Punchinello’s Chronicles

February 28, 2009

Nuclear Power and Ignorance

Filed under: View from the Bottom — Punchinello @ 6:19 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Aesop’s fables are credited to a slave named Aesop, who lived in Greece around 650 B.C.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.


It takes 10 years to build a nuclear power plant. According to science, something few people pay much attention to anymore, the total amount of energy consumed by a family of four over twenty years (!…) would produce only enough “waste” that it would fit into a shoe box. (Dr. Bill Wattenburg)

In America, we consider spent fuel rods as waste, paying no attention to their recycling value. It’s ironic, what with everyone wanting to be “green” or “environmentally friendly,” and everyone talking about “recycling” as the next big fad.

Were we to take that shoe box worth of remainder and clean it up, removing only the last of the real toxic waste, the waste would fit into a shot glass.

Nuclear plants release zero particulate matter into the atmosphere. Coal plants pour crap into the air. Gasoline is well known for pollution and smog. Even natural gas would be a better alternative to gasoline, and America has centuries worth of natural gas doing absolutely nothing at all. It’s just sitting there.

So how come we’re not building new power plants? Why is it that with the rapid increase in demand by countries like China and Norway, along with the French nuclear energy plan, we’re not sending American engineers to build the plants? With each one costing around $5-billion, wouldn’t it make sense to create jobs?

And how about building a few nuclear power plants here in the US, thereby instantly creating 100s of high-quality jobs, and thousands of secondary jobs with vendors and parts?

The answer is because so many badly educated Americans have passed through our school systems. They’ve graduated with a level of ignorance that’s simply astounding! Those adults, now living in neighborhoods everywhere, believe that if we have nuclear power plants we’ll also have three-headed babies, mutants, and food that glows in the dark.

Instead, they’d like to continue using gasoline and coal, and to believe that wind power and sunlight will be the saving grace. President Obama told us that within only a few years, we’ll double the amount of “sustainable” wind power and alternative energy. Great! We currently produce about 1% of our entire national energy needs with alternative energy.

When Obama’s numbers come in, we’ll be able to provide 2% of the nation’s energy needs.

How will people eventually wake up? In a few more years, when our bankruptcy finally hits everyone in their wallet and we have no more money. At that point, like the grasshopper, the American public will scream for heat, fuel, cars, and light. At that point, the grasshoppers in Washington will convene “emergency” committees to study the problem.

When we run out of energy, Washington will tell us that with an emergency fuel plan, we’ll start building nuclear power plants. And it’ll take 10 years from that point. Meanwhile, who will live in the northern half of the country?



  1. If we consider the cost of production and maintenance of Nuclear energy, do you still think it is worth? I think it is better to invest now on inventing more efficient solar cells or wind mills and then adopt that on a large scale .

    Destination Infinity

    Comment by Destination Infinity — March 1, 2009 @ 12:18 am | Reply

  2. Since the Federal government is responsible for this material, Federal Nuplexes are the solution to this problem.

    Check out ‘The Nuplex Solution’:


    Comment by Marcel F. Williams — March 1, 2009 @ 2:25 am | Reply

  3. RE: “If we consider the cost of production and maintenance of Nuclear energy, do you still think it is worth? I think it is better to invest now on inventing more efficient solar cells or wind mills and then adopt that on a large scale.”

    The problem with this kind of thinking is that it would cost years and years of time, plus the research and technology to only boost our energy output by a few percentage points. Even if we double all the solar panels we have right now, we’d still only have 2-3% of our needs.

    On the other hand, I live in a town next to Fermilab, and we get our electricity from the reactors there. Monthly electric bills rarely go more than $40, and that’s for the summer with air-conditioning. In winter, only about $30.

    We already know how to build nuclear plants, they’re completely safe, they’re extremely cost-effective, and they easily pay back the operational costs. They’re vastly more effective than coal, or shipping crude from overseas and running it through refineries, then having to transport all that liquid gasoline across the nations highways.

    It’s a nice fantasy to have solar energy as our primary source of energy, but it’s just that: a fantasy.

    Comment by Punchinello — March 1, 2009 @ 2:30 am | Reply

  4. As for the Nuplex solution, we now have about 75,000 tons of raw spent fuel rods. But what we don’t hear is that the density of nuclear fuel is so high that the actual physical volume of all 75,000 tons would be small enough to fit into a space the size of an average high-school gymnasium. It’s very heavy metal.

    Additionally, that’s the initial spent fuel rods. With proper recycling and reclamation, the volume of the final waste would be only a fraction of that gymnasium. Instead, it’s the wild-eyed panic induced by people like the Senator from Nevada, the environmentalists, and the ignorance of the population that prevent us from going forward with any of this.

    The current toxic waste dumps used for chemicals, used oil, wasted rubber, and other crap we throw away is so much larger in space, size, and maintenance costs, the entire argument against nuclear energy is utterly ridiculous. And yet, people believe it.

    As the article in the above link points out, there are plenty of ways to dispose of the final waste left over from nuclear energy plants. And the benefits in terms of inexpensive energy would be massive.

    Arthur C. Clarke often said that, “any technology sufficiently advanced will appear to be magic.” The sad truth is that with such an uneducated population as we now have, coming out of decades of wasted schooling, most people simply see nuclear energy as “bad joo-joo.” Given that politicians thrive on both fear and envy, it’s a simple thing to make an “issue” out of it all.

    And that’s fine. In a few years when we’ve run out of energy, can’t drive our cars, can’t heat our houses, and there are “rolling blackouts” across the entire country, perhaps people will change.

    Comment by Punchinello — March 1, 2009 @ 2:38 am | Reply

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