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On Integral Fast Reactor and France “Pandora’s Promise” gets it wrong

Book-PandoraReportCoverNuclear energy film overstates positives, underplays negatives By Ralph Cavanagh and Tom Cochran,   CNN November 6, 2013 “………The still-unrealized Integral Fast Reactor is the real star of the film, along with the nation of France, whose nuclear generation program is extolled as “one of the most inspiring stories ever” (“the trains are electric powered, they have clean air, and they have the cheapest electricity in Europe”). Nuclear power debates are the only places where you will ever see those at the conservative edge of the political spectrum argue that the United States should reorganize its economy to be more like France.

The Clinton administration killed the Integral Fast Reactor in 1994 because of concern over the potential diversion of the plutonium fuel by terrorists and non-nuclear weapon states of concern. Yet the film’s closing argument is that a “fourth-generation” reactor modeled on the Integral Fast Reactor will sweep the globe, burning waste created by the first three generations and “solving” the nagging problem of long-term disposal of nuclear waste. The film fails to mention that this would take hundreds to thousands of plutonium-fueled reactors operating over hundreds of years, resulting most likely in an increase in the releases of radioactivity to the environment as a consequence of operations by the Integral Fast Reactor’s fuel processing and fabricating facilities.

The film invokes Bill Gates as one of many forward-thinking new investors in nuclear innovation, but surely even Gates would recoil from the Integral Fast Reactor’s poor economic outlook compared to conventional reactors and the financial risks associated with building just one Integral Fast Reactor, let alone a global fleet of them. The film fails to acknowledge that the flagship fast reactor development efforts in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and Italy all failed, and that fast reactors were abandoned by both the U.S. and Soviet navies, hardly a strong selling point for resurrecting the Integral Fast Reactor program………..


November 8, 2013 - Posted by | media, Reference, reprocessing

1 Comment »

  1. Ah, Paris, the smell of air pollution: “between 3 and 4 million of people are exposed to levels of pollution above the European regulations due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particles (PM10) levels in the Paris agglomeration. Close from the traffic, NO2 levels are not only exceeding the limit value, around twice the air quality objective, but are also rather stable above it. Increases have even been monitored by some stations. Meanwhile the decrease observed for the background levels seems to have come to an end. This is a great challenge for the coming years, especially with the air quality objective becoming a limit value in 2010 (see NO2 map for 2009 enclosed). In Background conditions, ozone also remains an issue, as well as benzene on busy and congested roads. (carte NO2 fond + prox 2009).” Of course all of France’s old uranium mines that they just dumped a bit of dirt on do not smell, but they still cause health problems.

    Comment by miningawareness | November 8, 2013 | Reply

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