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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

End of Nuclear Power?

The Daily Bell


Nuclear renaissance melts down over Japan disaster ... After more than two decades of stagnation, the global nuclear power industry was just coming back to life. Power utilities had launched proposals for more than 300 new reactors, most of them in Asia, and dozens were under construction. Then came the Japanese nuclear disaster, shocking the world with images of two explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan, near the epicentre of Friday's earthquake. The disaster threatens to end the nuclear renaissance. A slowdown has already begun. – Globe and Mail

Dominant Social Theme: Too bad. Nuclear power is the solution to global warming.

Free-Market Analysis: Yesterday we provided something of an update on Green technology, which in some instances is not proving anymore successful in the 21st century than it did in the 1970s. We concluded by suggesting that the Green movement was more about centralizing power and control in order to buttress the power elite's goal of one-world government than it was about caring for the environment. Now the Japanese earthquake disaster has lifted the lid on the nuclear power "renaissance" and what it has revealed is positively loony.

There is no doubt that after some 30 years of societal pushback to nuclear power because of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, nuclear power was staging a comeback. It was a kind of quiet comeback but as the article (excerpted above) explains, the scope of nuclear expansion is absolutely startling for those not directly involved in the industry. Here's some more from Canada's Globe and Mail:

The revival was driven by soaring fossil-fuel prices and the scientific acceptance that carbon dioxide output, a notable byproduct of coal-fired plants, was accelerating the pace of global warming. Countries that had slowed or ended nuclear development, including Sweden and Finland, reversed course. In the United States, 16 new plants are in the proposal stage, according to the World Nuclear Association, though only two are under construction. The nuclear revival seemed assured, as billions of dollars of investments in design, engineering and construction were committed. In an interview in Moscow in February, Russian billionaire industrialist Oleg Deripaska said he saw a bright future for nuclear development "because only nuclear could provide a real solution" to global warming.

The Globe and Mail quotes Ira Helfand, a member of the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility in the United States, as saying, "These reactors are inherently dangerous. They contain the equivalent of 1,000 nuclear bombs." Think about that for a moment. How does the Green environmental movement go from criticizing oil and coal-fueled plants as being bad for the environment to endorsing (or at least not protesting against) nuclear plants containing the equivalent of "1,000 nuclear bombs."

Their answer seems obvious to us: the environmental movement is not about "saving the environment" and never has been. The movement, generously (if secretly) funded by oil interests has always been about manipulating prices, consolidating energy alternatives and, as we pointed out above, creating a command-and-control energy platform that would be ever more amenable to the world-spanning plans of the global elite. There really is no other answer. Do we really believe that the Green movement goes from fighting against coal-powered plants to supporting the emplacement of nuclear power in various municipalities around the world? Do we?

This is all about control and bigness. The powers-that-be love complexity, whether it is regulatory or technological. The bigger the project, the more complex it is, the more difficult it is for the average person to replicate. It also makes life's simplest necessities mysterious and seemingly out-of-reach. It is a way of ensuring the average person feels increasingly helpless.

Want economic growth? It is necessary to have a central bank and tens of thousands of regulators to make sure that the awesome power of high-finance does not implode with disastrous results. Want transportation? It is necessary to buy a car with more online computers than a spaceship. Want energy? Its provision is to be offered via titanic nuclear plants with power sources that verge out of control during any given natural catastrophe.

So what's going to happen now? The Globe and Mail quotes Toronto energy consultant Tom Adams as saying that the Japanese disaster will put "new nuclear development on ice." He predicts that vast shale gas resources around the world will eventually make gas-fired plants efficient electricity generators of choice. There's also natural gas. John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, in a speech on March 8 in Washington, is quoted as saying, "Natural gas is queen. It is domestically abundant and is the bridge to the future." Rowe reportedly noted U.S. gas supplies have recently increased by about 60 per cent, making the US number three in gas production after the Middle East and Russia.

There are also renewed mutterings about more radical forms of energy such as "cold fusion" – which seems to reoccur as an option every decade or so and then peter out. In Italy, Andrea Rossi's Nickel-Hydrogen Cold Fusion technology has attracted a good deal of attention along with claims that he has built a power-producing prototype. A year-long testing program at the University of Bologna is said to have commenced along with the promise of the construction of a one-megawatt plant in Greece by late October. Rossi keeps making demos of the technology, but only to hand-picked observers.

We did a little research of our own and came up with yet another alternative source of energy: tidal or wave power. According to "small-scale wave power initiatives – from 100 kilowatts (kW) to 2 megawatts (MW) – are now going ahead in more than a dozen countries. Scotland had an experimental 75kW OWC on the shore of the island of Islay for 11 years: this has now been replaced by a 500kW model, named the Limpet, clinging to rocks facing waves sweeping in from 3,000 miles of the Atlantic."

Portugal has set up an oscillating water column device to capture wave energy in the Azores. The Netherlands has something called the Archimedes Wave Swing; an American company is working on a buoys-based system off the south coast of Australia. India, China, Sweden and Japan all have wave-energy programs in the works. "The technical problems have been steadily overcome," informs us solemnly, "but the only practical applications have been on a small scale. Wave energy is crying out for 2,000MW power stations in the deep ocean."

That's probably so, but excuse our cynicism. Wave-energy technology is so darn complicated that the larger energy industry had to turn to constructing "simple" nuclear power plants? The obstacles to harnessing the power of waves are so immense that the only alternative was to go nuclear? Something doesn't pass the smell test.

There are plenty of ways to generate energy in this world – considerable amounts of it. With nuclear energy – the preferred option of the power elite because of its complexity and general barriers to entry – seemingly on the way out once again, suddenly shale and natural gas pop up as energy alternatives. Natural gas has always been a possible source of great amounts of energy, but energy companies are in the habit of flaring off the nasty stuff to get to the oil beneath.

We figure the reason that wave-power hasn't been more aggressively pursued is not because it is necessarily such a complex technology but because it is in actual fact fairly simple. It's clean, efficient, and there are plenty of waves around. This is anathema to the Anglosphere that seeks the most dangerous and complex solution whenever possible.

We would not be surprised, in fact, if nuclear power limps along despite the latest setbacks; maybe with new "improved" designs. As with so many other of the elite's damaged dominant social themes, the chosen solutions stagger ever-forward like brain-dead zombies. The more gruesome they are, the more appeal they seem to have to the world's decision makers. How else does one end up seeding power plants containing the force of "one thousand nuclear bombs" around the world as the chosen antidote to the environmental crisis?

Conclusion: One can argue of course that modern nuclear power is in fact "safe" and that the current crisis is Japan is overblown. Given the coverage in the mainstream media (fairly negative) such supicions may be somewhat warranted. Of course it is just as likely that a media coverup is going on and things are actually WORSE than they appear to be. Either way, we can't help but believe nuclear power is something of a hammer in search of a nail. Whether it's global warming (human breathing is toxic) or the "energy crisis," the power elite can be counted on (in our humble view) to create ever-more questionable solutions that are then treated ever-more seriously by universities, think tanks, major media and, ultimately, politicians in pursuit of global governance. The faux "nuclear industry" seems just one more example.


  1. An absolutely spot-on analysis of the real nature of the 'green' agenda. The whole CO2/global warming fairy story is the clearest case in point of the mega-manipulation in use. Even though it has now been shown to be a fabrication based solely on fake data and biased computer modelling with no observational support, the politicians of the world continue to pretend that it the fabricated theory is established fact. Why? because it could be (and probably is) purpose-made to support the widespread re-introduction of nuclear fission power. If people realize (as they increasingly do) that AGW is fake they will also realize that there is no case for new nuclear build.

    If Rossi's 'cold fusion' device is real and (as they will) the 'authorities' can make out that it is dangerous (some low level gamma radiation seems to be created when it operates) then let us hope that rather than suppress the invention entirely, they adopt it to replace nuclear fission as the heat source used to drive the worlds new power stations, and even retro-fit the technology to existing ones. This would fit their agenda of control (using apparent complexity) perfectly. Even though people would be denied decentralised and inexpensive power generation for the time being, at least we wouldn't have to live with periodic nuclear meltdowns in the 'completely safe' new-generation fission reactors, or be looking at the need for nuclear waste storage facilities that will have to last for many generations.

  2. Thorium reactors might be a safer alternative.