Y-12 Protestors Should Refocus Efforts on more Insidious Threat – Global Warming & Climate Change

The protestors that cut through the fence and broke into a secure area to deface buildings at the Y-12 National Security Complex, the Oak Ridge, Tennessee facility* that stores and processes uranium, should consider refocusing their efforts on a more insidious threat to the future of the planet.  While all-out nuclear war would indeed be a global disaster, it is less likely to occur than in fact the global disaster which IS apparently full-speed ahead and is not being taken seriously enough.

For much of the planet, Climate Change is going to mean either too much water — or too little.

What the little old nun and her two middle-aged cohorts should focus on is Climate Change.  But, so should we all.

Here’s what we have to look forward to with Climate Change:  longer droughts, bigger floods, the loss of coastline and cities that are on the coast, acidification of the oceans and the eventual death of many species of sea creatures including those we depend upon as a food source, hotter temperatures, more storms – stronger hurricanes and tornadoes, worse pest problems, more disease – including the regeneration of some diseases like the bubonic plague, more and bigger wildfires, more air pollution, less food for everyone, mass extinctions,  and in general, less water where it’s needed – more where it’s not.

The problem with the Climate Change problem, what makes it so dangerous, is that it’s sneaky.  Scientist tried to tell us it was coming, but we – the United States’ “we” here – didn’t take it seriously because we didn’t see it in our daily lives … I mean who cares about the Polar bears?!   As long as we can still get a good steak at Longhorn, let the bears swim, for crying out loud. (being facetious here)  Americans continue to be Americans – good people, but historically, until the crisis is staring us in the face, we’re pretty complacent on the whole. WE Americans can be summed up as Winston Churchill said: You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

Aah, but this summer has seen the crisis brought to our own backyards.  This Summer has provided THE HOTTEST JULY EVER in the United States.   And, we ALL felt it.

Has this GLOBAL WARMING been caused by mankind or is it a naturally occurring cycle?  WHO CARES?!

Wildfires

Wildfires did a lot of damage to the U.S. in 2012. The coming years will see even more so get used to it.

it doesn’t really matter now because global warming has caused a climate change that many scientists such as those at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe cannot be stopped.  We can still “mitigate” global warming if we act fast, but the ball is rolling downhill.  Mitigation can put a few bumps on the hill to slow climate change and keep the situation from being QUITE SO BAD, but it’s still going to happen.

Let’s take a moment here to define some terms that we’re using in this, and future blog posts at IX Power.

Global Warming is:  Not the same thing as Climate Change! (They frequently are used interchangeably, but that is incorrect.) Global warming is the human-instigated rise in temperatures caused by too much carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Climate Change is: the EFFECTS that Global Warming has on the earth.  Climate Change is the effects on the earth’s natural processes and the impacts that are the result – stronger storms, worse droughts, melting polar ice, etc.

Mitigation is the set of actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions that generate global warming.

Adaptation is the actions that we can take to reduce the impacts of climate change – rising sea levels, strong storms, worse droughts, etc.

Mitigation is important – yes, we should continue to do things to reduce greenhouse gases – but the horse is out of the barn.  Scientists, including those at the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe that even if we took really drastic measures to reduce global warming today, we are still going to have climate change and its impacts.  But, of course, since no one is taking drastic measures, we are most likely on our way to a slow hell.  We need to now focus at least as much effort on ADAPTING to climate change, as we should to mitigating global warming. Actually, we must do more, since not enough is being done to mitigate global warming.  

ADAPTATION – getting ready for the next 40 years so that fewer people, animals and ecosystems have to die, should be the concern of not just the Y-12 protestors, but all of us.  And I mean ALL.  Just because you are wealthy, or your corporation is big and healthy, does not mean you shouldn’t care.  EVERYONE is going to be impacted.  

Stay tuned to this blog – we’ll be talking more – not just about MITIGATING GLOBAL WARMING, but ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE as well …

*  According to the Y-12 web site: The Y‑12 National Security Complex is one of four production facilities in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Security Enterprise. Their unique emphasis is the processing and storage of uranium and development of technologies associated with those activities.

IX Power Names Dr. Otis (Pete) Peterson Chief Nuclear Reactor Designer

LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO, June 18, 2012 — IX Power CEO John R (Grizz) Deal announced today that Dr. Otis (Pete) Peterson has been named Chief Nuclear Reactor Designer at the firm. According to Deal, Dr. Peterson’s first assignment in his new role will be to lead a global team evaluating medium-size nuclear reactor designs for commercialization by IX Power.

Dr. Peterson was a co-founder and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Hyperion Power Generation (now Gen4 Energy), which was founded in May 2007 by Deal, Peterson, Dr. Robert L. (Bob) Libutti, and Deborah Deal-Blackwell. Peterson’s revolutionary work in small reactor designs laid the foundation for Hyperion Power’s product offering which provided many in the United States, including members of Congress, with their first introduction to what would come to be known as SMRs: Small Modular Reactors.

In September 2011, Peterson, along with the other Hyperion Power co-founders plus Randall Wilson, former CFO and COO of Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC) formed IX Power to commercialize safe power and clean water technologies from U.S., U.K., and Russian national Laboratories.

“We are obviously pleased Dr. Peterson can focus 100% of his efforts on IX Power now,” said IX Power companies CEO John R. (Grizz) Deal. “His contributions and efforts to the nuclear power industry are one of the principal reasons there is now a modern, commercial Small and Modular Reactor (SMR) category of nuclear power plants.”

Since the inception of IX Power last summer, Dr. Peterson has been focused on evaluating and validating dozens of innovations at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). IX Power has a long-term Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with LANL for power and water technologies and is launching three LANL innovations during 2012 as fully developed products.

IX Power and the IX Power Foundation were formed to jump-start solutions to the global need for safe power and clean water. Bringing an experienced world-class team and technologies from U.S., U.K., and Russian national laboratories, the company is incorporating both fresh and proven innovations to create advanced solutions that can be rapidly developed and deployed. The IX Power team has been commercializing new technologies for over 20 years; turning ideas into products, securing “lead-launch” customers, and providing a platform to grow product lines into complete enterprises.

The company is based in Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A. Its international headquarters is located in London and run by Dr. Edward (Ned) Swan.

—IX—

Fast Reactors are the Future of Nuclear Power (and They are Already Here)

Nuclear reactors. In a time when the safety image of the nuclear industry is still recovering from the events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan this past Spring, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has just released a huge manual of information which should help disseminate information and encourage yet another type of power reactor. But this, to steal a phrase from home economic guru Martha Stewart, “is a good thing.”

The reactors that experienced problems in Japan were quite frankly old. They were still using old, what is known as “light water” technology. What the IAEA has just released is a compilation of information on “fast neutron reactors.” Fast reactors use what’s termed “liquid metal” as a coolant. The most popular of the “metals” right now is sodium, but lead bismuth, having been successfully utilized in Russian nuclear submarines, is also gaining momentum. 

An advantage of “fast reactors” is that they can reduce the total radiotoxicity of nuclear waste and dramatically reduce the waste’s lifetime. They can also be designed to utilize the useful fuel in nuclear waste. This of course, would cut down on the need to mine uranium.

Fast reactors can also run longer than light water reactors without refueling. This cuts down the amount of risk associated with refueling that occurs every 18 to 24 months for light water reactors.

The new manual from the IAEA compiles a lot of information and covers a lot of ground that nuclear power researchers and engineers will need to further develop fast reactors. What’s been holding back the development and further use of this technology is the lack of information available for sharing within the nuclear industry. A comprehensive report on fast reactors – now that’s a good thing

To access the report, “Status and Trends of Nuclear Fuels Technology for Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors,” go to: http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/8333/Status-and-Trends-of-Nuclear-Fuels-Technology-for-Sodium-Cooled-Fast-Reactors

Deborah Deal-Blackwell