Is Obama's Endorsement of Nuclear Power a Liberal Shift?

In summary, President Barack Obama announced $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, making him a major champion of nuclear power. This is a controversial step, as no new nuclear units have been licensed in the US since the near-meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Despite reservations about nuclear power, the lack of available options has convinced many to support it. Obama's decision has been met with mixed reactions, with some seeing it as a positive move towards energy independence and others expressing concerns about safety and the potential for nuclear materials to fall into the wrong hands.
  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 16) -- President Barack Obama stepped forward as a major champion of nuclear power today with the announcement of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for two new reactors in Georgia proposed by Southern Company, a giant -- and controversial -- step in a nation where no new nuclear units have been licensed since the near-meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979...
http://www.aolnews.com/article/obama-backs-nuclear-plants-with-billions-in-loans/19360343

While in principle I don't support the use of nuclear power, the pro-nuclear people here and the lack of available options have worn me down. I think we need to pursue other options with great diligence, but nuclear power seems to be an unavoidable evil.

Also, I trust Obama's good judgement.

Just another hole in the boat for those who recklessly apply "liberal" labels to Obama.
 
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  • #2
Being considered are twenty-three new plants over the next twenty years.
 
  • #3
Hey! I am doing a research paper on the safety of nuclear power plants right now! Awesome.

Nuclear Energy is clean, safe, and extremely efficient! Breeder reactors produce more fuel than they consume! (of course we aren't using them at the moment, besides BN-600 which is due to shut down this year)

Way to go Obama!
 
  • #4
This is great news. Pretty much the first thing about this administration that I really support!
 
  • #5
I also loved this idea!

I propose to dispose nuclear wastes to the sun or somewhere else.
 
  • #6
Right. Without 'permanent' waste disposal like Yucca Mountain, that TOTUS closed, it's empty posturing. Welcome to the third world banana 'republic' of Obamanation!
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking said:
http://www.aolnews.com/article/obama-backs-nuclear-plants-with-billions-in-loans/19360343

While in principle I don't support the use of nuclear power, the pro-nuclear people here and the lack of available options have worn me down. I think we need to pursue other options with great diligence, but nuclear power seems to be an unavoidable evil.

Also, I trust Obama's good judgement.

Just another hole in the boat for those who recklessly apply "liberal" labels to Obama.

What's wrong with nukular power?
 
  • #8
good to finally be seeing some money being spent on durable goods. it irks me to no end that "stimulus" would not be including more infrastructure projects. we've got bridges and sewers that need attention, too.
 
  • #9
Cyrus said:
What's wrong with nukular power?
That you would remember that pronunciation, if nothing else. That person was in no way an authoritative spokesman and definitely not even a nukular engineer. See the Wikipedia.
 
  • #10
Doug Huffman said:
That you would remember that pronunciation, if nothing else. That person was in no way an authoritative spokesman and definitely not even a nukular engineer. See the Wikipedia.

What an utterly useless and pointless post to a question not directed at you. All right, a bit too harsh. I apologize. But really, what kind of answer is that? (raises eyebrow)
 
  • #11
Ivan Seeking said:
Also, I trust Obama's good judgement.

Just another hole in the boat for those who recklessly apply "liberal" labels to Obama.
See Timothy Ferris' The Science of Liberty (HarperCollins, NY,2010)
 
  • #12
Cyrus said:
What an utterly useless and pointless post to a question not directed at you. All right, a bit too harsh. I apologize. But really, what kind of answer is that? (raises eyebrow)
A response/retort from an insider? Carter claimed to be a nuclear engineer. I worked and qualified as a Shift Test Engineer (nuclear). http://www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/norfolk/nnsy/NuclearTED.aspx

Here's the (liberal presumably pro-Carter) Wikipedia on Carter's naval career

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter#Naval_career

Carter is regarded in some circles as the worst contemporary president, a status now being challenged by another democrat and in the field of nuclear power politics. If you want to accuse me of hating Carter and democrats then I will not protest.
 
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  • #13
Cyrus said:
What's wrong with nukular power?

The video tapes of not one, but two security guards at nuclear power plants, sleeping while on-duty, not long after 911, did not convince me that we have anything even close to a failsafe system. That showed me that for all of the posturing, there is no way to control the human element.

My biggest concern is the proliferation of nuclear materials; for dirty bombs, for example. But beyond that, I don't trust the nuclear industry. We were told this was all safe even while three mile island was on the verge of melting down; while the two most knowlegable people in the country were screaming at each other and didn't know what to do.

But, at this point energy independence is probably more important that safety concerns. Better to potentially lose one city than all of them. Also, the sooner we can gain energy independence, the sooner we can get out of the ME. Ultimately, our need for oil is the reason that we have terrorists.
 
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  • #14
Doug Huffman said:
A response/retort from an insider? Carter claimed to be a nuclear engineer. I worked and qualified as a Shift Test Engineer (nuclear). http://www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/norfolk/nnsy/NuclearTED.aspx

Here's the (liberal presumably pro-Carter) Wikipedia on Carter's naval career

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter#Naval_career

Carter is regarded in some circles as the worst contemporary president, a status now being challenged by another democrat and in the field of nuclear power politics. If you want to accuse me of hating Carter and democrats then I will not protest.

He was talking about Bush.
 
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  • #15
Doug Huffman said:
See Timothy Ferris' The Science of Liberty (HarperCollins, NY,2010)

Start a thread. Otherwise, meaningless allusions to some book have nothing to do with the discussion.
 
  • #16
Cyrus said:
What an utterly useless and pointless post to a question not directed at you.

Agreed.
 
  • #17
Re 'dirty bomb', if it was so easy then everyone would do it.

Calculate the mass specific activity for your favorite nuclides. I think that you'll find that ones with sufficient activity to be particularly difficult to clean up can't be assembled in a large mass without acute exposure problems. Conversely, if it can be assembled in a reasonably large mass then the activity is low enough to be only expensive to clean up.

No, I have not done the calculations since I retired from a term in radiological emergency planning.

Read/lurk the RADSAFE list for radiation health physics professionals.
 
  • #18
Sorry, mentors, I am not seeking anyone's approval.
 
  • #19
Doug Huffman said:
Sorry, mentors, I am not seeking anyone's approval.

And on one cares. If you want to post, make a point.
 
  • #20
Doug Huffman said:
Re 'dirty bomb', if it was so easy then everyone would do it.

Calculate the mass specific activity for your favorite nuclides. I think that you'll find that ones with sufficient activity to be particularly difficult to clean up can't be assembled in a large mass without acute exposure problems. Conversely, if it can be assembled in a reasonably large mass then the activity is low enough to be only expensive to clean up.

No, I have not done the calculations since I retired from a term in radiological emergency planning.

Read/lurk the RADSAFE list for radiation health physics professionals.

Actually, we've been through this all before.
 
  • #21
Doug Huffman said:
Re 'dirty bomb', if it was so easy then everyone would do it.

Calculate the mass specific activity for your favorite nuclides. I think that you'll find that ones with sufficient activity to be particularly difficult to clean up can't be assembled in a large mass without acute exposure problems. Conversely, if it can be assembled in a reasonably large mass then the activity is low enough to be only expensive to clean up.

No, I have not done the calculations since I retired from a term in radiological emergency planning.

Read/lurk the RADSAFE list for radiation health physics professionals.

can you calculate the psychological and economic effects (beyond the cleanup) of an "ineffective" dirty bomb ?
 
  • #22
Ivan Seeking said:
The video tapes of not one, but two security guards at nuclear power plants, sleeping while on-duty, not long after 911, did not convince me that we have anything even close to a failsafe system. That showed me that for all of the posturing, there is no way to control the human element.

My biggest concern is the proliferation of nuclear materials; for dirty bombs, for example. But beyond that, I don't trust the nuclear industry. We were told this was all safe even while three mile island was on the verge of melting down; while the two most knowlegable people in the country were screaming at each other and didn't know what to do.

I am sorry Ivan, but are you saying that terrorists will sneak into a nuclear power plant, and somehow steal the spent fuel rods?
This would take a huge operation, which wouldn't get through the front gate of a facility let alone close to the material. It is also financially nonviable for a terrorist organization to steal from a nuclear power plant. The warheads are already made, and easier to steal from the Russians than the US.
Sidenote: Russia has lost a whole lot (not sure of exact weight) of nuclear material from its waste sites by lax security.

TMI and Chernobyl where cases of human error (as you have said) where simple mistakes lead to big consequences. Mind you computers still took up entire rooms at this time, so the ability to know what is wrong in the reactor was limited by current technology.
The chance of a meltdown is so unlikely today in the US it is well. . . unlikely!

Chernobyl was built to much lower standards than all US reactors, and this is the main reason that so much radiation was released. In the event of a total meltdown of a reactor in America (reactor reaches over 5000degree F) it will not make it past the floor, which is three feet of concrete, followed by 10 inches (approx.) of steel.

Nuclear energy is safe, efficient, and cost effective compared to other forms of natural resources.
 
  • #23
So your point is what, that it's okay for guards to sleep while on-duty? This is how a nuclear power plant operates right after the biggest terrorist attack in history?

I don't know what sort of operation we might need to prepare for. Do you? Please provide your sources. The control of nuclear materials is considered to be one of the most important aspects of the war on terror.

What we will do with the spent material is also a valid concern. Obama want's a bipartisan commission to sort this out.
 
  • #24
Ivan Seeking said:
The video tapes of not one, but two security guards at nuclear power plants, sleeping while on-duty, not long after 911, did not convince me that we have anything even close to a failsafe system. That showed me that for all of the posturing, there is no way to control the human element.

They were sleeping because they were so sure of the failsafe system would work... and it did! :smile:
 
  • #25
zomgwtf said:
They were sleeping because they were so sure of the failsafe system would work... and it did! :smile:

No, it didn't. It shows an appalling lack of training, and a shocking lack of personal and professional responsibilty. It showed that apparently nothing gets these people's attention. It calls into serious question the quality of the people hired for these jobs.

Are twenty bums guarding a plant any better than one?
 
  • #26
Ivan Seeking said:
No, it didn't. It shows an appalling lack of training, and a shocking lack of personal and professional responsibilty. It showed that apparently nothing gets these people's attention. It calls into serious question the quality of the people hired for these jobs.

Are twenty bums guarding a plant any better than one?

If your only concern is the quality of security guards guarding a facility, that is easily remedied.
 
  • #27
Is it ok for guards to sleep on the job? No it isnt. But I would rather have a sleeping guard than a sleeping technician.

Dirty bombs are made from nuclear waste, which is coming out of Russia by the bucket loads.(exaggeration)

There isn't much that the US can do about how secure Russia is with its nuclear waste. We can advise, and that is about it. With the new missile defense shield going into the eastern block countries, the US Russia relationship is getting worse and worse.

We could guard the Afghan and Pakistani borders, but that will require a whole bunch more troops, and no one wants that when the main concentration of the force is needed in southern Afg. in the Helmand province.
 
  • #28
How easier is it for terrorists to perform a nuclear attack once they steal a chunk of raw material?
 
  • #29
drankin said:
If your only concern is the quality of security guards guarding a facility, that is easily remedied.

That would be a start. In fact, I would prefer to see all facilities involving nuclear materials, beyond a certain quantity [threat level], guarded by the military.

People often point to our military as an example of nuclear power made safe. Okay, fine, let's do that. Use the military. If a guard sleeps while on the job, I want to see him or her in prison, not just fired or reprimanded. This is a matter of national security.
 
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  • #30
drankin said:
If your only concern is the quality of security guards guarding a facility, that is easily remedied.
Have you evaluated the security systems of a nuclear-power site? Believe me, it's not just high-end rent-a-cops at checkpoints. You'd be be surprised how many interlocking security systems surround each such plant. Not just fences, sensors, cameras, guards... I shouldn't get into too much more detail than the obvious, but our nukes are well-monitored.
 
  • #31
rootX said:
How easier is it for terrorists to perform a nuclear attack once they steal a chunk of raw material?

Depends on who it is.

Chechens, most likely not.

Al Qaeda, closer, but still not there

Hamas, ehhhh I think Mosad has a close eye on them to not let anything happen.

Taliban, The greatest chance in my opinion. They have backing from the Pakistani government, safe haven in Pakistan, and are very extensive and organized.
 
  • #32
MotoH said:
Depends on who it is.

Chechens, most likely not.

Al Qaeda, closer, but still not there

Hamas, ehhhh I think Mosad has a close eye on them to not let anything happen.

Taliban, The greatest chance in my opinion. They have backing from the Pakistani government, safe haven in Pakistan, and are very extensive and organized.

:confused:

He was seized in a morning raid on a madrassa near Karachi by Pakistan's ISI intelligence service on 8 February, a security source told the BBC.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8517375.stm
(Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010)
 
  • #33
rootX said:
How easier is it for terrorists to perform a nuclear attack once they steal a chunk of raw material?
Quite easy, at least for magnox fuel your could hit somebody over the head with a fuel rod and cause a concussion, RBMK fuel rods are a lot bigger and heavier you could drop one on somebody's toe.
 
  • #34
MotoH said:
Taliban, The greatest chance in my opinion. They have backing from the Pakistani government, safe haven in Pakistan, and are very extensive and organized.
The Taliban are tolerated in Pakistan because they cannot easily be controlled or tracked. The thought that the Pakistan military/govt would breach security and allow religious fundamentalists access to nuclear weapons is beyond crazy. The Taliban would not have the knowledge or technology to use them, and any such transfer would prompt India to wipe Pakistan off the map. Game over.
 
  • #35
drankin said:
If your only concern is the quality of security guards guarding a facility, that is easily remedied.
Put the TSA in charge?
 

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