[ RadSafe ] Re: [Rad_Sci_Health] Nuclear power in Hawaii?

Mike Fox foxm011 at hawaii.rr.com
Mon Apr 2 18:29:23 CDT 2007

Thanks, Jim, in helping spread the word.
Mike Fox

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Muckerheide, Jim (CDA) 
  To: radsafe at radlab.nl ; Rad_Sci_Health at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 1:35 PM
  Subject: [Rad_Sci_Health] Nuclear power in Hawaii?


  In another article in the Hawaii Reporter, our friend Mike Fox has
  proposed that nuclear power be considered in Hawaii?

  Regards, Jim Muckerheide

  Why Not Nuclear Energy in Hawaii?
  By Michael R. Fox Ph.D., 4/1/2007 7:23:53 PM 
  Sure nuclear energy is controversial and needlessly so. Any controversy,
  no matter how contrived, paralyzes the debates and forces decision
  makers to avoid the controversy or avoid sound energy decisions.
  Antinuclear forces have known this and have exploited it for nearly 40
  years, with uncritical support of the mass media. For decision makers
  and elected officials it is political suicide to have rational
  discussions on nuclear energy. We had better rethink this and the
  horrific price that is being paid. 
  Many people do not appreciate that Hawaii burns massive amounts of oil
  to provide electricity. When flying in or out of Honolulu my eyes turn
  to those oil tankers at anchor just off shore from Pearl Harbor. Each
  can contain tens of thousands of barrels of oil. About 2/3 will be used
  to make gasoline and jet fuel. The rest will be burned for electricity
  in just a couple of days. A nominal 84% of Hawaii's electricity comes
  from the burning of oil and most of the remainder comes from the burning
  of coal. All of this is imported from thousands of miles away. About 72%
  of this comes from Indonesia, China, and elsewhere, and about 28% comes
  from Alaska. These are very long lifelines for Hawaii's economy and
  people to depend on. These imports also lead to electrical energy costs
  of around 22 cents/kw-hr, some of the highest cost electricity in the
  For the record oil provides less than 3% of the electrical production in
  the lower 48 states. That imported oil will be used in 3 different
  fractions. These are ground and marine transportation (23%), jet fuel
  (32%), and electrical generation (26%). Thus, we can easily see that oil
  is the life blood of the Islands, and this life line is very long and
  very vulnerable to disruptions. 
  It was the long life lines between Japan and the Middle East oil fields
  in the early 70s which threatened the entire economy of that nation by
  the Arab oil embargo. At the time Japan was dependent upon about 90% of
  its electrical energy from imported oil, not unlike Hawaii. Japan
  responded by building a nuclear energy program. Today Japan gets 30% of
  its electricity from 55 operation nuclear power plants. 
  France, also dependent upon imported oil for electricity at the time,
  underwent its own energy epiphany. Today, France gets 78% from its 57
  nuclear reactors. France, Lithuania, Belgium, and Slovakia all get more
  the 50% of their electricity from nuclear energy. Obviously, many of
  these nations are not crippled by environmental movements there.
  Currently there are 435 nuclear reactors operating in 30 countries.
  Worldwide there are 30 new nuclear power plants currently under
  construction in 12 countries. 
  There are a number of reasons why other nations have chosen the nuclear
  option. One is that fuel requirements are drastically reduced with
  nuclear power plants. Consider the differing fuel requirements of 3
  different 1000 megawatt electrical plants with 3 different types of
  fuel. For sake of the discussion remember that Hawaii has about 1600
  Megawatts of installed electrical capacity. The following are only
  estimates but they are good enough for a simple discussion of electrical
  energy and fuels required. 
  A 1000 Mw(e) coal plant will burn abut 10,000 tons of coals per day. A
  1000 Mw(e) oil plant will burn about 44,000 barrels of oil per day. A
  1000 MW(e) nuclear power plant will consume about 10 POUNDS of
  Uranium-235 per day. On a pound for pound basis uranium contains more
  than 2 million times the energy as is in oil and coal. Its waste volumes
  are correspondingly small. This is an extremely high "energy density",
  which also dramatically reduces the fuel costs for such plants. 
  Long ago the US Navy learned this from Admiral Rickover which is why
  many of the ships in our Navy are nuclear powered, often at anchor in
  Pearl Harbor. Some of the naval reactors are designed to outlast the
  ships and never need refueling in 30 years or more. Although no new
  reactors have been ordered in the US for 25 years, design efforts have
  never stopped for building new safer reactors. New reactor design
  improvements never stopped. The innovation continued. 
  One such advanced reactor design is being pursued by the tiny town (800
  pop.) of Galena, Alaska. For nearly 9 months of the year Galena is
  isolated from the outside world. It electrical demands are met with oil
  fired generators and the oil is barged up the Yukon during a 3 months
  window of ice free barging. Electricity costs are about 28 cents per
  kw-hr. Galena city leaders are pursuing the use of a new reactor of a
  new supersafe, small, and simple, of Japanese design. The reactor would
  be designed with a 30 year core lifetime, after which the core could be
  replaced. Because no fuel will be needed during those 30 years the
  electrical costs will drop dramatically. Try to imagine Hawaii having
  its electricity produced in this way with minimum fuel costs, instead of
  the horrendous oil costs we now pay. 
  Because of uranium's very high energy density, other benefits accrue. On
  a kw-hr for kw-hr basis, nuclear energy wins the environmental contest
  hands down. In glass form such as in France, the volume of nuclear waste
  is about 2-3 cubic meters per year from each 1000 Mw(e) reactor. This is
  to be compared to about 1000 tons of ash per day from a coal plant, plus
  the other huge volumes of combustion gases such as CO2, SO2, NOx, etc.
  Nuclear energy doesn't emit a molecule of CO2, no controlled air
  pollutants such as sulfur and particulates, and it doesn't produce
  ground level ozone, and no acid rain. The nuclear waste is radioactive
  and is easily manageable, as the small annual volume suggests, and as
  France, England, Japan, and others are demonstrating. 
  And labor organizations take note: tens of thousands of high paying jobs
  have been exported to these foreign nations who are not so hysterical
  about nuclear technology. In fact there is a roaring economic
  competition between England and France to process spent nuclear fuel
  from other nations. The price of fear to the United States, including
  Hawaiians, has been enormous on many levels. Hawaiian leadership should
  consider the consequences of 3000 mile long life lines to Hawaii and the
  horrendous prices to be paid for their disruptions. Why not reconsider
  an energy source which is safe, domestic, lower cost, and
  environmentally benign. Leaders of Hawaii: Consider yourselves advised. 
  Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., a science and energy reporter for Hawaii Reporter
  and a analysist for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and
  living in Kaneohe. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy
  field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level.
  His interest in the communications of science has led to several
  communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on
  television and talk shows. He can be reached via email at
  mailto:foxm011 at hawaii.rr.com 
  HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials
  submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors,
  as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to
  mailto:Malia at HawaiiReporter.com

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