Climate change

February 25, 2009

Response to an Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) critique

Filed under: IFR (Integral Fast Reactor) Nuclear Power, Renewable Energy — Barry Brook @ 1:56 pm

As noted in my previous post on Integral Fast Reactors (IFR), Jim Green, from Friends of the Earth (FoE), has posted a critique of IFR.

Below, I (and others, names in square brackets), respond to his major points (in green): [BWB] = Barry W Brook, [TB] = Tom Blees, [GS] = George Stanford, [GLRC] = GLR Cowan. Furthermore, all of these arguments are also answered, in a variety of different ways, here, here, here, here and here. And of course in the book, Prescription for the Planet. So really, you could say that the below are just a small selection of the breadth of answers that are available to the interested reader.

As an aside, I note that I’ve now twice linked to the FoE critique, so as to make readers aware that such critiques exist and to encourage people to read these and judge for themselves. I would hope that the FoE site similarly has the openness, and desire for balance, to link back to this rejoinder.


What are IFRs? * non-existent reactors proposed to be fuelled by a metallic alloy of uranium and plutonium

[BWB] IFRs are sodium-cooled fast spectrum nuclear power stations with on-site pyroprocessing to recycle spent fuel. Fast spectrum power reactors exist — they are not some mythical ‘future tech’ like fusion reactors. Indeed, even sodium-cooled fast reactors (a type of Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor, ALMR), the type an IFR facility would likely use, already exist (others include lead- or gas-cooled). Metallic alloy fuels (uranium-plutonium-zirconium), operating within a reactor, existed, in the Experimental Breeder Reactor II  at the Argonne National Laboratory. Just because they are not currently used in any operating nuclear power plant doesn’t mean they don’t (haven’t) existed. The only thing that doesn’t currently exist is the full systems design of the integrated IFR plant.

[GS] “Integral” refers to the fact that the fuel processing facility can be an integral part of the IFR plant.

…one or another largely undeveloped form of reprocessing/partitioning to separate transuranics (including plutonium) and actinides (long-lived waste)

[BWB] Transuranics are actinides — they are not separate things as the above implies. The process of pyroproccesing has already gone through significant technical development, but not commercial-scale demonstration. An excellent, colour-illustrated summary, from Scientific American magazine, is available (free download) here.

[GS] Transuranics are the elements beyond uranium – that is, their atomic number is 93 or greater: neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium and more. All of them are man-made elements, since they are so radioactive that the naturally created ones have long since decayed away in our little bit of the universe. They are also called higher actinides… An IFR plant will be a “sink” for plutonium: plutonium to be disposed of is shipped in, and there it is consumed, with on-site recycling as needed. Only trace amounts ever come out.

[TB] Yes, there will be more (unseparated) Pu involved in the entire process but once inside the door of the IFR it will never leave. With the sort of security and operational framework I propose in my book, it would be far easier to obtain Pu from another source such as a small research reactor. The bottom line is that while the IFR will be more proliferation-resistant than other designs, any time fissile material is used there should be some sort of oversight, even at small research reactors such as those found in many universities around the world. It would be far easier to produce isotopically favorable (for weapons) plutonium at one of them than to extract it from the fuel cycle at an IFR.

1. IFR fails the crucial weapons proliferation test. Anything that involves separating plutonium from spent fuel (even if Pu deliberately contaminated with unwanted radionuclides) increases the proliferation risks relative to leaving Pu in spent fuel… [and from a quoted reference] some elements of the technology still remain to be developed and demonstrated… The assessment of this fuel cycle should be an ongoing analysis that keeps up with the research rather than one based on the presumptions of either the advocates or the critics

[BWB] If you deploy IFRs in countries first in nuclear club countries — those that already possess, or are capable of making, nuclear weapons, then there is no additional proliferation risk. These countries already have a nuclear arsenal sufficient to wipe out humanity a few hundred times over. Building new IFR plants cannot meaningfully heighten this risk unless they are constructed in countries with no such capability. If this is done, it would require strong international oversight, as has been discussed elsewhere. Indeed, I’d argue that in consuming existing weapons-grade plutonium, the net effect of more IFRs is to lessen the overall risk of nuclear explosions.

But even without an international oversight organisions, we can reduce >95% of global greenhouse gas emissions by: (a) replacing electricity and transport energy with electricity from zero-carbon sources like IFR, deployed only in nuclear club countries, (b) halting deforestation in all countries (nuclear club and other), (c) massively scaling back agricultural emissions from fuel and ruminant/fertilizer sources, (d) providing non-nuclear-club countries with nuclear batteries, power via cross-border transmission lines,  and boron or other metal fuels for vehicles,  from IFR countries, (e) resolve the municipal solid was problem in all countries via plasma burners.

[GLRC] One can reduce the theoretical potential for power reactors to be involved in proliferation, but their actual history of involvement is zero, and so not subject to reduction. This potential remain like that of car engines to be made into multibarrel cannons: it could happen, and guns do proliferate, but never that way.

[TB] Pray tell, what is the problem with McFarlane’s statement: “The reactor … could be used for excess plutonium consumption or as a breeder if needed …” The fact that it can be used as a breeder is precisely why it would allow us to stop uranium mining, and the fact that it consumes excess plutonium is exactly what we want to do: get rid of separated plutonium and not separate it anymore.

[GS] A breeder is a reactor that is configured so as to produce more fissile material than it consumes. A fast reactor can be designed and operated to be either a net breeder or a net burner. A thermal reactor is a net burner of nuclear fuel, but – and this is very important – all thermal reactors are prolific breeders of plutonium. People often insist on calling IFRs breeders (originally, fast reactors were investigated because of their potential to breed), partly because of genuine confusion, and partly for the emotional impact, since “breeder” carries the subliminal connotation of runaway plutonium production. The central fact that those people are missing is that with IFRs you can choose not to breed plutonium, whereas with thermal reactors you make plutonium whether you want it or not.

– it is axiomatic that spent fuel provides a greater proliferation barrier than the proposed IFR mix of plutonium/actinides/fission products(?) since all those materials are in spent fuel along with other nasties.
– most importantly, none of the above makes a jot of difference if the proliferator has the capacity to further purify the plutonium in a reprocessing plant or a smaller ‘hot cell’ facility (which abound)

None of the above makes a jot of difference if the proliferator produces high-purity plutonium in the first place and if IFR is used as a plutonium breeder rather than a burner … no technical problems whatsoever using IFR to do just that (and the same applies to conventional reactors). So the WMD proliferation potential of IFR reactors (and conventional reactors) must weigh very heavily against them in any comparative assessment of energy options.

[TB] Green’s axiom is nothing of the sort. Spent LWR (light water reactor) fuel can be put through a PUREX (plutonium uranium extraction) process to extract virtually pure plutonium, though its isotopic composition will be far less than ideal for weapons. IFR fuel, on either end of the recycling process, would likewise have to be put through the PUREX process. Neither type of fuel can be handled without special remote handling equipment. So how does that make it axiomatic that spent fuel is a greater proliferation barrier?

In point of fact, anyone hoping to make a bomb from plutonium will likely try to obtain an isotopically more pure plutonium by creating it from U-238 (depleted uranium) at a small research reactor. To a great extent the proliferation threat of power reactors is overblown in light of this, but nevertheless proliferation resistance should always be a priority whenever fissile material is in circulation.

Green’s warning about IFRs being more dangerous in this regard is incorrect, since LWRs produce plutonium as well, and it’s in their spent fuel. Either way you need a PUREX process to extract the (isotopically inferior) plutonium. This whole issue is one of the most common misconceptions about the IFR system, and one of many under which Mr. Green is laboring.

I discuss at length in Prescription for the Planet how and where IFRs would be deployed in order to minimize proliferation risks.

As for breeding high-quality (I assume Green means weapons-grade) plutonium, virtually any reactor (including research reactors) can do that by wrapping a U-238 blanket around the core and letting it get bombarded with neutrons for a while, then removing it and extracting the Pu with the PUREX method. It requires relatively brief exposure, which is NOT what one would have in a reactor core operated for power purposes. Again, as I’ve pointed out here and in my book, fissile material should all be subject to rigorous international oversight. In P4TP I deal with just how to do that in some detail.

[GS] If their IFR plants were safeguarded, the material in the processing stream would be highly undesirable  and their chances of diverting it undetected would be slim indeed. If not safeguarded, they could do what they could do with any other reactor — operate it on a special cycle to produce good quality weapons material. But in either case, most likely they would do what everyone else has done: construct a special production facility. Detecting such a clandestine facility is probably the main, immediate challenge facing international safeguards, and has nothing to do with whether a country has IFRs or LWRs.

2. They don’t exist. Long history of theoretically attractive reactors / fuel cycles which either haven’t been developed or have been highly problematic (e.g. breeders).

[BWB] See above for a comment showing that they (ALMR, pyroprocessing) do exist. Just saying they are fairytales won’t make the reality of them go away.

[GS] The problems with fast reactors (‘breeders’) have been non-fundamental. Examples:
– The Monju reactor was undamaged by the fire (rated 1 on a scale of 0 to 7, with 7 being the most serious accident), and has been kept shut down for political reasons. I think it has been given the go-ahead to start up.
– The EBR-II fast reactor worked flawlessly for many years.
– The Phenix fast reactor in France has been on-line for decades.
– The Superphenix reactor was shut down for political reasons, after it finally had its problems behind it and was working well.
– The Russian BN-600 has been working well for decades.

3. IFR envisages transmutation (bombarding some of the more problemtatic long-lived waste radionuclides to convert them to less problematic, shorter lived radionuclides) but this is problematic because i) it involves the proliferation risks associated with one or another form of reprocessing/partitioning of spent fuel into different streams (and thus facilitating plutonium separation, even if that is not envisaged during routine operations) and ii) the technology has been explored for decades but is still a long way from being mature.

[BWB] For answer to the proliferation risks, see above. Regarding the possiblity of reprocessing to purify plutonium:

The diversion of nuclear fuel for the purpose of making bombs has been a concern, although presently the handling and destruction of nuclear weapons material is the primary issue. In the IFR, the nature of the fuel reprocessing is such that the fuel remains highly radioactive at all times. Fuel can only be handled in shielded cells or transported in casks weighing many tons. In addition, because the fuel recycle facility is located on-site, there is no transportation of nuclear which could create an opportunity for diversion. In any event, IFR fuel is not suitable for weapons without extensive processing in very expensive facilities. The potential also exists for the IFR to use weapons material for fuel, thus eliminating it, while producing electricity.”

[GS] Near-term, the IFR makes PUREX illegitimate and plutonium inaccessible. Long term, it relieves future generations of the responsibility to guard the plutonium mines, and of the risks of not guarding them adequately.

4. Safety risks associated with use of sodium coolant.

[BWB] The liquid sodium would be housed in a reactor pool with an inert argon overtopping atmosphere. The room in which the secondary sodium loop exchanged heat with the water loop would also be housed in an argon-filled room – a room separate to the reactor (see below Appendix for more information).

[GS] ALMRs use liquid sodium for cooling and heat transfer, which makes the system intrinsically safer than one that uses water. That is because the molten sodium runs at atmospheric pressure, which means that there is no internal pressure to cause the type of accident that has to be carefully designed against in an LWR: a massive pipe rupture followed by “blowdown” of the coolant. Also, sodium is not corrosive (on steel) like water is. Sodium can burn in air and react violently with water, and this of course requires prudent design, involving inert atmospheres and multiple barriers.

5. Brook says IFR will produce “very cheap” power. Good historical reasons to ignore such claims.

[BWB] I searched back through all my written material and comments, and cannot find where I said the quoted phrase ‘very cheap’. Regarding cost though, the standardised-design, factory-built, modular S-PRISM, is likely to be cost competitive or better than current generation nuclear power. I will detail this in a later post. The “good historical reasons” claim just doesn’t wash – there are good historical reasons to believe that renewables will never make up more than a small fraction of our total power generating capacity, but that’s hardly an argument against future expansion.

Further, from the UC Berkley FAQ:

For a new power source to be viable, the cost of power must be competitive with today’s power systems. The proof of costs in any project only comes when full- sized systems are built and operated. Although no full-sized IFR plant has been built, several facts suggest that the IFR will be very economic. Costs of today’s nuclear plants are just slightly above that of coal as a national average. Several nuclear plants have operated with costs significantly below that of coal however. A new IFR should cost less than either a new nuclear (typical of today’s technology) or coal plant based on the following. The IFR does not require some of the complex systems that today’s reactors require. Examples include the low level radwaste cleanup station, the emergency core cooling system, and fewer control rod drives and control rods for comparable power. Because of the low pressure in the sodium systems, less steel is required for the plant piping and reactor vessel. There are studies that suggest that the reactor containment will be less massive. Other cost savings will be made because the IFR does not require the services of the Isotopic Separation Plants for fuel enrichment. Additional costs to the IFR include the integral fuel reprocessing capability, and a secondary sodium system (but the IFR fuel process costs are somewhat offset by the extremely low cost for raw fuel and the improved waste product). Some studies have been done which indicate that an IFR would be very economical and competitive to build, own, and operate, but the final proof of economics can only come in the construction and operation of a commercial sized plant.”

6. Ignoring the potential for renewables to produce baseload, intermediate- and peak-load power (see Mark Diesendorf’s paper on this topic at Also ignoring the fact that 70-80+% of greenhouse emissions arise from sectors other than electricity generation – so Kirsch’s claim that IFR’s could be the “holy grail in the fight against global warming” is stupid.

[TB] Almost 80% of greenhouse gas emissions come from nuclear-capable countries anyway, so even if we just deployed them there we could make tremendous strides, though it would still be wise to create some sort of international oversight organization as I propose in the book.

[BWB] This is at best grossly disingenuous (not to mention insulting to call Kirsch stupid). You need to solve the electricity carbon problem to fix the vehicular fuels problem, space heating and embedded energy in building and manufactured goods, and Tom has a solution for MSW [municipal solid waste] also. About half of agricultural emissions can also be solved if you have a zero-carbon energy source. Then you just need to worry about the ruminant methane and carbon from deforestation. But the bottom line is, if you fix electricity, every else will quicktly start to fall into place.

If we don’t stop coal in places like China and India, we’re hosed, irrespective of what we might do in the US and Oz (and even if we could do with without advanced nuclear, which we very likely cannot). I do wonder, what is Jim Green’s plan is for replacing the 484 GW of coal-fired power stations already installed in China, and the further 200 or so plants in the planning or construction pipeline?

7. Still produces radioactive waste – albeit (in theory) a more manageable waste stream than conventional reactors. But to lessen the long-term hazards, the short-term public health, environmental and proliferation risks are increased through reprocessing, plutonium recycling etc. [Then cites MIT study, concerning how recycling transuranics will cost more than a once-through cycle]

[BWB] A 1 GW IFR power station would produced about 1 tonne of fission products a year. For comparison, a 1 GW coal-fired power station produces over 1 million tonnes. Plutonium (and other actinides) are indeed recycled in pyroprocessing, but Pu is never purified in an IFR, and would never leave the plant facility. Only the vitrified fission products would, which of course cannot be used in any nuclear explosive.

From the FAQ:

Discussions on waste, nearly unlimited fuel supply, transportation, and a nearly diversion-proof fuel all hinge on the fuel type and the fuel reprocessing scheme. To describe the waste advantages, fuel reprocessing will first be described. Reprocessing of fuel is a key requirement of the IFR. However, IFR reprocessing is very different from processes which have been proposed or which are in use in other countries. Basically, reprocessing IFR fuel consists of two simple steps: 1. fission fragments are removed from the fuel, and 2. unused fuel is recovered, along with the transuranic elements (sometimes called actinides). Normally, the transuranic elements would go to the waste stream with the fission products, but in the IFR, they are kept with the fuel and sent back to the reactor to also serve as fuel. In the above description, note that the waste stream consists of only the fission products. The result is that instead of a waste that remains radioactive for many thousands of years, as would be the case if the transuranic elements were present, the radioactivity in the waste will decay to a value less than that of the original uranium ore in about 200 years. An additional advantage to the waste side of the IFR operation is that the IFR plant produces less low-level waste than today’s nuclear plants. The sodium coolant used in the IFR does not corrode the piping or structure, and, as a result, there are no radioactive corrosion products to remove from the primary system and send to a low-level radioactive waste repository. The fission product waste from an IFR type plant will amount to about 1700 pounds of waste per year for a plant of about 1000 megawatts electric output. This is in contrast to the waste from an equivalent coal plant of about 1,275,000 tons per year. These figures are for a plant that operates about 70 percent of the year.

[TB] As for the MIT study that Green admiringly quotes, please refer to my book (pg 155–165) for a thorough trashing of same.

8. Brook says IFR reactors would be “safe from melt down” which is nonsense because technologies fail, well-intentioned humans err, and because the best laid plans can go awry if reactors are subject to sabotage or outside attack…

[BWB] The laws of physics say that this is not nonsense. For instance, the metal fuel pins’ composition is such that if they begin to overheat, the resulting expansion decreases their density to the point where the fission reaction simply shuts down.  This is not speculation — it’s been tested and verified. I quote:

The IFR gains safety advantages through a combination of metal fuel (an alloy of uranium, plutonium, and zirconium), and sodium cooling. By providing a fuel which readily conducts heat from the fuel to the coolant, and which operates at relatively low temperatures, the IFR takes maximum advantage of expansion of the coolant, fuel, and structure during off-normal events which increase temperatures. The expansion of the fuel and structure in an off-normal situation causes the system to shut down even without human operator intervention. In April of 1986, two special tests were performed on the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II), in which the main primary cooling pumps were shut off with the reactor at full power (62.5 Megawatts, thermal) – By not allowing the normal shutdown systems to interfere, the reactor power dropped to near zero within about 300 seconds. No damage to the fuel or the reactor resulted. This test demonstrated that even with a loss of all electrical power and the capability to shut down the reactor using the normal systems, the reactor will simply shut down without danger or damage. The same day, this demonstration was followed by another important test. With the reactor again at full power, flow in the secondary cooling system was stopped. This test caused the temperature to increase, since there was nowhere for the reactor heat to go. As the primary (reactor) cooling system became hotter, the fuel, sodium coolant, and structure expanded, and the reactor shut down. This test showed that an IFR type reactor will shut down using inherent features such as thermal expansion, even if the ability to remove heat from the primary cooling system is lost. Events such as the loss of water to the steam system would cause a condition such as the test demonstrated. Another major feature of the IFR concept is that the reactor uses a coolant, sodium, which does not boil during normal operation nor even in overpower transients such as described above. This means that the coolant is not under significant pressure. When coolant is not under pressure, the reactor can be placed in a “pool” of coolant, contained in a double tank, so that there is no real possibility for a loss of coolant. Even if the normal pumps are lost, some coolant flow through the reactor occurs due to natural convection. The features described above allow for greater simplification of a nuclear plant, resulting in cost savings, greater ease in operation, and a safety system that relies on natural phenomenon that cannot be defeated by human error.

[TB] Arguing that these reactors cannot be safe from meltdowns flies in the face of the laws of physics, which assure that very feature. Regarding terrorist attack, we can secure our airports chemical plants, etc, with not a lot of work, you can design these plants to be virtually impregnable by terrorists (e.g., burying the reactor building).

The new Gen III LWRs, though, are so far advanced as to merit their designation as a different generation. The probabilistic risk assessment of the ESBWR is astronomical, one core melt accident every 29 million reactor-years. Since we don’t have enough nuclear waste to load new IFRs quickly enough to meet the 2050 goal of zero emissions, the newest LWRs could be built to fill any gap that renewables and IFRs couldn’t fill and can be expected to perform safely. Their safety features are far beyond our current reactors by orders of magnitude.

Easy to make wild claims about non-existent reactors since such claims cannot be tested or disproved. As a nuclear industry representative has noted about non-existent reactor types: “We know that the paper-moderated, ink-cooled reactor is the safest of all. All kinds of unexpected problems may occur after a project has been launched.”

[TB] The assertion that such reactors don’t exist with the implication that they’re just fantasies on paper is bunk. BN-350 was operational for years starting in 1972. Phenix went online in 1973 and is still running. BN-600, still running and the most reliable nuclear reactor in Russia’s system. EBR-II ran for 30 years, FFTF at Hanford for many years too (I don’t recall exactly how many at the moment). Can’t make the fuel? They made thousands of fuel slugs at Argonne Labs over the years. Note the dates: 1972, 1973! And people say that something the French and Soviets built 36 years ago should take another 36 years for us to try? By the way, we will need plenty of desalination plants as our population continues to grow toward 9-10 billion. We don’t have 36 years to drag our feet.

Australian nuclear engineer Tony Wood notes that probabilistic risk assessment failed to anticipate the world’s worst reactor accident (Chernobyl) and the worst reactor accidents in the UK (Windscale) and the USA (Three Mile Island)… probabilistic risk assessment failed to anticipate the world’s worst reactor accident (Chernobyl)

[TB] While I seriously doubt that Green has access to such assessments about Chernobyl, our physicists in the USA made a conscious decision years earlier never to build a reactor designed like that because it was way too dangerous. Chernobyl was an accident waiting to happen. It has absolutely nothing to do with IFRs other than as a way to create a false equivalency and scare people.

[GLRC] Melting and blowing up are different, and no power station reactor built in any country that respected the advice Hungarian emigre Dr. Edward Teller gave in 1950 has ever built a reactor that had any way of blowing up. Chernobyl was a reactor explosion, not merely a meltdown. The chance of such an event in any Teller-compliant reactor is, as it has been since 1950, identically zero. (Parked cars are much heavier than parked bicycles or motorbikes, but their toppling-over risk is similarly not more, not the same, and not reduced by some factor; it is zero.)


NOTE: The above is a working draft only. I will update this post template as further relevant comments (including those posted below) come to hand. Please feel free to make suggestions below, or to email them to me.



Critique of Chapter 6, “Generation IV Nuclear Reactors“, pg 115-130 in: Caldicott, H. (2006) Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer to Global Warming or Anything Else. Melbourne University Press. [Ch6 had input from Dr David Lochbaum]

By Tom Blees

P.122-3: Doesn’t differentiate between aqueous (MOX) and non-aqueous (pyroprocessing of metal fuel) reprocessing. You can’t conflate the two, they are very different.

P.123, last paragraph: breeders ARE fast reactors, just with a different fuel configuration to allow breeding of new fuel.

P.124: The design of the PRISM reactor makes it functionally impossible to lose coolant, and there is neither water nor air surrounding its containment, but rather argon. There no egress below the level of the top of the reactor containment and with argon being heavier than air it’s there for the duration. The steam generator/heat exchanger is in a separate structure. The excursion events described here, with the ominous warning of a deadly radioactive cloud, are generically tossed out there with no consideration for whether they apply to any particular design of Gen IV reactor, and certainly not to the PRISM reactor, which has already gotten its preliminary seal of safety approval from the NRC with probabilistic risk assessments that exponentially exceed the safety of ANY other reactor design.

P. 125: “‘Closing’ the nuclear fuel cycle obviously will contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.” What kind of ridiculous statement is that? What makes that obvious? Again, MOX and pyroprocessing are conflated, resulting in an “I’ll say anything I want and let the reader assume it applies to everything,” which of course is complete malarkey.

P. 126: 600 years is a stretch for strontium and cesium, which have about 30-year half-lives. Realistically it’s about half that. As for cost, a baseless assertion is made that fast reactors are twice as expensive as LWRs…”extraordinarily expensive,” in fact. Just look at the tone, how scare words are constantly interjected, as in “deadly fission productsdeadlydangerous.” And then comes the derision of the idea that these reactors are “sustainable,” when in fact the fuel is essentially limitless.

P. 126, last paragraph: Notice they forgot to put the word “Some” at the beginning of that paragraph.

Lochbaum’s testimony on P. 127:

– Why is it inappropriate to talk about Gen IV reactors before we dispose of all the waste, when Gen IV reactors would themselves dispose of it?

– One place Lochbaum and I can agree, that the NRC should be reformed. They should also be better funded so they can get their job done instead of operating on a shoestring.

– Again, all Gen IV designs are conflated here, convenient to Lochbaum’s purposes. His second sentence here absolutely does not apply to the PRISM reactor in any way whatsoever. His recommendation that new and untested materials, etc be tested in labs first is a ridiculous “Well, of course!” statement if ever there was one. Where does he think they develop these things?

Continuing his points on P. 128:

– Here he trots out the sodium volatility bogeyman, plus the misleading phrase “releases large quantities of radioisotopes.” Where are they released? They aren’t. And he talks about how the reprocessing involves the processing, transport, and storage of huge quantities of plutonium. Is he here conflating MOX and PUREX reprocessing with pyroprocessing? The latter, of course, never separates out plutonium and doesn’t require any transport of fuel except within the confines of the power plant.

– Again, conflation of MOX and pyroprocessing

– More griping about the Price-Anderson act, which automatically insures all reactors. He talks as if he expects private utility companies to waive coverage if they have safe plants, and that failing to do so (what businessman would?) betrays their dangerousness. I know there’s some Latin term for this, it’s a bit like a Post Hoc or maybe just an inductive fallacy. Pretty transparent, though, isn’t it?

P. 129: I won’t comment on the proliferation potential presented here because I think we need a better system anyway, which I propose in my book. As for the last paragraph, it’s more baseless assertions masquerading as facts.

Mercifully, P. 130: Having proved by unsupported assertion that reactors can’t be built soon enough to affect global warming, Caldicott/Lochbaum uses that “fact” to argue that it would be a grievous misallocation of scarce funds to put any money into nuclear, and just for good measure trots out the old saw about how the nuclear fuel cycle adds to global warming, which for IFRs is less true by far than it is of wind or solar construction projects since neither mining nor enrichment are necessary and nuke plants use 10-40 times less concrete and steel as comparable MW of wind turbine construction.

When finishing off, quoting Greenpeace, all Gen IV designs and intentions are again conflated.


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