[ RadSafe ] "There's No Such Thing As Nuclear Waste"

Dale Boyce daleboyce at charter.net
Fri Mar 13 21:08:40 CDT 2009

Well written and true with the exception of some of the numbers. At least 
the way I read it. It sounds like he is mixing up the content of one rod 
with a whole core. His source probably gave him good information that was 

For example the "12 oz" number. A gigawatt-day is about a kilogram of U235 
in fission. It is also about the output of one Hiroshima bomb per day.

An energy hungry household uses of the order of 1000 kw-hrs per month. A 
little unit conversion gives 0.5 Mw-days per year, or about half a gram of 
U-235 per household per year. So about 1000 g / 0.5 g * 365 = 730,000 
households can be supported on a 1 Gw reactor.

However, it is somewhat worse than this. The last numbers I remember seeing 
were that in the U.S. eight kw of generating capacity are required per 
person (and someone please explain why all greater than one prefixes in the 
metric system are capitalized except k) to support industrial and public 
power usage.

This means that each household really requires more like 20 times the 
generating capacity that they see in their electric bill (buried in the cost 
of goods and taxes), and about ten grams of U-235 per year.

I don't have a reference at hand, but think of how much ash from coal would 
be generated by a gigawatt of generating capacity per year. My offhand guess 
is of the order of a cubic kilometer. I'll try to come back with an answer 
in another email.

I remember hearing a talk by a president-elect of the HPS quite a number of 
years ago (step forward if you recognize yourself). He asked the question, 
"what fraction of your income would you be willing to spend on health 
care?". Most people respond in the range of 5-10% (I think closer to 5%). 
Guess what? That was close to the cost of insurance at that point in time. 
Probably still is, but less is covered now.

Now take your $200/month electric bill (throwing out Dec., Jan., and Feb., 
in cold climates, and July, Aug., and Sept. in hot climates), and multiply 
by 20. Close to $5,000 a year per household. Hmm... in the range of 5 to 10 
percent of the income of the majority of households.

Like in the conservation of energy, there is a conservation of income. One 
can only spend what one makes (or a bank lends them). What fraction of the 
pie chart would you be willing to spend on housing, food, clothing, fill in 
the category?

I have opened too many doors for one email, but the point is that the recent 
explosion in energy prices and also health care is probably as much to blame 
for the crash in the housing market (and therefore the economy overall) as 
anything (even unbelievably greedy exec's).

Isotope enrichment and nuclear power are one area where costs could be cut 
with focus on research. Lowering the cost of nuclear power could also 
potentially be cut by reprocessing waste into fuel. Foremost, though the 
costs must be cut by honest, thoughful energy policy that is not crowded out 
by ignorance.

Our's and the world's economy can only be balanced by figuring out which 
wedges of the pie chart can be cut without pain, and proceeding to do so. As 
far as I can tell the only pain caused by increased use of nuclear energy is 
felt in the ears due to the anti's blathering.

My two centibucks,


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "WILLIAM LIPTON" <wlipton at sbcglobal.net>
To: "Radsafe" <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009 5:24 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] "There's No Such Thing As Nuclear Waste"

I recommend reading this article in today's (March 13, 2009) Wall Street 
Journal. See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123690627522614525.html

The author, William Tucker, makes the case for reprocessing better than me; 
and I've tried.

In addition, Mr. Tucker is author of "Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power 
Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Long Energy Odyssey" 
(Bartleby, 2008).

Bill Lipton
It's not about dose, it's about trust.
Perception is reality.
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