Nuclear Power Is Expensive and Bad for the Environment … It’s Being Pushed Because It Is Good For Making Bombs

Since the 1980s, the U.S. Has Secretly Helped Japan Build Up Its Nuclear Weapons Program … Pretending It Was “Nuclear Energy” and “Space Exploration” …

As demonstrated below, nuclear energy is expensive and bad for the environment.

The real reason it is being pushed is because it is good for helping countries like Japan and the U.S. build nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Energy Is Expensive

Forbes points out:

Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon, America’s largest producer of nuclear power [who also served on the president’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future], said in Chicago Thursday.

And it won’t become economically viable, he said, for the forseeable future.


“I’m the nuclear guy,” Rowe said. “And you won’t get better results with nuclear. It just isn’t economic, and it’s not economic within a foreseeable time frame.”

U.S. News and World Report notes:

After the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan last year, the rising costs of nuclear energy could deliver a knockout punch to its future use in the United States, according to a researcher at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment.

“From my point of view, the fundamental nature of [nuclear] technology suggests that the future will be as clouded as the past,” says Mark Cooper, the author of the report. New safety regulations enacted or being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.

The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, “nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible.”

Alternet reports:

An authoritative study by the investment bank Lazard Ltd. found that wind beat nuclear and that nuclear essentially tied with solar. But wind and solar, being simple and safe, are coming on line faster. Another advantage wind and solar have is that capacity can be added bit by bit; a wind farm can have more or less turbines without scuttling the whole project. As economies of scale are created within the alternative energy supply chains and the construction process becomes more efficient, prices continue to drop. Meanwhile, the cost of stalled nukes moves upward.

AP noted last year:

Nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured.


Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country.

The bottom line is that it’s a gamble: Governments are hoping to dodge a one-off disaster while they accumulate small gains over the long-term.

The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion.

“The €2.5 billion will be just enough to buy the stamps for the letters of condolence,” said Olav Hohmeyer, an economist at the University of Flensburg who is also a member of the German government’s environmental advisory body.

The situation in the U.S., Japan, China, France and other countries is similar.


“Around the globe, nuclear risks — be it damages to power plants or the liability risks resulting from radiation accidents — are covered by the state. The private insurance industry is barely liable,” said Torsten Jeworrek, a board member at Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies.


In financial terms, nuclear incidents can be so devastating that the cost of full insurance would be so high as to make nuclear energy more expensive than fossil fuels.


Ultimately, the decision to keep insurance on nuclear plants to a minimum is a way of supporting the industry.

“Capping the insurance was a clear decision to provide a non-negligible subsidy to the technology,” Klaus Toepfer, a former German environment minister and longtime head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said.

See this and this.

This is an ongoing battle, not ancient history. As Harvey Wasserman reports:

The only two US reactor projects now technically under construction are on the brink of death for financial reasons.

If they go under, there will almost certainly be no new reactors built here.


Georgia’s double-reactor Vogtle project has been sold on the basis of federal loan guarantees. Last year President Obama promised the Southern Company, parent to Georgia Power, $8.33 billion in financing from an $18.5 billion fund that had been established at the Department of Energy by George W. Bush. Until last week most industry observers had assumed the guarantees were a done deal. But the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group, has publicly complained that the Office of Management and Budget may be requiring terms that are unacceptable to the builders.


The climate for loan guarantees has changed since this one was promised. The $535 million collapse of Solyndra prompted a rash of angry Congressional hearings and cast a long shadow over the whole range of loan guarantees for energy projects. Though the Vogtle deal comes from a separate fund, skepticism over stalled negotiations is rising.

So is resistance among Georgia ratepayers. To fund the new Vogtle reactors, Southern is forcing “construction work in progress” rate hikes that require consumers to pay for the new nukes as they’re being built. Southern is free of liability, even if the reactors are not completed. Thus it behooves the company to build them essentially forever, collecting payment whether they open or not.

All that would collapse should the loan guarantee package fail.

Bad for the Environment

Alternet points out:

Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School … found that the states that invested heavily in nuclear power had worse track records on efficiency and developing renewables than those that did not have large nuclear programs. In other words, investing in nuclear technology crowded out developing clean energy.

Many experts also say that the “energy return on investment” from nuclear power is lower than many other forms of energy. In other words, non-nuclear energy sources produce more energy for a given input.

And decentralizing energy production and storage is the real solution for the environment … not building more centralized nuclear plants.

BBC notes:

Building the [nuclear] power station produces a lot of CO2 ….

Nuclear power … would do nothing directly to reduce CO2 from transport ….

Indeed, an International Forum on Globalization report – written by environmental luminaries Ernest Callenback, Gar Smith and Jerry Mander – have slammed nuclear power as catastrophic for the environment:

Nuclear energy is not the “clean” energy its backers proclaim. For more than 50 years, nuclear energy has been quietly polluting our air, land, water and bodies—while also contributing to Global Warming through the CO2 emissions from its construction, mining, and manufacturing operations. Every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle—mining, milling, shipping, processing, power generation, waste disposal and storage—releases greenhouse gases, radioactive particles and toxic materials that poison the air, water and land. Nuclear power plants routinely expel low-level radionuclides into the air in
the course of daily operations.While exposure to high levels of radiation can kill within a matter of days or weeks, exposure to low levels on a prolonged basis can damage bones and tissue and result in genetic damage, crippling long-term injuries, disease and death.

David Swanson – discussing the report – writes:

The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.

Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process.


Nuclear energy is not an alternative to energies that increase global warming, because nuclear increases global warming. When high-grade uranium runs out, nuclear will be worse for CO2 emissions than burning fossil fuels. And as global warming advances, nuclear becomes even less efficient as reactors must shut down to avoid overheating.

Good for Making Bombs

If nuclear energy is expensive and bad for the environment, why is it being pushed so heavily? And why did the Fukushima reactors use plutonium – instead of just uranium? We need a little background to understand the answers.

Virtually all of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are of the same archaic design as those at Fukushima. This design was not chosen for safety reasons. Rather, it was chosen because it worked in Navy submarines, and produces plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

Indeed, safer designs – such as thorium reactors – were left on the shelf because they don’t produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years in order to protect the nuclear plant production of weapons-grade nuclear material. They have also suppressed the findings of their own top scientists about the health risks of radiation. Indeed, “nuclear regulators” are really just promoters for the nuclear cycle.

As veteran investigative reporter Joseph Trento – who has received six Pulitzer nominations, worked for CNN’s Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson – notes in a new report, the U.S. circumvented national and international laws to secretly give Japan nuclear weapons:

The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.


[Japan] has used its electrical utility companies as a cover to allow the country to amass enough nuclear weapons materials to build a nuclear arsenal larger than China, India and Pakistan combined. This deliberate proliferation by the United States fuels arguments by countries like Iran that the original nuclear powers engage in proliferation despite treaty and internal legal obligations.


That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Political leaders in Japan understood that the only way the Japanese people could be convinced to allow nuclear power into their lives was if a long line of governments and industry hid any military application. For that reason, a succession of Japanese governments colluded on a bomb program disguised as innocent energy and civil space programs.


Until the March 2011 tragedy, the Japanese nuclear industry had largely remained hidden from critical eyes. The less than thorough InternationA nuclear-armed Japan would relieve much of the drain on American military resources. The need to keep two divisions on the ground in Korea, as well as nuclear armed ships and aircraft in the Pacific as a hedge against China and the missile bases in the Soviet Far East detracted from the Pentagon’s chief mission – preparing for all-out war on the plains of Central Europe. The Reagan administration’s strategy was to push the Soviet war machine until it broke, taking the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes with it. The less than thorough International Atomic Energy Agency, the world’s proliferation safeguard agency, also turned a blind eye.

In a rare glimpse of a Japanese industry that has remained top secret for so many decades, our investigation raises serious concerns about Japanese and Western nuclear policies and the officials who shaped those policies during and after the Cold War. International corporations and officials sacrificed the safety and security of the public to carry out the deception. Under the guise of a peaceful nuclear power program, they made huge profits.


Both the Monju fast-breeder reactor in 1995 and the Tokai reprocessing plant in April 1997 suffered serious, accidental radiation leaks; both accidents were the subjects of attempted cover-ups. Most egregious was the fire and leak of radioactive sodium at the Monju FBR. Japan’s Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC), the government corporation that operated Monju, lied repeatedly to the public about the accident. PNC attempted to suppress video footage that showed the cause of the accident: a ruptured pipe in a secondary cooling system that had spilled an estimated two to three tons of radioactive sodium – the largest such leak in the history of fast-breeder technology. One of the reasons PNC gave for releasing the misinformation was that Monju was too important to Japan’s energy program to jeopardize the reactor’s operation. In other words, the public’s safety was secondary to the breeder program.

Had it not been for a courageous act by a group of Fukui prefecture officials in the early morning of December 11, PNC’s attempted cover-up probably would have succeeded. Suspecting a cover-up, the officials entered the plant and secured the videotape. The action came as a direct result of a previous accident at Fukui’s Tsuruga Unit I reactor in the early 1980s. Fukui prefecture officials were not permitted to investigate that mishap. When the Monju accident took place, the officials were determined not to be turned away a second time. Following revelations that the agency itself had been involved in trying to withhold the video, a PNC executive committed suicide.


The Fukushima nuclear disaster was not Japan’s first close call with nuclear weapons grade plutonium. Japan came very close to contaminating the Chilean coast on March 20, 1995, when the Pacific Pintail, laden with enough waste plutonium to build hundreds of nuclear bombs, tried to head into the protection of Chilean waters during a storm [with] 40-foot waves crashing over her bow, the spray flying away horizontally in the storm. He was in the midst of an Antarctic gale off Cape Horn at the tip of South America – the deadliest ocean in the world….

BBC notes:

A veteran of the nuclear industry wrote this: “What the industry needs to regain the support of the British public is… something akin to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

It needs to be admitted that governments and industry lied to the public about the links with the military programme” ….

And see this.

This entry was posted in Energy / Environment, Politics / World News, Science / Technology. Bookmark the permalink.
  • gozounlimited

    And our Gov is stocking up on potassium iodide in the meantime …. Army Stockpiles Anti-Radiation Pills To Protect Against Fukushima Fallout

    Paul Joseph Watson | Defense Logistics Agency cites ongoing crisis in Japan as reason behind bulk purchase. read more:

    Along with deceptions surrounding nuclear power/war/meltdown … we must contend with NASA and their climate change scam …. 50 Top Astronauts, Scientists, Engineers Sign Letter Claiming Extremist GISS Is Turning NASA Into A Laughing Stock!

    Eventually the sham is going to give, and the latest letter signed by 50 NASA experts, with more than 1000 years of combined professional experience, is a sure sign the gig’s about over.

    …..unproven remarks…..not substantiated…..hundreds of well-known climate scientists…..tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief… is NOT settled…..unbecoming of NASA’s history…..advocacy of an extreme position…..damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA…..even the reputation of science itself…”

    Letters to the top don’t get any more blunt than that.

    And how many tens of billions have these crackpots at GISS cost the taxpayers?

    read more:

    • gozounlimited

      Anticyclone in Oklahoma? Strange how a never happened before cyclone event has occurred (usually rare anticyclones appear with a tornado cycling in the opposite direction of the anticyclone) … but not this time … wonder why a never before weather event happens now?

      April 9th tornadic supercell by Woodward, Oklahoma
      see video:

      This explains it …. geoengineering …. like we don’t notice how we are getting F’d.
      4/5/2012 — Tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi — AL, TN , GA, FL, SC be AWARE
      see video:

    • stopnp

      Even if the global warming hype is true. Nuclear power generation literally warms up the earth. The process in which uranium is turned into fuel uses quite a few green house gas creating processes

      Mining. Which uses trucks the size of houses as a means of transport to the crusher. When those trucks drive around they also produce a lot of uranium dust which is great for everyone…

      Then the yellow cake has to be transported. More fossil fuel burning.

      In The U.S. this means being transported to Kentucky. Where two coal fired plants are used to process it into fuel. The chemicals used to make uranium into usable nucleat

      In the

  • omniversling

    Thanks for the great research and article GW (follow your posts on ZeroHedge). Any accurate info on where the 70 tonnes of plutonium is now? Stored in Japan? Or sold to other countries?

  • As a Canadian Nuclear-power-generation engineer, I’m in the position to say:

    Nuclear power plants are expensive to build – but energy generated by these plants is much cheaper than the other sources in the long run.

    Nuclear plants are more environment friendly than the power plants run on coal, wood or natural gas.

    Not all nuclear capable countries – but many of them are running their nuclear plants for producing bomb-grade uranium than for power generating of medical usage – like the US, Britain, Israel, India and Russia.

    We hear Zionist warmongers criticizing nuclear programs of Iran, Pakistan and North Korea for political and economic reasons – as the western imperialists don’t want these countries to prosper economically out of Western dominance.

    An Israeli minister gloated recently that Israeli propaganda of Iran’s nuclear program being ‘existential threat’ has diverted world’s attention from Israel-Palestinian conflict. He was proven right during Obama-Bibi White House meeting on March 5, when both men only talked about Iran and Obama did not raise the illegal Jewish settlement as he did during his last year meeting with Benji Netanyahu.

    • Ron Chandler

      Really, we cannot afford to get this wrong. Your comment drifts off-topic, but more seriously, the word is Fukushima. there is no energy benefit worth an area of country the size of four prefectures to be uninhabitable for thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years. The theoretical logic pro-nuclear is irrelevant, given that humanity has demonstrated conclusively that our mentality, cultures and psychology just is not up to keeping nuclear safe- and then there are the ‘Acts of God’. And we have plentiful energy sources less parasitic, less toxic and already competitive with the filthy traditional sources (solar voltaic, and more promising still, solar thermal, now in use in Spain and California). There’s just no sane reason to gamble with humanity’s future.

  • Penrose Blackbody Diode

    It was a good read until the end. You point out that Japan hid their nuke bomb making activities under the guise of harmless civilian energy, and you then claim that Iran won’t do that? Are people that different in mentality? That is singling out one country as capable of deception, but the other incapable of such deception. That is at best naivete, but at worst a subtle encouragement for Islamic Iran’s role as a nuclear armed hedge in the region. Iran has its own internal religious agenda, different from the other sectarian Islamic agendas. but other countries use Iran like a pawn for their agendas. So long as there is not actually a war or a gulf conflict, the contusion influenced words of the Iranian president drive up the price of oil, which is always welcome by people like greedy callous Exxon. The problem is if things actually get serious, there will be no oil at all, no distributions to the boardmembers, and this very well may happen if the insanity continues. A conflict will spiral out of control and indefinitely, with Iraq probably jumping in the mix just for fun, and other unanticipated things surely will happen. Realistically, everyone, not just one country but not the other, is seeking after nuclear armaments because it provides a real bite behind the bark of legal negotiations between two countries. Otherwise, words are crushed by the country with the strongest military. Looks like someone just trash-canned the Japanese nuclear bomb program. Who,why, or how is still murky, but nuclear proliferation is clearly a bad thing for all citizens of Planet Earth.

  • SickofThem

    I would like for those aliens… what are they? The Galactic Federation? Paladians? Akashians or is that Arcadians/Adlanteans? To make the half-life what is it 300 million years? of the dangerous stuff to either be beamed off the planet, or have the time change around the bulk of it so it’s 300, 400, or 600 million years and the stuff is safe enough to eat and make my eggs and bacon off of it.

    IF the people at Amerikan Kabuki can dream, so can I.

  • Wayne Pacific

    As far back as 1978 nuclear plants were were shown to cost more than the earnings from the power they would generate. They are built to produce not only nuclear bombs but also depleted uranium, which is used for the heavy ammunition that gives US troops a big military advantage. Reportedly, Israel was receiving the nuclear materials from Fukushima and the plant security was provided by Israel.

  • BobtheGrape

    The use of thorium reactors is a less dangerous way for using nuclear power. The reason it wasn’t developed further was it didn’t make plutonium which is necessary for making thermo-nuclear devices (bombs). Also, thorium reactors use sodium as a coolant which requires special handling and precautions.
    It seems that the M-I-I-C is restricting renewable less dngerous forms of energy, like HEMP, the Meyers engine and the like. I think they want to kill us all!!

  • peacepioneer

    If you are passionate about nuclear energy’s dangers, please watch this video on an alternative nuclear fuel, Thorium. It may be the solution to the pollution..

  • peacepioneer

    Thorium, Uranium’s safer alternative.

  • Nicholas

    I agree, Nuclear Power is a terrible idea and only serves to wreak havoc on the world. Nothing good comes from it. We don’t need consistent, baseload energy with a much smaller carbon footprint. We don’t need advances in science that will help us understand the fundamental laws of the universe, and we any of these medical technologies that utilize radioactive isotopes of elements that come from………nuclear power. In fact, how about we tell everybody who wants an x-ray, PET, CAT, or other similar test that they cannot because radiation is dangerous. Why stop there? No more radiation treatments for cancer patients either. We must deny them of this.

    Consider the deeper impact of your opinion before stating it.

    -Nick (Nuclear Eningeer)

  • Chaitanya [CHAI] Kalevar

    I worked for Atomic Energy of india in 1963 as an Electrical Engineering graduate from IISc. After a technical meeting, I asked my senior, “what are you going to do with nuclear waste?” He assured there are smart engineers in Canada who will have a solution in 5 or 10 yrs. I was lucky to get scholarship [Waterloo] & looked for them but did not meet any. After the oil crisis of early 70s when Ontario Hydro began building nuclear plants at Pickering [25kms from downtown Toronto], I could not resist and started openly opposing nuclear power.
    I think the nuclear establishment – engineers and scientists specialised in nuclear technology have a professional stake in continuing on this suicidal path for us all. We should have alternate career paths opened up for these guys who know little besides their nuclear specialisation. Lending their creative potential to the war lords of the world is hardly a way to serve mankind or in the interest of the planet on which they and their progency will reside, if it is not turned into a nuclear waste land very soon, unable to support any life at all!
    It is obvious that the organised scientists and Engineers are a greater threat to us all than the organised crime could ever be. They may not admit it, but all reactors leak all the time – deteriorating our safe living chances on this planet along with all other living things! Hope more of us start speaking out against these 0.1% guys who are misleading humanity into a dead end street.

    Why worry about one bomb proliferation of Iran, when the hundreds of nuclear reactors are nothing but STATIONARY KILLING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, not to mention the unmentionable hundreds with Israel and thousands with the nuclear ring leader – America!

  • Dr. Dread Lord

    @Chaitanya [CHAI] Kalevar: Do you have any supporting evidence? I’m really interested in learning more about how unsafe these plants are, but I’m having trouble finding anything online that talks about how bad the radiation from plants is compared to other sources. In fact, it seems like the radiation received inside a nuclear plant is lower than the amount in the environment. I assume this is because the reactors have been leaking for so long. Does this mean we are all going to die because it is too late to save us from the nuclear power? What can we do to reverse this process? I do not want my kids to grow 15 legs and then die because of these “stationary killing nuclear weapons”. Please offer advice on how we can get rid of these scientists and engineers and make them stop pushing through such terrible things.

  • stopnp

    Even if the global warming hype is true. Nuclear power generation literally warms up the earth. The process in which uranium is turned into fuel uses quite a few green house gas creating processes

    Mining. Which uses trucks the size of houses as a means of transport to the crusher. When those trucks drive around they also produce a lot of uranium dust which is great for everyone…

    Then the yellow cake has to be transported. More fossil fuel burning.

    In The U.S. this means being transported to Kentucky. Where two coal fired plants are used to process it into fuel. The chemicals used to make uranium into usable nuclear fuel create over 90% of the green house gasses that the green guys say are so bad.

    I could write a book about how bad nuclear power is for the world. What I’m writing here isn’t a theory. If the energy companies weren’t in bed with the government and being promoted by their own supposed regulatory committees we would have been done with this a long time ago

  • Don Jusko

    Cold fusion has been proved to work and it’s being covered over, why? Could it be because it won’t make their bombs? Nuclear waste is irresponsible to say the least.
    Cold fusion now a reality: tabletop sound wave machine produces nuclear fusion in water
    First written about similar experiments in 1998 explained that ordinary ultrasonic cleaning machines (the kind you can buy that vibrate water at 20,000 cycles per second to clean your glasses or tools, for example) could be used in home nuclear fusion experiments. That report was widely ridiculed and thrown in the same bucket as the original Pons and Fleishman cold fusion announcement back in 1989. Cold fusion was impossible, everybody said. The scientific community agreed: cold fusion was a hoax.
    But it wasn’t a hoax. And highly successful cold fusion experiments were being conducted in labs in Japan, California, and Russia, among other places. These labs were reproducing experiments that proved nuclear processes were taking place by observing excess helium production (a telltale sign that nuclear processes are happening). And now, it’s “official” that cold fusion is real, since the mainstream press has reported it (funny how that works, huh?). But most of the scientific community still doesn’t know about these experiments, and most people continue to believe that Pons and Fleishman were con artists, which is absolutely not the case. They were brilliant pioneers, shunned by a scientific community whose egos and careers were vested in the world of “hot fusion” where billions of dollars, not tabletop jars, are invested in an effort to produce excess energy.

  • Nicholas


    Yes, you are exactly right. I would not have a job if not for the nuclear industry. My PhD physics degree will do me no good…… I joined the nuclear industry because I am passionate about it and think it is a great idea, not because it is the only job I could get or because it pays well. I strongly encourage you to take a coure in nuclear science. You are misguided on many levels.

  • CutTheCrap

    Dear GOD.
    Mr. WashingtonsBlog, if that’s your real name, IMMEDIATELY delete this terrible excuse for a blog post and apologize to America. Czar Putin has more objective posts, and you should be ashamed of yourself! Damn tripeweaver.

  • Kevin

    Please correct me if I am wrong but my understanding of the various plutonium isotopes is that commercial power plants tend to produce plutonium that is unsuitable for weapons. That the production of weapons grade plutonium needs a reactor more suitable for “academic research” as opposed to power generation. As such the Japanese reactors would produce plutonium unsuitable for weapons.

  • In response to Kevin and this post, you need reprocessing to produce weapons grade plutonium and Japan has two, Tokaimura and Rokkasho, but neither has been used since 2006 (the former had an accident and was shut down, the latter was shut down after protests). The LWR was chosen specifically to create jobs in California (tricky-Dick Nixon, then President’s home state), but it is also very good at building bombs with a reprocessing facility. In the US, only the Hanford Washington military site is “active” but it hasn’t been used since the end of the Cold War. So basically, we have a bunch of old, inefficient reactors that are .5% efficient (5% with enriched uranium) without reprocessing and maybe 20% efficient with reprocessing, which we don’t do. The “next gen” reactor proposed by the US government and tossed about 700 billion in research money, the fast breeder reactor, has never successfully gone beyond test phases and has the same inherent design flaws as LWRs, need highly enriched fuel (20%), are extremely complicated in design, and have proliferation concerns (they are extremely good for nuclear weapons) does have the advantage of being able to burn 99.5% of their fuel, so they would most likely be profitable if created. The next gen reactor they SHOULD be researching is LFTR. This design also needs continuous fuel reprocessing (which is a proliferation concern), but can be made to self contaminate. It also is 99.5% efficient, burns both nuclear waste and raw thorium (which is much more abundant than uranium), is passively safe, can’t melt down, operates at high temperature but low pressure, so it can’t explode, would reduce the dependency on China for heavy rare earth metals because those are found with thorium (in fact, the amount of heavy rare earth metals thrown away because of thorium contamination is over current demand). Nuclear is clean compared to coal and oil – much less is mined/drilled for and shipped for the amount of power generated, and as for radiation into the environment, well, you get radon with natural gas and coal burning spews out a ton of it, so no luck there. I have yet to see a better solution, as solar and wind are part time solutions and can lose a lot of energy in transmission, and hydro and geothermal are locale solutions.

  • Zinsky

    Great post and very helpful links. CuttheCrap is obviously a knuckle-dragging conservative who thinks pollution is a good thing. May he and his nihilistic brethren get a particularly painful form of brain cancers from the poisons they worship!

  • n_coast

    “Virtually all of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are of the same archaic design as those at Fukushima. This design was not chosen for safety reasons. Rather, it was chosen because it worked in Navy submarines, and produces plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.” Two factual errors in one paragraph.

    Most of the nuclear power plants in the US and all Navy plants are PWR’s. The Fukushima plants and some US plants are BWR’s. Usually the plutonium in spent fuel from either kind of power reactor is mostly a mixture of Pu239 and Pu240, I think in about a 3:1 ratio. It is not practical to separate the isotopes, but weapons grade plutonium has to be nearly pure Pu239.

    • Brian Donovan
      • n_coast

        No, what? If I listed the US PWR’s, my list would be way longer that wikipedia’s list of BWR’s. The only Navy shipboard reactor that was not a PWR was the sodium cooled fast reactor for the Seawolf.

        The original post is so riddled with errors that I could waste a lot of time speculating about the motivation behind it.

  • cwnuclear

    Sorry, but I don’t agree with your facts. I am not sure about the bomb part but I know for a fact that nuclear power is environmental. For example, Coal makes 18,000,000 cans of waste per year while nuclear makes 1 can of waste per year. And for the cheap part I am 50/50, because I found a website that states that nuclear power is cheap. I am not sure if it is 100% right http://nuclearpowerjedis.weebl
    I don’t know where you got your facts but they are not correct

    • Brian Donovan

      Nuclear creates 100,000 tons of wastes per ton of fuel. so your can becomes 100,000 cans. Nuclear waste is 100% deadly radiation, coal is 1-3%. meanwhile solar and wind are cheaper, and have free fuel forever. Lazard.

  • Brian Donovan

    The IAEA says that we will have uranium shortages starting in 2025, then getting worse fast.