Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NEW PAPYRUS: Top Ten New Papyrus 2008 Articles



Most of the articles below were discussed on other sites such as the All Energy Forum, Know Nukes, and the Obama 2008 Campaign website. So below are the top ten most controversial articles posted on New Papyrus in 2008.

Happy New Year!

Marcel F. Williams

Sunday, December 28, 2008

NEW PAPYRUS: Top Ten Blog Post of the Year

There were many interesting and important blog articles posted on the world wide web in 2008 . So here at New Papyrus, I'm starting an annual tradition (between Christmas and New Years) of naming the top ten blog articles of 2008 posted at other blog sites.

Additionally, on New Years Eve, I will also list the top ten blogs posted here on New Papyrus in 2008.

So if you happened to miss these previously posted articles, here's your chance to discover some of the most interesting blogs of the year.

Top 10 blog articles on the web in 2008:

1. Ethanol Vs. Methanol
Patrick Takahashi


2. A Nuclear Plant that Uses Wastewater
NEI Nuclear Notes
Part 1

A Nuclear Plant That Uses Wastewater - News Video Style Part 2

3. Cousin Marriage OK by Science
WIRED Science


4. Professor Muller Lectures on Nuclear Safety and Waste
Pro Nuclear Democrats


5. Nuclear Energy Loses a Spokesman - Paul Newman Dies at 83

Atomic Insights Blog

6. Clean Energy from Wind?
Nuclear Green


7. China's Low $1565 per Kilowatt Nuclear Power Build Cost and new Cleaner Coal Plant
Next Big Future

8. TVA - there are some jobs the government must do
Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes


9. Wind Power:
Pro Nuclear Democrats Part 1


Wind Power:
Pro Nuclear DemocratsPart 2

10. President Bush on Nuclear Energy's Revival
NEI Nuclear Notes

Friday, December 26, 2008

Housing Inflation & the Global Economic Collapse

This 2006 Liberty article by Randal O'Toole is absolutely fascinating! Its a must read if you ever wondered why housing prices in the US ever got so high and so out of reach for the average American citizen, and why housing inflation is related to the current economic collapse of the world economies :

Liberty
February 2006
Volume 20,
Number 2


Why Do Houses Cost So Much?

by Randal O'Toole


For decades, planners have worked at raising the price of housing. When prices go down, they may take the rest of the economy with them.

Housing prices have soared in most of the developed world over the past five years. Increased spending on homes and spending out of loans against the increased equity in homes have kept the world economy afloat despite slow growth in Europe, stagnation in Japan, and the dot-com and telecommunications crashes in the United States.

But the increased prices have also brought speculators into housing markets, creating numerous housing bubbles. When these bubbles deflate, it could result in a deep recession. "The whole world economy is at risk," claims The Economist, which estimates that "two-thirds (by economic weight) of the world . . . has a potential housing bubble." "It is not going to be pretty," concludes the magazine.....

http://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2006_02/otoole-houses.html

Friday, December 5, 2008

Energy Independence through Nuclear Re-industrialization



by Marcel F. Williams

During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration decided to create jobs in the US by expanding electric power into some of the rural areas of America by federally financing the construction of dams for hydroelectric power production through federal agencies and public power corporations such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Huge hydroelectric power producing dams such as the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee are still part of the lasting legacy of federal public power investment during the Great Depression. Today there are 9 Federally owned utilities in America and there are over 2000 public power (municipal, state, and intrastate) utilities in the US.


In a previous post, Public Power & the Future of Nuclear Energy, I argued that the fact that nuclear facilities in the US rely too much on private capital is one of the biggest obstacles to nuclear power expansion in America. If the new Obama administration along with the new US legislature are serious about stopping global warming while also achieving energy independence without collapsing the economy, then the federal government needs to seriously consider the federal funding of nuclear power in this country by creating a Federal Nuplex Corporation (FNC).


I envision the FNC as a public power corporation somewhat similar to the TVA Federal public power corporation which funds and operates hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear power facilities.

As I envision it, the FNC will:

1. Provide minority capital investment (up to 45%) for the construction of new nuclear power plants for states and regional utilities, preferably on existing nuclear sites. There is enough room on existing nuclear sites to at least triple our current nuclear capacity.

2. Fund, construct and secure radioactive waste repositories within every state that already produces radioactive waste materials from nuclear, medical, and other radioactive waste producing facilities.

3. Solely fund, construct, and secure federal nuplexes (nuclear energy parks) designed to generate electricity, synfuels, and industrial chemicals while also serving as central repositories for radioactive waste material within states that produce radioactive waste material.

I'd also like the FNC to fund R&D programs for:

1. Uranium from seawater extraction technologies with the goal of full scale demonstration projects by the year 2020 and full scale commercialization by the year 2030. This will ensure that current light water reactors (LWRs) will have an ample supply of uranium fuel for at least the next few thousand years.

2. Generation IV nuclear breeding technologies (uranium and thorium fast reactors and ADS accelerator reactors) with the goal of full scale demonstration projects by the year 2020 and full scale commercialization by the year 2030. Such breeding technologies would allow the US to power itself and the rest of the world essentially forever with fertile uranium 238 and thorium 232.

Federal Nuplexes would consist of 10 to 40 reactors (1GWe to 1.5 GWe each) in addition to on site uranium enrichment facilities, fuel processing facilities, spent fuel reprocessing facilities, and radioactive waste repositories.

Federal Nuplexes would sell baseload electricity to local utilities. Nuplexes will also produce methanol and oxygen which will be used to fuel off-site methanol power plants which will be located up to 80 kilometers way from the nuplex facility. Such high efficiency methanol-oxygen power plants will be able to produce peak-load and back-up load energy. The carbon dioxide produced at the facility could be captured and recycled, piped back to the nupex in order to make more methanol.

Federal Nuplexes would be utilized to produce and sell carbon neutral transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, dimethyl ether and industrial chemicals such as methanol, hydrogen, and ammonia. While it may be 5 to 10 years before carbon dioxide from air extraction technologies would be commercially available for hydrocarbon fuel production, waste carbon dioxide from urban and rural biowaste power plants could serve as an alternative source of CO2. This symbiotic relationship between nuclear power and biowaste power could provide up to 30% of the current transportation fuel needs in the US.

The Federal government should at least initially provide the FNC with 10 to 15 billion dollars annually for seed money (about what the US spends in about a month in Iraq). Additional FNC funding should eventually come from revenues generated from FNC minority capital investments in nuclear power facilities from non-federally owned utilities and from the sale of electricity and synfuels from Federal nuplexes. This would mean that even if tax payer funds were eventually cut off to the FNC, new reactors construction would continue to be funded by revenues coming in to the FNC.

I should note that I am also in favor of a similar Federal investiment in a Renewable Energy Corporation that would invest 10 to 15 billion dollars of Federal funds annually in small hydroelectric, biowaste energy, wind, and solar projects which I shall discuss in more detail in a future post. 30 billion in annual nuclear and renewable investment over the next 20 or 30 years is really not to much to ask if we're really serious about energy independence and solving the problem of global warming. And that's less than ten percent of the annual US military budget and almost twice as much as we annually spend on NASA. The primary goal of the Federal Nuplex Corporation and an American Renewable Energy Corporation would be to continuously build more and more nuclear reactors and renewable energy facilites until the US is completely free of carbon dioxide pollutiong technologies within the next 25 to 30 years.

The famous Chicago born nuclear physicist, Alvin Weinberg, was an early proponent of nuclear parks and an existing site policy and pointed out the remarkable fact that if current commercial in the US nuclear reactors receive normal maintenance, they will never wear out. The 50th nuclear reactor (the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Kansas) has recently received a license renewal for an additional 20 years with the remaining 54 active nuclear reactors expected to do the same in the near future. That would mean that future generations in the US could inherit hundreds or even thousands of still active nuclear reactors, with each individual reactor pulling in millions of dollars of revenue on a daily basis for at least a human lifetime-- if not longer-- along with energy independence and an energy economy that no threatens the global environment.

If the Federal government is going to spend big money in the near future on massive infrastructure projects, I can't think of one that would be more economically and environmentally beneficial for both in the short run and in the long run than investing in a technology that the US Federal government first invented towards the end of the Great Depression that could power our planet with clean energy-- forever!


Links and References

1. A Siting Policy for an Acceptable Nuclear Future (1979)
Burwell, Ohanian, and Weinberg
Science, 204: 1043-1051

2. New Life for Nuclear Power-ALVIN M. WEINBERG

3. Gasoline from Air & Water

4. History of Hydroelectric Power in America

5. 50th U.S. Nuclear Plant License Renewed!

6. Short & Long Term Solutions for Nuclear Waste

7. Fueling our Nuclear Future

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gasoline from Air and Water

by Marcel F. Williams

Fossil fuels are predominantly responsible for putting excess carbon dioxide and methane into the Earth's atmosphere, greenhouse gases that are melting our polar ice caps, raising global sea levels, and causing more extreme climate conditions around the world. The coal and natural gas power industry has looked looked towards future technologies for the on site capture of flu gas in order to recover and sequester carbon dioxide. However, there is no cost effective technology for capturing the CO2 from the mobile producers of carbon dioxide: automobiles, trucks, aircraft, and sea craft.

But there are new technologies that are rapidly being developed that may eventually divorce carbon dioxide polluting sources of energy from the need for on site capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide. These devices are sometimes referred to as mechanical trees. But what they do is to simply extract and recover carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And these future technologies appear to be far more efficient at extracting CO2 from the air than the plant life on our planet.

Some argue that these carbon dioxide from air extracting technologies could be the saviors of the fossil fuel industry. Ironically, such future technologies could also eventually lead to the complete extinction of fossil use on this planet if the CO2 taken from the atmosphere is used in combination with hydrogen from water to produce hydrocarbon fuels such as: gasoline, methanol, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and dimethyl ether.

Hydrogen

Because the combustion of hydrogen produces only energy and water, hydrogen via the electrolysis of water through hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar has often been proposed as a replacement for hydrocarbon transportation fuels. Liquid hydrogen fuel has been used in US space craft since the days of the Apollo Moon program. And liquid hydrogen has also been frequently proposed for future generation subsonic and hypersonic airliners and aircraft. Hydrogen fueled buses now transport commuters in many urban areas in the US. And hydrogen automobiles have been demonstrated by many automobile companies around the world .

However, hydrogen automobiles have a substantially shorter range than hydrocarbon fueled vehicles and are a lot less efficient than electric vehicles. Refueling hydrogen vehicles also takes much longer than refueling with gasoline, ethanol, or methanol. Because of the hydrogen embrittlement of metals like steel, hydrogen pipelines are more expensive to maintain than natural gas and oil pipelines. Aircraft, seacraft and ground vehicles, and the infrastructure associated with these vehicles, would also have to be completely replaced if we completely replaced our fuel economy with hydrogen.


Hydrocarbon fuels from CO2 and hydrogen

Alternatively, there are several demonstrated methods for synthesizing hydrocarbon fuels by utilizing carbon dioxide in combination with hydrogen which could allow a country to avoid any major overhaul in its transportation energy infrastructure.

Chemist have known how to produce methanol from hydrogen and carbon dioxide for more than 80 years:

CO2 + 3H2 → CH3OH (methanol) + H2O

Methanol is mostly used as a feedstock for making other chemicals. But methanol can be converted into dimethyl ether (DME), a fuel that can be effectively used in diesel engines equipped with new fuel injection systems. The fact that dimethyl ether produces no black smoke, soot, or sulfur dioxide is an clean advantage it has over diesel fuel.

Methanol can also be converted into high octane gasoline via the Mobil Oil methanol to gasoline (MTG) process. Back in the 1980's, the New Zealand government produced 600,000 tonnes of gasoline a year from methanol derived from natural gas using the MTG process.

Methane gas can also be synthesized from hydrogen and carbon dioxide:

CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 (methane) + 2H2O

And methane can also be converted into diesel and jet fuels via Fischer-Tropsch and hydrocracking processes.

Mechanical extraction of atmospheric CO2

Plants capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while utilizing sunlight to convert the CO2 into starch. During photosynthesis, trees, for instance, convert carbon dioxide and water into starche molecules and oxygen through a series of oxidation and reduction reactions:

6 CO2 + 6 H2O + sunlight ---> C6H12O6 + 6 O2

Some farm crops and trees can produce up to 20 metric tons per acre (4047 square meters) of biomass a year. One tonne of dried tree consist of 0.45 tonnes of carbon which would translate into the extraction of 1.65 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually extracted from the atmosphere. That's 33 tonnes of CO2 per acre extracted on an annual basis.

Even though the concentration of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is a meager 0.04 per cent, companies like GRT (Global Research Technologies) in Arizona and Canadian researchers at the University of Calgary have already built machines that can extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere far more efficiently than any tree or any other source of biomass. GRT claims that its carbon dioxide air extraction system is a thousand times more efficient than a tree of equal size.


GRT CO2 absorbent material

The University of Calgary team has shown that they could capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere with less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per tonne of carbon dioxide. Their carbon dioxide from air extraction tower was able to capture the equivalent of about 20 tonnes per year of CO2 on just one single square meter of air scrubbing material. Astonishingly, this suggest that even the most conservative estimates would allow these CO2 extracting machines to produce more than 80 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide per acre annually.

University of Calgary carbon dioxide extraction machine


Because of the need for cheap electricity for hydrogen production, only nuclear and hydroelectric facilities would be currently viable for hydrocarbon fuel production utilizing carbon dioxide from air extraction technologies. Hydroelectric facilities currently produce electricity at 0 .85 cents per kwh while electricity from nuclear facilities currently cost 1.68 cents per kwh. Wind and solar thermal electricity, however, is much more expensive and ranges from over 4 cents per kwh to over 6 cents per kwh.

At the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, F. Jeffrey Martin and Williams L. Kubic, Jr. have developed the Green Freedom concept for using the cooling towers of nuclear reactors to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the production of gasoline and methanol. They argue that a 1 GWe power plant using their Green Freedom method could produce 18,000-bbl/day of gasoline or 5000 tonnes a day of methanol.

Carbon neutral hydrocarbon synfuel production at nuclear and hydroelectric facilities would not only allow such power facilities to produce transportation fuels and industrial chemicals, they would also allow them to pump methanol and oxygen up to 80 kilometers away to high efficiency power plants for the production of peak-load and back-up-load electricity and commercial waste heat. Nuclear power plants could therefore not only produce base-load electricity but could also supply methanol fuel to replace greenhouse polluting natural gas power plants which are used for daytime peak-load energy and back-up energy for wind and solar power plants.

In 2006, the US consumed nearly 21 million bbl/day of petroleum for transportation fuel and industrial chemical use. If we assumed that nuclear power plants replaced all of the petroleum used in the US in 2006, that would roughly require more than a thousand new 1Gwe nuclear reactors, over 1000 GWe of electrical capacity. Existing nuclear sites that already have nuclear reactors could probably add an additional 200 to 300 Gwe of capacity. However, if one large centralized nuplex (nuclear park) with about 30GWe of average electrical capacity were set up in every state in the union, then that could add an additional 1500 GWe of electrical capacity, more than enough to replace all of our petroleum needs today and probably our needs 30 years from now.

If the new Obama administration is going to invest substantial R&D money into new energy technologies, I would strongly suggest investing in the fast tracking of these carbon dioxide extraction from air technologies that could revolution synfuel production by helping to achieve US independence from the petroleum fuel economy while protecting the global environment from the dangers of global warming and climate change.

Links and References

1. Green Freedom: A concept for producing carbon-neutral synthetic fuels and chemicals, Los Alamos Labs, November 2007 F.J. Martin and WL Kubic,

2. GRT (Global Research Technologies, LLC)

3. Giant Carbon dioxide Vacuums

4. Snatching Carbon dioxide from the Atmosphere

5. CO2 capture from air

6. First Successful Demonstration of Carbon Dioxide Air Capture Technology Achieved:

7. First Successful Demonstration of Carbon Dioxide Air Capture Technology Achieved by Columbia University Scientist and Private Company, (2007) Earth Institute News Archive, 04/24/07

8. Carbon capture and storage:

9. Researchers Scramble to Create CO2-Busting Technologies:

10. CO2 capture from ambient air: a feasibility assessment:

11. Carbon Capture and Storage A False Solution

12. The Case for Carbon Dioxide Extraction from Air

13. Klaus S. Lackner, Patrick Grimes, Hans-J. Ziock, Capturing Carbon Dioxide From Air

14. K. Schultz, L. Bogart, G. Besenbruch, L. Brown, R. Buckingham, M. Campbell, B. Russ, and B. Wong HYDROGEN AND SYNTHETIC HYDROCARBON FUELS – A NATURAL SYNERGY General Atomics Poster

15. G. Olah, A. Goeppert, and G. Prakash, (2006) Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, Wiley-VCH Verlang, Weinheim, Germany


A New Papyrus Publication

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Public Power & the Future of Nuclear Energy


by Marcel F. Williams

Because of the dangers of climate change and America's dependence on foreign oil, there's been a lot of speculation about a nuclear renaissance in America and in the rest of the world. The advantages of nuclear power are numerous. Nuclear power produces no greenhouse gases, takes up extremely little land area relative to renewable energy sources, produces 100 times less radioactive waste than coal power plants, and thousands of times less toxic waste than coal power plants.

Nuclear energy represents 20% of electrical power production in America and is currently the second cheapest source of electricity in the country after hydroelectric power. Nuclear power also produces 70% of the non carbon dioxide polluting electricity in the US.

Cheap electricity from nuclear power also enables us to produce hydrogen through water electrolysis that can be combined with carbon from biomass or from the extraction of carbon dioxide from the air for the production of carbon neutral gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, methanol, and dimethyl ether.

If our planet were totally powered by once through uranium reactors there would only be enough terrestrial uranium to power human civilization for 15 years. But if uranium extracted from sea water were utilized, then our entire civilization could be powered for more than 3600 years. If the spent fuel from these reactors were also utilized, as they are in France, then nuclear power could supply the world with all of its energy for over 5000 years.

So even without a new generation of nuclear breeding technologies that could allow us to power the entire planet forever, current nuclear technology could power our planet for at least 5000 years at current levels of energy use and for more than 1600 years if global power consumption was three times our current level.

So its easy to see why numerous countries around the world are interested in either acquiring or expanding nuclear power. However, in the US, the ability to significantly expand nuclear power faces financial and political obstacles that could eventually leave Americans far behind Asia and Europe as the world tries to move towards a non carbon dioxide polluting energy economy.


The US, which created and pioneered the development of nuclear
energy and provided it to the rest of the world, now ranks behind more than ten other countries in the percentage of electricity derived from that technology. Even though the United States has more nuclear reactors than any other nation, as mentioned above, the US produces only 20% of its electricity through nuclear power.

Percentage of electricity produced through nuclear power:

France - 78%
Belgium - 54%
Ukraine - 48%
Sweden - 46%
Switzerland - 40%
Hungary - 37%
South Korea - 35%
Finland - 29%
Japan - 27%
Germany - 26%
USA - 20%
Taiwan - 19%
Russia - 16%
UK - 15%
Canada - 14%

In the US, however, the ability to significantly expand nuclear power faces financial and political obstacles that could eventually leave Americans far behind Asia and Europe as the world tries to move towards a non carbon dioxide polluting energy economy. Jason Ribeiro's recent blog States with Laws that Impede Nuclear Power points out some of the political obstacles in each state that impede the construction of more nuclear reactors in several states.

The problem of spent fuel and nuclear waste is largely a political problem rather than a scientific or technological one, IMO, which I addressed in my article Short & Long Term Solutions for Nuclear Waste . And the best way to decommission a nuclear reactors is to simply allow irradiated parts of the reactor to safely decay over a period of about 100 to 150 before safe dismantling.

However, the unpredictable cost of capitalizing new nuclear reactors is a cause for concern. Estimates for a new single 1000 MWe nuclear reactor in the US have ranged from less than two billion dollars to as high as over 10 billion dollars. Are Nuclear Costs Unreasonable?

In my opinion, the fact that US nuclear facilities rely too much on private capital is the biggest obstacle to nuclear power expansion. In the US, there are hundreds of utilities that are generally too small to be able to risk the large capital investment required to build nuclear facilities. In a country like France on the other hand , a single government owned utility provides electricity for the entire country.

The French government owns and operates 59 nuclear power plants which produce over 78% of France's electrical power. France is also the world's largest net exporter of electric power, exporting 18% of its total electricity production to Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Britain. France's carbon emissions per kWh are less than 1/10 that of pro-renewable energy countries like Germany and the UK, and 1/13 that of Denmark, which doesn't have any nuclear plants.


The US government also owns a few nuclear facilities via the TVA. And this federal public power corporation was the last utility to build a nuclear power plant in American and is now the first to order the new AP1000 Westinghouse (Toshiba) reactors.

With the desperate need for the US to move towards energy independence from the fossil fuel economy, I believe that it is time for the federal government to move aggressively towards helping to fund new nuclear reactors. Under the new Obama administration, I believe the federal government should provide up to 45% of the investment capital for new nuclear reactors on existing sites.

Alvin Weinberg proposed an existing-site policy back in 1979 as the best way to expand nuclear power in the US. By simply increasing the number of nuclear reactors at existing nuclear sites already in operation, the US could increase its nuclear capacity up to 343 Gwe. That's more than triple current nuclear capacity and would allow America to power nearly 70% of its electricity from nuclear sites that already exist.


In the long run, however, I believe the best way to keep the cost of electricity low in the US for baseload distribution and for synfuel production while finally achieving total energy independence from the fossil fuel economy , is to build multiple reactors within nuclear parks (nuplexes) consisting of 10 to 40 reactors and which include enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing facilities and on site nuclear waste storage facilities. While I strongly believe that nuclear power facilities should continue to be built and operated by private industry, I also believe that nuclear parks (nuplexes) should be capitalized and owned by the Federal government.

That's why I favor the creation of a Federal Nuplex Corporation (FNC). I will elaborate in more detail on this nuclear electricity and synfuel concept in an upcoming post because I believe that it is the cheapest, safest, and most energy productive way of achieving energy independence in the United States.


References and Links


1. Nuclear share figures, 1996-2007

2. Nuclear Power in France

3. Nuclear power in France (Wikipedia)

4. Short & Long Term Solutions for Nuclear Waste

5. Are Nuclear Costs Unreasonable?

6. States with Laws that Impede Nuclear Power

7. The Economics of Nuclear Power

8. Fueling our Nuclear Future


A New Papyrus Publication

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nuclear Energy Industry Congratulates President-Elect Obama



Nuclear Energy Institute


November 5, 2008

Nuclear Energy Industry Congratulates President-Elect Obama, Vice President-Elect Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following is a statement on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Frank L. (Skip) Bowman:

“The nuclear energy industry congratulates Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden on their election. One of the most important and compelling challenges facing their administration is to put in place a national energy policy to achieve energy security and to protect the U.S. economy and the environment.

“If the United States is going to meet the predicted 25 percent growth in electricity demand by the year 2030, as well as achieve its environmental goals, we must begin that work now. And we must recognize as a nation that we cannot reach our energy goals without the reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity that nuclear power plants generate to power our homes, businesses, telecommunications, military and transportation infrastructure. Senator Obama recognized this linkage early in his campaign by noting, ‘It is unlikely we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power as an option.’

“The development of U.S. energy policy must transcend partisan politics. There must be a bipartisan effort to develop a diverse portfolio of energy resources, including nuclear energy, which is the only large-scale source of carbon-free electricity that can be expanded to meet our nation’s electricity needs. Building new nuclear power plants will expand U.S. industry and manufacturing, creating thousands of green jobs and enabling America over the long term to electrify its transportation sector.

Affordable around-the-clock electricity also helps to strengthen the U.S economy and protect America’s neediest citizens.
“The executive and legislative branches have shown considerable support across the political spectrum to work with the nuclear industry in a public/private partnership to enable the construction of new-generation nuclear plants and to move ahead with scientifically sound solutions for used nuclear fuel storage and disposal. We will work with the new administration to pursue an integrated used fuel management strategy that includes interim storage of used nuclear fuel, research and development into advanced technologies for recycling used fuel without contributing to proliferation concerns, and development of an appropriate geologic repository for permanent disposal of the used-fuel content that can’t be recycled.

“It is crucial for the new administration to continue with these and other efforts to shape a comprehensive energy policy that recognizes the value of nuclear energy and other low-emission electricity sources. We look forward to working with the Obama-Biden administration and Congress to assure that nuclear energy continues to be recognized as a key tool to deepen economic prosperity and achieve enduring environmental stewardship.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Electoral Predictions


As the final tabulation of votes are revealed on Wednesday morning, I predict that Barack Obama will win the presidency of the United States by winning a total of 318 electoral votes-- including Florida.

The fatal flaws of the McCain campaign, IMO, were:

1.) Picking Sarah Palin, a woman who clearly lacks the foreign policy experience to be the Commander-in-Chief. If McCain really loves this country and cares about the safety of this country more than he wants the presidency, he certainly didn't show that by picking Palin as his VP nominee!

2.) McCain's failure to focus like a laser beam on the energy re-industrialization of America through both private and public investment in order to end our dependence on foreign oil and to create jobs here in America. McCain did best in his campaign and even in the debates when he talked about energy and especially nuclear energy even though I strongly disagree with him on off-shore drilling. It was a huge mistake, IMO, that he didn't make energy independence through nuclear and renewable energy the primary focus of his campaign.

and

3.) Trying to instill fear and division in America through negative campaigning with phrases like 'paling around with terrorist', 'socialist', folks at his rallies referring to Obama's middle name and screaming for Obama's death. Sorry but that's not what America is all about, or at least it shouldn't be about that.


But if for some tragic reason, McCain and Palin do win the White House, I'll pray (and I'm an atheist:-) for McCain's good health because a Palin presidency, IMO, would put this country and the rest of the world in an extremely dangerous situation thanks to her total lack of foreign experience. The woman got her first passport in 2006!

McCain's picking of Palin is simply an unforgivable act. Unforgivable!!!!

Marcel F. Williams

Monday, October 20, 2008

Natural Radiation

by Marcel F. Williams


Humans exist on a planet and within a universe that is naturally radioactive. In fact, humans and all other plant and animal species that live and breed on Earth are also inherently radioactive.

Since the birth of the cosmos, the earth has been subjected to an endless hailstorm of cosmic radiation. These potentially deleterious ionizing particles consist of highly accelerated protons, electrons, and neutrons originating mostly from other stars in our galaxy.

Our planet of evolutionary origin is also radioactive due to naturally occurring radioactive elements in the earth's crust such as: potassium-40, uranium-238, thorium-232, and rubidinum-87, and radium-226. In fact, the radioactive decay from uranium, thorium, and potassium may be responsible for 45 to 90% of the earth's internal heat source which is the source of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, hot springs, and continental drift.

On average, humans receive 0.4 mSv (40 millirems) of cosmic radiation. People also receive about 0.5 mSv (50 millirems) of terrestrial radiation. We also inhale about 1.2 mSV (120 millirems) of radiation from radon gas annually.

The human species is also internally radioactive due to the potassium in our bones which exposes our tissues to 0.4 mSv (40 millirems) of ionizing radiation. So being in constant proximity to other human beings increases one's exposure to ionizing radiation.

So if you lived with at least one other person in your house, you would receive 0.4 (40 millirems). That's more than ten times as much radiation as you would receive by living near a nuclear facility. If you lived in California and moved to Colorado, you would receive 45 times as much ionizing radiation as you would living next to a nuclear power facility.




Ionizing Radiation Levels (annual):

0.39 (mSv) Annual human internal radiation due to radioactive potassium

0.35 mSv Annual exposure to cosmic radiation in the state of Louisiana

1.20 mSv Annual exposure to cosmic radiation in the state of Colorado

0.30 mSv Annual exposure to terrestrial radiation in the state of Texas

1.15 mSV Annual exposure to terrestrial radiation in the state of South Dakota

0.07 mSv Annual radiation exposure to while living in a stone, brick, or concrete building

0.03 mSv Annual radiation exposure while living near the gate of a nuclear power plant

0.01 mSv Annual USA dose from nuclear fuel and nuclear power plants

1.15 mSv Annual radiation exposure while working at a nuclear power plant

2.0 mSv Annual human internal radiation due to radon

1.0 mSv Annual Limit of dose from all DOE facilities to a member of the public who is not a radiation worker

5.0 mSv Annual USA NRC limit for visitors

20 mSv Annual (averaged over 5 years) is the limit for radiological personnel such as employees in the nuclear industry, uranium or mineral sands miners and hospital workers

50 mSv Annual highest dose which is allowed by regulation of occupational exposure. Doses greater than 50 mSv annually arise from natural background levels in several regions of the world but do not cause any discernible harm to local populations.

500 mSv Annual USA NRC occupational whole skin, limb skin, or single organ exposure limit







Ionizing Radiation Levels (acute):

0.o5 mSV One round-trip to Paris-New York

0.46 mSv off-site exposure to the Three Mile Island core meltdown accident

2.2 mSv Average dose from upper gastrointestinal diagnostic X-ray series

50 mSv Lowest dose at which there is any evidence of cancer being caused in adults

100 mSv USA EPA acute dose level estimated to increase cancer risk 0.8%

500-1000 mSv Low-level radiation sickness due to short-term exposure


Persons working at a nuclear facility are normally exposed to 1.15 mSv (115 millirems) annually. This would be the equivalent of living in the state of Ohio where Americans there are exposed to an equivalent amount of cosmic and terrestrial radiation and below that of states like Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah where one receives a lot more background radiation.

If you lived near the gate of a nuclear reactor and never left the house, you would be exposed to 0.03 mSv (3 millirems) of radiation annually from that nuclear facility. However, you would receive 0.07 mSv (7 millirems) of radiation if you were living in a stone, brick, or concrete building. So you would receive more radiation from your house than from living near the gate of a nuclear facility.

But what about a nuclear meltdown?

Thanks to the fact that US reactors are housed in huge protective containment structures, the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island exposed nearby residents to only 0.46 mSv of acute radiation. That's nearly five times lower than receiving a gastrointestinal medical X-Ray and more than 100 times below the level of cancer causing radiation. But the new generation of nuclear reactors such as the AP1000 and GE's ESBWR have core damage frequencies at least 100 to 1000 times lower than current reactors such as the LWR at Three Mile Island. But, again, even if a meltdown did occur, the public would be protected by the containment structures which are also designed to withstand an impact from a jet plane.


Americans are exposed to natural radiation from cosmic and terrestrial radiation ranging from as low as 0.75 mSv (75 millirems) to as high as 2.25 mSv (225 millirems). And Americans are exposed to an additional 2.0 mSv (200 millirems) of radon gas on average. Yet living near the gate of nuclear power facility would only expose them to 0.03 mSv (3 millirems) of radiation. And even consistent contact with a family member would expose you to another 0.4 mSv (40 millirems) of radiation annually. So the idea that a dramatic increase in nuclear power would expose humans to a dramatic increase in ionizing radiation is clearly not supported by the scientific evidence.

References and Links

1. G. Olah, A. Goeppert, and G. Prakash, (2006) Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, Wiley-VCH Verlang, Weinheim, Germany

2. Ionizing radiation (Wikipedia)

3. Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor

4. Martin D. Ecker, and Norton J. Bramesco (1981) Radiation: All you need t know about to stop worrying...or to start, Vintage Books, New York

5. Radiation and Life


A New Papyrus Publication

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cost of Non-Carbon Dioxide Polluting Technologies


by Marcel F. Williams

Today America and the world finds itself at the dawn of an energy, economic, and environmental crisis.


Carbon dioxide and methane gas pollution from the fossil fuel economy is causing the melting of the polar ice caps and a gradual rise in sea levels that could threaten our coastlines and, in some cases, threaten the existence of entire nations. More violent and extreme weather patterns are also believed to be caused by increasing global temperatures.

The importation of foreign oil is causing the US to send more than $700 billion annually to foreign nations. That's $700 billion dollars a year that is going to other nations instead of being invested right here in the USA. The oil imports do not include the $60 billion a year that the US military spends on protecting the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, essentially a $60 billion a year subsidy to the international oil industry by the US tax payers.

Increasing population and economic growth could also cause an electricity shortage in the US and in many other nations in the near future.

So what do we do?

Energy re-industrialization through nuclear and renewable energy technologies would appear to be the most logical solution to the problems of our energy, the environment, and our economy. Energy re-industrialization through through non-carbon dioxide polluting technologies could not only solve our future energy and environmental problems but could also create tens of millions of jobs in practically every region and community in America.

Cheap base load energy is essential for a growing economy while affordable peak load energy helps to supplement base load capacity during periods of high energy demand. Cheap hydrogen through water electrolysis also requires low priced base load electricity. Hydrogen is an essential ingredient for the production of synthetic hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, and methanol.

While the shift towards electric vehicles and plug-in-hybrid electric automobiles could help the US wean itself off of foreign oil, it will also increase the demand for non-carbon dioxide polluting electricity in order to avoid increasing greenhouse pollution from electric power generating resources.


In our current fossil fuel dominated economy:

coal cost 2.4 cents per kwh

natural gas cost 6.8 cents per kwh

oil cost 9.6 cents per kwh



Amongst non-carbon dioxide polluting energy technologies:

hydroelectric cost 0.85 cents per kWh

nuclear cost 1.68 cents per kWh

garbage incineration (non-subsidized) cost 4.0 cents per kWh

wind (non-subsidized) cost 4.35 to 6.56 cents per kWh

solar thermal (Sunny climate) cost 6 cents per kWh

home photovoltaic (Sunny climate) cost 37.78 cents per kWh

home photovoltaic (Cloudy climate) cost 83.13 cents per kWh

commercial photovoltaic (Sunny climate) cost 27.49 cents per kWh

commercial photovoltaic (Cloudy climate) cost 60.47 cents per kWh

industrial photovoltaic (Sunny climate) cost 21.41 cents per kWh

industrial photovoltaic (Cloudy climate) cost 47.11 cents per kWh


With hydroelectric sources in the US already fully exploited, only nuclear power has the capacity to replace coal as our primary source for base load electricity in the future. While new nuclear power facilities are likely to generate electricity at a higher price than current nuclear reactors, this may be somewhat mitigated by the continued reduction in the cost of electricity from current nuclear facilities as more of these existing sites reach the point where they've paid off their amortized capital cost, leaving only the cost of labor and fuel. However, the building of large clusters of new nuclear power plants in centralized nuclear parks could dramatically reduce capital, labor, security, and fuel transportation cost in the future.


Although significantly higher priced than nuclear, the incineration of urban biowaste could add additional base load capacity in practically every community in America. The off-peak production of methanol via base load water electrolysis synthesized with carbon dioxide flue gas from biowaste incinerators could produce methanol and oxygen to power peak load power plants. Methanol can even be used by current natural gas electric power plants with cheap modifications. The fluctuating load capacity of wind and solar thermal could also be backed up by synthetic methanol.

Eventually, the emerging aerocarbon extraction devices could utilize base load electricity to produce all of our hydrocarbon transportation, industrial chemical, and peak-load fuels once these devices become fully commercialized.


However, the extremely high cost of photovoltaic technologies would appear to regulate these technologies to only marginal aspects of our energy economy in the near future. While solar enthusiast and the wealthy may continue to place these extremely expensive devices on their rooftops, the best place for solar photovoltaics will probably be in remote communities that have very little access to alternative sources of electricity.


References and Links



1. FACTS ABOUT HYDROPOWER

2. Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Price Index
October 2008 Survey Results


3. 6 Cents Per kWh: World's Largest Solar Project Unveiled

4. Cost of Wind: American wind energy association

5. ELECTRICITY AND HEAT FROM BIOMASS

6. The Value of the Benefits of U.S. Biomass Power

7. Municipal Waste Combustion

8. U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Set Record Highs
For Electricity Production, Efficiency in 2007


9. Nuclear Power:Economic Alternative for Baseload Electricity

10. Industry Leader Cites Value of Nuclear Power Plants to California’s Mix of Energy Sources


A New Papyrus Publication

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fueling our Nuclear Future


by Marcel F. Williams

One frequent argument against the expansion of commercial nuclear power is the the claim that our planet is simply running out of the nuclear material to power the world's nuclear reactors. So any future expansion of the commercial nuclear power industry would simply be out of the question.


Uranium ore

Nuclear power produces approximately 20% of the electricity in the US and represents approximately 6% of the world's energy consumption. Uranium currently sells at below $35 per kilogram on the world market. But it is estimated that there are approximately 5.5 million tonnes of proven uranium reserves at a cost below $130 per kilogram. With the resurgence of nuclear power, however, it is estimated that the exploration for new uranium sources would increase total reserves to more than 16 million tonnes. The current world demand for uranium is 65,000 tonnes per year. So there should be enough uranium to supply current global nuclear power facilities for 246 years.


Countries with the most abundant uranium supplies

But if nuclear power were required to supply the world's total energy needs, 1.1 million tonnes of uranium would be required annually. So these terrestrial uranium reserves could only power our planet for less than 15 years. And even reprocessing spent fuel would only extend the nuclear fuel supplies to no more than 20 years.

However, there are alternatives to terrestrial uranium.

The world's oceans contain more than 4 billion tonnes of uranium in seawater. That's enough to power our entire planet for more than 3600 years or over 5000 years if spent fuel is also utilized. Japanese uranium from seawater demonstration projects estimate that marine uranium could be extracted at a cost of $135 to $250 per kilogram. Current world uranium prices are less than $35 per kilogram but expected to rise as uranium demand rises as new power plants are built around the world. But since uranium fuel only represents about 5% of the total cost of the energy produce by a fission power plant, that would only increase the total cost of energy via nuclear power by 14 to 31 percent which would still make the cost of nuclear electricity significantly lower than coal and natural gas. New laser uranium enrichment techniques, however, could dramatically lower total fuel cost which could, in theory, wipe out the increase in cost of using seawater uranium since enrichment represents 30% of the cost of nuclear fuel.

Yellow cake extracted from seawater


So even if our future global society used three times as much energy as we use today, marine uranium and spent fuel could provide more than 1600 years of energy. Of course the contribution of renewable energy systems (hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass) could stretch uranium supplies even longer.

But even without marine uranium, breeder technologies could power our global society at three times the current level for 700 years using terrestrial uranium. Nuclear breeding technologies such as fast neutron reactors or ADS accelerator reactors could increase fuel supplies by a factor of 140 since fissile uranium 235 only represents about 0.7% of natural uranium. In light water reactors (LWR), approximately 70% of the uranium 235 is converted into energy while another third comes from the conversion of plutonium into energy which is created as a by product of the neutron irradiation of uranium 238. Breeder technologies could give the world a 500,000 year supply of nuclear power or a 166,000 year supply at three times current energy use levels. However, the oceans are constantly being replenished with uranium from the worlds rivers, depositing over 32,000 tonnes of uranium annually. Since breeder technologies would only require less than 24,000 tonnes of uranium annually, marine uranium could power our entire society at three times the current level essentially-- forever!

Thorium is another alternative to terrestrial uranium. There is at least 3 times as much terrestrial thorium 232 as there is terrestrial uranium 238. Neutron bombardment within a reactor can convert fertile thorium 332 into fissile uranium 233. And there is at least 3 times as much terrestrial thorium 232 as there is uranium 238. So terrestrial nuclear fuel sources could power our global society at three times the current level for approximately 2800 years.

A CANDU heavy water reactor could have an 80% conversion rate if it utilized fissile uranium or plutonium inside of a thorium blanket. A modified CANDU heavy water reactor that uses thorium fuel enriched with fissile uranium 235, plutonium 239, or uranium 233 can produce as much fissile fuel as it utilizes. An ADS accelerator reactor could also breed uranium 233 from thorium. For every kilogram of plutonium burned in a thorium breeder, approximately 2.73 kilograms of uranium 233 could be produced, more than 8o% of a reactors total fissile fuel requirements. Combined with the 30% of reprocessed uranium 235 from spent fuel, an ADS could supply all of a reactors fuel needs through uranium 238 and thorium 232. However, it might by easier and cheaper just to gradually replace third generation reactors with thorium and uranium burning ADS reactors.

Japanese companies currently lead the world in uranium extraction from sea water technology. But, in my opinion, the next US administration should set the goal for the commercial extraction of uranium from sea water within 10 years time. The US should also set the goal of having a functioning full scale ADS accelerator thorium breeder online within a decade with the goal of having commercial ADS reactors online within 20 years time. The same goal should be set by the Canadian government for the CANDU thorium breeder reactor.

Such policies should insure a smooth transition from our current terrestrial uranium, third generation, nuclear economy to a more diverse nuclear economy that includes current reactor technology, fast neutron reactors and ADS breeder reactors along with a more diverse fuel supply that includes terrestrial uranium, uranium from seawater, and thorium.


References and Links


1. G. Olah, A. Goeppert, and G. Prakash, (2006) Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, Wiley-VCH Verlang, Weinheim, Germany

2. How long can Uranium last for nuclear power? 5 billion years at double current world electricity usage.

3. World Uranium and Thorium Supplies

4. Supply of Uranium: WNA

5. How long will nuclear energy last?

6. Plutonium

7. Burn Up the Nuclear Waste

8. Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX)

9. Costs of Reprocessing Versus Directly Disposing of Spent Nuclear Fuel

10. Japan's large scale uranium from seawater and superconductiong wire plans

11. The Cost of Recovering Uranium from Seawater

12. Uranium recovery from Seawater

13. Confirming Cost Estimations of Uranium Collection from Seawater:
Assessing High Function Metal Collectors for Seawater Uranium


14. A Guide Book to Nuclear Reactors (A.V. Nero, 1979) University of California Press

15. Operation of CANDU power reactor in thorium self-sufficient fuel cycle

16. THE EVOLUTION OF CANDU FUEL CYCLES AND THEIR POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTIONTO WORLD PEACE

17. Is thorium the nuclear alternative?

18. Accelerator Driven Sub-critical Nuclear Reactors for Safe Energy Production and Nuclear Waste Incineration

19. Laser enrichment could cut cost of nuclear power

20. Accelerator Breeder Nuclear Fuel Production

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama on energy at the September 26th debate


Obama: The second point I want to make is -- is the issue of energy. Russia is in part resurgent and Putin is feeling powerful because of petro-dollars, as Senator McCain mentioned.

That means that we, as one of the biggest consumers of oil -- 25 percent of the world's oil -- have to have an energy strategy not just to deal with Russia, but to deal with many of the rogue states we've talked about, Iran, Venezuela.

And that means, yes, increasing domestic production and off-shore drilling, but we only have 3 percent of the world's oil supplies and we use 25 percent of the world's oil. So we can't simply drill our way out of the problem.

What we're going to have to do is to approach it through alternative energy, like solar, and wind, and biodiesel, and, yes, nuclear energy, clean-coal technology. And, you know, I've got a plan for us to make a significant investment over the next 10 years to do that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Federal support for non-carbon dioxide polluting energy technologies


by Marcel F. Williams


Management Information Services, Inc. of Washington D.C. has recently come out with a report that indicates that most of the US tax subsidies and R&D for the energy industry from 1950 to 2006 has gone to the fossil fuel industry. The oil industry led the way with 335 billion dollars in Federal Energy incentives. The natural gas industry was second with over 100 billion dollars in federal energy incentives. Coal was third with 94 billion dollars. So the greenhouse gas polluting fossil fuel industries have received over 529 billion dollars in Federal energy incentives from 1950 to 2006.
Amongst renewable energy technologies, hydroelectric power has received 80 billion in federal energy incentives, wind and solar has received 45 billion in federal energy incentives, and geothermal has received 7 billion in federal energy incentives. So the amount of federal energy incentives for renewable energy was 132 billion between 1950 and 2006.
Nuclear energy has received 65 billion in federal energy incentives. However, less than 6 billion dollars of federal energy incentives have been provided for light water reactors in the US which are the only nuclear power facilities that produce commercial electricity in the US. The rest has been for R&D for breeder reactors and other reactor types that have never gone on line commercially in the US.

While nuclear energy has received less than half the federal energy incentives of renewable energy systems, it currently produces nearly 20 % of electricity in the US while renewable energy systems produce less than 9% of US electricity. Solar, Wind, and Geothermal energy has been provided with 52 billion in federal energy incentives, yet , combined, they provide only 1.1% of US electricity.



So it is clear that amongst the federal energy incentives for non-carbon dioxide polluting technologies, nuclear power has produced substantially more electrical energy than renewable systems for far less money. And this is especially true when it comes to wind, solar, and geothermal technologies which currently produce nearly 20 times less electricity than nuclear power.

References and Links

1. Analysis of Federal Expenditures for Energy Development September 2008By Management Information Services, Inc. Washington, D.C.

2. Which Energy Industry Gets the Biggest Subsidies?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Plug-in Hybrid Revolution


by Marcel F. Williams


General Motors yesterday introduced the production model for their new plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) which they believe will be on the market by the year 2010. The four door Chevy Volt hatchback will be able to travel up to 100 mph and will be able to run solely on its lithium-ion electric batteries for up to 40 miles before its gasoline or E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) engine kicks in.

The Chevy Volt can be fully charged in 8 hours using a standard household 120 volt outlet. But if you have a 240 volt outlet, a full charge takes less than three hours. On average, it will be six times cheaper per mile to drive the Chevy Volt on electricity than on gasoline. But even the Volt's gasoline hybrid engine will get 50 miles to the gallon. Of course, for those who drive less than 40 miles per day, they will use no gasoline at all.

However, General Motors will not be the only major automobile company coming out with a PHEV in the next few years. Toyota says it will also be coming out with it own plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2010.

A report from the Pacific Northwest National laboratory in 2007 has estimated that 6.5 million barrels of oil per day equivalent could be displaced if most cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans were plug-in hybrid vehicles. The US currently consumes about 21 million barrels a day of oil. So approximately 31% of our total petroleum consumption could be replaced or more than half of our oil imports. It would also equally reduce carbon dioxide pollution from petroleum use in the US by 31%-- if electricity generation in the US is eventually totally replaced by nuclear and renewable energy resources within the next 25 years.

PHEVs in the future could reduce our total fossil fuel transportation needs by more than 50% if they ran on methanol fuel cell technologies which are approximately twice as efficient as gasoline engines.

While the PHEV's would only be a partial solution to the problem of using fossil and foreign fuels in our transportation system, they still would be a big step forward that would allow future carbon neutral synthetic fuels from biowaste, nuclear and renewable energy systems to only have to replace 50% to 71% of our future transportation fuel needs. Now its time for the Federal government and state governments and the future president of the United States to step up and help this revolutionary transition to a new mode of light vehicle transportation.
Links and References


1. Michael Kintner-Meyer, Kevin Schneider, Robert Pratt IMPACTS ASSESSMENT OF PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLES ON ELECTRIC UTILITIES AND REGIONAL U.S. POWER GRIDS PART 1: TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory November, 2007

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Short & Long Term Solutions for Nuclear Waste


by Marcel F. Williams


A typical 1000 MWe nuclear power plant produces about 30 tonnes of highly radioactive spent fuel on an annual basis. However, a coal powered facility of equal capacity produces more than 400,000 tonnes of waste material (ash) annually that contains more than 100 times more radioactive waste (uranium, thorium, radon) than a nuclear power plant.

In fact, all of the spent fuel so far produced in the US could fit into a football field just 10 meters high. And if this fuel was reprocessed, then the volume could be reduced by at least a factor of ten. So you could easily store all nuclear waste material in fortified cask at just one nuclear facility.

Nuclear waste locations within the continental US

But Yucca Mountain is clearly not the long term solution for radioactive waste within the US.

My solution to this problem would be to:

1. To mandate that all radioactive waste material that exist within the geographic territory of a state be kept within that state at environmentally secured federal, state, or private facilities for up to 200 years.

2. I'd allow states that posses radioactive waste to petition the federal government to fund, construct, operate, and secure federal radioactive waste repositories within their states designed to securely house radioactive material for up to 200 years.

3. Alternatively, states could petition the federal government to build a-- nuclear energy park-- within their state to house and reprocess all of their nuclear waste for fuel which could then be utilized on site. A nuclear energy park would consist of 10 to 40 reactors and would be utilized to produce regional electric power, ammonia for agricultural fertilizer and hydrogen for the production of synthetic hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and aviation fuel through biomass or through the extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Adding hydrogen to biomass increases the efficiency of synthetic fuel production by 3 to 5 times.

4. After 200 years, the waste would be removed from the state repositories or nuclear parks for final deposition. Final deposition could be extraterrestrial disposal using 23rd century space technology, or deep sea disposal, or disposal on a tiny island.

Of course, much of this radioactive material may be deemed too valuable to throw away a few centuries from now. Who knows, the humans and industries of the 23rd century might even pay big bucks for what 21st century humans use to call nuclear waste:-)


References and Links


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