What Happens If A Tornado Hits a Nuclear Power Plant?

The nuclear power plant in Braidwood Illinois narrowly avoided a direct hit from a tornado on Monday.

Braidwood provides electricity for much of Chicago. And even though it’s built to take a direct hit from a tornado - the plant did suffer damage to some of its power lines and utility poles.

Exelon, the owner of the Braidwood plant, claims that they’ve learned from the Fukushima disaster and have additional safety measures in place. But officials at Tepco - the Japanese private utility that owns Fukushima - had also claimed that their company had done everything possible to protect the Fukushima power plant from tsunamis - a claim that has now been seen to be less than true.

A recently disclosed document shows that company officials had been warned in 2008 that the plant needed greater coastal defenses to protect it from larger tsunamis than had been previously recorded in the area.

That prediction turned out to be disastrously true - but company officials never did upgrade the plant.

So the end result was a triple meltdown that sent radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean and into the wind currents that blow across the Ocean - and over 300,000 people had to flee the immediate area.

But with both of these cases, it’s not just about the potential disaster of radiation covering the planet, or even the fuel tanks somehow rupturing and leaking material into the groundwater. It’s about the vulnerability of our over-centralized electrical grids.

Nuclear power isn’t just dangerous - it’s a cornerstone of a centralized electrical grid system from the 19th century that’s both inefficient - and insanely vulnerable.

On June 29, 2012 a line of thunderstorms blowing across the US knocked out power for almost 4 million people ranging from Indiana to Delaware. That same year in India featured the largest blackout in the history of the world when over 320 million people - about 5% of the world’s population - were left without power when 32 gigawatts of generating capacity was taken offline.

The blackout across India was caused by extreme heat; consumers used more electricity and the demand spike caused a cascade of power failures that lasted for two days.

In India, power outages are so frequent that private companies often build their own off-grid power stations so that factories do not have to halt production when the national grid fails.

And that’s how we need to start thinking. We need to move towards a decentralized and community-based electrical system.

Worldwide we’re seeing the cost of installing wind turbines and rooftop solar panels plummet to the point where Germany now generates almost 40 gigawatts of electricity from SOLAR ALONE. And more than half of that electricity was generated from rooftop solar panels.

Think about that. The largest blackout in history was because 32 gigawatts of oil and coal fueled power plants were forced offline.

German solar capacity could have provided electricity for those 320 million people - and there would have been electricity to spare!

There’s no question anymore of whether renewables can substitute for nuclear, coal, and natural gas in terms of production - they can, and at the same or lower costs. What we need to be asking is how we will integrate renewables into our national grid for generating - and distributing - electricity.

When we first introduced electricity to cities, there was a technological rivalry between Edison’s direct current lines and Tesla’s alternating current lines. It was called the War of Currents and it ultimately shaped how our cities look and how the world gets its electricity.

That was a time when electricity HAD to come from centralized coal burning power plants. They would burn coal to make steam that would be used both to spin giant generators for electricity and to warm nearby buildings within the city.

Our grid has gradually evolved from that idea to a national scale. So that now Chicago is mostly powered by a nuclear power plant located 60 miles outside of the city. That’s 60 miles of vulnerable and inefficient lines running through Tornado Alley between one of America’s largest cities and an aging nuclear power plant.

What could possibly go wrong?

But even when our current infrastructure is fully functioning, roughly 10 percent of all electricity produced in America is simply lost in the transmission lines. And the longer the lines, the greater the losses.

Which is why it’s time to invest in small-scale, locally-generated renewable energy.

We need wind turbines and solar farms at the community level and rooftop solar at the household and commercial business level. We need to make our transmission lines shorter and more efficient. And we need to add storage capacity to our electrical grid so that when we have too much solar and wind energy, we can store it for a rainy day.

Meltdowns aren’t the only issue with nuclear. And climate-damaging CO2 emissions aren’t the only issue with natural gas and coal.

It’s time to stop thinking of “energy independence” as something for a state or a country - and instead to build out small-scale local renewable energy so that every community and every neighborhood can have their own energy independence.


Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

A tornado would have little effect on a nuclear power plant, except the external transmission & distribution apparatus if directly hit, as for any large generating plant, gas, hydro, nuclear, oil or coal. Wind or solar farms would be devasted by a tornado. NPPs are designed to survive airplane impacts.

Thom may know politics, but obviously knows zip about power generation & distribution or energy for that matter. The entire article is replete with falsehoods & fantasy pipe dreams that ONLY ensure the status quo = burn, baby, burn.

In fact the vast majority of renewable energy is highly centralized electricity generation. Located in isolated rural areas far from major load centers, whereby expensive, ugly, vulnerable long distance transmission lines must be used to move the intermittent energy to cities. And that transmission must be oversized by 3-10X in order to carry the high peaks that wind & solar generate. A prime example of energy inefficiency.

And solar is toast when we get a major volcanic eruption, two in the 1800's.

After 25 yrs of all-out effort, Germany has managed a meagre 5.6% solar electricity (2014), and that comes with MAJOR caveats. Like the need to export much of it, or just wasted since they can't spin down or shutdown their coal power plants in the time period the solar is peaking. And that solar energy is only during ~8hrs on ~sunny days. An expensive fantasy. They are now building filthy coal power plants like there is no tomorrow. Why aren't they building solar or wind instead?

Per capita energy consumption in the USA is at a 24/7 rate of 10kw. For a family of four that's 40kw. Add two retirees/convicts/disabled etc non-productive demographic and you get each working family needs to supply energy at a rate of 60 kw continuous 24/7. In Canada that would be 90 kw. Tell us how this household can supply that continuous energy night/day, cloudy/sunny, north/south, winter/summer, calm/windy with wind & solar. And that can only be using 10% max of household income/effort. Work the numbers, show us the cost. You won't because you can't. Flatly impossible.

A silly fantasy that GUARANTEES unrestrainted GHG emissions will continue, runaway global warming a specter for the next generation, and massive profits for Big Oil & their Bankster overseers. That is why Big oil is the biggest promoter and investor in the Renewable energy Bait-And-Switch scam. Banksters & Oil Barons have a seething hatred for Nuclear power since they know very well it is the ONLY alternative to their total energy hegemony.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 49 weeks ago

I know the third hour is a rerun, but I'll comment on it anyway. A caller likened trade deals (which should be treaties) to undeclared wars.

The problem on war is that the Constitution doesn't define it. And now I'm aware that it doesn't define "treaty" either. In neither case is there a consequence for Congress or the executive branch engaging in either under a different name in order to avoid the Constitutional restrictions.

To enforce a definition of war, I would include a provision that soldiers may not be ordered onto foreign land without either a declaration of war against that land or permission of the government of that land. I could probably add on something about airspace.

Treaties vary a lot more than wars, so I don't have any ideas for that yet, but I'll be keeping it in mind, and I'd love some suggestions.

Tim Coleman's picture
Tim Coleman 7 years 49 weeks ago

Baloney. Tom is correct. Generating electrical power where it is needed is the future. The problem with nukes is their waste - splitting atoms to boil water is crazy when sunlight (solar thermal) would do the same thing without the risk of a nuclear meltdown. Nuke, coai and oil power are old technology. If a tornado destoryed by 2KW solar power grid, it could be repaire or replaced in two days or less and at a comparably inexpensive cost compared to repairing and replacing miles of powerlines from the local centralized grid. Where I live in NE Washington state, a terrible wind storm struck in late July 2013, snapping off trees, downing powerlines, closing highways. Folks rushed to gas stations to get fuel to run gas powered electrical generators, but gas stations were without power and couldn't pump gas - until gas generators were hooked to up to run gas pumps. Powerlines took weeks to repair. That storm blew down 2 acres of trees around my home, but my solar grid never faltered.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

Renewable energy is not being generated where it is needed, except for the minor component which is home or commercial building solar PV. And that only supplies power in sunny areas for ~ 1/3rd of the day. Nuclear reactors, especially Small Modular Reactors can be located close to power consumers. Tell us how you would supply the 24/7 60kw I mentioned above with your home grid. Show us details, costs.

Nuclear waste is minor. A coke can full supplies an American's lifetime energy needs, vs 70 tons of coal toxic, carcinogenic waste. Burn that coke can full in a GenIV reactor, where 90% of the uranium energy remains, and you are down to less than an ounce of waste, and that is valuable short-lived waste.

Germany is the #1 proponent of renewable electricity on the planet and after 25 yrs of all out effort they have the 2nd highest emissions in Europe per kwh generated and the 2nd highest electricity prices in Europe.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 49 weeks ago

Small scale locally generated power sounds like an excellent idea. Doesn't have to be renewable energy. Just small. Smaller power plants would mean less impact from any outages or disasters. If the nuclear reactor from an aircraft carrier could power a small city, than just build it on land and do it. Seems safer. I don't see the residents of Norfolk VA getting all nervous every time a nuclear war ship pulls in. Plants of many sizes interconnected and powered by what ever is available would compliment each other.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Instant-runoff -- For anyone to think that your numbers have any validity you need to provide links. For example, there was that single day in 2014 in which 50% of Germany's power was provided by renewables. Your 5.6% vs. that 50% seems interesting.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 7 years 49 weeks ago

I suggest that all shareholders of stock in public utilities be required to live within 10 miles of any nuclear power plant that they own stock in. The nuclear power plants on board aircraft carriers are safe because the people who operate the plant live on the ships. If shareholders were required to live within striking distances of the nuclear power plants they would insist that all necessary safety measures be taken.

Today, the owners may live in another country. They bear no personal consequences should the plant fail. They have no skin in the game. I believe there is no safe way to operate nuclear profit plants. We have no system or protocol to handle the thousands of tons of contaminated waste materials these nuclear profit plants produce annually. Until we develop a plan and a method to store the waste materials safely, we should cease operation of nuclear profit plants.

I live in Irvine, California about 30 miles away from SONGS. San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS). SONGS was shut down several years ago but has not be dismantled yet. They expect it to take at least 20 years to completely disassemble this facility. In the meantime there are thousands of tons of waste materials kept on site. I only hope that an earthquake or tsunami does not disrupt the facility.

No more nuclear profit plants anywhere in the world.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 49 weeks ago

Chuckles, Come on my friend, we've been through these German numbers before. You struggled with them at that time too. Instant-Run Off is spot on with his information. PV is good (I have it on one of my homes), but far from the panacea you want it to be. PV doesn't work at night, is limited on cloudy days, and in dense population (think major cities) there isn't enough available area for PV to provide enought KW. Today, the only availabe technology that can meet our energy needs without producing CO2, is nuclear. By the way there has not been 1 death in the USA associated with the nuclear generation of electricity. Not 1 death---Ever.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

Philip, I would quite happily live right next door to SONGS or any commercial reactor in the USA, Canada or Europe. Don't need any shares. Probability of ANY health effect is so low as to be insignificant, whereas it is a clean, natural area, free of the massive pollution that surrounds coal power plants, and toxic emissions of NG power plants. As well as very dangerous gas pipelines that tend to explode incinerating dozens of persons. And SONGS has maybe a few hundred tons of spent nuclear fuel there, if that worries you, then you have zero knowledge of nuclear energy.

Maybe you should think about all the strong carcinogens you eat, drink & breath everyday from oil, gas & coal emissions. Nuclear is a weak carcinogen and emissions are tiny. Even radioisotope emissions are 100X less than from a comparable coal or natural gas power plant.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

Chuckle, there is no advantage to supply a huge peak output whenever the sun happens to be shining brightly all over Germany and the energy consumption is low, i.e. on a warm spring sunday. You need to learn how the electricity grid operates. You can't store significant electricity and big peaks mostly end up being wasted or exported at an extreme loss, which only works if your neighbours don't have much solar.

Latest on German solar production for 2014 is 34,930 GWh of a total 576,238 Gwh total production, according to the IEA. So that comes out at 6.1% of total electricity production in 2014. And that has major caveats. The grid likes steady, reliable power sources not ones that only occur when the sun happens to be shining.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 49 weeks ago

Less then 5% of Americas energy comes from solar and wind and it has cost the tax payers trillions for it. The real answer is Natural gas. Very clean burning an inexpensive. But like I said before environmentalists hate oil companies more than they like clean air.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

Natural gas won't reduce emissions significantly, when you consider the high methane releases of shale & tight gas production. And there is no chance the USA or Canada can replace coal generation with domestic natural gas. That is a fool's pipe dream, not as delusional as believing renewables can replace coal, but still flatly implausible. Conventional gas production in the USA & Canada is in rapid decline.

Shale Gas & Tight Gas is experiencing a bubble driven by incredible amounts of free money dumped into by Wall street banks & investment firms. Avg production cost of $8/mmbtu and they sell it for $3/mmbtu. The wonders of the free money we let private banks create out of thin air. Give me free money and I can produce gold for $100 per ounce, no problem.

Big Oil is expounding the myth about "abundant" US oil & gas. Industry insider, geologist Arthur Berman, explains that declining productivity combined with increasing demand will trigger a crisis that will cause prices to skyrocket, damage the economy, and have a profound impact on the lives of nearly every North American.

Relying on faulty science, bought-and-paid-for-white papers masquerading as independent research and "industry consultants," the "shale promoters" have vastly overstated the viable supply of shale gas resources for their own financial gain. This startling exposé, written by an industry insider, suggests that the stakes involved in the Enron scandal might seem like lunch money in comparison to the bursting of the natural gas bubble. Exhaustively researched and rigorously documented, Cold, Hungry and in the Dark:


"...Investors have essentially subsidized natural gas through huge loss-making investments, creating an oversupply that has sent prices significantly below the average cost of new production..."

"...Petroleum geologist Jeffrey Brown of Export Land Model fame offered a startling response in a conversation at a recent conference I attended. The production decline rates of the shale gas wells that are providing the bulk of new U.S. supplies are so high—60 percent in the first year and up to 85 percent by the end of the second year—that we may never be able to return to today’s production level.

That would certainly put a nail in the coffin of the natural gas abundance narrative..."

Deborah Rogers on the Shale Bubble - How Wall St orchestrated the decline in natural gas prices and heavily subsidized surpluses


The end result of the Wall street fueled USA & Canada natural gas binge will be the next generation will be reliant on expensive imported LNG from the Middle East to supply both heat & electricity. Once again the cadre of International Banksters destroying Amercia as a free & independent nation.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Ou812 -- I thought the only struggle for me was to understand how you could read those links and not think that PV was a viable alternative. The PhD paper you provided only indicated that Germany needed to increase its investment. The other link seemed to indicate how viable PV was. Fuel cells can easily store energy during sunny times for when there is little or no (AKA night) sunlight. Also, the conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen directly seems like a good way to store power.

Thom has provided association with nuclear generation of electricity and death. I am sure the nuclear industry keeps that information hidden, as much as possible.

Are you trying to say you cannot build transmission lines between the countryside and cities?

Of course, PV does not have to do it alone. Hemp is a nice CO2 net zero.

Tax and rebate would open the marketplace to make all this happen. To let the marketplace run more freely we need to repeal the Price-Anderson Act.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Ken -- You need to watch "Last Years of LIving Dangerously". Natural gas via fracking is worse the coal. It has to do with methane leakage.

That would be an interesting analysis to look at that shows taxpayers have spent trillions for solar and wind.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Instant runoff -- Wait a minute? I thought we were not supposed to agree on anything.

Janet Cruz 7 years 49 weeks ago

No, the real solution is nuclear power. The price of electricity has skyrocketed since Germany closed down its nuclear plants. It now buy power from France's nuclear plants and Eastern Europe's dirty coal plants to supply adequate power, and is in the process of building new coal fired plants that it calls clean coal, but are only about 2% cleaner than old plants. New nuclear plants have been designed that are small in size, built in factories and trucked to the site where they are buried in the ground, and require only one person to operate. They are super safe, and would not cause contamination even in the case of an explosion. They are designed to power communities of 300,000 or more. Check the writings of James Conca to see the great advantages of this new generation of nuclear plants, which are being prevented from being built by the coal and oil businesses, because they know this is the only power source that can put them out of business, being cheaper, and greener than any other. Progressives are adding to the problem by mindlessly opposing all nuclear without even checking out this new generation of nuclear. Don't oppose nuclear until you check this out. Progressives are only aiding and abetting the coal and oil industries by joining them in opposing nuclear.

Janet Cruz 7 years 49 weeks ago

You are so right. (See my comment below.)

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 49 weeks ago

"If only that stew had just been a bit thinner, maybe some of our Senators would have seen clean through it!" ..Woody! ... greed and power...time for change! "All you Fascists bound to lose!"

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 49 weeks ago

Chuckles, You are not interested in contributing to this conversation, if you were, you would'nt make up stuff. Fuel Cells are not storage devices, but an expensive alternative to generating electricity. You disagree with the 5%-6% of total electricty generated by PV in Germany, but offer no proof. The real kicker, is your promotion of hemp. Why hemp? Why not ethanol, or wood. Much more BTU's are generated from burning wood than burning hemp, which means less has to be burned to produce an equal amount of heat. Also, if you want CO2 net zero, why not plant an amount of trees equal to the amount of fossil fuels burned.

I won't even address the ridiculous argument about the nuclear industry hiding information.

How will tax and rebate open the marketplace? We've had federal and state rebates on PV for several years. The Price-Anderson Act requires the nuclear energy industry to maintain liability insurance to compensenate the public in the event of a nuclear accident. How will repealing it allow the marketplace to run more freely?

You ask others for sources and proof, wheres's yours? I suspect you have none. You make up most of this stuff.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 49 weeks ago

Ou812 -- You provided me the proof of the 50% day in Germany. My only reliable source is listening to Thom Hartmann.

The reason for hemp is that it can grow anywhere. Other sources of ethanol effect the food supply. Thom has said that hemp provides the most efficient biofuel source of energy. You do realize if you want to counter Thom on this site the burden of proof is in your lap. DAnneMarc provided several links in this blog that back up Thom's statements.

Also, per Thom, the Price-Anderson act says the taxpayers will pick up the cost of any catastrophic event. No insurance carrier will provide protection for the nuclear industry. Based on what you said the nuclear industry is getting real cheap insurance from the taxpayer. If they had to pay the market price of insurance, they would not build nuclear power plants.

The information that the nuclear industry hides (that is, provides huge source of revenue for the media who is then inclined not to report; remember GE is a large owner of NBC) concerns the increase in cancer in the mining of uranium etc. Also, at the time of the Fukushima someone presented a 147 reports of near disasters in our nuclear industry. I bet you did not hear about any of those on mainstream media.

The rebates on PV were so small to be irrelevant. The marketplace of which I was imagining has nothing to do with PV. The marketplace would decide what the alternative energy source would be. It is the market where the carbon corps have to sell their product which would include the external costs. For gasoline, I think that number comes out to be about $14 gallon. The tax and rebate program would have a federal tax for that extra $10 a gallon. One manner in which that rebate could be given would be based on the miles driven each year.

You're right about the fuel cell. It would not store the energy provided by the PV. The energy would be stored via the electrolysis of water by the PV. The resulting oxygen and hydrogen would then be used by the fuel cell.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 49 weeks ago

Chuckle's I gave you proof for a 50% instance, not a 50% day. A instance is a a period in time of about a second. A 50% day has never occurred.

Here is the information on Price-Anderson. Please read it.

Key Facts

  • The Price-Anderson Act requires the nuclear energy industry to maintain liability insurance to compensate the public in the event of a nuclear accident. This coverage is provided through a combination of private insurance purchased by the companies that operate nuclear power plants and a framework that holds every nuclear plant in the United States financially responsible for a share of claims exceeding the amount covered by private insurance. Currently, the industry has $13.6 billion in liability insurance coverage.
  • Price-Anderson establishes the framework for nuclear plant liability insurance and sets an upper limit on industrywide liability. The cost of this insurance is borne by the industry. However, if the entire insurance pool is exhausted, state and local governments can petition Congress for additional disaster relief.
  • Insurance pools set up under the act disbursed approximately $71 million in claims and litigation costs related to the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. The act has proven so successful that Congress has used it as a model for legislation to protect the public against potential losses or harm from other hazards.
  • Congress has extended the Price-Anderson Act several times, making significant alterations, most recently in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.​

If you want to read the complete article, here is where you'll find it. http://promotion.weber.com

Your whole response is totally made up. People will believe what they want. I chooose not to believe anything you say.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 49 weeks ago

With renewable, sustainable energy sources like wind, solar, etc. you don't need disaster relief. Hello.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 49 weeks ago

Ou812 is dead on about Price-Anderson. Contrary to the hype in the MSM & Greenpeace, these insurance liability limit legislations are ubiquitous in industry. Weapons manufacturers & carbon capture get 100% liability protection. Aircraft max $1B for the nuclear bomb sized Airbus 380. Oil rigs were limited to $85M public liability. And all industry is protected to the level of bancruptcy. Oil train explosion at Lac Magentic, 49 people burned alive, city town center incinerated, thousands of tons of carcinogens released, small rail company just declared bancruptcy. The list is long. Note that unlike these other cases, Nuclear energy can save the world from runaway global warming and high energy cost --> economic collapse, starvation and a world of failed states. You would think that ALL progressives would care about that.

Your biomass is just another fantasy. If you converted all currently utilized arable land in North America to the highest yield switchgrass production, it would not even supply 1/3rd of United States current energy consumption. And that comes with major additional caveats. Like transportation difficulties, water shortages, fertilizer shortages, low efficiency, low EROEI. Not just impractical, but flatly impossible. Give up on pipe dreams.

Here is a good article for you to learn about the harsh reality of biomass & biofuels. Called a "crazy idea". Alice Friedemann:


Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Alice you do indeed live in Wonderland. Wind & solar are in fact not sustainable and not feasible as significant replacements for fossil fuels. Just one of many serious problems with Wind & Solar energy. Consider the EROEI or Energy Return On Energy Invested. You need 14:1 energy gain to run a modern civilization with social benefits, education, health care, arts & culture, military, police, pensions, infrastructure.

Wind & Solar cannot function without either storage or mostly a fossil fuel based world economy. Wind has an EROEI 16:1 without storage but add storage and that drops to 3.9:1. Not even close to sustainable. Solar even worse @ 3.9:1, add storage and that drops to 1.6:1. Really just a scam and a joke.

Nuclear with an EROEI of over 75, doesn't need storage, and can easily deliver the energy gain we need. There is no clean energy alternative to Nuclear. That is just the harsh reality.

Wasting capital on Wind and Solar or Ethanol & Hydrogen is really just shooting yourself in the foot. They are in fact parasites living off of the energy gain of fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear. In fact spending on wind & solar is a way to increase emissions, not reduce them.



chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 48 weeks ago

Instant runoff -- What you are describing sounds like the reason to be a corporation i.e. LLC. $18.6 billion sounds like a drop in the bucket. BP agreed to $25 billion for one oil well explosion. They accepted that number because it seemed so much less than what it cost them if they went to court. I think at least $1 trillion might have helped.

How do they determine what land is arable? Hemp grows were other things do not. Who says switchgrass is the most energy efficient? I have heard sugar beets are the most energy efficient. However, the arable land for sugar beet is way too little. When one combines arable land with energy efficiency I have heard hemp is the winner. I wonder if we would supply twice the necessary energy with biofuel if counted the arable land for hemp.

The high cost of energy in Germany indicates that the market is solving the problem. It reminds me of my statement about making the cost of gasoline $14/gallon.

Remember when prices become lower, it indicates the economy is collapsing. For example, the lower price of gasoline we have been witnessing has been identified as one of the causes of negative growth during the winter months.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 48 weeks ago

instant runoff -- It sounds like the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering today could make ranked voting more amenable.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Reply to posts #21 & 23: Nuclear power is bullshit. It is dangerous, expensive, uninsurable, monopolistic, uses tons of fossil fuel and, in my opinion, has to go. I've heard again & again that already-existing nuclear plants aren't even maintained properly for safety and stability, since these companies hate paying for maintenance so much! After all, it cuts into future profits! (WAH.) Many if not most nuclear power plants are old and ready for retirement, intensifying safety issues that much more. And Fukashima should have closed the book on this debate. Nuclear power must go bye-bye like ole T-Rex, into the scrap heap of history. And I don't give a flip who thinks I'm living in "wonderland", or whatever petty, condescending, sophomoric little insults you decide to send in my direction. You corporatist drone heads can just kiss this old hippie's peacenik, tree-huggin', socialist ASS.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Wonderland, ONLY you used insults and responded with not even ONE fact. I showed you the facts and you could care less. You just bury your head in the sand, with some nutty greenie religion precepts according to which you would happily sentence 6 billion people to their deaths, rather than face the truth about your religious beliefs. Do you volunteer to die as well? In fact your belief guarantees only two options:

1) total economic collapse, failed states worldwide, hoards of roaming, starving people, with nothing to lose who will burn, pillage, slaughter any and all fish, wildlife, plants, trees, turning the world into a virtual wasteland, OR

2) Current world policy (including Obama) which = burn-baby-burn until we have no more coal, oil & gas left to burn and the skies are dark with pollution, 100's of millions dead from fossil fuel emissions, runaway global warming, vast migrations of populations and of course inevitably that will lead to #1 again.

Only rational & feasible alternative to #1 & #2 is a switch to a nuclear powered economy. Something that your big oil buddies & their bankster overseers despise, since they know very well only Nuclear is capable of ending their energy hegemony.

You are indeed a stooge of the ruling elites.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

HAH! Look who's calling ME a "stooge".

I get my facts from Thom Hartman, that they (1) use tons of fossil fuel; (2) are uninsurable. That they are dangerous is a given, Fukashima being the latest glaringly obvious example. For Fact #3: nobody has ever figured out how to dispose of nuclear waste. That Fukashima's nuclear power plants extended a crisis starting with a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami is FACT #4, prolonging the agony of that ordeal with thousands of people subjected to significantly higher cancer risk from radioactive waste, thus starting a widespread anti-nuclear movement in Japan. And being centralized and corporately owned, it is monopolistic; I'll call that Fact #5. For Fact #6, those nuclear power plants that melted down from the Fukashima earthquake are identical to nuclear power plants in California, another area at high risk for earthquakes. So please spare us the psuedo-scientific drivel, Instant Jerkoff. Don't even bother pulling that bogus "Fact Card" on me, because you don't intimidate me with that shit, not one iota. Thom Hartmann may not be a scientist by occupation but he is very tuned into science, as he has been all his life, and Thom could easily flesh out these facts with an abundance of details to support them, as I've heard him do numerous times debating the likes of you. I would gladly square him off on a nuclear IQ test against you corporatist hacks, any day.

Cheers! And good-BYE.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Thom unforunately knows zilch about energy, so getting facts from him on that is close to worthless.

Fact #1: That is called full lifecycle emissions. CANDUs in Ontario are 2 gms CO2 per kwh generated. Nuclear in Japan, Finland, Sweden is 6-26 gms CO2/kwh. Solar PV is 50-95 & Wind is 5.5 to 29 not including their inescable fossil fuel backup. NG is 450-1170, coal is 894 to 975. I would say nuclear wins that hands down.

Fact #2: They are insured, why didn't you read Ou812 above. In fact better insurance than any other industry. And they are less dangerous by far than any other significant energy source:


Coal: 161

Oil: 36

Biomass: 12

NG: 4

Hydro: 1.4

Wind: 0.15

Nuclear: 0.04

Fact #3: Nuclear waste is minor. A coke can full supplies an American's lifetime electricity needs, vs 70 tons of forever, toxic & carcinogenic Coal solid waste & 2000 tons of gaseous waste. Burn that coke can full in a GenIV reactor, where 97% of the uranium energy remains, and you are down to less than an ounce of waste, and that is valuable short-lived waste. In fact there is enough uranium and thorium in that 70 tons of Coal solid waste to supply 15 American’s lifetime electricity needs if burnt in molten salt reactors.

Fact #4: There was not even one death caused by radioisotope releases from Fukushima. Vs 20,000 due to the tsunami, which the Japan gov't failed to prepare for. There is greatly increased cancer risk due to the thousands of tons of strong carcinogens released by all the oil & gas fires following the Tohoku event, including asbestos, PAHs, dioxins, heavy metals: lead, arsenic, mercury, nickel, cadmium, PCBs, furans, benzene, toluene, the list is long.

In fact by replacing shutdown nuclear energy with coal, oil & LNG the Japanese gov't has murdered about 14 thousand persons in the past 4 years, using WHO mortality numbers for fossil fuels vs nuclear energy.

Fact #5: Having a viable alternative to Big Oil/NG = 6 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies (top Nuclear is around 440th) is NOT monopolistic. Actually most Nuclear power plants in the world are publicly owned. Which I favor, in general. And I can give you a whole large collection of links pointing to the strong support the super-rich corporate elites, especially Oil Barons & Banksters have for their wind & solar bait-and-switch scam. The oil & gas barons know very well wind & solar = burn more oil & gas. The coal part they don’t care about.

Fact #6: ALL NPPs in California are Pressurized water reactors, Fukushima were ancient Boiling Water reactors, which were soon to be shutdown and replaced. No reactors in Japan (unlike Oil & Gas facilities) were seriously damaged by the world record Tohoku earthquake. Only the Fuku reactors failed because they foolishly had their switchgear, diesel generators and fuel supply located below the record tsunami wave height. Easy fix. Fortunately zero deaths. Expensive & dumb screwup. But so was 9/11. According to your beliefs, after 9/11 all aircraft should be banned. After the idiot Titanic disaster you would say all shipping should be banned. After the Banqiao dam failure killed ~200 thousand people, you would say all Hydro should be shutdown. After the Gulf oil deadly disaster you would say all Oil rigs should be closed.

So what you call Facts are really just fables. I gave you the Truth. And unlike you, I am not a corporate hack (although I will grant that you are likely just an unwitting tool, what corporate elites call "useful idiots".) I will call you uninformed & uneducated in energy issues and I hope I have contributed to your education. I was once a big supporter of wind & solar and an opponent of nuclear energy. I believed what the MSM told all of us about nuclear. Then I decided to learn the facts, and think for myself, and I was astounded to learn that the corporate establishment had totally misled me through their bought and paid for mainstream media outlets.

And actually I support the Zeitgeist Movement and Richard Wolff's Worker Self Directed Enterprises and I am a relentless critic of modern day crony capitalism which is rapidly morphing into fascism. And I do like "socialist" social democratic nations like Norway.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 48 weeks ago

Interestingly, the LA Pacifica station is have a 5 day special program this week called Solartopia. The link is solartopia.org. Chrome seems to not like it. IE has no problem with it.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Reply to #30: Save it, jerk. I'm not interested in your crackpot fucking bullshit. I'm not a scientist, I'm no engineer, but I've heard and read plenty through the years, enough to know who to believe and who to dismiss as full of crap on this issue. I do not trust nuclear power, or the people who own it and run it and are supposed to maintain it. After the disasters we've already seen with nuclear power, I want no part of it. So keep right on bloviating if you must, but you'll only have the allegiance of those who already agree with you. If you think you can win hearts & minds with that kind of an attitude, you'd better think again.

And to be brutally frank, I'm not interested in getting sucked into an ongoing verbal fox trot with your arrogant, cocky ass. Sorry to spoil the party. But if you're so damn smart, try calling Thom on his radio show and arguing with him about nuclear power. I dare you. His knowledge on this subject is much more in-depth than my own. I'm sure Thom would be happy to pick apart your argument and expose all its weaknesses.

As for me, I've other fish to fry. (Pun intended.) So 'bye now.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

P.S. For the hell of it, I did a google search just now to see what impact that Fukashima nuclear disaster has had on us. Turns out nearly a third of the children born on the Pacific coast of the U.S. are now at high risk for thyroid cancer and other cancers. Radioactive Cesium isotopes from leaking nuclear reactors in Fukashima are the culprit. Now that they’ve reached our Pacific shores and have polluted our air, our ocean, food supply and so on, children both born and unborn are particularly vulnerable.

Just another example to illustrates why I’m opposed to nuclear power. This is not the wave of the future. It's time we leave 20th Century technology behind, and head for greener pastures!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Thom educated by YOU? Thanks for the laugh. When all else fails, these blogs are a good source of entertainment.

Renewables have really been catching on in Europe; Germany in particular. We're so far behind the rest of the developed world, and in so many ways, it is simply mind blowing. I hope I live to see the day when fossil fuels and nuclear power are behind us, in the dustbin of history... In the meantime, shills like Instant Jerkoff are best ignored.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 48 weeks ago

Dorothy, if you weren't so blinded by anger and hate you would see nuclear is the solution. I have photovoltaic (solar) on one of my homes. It works great during daylight. For pv to work properly, connection to the grid is required. Storage batteries are marginal at best. With the move toward electric cars, the demands on the grid will increase. Nuclear is the only energy source (without CO2 emmissions) capable of meeting these requirements.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Ou812, if you weren't so blinded by corporate pablum you would see renewables as the solution. And remember, you are what you eat.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 48 weeks ago

IRV, I'm having trouble understanding this EROEI business. You say we need "14:1 energy gain". I'd presume that's a minimum, but the numbers you give get lower for wind and solar when enery storage is added. And you give numbers on both sides for wind, so we could pick one and it should be good, shouldn't it?

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Wonderland, you really do get angry and even more irrational (if that is possible) when you are proven wrong. So your last ditch effort in mindless repitition of Big Oil's disinformation about Fukushima:

Fact #7: Fukushima incident in total released about 2500 TBq of radiation into the ocean. Almost all of it is Cs-137 with a half-life of 30 yrs and some Cs-134 with a half-life of 2 yrs.

Seawater natural radiation is 14 Bq per liter. Mostly from radioactive potassium 40 with a half-life of 1.3 billion years. So total radiation = 2500 trillion Bq / 14 Bq per liter = 1800 trillion liters equivalent.

So at avg Pacific Ocean depth that surface area is 6.3 X 6.3 kms.

That's a pretty trivial little area. Just a tiny spec of water off of Japan's coast. Yep that sure will affect the west coast of the USA. Do you know what a measurement is? Do you know what cause and effect is? Do you know what a sievert is? You see that is how scientists determine radiation health effects. And using those methods there is no plausible way Fuku radiation had ANY effect on western North America, and highly unlikely anywhere in Japan, that's ever.

BP released 134 to 176 million gallons of crude oil or 453[BP] to 594[Gov] thousand tonnes, into the Gulf of Mexico. LD50 for Rats, Crude Oil is 5 gms per kg or for 75 kg person so that would be 0.4 kg per person. So that’s 594e6/0.4 = 1.5 billion acute lethal doses.

2500 TBq of Cs-137 is 2500/3.4 = 735 gms. 2500 TBq / 10 GBq = 250 thousand acute lethal doses by ingestion. Or 6000X less. If you take into account the much smaller volume of the Gulf vs the Pacific, Fuku is comparitively 1.7 millionX less toxic! Funny all the hype on the MSM is on Fuku health effects, zip on BP oil spill. No ban or shutdown on oil rigs in the Gulf though.

Hey check this out, sunbathing on radioactive beaches in Brazil. Radiation readings higher than anywhere outside the plant gates at Fukushima. In fact many times higher than avg readings in the evacuation zone. Far higher than Japanese authorities allow for its citizens. The locals call this area, Guarapari, the health city. Because locals, including indigenous peoples, have long regarded the radioactive sand a health benefit. Called radiation hormesis and a common belief by many native cultures.


And I don’t have to go to Thom’s radio show to debate him on energy issues. He can come right here. I will be happy to educate him on energy reality.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Yes 14:1 is the minimum energy gain required of the energy supply to sustain a modern industrial civilization. That includes all of the infrastructure that goes into production and distribution of that energy.

The problem with wind & solar is they use large amounts of high energy input materials for the meagre amount of energy they produce, and that energy is of low value, especially wind, since it is intermittent & erratic. So to be useful they need storage. And storage uses large amounts of material and consequently energy to produce, as well losses, expressed by the round trip efficiency, for batteries ~80% efficient.

Long distance transmission further lowers efficiency, since transmission lines are made of high energy input materials, and solar transmission must be oversized by 5-10X, and wind by 3-5X. As well as losses during transmission.

So the EROEI for Wind & Solar, in any practical, significant effort to supply our energy, is too low to be sustainable. In fact flatly impossible. That's the energy economics. We haven't even gotten into the high cost of implementing wind & solar energy. Costs that even at current trivial levels of production, are forcing single moms to choose between feeding their child or paying the electric bill.

Whereas wealthy homeowners are getting huge subsidies to put up solar PV, subsidies taken out of the pockets of the poor, who have no home to install solar panels on, and couldn't afford them if they did.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Wonderland your Germany, after 25 yrs of all out effort on wind & solar, has the 2nd highest emissions per kwh generated in Europe. 9X Nuclear France. 5X Nuclear Ontario. And they have the 2nd highest electricity prices in Europe. And now they are building giant dirt-burning Coal power plants by the dozens. Why aren't they building Wind & Solar instead?

In fact with a trivial 6% of their electricity (< 1% of their energy), their Solar PV installation rate is now on a steep decline. 7.6 GW in 2012, 3.3 in 2013, 1.9 in 2014. So much for solar energy.

And they have to destroy historic towns in order to make way for their enormous lignite strip mines. Large sections of land raped by giant draglines. Makes Fukushima look like a bad rainy day. You like that Acid Rain do you Wonderland?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

More corporatist drivel. Have at it, guys.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Wonderland, a Big Oil corporate lackey if there ever was one. No comments whatsoever from her on the massive BP oil spill, right here in America, 1.7 million X worse than the Fuku event by actual health effects, that's way ever there in Japan.

But Wonderland loves those top ten Fortune 500 Big Oil companies but hates those public or bottom 100 Fortune 500 nuclear companies. Yep wonderland and "don't let those new kids on the block get a foothold". Gotta support the super rich.

And of course wonderland luvs BP with their BP wind & BP solar divisions - even calling themselves "Beyond Petroleum" for any blithering idiot too stupid to breathe will believe that. Funny there is no BP nuclear. Wouldn't be because ONLY nuclear is the competition to their noxious product, whereas Wind & Solar are an excellent way to greenwash their slime - very effective - Thom & Wonderland have both taken the bait - hook, line & sinker.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Reply to post #7: Excellent points, Phillip!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

I just learned that as of last year, Scotland was getting half its energy needs met by renewables. They anticipate having that up to 100% by 2020.

There is no reason why we should not be following their example. These corporatist clowns can just keep on with their petty jabs at "greenies"; they can't stop the world from adopting better technologies. We need energy sources that are gentler on the environment and our health as well as on our pocketbooks. It might take a good while, but we will win this fight against the monopolists.

To be identified in the same light as Thom Hartmann is very flattering, by the way, regardless of the intentions behind it.

Apparently Instant Jerk-Off thinks he can win the debate by clogging up this thread with post after post of his wackadoodle fucking bullshit. He accuses me of being a shill for the rich and "loving" the Fortune 500s... This newbie who hasn't even blogged here a week, claims to know all about me and my allegiances! My, my... Yet he can't bring himself to challenge Thom on his radio show. What a coward. I guess no one likes being made a fool of over the air! Heh-heh.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 48 weeks ago

To clarify my idea about defining "treaty" constitutionally, I would have to know what typically happens or should happen when two countries have no treaty. Can they not trade? I think they can. Can they not impose tariffs? I think they can. Can they not have diplomatic relations? They would have to, otherwise a treaty could never be negotiated.

So what else is there? What should our relations with a country be like if we have no treaty with it? What may the President or Secretary of State not do without a treaty?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

If you think I'm gonna read all that crap, you'd best think again, pal. And I don't give a flippin' damn what YOU call a "corporate shill".

Seems to me that in your little realm of reality, anyone who disagrees with you is a "corporate shill" and/or has "no credability". Since you've included Thom in that category, I'm in good company. I'll be listening for your call on my podcast; sure would be fun hearing Thom ripping your argument to shreds. He's pretty good at that, and he's got the science to back up what he says.

Do you really believe all these long-winded, strident posts of yours are winning people over to your side of this debate? (Hey- if any of you folks out there have been swayed to the other side of the nuclear debate by this guy, stand up and be counted!) - AIW

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 48 weeks ago

Wonderland, you just proved for the umpteenth time you have zero credibility. In fact, 2014, Scotland produced a value of 1/2 of their electricity consumption by renewables including conventional Hydro. Mostly wind but more Nuclear than wind, solar, biomass & biogas combined. Perfect location on Earth for wind and that's all they can achieve with an all out effort.

Scotland, lacking heavy industry, has only half the per capita electricity consumption of USA. Hydro has little room for expansion so mostly Scotland is taking advantage of its excellent location, lots of unpopulated, barren, wind swept, hills ideal for wind farms and transmission lines. In order to produce that much wind they rely on massive exports to England, fully 36% of their total electricity consumption. Any effort to stupidly (but not really) achieve 100% renewable electricity consumption would mean dumping most of that electricity to England at a huge loss. Often paying England to take the wind nobody wants. And even that only works if the much larger England can absorb the intermittent electricity. That means England cannot have its own large wind supply which will max at the same time as Scotlands.

And they need massive transmission lines to send the highly peaking wind to England and then import back coal, nuclear & gas back from England when their wind isn't blowing, like 70% of the time. They don't count all the gas, coal & nuclear they import back from England when making these phoney paper claims like "50% renewables"

All kinds of hype in the MSM on Scotland. No hype in your corporate MSM about France with 90% cleaner and greener nuclear and hydro. 78% nuclear. And doesn't need to import back any gas & coal electricity like Scotland cannot survive without. Ontario with 62% Nuclear and 24% Hydro = 86% clean & green electricity - no paper accounting tricks needed. Small little Ontario did all that with their own indigenous CANDU Nuclear program. Makes Scotland look like pathetic fools with their expensive Greenie electricity program.

There is no chance USA can do even the little that Scotland has done. The only good location for wind is the great plains and the transmission to load centers would explode costs into the stratosphere. EIA, very pro-wind & solar, in spite of almost unbelievable subsidies, puts Wind @ 4.4% & Solar @ 0.4% of USA electricity production over 2014, cleaner & greener Nuclear @ 19.5%. And projects in 2036 Solar @ 0.56%, Wind @ 5.1%. Yep even the wealthy USA can only achieve 5.1% wind & 0.56% solar after 60 yrs of effort, and there are major caveats attached to that low grade wind energy. Some impressive that is.

I give the hard facts, the real truth, Big Oil dupe Wonderland, responds with "Jerk-Off", "wackadoodle", "fucking bullshit", "newbie", "coward", "heh-heh". Hey wonderland show us a link to where you critiqued the Gulf Oil Spill from your fave BP.

It is amazing how religious Greenies, like Wonderland here, who don't know the difference between a joule and watt, figure they are power engineers and can tell us how to generate the life giving energy that powers a civilization. All they end up being is easy corporate shills, manipulated like silly, little children, by the real BIG MONEY, which is Oil & Gas. Guarantors that the status quo of burn-baby-burn will continue until we run out of stuff to burn, and then we will be switching to nuclear, that is reality. According to wonderland & her ilk, screw global warming, screw the poor. I call that a corporate shill.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

Quote from #32: “I’m not a scientist, I’m no engineer…” BUT I am entitled to my opinion. And you don’t have to like it.

Quack quack quack. Blah blah blah. You old windbag.

Sincerely, - “Greenie” Alice

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 48 weeks ago

P.S. I'm still waiting to see who's been won over by this dude's powers of persuasion. They do nothing for me; how about the rest of you? If you think he's full of shit, your silence will suffice.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 48 weeks ago

Dorothy, you know Instant Runoff is correct, but you can't bring yourself to admit it:).

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Never one to shy away from the truth, Thom Hartmann’s collected works are inspiring, wise, and compelling. His work lights the way to a better America."
Van Jones, cofounder of RebuildTheDream.com and author of The Green Collar Economy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom is a national treasure. Read him, embrace him, learn from him, and follow him as we all work for social change."
Robert Greenwald, political activist and founder and president of Brave New Films
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen