Japan nuclear woes cast shadow over U.S. energy policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Anxiety over Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear reactors has triggered calls from lawmakers and activists for review of U.S. energy policy and for brakes on expansion of domestic nuclear power.

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7 Responses to "Japan nuclear woes cast shadow over U.S. energy policy"

  1. Carl Nemo  March 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The nuclear industry needs to make a firm commitment to move away from fuel grade enriched uranium to that of thorium powered reactors.

    Thorium is much more plentiful than uranium it also doesn’t propose the hazards of a meltdown as Japan is currently facing. It also mitigates the long term storage of hazardous, spent fuel etc.

    China and India have already moved in this direction. The trouble with the U.S. based industry is the vast committment to a passe’ generating technology when in fact it’s not necessary. Also there’s the corruption and greed factor as a function of greasing politicians palms to allow plant placement etc. There would be minimal opposition to thorium reactors once the public is educated to the supreme advantages of such.

    So I highly recomment the nuclear power industry in this country to go the way of the thorium reactor and slowly phase out existing plants which do have a life cycle. Citizens won’t have to worry about all the hazards associated with the current technology or have to witness the nightmare that Japan is currently having to confront.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium

    Carl Nemo **==

    • drumtroll  March 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

      Great article about why we should be building Thorium reactors:

      http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/

      Hopefully Japan will take this lesson to lead the world in the right direction after this needless accident.

    • safepower  March 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

      Senator Hatch sent a bill up in 2008 to include thorium reactor development but it died in committee. The benefits of the lfth thorium reactor cited in the wiki article are incredible. I found this site which provided a lot more information:
      http://energyfromthorium.com/joomla/
      Imagine an energy program putting 500 of these online within 10 years. That would this centuries moon landing. Goodbye CO2. Hello economic boom again. My question is how can ordinary citizens help make this a reality. Anyone buddies with Secretary Chu?

  2. Musson  March 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Risidual Heat is the Problem.

    The Molten Salt Liquid Thorium reactor would handle a complete cooling breakdown by melting through the freeze plugs and draining into the holding containers.

    The Japanese reactors shut down just fine. But – when the Tsunami wiped out their backup desiel generators they could not handle the residual heat.

  3. Charles  March 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    The time is definitely here for thorium reactors, but there are a couple of challenges. For one, the uranium industry makes it’s money preparing the fuel. This would not be necessary with thorium which is good for the consumer, but bad for the uranium industry. The uranium processors have lobbyists, etc… Secondly, the thorium cycle doesn’t produce weapons grade materials. I consider this a plus, but the WWII-brainers don’t want to give it up.

  4. Carl Nemo  March 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    CAMECO, symbol CCJ is one of the largest producers of uranium for use in nuclear reactors. Of course it has to be refined and enriched to the correct level for such use.

    I thought folks would find it fascinating to see how it’s stock is cratering. For a long time it was languishing below its 200 day moving average due to the fact that nuclear power generation is still the “red haired stepchild” within the power generation industry at least in this country. Seemingly this stock issue has become radioactive. The reason for its climb post this current watefall event is that China is coming on like gangbusters with the building of nuke plants. I hope they’ve learned a lesson by this disaster and bias their decisions towards thorium before they get too involved with uranium based systems. / : |

    http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui

    Note: select weekly chart to get a better long term overview of the stock’s performance.

    It’s interesting how Thorium based reactor tech died in committee as mentioned by ‘safepower’ above. That’s because the crimpols that sit on these Congressional enclaves only understand one thing. Money talks while bullshit walks! Of course the concept of thorium based reactors is the absolute best path this nation and others in the world need to take into the future in terms of safety and non proliferation, but a politician’s brain doesn’t work in an intelligent, logical fashion. They are basically ‘feral’ when it comes to their thought processes; ie, survival of the political fittest is all they know or care about and that is derived by sucking up to their deep pockets constituents. Intelligent, logical decisions for the future well-being of our nation. What’s that…?

    Thorium based reactors will provide all our energy needs for at least a thousand years into the future and by the we will have long since moved on to fusion power. Then again we’d have a beautiful array of clean sources such as solar, wind, and tidal generation in addition to a large array of thorium based reactors. Also the thorium reactors can be used to slowly but surely devour the nuclear waste from our current era of uranium based generation.

    It’s truly a win win for everyone concerned.

    Btw, thanks to all of you for adding to this discussional. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Carl Nemo  March 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      The link isn’t returning to the CAMECO stock symbol CCJ. Just plug in the symbol or the company name then enter for the appropriate graph to display.

      StockCharts.com my favorite charting service and much of it is free for users. It’s also educational with many tutorials to make folks better investors. I’m not a ‘trader’, but an investor mostly in high dividend paying stocks with capital gains on issues secondary to my investment goals.

      What it demonstrates is how an earthquake can damage not only infrastructure, but also one’s portfolio in addition to it’s effect on the overall market. Never take a position without having a stop loss that best suits your financial ability to take such.

      Carl Nemo **==

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