Saturday, 2 April 2016

Al Gore's record on nuclear power is so bad that only a major recantation may give him any credibility

Al Gore recently made some vaguely positive remark about nuclear power at a TED talk. So climate campaigners, looking for a silver lining, have decided he's onboard. I wouldn't jump for joy. He's not going to bring die-hard anti-nukes around. Most of them seem more motivated by fear and distrust than hope. If he dares make pro-nuke arguments, it'll be another excommunication, followed by demonization. Like the treatment handed out to: Jim Hansen, Richard Tol, Roger Pielke Jr., and yes: Judith Curry. Below is a post copied over from a closed FB page by Robert Steinhaus, shining the torch on Al Gore's record.

by Robert Steinhaus

While serving in national office as Vice President of the United States Al Gore helped push through and supported many anti-nuclear measures including -

  1. cancelling only three years before scheduled project completion the Integral Fast Reactor program. The IFR was the culmination of thirty years of Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor research and if completed would have provided a means of closing the Uranium/Plutonium fuel cycle and routinely handling the waste yearly produced by America's fleet of Light Water Reactors rather than leaving nuclear waste as a problem for future generations to handle.
  2. redirecting the majority of DOE National Lab efforts away from new reactor development into Decontamination and Decommissioning of existing operating nuclear reactors. Entire DOE engineering groups were redirected and within the span of a week went from work on designing and building advanced new nuclear reactors like the IFR to D&D activities relating to destroying nuclear infrastructure and decommissioning safe operating government owned nuclear reactors around the nation (Hanford Works, Savanna River Site, and F-Canyon). See: F Canyon and FB Line - DEACTIVATED (pdf)
  3. reducing funding within DOE for new nuclear reactor development to levels never seen before or since, causing massive relocation of engineering and physics talent to new programs not associated with nuclear.
  4. appointing to the NRC "closet" anti-nuclear Commissioners whose job was to "keep the lid" on new nuclear. - no new nuclear reactor projects were started in the Clinton Administration era that went on to become safe operating new nuclear reactors (Watts Bar Unit 1 was completed in 1996 after suffering a harrowing 23 year path through NRC process - this reactor had started as a project in 1973 under the Nixon Administration).
  5. appointing Hazel O'Leary, a natural gas lobbyist, to head DOE and supervise the dismantling of 40 years of progress previously made building up DOE Nuclear Energy: decommissioning government owned nuclear reactors and destroying nuclear infrastructure.
  6. forcing on DOE and DOD impractical and expensive methods of stockpile stewardship of America's nuclear arsenal. Under the Clinton Administration America moved from conscientious practical field testing of America nuclear weapons in actual field tests to a very expensive system of partial measures called "Scientific Stockpile Stewardship" that substitutes computer simulations, non-destructive inspection and X-ray radiography, and micro-plasma laser fusion experiments to take the place of practical tests. These changes were insisted on from above by the Clinton Administration and were not suggested from scientists within DOE and DOD who were then responsible for the security and safety of the stockpile.

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