There is increasing concern over the ramifications of possible nuclear plant closures in the United States – and the idea of policy intervention to help prevent them is gaining political traction. Jim Hopf on the organization Nuclear Matters, the views of leadership at Exelon, rationale for much needed policy changes, questions on nuclear operating costs, and more.
Nextbigfuture – Russia could sign an agreement this year to build eight new reactors for nuclear power plants in Iran, state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on Thursday, citing a source it did not identify.
Russia built Iran’s only operating nuclear power reactor, at the Bushehr plant.
Nextbigfuture – Why do so many proposed solutions suck so badly even at the design stage and even implemented world and national solutions completely do not solve the intended problem. Climate Change – Get beyond the controversial problem statement to the shape of the proposed solutions after tens of trillions of dollars and decades and see how much is or is not solved.
For Climate Change, the big UN IPCC proposed solution is to stabilize [flatten at current levels of nearly 40 billion tons per year of CO2] levels of greenhouse-gas emissions would require investments of about $13 trillion through 2030.
It also noted that reducing emissions would reduce the rate of economic growth (as a result of such factors as higher energy prices). But it would do so by, on average, less than a tenth of a percentage point per year between now and 2100. Switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy will cost $44 trillion between now and 2050.
* $13 trillion or nearly $1 trillion every year is the ante (poker reference) to get started
Nuclear energy could be scaled up safely and more affordably. This has been demonstrated on a national scale where France shifted to 80% of electricity from nuclear power over the 1980s.
Conventional nuclear fission is a better plan than the IPCC proposal. Future nuclear energy can be further improved with development of molten salt reactors.Costs would be several times lower, reactors would be even safer and waste would be reduced. Conventional nuclear already compares very well to other energy sources based on actual experience.
Nextbigfuture – Get millions of times more potential bang for your research dollar by supporting the LPP Fusion project. Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 37% of the way to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments.
Success would be better than doubling NASA’s budget and 100,000 times cheaper than one year of double NASA budget
Success would have more impact than efforts to double NASA’s space budget to 1% of all US tax dollars [increase from $18 billion per year to $36 billion].
Nextbigfuture – China did not turn on air pollution mitigation systems at some coal plants. China continues to build a lot of coal plants and for the last 10-20 years China has built modern coal plants that have the latest pollution mitigation technology. Why did they not turn on pollution control until recent protests about air quality. It would have added over 0.4 US cents per kwh to the costs for one of the technologies and more for each of the other pollution control technologies. China is making about 4000 billion kwh/year of electrical power from coal power. So 0.4 cents per kwh is $16 billion/year.
The Manhattan Project employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2014 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
DARPA has around 240 (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3 billion budget. These figures are “on average” since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.
DARPA biggest successes were being a major part of developing the internet, Global positioning satellites, Speech translation, stealth planes, and Gallium Arsenide.
From 1989 to 2008 it is conservatively believed that $79 billion was spent by the US government on climate change research, administration, foreign aid, tax breaks and education (public relations).
Up to 2008, the EU Framework 7 programme includes €1.9 billion on direct climate change research. Framework 6 ran to €769 million. If we take all the Annex 1 countries, the sum expended must be well over $100 billion.
The global carbon trading markets are at about $60 billion in 2014.
The Whitehouse report on climate change spending proposes a budget of $21.4 billion.
The President’s 2014 Budget proposes over $21.4 billion for climate change activities. This amount is $1.2 billion , or 5 percent, lower than the 2013 enacted level for climate change programs, activities,
and related tax policies.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.