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French President Nicolas Sarkozy is bravely ignoring paranoid alarmists and pushing ahead with clean nuclear energy, even as America's nuclear future stalls.  (Source: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Its easy to blame politicians for lacking the bravery to support nuclear power. But at the end of the day, if the American people keep electing those politicians, that says something about them.  (Source: AP Photo)

Perhaps clean, high energy, low-waste Generation IV reactors won't be on the agenda for the U.S. Perhaps, that honor will be reserved for a more courageous nation -- like France.  (Source: Herve Lenain/Corbis)
European giant shows it's committed to being a tech superpower, in the face of public fear and ignorance

I. France Says Yes to Nuclear

Among some Americans, France is derided and the bunt of jokes.  Such attitudes arose after the Americans helped an occupied France with two World Wars.  However, most of those Americans fail to realize that the American Revolution would likely have failed, had it not been for French intervention.

France has long been a strong independent nation, and it's been showing it of late.  For example, when the U.S. was wavering on whether to launch airstrikes when Libya's dictator was slaughtering civilians, France acted first, sending in fighter jets and bombers to the region and taking matters into their own hands.  (The U.S. would later get fully involved.)

Now France has made perhaps its boldest move yet, throwing its support yet again solidly behind nuclear power

Back in America, President Barack Obama has backed off of plans to promote new nuclear plants in the face of public nuclear paranoia, following the meltdown at Japan's tsunami-struck Fukushima reactors.  

Most members of the public know little about nuclear plants -- they don't know that the Fukushima reactor was negligently designed (surveys reported the area had a 10 percent chance per decade of flooding, yet the generators weren't waterproofed); they don't know that Fukushima's reactors were nearly 40 years old and were being decommissioned; and they don't know that modern reactors cool down much faster and have superior automated safety systems, reducing the possibility of a meltdown substantially.  In short, for all the fear there is little "facts" about nuclear power and what few "facts" there are, are hard to distinguish from for-profit sensationalism.

II. European Nation Refuses to Let Itself Fall Victim to Paranoia, Misinformation

Fortunately while American politicians are too weak and afraid to resoundingly back nuclear power, France's leadership is stepping up to the plate.  The nation announced it would be spending €1B ($1.43B USD) to move forward with plans to design and build cutting edge Generation IV reactor.

Speaking to the press, French President Nicolas Sarkozy asserted, "There is no alternative to nuclear energy today," he told journalists on Monday. We are going to devote €1B to the nuclear program of the future, particularly fourth-generation technology."

The stand President Sarkozy is taking is brave one, as he's challenging the sentiments of many of his constituents.  Just this month protesters formed a human chain around the nation's oldest nuclear plant in the city of Fessenheim.  Located in the German-bordering province of Alsace, the plant has been open for 34 years.

And President Sarkozy is not only challenging his voters.  He's challenging his colleagues in the European Union as well.

Germany's Prime Minister Angela Merkel announced her intention to cut and run from nuclear power.  The nation's 17 nuclear reactors, which provide 40 percent of its power, would be lost in the retreat.  A defeated Merkel, placated, "We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible."

President Sarkozy say that the difference between France and its peers isn't merely its commitment to nuclear, but the effort it puts in the technology.  He states, "Our power stations are more expensive because they are safer."

In the wake of Fukushima, France has been conducting rigorous audits to confirm that all of its nuclear reactors are up to par and that there's no safety gaps their designs. 

The shift to Generation IV reactors such as thorium molten salt reactors, or pebble bed reactors will greatly increase safety as most Generation IV designs are incapable of melting down.  The new reactors also produce far less waste by recycling byproducts, and produce more clean energy.

III. Where's American Bravery Now?

To be fair others have tried to push the issue of nuclear power in Europe.  Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to push voters to approve his nation's first restart of nuclear power since the 1980s.  The vote failed by a resounding 94 percent.

Back here in America, at least the President hasn't proposed sounding the retreat on nuclear like Germany has.  But nary a word has left his mouth about new plants, even as the nation prepares to retire older reactors and spends massively on more expensive alternative energy sources.

It's easy to blame Barack Obama, blame Congress, or blame someone else for the fact that America lacks the logic and guts to back nuclear power -- the cleanest, cheapest, and safest current energy source if applied correctly.

But at the end of the day you can only put the blame on others for so long.  If the majority of Americans were truly as brave as France's president -- willing to tell the naysayers, "Be damned, we're going to support great engineering" -- then they would vote obstructionist politicians out of office.

If they don't, they can only blame themselves and their countrymen.

American is a nation with a history of innovative engineering, without question.  After all, it was America that essentially invented both the atomic bomb and the nuclear reactor.  

Today, though, the nation is faltering in its leadership role.  Its politicians are silent.  There are no cries for Generation IV reactors.  We're unlikely to see such reactors on American soil anytime soon.  So the next time somebody cracks a joke at the expense of the French, don't laugh -- because the joke's on us (the U.S.).

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By icanhascpu on 6/29/2011 9:08:40 AM , Rating: 5
Its not about fucking bravery or courage. Its about stupidity and ignorance!

Coal (and some other alternatives) are much more deadly than Nuclear even at nuclears' worst times. If people understood the newer designs vs coal. It makes me want to punch people in their stupid fucking face, because their moronic fucktardedness is costing HUMAN LIVES.

Risks from reactor accidents are estimated by the rapidly developing science of "probabilistic risk analysis" (PRA). A PRA must be done separately for each power plant (at a cost of $5 million) but we give typical results here: A fuel melt-down might be expected once in 20,000 years of reactor operation. In 2 out of 3 melt-downs there would be no deaths, in 1 out of 5 there would be over 1000 deaths, and in 1 out of 100,000 there would be 50,000 deaths. The average for all meltdowns would be 400 deaths. Since air pollution from coal burning is estimated to be causing 10,000 deaths per year, there would have to be 25 melt-downs each year for nuclear power to be as dangerous as coal burning.

By gamerk2 on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
By quiksilvr on 6/29/2011 9:51:08 AM , Rating: 1
Bear with me while I state this example.

In Virginia, there is a freeway called the 495. Unlike other cities, it's rush hours are much longer and more frustrating. Yes, there is construction, but it isn't nearly as intrusive as one would think.

The main problem is merging lanes with no restriction (lights to make cars enter the freeway one at a time and not 20). So the solution? Put up lights.

But then come three years later. The population increased. More people are on the roads. What now? Add lanes? An expensive process, but sure, add lanes.

Come five years later. The extra lanes made no difference. Construction has finished and the situation has improved.

This is synonymous to our situation in energy. The problem we are having is not the roads (the grid). It's the cars (energy) that are on it. Instead of just pumping money into new alternatives that might become barely noticeable in the future, what we need is to cut back on the cars (the power) on the road (electrical grid). Work more days from home to cut back on traffic (Get efficient lights). Try to move closer to where you work and cut down on the time you are on there (Get a cover for your water heater). Go LED in your tech. Get screens for your windows to cut back on the heat. Use natural gas where you can (heating air, water).

I'm all for solar and nuclear, but at the end of the day, we need to focus MORE on cutting back on the power we use instead of pushing all these alternatives all the time. I'm not saying scrap solar, wind or nuclear projects. I'm just saying be more efficient.

By FITCamaro on 6/29/2011 12:01:37 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry we already have washing machines, toilets, etc that don't work well because of ideas like this.

By michael67 on 6/29/2011 6:40:14 PM , Rating: 5
Then tell me why dose the US use 2x more energy then the EU???

USA 87,216
EU-27 40,821

As long as I can remember our government was pushing people to save energy, by spots on TV, subsidised house isolation, and minimum rule's ware houses, businesses and equipment have to comply to.

About 10 years ago I worked in the US for 2 years, and people ware asking me why did I turn the lights of if I left a room or the kitchen?

My reply was, I learned it that way, all people in Holland do it, because why waste energy if you don't have need for it!

By ekv on 6/29/2011 11:16:28 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting that the kWh/capita numbers you give are for 2008. Look a bit closer and you'll see that the regional consumption listed for the USA is down 2% from 1990, whereas the EU's consumption is up. Perhaps the EU ought to learn from our efficiency?

Another thing, it is a stretch of the imagination to suggest that because of some number published stating that every person in the USA consumes 4.1 times the average, that this implies every person actually does. I personally don't live in a mansion, nor fly a private jet, nor buy carbon credits, etc. I turn out the lights when I leave a room, etc., because it costs money not to. That's the way I learned it. Most people I know do it that way too, except for a couple millionaire acquaintances [they can afford automatic LED lighting, electric vehicles, and so on].

What I'm trying to get to is, that statistically derived number doesn't give a break-down of where the energy is being consumed. Is it household? Is it industrial?

Further, if you go to they note that California (where I live) has the lowest per capita carbon footprint. Not that give a diddly about that, but what I do care about is that we're fairly close to bankruptcy.

By FITCamaro on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
By mkrech on 6/29/2011 1:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting idea... do you have sources to show that we are using more energy that in the past. Specifically, show me how we are using more energy per capita.

We don't have a consumption problem, we have a production problem (artificially created by regulation)... and the grid capacity issues are just due to the push for urbanism.

We have more than enough capability to produce and distribute all the energy we want, if we would just elect politicians that don't implement insane energy policies.

By Samus on 6/29/2011 1:54:08 PM , Rating: 4
It's unfortunate the one great idea McCain/Palin brought to the table was expanding our Nuclear infrastructure. Obama's "green" approach is just a bunch of brown. Nuclear is the only feasible was to decrease our dependance on foreign oil as no other alternatives are powerful enough.

If Obama wants greener cars, an improved grid, and a recovered economy, begin construction on upgrading/building new hybrid reactor plants (which are 100% safe, 'unmeltdown-able') and give people the jobs and electricity they need.

By mkrech on 6/29/2011 5:06:14 PM , Rating: 2

But, nuclear is not the only way to decrease dependency on foreign oil and it will take years to build new reactors. So, while we begin an initiative to move towards renewable clean nuclear energy, start drilling! Drill here and drill now! Gas, oil, even peat for Pete's sake! ;)

Domestic oil, gas, and coal production can be ramped up very quickly. Doing so will create jobs, revive our economy, reduce and even eliminate our trade deficit all while giving us the resources to feasibly move towards nuclear energy production within a country that has a strong economy.

By FITCamaro on 6/29/2011 11:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power does nothing to reduce oil consumption.

Cheaper electricity doesn't mean people will rush out and buy electric cars.

By achintya on 6/30/2011 5:03:06 AM , Rating: 1
Nuclear power means less consumption of oil to operate oil fired power plants. Lesser consumption means lesser plants which means lesser reliability on Arab oil.

By bwake on 6/30/2011 12:24:41 PM , Rating: 3
I have news for you.

Since the oil shocks of the '70s, the USA generates almost no electricity by burning oil. Most of our oil consumption is for transportation. The next biggest use is for home heating oil in the northeast.

The high cost of batteries is the biggest barrier to electric cars, not the cost of electricity. If you want Americans to drop gasoline fueled cars like a hot rock, bring down the cost of high capacity, lightweight batteries.

If the greens really cared about the environment they would fund basic research into solid state physics, engineering research into batteries, and process improvements into battery manufacturing. Instead, their money goes into lobbying, so that they can hobnob with the big shots in Washiington and pretend they're important.

By dgingeri on 6/29/2011 2:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but your analogy and resolution both fall flat.

1. in your analogy, the best thing to do is to build more highways, better highway design, and widen existing highways. Traffic growth is directly related to population growth. there is no stopping population growth without major restrictions on our freedoms, which will never happen, so we will not stop traffic growth. The resolution is to continue to expand traffic paths, and redirect traffic to proper highway layouts, as population increases. There's no other way around it. Just the fact that the Virginia government is not keeping up shows that the money is not being spent properly, as is the case nationwide.

2. energy growth is directly related to population and technology growth. as population and technology grow, the energy consumed will grow. There's no way around it. Take processors for example. As technology increases, so does the power consumption of the chips, but their efficiency increases substantially as well. a decade ago, we had single core processors using 80-100W on the top end. Today we have quad and hex core CPUs using 120-150W on the top end. In the mainstream, in 2001 we had single core chips using 35-40W, and now we have dual core chips using 50-70W. TV's are just as bad. While we had 13" TVs that used 50-60W back in 2001 as a mainstream, now we have 27" LCD TVs using 80-100W. Game consoles use 2-3 times as much power as the ones in 2001. All of us are now using both more often, as well. Throw more people into that equation and you see how our power consumption is going up so fast. Reducing our individual power consumption is darn near impossible. it would cost us considerable life style changes. Nobody but a bare fringe will ever do that until this country falls apart.

The only solution is to update the power grid and increase power generation capacity continuously.

your argument falls totally flat when reality is considered.

By Alexvrb on 6/29/2011 9:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Consumer electronics have gone up in power demands, but many things have gone down. The biggest power-savers are modern HVAC designs, water heaters, and to some extent washers and dryers. Light bulbs also draw a fraction of what they once did. I'm not saying that we're drawing less power today, but many things are actually much less power hungry and they once were.

Even with PCs, it's not all doom and gloom on the power consumption front. The peak draw has gone up, but they've also become better at using less power for less demanding work. In particular, many modern GPUs now have very low idle draw compared to a couple of generations ago. Also many modern CPUs integrate so much into that "50-70W" CPU that it really isn't that bad, especially for laptops. Look at Llano and Sandy Bridge designs for laptops. Much better performance than older chips, and pretty decent battery life to boot.

Power supplies are also more efficient in many cases. A lot of people are building systems with PSUs meeting various 80 Plus levels, which means less power draw at the wall for the same set of hardware.

By monitorjbl on 6/29/2011 10:13:08 AM , Rating: 3
Remember, the idea of burning things to generate power, be it electrical or mechanical, is much older than the coal power plant. Nuclear power has only been around since the 1930s, the steam engine has been around since the late 1600s. A coal power plant is a natural progression of things that people have known about for centuries, nuclear power is in its infancy by comparison.

So, it's not fair to say that there were 4 meltdowns in 50 years and not mention every accident involving steam power over at least the last 400 years. Oh, and probably all of the deaths and sicknesses during the Industrial Revolution if you start bringing up the widespread effects of radiation from meltdowns.

By headbox on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
By Iaiken on 6/29/2011 12:00:14 PM , Rating: 5
I'd just shoot myself

Hey man, don't let your lack of passion for nukes stand in your way...

By mkrech on 6/29/2011 1:14:05 PM , Rating: 1
platitudes from a sycophant. lol, fail!

By monitorjbl on 6/29/2011 2:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
You apparently stopped reading at the second to last sentence of my post. Could you not contain the unfocused outrage boiling within you long enough to finish?

By JediJeb on 6/29/2011 3:18:58 PM , Rating: 1
You are an IDIOT. The nuclear danger has NOTHING to do with steam and mechanical injury/deaths. RADIATION MUTHA FUCKA!

More proof that iBrains have lower comprehension and vocabulary skills. Maybe it is because those "Magical" boxes do everything for them and the gray matter goes dormant because it doesn't have to be used.

By petrosy on 6/29/2011 7:37:38 PM , Rating: 1
Please do shoot yourself!

By someguy123 on 6/29/2011 5:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
If you compare those killed by coal vs those killed by nuclear over the course of 50 years, and increase the amount of nuclear deaths accordingly to match coal energy generation, I'm sure you'd find that coal still kills more people, by far.

By Iaiken on 6/29/2011 10:31:18 AM , Rating: 5
Funny; why have we had 4 meltdowns in just over 50 years of operation, one of which has been attributed to deaths of several thousand, and three whos human cost is yet undetermined.

You're talking apples and oranges of obsolete designs that require human intervention to keep them from running away into a critical state and modern designs that function completely opposite. For example, CANDU reactors require human intervention in order for fission to even take place. In the event of a loss of power, water or pressure, this very aspect becomes a safety feature as the plant would then simply fall into a safe state as all fission ceased and the rods cool to ambient on their own. Add other features such as gravity fed systems for dumping the moderator and feeding in neutron inhibitors and you have a totally different animal. Lastly, the fuel that comes out of a PWR is often MORE volatile and radioactive than the fuel that went in due to the breeding of Plutonium, meanwhile the expended fuel from a CANDU reactor is practically Depleted Uranium thanks to their ability to safely fission the various Plutonium isotopes.

The problem is, the public is largely ignorant of these facts or otherwise so terrified of past propaganda combined with recent happenstance that they are simply unwilling to believe that we've made any progress in the field during last 50 years. Instead they would rather live in the same fantasy land as your solar energy comment comes from. Intermittent sources are not the answer to the problem of what to do with our base installations. If we don't start building new nukes to replace the old ones, they are going to be replaced by "clean" coal, which spread around more radiation than any modern reactor.

Now, I am all for intermittent sources to supplement our usage and stretch out the longevity of our existing resources. However, they will never be able to replace the base installation, until there are some major breakthroughs in transmission technology or capacitance.

If none of this is acceptable, then we will just have to change our lifestyles and consume drastically less in the way of energy since capacity is being decommissioned faster than it is being replaced. Even if we start breaking ground today on new plants, there will be a period of 10 years where the electricity supply is going to decline significantly while we wait for new generation to come online.

By lelias2k on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
By Nutzo on 6/29/2011 1:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with Solar is cost. It's still way too expensive, and only works when the sun is shining. (just because the government/power company rebates 30-50% of the cost doesn;t make it cheaper, it just shift the cost to other people like the taxpayer and others electric bills.

You also have to build backup power plants to provide power when the sun isn't shining, which add even more cost.

As far as Hydro, it's the cheapest and least polluting solution, but you'll never get a permit to build a dam due to the environmental restrictions.

Wind, tidal and biomass are all have thier own issues and are too epensive, so will never provide more than a few percentage of our power needs.

If we are really concerned about nuclear power safty, what we need to do is start building new, much safer nuclear plants to replace the 40+ year old nuclear plants and finally build a safe place to store the nuclear waste instead of storing it at the plants.

By Iaiken on 6/29/2011 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
What we need to do is start building new, much safer nuclear plants to replace the 40+ year old nuclear plants and finally build a safe place to store the nuclear waste instead of storing it at the plants.

Zat is a bingo!

By lelias2k on 6/29/2011 2:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
I hear you on the cost problem. And one more reason why I like the solar roadways idea. It is targeting 3 problems with one solution, which dilutes the cost immensely.

As for power when the sun is not shinning, that's where the smart grid comes into play. Let's not forget the investments we're seeing in battery development due to the increased interest in electric vehicles.

As for the argument of some technologies not providing more than a few percentage, I don't really see the problem with that. Every place is different and therefore should take advantage of the solution that fits its reality best.

And finally, your last paragraph touches the issue that I see most people leaving out when they discuss nuclear: waste.

Now, I don't pretend I am a specialist, but the idea of stuffing bunkers with radioactive crap sure doesn't seem attractive to me, especially when there are alternatives.

Then again, we only have a limited lifespan. Let's simply let the following generations worry about it. :|

By semicolon on 6/29/2011 2:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
I like the concept of solar energy, but one of the things I don't see discussed is the upper limit to how much energy can be acquired. I know you can find information on the total amount of energy hitting the Earth from the sun, but most of that energy is already being used. That energy drives the environment. It feeds the plants, pushes the wind, heats the seas...

There are really only three kinds of energy on Earth. Solar (with it's many derivates), geo-thermal and nuclear. Of those, nuclear is most nearly limitless. For that matter, how much energy can we take from the Earth's core before it's has been cooled to a dangerous level? This might be an astronomical value... but I'm curious what it would be.

By lelias2k on 6/29/2011 3:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
Very interesting question. I remember reading in the solar roadways website that if we replaced all interstate highways with their solution, even with efficiency at today's levels we could get 3 times more power than the US currently needs.

Think about it. Roads are already in place, and most of our highways are in desperate need of repairs. Why not combine energy production, with transportation and grid distribution needs?

There are two questions though: Can they get it to work and will they be allowed to implement if they do?

By JediJeb on 6/29/2011 3:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
It may produce 3x as much as we currently consume, but you have to consider the distribution of the electricity consumers. My parents live 50 miles from any major interstate, would two lane shady back roads produce enough electricity for their area? Are there enough exposed highways in major cities to provide the energy needed for a large city, remember some of those roadways are stacked three deep so you would have to divide the roadway area by three to get a proper conversion to the roadway area of the solar road.

By Zoomer on 7/14/2011 11:11:03 AM , Rating: 2
There isn't much waste if the US as a whole decides not to be a pita about it.

By gixser on 6/29/2011 5:49:40 PM , Rating: 2
and only works when the sun is shining.

Apparently not any more:

By Solandri on 6/29/2011 6:06:30 PM , Rating: 4
It's not just cost, it's scale. Solar, and to a lesser extent wind, are very disperse energy sources. To collect them, you need to construct large quantities of expansive captures devices.

The U.S. has just 65 nuclear plants (104 reactors) with 101 GW nominal capacity. That's an average capacity of 1550 MW per nuclear plant. Nuclear capacity factor is about 90% (it's "on" 90% of the time), for an average 1400 MW production per plant.

The U.S. has 1493 coal plants with a nominal capacity of 335.8 GW. That's an average of 225 MW per coal plant. Coal has a capacity factor of 60%-70%, for an average 135-158 MW production per plant. A single nuclear plant is equivalent to 9-10 coal plants.

Wind has a capacity factor of ~20%. If you assume 1 MW wind turbines @ 20% capacity factor, that's an average 0.2 MW production per turbine. A single nuclear plant is equivalent to 7000 1 MW wind turbines.

If you assume 15% efficient commercial PV panels (nominal 125 W/m^2) with 18% capacity factor (typical for desert southwest), you get 22.5 W/m^2 average production, or an average 22.5 MW production per square km. A single nuclear plant is equivalent to 62 square km of solar panels.

So if you want to compare cost, risk, and environmental impact equally, you need to compare a single nuclear plant, to 9-10 coal plants, to 7000 1 MW wind turbines, to 62 sq. km of solar panels. (The ~45% capacity factor of "Other Renewables" in the second link is because burning wood, biofuels, and methane from garbage landfills are considered renewable.)

By sabbede on 6/30/2011 2:29:39 PM , Rating: 3
So, I'm seeing 13-19 thousand square kilometers worth of solar over the southwestern deserts to replace all of the fossil/nuclear plants. That's a hell of a lot of real estate.
Hell, its an entire ecosystem that would have to be wiped out.
Eco friendly? Not so much.

By MrBlastman on 6/29/2011 10:56:10 AM , Rating: 3
The only way I will accept Solar Power at this point in time is through Space-Based Solar Power. Unfortunately, we have neither the budget, technology or capacity to deploy such a platform into orbit at this time. Or ranking on the Kardashev scale is still quite low.

By JediJeb on 6/29/2011 3:22:36 PM , Rating: 1
Meanwhile, Solar is up to 30% efficiency now, which is competitive efficiency wise with everything else out there.

Is that 30% efficiency when the sun is shining or 24 hours per day. I would say if you take in the average of 12 hours per day the sun doesn't shine then as far as power grid application is concerned that would equate to 30% of a 50% day which comes out to be 15% efficiency on a daily basis. And that is being kind by not including deductions due to cloudy days.

By Solandri on 6/29/2011 6:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
Efficiency of commercial panels is about 15% (120 W/m^2). It might have creeped up to 16% in the last decade. I've heard of ones that are 18% (150 W/m^2), but they cost significantly more. There are research panels up to 30%, but those currently cost like $millions per square meter, and nothing close to that is in widescale production.

Solar's capacity factor (ratio of power actually produced in real-world use vs peak power generation in ideal conditions) ranges from about 12% in the Northern U.S., to about 18% in the desert Southwest. This takes into account night, angle of the sun, clouds, weather, downtime for maintenance, etc.

So overall, using today's commercially viable panels would result in only harvesting 1.8% to 2.7% of the sun's energy hitting the earth at noon. That's about 700-800 W/m^2 of sunlight hitting an angled panel at noon, vs. about 15-23 W/m^2 collected over a year once you factor in all the losses.

By jimbojimbo on 6/30/2011 3:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that they don't last forever. They need to completely replaced from time to time as their efficiency will decrease. Maybe the brand new ones don't as much, I don't know.

By adrift02 on 6/29/2011 3:38:31 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly, I don't know why gamerk2 got rated down. He makes a good point. You can tout "safety measures/facts" all you want, but if there is one thing the past oil and nuclear crisis' have shown, the human factor trumps all. Inevitably, to save a dollar certain safety measures get dropped altogether, and obviously there isn't enough oversight to insure everything is properly maintained or done right.

That being said, I'm not sure whether the occasional nuclear crisis is better or worse than the constant pollution of coal (with its own mishaps). Both pose an environmental hazard with wide reaching would be nice but it isn't as profitable or affordable so I don't expect a big shift there anytime soon. I'd go with whatever has the least chance of giving me cancer or an extra limb ;-)

By Solandri on 6/29/2011 7:02:42 PM , Rating: 4
You can tout "safety measures/facts" all you want, but if there is one thing the past oil and nuclear crisis' have shown, the human factor trumps all. Inevitably, to save a dollar certain safety measures get dropped altogether, and obviously there isn't enough oversight to insure everything is properly maintained or done right.

It isn't a problem. It's an illusion created by concentration of production, like how airplanes appear more dangerous than cars because they concentrate more people into a single trip (meaning more people die from a single incident). The green technologies you're giving a free pass to actually kill more people than nuclear for the same amount of power generated, it's just that their deaths are spread out over time and geography, and so almost never make the news.

Number of people killed by radiation from a nuclear plant since March: 0
Number of people killed by wind power since March: 1

While you're reading the following link, bear in mind that there have been zero deaths associated with commercial nuclear power generation in the U.S. in ~60 years.

I'll also note that Germany (which is abandoning nuclear power) is also mandating a 600 meter exclusion zone around each wind turbine, to prevent fatalities from things like ice throws and the occasional blade failure. This means each turbine has it's own 1.13 km^2 permanent evacuation zone.

The 3 affected reactors at Fukushima had an aggregate generating capacity of 2812 MW. At a 90% capacity factor, that's 2531 MW average generation through the year. A land-based wind turbine has about a 20% capacity factor. If you're installing the big 2 MW turbines, that's a 0.4 MW average generation through the year per turbine.

To match the generation capacity of the 4 afflicted reactors at Fukushima, you'd thus need 6327 2MW turbines, with an aggregate 7150 km^2 permanent evacuation area. The 20 km evacuation zone around Fukushima covers only 1257 km^2.

"But you can put the turbines closer together and overlap their exclusion zones!" you say. I wasn't able to find any info on German wind farms, but here's a proposed one in Sweden using gargantuan 3-7.5 MW turbines. Their plan is for 1101 turbines in 450 km^2 for 4 GW nominal production. That's roughly 0.41 km^2 per turbine. 4 GW at 20% capacity factor is 800 MW, so to equal Fukushima you'd need 3843 turbines. At 450 km^2 per 1101 turbines, that's 1424 km^2 off-limits to people. Again, more than Fukushima.

By benny638 on 6/29/2011 11:23:18 AM , Rating: 3
I agree the general population is stupid when it comes to nuclear power. Most people don't understand that most if not all the reactors in the US are 30+ years old. Old tech. The ones in Japan were supposed to have been decommissioned because of their age. Thorium reactors are the way to go.

By Ben on 6/29/2011 11:38:53 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not afraid of nuclear power. I'm afriad of the corporations that run the nuclear plants.

I just don't trust the health of thousands of people to a for-profit corporation. Just look at some of the examples of how corporations handle disasters, Tepco, BP, Exxon, etc., just to name the big ones.

It's not just deaths we're talking about. What about other health effects? Do you think that everyone in Fukushima is going to live long, healthy lives?

Don't get me wrong. I wish it was different. I wish we could be France. I hope a corporation comes along that can put safety ahead of profit, and shows us that they can responsibly build and operate some nuclear power plants.

By Iaiken on 6/29/2011 12:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
a corporation shows us that they can responsibly build and operate some nuclear power plants

IS difficult for a publicly traded corporation to achieve. Their primary legal obligation is to the shareholders first through any actions, however questionable, within the laws of the land.

For example, Exxon-Texaco doesn't dump waste oil into unlined open pits in the US because it's illegal, but it wasn't in Ecuador, so they did. This massive ethics gap in the interest of profits is the key flaw in the socio-corporate model.

Sure there are exceptions, but most follow the above formula...

By Invane on 6/29/2011 12:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with your argument is that the current state is absolutely no different. Corporate greed is causing lives to be lost and land to be ruined in the energy industry as you read this post. The question is, which is the safer way to go for the future?

New reactor designs are inherently safer than many of the ways we are currently creating our energy. But since the few relative deaths that nuclear power has caused are in very short localized time frames, as opposed to spread out over decades, people freak out instead of approaching the issue from a logical standpoint.

By icanhascpu on 6/29/2011 1:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
Who do you think is running coal power?

Would you rather your enemy control something that kills more people, or less people? Because those are the options your limiting yourself to. In the end, who runs them isn't relevant to what is safer. We'd all like saints to run our systems, but you take what you can get.

We simply need to use the better tool. Not doing it is literally killing us.

By DFSolley on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
By gixser on 6/29/2011 6:11:41 PM , Rating: 4
Since France is the example being discussed:

EDF: Was a state owned corp thru 2004. Established via nationalization of private electrical producers and is currently 85% owned by the French government. (Law requires the French government maintains at least 70% ownership.)

So, unless I'm making some grave mistake I think we have evidence a "government" can run a nuclear plant/industry safely.

Do you mean a US Government?

By Nutzo on 6/29/2011 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's like comparing Car to Airplane travel.

Airline travel is much safer, yet if you ask most people they'd say traveling by car is safer. The reason is that when a plane crashes (as rare as that is) hundereds die and it makes the news. Meanwhile thousands of people die in auto accidents that don't get reported.

By xthetenth on 6/30/2011 1:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
What do you call exposure to pollution that'll give you cancer from a nuclear plant?

A disaster.

What do you call exposure to pollution that'll give you cancer from a coal plant?

Standing downwind.

By therealnickdanger on 6/29/2011 9:09:46 AM , Rating: 5
As with most other problems in our country, I blame the baby boomer generation. That generation has been party to the biggest bunch of hippies, socialists, and NIMBY cry-babies I think we've ever had in this nation. Emotional, illogical, and overly narcissistic - so much more concerned with what they can GET than what they can GIVE. How did the Greatest Generation give birth to that?

Too harsh? Sorry, I haven't had my coffee yet.

because the joke's on us (the U.S.).

I see what you did there... ;-)

Ultimately, I've always respected the French for their shrewdness, but in the same way I respect a vagina for being a vagina.

RE: Boomers
By jamesjwb on 6/29/2011 9:34:59 AM , Rating: 3
biggest bunch of hippies, socialists, and...

You don't like socialism, but...

... so much more concerned with what they can GET than what they can GIVE

... after you said this right after, I have to wonder if you even know what it is, sorry.

RE: Boomers
By therealnickdanger on 6/29/2011 11:17:56 AM , Rating: 3

I know what socialism is. What exactly are you having trouble understanding?

RE: Boomers
By web2dot0 on 6/29/2011 10:30:37 AM , Rating: 1

You do know why France is into Nuclear right? The money trail baby!!!!

They invested heavily into nuclear power. Almost 80% of their energy is coming from that source. They have EXTENSIVE knowledge in that area. In fact, more so than any other nation. Get our butts out of you ass and understand why people do things the way they do. It's got nothing to do with hippies, socialists, etc .... it's about profit.

The Germans on the other hand, have been reducing their nuclear dependancy for some time now. They have invested heavily into solar/wind tech. They believe that they can be a force to be reckon with (tech leader in that area) in due time. That how it works. You spend money, tech innovation emerges. You know ... the internet, nuclear bomb, going to the moon, etc ....

Just accept people, alternative energy is to stay. It's a reality. Embrace it. The concept of replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy is inevitable. It's an race to find the solution. Your snoozing at the helm is other countries gain. By the time you realize it's too late, you'll be spending trillions of dollars buying their tech because you've been left behind digging holes (filling it with sand), blasting mountains (filling it with toxic chemicals), fixing nuclear disasters.

You guys on DT are so naiveté. At least have the decency to not talk so brash like know-it-alls.

RE: Boomers
By MrBungle123 on 6/29/2011 12:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Ya ok, so when it gets cloudy and there is no wind you'll sit in the dark and eat cold soup while people using nuclear power will be relaxing in front of the TV in their climate controlled house with a hot meal cooking in the oven.

Nuclear power please.

RE: Boomers
By Ben on 6/29/2011 11:24:53 AM , Rating: 5
As with most other problems in our country, I blame the baby boomer generation. That generation has been party to the biggest bunch of hippies, socialists, and NIMBY cry-babies I think we've ever had in this nation. Emotional, illogical, and overly narcissistic - so much more concerned with what they can GET than what they can GIVE. How did the Greatest Generation give birth to that?


RE: Boomers
By mkrech on 6/29/2011 1:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
Ultimately, I've always respected the French for their shrewdness, but in the same way I respect a vagina for being a vagina.

Wow, good analogy from a coffee deprived mind.

When the French Have More Balls...
By Arsynic on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By KGBird on 6/29/2011 9:07:40 AM , Rating: 3
Please take off your political blinders. The US, not just a single person, backed away from nuclear since Three Mile Island. You know that. Everyone knows that. Your comment exhibited the type of closed-mindedness that stalls the political process in the US as well as the adoption of a sensible energy policy.

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By Arsynic on 6/29/2011 9:20:22 AM , Rating: 1
As much as you want to ignore it that doesn't change the fact that the nuclear power issue is a political one. The American left have been bought and paid for by the enviro-whackos who are hell bent on sending all of us back into the stone age. We can't drill, we can't use nukes...all they are proposing is feel good shit that relies on coal and oil to build and maintain.

The current President is beholden to his far left enviro-Marxist base and will set us back 20 more years because of irrational fears based on dooms day scenarios.

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By jamesjwb on 6/29/2011 9:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
in America, does left mean right, and right means right, because unless I think this way I can't understand your post.

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By MrBungle123 on 6/29/2011 1:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
In america left means big government social liberal right means small government social conservative.

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By Invane on 6/29/2011 3:29:15 PM , Rating: 3
In America, left and right are practically the same damn thing with differing rhetoric. In the end different politicians purchased by the same corporations make decisions that aren't remotely good for the people of the country.

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By espaghetti on 6/29/2011 5:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't help when we have politicians that are actively following Progressive objectives that call themselves Republican.
On the opposite side of the coin there are Democrats (particularly in the south) that call themselves "conservative".
Pick one. Good luck!

By MrBungle123 on 6/29/2011 5:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
which is exactly why I said Left and Right not Democrat and Republican.

Republican != Conservative or Right Wing
Democrat != Liberal or Left Wing

RE: When the French Have More Balls...
By PaterPelligrino on 6/29/2011 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 3
Well normally I'd say nuke is the way to go, but since the Frenchies are evil socialist-Borg, as a good conservative American I think whenever the French do something, we should flip them the finger, march off with our freedom-loving heads held high and do just the opposite, no matter what it is.

If we emulate the Frogs on nuc, what's next? - health-care for the poor? Once you start down that path where does it stop? Before you know it, the fridge will be full of baquettes and brie, and the kids will be dressing as Young Communist Pioneers and calling us comrade dad.

Whatever doubts I had before, I now say let's nip this socialist plot in the bud and go coal - and let's not allow those Commie Democrats and their EPA to force private industry to waste good shareholder profit on Chinese equipment to remove mercury and sulfur from coal exhaust. If you don't want your family to inhale a few harmless byproducts of free enterprise, just move to Scarsdale or Greenwich and problem solved.

By gixser on 6/29/2011 6:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh...but you did get one thing wrong.

the fridge will be full of baquettes

No. No. No! The baquette never goes in the fridge! :-)

Brave public?
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 9:01:00 AM , Rating: 5
If the majority of Americans were truly as brave as France's president -- willing to tell the naysayers, "Be damned, we're going to support great engineering" -- then they would vote obstructionist politicians out of office.

How can you expect them to be brave when for decades they have been brainwashed to freak out over the very mention of the word nuclear? The same public that supposedly caused NMR to be renamed MRI because oh my god its got the word nuclear! Fear mongering has a very real price unfortunately.

RE: Brave public?
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/29/2011 9:21:00 AM , Rating: 5
Very true. It reminds me of an article from several years ago about Americans' perception of nanotechnology. The survey behind the article had concluded that 80% of Americans had little or no understanding of what nanotechnology is, but 90% had an opinion about whether or not the benefits outweighed the risks. I think the same is true with nuclear power; most people who fear and/or oppose it simply don't understand it.

RE: Brave public?
By TSS on 6/29/2011 11:19:18 AM , Rating: 3
Well then Ignorance is to blame, and Education is the solution.

The problem is american politicians have a vested interest in keeping their constituents ignorant. Because they take their orders from their campaign contributers, and those (banks, mostly) profit tremendously off ignorance. The more they profit the more the politicians profit. And the money they get from tax payers is vastly less then what the corperations are paying them.

Capitalism at it's finest if you ask me. Quite logical that it would end up there.

Though this all has nothing to do with bravery. IMO the american politicians are very brave to openly screw the american people like they do. Should the people ever realise it they'd be strung up the same day.

On the other hand i think sarkozy's decision has more to do with french bravado then bravery. French arrogance does have it's uses now and then.

RE: Brave public?
By Invane on 6/29/2011 12:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
This. It's much like portions of history where populations were banned from learning to read. A smart population is less open to being influenced by propoganda and makes better decisions. These aren't always the decisions that reinforce the current status quo or line politician's pockets though.

RE: Brave public?
By JediJeb on 6/29/2011 4:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
Well then Ignorance is to blame, and Education is the solution.

True, but just last week it was reported that someone is wanting to push Environmental Education in the schools. Trying to make all children "Environmentally Aware" which will mean filling their heads with tree hugger propaganda. It would be so much more useful to be pushing the teaching of Science and Civics so that the next generation would know how things actually work both in science and self government.

RE: Brave public?
By amanojaku on 6/29/2011 11:23:54 AM , Rating: 2
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

The only part of the movie I remember, and surprisingly accurate. I want solar and tidal power, but nuclear is the best option available today. It's safer, when operated correctly, and provides the most energy. More people have died from coal and natural gas power plants than the total number of people affected by ALL nuclear power plant disasters, including the thousands of people exposed to radiation over the long term.

By Strunf on 6/29/2011 9:30:34 AM , Rating: 2
I can't stop smiling every time I read news about how Germany is stopping their nuclear power plants, every eco-freak thinks it's a major WIN when in fact it's not only a loss to the environment but also to Germans, what's the point of saying no to nuclear when 80% of the energy used in Germany comes from fossil fuels be it Oil, coal or natural gas... replacing the nuclear power plants with the 26 new coal plants! very eco logic... Not to mention that most of the Oil and natural gas comes from... Russia!

RE: Germany
By shiftypy on 6/29/2011 9:41:45 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, Germany has great wind energy growth so they could potentially replace nuclear with wind (and some solar)
But shutting down already working nuclear plants before their EOL is dumb and wasteful. Don't build new ones if you like, but the ones you already have give abundant and cheap electricity, why shut them down?

RE: Germany
By Mudhen6 on 6/29/2011 9:50:28 AM , Rating: 3
To be fair, Germany has great wind energy growth so they could potentially replace nuclear with wind (and some solar)

Potentially replace? You mean, they could potentially buy more electricity from countries like France, and buy a bit less when days are sunny/windy.

RE: Germany
By icanhascpu on 6/29/2011 1:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
lol Nailed it.

RE: Germany
By Jabroney701020 on 6/29/2011 10:40:53 AM , Rating: 2
Wind energy can't replace nuclear energy. Because we don't have the capability to store energy in large quantities electricity has to be used as it is generated.

In a power grid in a given city there is a major portion of the power delivered by a nuclear power plant or coal or hydro because those plants provide a constant, stable power output known as "base load" which matches a majority of our customer demand which is also constant. Electricity consumption is variable but only by about 1% to 5% variance an hour, so we could use variable power sources (such as wind and tidal) on the grid for only a small fraction of the load but if a grid were composed out of purely wind generation we could see large power production swings of 10% to 50% up and down constantly while it is on the grid. Wind is not constant or stable and thus our power production would never match our customer power demand.

Aside from that, for every megawatt of wind power an electric company uses, by law, it must have a megawatt of fast-starting diesel generation standing by incase the wind dies down. That law isn't going to change any time soon, which makes using wind very expensive when you have to build more standby generation for every bit of wind generation you buy.

RE: Germany
By Nutzo on 6/29/2011 1:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
Of course with wind power you will be kill birds.

Out here in California they have to shut down some of the windmills during parts of the year due them killing to many to migratory birds.

There's also the problem with noise, some of these large windmills create low frequency noise that some people can hear miles away.

Finally there is the "strobing" effect caused by light reflecting off or through the turning blades that can cause some people to have seizures.

Edatorial: Jason Mick - Always Bias
By gamerk2 on 6/29/2011 9:34:28 AM , Rating: 2
Aside from clearly being biased in favor of the writer of the article, its listed as an Editorial? I'm pretty sure listing an op-ed as an Editorial is a crime in some states...

RE: Edatorial: Jason Mick - Always Bias
By amanojaku on 6/29/2011 11:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
The ignorance is strong with this one. There are no laws dictating the use of editorial vs. op-ed. Both are opinions; it's the publisher's discretion to label the piece appropriately.
1. an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.
2. a statement broadcast on radio or television that presents the opinion of the owner, manager, or the like, of the station or channel.
3. something regarded as resembling such an article or statement, as a lengthy, dogmatic utterance.
a newspaper page devoted to signed articles by commentators, essayists, humorists, etc., of varying viewpoints: the Op-Ed of today's new york Times.
An editorial is an opinion piece written by the senior editorial staff or publisher of a newspaper or magazine. Editorials are usually unsigned and may be supposed to reflect the opinion of the periodical. In the UK, these unsigned columns are known as "leading articles". In Australian and major United States newspapers, such as the New York Times[1] and the Boston Globe,[2] editorials are often classified under the heading "opinion".
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page[1] (though often mistaken for opinion-editorial), is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board. These are different from editorials, which are usually unsigned and written by editorial board members.

By mkrech on 6/29/2011 1:23:52 PM , Rating: 2

By sabbede on 6/30/2011 1:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression that the "ed" in op-ed stood for editorial.

Politicians should step aside for Gen IV
By pdgf-88 on 6/29/2011 8:59:18 AM , Rating: 2
While politicians may not be crying for Gen IV reactors, plenty of American nuclear engineers and energy specialists are, see for example the Thorium Energy Alliance. I think we should not rely on politicians or governments for our energy needs, if they just get out of the way, energy companies and nuclear engineering companies will develop and deploy these reactors not only in France but also in America, for profit, based on compelling economic and safety considerations.

RE: Politicians should step aside for Gen IV
By Strunf on 6/29/2011 9:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think there are companies in the world that could build a Nuclear power plant with no help from the state, all the nuclear power plants in the world are built by the state and operated by private companies (that's at least the case in France), a nuclear power plant regardless of how efficient it is would take many years to start making money and private companies aren't into this kind of long term investment, when you know that you are selling a product people may not want tomorrow! There are just to many risks compared to what you make of profit from it!

By Nutzo on 6/29/2011 1:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
Actually there are utilities that would make the investment, especially if the state would make it easier to build the plants.

However, instead, most states make it almost impossible to even get the approval. Out here in California there's actually a state law against building new nuclear plants.

By Xeres.14 on 6/29/2011 1:48:02 PM , Rating: 2
Are you aware that right now, the US has more than double the nuclear plants of anyone else in the world?

RE: Really?
By reality_check on 6/30/2011 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
Um... Are you aware that the US has almost 5x the population of France with less than 1/2 the reactors?

RE: Really?
By reality_check on 6/30/2011 12:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Woops make that less twice.

Massive Gov't Subsidies
By paulpod on 6/29/2011 5:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing to talk about here is the MASSIVE government subsidy that would be required to expand nuclear in the US. And that includes covering the TRILLIONS of dollars in liability when a plant and region of the country is knocked out by an accident caused by something a simple as poorly trained operators.

Yeah, the French will continue to look like geniuses until an accident happens. Just like the Nasa managers who correctly argued for years that foam shedding could never threaten a Shuttle.

Making Obama the villian when he is MORE likely to spend government money than the Rebublicans controlling congress shows a flawed thought process. Ignoring that U.S. nuclear decisions are business decisions by utilities and investors who clearly see the liabilities is similarly insane.

RE: Massive Gov't Subsidies
By bingbong on 6/29/2011 11:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Fine have your nuclear reactors.

Just don't subsidize or provide government help.
Oh what? The insurance companies won't cover the plant!!!

They must be green hippie communists!!!
You mean we should subsidize something that is not necessarily cheaper, and definitely not safer instead of persuing a renewable based electricity supply with hydrogen/electrical integration from transport to industry. I would choose the later rather than go through what Japan is going through. Alot of land is going to be unusable it's just the government and the scientifically superior of of course not emotional or biased in anyway like (hippies) or anyone daring to challenge the boys club nuclear industry isn't willing to admit they knew this months ago and have lied or played stupid throughout. I challenge any gun ho pro nuclear people to actually read all that is available on and to listen to Tepco admits to nearly double the level of radiation. I have trouble trusting the IAEA. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, it's just troubling when governments and international institutions continue to what seems to be blatantly lie/withhold truths and people want to promote this more.

RE: Massive Gov't Subsidies
By sabbede on 6/30/2011 2:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
So instead of using the cheapest and safest technology currently available we should put all of our eggs in a basket that doesn't even exist yet?
Even if the total cost of building, running and maintaining Gen IV nuclear plants exceeds that of the oil/coal plants we currently depend on, its still worth it in the long run since they are DEMONSTRABLY SAFER AND CLEANER.
Sure, full conversion to solar and wind would be nice, but since its not technologically feasible/possible now its not really an option. Replacing our fossil fuel based plants with nuclear doesn't mean we can't research renewable energy; whereas not building nukes means we have to continue pouring awfulness into the atmosphere.

We have to use what we've got. And we haven't got decent renewable energy yet.
The math is simple:
100% chance of spewing poison into the environment vs. <.01% chance.
Use something we have vs. use something that we might not have for another 50 years.

So I ask you: Given that no matter what we use for power now we will research renewable energy; should we poison the air for power or not?
If you care about the environment at all, you should be 100% behind nuclear power until we have something to take its place (which we DO NOT).

By ipay on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Liar
By Digimonkey on 6/29/2011 11:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
We all know France is pushing nuclear for money, and they'll enjoy having a surplus of energy to sell to their neighboring countries that think they can replace nuclear/coal with renewable energy.

People are contaminated outside the zone possibly from ingesting food or water that was exposed. The report you linked to stated as much and basically said they're still under the recommended exposure limit of radiation per year.

The liters upon liters of radioactive water you mentioned were in reports, and they estimated about 4,000 gallons. As others have said that amount of water can be found in a small backyard swimming pool.

Google money
By InvertMe on 6/29/2011 10:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
They must be using that money they are trying to extort from Google to build their reactors.

By Dribble on 6/29/2011 10:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
Which has to go down some dodgy pipe through half of eastern Europe.

Unless they want to leave themselves open to Russian blackmail nuclear is the best option.

By Scootie on 6/29/2011 12:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sarkozy might be have a small stature but man he has HUGE balls. I dont live anywherere near to North America but boy I hope US citizens and politicians will wake up soon or they'll end up in a deep sleep for a very long time.

After all ... No Kingdom last forever. Maybe the time has come for you(US).

Not so much anymore...
By dgingeri on 6/29/2011 2:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
American is a nation with a history of innovative engineering, without question. After all it was America that essentially invented both the atomic bomb and the nuclear reactor.

Today, though, the nation is faltering in its leadership role. Its politicians are silent. There are no cries for Generation IV reactors. We're unlikely to see such reactors on American soil anytime soon. So the next time somebody cracks a joke at the expense of the French, don't laugh -- because the joke's on us (the U.S.).

We've lost the age of innovative engineering. We've gone from being a country of engineers and go getters to a country of "take care of me" and "ME-ME-ME-ME-ME-ME-ME!". That much is perfectly clear from our network TV and political choices. We now have graduating college classes who are 50% arts graduates, 30% business graduates, and less than 3% engineering graduates.

This country will never be courageous or innovative again. That is now reserved for the Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and Indians. It was, after all, the Japanese and Koreans that designed the Gen IV nuclear reactors, and the fastest growing economies are China and India. They're doing all the work and innovating while we, like Europe, are sitting around on our butts telling the government to take care of us.

By jimbojimbo on 6/30/2011 2:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
Considering France will increase power production and Germany will put themselves back into the 1950s I would predict that by the year 2030 France will be exporting a good amount of power to their German neighbors for a nice hefty profit.

By richardgenoa on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
Nuclear energy isn't clean...
By TEAMSWITCHER on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: Nuclear energy isn't clean...
By Black1969ta on 6/29/2011 12:35:42 PM , Rating: 3
Nuclear energy isn't clean, never was, never will be, anyone who says otherwise is lying. There are simply not enough storage facilities for the waste to be safe for the thousands of years necessary. As for the accidents, in my life there has been two major nuclear power incidents in the last 50 years. That's one every 25 years on average, at the current rate of deployment. Deploy more nuclear sites and the accident rate will rise. Given the accident rate, and the rate of waste build-up, the earth will be un-inhabittable in just a few thousand years. Please, stop with all the nuclear courage nonsense. You have no idea what you are talking about.

This is the kind of tree hugging, hippie crap that has put the USA is the energy reliance position that it faces today!

Radioactive material was not invented by humans, it has been around for billions of years, how is utilizing that naturally occurring fuel going to accelerate the demise of planet earth? That's right it won't!

Did it ever occur to anyone here that France has a tiny landmass compared to the US. but not only can they process their old reactor design waste they can also process the waste of other countries too! And you say we don't have room for storage! Then don't store it, use it! France uses "Breeder" reactors to convert much of the waste from old style nuclear power plants into fuel for not-so-old style plants. And then France is pioneering the use of new Gen IV reactors that cannot accidentally melt-down.

If we would overturn the namby, pamby, eco-rules and let utilities concentrate on building facilities that have as small as possible impact on the surrounding environment, but still affordable to build, we could eliminate the use of air polluting fossil fuels.

If the near future does see the widespread use of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles the current power grid WILL fail! California can't supply power to its population at the present. Further taxing the grid will make a bad situation worse, unless the Grid is strengthened.

Personally I think the best bet is smaller local generating stations in each neighborhood, and decentralizing the the grid. Decentralizing would solve many of our problems. But, that will be at least a decade or two from now. Gen VI reactors could be online within 5 years if red tape was cut.

By reality_check on 6/30/2011 12:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
If the near future does see the widespread use of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles the current power grid WILL fail! California can't supply power to its population at the present. Further taxing the grid will make a bad situation worse, unless the Grid is strengthened. Personally I think the best bet is smaller local generating stations in each neighborhood, and decentralizing the the grid. Decentralizing would solve many of our problems. But, that will be at least a decade or two from now. Gen VI reactors could be online within 5 years if red tape was cut.

You'll never get the understanding of this reality across to our poorly educated and ignorant masses.

By MrBungle123 on 6/29/2011 12:57:47 PM , Rating: 3
from wikipedia:

In October 1976, fear of nuclear weapons proliferation (especially after India demonstrated nuclear weapons capabilities using reprocessing technology) led President Gerald Ford to issue a Presidential directive to indefinitely suspend the commercial reprocessing and recycling of plutonium in the U.S. On April 7, 1977 , President Jimmy Carter banned the reprocessing of commercial reactor spent nuclear fuel. The key issue driving this policy was the serious threat of nuclear weapons proliferation by diversion of plutonium from the civilian fuel cycle, and to encourage other nations to follow the USA lead.[5] . After that, only countries that already had large investments in reprocessing infrastructure continued to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. President Reagan lifted the ban in 1981, but did not provide the substantial subsidy that would have been necessary to start up commercial reprocessing.

That is why we need a mountain to store the spent fuel. We are only using about 1/60th of the energy that can actually be used out of the uranium we run through our reactors.

If I only had some brains...
By SiliconJon on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: If I only had some brains...
By SiliconJon on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: If I only had some brains...
By SiliconJon on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: If I only had some brains...
By Black1969ta on 6/29/2011 12:50:56 PM , Rating: 2
Tritium is in thousands of watches and glow in the dark phosphorescent items sold all over the world.

The rest is just sensationalism.

RE: If I only had some brains...
By SiliconJon on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: If I only had some brains...
By Digimonkey on 6/29/2011 3:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
Now, for something more accurate: quote: According to Straume [1993] few studies are available on tritium-induced health injury in humans. Health-risk estimates for tritium are therefore based on the large number of experiments with animals and cell cultures. These experiments show that exposure to tritiated water results in mutations and cell disruptions that can lead to the health effects possible for ionizing radiation?cancer, heritable genetic effects, and reproductive and developmental effects.

And from the same report:

In contrast, a 0.03 mGy tritium background dose per year combined with the risk factors derived below (in Section 4.6.4) corresponds to a population risk of 0.003 fatal cancers per million people per year and an individual risk on the order of 2 in ten million per lifetime.

RE: If I only had some brains...
By Invane on 6/29/2011 4:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Nice when your own supporting evidence blows your entire argument out of the water. You can find a higher risk of cancer in a box of cracker jacks.

RE: If I only had some brains...
By sabbede on 6/30/2011 2:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
Or a banana.

By Black1969ta on 7/10/2011 2:45:52 AM , Rating: 1
AND... In other News
DailyTech Fans and Nuclear protesters worldwide mourn the loss of the Great SiliconJon today!!!!

The victim of an apparent Hydroxydous acid poisoning, witnesses claim it was only one bottle, but fans everywhere strive for tougher regulations of bottle labels.

By BSMonitor on 6/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 12:50:48 PM , Rating: 3
"Really? Strong? Like rolling over and letting Hitler take Paris without so much as a shot being fired."

This was absolutely the right thing to do under the circumstances. Because I have no doubt that Hitler would have gladly leveled the city had they resisted. If you've been to Europe you know there are cities where the there are practically no buildings left that were there prior to the war. So you can say goodbye to the historical sites like the Notre Dame and so on. Are you saying it's a shame that all of that was preserved?

RE: France
By BSMonitor on 6/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: France
By corduroygt on 6/29/2011 1:20:58 PM , Rating: 3
Because the Polish Jews (who fought and lost) fared so much better?

RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 1:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
That's one of the dumbest arguments I've ever heard. More Jews died in countries that DID put up a fight. Poland, The USSR, etc. So the net result would have been that all of those people would STILL have been dead, only now the city would have been in ruins as well. Brilliant.
Note, I'm not saying people shouldn't fight. I'm saying it's not the answer in every single circumstance.

RE: France
By BSMonitor on 6/29/2011 3:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
That's one of the dumbest arguments I've ever heard. More Jews died in countries that DID put up a fight. Poland, The USSR, etc. So the net result would have been that all of those people would STILL have been dead, only now the city would have been in ruins as well. Brilliant.

Who gives a f$ck about buildings?! Would Paris be the first city to wiped away? Please.

Your argument that dying for nothing is the same as dying resisting an advancing army is what is dumb. All to save Paris??? LMFAO Perhaps France fighting to the end prevents Germany from getting such a strong foothold in the country. Maybe the invasion of Normandy isn't as bloody with an ever present resistance in place. Instead 4 years later, countless Americans die for a French people that lays down and rolls over in the face of an enemy..

RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 4:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
Now where have I heard that brilliant military strategy before? Oh yeah, that would be Stalin's order #227 "Not a step back". You know, the idiotic thinking that got entire armies encircled and wiped out, millions of casualties. All because like you he didn't understand the benefit of a strategic retreat. Contrast that with general Kutuzov giving up (gasp) Moscow to Napoleon, to regroup, starve him and kick his ass all the way back.
If we're going to play alternate history, it's equally possible that Normandy happens the same way, only now there are millions more civilian casualties.

RE: France
By tim851 on 6/30/2011 9:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
You might have also heard a similar strategy employed by the legendary Zapp Brannigan.

But you're debating a fat, lazy nerd who has probably won most of his campaigns on Supreme Commander.

RE: France
By DFSolley on 6/29/2011 3:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad England didn’t surrender to save all of their historical sites. Cathedrals lost forever because of Churchill’s incompetence.

RE: France
By BSMonitor on 6/29/2011 3:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO Exactly!

We could have lost the 15 National Geographic specials about the origin of Stone Henge forever!

RE: France
By yourstruly on 6/29/2011 8:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Guys, you seem to forget that the British ran away in 1940 and retreated to the islands. That does not make their later fight less remarkable but it is a fact.

RE: France
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 3:53:49 PM , Rating: 1
This was absolutely the right thing to do under the circumstances. Because I have no doubt that Hitler would have gladly leveled the city had they resisted.

I think there are MANY historical accounts we could find where a vastly outnumbered group of underdogs held their ground against a superior force. You don't fight only when you think you can win.

The argument that France did the right thing because surrendering saved some historical buildings, well, doesn't really hold up. Some things are more important than France's history, like you know, a Europe free of fascism.

Maybe France would have been "leveled". But that would have taken considerable time and resources. Time that could have made a difference for millions of others.

RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 5:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
"I think there are MANY historical accounts we could find where a vastly outnumbered group of underdogs held their ground against a superior force. You don't fight only when you think you can win."

No, you fight if there is no alternative (for example either you die fighting or the enemy is going to kill you anyway), or it accomplishes a worthy goal (by sacrificing your life you give time for reinforcements to arrive, or for an attack to prepare for example). Most of these historical accounts accomplish these goals.

"The argument that France did the right thing because surrendering saved some historical buildings, well, doesn't really hold up."

Not just buildings, lives. If the city gets leveled the population gets wiped out with it. But fascism would have been eradicated regardless. It would have happened even if there was no Normandy invasion. Only the troops that liberated France would have been Russian troops, and the resulting future of Europe would have been pretty different.

RE: France
By Reclaimer77 on 6/29/2011 5:41:22 PM , Rating: 1
So preventing France from being occupied by Nazi's wasn't a "worthy goal"?

You know what, I'm done with this. You're obviously retarded. I'm glad I live somewhere where we DIDN'T have your attitude, or else my country would still be a British colony today.

RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 5:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
You're the one that's retarded. Are you honestly going to tell me that for example the Dutch should have fought for New Amsterdam when the British navy showed up and they gave it up without firing a shot? With gung ho people like you in charge it still would have become New York, only now we would have been reading about the New Amsterdam massacre in our textbooks.

RE: France
By maven81 on 6/29/2011 5:59:00 PM , Rating: 3
Let me add that you don't seem to know our own history. Take the war of 1812. The British take over DC and burn the white house. Most of the residents flea and there isn't much of a fight. Ultimate relevance of allowing the enemy to take the capitol? None. The war ended less then a year later.

RE: France
By yourstruly on 6/29/2011 8:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
So the nation that is France now, has nothing to do with the nation that helped us in the Revolution. Since then, they have been self-serving, arrogant pricks.

You are the arrogant prick.

Really? Strong? Like rolling over and letting Hitler take Paris without so much as a shot being fired.

So France now has nothing to do with the nation it was before yet you take examples of what happened 70 years ago to bash French people today. ROFL. By your own logic, Americans are racist segregationists.

Every European owes America for their individual freedom and enlightened way of life. If not for the US, Europe would be a police state under the Nazi regime to this day.

And you, my friend would be singing "God save the queen".

It disgusts me that a FRENCH president would EVER question America's bravery. Are you F$$$ing kidding me.

Sarkozy does not question American bravery but I do question the bravery of a person who hides behind a keyboard to bash 60+ million people he/she obviously knows nothing about (but the reassuring usual cliches).

My grandfather didn't have to go to France to save your asses, but he did. And he was of German decent. Fighting his own heritage for your freedom.

Nobody is France ever questioned the bravery of these men and there is not a year without celebrating the sacrifice they made. Get informed.

The French are nothing more than the punk kid who jumps in the fight after all the blood has already been spilled, and then starts running his mouth.

It is an article about the French government investing in nuclear energy. You obviously have some unresolved issues. Seriously.

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