Abstract The paper seeks to plot a path through the controversy surrounding the Bible’s opening chapter by examining Genesis 1 in historical context. The author assumes and endorses no particular view of human origins but argues for a literal interpretation of the text, as opposed to what may be called ‘literalistic’. The former reading gives due weight to both the literary genre of Genesis 1 and the cultural milieu of the original writer, whereas the latter gives sufficient attention to neither. Various pre-scientific interpretations of Genesis 1 are described, including those of the first century Jewish intellectual Philo and the great Christian theologian Augustine. In particular, comparisons are drawn with the Babylonian creation epic, Enuma Elish, and it is suggested that Genesis 1 is a piece of ‘subversive theology’, making significant theological points in the light of contemporaneous creation ideas. The questions raised (and answered) by the Bible’s opening chapter concern the nature of the Creator, the value of creation and the place of humanity within the creational scheme. Modern questions concerning the mechanics and chronology of creation may not be appropriately put to the ancient text.
"Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy." http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/08/05/hansen-energy-kool-aid/
Instead of being some necessary evil, I see GenIV nukes as the SABRE that will kill coal. They are Safe, Affordable, Burn Bombs and Waste, are Reliable 24 hours a day, and offer an Enormous hit of power to an energy-hungry world.
New reactor cores are self-cooling. If Homer Simpson falls asleep and doesn't see a Tsunami approaching to wipe out the exterior backup cooling systems, don't panic! Gen4 reactors don't *need* exterior backup cooling systems. While they use better mechanical cooling systems than those at Fukishima, the real genius is that modern reactor cores themselves are the final safety feature. If a Gen4 Integral Fast Reactor core starts to overheat — and all the other powerful cooling systems fail for some horrible set of unfortunate events — something new will happen. The fuel rods will start to expand. As they swell, they start to leak neutrons. This "Neutron Leak" shuts down the nuclear reaction. In Gen4 reactors, the reactor core itself is the final safety switch. We've had this technology since 1986, so the real scandal is that Japan's nukes were not retrofitted with this or other passive safety features.
Banning nuclear power because of Fukishima is like banning aviation because of the Hindenberg. Fukishima's nukes were 40-year-old Gen2 reactors. We are now up to Gen3.5 and will soon have Gen4 reactors.
Not only this, but nuclear power has the *best* safety record of *any* major power provider. Hydro dams have burst and wiped out villages, coal kills thousands of people a year through lung and throat cancers and disorders (let alone all the mining accidents around the world — especially in China!) and service men can even fall off the top of wind turbines. People can even die falling off the roof when installing Solar PV. The take home message is *all* power sources contain risks, and yet nuclear power simply has the *best* safety record on a death per terrawatt basis. They can also be built underground for additional safety.
2. AFFORDABLE No one knows exactly what Integral Fast Reactors will finally cost, but here's a few thoughts. Older reactors tend to be one-off projects with all those individual project costs. Think of the difference between a hand-crafted Rolls Royce and a production-line Hyundai. Gen IV Nukes are going modular. They're going up on the production-line, which will crash the costs. Even today's Gen3.5 AP1000 can be put on the assembly line to bring down the costs exponentially. Some estimate tomorrow's Gen4 nukes might just be competitive with coal. And that's today's coal, not tomorrow's post-peak coal economy.
3. BURNS BOMBS AND WASTE
Integral Fast Reactors burn nuclear waste and warheads. Today's nukes only burn 0.06% of the energy available in uranium. Tomorrow's Gen4 reactors will burn the rest.
Nuclear waste is no longer the problem but the SOLUTION to climate change and peak oil. We could run the world for 500 years on the nuclear waste we have today. Indeed, there is so much uranium and thorium on land and especially in our oceans that we could — hypothetically — power the world until the sun expands and wipes out life on earth!
Now let's think about bombs.
* IFR’s don’t produce the right material for bombs. The plutonium bred from IFR’s is mixed in with too much other junk, and requires a lot of processing. Basically, there are easier more direct routes to make a bomb if you really wanted to! * The countries that produce the most Co2 and therefore most urgently need clean nuclear power are also the countries that *already* have nuclear bombs! 93% of the world’s Co2 could be prevented if we limited nuclear power to those countries that already have the bomb. * The nuclear-bomb genie is already out of the bottle. There is no use protesting against nuclear power because of nuclear bombs. All you would be doing is protesting against the intensity of nuclear power spreading in those countries that *already* have bombs, and are already the biggest Co2 polluters. So by all means campaign against nuclear bombs, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. * If a country gets significantly advanced in their nuclear processing they could divert some material into making bombs, but that kind of reprocessing is so particular it stands out to the authorities. * Bombs have to be dealt with politically, whereas IFR's can technically prevent uranium ending up as the right 'flavour' of plutonium for bombs. IFR's create an economic incentive to BURN bombs as fuel! * Banning nuclear power could INCREASE the risk of nuclear war as climate change and peak oil shake our energy starved world order. We *need* clean nuclear power to prevent some of the risks ahead. * 10% of American electricity currently comes from old Soviet bombs! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatons_to_Megawatts
Nukes provide baseload power that is reliable 24/7. Wind and solar cannot do this at anywhere near the same price, because of their intermittent and unreliable power supply. Everything wind and solar can do, nukes can do cheaper, quicker, and more reliably. Nukes will be *vastly* cheaper than the *real* engineering costs of trying to build a renewable grid.
* Renewables are NOT baseload, but require expensive storage systems like pumped hydro-power dams. Why do this when nukes can provide 24 hour power? Reliable power both day and night is going to become far more important in the future as peak oil hits and the world moves to electric cars that charge overnight. We are close to peak oil, and yet playing games with intermittent power sources? I don't think that's a wise move at all.
* wind and solar are not really abundant where most of our consumers are. They require huge super-grids to move the power to the consumers, which adds billions to any large scaled renewables project. Why do it when nukes can pretty-much be plugged in to replace today's coal plants in today's grid?
* Why risk going down this route when Denmark cannot demonstrate baseload wind power? After decades of building wind power they only get 20% of their energy from wind, but *still* mainly rely on coal. They emit 650g of Co2 per kWh. Their wind power also relies on other countries having stable baseload coal and nuclear power. They buy in extra when their wind dies off — which is a regular event. In comparison, France went down the nuclear pathway. After 22 years of building nukes, France is down to 90g Co2 per kWh! They have a reliable electricity supply that they sell to other wind-dependent countries when their wind stops.
For more facts and figures on the sad reality of renewables, please read the following links at the blog of Professor Barry Brook. Barry is the head of the climate change department at Adelaide university. http://bravenewclimate.com/renewable-limits/
5. ENORMOUS volumes of reliable power.
One of the key issues that convinced me that RELIABLE baseload power was a key issue is the way pro-renewable, anti-nuclear advocates like Dr Mark Diesendorf tend to underplay peak oil. One of Mark's key assumptions is that we don't really *need* reliable night time power! He thinks that with some efficiency programs it won't be that big a deal if the juice stops flowing at night. To which I cough, "Erhem, peak oil?" What's going to power all our electric cars at night? For while I'm a fan of cities planned around moving people, not cars, and walking distance New Urbanism and Ecocities especially, we need time. It's going to take a few generations to rezone today's car-dependent suburban sprawl into tomorrow's Ecocities and Village-Towns. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiS7nJ7hS00 for 5 minutes on Village Towns).
As oil declines we are going to need vastly more electricity to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels and power all those electric cars and trains, trams, and trolley buses. Peak oil is the Achilles heel of renewable advocates. We are simply facing too many risks at once to gamble our energy security on unreliable and weak renewables. We need a quick hit of clean RELIABLE and enormous volumes of CLEAN power. Renewables simply fail to meet these requirements.
Lastly, my plea. In the wake of Fukishima and the anti-nuke backlash I *wish* renewables could do the job. They can't. Not yet, not at any price we're willing to pay. It's time to face facts. Aren't we gambling with our energy and climate future, banking on some kid inventing the super-cheap super-battery that will finally make renewables work, when we already have the tools to do the job?
or Google: “Brave New Climate + Q&A integral fast reactors”
"We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception."
Just imagine what we might have by 500 years! I say go for IFR's NOW! They are the ONLY economical way to do carbon-free baseload power without bankrupting the economy.
Well that would depend if it was hand built as an individual project or whipped up on a factory line wouldn't it?
We must deploy today’s GenIII reactors immediately. We cannot wait any longer. These GenIII reactors have passive safety features undreamt of in Chernobyl and Fukishima.
And they have the GenIV feature of being modular. Think about that for a moment. Older nukes were the “Rolls Royce” of the energy world. They were hand-crafted site-constructed expensive beasts! But GenIII reactors can be modularised and put up on the assembly line. Safety systems can be standardised as part of the production line process. It will bring the costs down dramatically, and cuts Rolls Royce costs down to the Hyundai level, while being better than the original.
Now, GenIV reactors are still my favourite as they burn nuclear waste. They breed it up. I’ve said repeatedly that we have about 500 years of fuel sitting around in cooling ponds, just waiting for GenIV reactors to burn it.
But it’s not that simple. We don’t have access to all that energy yet. Even if I waved a magic wand and overnight and we had the thousands of GenIV nukes we need, it would still take a few decades to breed up our nuclear waste to the right purity to run them! That is, although we *already* have 500 years worth of nuclear fuel sitting around in our ‘waste’ cooling ponds, it will take a few decades to get at it all as the fuel only doubles every 7 years.
So build the safe GenIII nukes now, and then we’ll have all the waste we need ready for the GenIV reactors when they finally come off the production line! As a friend over on BNC said,
"Gen III+ reactors (AP1000, ESBWR) are also largely ‘modular’ with parts built in a factory and assembled on site. We can do this now. New designs should be developed, but there is no need to wait. In 10 years China will be building AP1000 (or their higher-power variant the CAP1400) reactors at rates that will astonish the world. They are building the module factories now."
We have the technology right now. We can do this! We should build AP1000 assembly lines to fly them out the doors onto the trucks and freight them straight to site for assembly like so much giant-sized Lego. It’s time to do this, and the faster we start the better we’ll cope with peak oil and climate change.
Energy will be a AND/AND solution. We can't rely on just one source, we need many. Wind power is one of them.
Can you please explain this statement? GenIV nuclear reactors feed off waste and could run the world for 500 years just on the waste we already have today. They are baseload, load following, and live in concrete bunkers that are pretty much bomb-proof, 9/11 proof, and definitely cyclone proof. But wind turbines only have a 33% capacity factor which means they only work a third of the time, the other 2/3rds are down when we don't decide they need to be down (as when a nuke is getting serviced) but when nature stops blowing, and turbines definitely aren't cyclone proof.
Sure we need other energy sources such as liquid fuels for cars, but when it comes to electricity, the world's cheapest electricity will come from GenIV nukes built in a modular format on an assembly line, trucked to site and then clipped together on site like so much super-sized lego. AND there's no need to build "super-grids" to shoot solar electricity from one side of a continent to the other or wind back again, so you save there as well. (Let alone the cost of all the huge seaside salt-water hydro dams required to act as giant batteries for the intermittent wind and solar.) Whichever way you look at it, GenIV nukes ARE the silver bullet. And we have enough uranium and thorium on earth to run the world for hundreds of millions of years.
"...a most excellent barbarian ... Genghis Kahn!" -- _Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure_