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February 23, 2008

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Rebecca Ann Hale

Dear Dr. Makhijani:
Thank you for helping people understand more about why nuclear is not Clean Energy. We are all suffering as a result of many good technologies being left under-developed while money and power have been following a path to hell, in terms of backing nuclear proliferation. Your book will help wake more people up to the facts. When reason can prevail, nuclear plans will be slowed, and human-safe technologies will get pushed forward. Your plans sound workable and in a comfortable timeframe.
I live in Reno, NV, and am concentrating my efforts in area of environmental / science curriculum enrichment.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Ann Hale
Reno, NV

Mike Berger

Mr Makhijani
Your idea of a world power by wind and solar energy is a fairytale. Nuclear energy is the best alternative to fossel fuel. Nuclear energy is safe,clean, and inexpensive. However years of anti-nuclear power propaganda have left most americians confused and misinformed. Europe has been building nuclear power plants for decades with out any of the problems you contribute to nuclear power. I have to wonder how much of your funding comes from oil rich coutries that rely on America's continued oil dependence for there prosperity.

Mike Berger
Dallas, TX

John Rachow Iowa City IA Physicians for Social Responsibility

It seems to me that a central organizing principle of this blog is the book Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy. It is unlikely that either the nuclear power or fossil fuel industries would have funded such an analysis to develop a roadmap that suggests shedding both nuclear power and fossil fuels is feasible in the next 40 years or so. I suppose this forum is not so much to discuss the pros and cons of nuclear power, which has serious unsolved waste problems, as to discuss alternatives to both nuclear and fossil fuels. It is extremely naive to think that European countries, or any other country, have found nuclear energy to be a panacea. Certainly the experience of the last 60 years does not support the conclusions that nuclear power is clean, safe, and cheap. All nations that have significant nuclear power generating capacity are still heavily dependent on fossil fuel importation in addition to use of domestic fossil fuels. It is instructive to watch closely the current nationwide experiments currently running in countries such as Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, and France. A basic flaw in many discussions and
analyses is the false assumption that we have to accept that a huge increase in future energy demand is an unalterable fact. There are several examples documented in Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free of sustained periods in recent years in the U.S. of sustained periods of level energy consumption with simultaneous sustained robust overall economic growth. Another thing that has always bothered me is the recurring effort to equate electricity power generation in the U.S. to oil imports. Oil goes mostly to transportation and home heating and nuclear energy will not ameliorate this need. The lion share of U.S. electricity generation is from domestic coal with its terrible down side that is already hard upon us. Global warming and toxic emissions from coal burning (and oil) is already a colossal threat to life on the planet. Burning fossil fuels may do us in well before nuclear waste becomes a terminal illness for humankind.

Arjun Makhijani

A response to responding to Mike Berger:

1. IEER does not get or accept donations from governments or corporations. Specifically, Mike Berger wondered how much money IEER gets from “oil-rich countries.” The answer is: zero. It is amusing to think that the U.S. government does get such funding, since some Middle Eastern oil-rich countries are buying U.S. securities and financing some of the U.S. budget and trade deficits. IEER’s funders are listed in the various issues of Science for Democratic Action. See the list of issues at http://www.ieer.org/sdafiles/index.html

2. There is not much nuclear power construction going on in Western Europe. In fact, there are only two reactors being built in there: one in Finland and one in France, both by AREVA. The European nuclear landscape is very varied from governmental gung-ho in France, with President Sarkozy being an ardent global salesman for AREVA reactors, notably in the Middle East and Asia, to countries like Germany that have decided to phase out nuclear power. It’s worth checking the facts about Europe. For a recent article I’ve written on the French nuclear power system, see page 5 of the current issue of Science for Democratic Action at http://www.ieer.org/sdafiles/15-2.pdf Among other things, I point out that France has not “solved” the problem of nuclear waste. It reprocesses spent fuel and in the process increases costs for its electricity ratepayers and pollutes the oceans all the way to the Arctic. Twelve of fifteen Western European countries have asked France to stop, with no success so far. For all that, French high-level waste has nowhere to go. Most of it is stored on the reprocessing site at La Hague. Like the U.S. repository program, the one in France is also very controversial. For IEER’s evaluation of the French repository program (done by an IEER team that included world-class geologists), see a summary in English at http://www.ieer.org/sdafiles/13-4.pdf. For the full report in French see http://www.ieer.org/reports/bure/1204index.html

Elizabeth Alexander

You talk of biomass that could be cultivated for producing biofuels. Is the algae (Caulerpa taxifolia) that has taken over the Mediterranean usable for such purpose. I do not advise propagating it for that purpose; only to be used by a biofuels plant located where the invasive plant is already growing.

myna lee johnstone

Thanks to the US broker,banker follies, we Canadians just
lost our carbon tax plan to a bigger Conservative vote that campaigned against it.

Arjun Sarkar

Hello Arjun Makhijani,

Thank you for your work on the renewable energy front. It is interesting; about the same time you were working on putting out your book I asked our two noble laureates at UC Santa Barbara, Alan J. Heeger and Walter Kohn if they thought at this time the United States could produce its energy from currently available renewable energy technologies. Both of the gentlemen said that it would be possible and that the barrier was the political will or the desire to do it.

I have been working in the fleet setting with Alternative Fuels for the past 17 years. The automotive sector is a slow to change industry and I am putting together a business model in California, Santa Barbara to be exact with the goal to offer a turn key Advanced Fuel Center. One of the main goals will to bring the knowledge gained through the DOE Clean Cities Program, EPACT and state fleet successes with alternative fuels to the public sector. Education will be another robust part of this plan. We are talking about new infrastructure, job creation in the new “Green Job” sector. This Center is looking to become a model for other Centers to be located in key locations based on demographic modeling.

This past a conference was held in Sacramento CA by CALSTART “2030 Event” it was attended by policy makers, CA sate funding organizations and the alternative fuel industry. If we are going to be successful in CA to meet the targets of AB32, AB1007 and other goals set forth by the state every month and year are critical to gain market share in this sector. One of the overarching themes in sidebar conversation was the fact that a minimum “Floor on Gasoline” is a key to send a signal to the alternative fuels market. At the luncheon on the second day the presentation was on this point; if the per barrel cost of oil was $82 this equates to a $3.00 per gallon price at the pump. This would be done by tying the cost per barrel to this number $82 and if the price went down to $42 per barrel tax would be $40 a barrel. We must transition from our mono (OIL) fuel dependent transportation system to a domestic low carbon one.

I will be reading your book and look forward to staying in touch,

Arjun Sarkar

x-ray fluorescence

Very great informative post.Your idea of a world power by wind and solar energy is a fairytale. Nuclear energy is the best alternative to fossil fuel. Nuclear energy is safe,clean, and inexpensive...

Arjun Sarkar

Dear X-ray fluorescence

Cheep….? The true cost of nuclear obviously is still yet to be determined; I am saying this due to the fact of Yucca Mountain’s stumbling blocks as of yet; I am sure you know of this, I have asked the chairman of the Energy Committee to please post the true cost of a KW of nuclear electricity on the DOE’s web site. I am hoping that it will be updated soon to reflect all costs. This might be a nice question for Arjun Makhijani. What is the true cost of a kw of nuclear electricity? As for fairytales I guess you read my post and the questions I posed to the noble laureates; the answer is that if the public wants the “Fairytale” it is possible today. This is not rocket science, if we choose to act and we believe as our American forefathers did, with the “Can-Do” attitude, or the “Amer-I-Can” ingenuity, the transition to renewable energy is here & now technology.
Ajun Sarjun

Rishikesh Vaidya

Dear Dr. Makhijani,

Thanks for the wonderful and informative article. I am reading your books, "Nuclear Power Deception" and "Carbon-free and Nuclear-free" with interest. They are truly amazing. You are doing a great job in bringing awareness about how much of myth is being spread by political and "scientific" establishments.

I am a theoretical particle physicist at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India. We run a forum of online talks called Embryo wherein recognized experts can deliver an online talk at their convenience, from the comfort of their office/home. As a faculty coordinator for Embryo, I shall be greatful if you accept our invitation to do one or two talks on issues discussed in your book. The URL is:
http://bitsembryo.org

Thanks for your kind attention.
Rishikesh

Maine Owl

Three Mile Island, 30 years ago today. I always refer people to ieer and Dr. Makhijani's material (and his 2007 talk in Maine). We're at a dangerous point with respect to the decisions that are being made. I'm afraid Pres. Obama may be too locked in with the nuclear industry.

Arjun Makhijani

A response to Maine Owl

Thanks so much for your support. I don't believe President Obama is Locked into the nuclear industry." He has said that nuclear waste, proliferation and safety concerns should be addressed before new nuclear plants are built. He did not mention new nuclear plants as an option in his address to the Joint Session of Congress. I don't know how the issue of nuclear subsidies will come out in Congress, but that is in part up to us. A lot will depend on what happens with the nuclear waste commission that Secretary of Energy Chu is going to appoint.

Arjun

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