Q&A with local residents

The following dialogue came from the replies to the open letter to SENM counties of Eddy, Lea and Chaves.

Dialogue about ELEA:

Q. Was thinking we already had nuclear waste…what is at leaky WIPP? Don’t need anymore!

A. Yes, there was a very small leak at WIPP cause by poor repackaging by Los Alamos. There was no harm to anyone or the environment. The press exaggerated everything. WIPP is very safe.

I can understand your apprehension and if you would like we can have coffee some day and I can bring you up to date on what is happening in the nuclear industry today. It is the safest source of energy for the last 70 years and it will be the primary base of energy in the future, along with G&O.

Q. That same efforts in solar energy? …

A. Yes, that is true. There is an effort in New Mexico being placed on wind and solar farms by both PNM and XCEL. They are both spending billions on materials to build the farms and most of that money is going out of state. Over half the labor force that built the Roswell Solar farm out on Pine Lodge was out of state labor and the other half was out of work oil man/women. Almost all of the material was from out of country. Oil is booming again so the new wind farm up by Portales will probably have to hire their labor from other out of state wind construction projects. Hopefully a few will be hired from Roswell.

My point being: Wind and Solar generate revenue for out of state entities. ELEA/Holtec will generate revenue in state. Big difference to the State of New Mexico.

Q. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear nuclear. ..is fukushima.

A. No one died of radiation exposure at Fukushima. It was a tsunami disaster. Yes, three reactors did melt down and that was a big financial lost to Japan power because they immediate started up all their retired coal plants and built NG plants to make up for the 30% of the nations electricity lose from their 43 nuclear reactors that have been shut down for 6 year now. Five of those reactors have been restarted.

Q. I know what you’re saying, in just saying what comes to mind. Some Ppl will associate that disaster with what you are proposing. I know I did. Are you from NM?

A. I moved to NM in 2005 to retire. I studied everything that is available in public domain about Fukushima. The Japanese are a very proud (and smart) people and they are moving back to their homes. There was actually a second disaster there and that was the unnecessary 30 km evacuation zone. A lot of older people died from the stress of the relocation. No one died from radiation exposure in Japan. The farmers are back raising their crops and the fishermen are back and their products are safe and being shipped all over the world already, even to the US. China can’t get enough fish from Japan.

The media exaggerated the accident because they have no idea how a nuclear power plant works. The explosion you saw on TV was a hydrogen explosion from the gases and steam created when the reactor wasn’t water cooled. The reactor itself is contained inside a protective shield and is physically impossible (basic physics) to exploded. The reactor got very hot and melted the fuel rods inside. Nuclear power is not a chemical reaction and therefore cannot burn or exploded like G&O.

Q&A. A member of this group made the following statement and asked a few questions, but wanted to stay anonymous:

Who Would Manage it, What Degree and Common Sense would they have, and For How Long?
Me Personnally Do Not Want to be Part of, Nor Near, Don’t like WIPP Either they are Using NM for Waste Land. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fcb/1/16/1f641.png😦 Who Gets Paid for the Land and Permanent Damage to Area, NO ONE WILL EVER USE or Live on the SITE EVER Again. GUESS they have to Have DUMPING Grounds Somewhere. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fcb/1/16/1f641.png😦 What is Worse, YOU are UPSET that RDR Won’t Give you FREE Advertising Time, We all Pay and So Should YOU, They Provide a Service, and They have Done Nothing Wrong, YOU Look Bad AGAIN.

No name, here are the answers to your questions:
1) Holtec International will own and manage the site under DOE/NRC regulation. ELEA is an NGO that is hosting the project in Eddy and Lea counties.
2) Holtec has been storing spent nuclear fuel around the world for the last thirty years. They are one of three companies doing so. They handled the Chernobyl SNF storage and most decommissioned nuclear power plants in the US.
3) The reason for the letter is to ask the question ‘how long?’. They are stating that it is an interim storage facility until Yucca Mountain can take the fuel. Problem is: I don’t see Yucca Mountain ever getting completed. Therefore, I believe that ELEA has to be considered a nuclear fuel depot and become the supply chain for the next generation of nuclear reactor that will use it up.
4) WIPP has a billion dollar annual budget with high paying jobs and a lot of taxes and fees going to the State of NM. No one lived at the WIPP site before it was built and no one should ever live there. That is why it is where it is.
5) Like WIPP, ELEA/Holtec will generate billions annually for high paying jobs and more taxes and fees for the State of NM. Holtec already got the Governor to approve the sale of the land to them. They will own it as a private business. There shouldn’t be any government funding but you never know what might happen until it does happen.
6) Yes, I have my problems with the paper. I wrote a column for over 2 years and they cancelled it. I never asked for a penny. I have written guest articles since but Tucker is not interested. I do write the letters to the editor and they do print those. That is my only form of direct communication in Roswell. I might look bad in your eyes but I do get a lot of good feedback from common folks that I run into all the time. As I said, people find my article/letters informative. That is why I do it.

Q. We know who is getting the money! A “small” leak is way too big!

A. Who is getting the money? Where is the money coming from?

The leak at WIPP caused no health issues or environmental issues. How can that be big? There is more radiation in background that you breath in everyday then you or anyone else got from WIPP in over 10 years that it has been in operation. If you live near the Relief Route you probably haven’t seen the trucks go by several times a week. No extra radiation there either.

Okay. I guess you are not going to answer my two questions so I will for the benefit of the others in the group who are reading this.

Holtec International is the primary state holder. They will invest a lot of their investor money in this project and they will also profit from it once it is in operation.

ELEA is an NGO so they will not be able to profit from this project. Some of their friends might have businesses that could benefit, but that goes with the territory.

Eddy and Lea counties will greatly benefit and all the communities within those two counties from high paying jobs, taxes and fees.

The State of New Mexico will greatly benefit with a steady stream of tax and fee revenue unlike the risk they have with the G&O ebb and flow market conditions.

The US Government will benefit because they will finally have a place to store the fuel until it is used up by future advanced reactors. The Government is currently paying heavy fine into the Nuclear Waste Fund for their delays to respond to their own laws.

The Nuclear Waste Fund (balance in the hundred billions from the Utility companies and rate payers) will probably be the primary source of revenue to pay for the project. Holtec investors will also pay for the project. So far, no entities in NM are paying a thing, but never say never. This is not like the Spaceport America project that is hurting the tax payers of NM dearly. Branson pulled the wool over Richardson’s eye on that one.

Anyway, I hope that helps to disclose what I know so far about the financing. I will be learning more at the end of the month.

Q. You tell me who owns the land where the project will be?

A. ELEA owns the property and is selling it to Holtec International. That sales might have already been completed. I will know more later this month.

There is a map of the nuclear corridor with the original post.

Q. I see the benefit of all those jobs and $, however, if just one accident or catastrophic event would happen, was all that $ worth it?
I say no.

A. What is going to be stored is spent nuclear fuel. That is the unused uranium in the reactor when they rotate the fuel every 4-6 years. They have been doing this for 60 years and storing the unused uranium in water pools for 5 years for cooling and then put in very secure dry storage canisters. Those canisters have been parked on concrete pads at every nuclear power plant around the world (for all 440 reactors and counting). No one has ever died or been injured at a nuclear fuel storage pad.

What ELEA wants to do is place those original canisters inside the latest canister technology and store below ground (subterranean) with the top at ground level. There is a US law that says the unused nuclear has to be move to Yucca Mountain or consolidated at some interim location like ELEA.

I respect your ‘no thanks’ position but I did want to help you and others to understand that nuclear fuel storage is more regulated and safer than anything the G&O neighbors have. How many death have there been in the G&O industry just in NM over the last 2 years. G&O is a dangerous profession if you are in the field. That is why they make the big bucks. And I would never say ‘no’ to what they are doing for their families, communities, and the State of NM budget.

Q. Why was the proposed location chosen? And thank you for your answers.

A. There is a corridor of nuclear related industries between Carlsbad and Hobbs (east to Andrews TX). It is considered nuclear friendly by the community and governance. Of course WIPP was first and then URENCO and WCS. International Isotopes bought the land but the market demand for their product slowed down. ELEA purchased 1,000 acres for the GNEP project back in 2007. Remember all the town halls for that? See the map that I posted at the beginning of this thread. It shows where everything is at.

Also, if you have Google Earth, take a tour of the area. You will be astounded at how many G&O pumpers there are in the area too. I really don’t believe this is a dumping ground as some have said. It is the state’s money pit in a positive way. This part of NM is what keeps the state afloat. Without it, the entire state would be one of those shitholes (some thing we already are) but I believe in our potential to change that. ELEA is one of those positive entities that can do it. Remember, every new industry has a supply chain that comes with it. That will be a lot of extra jobs.

Q. You make good points. Be safe and i think your team should have no problem continuing this project.

A. I have no team. I am an individual looking out for the future of New Mexico for the next generation. My generation will be leaving soon. I live in Roswell.

Q. “What is most important is that we have some transparency in Roswell” yes! I agree. Do you by chance know why they defunded the operation in Idaho?

A. Yes.
President Nixon approved the fast breeder reactor project in 1971.
President Carter decided to defund the fast breeder reactors in 1977 in favor of all things – renewables.
Why did they abandon the fast breeder reactor after spending billions to develop and prototype it. That is what new Administrations do, right?
1980 – President Carter signs the Energy Security Act, consisting of six major acts: U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation Act, Biomass Energy and Alcohol Fuels Act, Renewable Energy Resources Act, Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Act and Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank Act, Geothermal Energy Act, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act.
President Reagan came along next and reversed a lot of what Cater put into place. Sound familiar?
Every one of those pretty much went belly up when the fossil industry kicked into overdrive to keep them at bay. Fossil ruled thru the 1980’s and 1990’s when nuclear should have been advanced. President Carter killed nuclear in the US and it has taken climate change to bring it back.
Here is a link to a timeline of energy events from 1951 to present. What you will notice is that trillions of dollars have been spent on alternative energy sources to counter G&O (and coal).

Q. I like alternative energy. I like the solar panels on houses. I would like all houses to have solar panels. Of course the way most people live they would still need to buy energy to run extra stuff. I am not anti nuclear power though. I think both should be explored. Coal and eventually fossil fuels will be gone someday. They just aren’t sustainable.

A. Yes, solar panels on individual homes is great for the home owner if they can afford them. I don’t have them because I would not benefit from the lengthy ROI.

You would be surprised at how sustainable G&O really is. That is why I still support it as one of our future energy sources, even though I know nuclear is better.

Q. This is why New Mexico remains a “poor state,” because too many individuals in NM oppose so many revenue projects. For Roswell to be considered for this, it seems like a beneficial thing. I can say that this city has little jobs, and it is very unfortunate. We are by far one of the poorest cities, and don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that money isn’t everything, but it is worth a shot. We need more things to do, more jobs, etc., for the crime rate to decrease.

A. There was no answer to this last statement.



Cannabis and Radiation:

What do cannabis and radiation have in common? Both are over-regulated, misunderstood and unnecessarily restricted necessities of life. I have written many times about the health benefits of radiation. Well, cannabis also has many health benefits. Yet, both are kept from the general public by Government agencies that employ people who have not taken the time or effort to research them. What is amazing to me is that both were used for medical purposes over 70 years ago and then all of a sudden both were classified unsafe for general public use. What happen 70 years ago that would have cause this?

In a recent report, author Barney Warf describes how cannabis use originated thousands of years ago in Asia, and has since found its way too many regions of the world, eventually spreading to the Americas and the United States through Mexico. “The idea that this is an evil drug is a very recent construction,” and the fact that it is illegal is a “historical anomaly,” Warf said. Marijuana has been legal in many regions of the world for most of history.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first US national law making cannabis possession illegal, with the exception of some industrial or medical purposes. Today, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin and LSD, indicating it has high potential for abuse and addiction, no accepted medical uses and no safe level of use. Warf also wrote in his report, “Mexicans were frequently blamed for smoking marijuana, property crimes, seducing children and engaging in murderous sprees.” Fear is the keyword as to why cannabis is still illegal today and stymied its medical, recreational and industrial uses, not Mexicans.

As with cannabis, fear of radiation has also stymied its use for nuclear medical procedures and nuclear industrial uses, like generating electricity, desalinating water, smelting steel and aluminum, and cement to name a few. In the 1940’s, the US military displayed the bad side of radiation and society has not been able to recover from that to experience the benefits from the good side of radiation. Until recently, no dose of radiation was considered safe but now the limits have been raise for safe low doses of radiation based on data from recent experiences in the world.

Society needs to be re-educated about the safe use of cannabis and radiation.

Response to ‘Confessions’ article

What is depleted uranium?

There was a recent guest column titled “Confession of a nuclear worker” that expressed the writer’s personal experience as a radiation safety technician. I have no intention to address her personal experiences because they are what they are. However, I will address the topic of deplete uranium which was the topic of article, from a pragmatic scientific perspective.

To understand what depleted uranium is you have to understand what natural uranium is. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines uranium in its natural state with three isotopes (U-234 @ 0.0057%, U-235 @ 0.72% and U-238 @ 99.28%). Uranium is a silvery metal found in trace amounts in all rocks and soil, in water and air, and in materials made from natural substances. Small amounts of natural uranium are ingested and inhaled by everyone every day.

There is a process called enrichment that removes the isotope U235 from one batch of the natural uranium mixture and adds it to another batch. This will increase the percentage of U235 in the second batch to be used as nuclear fuel. What is left over from all the extracted batches is called depleted uranium (DU), which is natural uranium with less U235 content. This enrichment process is done at URENCO in Eunice, NM

DU can be combine with other elements in the environment to form several uranium compounds. I will focus on just two: as a commercial nuclear fuel for molten salt fast reactors and as a military material used to harden the tips of armor piercing bullets and cannon shells. DU is considerably less radioactive than natural uranium because not only does it have less U234 and U235 per unit mass than natural uranium, but in addition, essentially all traces of decay products have been removed during extraction and chemical processing of the uranium prior to enrichment. What you have left in DU is mainly the isotope U238.

Regarding exposures of DU to our military, there have been studies of the health of military personnel who saw action in the Gulf War (1990-1991) and during the Balkan conflicts (1994-99). The results of these studies have been published and the main conclusion is that the war veterans do show a small (i.e., not statistically significant) increase in mortality rates, but this excess is due to accidents/suicides rather than any exposures to DU. Remember, our guys were shooting those tainted bullets at the enemy.

Open Letter to Southeast New Mexico

To all residents of Lea, Eddy and Chaves Counties,

My name is Martin Kral and I have been an advocate for Nuclear Science and Technology for the last 10 years. I live in Roswell, NM and consider myself a concerned citizen of nuclear waste/fuel in Southeast NM. Recently, there was a strategy meeting in Roswell by concerned citizens who are against anything nuclear in the state of NM. Their objective for the next couple of years is to actively oppose any additional nuclear material stored in NM. However, I have the opposite point of view. I will actively support any additional nuclear industry that will bring high paying jobs and steady revenue streams to the State of New Mexico.

I have been writing articles and letters to the Roswell Daily Record for over 5 years to educate the people of Roswell about the realities of nuclear energy and radiation. I took on this quest knowing that someday soon the people will have to make a decision about whether they will support or not support more nuclear industry in our neighborhood. I have always gotten positive feedback about my articles as being very informative. Most people in NM know very little about nuclear science even though the power of the atom was advanced in Los Alamos.

The US has been building nuclear power plants for the last ~70 years based on a water cooled design using solid uranium oxide fuel. The fuel rods containing this solid fuel can only last about 4.5-6 years because the fission gas buildup and fission damage in the uranium fuel pellets in the rod will eventually breakdown and have to be replaced. The unused fuel in the rods have to be stored in water pools for up 5 years to cool down and then put into dry storage canisters for another ~300 years or until the uranium is considered safe for the environment again. With an exception of a very minute amount of fission products (300 years) and even a lesser amount of higher actinides (10,000 years), everything else can be put back in the ground as dirt where it originally came from.

However, that whole process is completely unnecessary. Back in the 1960, Enrico Fermi, top nuclear scientist on the Manhattan Project, described an alternative solution to storing nuclear waste: Consume all actinides in fast neutron reactors, leaving only fission products, which require special storage for less than 300 years. That fast reactor was built and operated for 30 years in Idaho, recycling its own fuel base and not producing any ‘waste’ to be concerned with. Unfortunately, the Government defunded that prototype and the technology did not make it to the US commercial marketplace. But it did make it to Russia, which now has commercialized fast reactors. The Chinese are also building fast fission reactors. Even that technology has become dated but has a smaller waste stream.

Today that waste burner reactor design concept is being re-addressed in the private sector with the Fast-Spectrum (neutron) Molten-Salt Reactor by Elysium Industries. The Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR) is state-of-the-art in its design. The technology is unique as it can provide base-load and clean power while addressing the current issues in the nuclear power industry and climate change. The new cost effective Elysium MCSFR has the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, thorium and even weapons grade plutonium, transforming it all from a perceived waste problem into profitable energy.

Which brings me to the primary reason for this letter. I have been following the progress of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance / Holtec International’s proposal for a Consolidate Interim Storage Facility (CISF) to store spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in New Mexico. While the technology is sound and I support it, I do have a concern about the word ‘Interim’ in the proposal. I do agree with Jon Hancock, a waste expert with SIRC in ABQ, that the fuel can safely stay where it is at each nuclear power plant (NPP) site. Technically it is just as safe there as it would be in New Mexico.

However, there is this thing called ‘social science’ that has nothing to do with the physical science of nuclear technology. There has always been this psychological fear of all things nuclear and the communities around the individual NPP want the perceived waste (unused fuel) moved away. That is understandable because of what we have been taught about radiation over the last 70 years. Linear No Threshold (LNT) and As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) has been the policy for decades but that has been proven false because of all the informational data gathered since TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Low dose radiation is a benefit to life, not a curse. Of course, Madame Curie told us that over 100 years ago, but who listens.

I would like you to lend me your eyes and hears for my one and only concern about the ELEA proposal. Here is the shocker that is not being addressed from my perspective so far.

• If you replace every existing GEN3 nuclear reactor in the US with an equivalent Elysium GEN4 MCSFR, there is enough stored SNF to produce heat/electricity for approximately 2,000 years. If you add all the stored Deleted Uranium (DU) fuel to that, they would produce heat/electricity for another estimated 20,000 years.

• If we replaced every GEN3 nuclear reactor, hydroelectric dam, coal furnace, gas turbine, wind turbine, solar panel, biofuel solution, etc. with an equivalent GEN4 MCSFR, there is enough stored SNF to produce heat/electricity for ~400 years. If you add all the stored DU fuel to that, it would produce heat/electricity for another ~4,000 years. If you use the heat to replace other fossil fuel process heat uses, the SNF/DU would be consumed much faster.

So my first and only question is: How long do you plan to store SNF in New Mexico? I think it is extremely important for this question to be answered at any public forum that is being planned over the next year to educate the public. I think NM should change the purpose of having the CISF to that of a long term nuclear fuel depot. That would be more honest and let the people know that the CISF would also produce a revenue stream until the fuel is all used up – possibly thousands of years.

What about Yucca Mountain or any other deep repository? With today’s storage technology for SNF, Yucca Mountain is no longer needed to store SNF. It can still be used for other purposes, like subterranean condos. Seriously, SNF should not be discarded in deep repositories where the valuable fuel will not be recoverable for long enough to use it. I am most familiar with the Holtec canister and believe that is all we need. The rating on the canister is 100 years but I believe that is very conservative and it will last for 300 years, long enough for the decay to render the contents harmless.

Okay, so how are you going to answer my question about ‘interim’ because you will need a solid answer for the Anti’s. They will address this as a negative sound bite when it is actually a positive benefit to The State of New Mexico.

Martin Kral
Concerned resident of Roswell, NM

Alternative nuclear fuel storage:

In the early years of the nuclear industry, Enrico Fermi, top nuclear scientist on the Manhattan Project, described an alternative solution to storing nuclear waste: Consume all actinides in fast neutron reactors, leaving only fission products, which require special storage for less than 300 years. Pyroelectric refining, as perfected at EBR-II (Idaho National Labs) separates essentially all actinides from the small amount of fission products (the waste). U.S. DOE Research on pyroelectric refining and fast neutron reactors was stopped in 1994. The nuclear storage solution was resolved and completed back in the 1960-90’s, but the Government just walked away from it. INSANE!

Today that waste burner reactor design concept is being re-addressed in the private sector with the Fast-Spectrum (neutron) Molten-Salt Reactor by Elysium Industries. The Elysium Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR) is state-of-the-art in its design. Elysium’s technology is unique as it can provide base-load and clean power while addressing the current issues in the nuclear power industry and climate change. The Elysium MCSFR has the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, thorium and even weapons grade plutonium, transforming it all from a perceived waste problem into profitable energy. 

Last month a group of concerned citizens formed a group to strategize about how they were going to protest Lea and Eddy counties from storing spent (unused) nuclear fuel. I personally believe that licensing the storage facility, Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, creates three major opportunities:  

1) New Mexico will gain billions in steady revenue to help the State manage its troubled budgets year after year because of the ebb and flow of the gas and oil industry revenue stream.

 2) It creates high paying jobs for Lea, Eddy and even Chaves Counties while fulfilling the federal government’s mandate to relocate all spent nuclear fuel from individual nuclear power plants around the US to Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) facilities.

3) It provides a nuclear fuel supply chain for the next generation of nuclear reactors, possibly one or two right here in New Mexico to replace coal, natural gas and renewable wind/solar electricity generation.

I am providing a link to a set of very short videos that explain why nuclear fuel storage is a very safe investment in New Mexico.  Remember, nuclear is for life and clean living. To be continued …

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUvvIzH2W6g – Part 2, 3 and 4 follows on YouTube.


Nuclear vs. Renewable

Larry, did you know, nuclear power has the lowest death rates per terawatt-hour of any form of mass energy production in history, including hydroelectric, solar and wind.

Harry, did you know, nuclear energy doesn’t emit greenhouse gases and the volume of waste is small and easily managed and can be recycled for more rounds of fuel until it’s all gone.

Jerry, did you know, no one died from the meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Fukushima, and only 23 deaths at Chernobyl (Ref: WHO would have thought).

And Mary, did you know, that your baby boy’s father created the perfect world in a cosmos that provides us with all the stored energy humanity will ever need on this earth. But Mary, did you also know there are people who don’t believe this and try to threaten the rest of us with fear mongering.

Folks, did you know Professor Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and his team have proposed a 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All-sector Energy Roadmaps for the 50 United States. Dr. Jacobson had managed to convince President Obama’s Administration that the United States could survive without fossil and nuclear stored fuels.

The 35-year roadmap of his proposal would entail manufacturing (or importing) and installing an interdependent energy network consisting of:

• 496,000 5-MW wind machines
• 18 billion square meters of PV panels
• 50,000-plus wind and solar farms
• 75 million residential rooftop systems
• 2.7 million Commercial rooftop systems

I hate to throw numbers at you but I got all these figures from the recent publication ‘The Myth of Powering the Nation with Renewable Energy’ by Mike Conley and Tim Maloney, a couple of mathematicians.

Here’s a thought: Since wind and solar are weather-dependent, how can we depend on them if we can’t depend on the weather?

What would the nuclear alternative look like? The first thing I can say is that it will not be dependent on weather or location. Each Generation IV reactor would use stored fuel (and waste) and will be an independent power plant unto itself, each plant site will have two or more reactors for backup. They will be Molten Salt Reactors – always on, reliable, safe and provide clean energy for food, water, air and the comforts of life.

Nuclear is for life. There is no life without radiation.

To be continued …

Nuclear energy reactivity:

After the Fukushima accident the worldwide nuclear industry took a pause to determine if nuclear energy should still be ‘the’ future energy of the world. Several countries had an immediate overreaction with fear to the incident such as Japan itself, Germany, and a few other EU nuclear nations. Japan, as you would expect, shuttered all 25 of their reactors for inspections to determine if the earthquake cause any damage. For purely political reasons, not a single reactor was allowed to restart when all reactors were technically sound. This was a huge economic mistake.

South Korea, Japan’s closest neighbor also has a large number of nuclear power plants and none of them were shuttered by the Fukushima 9.0 mega earthquake. However, there was also political pressure in South Korea with a recent election and campaign promise to shut down all nuclear power plants. Within one year of the election, South Korea had a referendum to keep the nuclear plants operating. The young millennials campaigned hard for this and won the election – 60-40. The new President Moon has pledge to honor this result and continue building and operating nuclear power plants in South Korea.

South Korea is one of 3 countries that also export nuclear power system to other countries (customers) that do not have a GDP strong enough to support their own nuclear industry. South Korea, Russia and China are now the primary exporters of 3Gen nuclear technology. There was a time when the US, UK and FR were the major players, but if you snooze, you lose.

Given that the global nuclear power industry is set to expend over $1.5 trillion by 2030. Here are some of the reasons why:

• China has 22 nuclear reactors under construction.
• China is also breaking ground on one nuclear reactor every month.
• China is completing with Russia for the first floating NPP (Russia will win).
• China projects to have 400 nuclear reactors online by 2050.
• Russia is hell bent on becoming the geopolitical nuclear power of the world.
• Russia is buying up all the uranium interest to control markets
• Russia has 60% share of future nuclear markets,
• Russia has contracts to build 34 reactors in 13 countries (2 are US allies)

So where is the US in this picture? Well, the Trump Administration has acknowledge the US must regain its nuclear leadership for national security reasons. Talk is cheap!

To be continued…