Nothing we do is without risks. Human error, natural disaster or mechanical failure, things sometimes go wrong. We have learned through research and experience to mitigate the risks. The industrial revolution improved life on most of the planet, and it came with risks.

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What happens if a FPP breaks?!

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Like anything else in this lovely Uman Civilization everything is awesome just until it breaks!

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Good work, Robert. No path to decarbonizing electricity without it without wrecking living standards and keeping 6.5 billion people from reaching ours.

Stay the course.

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The reason these plants failed was that they were using a solid fuel system that generated hydrogen gas as the water level in the reactor fell. The combination of solid, zirconium clad fuel pellets, water and a poorly maintained unit (they could not open up the pressure relief valves because they were rusted shut) was an accident waiting to happen.

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Great essay, very informative. Thank you. I too support nuclear. I believe we need more investment $’s from world governments to make it safer, cheaper and easier to use. I can’t see myself buying an EV car and using carbon sources to charge it, makes no sense. Glad to see Japan increasing its nuclear footprint. France is leading the way with 70% of its electricity coming from Nuclear.

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Good article. I was involved in the US and worldwide Nuclear Industry for 45 years. While the industry does not want to have significant events for any reasons, the industry, industry groups like INPO ( Institute for Nuclear Power Operations), and regulators have incorporated the lessons from these events in the design, training, procedures, emergency response, and most importantly, leadership. The industry has developed and implemented design changes , new equipment, and enhanced emergency response training to address beyond design basis external events.

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We're lucky to have the on-site reportage from someone with so much experience and context. Thanks Robert.

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Let's not lull ourselves into the believe that it is possible to find a bureaucratic solution to a bureaucratic problem. Only one thing drive the high cost of nuclear, bureaucracy. The promise of .02 cents per reliable kilowatt hour was met by some pre 1975 plant , reference, Bernard L Cohen. "The Nuclear Energy Option".

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I attended the international conference directly after Fukushima held in Washington, DC. I was amazed by the desperation exhibited by the attendees. Nobody seemed to have a clear head.

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Need nuclear?



LOL -- most of the multidecadal warming observed through the 20th century into the first decade of the 21st is associated with increased solar activity from the Gleissbe

rg cycle.

NOT GH warming.

That warming ended about a decade ago and we face ~40 yrs of cooling by 1-1.5 C.

Per NOAA UAH dataset, peak climate temperature was in February 2016 at 0.7 C above the 40-yr satellite record.

January 2023 was -0.04 C.

That's 7 years of cooling even as GHG concentration is up ~12% over that period.

Moreover, there is no empirical evidence demonstrating anthropogenic GHG is material or that rationing controls climate tempetature.

Yet, you advocate building nuke power at $175/MWH -- 3x natural gas or coal.



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Its amazing how the circle of life works.

Tepco screwed up and put the emergency power apparatus down beside the reactors instead of up on the hill and so they flooded, no emergency power meant kaboom.

From that Germany and others made the decision to begin closing their reactors, saying they would switch to renewables but in reality the main switch was to Russian natural gas.

And here we are in 2023.

An example of how bad situations produce bad policy.

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The tsunami was much higher than planned for because of the nature of this earthquake caused the land itself to drop after the slip.

Its like looking at sea level rise in New Jersey, the issue is NJ was south of the massive glaciation period ice sheets which levered the area upward.

Since it all melted this area is now sinking while further north rises, like a teeter totter.

Anyway, nuclear is the only option we currently have if CO2 is an issue, which of course it isn't, but that is the politics of the situation.

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27

It was a management, not technological, failure that caused the reactor meltdown: had TEPCO moved the emergency power generation batteries from underneath the plant to higher ground (as suggested by the IAEA among others), this accident would not have occurred. As well, it was a failure of management and the government to support the industry in the court of public opinion, thereby causing Japan to increase reliance on imported Natural Gas to address their energy needs.

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