Obamas energy secretary

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Obamas energy secretary

Postby Johan » 16 Dec 2008, 10:42

So what do you all think of this guy? http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP_Ob ... 12083.html
Nobel laureate physicist Steve Chu will serve as Secretary of Energy in president-elect Barack Obama's administration. His current position is director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Obviously he is a brilliant scientists and he seems quite pro nuclear aswell. He is a co signer of this document
A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy

And in this interview he makes it clear he wants more nuclear power and is a supporter of closed fuel cycles and breeder reactors

http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases ... _chu.shtml

Should fission-based nuclear power plants be made a bigger part of the energy-producing portfolio?

Absolutely. Right now about 20 percent of our power comes from nuclear; there have been no new nuclear plants built since the early '70s. The real rational fears against nuclear power are about the long-term waste problem and [nuclear] proliferation. The technology of separating [used fuel from still-viable fuel] and putting the good stuff back in to the reactor can also be used to make bomb material.

And then there's the waste problem: with future nuclear power plants, we've got to recycle the waste. Why? Because if you take all the waste we have now from our civilian and military nuclear operations, we'd fill up Yucca Mountain. ... So we need three or four Yucca Mountains. Well, we don't have three or four Yucca Mountains. The other thing is that storing the fuel at Yucca Mountain is supposed to be safe for 10,000 years. But the current best estimates - and these are really estimates, the Lab's in fact - is that the metal casings [containing the waste] will probably fail on a scale of 5,000 years, plus or minus 2. That's still a long time, and then after that the idea was that the very dense rock, very far away from the water table will contain it, so that by the time it finally leaks down to the water table and gets out the radioactivity will have mostly decayed.

Suppose instead that we can reduce the lifetime of the radioactive waste by a factor of 1,000. So it goes from a couple-hundred-thousand-year problem to a thousand-year problem. At a thousand years, even though that's still a long time, it's in the realm that we can monitor - we don't need Yucca Mountain.

The only negative thing I have heard so far is during this presentation by him, start at 1 hour 35 minutes

His claim that fast reactors are less safe than light water reactors is to general. The main issue I have with that statement is that its easier to make a fast, liquid metal cooled, reactor passively cooled. I.e if coolant pumps fail the natural circulation of the liquid metal is enough to take care of the decay heat. So aslong as the reactivity safety is there then I dont se why a properly designed liquid metal fast reactor would be less safe than a light water reactor. Id say its the other way around.

So what do you guys and girls think? Is he gonna be detrimental, helpfull or neutral on the american nuclear issue? Id say he will probably be helpfull. Who knows, with some luck he will try to start up the IFR program again that the Clinton admin canceled.
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Re: Obamas energy secretary

Postby Johan » 16 Dec 2008, 10:49

And here is a general scaremongering reaction to Chu's nuclear views. Where just about every environmentalist gets to express their doubt about Chu's competence...

Dr. Chu's Nuclear Prescription

“He’s trapped in that nuclear mindset,” says Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst for Greenpeace USA., of Chu. “He thinks we’re acting on fear, not reason. Why environmentalists oppose nuclear power is reason, not fear. And it is reason, not fear, why we say nuclear power can’t address global warming. In the time frame necessary, it would be prohibitively expensive and drive out the real solutions.” Riccio notes Chu has “backed alternatives” but he is concerned about what room there’ll be for them “in the portfolio” of the Department of Energy because of Chu’s nuclear power attachment....(more in the link)

Apperently hes not "educated" enough :D

Is there any chance that Chu might be educated about nuclear power? Or will he, going from the directorship of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to the innards of the Department of Energy, become an even stauncher nuclear power advocate. Part of the mission of the department he would head is to promote nuclear power, a mission it took over from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission after it was dismantled and the Department of Energy formed.
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