Politics

Free the Idaho Engineers!

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, https://oemr.idaho.gov/, is responsible for ensuring the availability of adequate energy for future Idahoans.  We suggest their best course is to free their nuclear engineers.  Idaho has the opportunity and the talent to take the lead in a critical high-tech sector.  In particular, the potential of molten salt reactors to provide plentiful, clean energy at low cost is unsurpassed.

It simply requires that Idaho step forward and accept the risks.  Fukushima showed that the risks are minimal – THREE meltdowns and nobody died!  Perhaps the risks were overstated?  And a low pressure, liquid fueled approach is inherently less risky that that.

Someone (China/India) will develop this tech and obtain safe, clean electrical power for the next millennium and beyond.  You want to get in on the ground floor of this technology!  We have wasted almost fifty years since the prototype ran so successfully at Oak Ridge in the 1960’s.  We need to free our engineers to do what they do best – make things better.

Return to Fukushima

It is time for the residents of the Fukushima prefecture to return home.  Take the risks, despite what the government tells you.  Take some Geiger counters and fence off any spots hotter than what the average Finn gets.  Then get on with your lives.

What are the risks?

We can thank the citizens of Fukushima for providing another data point in the analysis of risks due to nuclear power plant operations.  The first was pretty bad.  Chernobyl provided an example of what not to do.  We learned from that:  1) don’t try to deny the problem and 2) keep KI pills on hand.  As a result, the death count from radiation dropped to zero.

The evacuation proved to be a killer, so we need to learn from that.  At a minimum, don’t move people on their death beds in taxis.  In addition, if no alarms other than the seismic monitors aren’t ringing, why scram the reactor?

Nuclear waste is not a risk.  Engineers have solutions.  Freeze it in insoluble glass and bury it under a kilometer into solid rock.  Anyone who says that there is still a risk is just being unreasonable.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons is another phony issue promoted by the fear-mongers.  A pauper nation that wants nuclear weapons can build them, and we apparently cannot stop them.  This has nothing to do with power generation.

The real risk is coal smoke.  It kills thousands every year.  Substituting nuclear power for coal will actually save lives.

False trails

Renewable power technologies simply can’t run a modern economy.  Why do you think BP has sunflowers on its logo?  Renewable tech does not threaten their core business.  They are toys.  The sunflowers are a phony signal of environmental consciousness.  In contrast, nuclear power is a threat to fossil fuels.  The industry has fought against it.  They use environmental groups and sensationalist media as their front men.  Too many people have fallen for their hysterical patter.

A separate phony issue associated with renewables is that they will create jobs.  But electrical power generation is a core enabling technology.  Cheap power creates jobs.  It is the last place you want excess personnel.

An issue of freedom

Essentially, it comes down to how much power government has over the individual.  We give governments the power to prevent individuals from harming others.  There is less justification for preventing individuals from harming themselves.  What Japan’s government is doing now is preventing its citizens from even risking harm.  The fact that the risks are overblown is immaterial.  A free society does not prevent people from taking risks, as long as they are risking only themselves.

The suicide rate for the Fukushima evacuees indicates that the government is focused on the wrong problem.  The real problem is a heart-broken, home-sick people who are merely surviving, and not building a future on their own land.  The cure is to allow them to be responsible for their own future.