Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry

The Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry

Related Tags: STEM
More Related Discussions
10 1719 Views
Dear Colleagues, I know that much of our Group Discussions are focused on immediate practicalities of classroom curriculum and management and often include urgent calls for "Emergency Room" Education, such as the Japan Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Factories catastrophe-in-progress. The tv coverage and internet instant-response can be overwhelming and yet 'short-lived', the News Cycle of Commercial Media is especially prone to the 'Crisis of the Week" coverage, so that Japan's longterm: health and humanitarian, economic and energy, and industry and technology crises of last week have faded into the headlines about the War in Libya... So I feel it is important to start an ongoing discussion here at Edutopia about "The Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry"... and it seems to me that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education is the appropriate Group to do this. I have been a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists for many years, going back to my teaching in Boston starting in 1972... They have been a pre-eminent national and now international Science-Based Information Organization all these years and now have a worldwide membership of 250,000 people, concerned about the sustainability of life on our planet. To start this discussion I will simply provide their website with a current link about the Longterm Health and Safety Crises concerning "Radioactive Spent Fuel Rods On-Site Storage at Nuclear Factories across the United States and Worldwide"... http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/safer-stor... Simply put, The Japan Crises is an unavoidable wake-up call to learn more about the Science and Technologies and Engineering Crises that face our entire planet... Japan just lost 30% of their national electrical production capacity, what do you think would happen in the USA if we lost 30% of our national electrical production capacity...? Not in the news, is the fact that Russia is immediately quietly shipping their excess natural gas reserves to Japan, to prevent the collapse of one of the largest economies in the world = Japan... to be continued... sincerely, Allen Berg Teacher

Comments (10)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Colleagues,

This is one of the best Information and Situation Reports website with the facts and events ongoing about the International Nuclear Radioactive
Industry Crises...

http://www.nirs.org/

Allen Berg

Lora Ma-Fukuda's picture
Lora Ma-Fukuda
mom & former exec producer @edutopia.org

Hi Allen,
Thanks for posting on this very important issue. We are going to feature this discussion in next week's newsletter.

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Colleagues and Fellow Citizens,

Today March 30, 2011 Senator Feinstein (D-CA) chaired a Public Senate SubCommittee Hearing on the current Nuclear Energy Crisis which was aired live and video-recorded at CSPAN tv:

http://cspan.org/Events/Nuclear-Regulators-Give-Update-on-Crisis-in-Japa...

This is a very important (almost 2 hour video) of Testimony by the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Commission (NRC) Greg Jaczko,
who just returned from his trip to consult with Japan's government and Nuclear industry leaders about the crisis; Acting Assistant Energy Secretary Peter Lyons; William Levis, President and CEO of PSEG Power, Inc. which operates two nuclear power facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; Dr. Ernest Moniz, Former Energy UnderSecretary for Nuclear Energy and current Professor and Researcher at MIT in Nuclear Energy Systems; and Dr. David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists Nuclear Safety Project Director.

This is the real deal: and you can easily see who speaks the unvarnished Truth and who squirms with sideways Lies...

Just a few brief comments from me:

1. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people in Japan.

2. There is NO permanent Repository ("Safe" Storage Site or Methodolgy) that exists on our Planet for Nuclear Waste, which must be "safely" stored-- totally away and separate from Life on Earth for 10,000 years (Because that is the basic High School Physics facts about "Radioactive Elements".)

3. All stored Nuclear Radioactive Waste is located "On-Site" at each Power Generation Factory: mostly in unsafe pools of water, some in dry cask storage silos made of cement and steel, and some in aluminum sheds similar to Sears 'do-it-yourself' backyard sheds.

This is Significant History in-the-making: today...live on CSPAN tv for your viewing...

kasha8888@yahoo.com

Yes, it is very scary information about the Nuclear Energy Industry and some of our "Leaders" in Government...

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Colleagues,

The New York Times newspaper is a leading world newspaper available free online everyday...and of course has a searchable database for archives and previously published information, and classroom resources for teachers...

This is an update from April 12, 2011 from Japan concerning the Nuclear Energy Crisis...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/world/asia/13japan.html?ref=world

And this is a reader's comment from Tokyo describing the situation on the ground (literally)...

Mark Tokyo April 11th, 2011 4:14 pm
I live about 30 min northwest of Tokyo... scary day today. My wife and I felt no less than 6 earthquakes. The big one mentioned in the article really was huge, I was in a Mr. Donut (like a Dunkin Donuts) and the whole place really was shaking. The first one woke me up in the middle of the night. And with every earthquake, the question hovers in the air... did the nuclear plants get through it, or do we need to shelter from radiation in our apartment for the next few weeks? So we turn on the TV and wait for a statement from the nuclear plants... which you have to trust, there's nothing else you can do besides move. This situation is pretty unbelievable... 6 earthquakes in one day is really more than enough.
Recommended by 45 Readers

And one final note for today, from the Media/Government "Spin Room",
an article headline from the NY Times online...on the same page:
"NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission USA) Says Tokyo Situation is Static"...

Welcome to the Brave New World of "information, un-information,
mis-information, dys-information", etc...

"Think Globally, Act Locally"

Sincerely,

Allen Berg

Marshall Barnes's picture
Marshall Barnes
Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

Yeah, I remember 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl but this is worse in that radioactive particles are said to be reaching the U.S. now and the media is being quiet about it.

I spent the initial days of the crisis watching what was happening with dread but then was drawn into a battle with the misinformation spinners online who kept saying that the worse was over - right before the next thing went wrong. The biggest problem with the nuclear power industry isn't the technology, it's the people who run it, who invariably get sloppy and cut safety corners thinking they can get away with it, and then something goes wrong...

Bert's picture
Bert
Community college science instructor from California

As someone who worked in nuclear power for six years (in the Navy) and as an instructor for an Energy and Sustainability class at a CC, I would be happy to try to field any questions you might have. Additionally, if you haven't seen the PBS videos Power Surge (there is a bit about Fukushima towards the end), Smart Grid (Neil deGrasse Tyson!), or Making Stuff: Cleaner (cheesy but decent info), I highly recommend them.

Marshall Barnes's picture
Marshall Barnes
Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

Now that it appears that the radiation coming from the plant is twice as bad as was originally stated, the only question I have is is there a causal link between working at a nuke plant and the propensity to screw it up and then lie afterwards...

Bert's picture
Bert
Community college science instructor from California

Marshall,
I'm sure that you didn't mean to imply that everyone who has ever worked at a nuclear plant is incompetent and a liar. After working on a nuclear reactor I am certainly not a fan of nuclear energy. The Japanese government should have released the information detailing the scope of the disaster as soon as it was available to them. Holding back information from such an embarrassing incident is common but I also believe that serving the common good should be more important that saving face. The Fukushima reactors did not melt down due to operator error. The operators have been doing everything they can, including sacrificing their own lives, to try to reduce the amount of radiation being released. The fact is that we should phase out nuclear energy and phase in renewable energy sources so that people need not sacrifice their lives to protect others from radiation. Next time, try adding something constructive to the conversation. P.S. Have you ever heard of a Navy nuclear reactor melting down? No, you have not because U.S. Navy nuclear reactor operators are the best of the best. Every U.S. aircraft carrier, cruiser, and submarine is nuclear powered. A Navy nuke caught lying about anything is immediately thrown out of the program because operators that lie about their mistakes kill other operators and sink ships. Sleep well tonight because hundreds of Navy nuclear operators are standing vigilant watches 24/7 to ensure your safety.

Marshall Barnes's picture
Marshall Barnes
Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

No Bert, I'm not implying that everyone who has ever worked at a nuke plant is incompetent and a liar. However, your description of what happened with the Japanese nuke plant is not entirely accurate. There had been problems at the plant before the earthquake and tsunami, problems which the plant operators had tried to cover-up. Add to that, the lack of forthcoming information, as far as the problems emerging from the tsunami and that's bad enough. What's unforgivable is how, in a nation that is so robot crazy that it debuted its first "female-like" robot not that long before the earthquake, and yet no one in the Fukushima facility had the grey matter to think, "wow, maybe we should have robots to handle nuclear emergencies so we can reduce the risk to our human personnel...". Duh.

As far as the Navy's nuke program goes, they can be commended, however I didn't mention anything about the Navy's nuclear program. I was speaking of privately run, nuclear power plant facilities, or perhaps you just jumped when you saw someone criticizing something having to do with nuclear energy and didn't bother to read the thread. Hmmmm?

So, Bert, what I would suggest in the future is

1. Don't start a counter-argument from an apologist position. It's obvious to anyone with a high school education.

2. Don't think you can get away with a straw man argument for the same reason.

3. Don't use the American military as shield. The safety derived from vigilant servicemen and women running the reactors on US subs and surface vessels, is actually for themselves, as most of them aren't in dock at any one time and there have been small problems at that - http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/02/ap_japan_nuclear_ships_021509/.

4. Don't pick a fight when it's not warranted. This is an educational site and we're supposed to be acting like adults. If you're so sure I'm not implying something, then don't come at me, back-handed, like I am.

Thanks

Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

"Germany dims nuclear plants, but hopes to keep lights on."
New York Times article online; published August 29.2011

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/science/earth/30germany.html?ref=world

Dear Colleagues,
This article generated over 100 readers' comments, including mine (#77 here below).

************

I appreciate the many readers comments on this vital subject of world energy production, consumption, safety, disposal cycles, and planetary future, etc... I am also gladdened by the many international contributors to this discussion. Thank you all and the New York Times online. (I did carefully read almost all the comments: they were very informative in lots of ways: I did learn for instance that Chancellor Merkel is a physicist and her husband is an economist. :-)

I would simply like to include an internet link from a Law and Public Policy article published by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania from February 2009, "New Energy: Nuclear Deals Mushroom in India":
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/india/article.cfm?articleid=4352

This article is professional expert-caliber information and very importantly "names Names" of what companies and governments manufacture nuclear power worldwide, these are literally "Power Brokers" of our Planet: USA, Russia, China, India, France, General Electric, Siemens, Rosatom, Areva, AECL., etc. The article reveals the money and power that wheels "Nuclear Deals...in India".

I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety, if you would like an insider's view of the governmental and commercial missions of the Nuclear Power Industry on Earth...

Sincerely,
Kasha

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.