Can the Left Learn to Love Nukes?April 12, 2013
That is the hope of left leaning documentary filmmaker Robert Stone, whose new film Pandora’s Promise is a challenge to his fellow progressives and environmentalists to “unlearn” everything that they thought they knew about nuclear power and take a second look at new developments that could produce mass amounts of cheap and relatively clean energy. This blog has always been a tepid supporter of nuclear power, not on its own merits but because the environmentalists have been so successful in driving up costs and creating construction delays that the industry is IMO dead in the US. If a combination of second-lookers like Stone and new technological developments can reverse that status, then our support will grow as well. Technological developments such as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and their subset, thorium powered small reactors. SMRs have little in common with Cold War era behemoths like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. They are smaller and cheaper and, in the case of thorium, much safer because they “can be effectively protected against military diversions and exhibit an extreme robustness against any conceivable accident, always with benign consequences. In particular the [beta]-decay heat is comparable in both cases and such that it can be passively dissipated in the environment, thus eliminating the risks of “melt-down”. Thorium reactors can breed uranium-233, which can theoretically be used for nuclear weapons. However, denaturing thorium with its isotope, ionium, eliminates the proliferation threat.”
I have not yet seen Pandora’s Promise, but I will keep an eye out for it and post a mini review when I do.