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Trump’s Assault on Solar Masks an Epic Crisis in the Nuclear Industry

Trump’s Assault on Solar Masks an Epic Crisis in the Nuclear Industry

Harvey Wasserman

As Donald Trump launches his latest assault on renewable energy—imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China—a major crisis in the nuclear power industry is threatening to shut four high-profile reactors, with more shutdowns to come. These closures could pave the way for thousands of new jobs in wind and solar, offsetting at least some of the losses from Trump’s attack.

The Sun loves us. Anything beyond her power is greed.

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The US senator referred to in the article was Carl Levin. Sander Levin is his brother, a US rep.

Also, this article basically states that the US can not compete with China on solar panel production, despite 10% of current installation being American-made panels. Frankly, I’d prefer to see the experiment play out.

good point on sander levin. will correct.

the tariffs are absurd. won’t help domestic manufacturing. the 2 main companies are german & chinese owned. just another trump stupidity.

So you’re confirming that US manufacturers are simply unable to compete with foreign manufacturers, right?

There are, according to the WHO, about 7 million deaths per year from fossil fuel air pollution. That works out to about 800 deaths per hour.

Chernobyl was the worst imaginable nuclear power disaster, a primitive reactor design with no containment structure suffering a total meltdown. Again according to the WHO, this event caused less than 50 direct deaths with another 4000 possible eventual deaths (decades later) from cancer.

If you distrust science, or believe believe the WHO is part of a global pro-nuclear conspiracy, you can take the numbers pulled out of the air by the likes of Greenpeace or FoE, who will claim death tolls anywhere between 100,000 to about 250,000.

If we take the WHO numbers based on science the Chernobyl incident killed the same number as 5 hours of deaths from fossil fuel pollution. If we take the extreme figures from the anti-nuke lobby the deaths from Chernobyl would be equivalent to 2 weeks of deaths from fossil fuel pollution.

The anti nuclear lobby is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths, as they will also be responsible for the upcoming catastrophe of climate change. Think about that next time you anti-nuclear activists and supporters are claiming to be green or socially responsible.

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So which is it? A 30-foot seawall as you claim in #5 above, or the 19-foot seawall mentioned in the wikipedia article you linked to?

The concerns I’m focused on are the high cost of building the plants, the spent fuel rods, and the incredibly devastating results of an accident.

Then one would expect these deaths to show up in the mortality statistics for people who spend extended periods buttoned-up in close proximity with the power plant for nuclear submarines. Ever seen any corroborating data on that?

I do think today’s reactors are far from ideal and have a lot of room for improvement. But I almost get the impression anti-nukes don’t want to see them improved.

“Nuclear power plants do not run without taxpayer funding and will be cleaned up by the taxpayer after profits have been taken.”

This is one of the few areas where greens sound like Republicans in denouncing the evils of public spending.

“Without nuclear power plants there would be no nuclear weapons.”

Really? What year did we nuke Japan, and what year did the first nuclear power plant go into operation? Notice anything odd about which came first?

“Almost all nuclear industry supporters are liars.”

Are you calling James Hansen a liar?

“Do not waste your time reading their BS.”

Are you really worried about how other people are spending their time, or are you more worried that people might be exposing themselves to ideas you don’t approve of? I’m fine with it either way. I know what people tend to do when they are ordered not to read something.

No nuclear power plant is clean or safe. They all leak and leaks lead to death.

Please tell us how many deaths have been caused by nuclear power generation. You could also tell us how these numbers compare with deaths from fossil fuel burning.

I await your answer with anticipation, but know I am unlikely to receive one, as your post indicates that you prefer to not read anything which contradicts your irrational prejudice.

A perfect demonstration of how the anti-nuclear crowd rejects any facts that contradict their unsubstantiated prejudices. Why don’t you expose the lies if you are so confident and stop hiding in your fact-free bubble?

bs. nukes worldwide will ultimately be replaced by renewables, as well as efficiency & conservation. once the huge subsidies given these dying nukes are done, solartopia will begin.

but molten salt reactors share many of the problems of other nukes, most importantly, at this point there’s no way they can compete with renewables economically or be built as quickly, safely & efficiently. time to move on…

There are some they definitely won’t share. They cannot melt down, they aren’t at any risk of pressure ruptures in the fuel loop, they would not generate combustible quantities of hydrogen, and they should have very good load following characteristics. There are other problems it looks like they can improve substantially. They should have better efficiency, their heat range should be better for high temperature applications-including liquid and gaseous fuel production, their fuel burnup rates should be much higher and their waste profiles much smaller.

“most importantly, at this point there’s no way they can compete with renewables economically or be built as quickly, safely & efficiently.”

This is kind of like saying there is no way trucks can compete with motorcycles. It’s true, in a way, but it’s also true that motorcycles can’t compete with trucks. They reason they can’t compete is that their properties are so different that there is practically no overlap in their domains, even though they are both powered road vehicles. We are never going to see one displace the other, and it makes no sense to talk as if it is some sort of zero sum game where building trucks cuts into motorcycle production or vice versa. We will continue to build both and use both in very different ways. I expect the same will be true of wind, solar and nuclear. It doesn’t matter which of the three can be built fastest, because they do different things, serve different regions, and all three can be built simultaneously. The important thing is that they all can help to displace fossil fuels. Displacing one low carbon source with another is not progress.

“time to move on…”

We really should have moved on to better reactors decades ago.

Again, would you call James Hansen a troll?

“The nuclear industry was born in secret”

The atomic bomb was born in secret. The first nuclear power plant broke ground, was built, and went into operation with a great deal of press coverage and fanfare.

“and lies keep it going.”

What keeps it going is the huge amount of low carbon and consistent energy it provides. There have been some industry lies (has there ever been an industry that never lied?) but there have also been some Pinocchio whoppers that came from anti-nukes. But if you know of any lies that you think proponents of better nuclear are telling, why not say what they are?

“To cheap to meter.”

That can’t be called an industry lie because 1) it didn’t come from the nuclear industry and 2) strictly speaking, it hasn’t even proven false yet. Assuming Strauss was referring specifically to nuclear energy (the quote only refers to electricity in homes) the prediction doesn’t expire for at least another 50 years.

“Like the industry comments here.”

There is no molten salt reactor industry at this time.

“Freddies with free fake facts and factoids for the wonderment of fourth graders.”

Again, I see a conspicuous lack of identifying any false claims.

“If you believe in things you do not understand you will suffer.”

You are surrounded by technology you do not understand, and yet somehow it works. I understand the basics of how a molten salt reactor would work, and I believe it is worth pursuing development and testing to see how well it can actually perform. I’m not going to suffer anything from that belief just because some of the molten salt reactor designs will turn out to be uncompetitive. (There are many different designs, so I expect most will not be able to compete with the best of them.) I’m not even going to suffer if it turns out that we develop something else that renders all molten salt reactors obsolete before they can be developed. That can happen in any line of research, but that chance has never been a reason not to pursue R & D. But opposing the development of technology that you don’t understand merely because you don’t understand it is the hallmark of a Luddite.

I defy you to quote where I did any such thing. I’m not even sure what you mean by troll. If your definition includes people who express a sincerely-held position that you disagree with, and if, accordingly, James Hansen meets your definition of troll, then I probably do too.