute there anymore.


Actually, I do doubt it. Evidence? has piles of links between anti-nuclearists and fossil-fuel interests.

We don’t need to be unnecessarily rude about the intentions and motives of Greenpeace etc. We don’t need to see them as “the enemy”. We need to be saner, calmer, and more logical.

We TRIED being sane, calm and logical with them.  For the last 40 years they have run roughshod over us with their hysterical nonsense.  They are neither sane nor logical.  They must be humiliated with their failures and contradictions so they question their dogmas; only then will they be open to new (to them) facts.

These are our brothers and sisters in fighting climate change

No they aren’t.  Too many of them are simply against industrial civilization, and want it to fall.  Gigadeaths do not bother them one bit if it helps achieve their romantic vision, even if they wouldn’t live to see it.  These people cannot be converted, they can only be defeated.

Most people do not want what they’re selling, but it’s sold with lies.  Expose the lies and attack the liars.  Positions do not hurt; people do.  Make lies hurt.

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I’ve met some of the misanthropic doomers, the Stone Agers. They led a young man I know of to commit suicide. So I’m hip to the fact that some of them are like this. But I doubt it’s the majority of climate activists. I doubt it’s the majority of fans of wind and solar. But maybe we’re not even trying to convert the hardened Diesendorfts or Lovins, or even their avid disciples.

I think we’re after the middle ground. The fans of the idea of clean energy and solving climate change, but only mildly aware of the energy debate. Those who, like myself years ago, feared nuclear power but didn’t really have a clue about it. Those who like the sound of ‘clean’ wind and solar, and just have some vague magical thinking that fills in the night time and winter hours. The bored middle. They’re the ones I think we need to win subliminally, because they’re not going to read all these blogs or do the maths, no matter how much some here demand they do physics and mathematics degrees. And as others here have pointed out, sometimes it’s just sheer psychological conditioning that prevents even mathematical physicist types from accepting the truth. All the degrees in the world won’t change their minds. But do we need them?

All we need is a majority groundswell. That’s a political majority. Enough to get a nuclear sympathetic party into power. The vague, bored middle. Clever memes and soundbytes. Clever posters. Clever youtube clips. Short and sweet and easily comprehended, but with links to further reading if they’re interested.



You wrote:
“No they aren’t. Too many of them are simply against industrial civilization, and want it to fall. Gigadeaths do not bother them one bit if it helps achieve their romantic vision, even if they wouldn’t live to see it. These people cannot be converted, they can only be defeated.”

Here is a non-energy issue that supports your position.

In some poor countries, where rice is an important part of the diet, the people suffer from serious vitamin A deficiencies. Golden rice, a GM product, contains vitamin A and was developed to eliminate vitamin A deficiencies. However, the anti-GM crowd, in its zeal to block GM crops regardless of the consequences of doing so, has denied access golden rice even though they know full well that by doing so they are causing immense suffering.

There are idealogues who will cling to a position regardless of the consequences that millions of people suffer as a result.

Regarding energy issues, perhaps it would help to write a vignette showing a salesman trying to sell power from renewables to power buyers. The vignette could make the salesman look silly by not being able to guarantee the availability of the power to the buyer.


Regarding energy issues, perhaps it would help to write a vignette showing a salesman trying to sell power from renewables to power buyers. The vignette could make the salesman look silly by not being able to guarantee the availability of the power to the buyer.

That could work as a poster or FB meme. Suggestions for text?


OK, here is my quickly composed vignette to point out the problem with unreliable power:


Mr. Feelgood, is a salesman for Myopic Solar Power, Inc. He just entered the office of Ms. Practical, a power buyer for the Reliable Power Company which buys wholesale power for a group of utility companies. Ms. Practical has just asked him to be seated.

Ms. Reliable: It’s good to see you again. How are you doing?

Mr. Feelgood: Fine, and you?

Ms. Reliable: I can’t complain. We’ve managed to keep the cost of power lower than we expected to.

Mr. Feelgood: So I’ve heard. But I have an offer that you cannot resist. We can sell you power for 40% less than you are now paying for it.

Ms. Reliable: That’s wonderful! How much power do you have and when is it available?

Mr. Feelgood: Well, we often have 0.5 gigawatts available from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, but not always.

Ms. Reliable: That’s fine, but we need power we can count on at all times.

Mr. Feelgood: Yes, but consider how cheap our power is!

Ms. Reliable: It’s fantastic that it’s that cheap, but I’m very sorry. Even if it cost only 10% of your quoted price we would not be interested unless we could depend on it.

Mr. Feelgood: I’m sorry that you are not interested. Perhaps we can find a buyer who is.

Ms. Reliable: Good luck, but I would not count on it. It was nice meeting you. Good Bye.



Another example of the fossil fuel industry opposing nuclear development and deployment is to investigate the career of former US NRC Chairman, Gregory Jascko. After being an anti-nuclear activist at university and then serving on the staff of Representative Ed Markey and Senator Harry Reid, he was forced upon the NRC as chairman by the latter. Both Markey and Reid has very close ties to the US gas industry.


I thought that the primary motivation for developing SMRs was to get regulatory approval of a reactor design as a unit item so that they could be deployed without the need for all the onsite inspections etc that are required for current large builds.

The other advantages are arguable as seen in all the discussion in this thread (and others) but a type approval would seem to be a huge advantage for relatively rapid deployment


Greg Kaan wrote,

“I thought that the primary motivation for developing SMRs was to get regulatory approval of a reactor design as a unit item so that they could be deployed without the need for all the onsite inspections etc that are required for current large builds.”

I also see that as one of the advantages. Although there are advantages to large sizes, i.e., although costs per unit are commonly less for large sizes, in this case it looks as though sizes small enough to be factory made and get faster approval may be more important than the advantages of large size.

Sometimes general rules don’t work.


Greg Kaan: See

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified 6 reactors for factory production.  More certifications for factory production are on the way.

“Design Certification Applications for New Reactors”
copied from:

“By issuing a design certification, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves a nuclear power plant design, independent of an application to construct or operate a plant. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance, but can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years.

The links below provide information on the design certifications that the NRC has issued to date, as well as the applications that are currently under review. 

Issued Design Certifications
The NRC staff has issued the following design certifications:
Design Applicant
Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) General Electric (GE) 
System 80+ Westinghouse Electric Company
Advanced Passive 600 (AP600) Westinghouse Electric Company
Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) Westinghouse Electric Company”
ABWR Design Certification Rule (DCR) Amendment
South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company

5 more Design Certification Applications are Currently Under Review.


“That could work as a poster or FB meme. Suggestions for text?”

How about –
“Renewables is religion. Don’t buy into it.”


Re SMRs: “A type approval would seem to be a huge advantage for relatively rapid deployment”, avoiding delays due to site inspections.

That advantage may be a necessity if hundreds, perhaps thousands are to roll out of factories worldwide every year.

Although NuScales are small at 50 MW (and 250 M$) per module, a nest of twelve would deliver 600 MW, a medium-large power station. Unlike other such PS, the first module can be generating power within two years. If the financing and installation of the other eleven modules were spread across six years (current practice), the first modules would have been paying off their financiers for years before the final fund-raising. The risk is low.

For Australia, the process could start right now, planning the grid for about 600 MW of so-far unspecified SMRs, preparing a suspicious public, raising capital funding, legislating capital guaratees and environmental regulations, etc. The current estimate of first production is only nine years away and there may be a long queue if they become popular quickly.


The Nuscale modules are designed for 50 MWe each. That is gross and some electricity will be consumed in plant, primarily pumping for reject heat removal but also the feedwater pump. Nuscale used to estimate 5 MWe for these purposes. So a twelve pack makes available 540 MWe, except that each module is down for a few weeks every other year for testing, refurbishment and replenishment.

Building a reactor to NRC safety standards is hard, to put it mildly. This is difficult and so expensive when done in situ. The process is considably less arduous when done inside a factory.

By the way, it appears that Nuscale is going to set up their first factory in the UK, despite the fact the first customer is in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The current plan is to begin shipping modules in 2023 or 2024.


Thanks DBB for the update re Nuscale. Can you point to a reasonable source of current info re Newscale and/or other SMR’s in finer detail?


Hi, Edward, and many thanks.

Your first reference appears to be to a site which has not been updated since 2012.

The second, to the World Nuclear Association’s site, contains basic explanations of SMR’s, plus short descriptions of a very large range of potential and actual SMR’s. It is a great resource.

At the foot of the second reference is a quotation form Admiral Rickover which advocates of SMR’s who contend that one or more are market-ready should read. Here it is:

Postscript/ Appendix

Some of the developments described in this paper are fascinating and exciting. Nevertheless it is salutary to keep in mind the words of the main US pioneer in nuclear reactor development. Admiral Hyman Rickover in 1953 – about the time his first test reactor in USA started up – made some comments about “academic paper-reactors” vs. real reactors. See: for the full quote:

“An academic reactor or reactor plant almost always has the following basic characteristics: (1) It is simple. (2) It is small. (3) It is cheap. (4) It is light. (5) It can be built very quickly. (6) It is very flexible in purpose. (7) Very little development will be required. It will use off-the-shelf components. (8) The reactor is in the study phase. It is not being built now.

“On the other hand a practical reactor can be distinguished by the following characteristics: (1) It is being built now. (2) It is behind schedule. (3) It requires an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items. (4) It is very expensive. (5) It takes a long time to build because of its engineering development problems. (6) It is large. (7) It is heavy. (8) It is complicated.

“The tools of the academic designer are a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. If a mistake is made, it can always be erased and changed. If the practical-reactor designer errs, he wears the mistake around his neck; it cannot be erased. Everyone sees it. The academic-reactor designer is a dilettante. …….”

USS Nautilus was launched in 1955.


I am reminded of software development.

The development of the first 90% goes very quickly after which it is stated that it is almost ready for release. However, for some reason, the last 10% takes longer than the first 90% as unexpected problems turn up. Before I retired, I experienced that several times. Could the same thing occur with developing new reactor types?


The path to full commercial production of complex manufactured items is never easy, IMHO. That is precisely why we need to avoid being dazzled by the near term prospects of an innovative product, whether they be small reactors, advanced solar thermal with storage, batteries or hamster wheels.

WNA’s 30 or so short summaries demonstrate this more by what they leave unsaid than by what appears on the screen.

A rolled-up Gant Chart for a typical proposed factory-manufactured SMR based on existing examples of field-constructed predecessors might have milestones and progress percentages including the following. No doubt the proponents have actual project management plans that extend to many pages. Equally beyond doubt, these plans will be commercial in confidence and distributed only in-house, on a “needs to know” basis.

Technical (90)
Engineering (20)
Balance of Plant – concept (60)
Balance of plant – detail (10)

APPROVALS (Assuming modification of earlier prototype field-constructed design)
Reactor – Concept (95)
Reactor (FOAK) – Detail (90)
Site & BOP – FOAK (0)

Assemble consortium (80)
Finance design and approval – FOAK (30)
Select customer and site – FOAK (0)
Finance construction – FOAK (0)

The concept may be excellent, but as so often, the devil is in the detail.

The 90/90 Rule will not be mocked.

Because timelines for uncommercialised designs are very elastic, it is essential for claims made in the public arena to be based on actual commercially available completed projects, or at least on completed prototypes.
Otherwise, the claims are quickly turned against those who make them, resulting in those who make them looking stupid and/or gullible.

That, dear readers, is why I have been so cynical about projected future great technological leaps forward, a.k.a.crystal ball gazing.

In other words, plan your future using current tools, then hope to improve with time and experience.
Do not assume that a learning curve will continue exponentially heaven-wards.
Dreaming results in hopes… Only experience results in progress.


singletonengineer: Correct: “plan your future using current tools.”
Stick to pre-certifications already done by NRC. If you need more forges, they can be built by duplicating the old one.
Why do I say that? I’m an old retired engineer. Been there done that. Keep doing R&D, but keep your promises to things you already did.


Edward says – “If you need more forges, they can be built by duplicating the old one”

The main bottleneck restricting the mass production of big PWRs, such as AP1000’s is the absence of heavy forges to press the massive RPV heads. (Summary) Fixing that shortfall may be as simple as Edward implies. Would you or anyone know how much and how long that would take? (Russia) (Japan)

For anyone concerned that the AP1000 is real, it has passed the NRC and is in production in China and the US. Units are planned for Bulgaria, UK and India.


Roger Clifton: I implied nothing. I said that, since we already have at least one forge, we can build another. I don’t know how long that takes. Notice that your reference says: “The changed position of the USA is remarkable. In the 1940s it manufactured over 2700 Liberty ships, each 10,800 tonne DWT [dead weight] – possibly pioneering modular construction at that scale (average construction time was 42 days in the shipyard).”

The US could do it again. It is a matter of will. As opposed to an SMR that has never been built before.

That is: I agree with singletonengineer. Promise only what we have already done. AP1000 is well known and if we want to make them faster, we know what it takes to make big forges. Of course I am never against research. But I know that research is not easy.


SingleEngineer – by quoting a man who was ignorant of SMRs, I gather that you havent found any author who does know about SMRs? Try searching the NRC site for “NuScale”.

Mass production of 540 MW nuclear power stations is a historic shift in the elimination of carbon emissions. That they are build piecewise from 45 MW modules is a heroic solution to the problems that beset the installation of big PWRs, as the PWR champion Rickover admitted in your quote.

By the way, the mass production of Liberty Ships relied on using an old design (from the 1880s) because it was fully debugged. Their main problem was due to the new-fangled welding (instead of rivets). NuScales use a very conventional PWR (yes!) design, with the main innovation being a helical steam generator.


Regarding energy issues, perhaps it would help to write a vignette showing a salesman trying to sell power from renewables to power buyers. The vignette could make the salesman look silly by not being able to guarantee the availability of the power to the buyer.

I have actually scripted a couple of ads along those lines, only from the opposite perspective;  dissatisfied RE customers faced with melting ice cubes and steaming-hot homes calling an alternate electric supplier, a nuclear plant.  These things practically write themselves.  Here’s an unformatted cut-and-paste of what I wrote 2 years ago:

OPENING SHOT: Door opens. Woman walks through, closes door, fans herself while looking around as if it’s very hot. She moves to a thermostat on the wall.

THERMOSTAT SHOT: Thermostat shows 87 degrees.

FACE SHOT: Woman, with visible perspiration, dials her phone.

OPERATOR #1: “Green Power Company, your Greenpeace-approved electric supplier. How can we help you today?”

WOMAN: “I’m home and my air conditioning isn’t working.”

OPERATOR #1: “Yes, we’re having an overcast day and the solar panels aren’t working well. We’ve had to cut back customers to avoid blackouts.”

WOMAN: “But what do I do? It’s too hot in here to do anything.”

OPERATOR #1: “We’re forecast to have power later tonight when the wind picks up.”

WOMAN: “But what do I do until then? I need to make dinner.”

OPERATOR #1: “I’m sorry, we’ll have your air conditioning on as soon as we have more power. But thanks for using Green Power Company, your Greenpeace-approved electric supplier.”

CUT TO SHOT: 2-liter of nondescript soda hits the counter. Shortly, a glass comes down next to it.

CUT TO SHOT: View from the inside of freezer door being opened, starting with totally dark frame. Woman removes ice-cube tray. Door closes, frame goes dark again.

CUT TO SHOT: Closeup of ice-cube tray. Ice cubes are obviously melted.

FACE SHOT: Woman, with visible irritation, dials her phone.

OPERATOR #1: “Green Power Company, your Greenpeace-approved electric supplier. How can we help you today?”

WOMAN: “My refrigerator isn’t getting power. My freezer is half-thawed!”

OPERATOR #1: “Yes, our wind power is low and we’ve run out of biogas. We’ve had to cut back customer loads to avoid blackouts.”

WOMAN: “But what do I do? All of my food will be ruined!”

OPERATOR #1: “We’ll have your freezer running again as soon as we have more power. But thanks for using Green Power Company, your Greenpeace-approved electric supplier.”

WOMAN: Rolls eyes, grimaces and emits a wordless sound of pure frustration. She starts punching things on her phone as the audio goes off.

VOICEOVER: “Is your Green power truly coming from renewable sources? If you’re not putting up with this, it’s a sure thing that most of your electricity actually comes from fossil fuels. This is called Greenwashing. Greenwashing may look good at first, but it’s no way to save the environment.”

WOMAN: Finishes punching things into her phone, holds it to her ear. Sound of ringing, phone picks up.

OPERATOR #2: “Thank you for calling Fermi Power Company, how can I help you?”

WOMAN: “I’m a Green Power customer, but they have my whole house shut down right now. They say this is to avoid blackouts, but I AM blacked out.”

OPERATOR #2: “I’m glad to help. Fermi Power runs our reactors day and night, rain or shine to give you the reliable power you need and deserve with zero air emissions. Can we sign you up?”

WOMAN: Smiles broadly. “Yes, PLEASE!”

FADE TO SHOT: Nuclear plant seen past trees swaying in the breeze

VOICEOVER: “Nuclear power. No coal, no gas, no waiting at the mercy of the weather. It’s the choice of climate scientists around the world.”

CUT TO SHOT: Dr. James Hansen appears on screen. “I’m Doctor James Hansen, and I endorse this message.”

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Engineer-Poet: I like your ads. They are dignified and tell the story. They are also brief enough to put on the air. Shorten to just this:

“”THERMOSTAT SHOT: Thermostat shows 87 degrees.

FACE SHOT: Woman, with visible perspiration, dials her phone.

OPERATOR #1: “Green Power Company, your Greenpeace-approved electric supplier. How can we help you today?”

WOMAN: “I’m home and my air conditioning isn’t working.”

OPERATOR #1: “Yes, we’re having an overcast day and the solar panels aren’t working well. We’ve had to cut back customers to avoid blackouts.””

Audience thinks: “Avoid blackouts indeed!”

You need it to fit into 30 seconds for radio and maybe 10 seconds for TV.


singletonengineer — I suggest the Nuscale web site, World Nuclear News and possibly other sources of nuclear power industry news. I doubt you will find much more than I have already passed on.

Oh yes, Nuscale expects the first units to cost US$5/W. Don’t count on it.


From: Jim Jones at

Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 2:27 PM
Subject: Re: $.05 to .06 per KWh

Assume HPM costs $30M and plant side doubles it:

$60M divided by 25,000kw = $2,400/kw
$2,400/kw divided by 5 years = $480/KWyr
$480/KWyr divided by 8760 hours = $.0547945/KWhr (Call it 5 and half cents per KWhr)


$60M divided by 20,000 homes = $3,000/home
$3,000/home divided by 5 years = $600/home/year
$600/home/year divided by 12 months = $50/home/month (How’s that for an electric bill?)


Now called Gen4 energy.


Engineer-Poet’s advertisements are the best of the ones on BNC, once shortened. I would hire Engineer-Poet along with an editor as my ad agency. Ads must be timed to the second, to fit in a commercial broadcast radio log.

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I know a lot less about TV than about radio. I should have been clear about that. If you do the ads for radio, you are going to have to have somebody say what the thermostat reads. That takes more time. Since you pay for 30 seconds or 60 seconds, you must fit the ad into the seconds.


Anyone going to produce these ads for youtube? Anyone got a talented crew of actors ready to do this? Because I’ve been talking about something that can happen: posters. My wife is a graphic designer.


Posters are one thing, but even amateur actors and actresses can make a video. Videos have power.

I know. My son does multimedia, and is going into professional editing. But it’s the quality of the writing, acting, props, etc…. but hey. If we have actors here, then awesome! I might even be able to get him to edit it for you guys.


The stories so far are negative, and advertise renewables. Should we perhaps be entertaining the listeners, with a positive story, presenting the er, one true solution to reassure their concerns?

“What is the only carbon-free source of electricity that can power our homes and industries throughout the darkest nights, the long grey winter depressions and the furious storms of the warming climate?”

(Short footage of an aluminium smelter, fading to a family with dog and cat cosy beside the electric fire, shadow-lit by a single central reading lamp)

“It’s the Fermi Electric Company! We will never tell you that the battery has run flat, because its nuclear reactor is the battery, lasting for years, though the town may be isolated by storm or snow, fire or flood, strikes or unwelcome guests. Check out our excellent industrial safety record, we are proud of it!”


freggersjr: Keep remembering: “30 seconds, 30 seconds” and “repeat, repeat, repeat.” People can’t catch what you said the first 10 times they hear it. One spot has to stick to one very narrow subject. The same spot has to be repeated daily for 6 months at least.

Nuclear: We have to do several things, one at a time:
#1: Natural background radiation has always been there.
#2: Chernobyl gave you less radiation than your own natural background.

When making an ad: practice, practice, practice, and that is for a professional announcer.

You have got one thing right: People can despair if they think that there is no way out. So we have to tell them that there is a way out that won’t even affect their lifestyle. So what are we going to tell them first? We can’t jam 6 or even 2 ads together in the same few minutes, but the opposition will retaliate instantly. The answer is beyond my pay grade.


NuScale apparently has an advantage over many other potential SMR’s, so their percentages in some activities are ahead of the field.

However, since the WNA site was updated only last month and represents the association which name it carries, it seems reasonable to me to only count those chickens which have hatched.

Is the concept exciting? Yes.
Are the underlying principles well understood? Yes.
Has one been built? Not yet.

Don’t get me wrong – I also hope for a flowering of SMR’s in the very near future. My point remains that SMR’s are not yet available as tools with which to convince a reluctant audience. There is no convincing answer to the question “Show me one”. No doubt that day will come, but until then the SMR argument is flawed.


That convection will suffice to transport the heat from the reactor core to the heat generator was demonstrated years ago with a one third scale pressure vessel and electric resistance heaters instead of a nuclear reactor. So nobody doubts that Nuscale can deliver.

Especially as the current owner, Fluor, has deep pockets.


“we know what it takes to make big forges”

Okay, how much and how long? Mooted above was a capacity for 115 GW/a of new reactors. That would need more than one extra forge. How about new forges for throughput of 100 heads per year?


I don’t know how big a forge it takes to make a NuScale RPV, but it appears to be less than 3 meters across vs. over 4 meters for the AP1000.  I don’t know how many forges there are which can make things of that size, but there has to be more of them than can make 4-meter ID vessels and I’m sure it’s also cheaper and faster to make more of them.

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