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Re: [tlug] silicon cash eater

> On Jun 29, 2017, at 13:59, Stephen J. Turnbull <> wrote:
> The problem with nuclear is not technical.  We can solve those
> problems to the level needed vs. the risks of climate change.

The first problem is that such technical solutions would price nuclear fission out of the market.

The only way to make energy from nuclear fission economically viable is to cut down on safety.

The second problem is the interrelation between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

The only reason we have nuclear fission plants in the first place is because the emerging nuclear powers needed an industry to produce the technology components and nuclear fuel. They also wanted a propaganda instrument to make nuclear energy palatable for the general public.

If it had not been for the desire to produce and maintain nuclear weapons, there might not have been any nuclear power industry to begin with. Private investors would likely have shunned any such ventures would would have dared to try.

Further, no self-respecting engineer in their right mind would have chosen Uranium as a base. If energy production had been the primary motivation, a less hazardous fuel would have been chosen, most likely Thorium.

However, the Thorium cycle is not feasible for producing nuclear weapons, so it was dropped and very little research has gone into it. Without the massive government subsidies and orders that arose out of the nuclear weapons programs, the private industry didn't want to invest in any Thorium related research and development. Only in recent years has there been a renewed interest in Thorium, predominantly in India.

But even in India it takes massive government subsidies to sustain the Thorium reactor research program.

The industry by itself doesn't want to put up the money. And without the nuclear weapons programs, there would have been even less incentive for private investments into a Uranium based nuclear energy industry than there is now for Thorium, simply because of the greater hazards of Uranium.

This alone is the best indication that nuclear fission energy is simply not feasible without massive government subsidies, directly or indirectly.

>  It's lack of political will to invest in safety and risk mitigation,

It's not the will, it is the cost.

Take another example: Plane crashes.

There is plenty of technology that makes a large number of plane crashes survivable.

Many crashes are kinetically survivable and there is technology that would soften the impact on the passengers. Of those crashes that are kinetically survivable, most victims die due to smoke inhalation, burning or exploding fuel and a jelly type fuel has been developed that won't ignite nor explode in a crash.

However, the cost of this kind of safety is too high to make it economically viable. So, airlines don't use it.

It is always the cost, or more precisely the effect that cost has on profits.

That is always the bottom line.


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