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Financial incentives must include funds or commitments to private actors to incentivize energy production – the aff is an indirect incentive and makes the topic unmanageable

Webb, 93 – lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa (Kernaghan, “Thumbs, Fingers, and Pushing on String: Legal Accountability in the Use of Federal Financial Incentives”, 31 Alta. L. Rev. 501 (1993) Hein Online)
In this paper, "financial incentives" are taken to mean disbursements 18 of public funds or contingent commitments to individuals and organizations, intended to encourage, support or induce certain behaviours in accordance with express public policy objectives. They take the form of grants, contributions, repayable contributions, loans, loan guarantees and insurance, subsidies, procurement contracts and tax expenditures.19 Needless to say, the ability of government to achieve desired behaviour may vary with the type of incentive in use: up-front disbursements of funds (such as with contributions and procurement contracts) may put government in a better position to dictate the terms upon which assistance is provided than contingent disbursements such as loan guarantees and insurance. In some cases, the incentive aspects of the funding come from the conditions attached to use of the monies.20 In others, the mere existence of a program providing financial assistance for a particular activity (eg. low interest loans for a nuclear power plant, or a pulp mill) may be taken as government approval of that activity, and in that sense, an incentive to encourage that type of activity has been created.21 Given the wide variety of incentive types, it will not be possible in a paper of this length to provide anything more than a cursory discussion of some of the main incentives used.22 And, needless to say, the comments made herein concerning accountability apply to differing degrees depending upon the type of incentive under consideration.

By limiting the definition of financial incentives to initiatives where public funds are either disbursed or contingently committed, a large number of regulatory programs with incentive effects which exist, but in which no money is forthcoming,23 are excluded from direct examination in this paper. Such programs might be referred to as indirect incentives. Through elimination of indirect incentives from the scope of discussion, the definition of the incentive instrument becomes both more manageable and more particular. Nevertheless, it is possible that much of the approach taken here may be usefully applied to these types of indirect incentives as well.24 Also excluded from discussion here are social assistance programs such as welfare and ad hoc industry bailout initiatives because such programs are not designed primarily to encourage behaviours in furtherance of specific public policy objectives. In effect, these programs are assistance, but they are not incentives.

Violation – the aff only indirectly assists the production of energy, not financially incentivize it

Vote Neg for Limits – Broadly defining incentives explodes the topic – includes anything related to promiting energy – makes neg prep impossible


The United States federal government should

  • fully fund the construction of 250,000 synthetic trees designed for the capture of carbon dioxide.

  • develop and deploy sun shade technology

  • repeal the Budget Control Act and ensure adequate DOD funding

  • establish a legally-binding negative security assurance for all members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty regime that are in full compliance with their NPT obligations.

  • adopt a no nuclear first use declaratory policy towards permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, India, Pakistan, and Israel.

  • should state that the U.S. maintains nuclear weapons for the purposes of deterring nuclear attacks.

The plan can’t solve warming for a century – the counterplan reflects radiation and solves

Angel and Worden 6 (Roger-- a Regents Professor at the University of Arizona and is on the faculty of the UA astronomy department and the Optical Sciences College, and Research Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona and Director of NASA Ames Research Center, “Making moon sun-shades from moondust”, Summer 2006, Ad Astra,
The Earth's surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with accelerated warming during the past two decades. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely to accelerate the rate of climate change. Scientists expect that the average global surface temperature could rise 1 to 4.5°F (0.6 to 2.5°C) in the next 50 years, and 2.2 to 10°F (1.4 to 5.8°C) in the next century, with significant regional variation. Global warming will have generally negative impacts on human life and the biosphere, so, to varying degrees, industry, scientists and policymakers are making significant efforts to mitigate the problem. Most proposals for reversing global warming are aimed at lowering greenhouse gases, most notably the Kyoto Treaty, which aims to halt the rise—and eventually to lower—greenhouse gas emissions. Technical solutions to enable current levels of economic activity to proceed with lowered emissions are under investigation and development in private industry and at universities. These solutions focus on finding non-fossil fuels, and, more to the point, non-carbon-emitting energy sources. To this end, nuclear, solar and other energy sources are promising. Dave Criswell, a physics professor at the University of Houston, is exploring the possibility that solar energy captured on the Moon could be relayed to Earth to satisfy much of its future energy needs. But even if fossil-fuel burning were stopped tomorrow, the current exceptionally high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would take more than a century to dissipate. Other solutions under study therefore include the capture and underground sequestration of atmospheric carbon. Here we explore another approach for mitigating global warming, or indeed global climate change of any origin, by placing a shield at the Earth-Sun L1 point to redirect sunlight away from the Earth (or toward it to mitigate cooling). Shields Many experts have discussed a screen in space to mitigate global warming. A 2000 study by Bala Govindasamy and Ken Caldeira showed that a screen yielding a 1.8 percent reduction in solar flux could fully reverse the current effect of the doubling of CO2. In a controlled orbit near L1, a screen would remain permanently lined up to block a small fraction of the solar radiation. To be effective, these huge "sunglasses" would have to be 1,000 miles across, and even at gossamer thickness would weigh millions of tons. In 1989, engineer James Early, whose work fostered the creation of Telstar-1, the first American communications satellite, proposed a blocker made of thin ribbed glass to deflect the sunlight. He recognized that the costs of launching so much mass from Earth could be prohibitive, and that a practical solution might be found by making the shield from lunar material. Solar power could be used to process the material into glass and structural elements, and to drive a magnetic rail for launch into the L1 orbit. Early's idea is now worth revisiting. The value of maintaining a viable climate can be determined in different ways, and is likely to be in the range of $5 to $10 trillion—again, just a few percent of world GNP over the next 50 years. In order to find this balance, research is needed now to better understand if a shade could be implemented within the above cost ceiling, and within a few decades. To steer the full spectrum of sunlight away from the Earth, the glass needs an average thickness of about 2 micron—a fiftieth that of a human hair. Even at such light weight, a thousand- mile diameter sheet will weigh 10 million tons. To build the shield in 30 years, glass production would need to be about 1,000 tons a day, along with several hundred tons a day of titanium or aluminum for structural components. The electric power needed to mine the ore and to process it, and to accelerate 1,500 tons a day to escape the Moon and reach the L-1 point, at a 3 km/sec launch speed would be about 500 megawatts. This would require a solar plant with a couple of square kilometers of solar cells weighing about 2,000 tons. The shade would be built not as a single structure but as a constellation of many identically sized, free-flying parasol elements. For example, if each self-contained unit were as small as a 14-meter square and weighed about 1 kilogram, ten billion units would be needed to make up the shield. In manufacture, the Moon-derived structural metal would be fashioned into ultra-lightweight support struts at free-orbiting factories near L1. The screen itself, cut in squares from a 14meter-wide roll of thin glass also delivered from the Moon, would be attached to a structural cross with four 10-meter-long struts connected at a center hub. Each unit would include tilting reflecting panels, to be used as solar sails for initial placement within the constellation and for station-keeping, particularly to stabilize any drift in the unstable longitudinal direction. We envision the constellation as being like a large shoal of fish or flock of birds, with station-keeping control largely by autonomous computers in each unit to prevent collisions or self- shadowing. A local positioning system like GPS would also be used. To make ten billion units of 14-meter squares in 30 years (10,000 days) would require manufacture and placement of a million units a day at L1. If there were 1,000 factories working in parallel, each factory would have to complete a unit in little more than a minute. The factories would need to use sophisticated robots made on Earth, and might weigh in the range of 1 to 10 tons each. Economics We can make some estimate of the value of global warming from the current "carbon credit" market. Following the 1997 Kyoto Treaty, individuals or nations can purchase excess "credits" for atmospheric emission of carbon dioxide from nations that produce less than their allocated treaty quota. This amount varies between a few dollars to more than $60 per metric ton. The doubling of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere that the shield described above would alleviate corresponds to about 400 billion tons. Mitigating this using the carbon credit analogy would be worth trillions of dollars. The cost might be financed by selling shield credits to both nations and industries. If a group were to purchase a set amount of shield structure, this would translate directly into carbon credits. In this way, the entire project might be financed "off budget" from government funds. How to Proceed The shield would require three major high-tech elements that would likely be manufactured and launched from the Earth. The first would be the package to enable material production and launch on the Moon. This would include the robots, electronics, solar cells, wire, bearings, motors and high-temperature ceramics for the lunar manufacturing and for the rail gun to launch the manufactured items back off the Moon. It would also include the pilot facilities on the Moon to bootstrap the local manufacture of structural elements used in full-scale lunar operations. We estimate the total mass to be delivered to the Moon at around 10,000 tons. At L1, the 10 billion control units at 1 gram will also each weigh 10,000 tons, and so will the 1,000 robotic assembly factories if we allow 10 tons each. The total mass to be launched from Earth for the entire screen project of 30,000 tons is less than 0.2 percent of the screen's final mass, and even at today's high launch costs of $20,000/kg would cost less than $1 trillion to launch. Reductions in launch cost, however, would be desirable to give cushion and flexibility to the project. The cost of manufacturing the elements to be launched, including the development of the manufacturing and robotic techniques, might bring their costs to $10,000/kg or $3 trillion. Another $20 billion per year might be allocated for project management. The estimated total of less than $5 trillion is not out of line with the value of the shield—$5 to $10 trillion over several decades. The developments needed for this application with potentially immense benefits to human life on Earth are consistent with the New Vision for Space Exploration, which aims at more affordable access to space beyond near-Earth orbit. We identify several specific near-term activities that should be undertaken. It would be desirable and practical to develop and place a few prototype blocker units at L1 within a few years, to test positioning and station keeping by solar sails. The materials would be consistent with expected lunar products, and the units should have the correct mass, about 1 kg for the example we have chosen. A key requirement for the glass is that it remain crystal-clear for a century. The Sun produces darkening or "solarization" in some glass materials over long periods of time. We need to find glass that is resistant to this effect. Prospecting for the optimum lunar ores will be required. Techniques to produce the glass ingots on the Moon and to mass-produce the ribbed sheets need to be developed and tested. We envision that ultimately the glass would be rolled up for launch. Another valuable near-term step is, thus, to computer-simulate and optimize the "collective intelligence" of the blocker swarm for robustness and stability. The free-flyer control units will have to last for a century or more. Since there will likely be millions of failures, there must also be a system to identify failed units and sweep them out for refurbishment or replacement before the swarm is damaged. In Conclusion A global-warming Sun shield is a very challenging project, to say the least, but is not clearly impossible within the financial target. It seems certain that it would attract the best and brightest from across the world to solve the myriad of challenges involved, in a way that has not happened since Apollo or the Manhattan Project. It might also represent the first truly large-scale commercial and private-sector use of space, and would certainly be of benefit to the entire population of Earth. Now is the time to begin in earnest the development and testing of these critical technical steps.

Restricting U.S. security assurances to NPT members is the only way to solidify the regime and prevent proliferation

George Bunn, first general counsel @ U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Jean du Preez, director of the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program @ the Center for Nonproliferation Studies @ Monterey Institute of International Studies, July/August 2007, More Than Words: The Value of U.S. Non-Nuclear-Use Promises, Arms Control, p.
The Future of Negative Security Assurances To states without nuclear weapons not allied to states that do have them, a credible promise by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states not to use nuclear weapons against them should have value. Judging by the demands for such assurances from NAM, the largest caucus of NPT non-nuclear-weapon parties, the quest for legally binding NSAs will continue despite opposition from the United States and most of the P-5. At the 2000 NPT review conference, these NAM states together with the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), a smaller coalition of non-nuclear-weapon nations formed in 1998 to advance nuclear disarmament, were successful in extracting a clear acknowledgement by all NPT parties, in particular the P-5, that legally binding NSAs would strengthen the nonproliferation regime. The final document of the 2000 review conference also called on the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 review conference to make recommendations on this issue. Despite several concrete proposals, including a draft nonuse protocol to the NPT submitted by the NAC, the PrepCom made no such recommendations. Indeed, the final PrepCom in 2004 reported Washington’s perception that the post-September 11, 2001, security environment obviated “any justification for expanding NSAs to encompass global legally binding assurances.” The U.S. delegation reacted to the PrepCom chairman’s summary by stating emphatically, “We did not, do not, and will not agree as stated in the summary that efforts to conclude a universal, unconditional, and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states should be pursued as a matter of priority.” This message foreshadowed Washington’s position at the 2005 conference, where it asserted that “the very real nuclear threats from NPT violators and non-state actors” eclipses the “relevance of non-use assurances.” An acrimonious debate about security assurances was among the reasons for the failed 2005 NPT review conference. The United States refused even to discuss them seriously at this conference or at its preparatory meetings, saying: [T]he end of the Cold War has further lessened the relevance of non-use assurances from the P-5 to the security of NPT [non-nuclear-weapon states], particularly when measured against the very real nuclear threats from NPT violators and non-state actors.… [L]egally binding assurances sought by the majority of states have no relation to contemporary threats to the NPT.[11] Options for the Next Administration Attempts to negotiate NSAs with the United States under the Bush administration seem impractical, but the next U.S. administration needs to take up the issue in time for the 2010 NPT review conference. As with the 1995 conference, the United States should lead a P-5 initiative prior to the 2010 conference to reaffirm political pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states. To build confidence in its nuclear intentions, it should allow the conference to establish a mechanism to consider ways to provide legally binding NSAs. In this regard, a new administration could consider several options. One option would be approval of another UN Security Council resolution going beyond the one adopted prior to the 1995 conference. Such a resolution of security assurances to NPT non-nuclear-weapon parties in full compliance with their obligations could include two key components. It could recognize that legally binding security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon NPT members in full compliance with their nonproliferation obligations would strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime and that the Security Council should consider taking action against any nation threatening to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear-weapon NPT member. Although the first of these two parts would go a long way to address the concerns of many states that the United States and the other nuclear-weapon NPT members have weakened their NSA promises, the second statement would address the security of non-nuclear-weapon NPT members not aligned with any of the P-5. In light of the Bush administration’s insistence that the 1995 U.S. assurances, offered essentially to gain support for the indefinite extension of the NPT and recognized by the Security Council, are not legally binding on the United States, and that these assurances do not preclude the United States from preemptory attacks upon underground hiding places for biological or chemical weapons, the solemn declarations made by the United States and other P-5 members are now regarded as of little value by these non-nuclear-weapon NPT members. Unless a post-2008 U.S. administration wins back the confidence of these nonaligned states that U.S nuclear policies are not aimed at them, any approach through the Security Council would be unappealing. Another step would be to offer guarantees to countries in nuclear-weapon-free zones outside of Latin America. Other existing zones include Africa, Central Asia, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia. The United States has not yet committed itself legally not to attack or threaten to attack with nuclear weapons members of these zones. This leaves many to believe that the United States is keeping the nuclear option open even for states that have, in addition to their NPT non-nuclear-weapon state obligations, declared that their own and their neighbors’ territories must be free of nuclear weapons. A main driving force behind declaring these zones free of nuclear weapons is not to be threatened by states that have them. Nuclear-weapon-free zones play an important role in strengthening the security of states that belong to such zones, but these zones remain complementary instruments to the global nuclear nonproliferation norm: the NPT. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, only the NPT provides the framework for global assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons. Because amendment of the NPT is almost impossible, legally binding assurances could be more effectively addressed in a separate treaty or, better yet, a protocol to the existing NPT. Honoring only those assurances given to members of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones would exclude countries not covered by these zones or by other nuclear security arrangements. A nuclear-weapon state could also provide unilateral security assurances to a non-nuclear-weapon state. This may be feasible in a few cases, but it could also send the wrong signal. North Korea has sought such a promise from the United States. If U.S.-North Korean negotiations produce such a promise, it should of course be conditioned on North Korea’s observance of its commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons and to give up any that it now has. Such a promise, however, could send a dangerous message: the only way to extract assurances from the United States against the threat or use of nuclear weapons is to seek such weapons first. If other states, such as Iran, use similar nuclear brinkmanship, the nonproliferation regime could be blown apart. Two other broader options could also be considered. One would be a new treaty containing promises by the P-5 not to use nuclear weapons against NPT-compliant non-nuclear-weapon members. Such a treaty has been proposed for negotiation at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD). NPT outsiders India, Israel, and Pakistan, however, are active participants at this conference and would probably not agree to be excluded from the negotiations. At the same time, many non-nuclear-weapon states would be in principle opposed to accepting NSAs from these three nuclear-armed countries. In the eyes of NPT non-nuclear-weapon members, why should nonmember states with nuclear weapons gain the benefits of a nuclear nonuse promise? In addition, negotiating such a treaty in the CD would create yet another proliferation conundrum. Would Israel, which is a CD member, acknowledge its nuclear status and, as a result, be required to offer legally binding assurances to its Arab neighbors? Will its Arab neighbors accept Israel’s status and its offer? The answer to both questions is likely to be no. At the moment, the CD remains deadlocked over several issues, including whether to take up a Sri Lankan proposal that includes discussion of NSAs and possibly negotiation of such a treaty. The best option would probably be to negotiate a protocol to the NPT containing NSAs for all non-nuclear-weapon NPT members. The NAC submitted such a draft based on an earlier South African draft for consideration during the preparatory phase for the 2005 conference. The United States, however, categorically opposed it, and no serious negotiations on it resulted. A protocol to the NPT has the advantage of limiting the recipients of the promise to non-nuclear-weapon NPT members and thereby providing a reward for joining and staying within the NPT. Surely, security assurances should only be available to states that have forgone the nuclear weapons option. Non-NPT states-parties and NPT states-parties aspiring to acquire or develop nuclear weapons in contravention of the treaty should not enjoy such security luxury. Security assurances granted only to non-nuclear-weapon states in full compliance with their NPT nonproliferation obligations will emphasize the basic principle that security is guaranteed by the NPT regime and not by nuclear weapons. This would strengthen the regime and confirm the validity of the NPT and its indefinite extension. Legally binding security assurances linked to the NPT would also build confidence among NPT state-parties, addressing concerns over possible scenarios in which some nuclear-weapon states may consider using these arms.


Obama is winning but it will be close and it’s reversible – popularity is key

Brownstein, 9/21/12 - a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns, is National Journal Group's Editorial Director, in charge of long-term editorial strategy.(Ronald, National Journal, “Heartland Monitor Poll: Obama Leads 50 Percent to 43 Percent”
President Obama has opened a solid lead over Mitt Romney by largely reassembling the “coalition of the ascendant” that powered the Democrat to his landmark 2008 victory, the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll has found.

The survey found Obama leading Romney by 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, with key groups in the president’s coalition such as minorities, young people, and upscale white women providing him support comparable to their levels in 2008.

The survey, conducted by Ed Reilly and Jeremy Ruch of FTI Communications, a communications and strategic consulting firm, surveyed 1,055 likely voters by landline and cell phone from Sept. 15-19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Full results from the survey, including a detailed look at Americans’ attitudes about opportunity and upward mobility, will be released in the Sept. 22 National Journal.

The Heartland Monitor’s results are in line with most other national surveys in recent days showing Obama establishing a measurable lead, including this week’s new Pew Research Center and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls. The saving grace for Republicans is that even as these surveys show Obama opening a consistent advantage, the president has not been able to push his support much past the critical 50 percent level, even after several difficult weeks for Romney that began with a poorly reviewed GOP convention. That suggests the president faces continued skepticism from many voters that could allow Romney to draw a second wind if he can stabilize his tempest-tossed campaign.

The poll found Obama benefiting from a small increase in optimism about the country’s direction. Among likely voters, 37 percent said the country was moving in the right direction. Even looking at all adults, the "right track" number now stands at 35 percent, its best showing since the April 2010 Heartland Monitor.

Obama’s approval rating in the new survey also ticked up to 50 percent, with 46 percent disapproving. That’s a slight improvement from May, when the survey of all adults found 47 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving. Among all adults, Obama’s rating improved to 49 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving, also one of his best showings since January 2010.

Those gains are critical, because as always with an incumbent president, attitudes toward Obama’s performance powerfully shape the race. Among likely voters who approve of Obama’s job performance, he leads Romney in the ballot test by 93 percent to 3 percent; those who disapprove prefer Romney by 87 percent to 5 percent.

Nuclear power is unpopular with the public – multiple reasons

Mariotte 12 – executive director and the chief spokesperson for NIRS, has testified in the United States Senate and before the U.S. House of Representatives on nuclear power, a graduate of Antioch College. (Michael, Jun 5th, “Nuclear Power and Public Opinion: What the polls say” Jacome
These are all fundamental questions, the answers to which could affect our future far more than, say, who will be the next Senator from Indiana. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, until recently—really the past two or three years—other than regularly-conducted, loudly-trumpeted and rarely relevant industry-sponsored polls, polling of public opinion on nuclear power (and a lot of other energy issues) was haphazard at best.

Gallup, for example, over the past 18 years as best as we can find out, has conducted only 10 polls (and most of these only asked a half-sample, putting their numbers into question) asking people their opinion on nuclear power. But beginning in 2009, Gallup has begun polling annually. Unfortunately, Gallup asks the exact same question, with the same wording, that the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) own well-tested polling does. And the NEI doesn’t ask questions that it doesn’t want the answers to. Even so, Gallup’s answers don’t quite match those NEI gets, and which are usually heavily promoted in the media by NEI.

To try to get a better sense of what the public really thinks about nuclear power (and since we can’t afford to conduct our own polling), we took a look at every poll we could find on the issue, and related energy issues, over the past two years, and in some cases further back. Yes, that includes GOP/Fox News favorite Rasmussen.

As DailyKos readers know, if not the general public, examining all the possible polls leads to a much greater confidence in conclusions than relying on a single poll. Thus, we have a fairly strong confidence that our conclusions are a good statement of where the American public is at on nuclear power and our energy future in the Spring of 2012.

Conclusion 1: The public does NOT want to pay for new nuclear power. It IS willing to pay for renewable energy.

This one is a slam dunk.

New nuclear reactors are simply too expensive for utilities to build with their own assets. Nor are banks willing to lend money for most nuclear projects; they’re considered too risky given the long history of cost overruns, defaults, cancellations and other problems. Thus, the only two means of financing a new reactor are to either get money from taxpayers, through direct federal loans or taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, or from ratepayers in a few, mostly Southern states, which allow utilities to collect money from ratepayers before reactors are built—a concept known either as “early cost recovery” or Construction Work in Progress (CWIP).

ORC International (which polls for CNN, among others) has asked a straightforward question for the past two years (March 2011 and February 2012) in polls commissioned by the Civil Society Institute: “Should U.S. Taxpayers Take on the Risk of Backing New Nuclear Reactors?” The answer? Basically identical both years: 73% opposed in 2011, 72% opposed in 2012.

Maybe using the work “risk” skews the poll, you think? So ORC also asked, “Do you favor or oppose shifting federal loan guarantees from nuclear energy to clean renewables?” The answer was basically the same: 74% said yes in 2011, 77% in 2012 with 47% “strongly” holding that opinion both years.

A third poll conducted by ORC for Civil Society Institute in March 2012 asked this question:

“Utilities in some states are allowed to charge electricity ratepayers for “Construction Work in Progress” for new power plants. This means that ratepayers – instead of the companies – pay for construction of new nuclear reactors and other major power plants before any electricity ever reaches customers, thereby lowering the financial risks to shareholders. Knowing this, which of the following statements about “Construction Work in Progress” most closely reflects your view?”

The answer: fully 80% opposed CWIP.

Most pollsters have not asked similar questions; interestingly though, Rasmussen did in May 2012 for an undisclosed client. Their question: “The government is providing billions in loan guarantees to help the development of new nuclear plants. Would that money be better spent on the development of alternative new energy sources?” Unfortunately, Rasmussen did not publicize the results and hid them behind a paywall, which we were not inclined to pursue. But if anyone has access to that, we’d love to know what Rasmussen found.

Conclusion 2: Americans do not think nuclear power is “clean” energy, and still don’t want to pay for it.

Jumping back to ORC International, their March 2012 poll found this:

About two out of three Americans (66 percent) – including 58 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 75 percent of Democrats -- agree that the term “‘clean energy standard’ should not be used to describe any energy plan that involves nuclear energy, coal-fired power, and natural gas that comes from hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking.’”

and this:

About three out of four Americans (73 percent) agree that “federal spending on energy should focus on developing the energy sources of tomorrow, such as wind and solar, and not the energy sources of yesterday, such as nuclear power.” Fewer than one in four (22 percent) say that “federal spending on energy should focus on existing energy sources, such as nuclear, and not emerging energy sources, such as wind and solar.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times in May reported on a Harvard/Yale poll (also behind a paywall), conducted in 2011 but released in May 2012, that found that Americans are willing to pay an average of $162/year more for clean energy than they are paying now—an average 13% increase in electric bills. But when clean energy was defined as including nuclear power or natural gas, that support plummeted.

This is consistent with findings over the past decade, which have shown that nuclear power has typically ranked well below renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind, in public opinion, at times battling with coal for least-favorite U.S. energy source.

A March 2012 Gallup poll found that 69% of Americans support spending more government money on solar and wind power—with majorities among Democrats (84%) and Republicans (51%) alike. But support for “expanding the use of nuclear power” barely received a majority (52%) and then only due to Republican support: 64% of Republicans supported that idea, only 41% of Democrats.

Conclusion 3: On new reactors, how one asks the question matters.

Gallup and the Nuclear Energy Institute ask the same question: “Overall, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the U.S.?”

This question doesn’t really get to the issue of support for new nuclear reactors, although NEI typically tries to spin it that way. Although a question of support for current reactors wasn’t asked in any recent poll we saw, the public traditionally has been more supportive of existing reactors than new ones, and the question above could easily be interpreted as support for existing reactors, or even simple recognition that they exist. The results may also be skewed by the pollsters throwing nuclear in as “one of the ways,” without a context of how large a way.

Nonetheless, despite asking the same question, Gallup and NEI can’t agree on the answer. NEI, for example, in November 2011 asserted that 28% of the public strongly favors nuclear power with an additional 35% somewhat in favor. NEI found only 13% strongly opposed and another 21% somewhat opposed. A May 2012 NEI poll did not publicly break down the numbers into strongly vs somewhat, but claimed a similar 64-33% split between support for nuclear power and opposition.

Gallup, asking the same question in March 2012, found a narrower split. A smaller number was strongly in favor (23%, a drop of 5%) and a larger number strongly opposed (24%, increase of 3%)—overall an 8-point anti-nuclear swing among those with strong opinions. Those in the middle were 34% somewhat favor vs 16% somewhat opposed. The 2012 numbers were slightly worse for nuclear power than the identical question asked in March 2011, just before Fukushima.

But other polls suggest that Gallup and NEI may be asking the wrong question. For example, the LA Times reported on a Yale-George Mason University poll in April 2012 that found that support for new nuclear power had dropped significantly, from 61% in 2008 to 42% today.

Even Rasmussen in its May 2012 poll found that only 44% support building new reactors. That was good news for Rasmussen since it found that only 38% oppose them, with a surprising 18% undecided (surprising because no other poll we saw had such a high undecided contingent for any nuclear-related question).

Meanwhile the March 2012 ORC International poll found that:

“Nearly six in 10 Americans (57 percent) are less supportive of expanding nuclear power in the United States than they were before the Japanese reactor crisis, a nearly identical finding to the 58 percent who responded the same way when asked the same question one year ago. Those who say they are more supportive of nuclear power a year after Fukushima account for well under a third (28 percent) of all Americans, little changed from the 24 percent who shared that view in 2011.”

But perhaps the most telling, and easily the most interesting, poll comes from a March 2012 poll from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications. Participants were asked, “When you think of nuclear power, what is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind?”

29% of those polled said “disaster.” Another 24% said “bad.” Only about 15% said “good” and that was the only measurable group that had anything positive to say. That poll also found that, “…only 47 percent of Americans in May 2011 supported building more nuclear power plants, down 6 points from the prior year (June 2010), while only 33 percent supported building a nuclear power plant in their own local area.”


Americans are not exactly wild about the idea of building new nuclear reactors. Polls asking the question different ways arrive at different results; at the lowest common denominator it is safe to say the country is divided on the issue. But Americans clearly don’t want to pay for construction of new reactors. And the reality is that no utility wants to or even can spend its own money building new reactors—they’re just too expensive. Congress, State legislatures and Public Service Commissions would do well to heed that warning, especially since it crosses all party and political lines.

Romney causes a strike on Iran

Robert W. Merry 8-1-2012; editor of The National Interest and the author of books on American history and foreign policyRomney Edges U.S. toward War with Iran
The major newspapers all understood that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s expressions in Jerusalem last weekend were important, which is why they played the story on page one. But only the New York Times captured the subtle significance of what he said. The paper’s coverage, by Jodi Rudoren and Ashley Parker, reported that Romney sought to adhere to the code that says candidates shouldn’t criticize the president on foreign soil. “But,” they added, “there were subtle differences between what he said—and how he said it—and the positions of his opponent.” Most significantly, while Obama talks about stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel insists Tehran should be prevented from having even the capacity to develop nuclear weapons. This means no nuclear development even for peaceful purposes. Romney embraced the Israeli language. In doing so, he nudged his nation closer to war with Iran. Based on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s oft-repeated expressions, he clearly seems bent on attacking Iran to destroy or delay its nuclear program and, if possible, undermine the Iranian regime. And he wants America at his side when he does it. Obama has been seeking to dissuade Israel from contemplating such an assault in order to give the president’s austere sanctions regimen a chance to work. But what does he mean by “a chance to work?” If he means a complete capitulation by Iran, he’s dreaming, of course. History tells us that nations don’t respond to this kind of pressure by accepting humiliation. That’s the lesson of Pearl Harbor, as described in my commentary in these spaces. Many close observers of the Iran drama believe there may be an opportunity for a negotiated outcome that allows Iran to enrich uranium to a limited extent—say, 5 percent—for peaceful purposes. Iran insists, and most experts agree, that the Non-Proliferation Treaty allows such enrichment for energy production. In any event, numerous signatories to the NPT do in fact maintain limited enrichment programs for peaceful ends. Obama seems torn between pursuing such an outcome and embracing the Israeli position, which demands that Iran foreswear all enrichment and any peaceful nuclear development. In last spring’s Istanbul meeting between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany), there seemed to be a genuine interest on the part of those six nations to explore an outcome that would allow for some enrichment by Iran. Five weeks later in Baghdad, the P5+1 group seemed to backtrack and insist upon zero enrichment. Talks are ongoing but only among low-level technical people; any serious negotiations are on hold pending the election. Thus Obama has managed to maintain his flexibility during the delicate campaign period. But now we have Romney in Israel essentially telling the people there that they need fear no ambivalence on his part. If elected, he will embrace the Netanyahu position, which is designed to ensure the collapse of any negotiations attending anti-Iran sanctions, which Netanyahu already has labeled a failure. “We have to be honest,” he said over the weekend, during Romney’s visit, “and say that the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota.” That’s the view that Romney subtly embraced in Jerusalem.

Great power war

Trabanco 2009 – Independent researcher of geopolitical and military affairs (1/13/09, José Miguel Alonso Trabanco, “The Middle Eastern Powder Keg Can Explode at Anytime,”
In case of an Israeli and/or American attack against Iran, Ahmadinejad's government will certainly respond. A possible countermeasure would be to fire Persian ballistic missiles against Israel and maybe even against American military bases in the regions. Teheran will unquestionably resort to its proxies like Hamas or Hezbollah (or even some of its Shiite allies it has in Lebanon or Saudi Arabia) to carry out attacks against Israel, America and their allies, effectively setting in flames a large portion of the Middle East. The ultimate weapon at Iranian disposal is to block the Strait of Hormuz. If such chokepoint is indeed asphyxiated, that would dramatically increase the price of oil, this a very threatening retaliation because it will bring intense financial and economic havoc upon the West, which is already facing significant trouble in those respects. In short, the necessary conditions for a major war in the Middle East are given. Such conflict could rapidly spiral out of control and thus a relatively minor clash could quickly and dangerously escalate by engulfing the whole region and perhaps even beyond. There are many key players: the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Persians and their respective allies and some great powers could become involved in one way or another (America, Russia, Europe, China). Therefore, any miscalculation by any of the main protagonists can trigger something no one can stop. Taking into consideration that the stakes are too high, perhaps it is not wise to be playing with fire right in the middle of a powder keg.


Uranium prices increasing now – rising demand

Energy Report 9/13 [“Uranium Fundamentals Are at a Tipping Point: Alka Singh”, Business Insider 9/13/12]
Alka Singh: There are 433 currently operating nuclear power reactors around the world. Annually, they consume 177 million pounds (Mlb) of uranium. The world does not produce that much yellow cake. Last year, production was 130 Mlb. The gap is currently being filled largely by the Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement (HEU) with Russia and by other sources. As we approach the 2013 HEU Agreement expiry date, the supply/demand fundamentals will prove positive for uranium prices, and that will boost the price of uranium equities.¶ TER: Who has the pricing power in this market?¶ AS: When electrical power utilities buy uranium through long-term contracts, the agreements run as long as 8–10 years. That's why utilities have pricing power. The challenge now is that spot uranium prices are at $48 a pound (lb). But for many mines, the cost of production is $50–60/lb. The utilities have an enormous amount of power when it comes to determining the price of yellow cake. They are happy to sit on the sidelines and jump in to buy supply at basement prices. When spot prices compare favorably to the long-term prices, the utilities will buy supply from the short-term market. But, over time, the long-term prices determine where the market is heading.¶ TER: Globally, do state-owned energy utilities have a competitive advantage over the private utilities when it comes to obtaining uranium? AS: Yes. Since state-owned utilities receive government backing for resources and loan guarantees, it's always easier for the public enterprises to be more successful. But, that is more so in developing countries, such as South Africa, than in the developed countries.¶ TER: How significant is military demand for uranium globally versus demand from electrical utilities?

And the plan links – “we don’t have to mine uranium at all for IFR Plants” that’s a quote from

Kirsch 4 [Steve Kirsch, analyst, “The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Q&A”]
Q. How clean is an IFR plant? Does it emit any CO2?¶ IFRs don't put out any CO2 (although the employees exhale some). Usually people who make these arguments talk about how much¶ CO2 is released during uranium mining (none with IFRs), how much is released during construction (primarily from concrete production, which is responsible for 2-3% of CO2 emissions around the world but around 1% in the USA because we use less than most other countries compared to our other emitters), and how much is emitted from the vehicles used in the excavations, etc, as well as the amount emitted in the fabrication of the components. Of course these also apply to solar and wind generation facilities as well, don't they? Once our manufacturing facilities start running on electricity, and our vehicles start running on boron or, at the very least, carbon-neutral biofuels, then it'll be completely moot. This is one of those straw men tossed out there by anti-nuke people that doesn't hold water. The fact that we don't have to mine uranium at all for IFR plants kind of shoots it down in flames

High uranium prices are key to Kazakhstan’s nuclear ambitions – this saves the Kazakh economy and sheds its oil export overdependence.

Kassenova 8 [Togzhan, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Apr 28, “Kazakhstan's nuclear ambitions”]
In conclusion, Kazakhstan's nuclear ambitions are likely to be realized if uranium prices stay high and Kazatomprom is successful in further expanding its international partners. Kazatomprom's most immediate task is to secure customers for its final nuclear fuel product--fuel assemblies, an extra fuel fabrication stage Kazatomprom plans to start carrying out domestically. Having a nearly complete nuclear fuel cycle--save for enrichment--will ensure a stable cash flow for Kazatomprom and limit its dependence on the fluctuating market price of raw uranium. In the meantime, though, increased uranium sales will help alleviate the country's overdependence on oil exports and help modernize its nuclear sector. If Kazakhstan does become the world's leading uranium and nuclear fuel supplier, the ramifications for the country both in terms of increased gross domestic product and status on the world stage will be profound. Nonetheless, Kazakhstan will remain heavily dependent on the export of its natural resources and on the vagaries of the commodities markets.

Kazakh economic and energy leadership is the linchpin to Central Asian stability.

Frost 8 [Patrick, Foreign Policy Association, Nov 13, “Kazakhstan and the Financial Crisis]
Rustemov is correct in stating that this economic crisis may lead to following and connected geopolitical disruptions and he’s also right in arguing that regional and multilateral groups, such as the SCO and OSCE, will be crucial in helping the world get through this mess in one stable piece. Another important aspect of his comments is the positive role Kazakhstan can play in impacting the crisis in a productive way and that is in securing energy resources and in providing food stuffs to alleviate shortages in other countries, specifically in harder hit CA states, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Kazakhstan’s abundance of energy supplies, combined with President Nazarbayev’s prudent planning, have left the nation in good condition despite the tough times. Nazarbayev announced last month that the government would spend $2 billion to stimulate the economy, mainly targeting banks and the construction industry, funds drawn from the nation’s oil fund. Unfortunately, not all CA or world states have an oil fund to fall back on. What the whole of Central Asia can hope for is sturdy economic stewardship by its regional leader, Kazakhstan, and help from regional bodies, both from the East and West to weather what will most likely be a lengthy recession. During this time, it will be vital to keep the region from falling into disrepair as poverty and extremism would both be on the rise and this may lead to conflict. The US, Russia, China, and the EU all have roles to play in mitigating negative ramifications of this crisis in the region, but a strong and active Kazakhstan is crucial. As Muriel Mirak-Weissbach concludes: “Kazakhstan has become the foremost interlocutor in Central Asia, not only for Eurasian giants Russia and China, but also for the two major economies of western Europe, Germany and France. If the current world crisis can be overcome through participation of major Eurasian nations, Kazakhstan can become the linchpin in the region for stability and security.” 

Nuclear war

Blank 2k [Stephen, Strategic Studies Institute Soviet Expert, “US military Engagement with Transcaucasia and Central Asia,” /Blank2000.pdf]

In 1993 Moscow even threatened World War III to deter Turkish intervention on behalf of Azerbaijan. Yet the new Russo-Armenian Treaty and Azeri-Turkish treaty suggest that Russia and Turkey could be dragged into a confrontation to rescue their allies from defeat. 72 Thus many of the conditions for conventional war or protracted ethnic conflict in which third parties intervene are present in the Transcaucasus. For example, many Third World conflicts generated by local structural factors have a great potential for unintended escalation. Big powers often feel obliged to rescue their lesser proteges and proxies. One or another big power may fail to grasp the other side’s stakes since interests here are not as clear as in Europe. Hence commitments involving the use of nuclear weapons to prevent a client’s defeat are not as well established or apparent. Clarity about the nature of the threat could prevent the kind of rapid and almost uncontrolled escalation we saw in 1993 when Turkish noises about intervening on behalf of Azerbaijan led Russian leaders to threaten a nuclear war in that case. 73 Precisely because Turkey is a NATO ally, Russian nuclear threats could trigger a potential nuclear blow (not a small possibility given the erratic nature of Russia’s declared nuclear strategies). The real threat of a Russian nuclear strike against Turkey to defend Moscow’s interests and forces in the Transcaucasus makes the danger of major war there higher than almost everywhere else.  


The United States federal government should approve a Lead-cooled Fast Reactor demonstration project in the United States.

IFRs are sodium cooled

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) concept includes a sodium-cooled fast reactor collocated with an integrated pyroprocess fuel recycling facility. The pyrochemical processes and the inert atmosphere of the heavily shielded fuel cycle facility provide inherent proliferation-resistant features for this advanced technology. The reactor can be designed to operate with a number of different conversion factors, so that it could be used for excess plutonium consumption or as a breeder if needed for rapid expansion of energy supply. The system contains a large quantity of plutonium and minor actinides, which at all times remain in extremely hostile environments and in chemical and physical forms that would require additional processing to extract weapons-suitable material. The aqueous processing equipment and facilities to accomplish such separation would not be available on site. Transportation would not be required in the reference deployment scenario. Nevertheless, the proliferation-resistance of some parts of the system could be considerably strengthened by advanced safeguards technologies. In spite of its inherent features, international deployment of the system would probably be limited to stable countries with a strong existing nuclear infrastructure. INTRODUCTION Assessing the proliferation resistance of Argonne National Laboratory’s Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) concept has been a relatively popular pastime activity for the past 16 years. [1,2,3,4,5] This particular assessment is based on the unpublished work that went into preparing a presentation for vthe Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee’s (NERAC) Special Committee on Technical Opportunities for Proliferation-resistant Systems (TOPS) [6]. Speculation on the proliferation resistance of the concept endures because the technology continues to develop and mature, the assessment tools improve, and the possibility of applying elements of IFR technology to national problems continues to be raised. As originally conceived [7], the Integral Fast Reactor comprised a fast-spectrum, sodium-cooled, metal-fuelled reactor and a collocated fuel recycling facility that employed pyroprocessing and fully remotized metal fuel casting and assembly. No transportation of nuclear materials would be required other than the initial shipment of fuel for startup. The system would be self-sustaining, i.e., producing as much plutonium as was consumed and lost to incidental waste streams. Because of the unique fuel cycle, plutonium would remain in a highly radioactive matrix at all times in facilities that were literally inaccessible to humans at all times. In designing the system during the post- International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) [8] era, robust proliferation resistance was a requirement. The fundamental assumption was that nuclear fuel recycle would be required and therefore the best approach to plutonium management was to avoid producing, storing or using it in any form that could be easily stolen or concealed, or that could be used without further refinement to fabricate a nuclear explosive. Furthermore, it was important that the process equipment and facilities could not be easily modified to produce a weapons-suitable product.

That risks leaks and accidents

Barton 8 (Charles, Department of Physics: University of York, Liquid Sodium Reactors , Thursday, March 27, 2008, )
Weinberg did not comment on the safety of sodium cooled reactors on that occasion, but in a lecture delivered at Argonne National Laboratory ten years later, Weinberg observed: "We have no real estimates of accident probabilities for liquid metal fast breeder reactors (LMFBR’s). The Rasmussen estimate (one in 20,000 per reactor year with an uncertainty of five either way) would lead to a meltdown every 3 years. This is probably an unacceptable rate; an accident rate at least ten times lower, and possibly 100 times lower may be needed if the system is to be acceptable." Later in the same lecture Weinberg added, "the acceptable accident rate will probably have to be much lower than the Rasmussen report suggests. If one uncontained core meltdown per 100 years is acceptable (and we have no way of knowing what an acceptable rate really is), then the probability of such an accident will have to be reduced to about one in 1 million per reactor per year." The basic problem with sodium cooled reactors like the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor is the safety problem inherent in the use of sodium as a coolant. Sodium reacts chemically with both air and water, and will burn strongly with either. Hence sodium leaks become a significant issue with sodium cooled reactors. The history of sodium cooled reactors give scant comfort to those who argue that they are safe. Perhaps the best known Internet video related to reactor safety is the video of Japanese reactor workers responding to a sodium leak at the Monju Sodium cooled breeder reactor. The Monju reactor has been shutdown since the 1995 accident although reportedly the Japanese plan to reopen it this year. The Japanese were fortunate that the leak occurred in a secondary sodium coolant system, and that no radiation was leaked, however the danger of working with sodium are best illustrated by a 1996 attempt by Japanese researchers to recreate the conditions that lead to the Monju accident. Researchers concluded that the liquid sodium released during the accident, could have melted steel doors, and come into contact with a cement floor. A reaction between the liquid sodium and water in the cement would have caused a violent explosion. What would have happen next is not reported but the leaked sodium was not the only sodium that could have potentially been involved in the accident. Not only does primary coolant sodium burn easily in contact with air, it is also highly radioactive.


Mcpherson 11—Prof. of natural resources @ the University of Arizona (w/ 10 books & over 100 papers & articles) (Guy, above, 11/9/11, “Three paths to near-term human extinction,”, alp)
Safely shuttering a nuclear power plant requires a decade or two of careful planning. Far sooner, we’ll complete the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy. This is a source of my nuclear nightmares. When the world’s 443 nuclear power plants melt down catastrophically, we’ve entered an extinction event. Think clusterfukushima, times 400 or so. Ionizing radiation could, and probably will, destroy every terrestrial organism and, therefore, every marine and freshwater organism. That, by the way, includes the most unique, special, intelligent animal on Earth. You’ve been warned repeatedly in this space, and the Guardian finally joins the party: The industrial economic system is about to blow. This burst of hope, our remaining chance at salvation, will undoubtedly be greeted with the usual assortment of protests, ridicule, and hate mail I’ve come to expect from planetary consumers who want to keep consuming the planet.

That turns any investment in nuclear power

Caldicott 6 – Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (Helen, Nuclear Power is not the answer, pg. ix)
Nuclear power is exorbitantly expensive, and notoriously unreliable. Wall Street is deeply reluctant to re-involve itself in any nuclear investment, despite the fact that in the 2005 Energy Bill the U.S. Congress allocated $13 billion in subsidies to revive a moribund nuclear power industry. To compound this problem, the global supplies of usable uranium fuel are finite. If the entire world's electricity production were replaced today by nuclear energy, there would be less than nine more years of accessible uranium. But even if certain corporate interests are convinced that nuclear power at the moment might be a beneficial investment, one major accident at a nuclear reactor that induces a meltdown would destroy all such investments and signal the end of nuclear power forever.

Lead-cooled fast reactors solve all the turns

Tucek et al 5 (Kamil Tucek, Johan Carlsson, Hartmut Wider, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, 13th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Beijing, China, May 16-20, 2005,
The tight pin lattice SFRs (P/D=1.2) showed to have a better neutron economy than wide channel LFRs (P/D=1.8), resulting in larger BOL actinide inventories and lower burn-up swings for LFR. The reactivity burn-up swing of LFR selfbreeder could be limited to 3$ in 3 years. The calculations revealed that LFRs have an advantage over SFRs in coping with the investigated severe accident initiators (ULOF, TLOP). The reason is better natural circulation behavior of LFR system and much higher boiling temperature of lead. An unprotected Loss-of-Flow accident in LFR leads to only a 250 K coolant outlet temperature increase whereas in SFR coolant would boil. Regarding the economics, the LFR seems to have an advantage since it does not require an intermediate coolant circuit. However, it was also proposed to avoid an intermediate coolant circuit in an SFR by using a supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle.

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