Tag Archives: Nuclear

Waste, a liability or an opportunity?

My wife and I took a recent road trip to Midland TX to visit the Petroleum Museum. We drove south on TX 385 towards Odessa and I notice an unusual amount of old rusted machine parts spewed about in the fields. There are two ways to look at all the junk; as a recording of the last 100 year history of the area or as a real eye score on the environment. Either way, that stuff should be recycled or stored in a safe place to protect the public.

This visual experience got me to thinking about all the wind turbines and solar panels we are spreading out all over our beautiful landscape. Will there be a day when they look just like all the trash along highway 385? The answer to that is a very possible ‘yes’ because the turbines and panels are evolving as new innovative designs and materials come to market. The older obsolete technology has to be done away with when new non-toxic solutions come on-line. The obvious answer would be to recycle them, but there is a hidden problem with that solution. Not all the materials are recyclable.

There are several toxic materials used to manufacture both wind turbines and solar panels. The industry is in a fast forward development cycle and has not addressed the day when these toxins have to be stored somewhere and managed. Doesn’t that sound so much like other industries where we build them now and worry about the waste later?

Big wind has a dirty little secret. I am not talking about wind installations that injure, maim, and kill hundreds of thousands of birds each year in clear violation of federal law. No, I am talking about the toxins used to manufacture these ever growing in size machines. Manufacturing wind turbines is a resource-intensive process. A typical wind turbine contains more than 8,000 different components, many of which are made from steel, cast iron, and concrete. One such component is magnets made from neodymium, a toxic silvery – white metallic element and dysprosium, a rare-earth metallic element, highly reactive and paramagnetic.

Solar energy also has a dirty little secret. Any form of energy production has its dirty side and solar is no exception. Photovoltaic modules are made from many toxic chemicals. Arsenic, cadmium telluride, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride are just some of the chemicals used to manufacture various types of solar cells. Solar panels in use are safe but the problem comes at the beginning and end of a panel’s life cycle.

According to a Silicon Valley Toxics report, “but the toxic materials contained in solar panels will present a serious danger to public health and the environment if they are not disposed of properly when they reach the end of their useful lives.” That is a renewable problem for both wind and solar and that is a business opportunity just on the horizon (pun intended).

These toxins can be safely managed and stored some place, but where? Whoever decides to take this risk and responsibility will net some huge revenues for the surrounding communities. Carlsbad NM is benefitting from WIPP (transuranic radioactive materials), Eunice NM is benefitting from URENCO (uranium enrichment), Andrews TX is benefitting from Waste Control Specialist, (low-level radioactive waste) and all of Southeast New Mexico is benefitting from Big Oil.

WIPP is an example of how to store and manage the radioactive materials used in the many years of nuclear bomb development. However, we have not resolved what to do about all the radioactive unused uranium fuel left over from the nuclear power industry. Currently that material has been stored in large airplane crash proof canisters at every nuclear power plant facility for the last 50 years.

Back in 2007 the opportunity did present itself to Chaves County but the community at that time was not well informed and rejected the idea of temporarily storing spent nuclear fuel 40 miles east of town along the Eddy County line. Well, that opportunity went south to Andrews County TX, on the immediate border with Eunice NM.

Now there is a potential for a renewable energy toxic waste market for the Chaves County site known as Triassic Park. It’s time to look into deep borehole waste management.


True costs of Germany’s nuclear shutdown

Germany is experiencing one failure after another all because of political pressure from environmental groups, as well as the political Green Party itself. As Germany is implementing a conversion from nuclear to renewable wind and solar, it has become apparent that both projects are failing their original objectives. Coming to America, soon!

Problem one: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2011 decision to rapidly phase out the country’s 17 nuclear power reactors has left the government and utilities with a massive problem: How to clean up and store large amounts of nuclear waste and other radioactive material. This is turning out to be a major cost.

Problem two: The proposed replacement for phasing out nuclear was to replace it with wind in the northern part of the country along the coastline and solar panels on every structure throughout the country. So far, most of the replacement electricity is coming from the purchase of France’s clean nuclear powered sources and the building of new coal fired generation plants, which are cleaner than the old coal plants but still produces CO2 emissions. This too is turning out to be a major cost.

Problem Three: Elections are forthcoming. The country has struggled to meet its pollution-reduction targets. Germany committed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels but had managed just a 27 percent reduction at the end of last year. The commitment of 95% by 2050 is now the paradox facing Merkel, who’ll campaign for a fourth term in 2017. This is also turning out to be a major cost.

If you were to look closely at Germany’s energy policy and its problems, you will see the making of the same energy issues here in America, except NG would replace coal. The US has just shut down five nuclear power plants and replaced the electricity generation with natural gas, not wind and solar. Each of those plants has to store high-level nuclear waste (fuel) on site until the US can develop a workable solution.

Germany still hasn’t figured out what to do with their high-level waste — mostly spent fuel rods — that are now in interim (100 years) canisters located in a dozen specialized warehouses near existing nuclear power plants. Any future waste repository will have to contain the spent uranium fuel for up to a million years, unless they change policy and implement next generation reactors to consume it.

In Germany, a government commission on highly radioactive nuclear waste spent the last two years working on a 700-page report which was supposed to recommend a storage location. Instead, the report estimated that Germany’s final storage facility would be ready “in the next century.” Costs are expected to be astronomical. In reality, that means they don’t have a solution to store or consume the waste as fuel.

China is leading the world with its investment in implementing the molten salt reactor (MSR) technology. I can not leave out Canada, which will probably have the first commercial MSR. There are many other companies/countries that are committed to MSR technology and the elimination of the high level waste material created by the early generation reactors over the last 60 years.

Germany has an additional problem with low-level waste storage and management. Most of the material originated from 14 nuclear power plants from 1967 until 1978 was stored in an underground facility that now has a serious water seepage problem. All the material stored there has to be removed and restored. A 2015 report by Germany’s Environment Ministry noted, “There are currently no technical plans available for the envisioned waste recovery project which would allow a reliable estimate of the costs.”

“Nuclear in Germany is not popular,” said Claudia Kemfert, head of energy, transportation, and environment at the German Institute for Economic Research. “Everybody knows it is dangerous and causes a lot of environmental difficulties. Nuclear [is being] replaced by renewables – we have no need for nuclear power any more.” It is that consensus that has created an enormous technical and costly problem. Hindsight is always 20/20 and Germany is now seeing the results of their hasty planning or lack of.

On the other front; renewable generated replacement electricity has not materialize as expected either. While the wind and solar already implemented has the capacity, actual production has fallen far short and is very expensive. New coal plants are being built to augment renewable (now called clean) energy. Germany has plenty of coal and I would have to say, the concept of shutting down nuclear without increasing fossil fuels may not be possible. Germany is still fossilized and this is the true face of their ‘energiewende’.

Letter to Governor Brown of CA

This week, I would like to share a letter about how nuclear energy is essential to fighting global warming, sent by Dr. James Hansen the leading climate scientists in the world, plus a long list of other environmentalists, to the State of California. This letter applies to every state in the Union.

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor of California

August 11, 2016

Dear Governor Brown,

Several months ago we wrote to you to raise our concerns about Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear plant. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has now agreed in a Joint Proposal with Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility and other groups to close the plant in 2025.

We request that you ask the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) to delay consideration of that and any other proposal to close Diablo until the legislature and the public, who will have to foot the bill, can openly debate how California can most quickly and cost-effectively stop the damage to the climate from our electrical system emissions. There are serious questions about whether this proposal is good for ratepayers, the environment and the climate.

Retirement of the plant will make a mockery of California’s de-carbonization efforts. Diablo Canyon’s yearly output of 17,600 gigawatt-hours supplies 9 percent of California’s total in-state electricity generation and 21 percent of its low-carbon generation. If Diablo closes it will be replaced mainly by natural gas, and California’s carbon dioxide emissions will rise.

The economic losses from Diablo Canyon’s premature closure will also be substantial. Electricity rates will rise from the replacement of cheap nuclear power with more expensive renewable power. According to the Joint Proposal, ratepayers will pay a “non-bypassable charge” to make good decommissioning costs that would have been funded had Diablo completed a typical 60-year service life. San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties will lose $27 million per year in local tax, 1,500 well-paying jobs at the plant and a yearly payroll of over $200 million that indirectly supports a further 2,800 local jobs.

These problems are all familiar from the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant a few years ago. Despite environmentalists’ hopes, San Onofre was replaced mainly by gas-fired generation. Greenhouse emissions and electricity rates increased. California’s share of gas-fired generation immediately rose from 45 percent to 61 percent.

That gas dependency will increase further, to 70 percent or more, if Diablo Canyon closes. When natural gas prices rise again, higher dependency will mean economic vulnerability as well—and undermine California’s reputation as a leader on climate policy. Under your own administration, the percent of electricity generated in-state from clean sources declined, mostly because of San Onofre’s closure.

Given the serious harm to the environment, the economy and ratepayer interests that will flow from Diablo’s closure, we are deeply troubled by the lack of democratic process surrounding the Joint Proposal. It was decided in secret negotiations between PG&E and unaccountable anti-nuclear groups, some with financial ties to the renewables sector.

[removed unnecessary paragraph] to size the article for publication in local paper.

The loss of one-fifth of California’s clean electricity is of such significance as to merit the direct attention of the state legislature. These questions deserve a broad, considered and transparent discussion by the public and their elected representatives. We ask you to support this position, and to help initiate the public debate that needs to happen.

It would be a tragedy if we were to allow irrational fear to harm the climate and endanger the future our children and grandchildren. As California’s governor you have an opportunity to safeguard your environmental legacy by overcoming anti-nuclear prejudice that is jeopardizing our progress on clean energy.


James Hansen

The Energy Policy should not be partisan

The US energy policy and the world energy policy should be viewed as a betterment of humanity. Energy should be viewed as a whole and not as the individual sources that make it up. Energy should provide humanity and its environment with abundance, whatever that might be, to improve living as we know it today with a long term perspective in hundreds of years, not every four year.

None of the political parties are actually looking at energy with this perspective. The choices so far are 1) no fossil, 2) fossil or 3) what ever the market will bear. None of these are really appropriate because they are basically a pick and choose winners and losers. Each individual energy source has its advantage and drawback depending on where and how it is used. Some are cleaner, safer, cheaper, more efficient and reliable and the list goes on.

The goal of an energy policy should be based on what is best for each geographic center. What is best for California is not necessary the best for Iowa or New York. With 50 individual states, all with different ecosystems, economics and political ideals, a universal mandate from the Federal Government is completely the wrong approach. The Federal government should set guidelines for safe energy and let the market determine the best approach.

For example, the federal government has flat out mandated the elimination of coal mining and burning for generating electricity through non-congressional regulations. This type of policy has a critical impact on several states livelihood. How does this elimination improve the lives in those states and other states that depend on coal shipments? Coal has always provided abundance for all the people but has also created a concern about pollution of the air, water and land. Instead of eliminating coal, it should be made cleaner through technical innovations to directly address the concerns of pollutions.

Another example would be the nuclear power industry. For the last 40 years the federal government has placed regulation upon regulation that it has basically chocked the industry into near non-existence. Nuclear energy has already proved itself to be the most reliable and efficient source of clean energy. But that doesn’t seem to matter when you have selfish advocates against it and fossil fuels (Craig). Nuclear is the safest energy ever devised.

Subsidies and Natural Gas (NG) have been the saving grace for the federal governments preferred choice for electricity generation – wind and solar. While wind and solar do have their benefits in certain ecosystems, they are not the most reliable or efficient source for the national power grid. Subsidies should be removed or all sources of energy should be subsidized equally per actual Kwt, not capacity like wind and solar is today.

Almost 90% of America’s low-carbon energy sources come from hydropower (21%) and nuclear power (67%). It is ironic that the two largest providers of low-carbon electricity, hydro and nuclear, have the most onerous regulatory hurdles that make construction lengthy and expensive. Ten years is common for merely licensing either. Once built, however, both enjoy the longest of facility life-times, the lowest production costs per kWh, and produce vastly more power than any other type of energy facility before they are ever shuttered.

Good News – maybe: The most recent report from the Federal Government (ORNL) is to expand hydropower by 50% through electrifying existing dams and emplacing pumped hydro storage at existing non-powered dams to facilitate more intermittent renewable like wind and solar onto the electric grid. Only 3% of American dams generate electricity. The others provide navigation, flood control, irrigation, water supply and/or recreation without power, but most can be upgraded to supply electricity. However, no new dams are in the report and no mention of droughts.

Of all the energy sources, coal, gas and nuclear fuels are not dependent and have centuries of inventory, most not discovered yet. Uranium can be extracted from our oceans and thorium is just sitting there on every beach. The capacity inventory reaches into the billions of years when you consider the inventory on our moon and Mars, two locations we are destine to conquer.

“All of the above” is the policy that all political parties should be endorsing. Each energy source can be used collectively to achieve the arbitrary goal or limitation set on increased global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by COP 21 (2015). Global Warming does not care what technology is used, just how much carbon is emitted.


If one term doesn’t work, try another.

The term ‘Global Warming’ isn’t working anymore because the earth hasn’t warmed in the last 18 years so let’s try ‘Climate Change’ instead because it’s always happening naturally or man made, whether mildly or catastrophically. Better yet, we could just use the termed ‘Climate’ because for the first 4.5 billion years the earth’s biosphere has always been changing. Consensus or Me-tooish is not proof that something is true.

Now the term ‘Renewable Energy’ is no longer working for a number of reasons demonstrated over the last 40 years so let’s change it to ‘Clean Energy’ instead because that is what can work for ‘all of the above’ energy sources. Clean is the new catch all; clean food, clean water, clean air, clean coal, clean nuclear, etc.

The terms, global warming and renewable, turned out to be too restrictive and did not include the source of efficient energy that does work to create base load electricity and transportation fuels: fossil, hydro and nuclear. Solar energy just passed 1% of global electricity generation. World energy usage will probably triple by 2050. Therefore, a new term was needed in order to expand the definition to include the final four: coal, gas, hydro and nuclear.

Coal is the primary source of energy that has provided us with the bounty we share today. Burning coal has also created problems with the environment and has caused some concern. However, the elimination of coal as an energy source to produce electricity is not reasonable to fight environmental concerns like climatic changes in weather patterns, allegedly caused by CO2 increases.

A better solution is to remove the toxins and particles when burning fossilized materials like coal, wood and dung. Better yet, gasify the coal into a liquid form removing most of the bad carbon at the same time. Coal is still the number one source of energy around the world and in some places is actually increasing in usage.

Through innovative technology, natural gas has become so plentiful here in the U.S. that it has become the new base load source for electricity generation. Fracking, another one of those terms that needs to be redefined for political reasons has allowed horizontal drilling to capture NG deposits otherwise unavailable through normal vertical drilling.

Nature gas is about half as bad on the environment as coal but can also be improved, especially the methane leaks. NG is so plentiful, therefore cheaper, and is becoming a major export product from the US to EU and Asia, competing with the Russians. Like coal, NG is being discovered everywhere with new technology locating and accessing the deposits. A most recent discovery is in the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Israel and Egypt. The NG supply chain doesn’t have a firm sunset date yet because of new discoveries year after year, but it is probably less than coal.

The one term that is completely misunderstood is nuclear. There is a scientific and a political definition of the term. The science is very simple; nuclear is the action of splitting or bonding atoms that creates heat and also other isotopes within the periodic table. Most of those isotopes are actually unused fuel that can be completely consumed to create more heat. The political definition is based on ‘fear’ of the nuclear bomb.

One of the newer terms being used for advanced or next generation nuclear energy is molten salts reactors (MSR). These newer designs have addressed most of the concerns of previous generation reactors, especially waste and proliferation.

Each fuel and technology used to generate electricity has its own benefits.  However, nuclear energy brings distinctive attributes to the power grid— large-scale, affordable, zero-emission, 24/7 reliability. These are critically important every day, but especially so during severe weather events like a polar vortex or the dog days of August, when other fuel sources may not be available or responsive.

So what energy policy should our presidential candidates articulate? Clinton advocates wind and solar (the unreliables) and Trump advocates fossil (the dirty guys). However, both are short sighted when it come to nuclear (MSR), the long term future of energy. We should always use the best technology available.

Who do you trust with our nuclear codes?

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has consistently used the ‘fear’ of trusting Presidential Candidate Donald Trump with access to the nuclear codes and having his finger on the button. I’m sure Mrs. Clinton knows there is no one person that has that much control over the use of nuclear weaponry by our government. That husband of hers, President Bill Clinton, knows this and should straighten her out. The question is; who is going to inform the public that this is total misinformation or as Trump would say – another damn lie.

The procedures to launch nuclear weapons are quite simple to explain: redundancy, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy. The request would go up the chain of command and the response would go down the chain of command that would provide human safeguards. However, nuclear war is not impossible, but it’s improbable, and a nuclear war could take place in more ways than you might think, sparked by any number of occurrences from a pure accident to an intentional strike.

The absolute best way to avoid a nuclear holocaust is to maintain a respectable relationship with other nations that also have nuclear weapons. For example, President Obama does not have a strong relationship with Russia and this has caused the Russians to take chances with land grabs and flyby teases to show their strength. Hillary Clinton’s famous ‘reset’ button with Russia hasn’t bode well either. We are the weak adversary right now because of our leadership, not our tangible war machine.

Have you ever wonder where that 3:00 AM phone call slogan came from? Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, received 3 a.m. phone call warning of incoming nuclear attack back in 1979 cause by the alleged failure of a 46¢ integrated circuit (“chip”). Shorty after, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown assured President Jimmy Carter that false warnings were virtually inevitable, although he tried to reassure the President that “human safeguards” would prevent them from getting out of control.

I personally do not believe President Vladimir Putin of Russia would intentionally start a full scale nuclear war. What is scary to me is how many in our own government and military do think he would, including Hillary Clinton. Why would she be talking so much about those nuclear codes in the hands of Trump? A Trump ‘reset’ with Russia would probably be to negotiate another ‘megatons to megawatts’ deal like the last program from President George H. W. Bush and make a better deal for America this time, that would include Iran with nuclear energy, not bombs.

A relationship between national leaders is the key to deterrence of using nuclear weaponry. When that relationship breaks down or never even gets established, misunderstandings and misinterpretations will occur. One of those near misses that always intrigued me was the secret war games conducted by NATO back in 1983. All those involved on both sides are now allowed to tell their version of the event in books and documentaries.

If you want to blow your mind you can watch the documentary called ‘Able Archer 1983’ on YouTube. This is not a fictional Hollywood production. It was aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) several years ago. Here is a link to the US written version of the 1983 Soviet war scare: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/a-cold-war-conundrum/source.htm.

To summaries the event, the distrust of President Andropov (USSR) with President Reagan (USA), who called the USSR the Evil Empire and announced his ‘Star War’ initiative, caused President Andropov’s patience’s with Reagan to grow very thin. It is no wonder that the Soviets were suspicious and misinterpreted the 1983 NATO military exercise. The USSR was actually within minutes of a nuclear launch. The only reason there was no launch was because of the UK-Russian spy who was credited for calming everyone’s nerves. Secret dialogue is just as important as open transparent discussions.

It wasn’t until President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev built a respectful relationship after 1985 when extreme tension between the two countries smoothed over a bit. Their relationship led to the eventual development of the original Megatons to Megawatts program. US nuclear scientist and USSR nuclear scientist actually conducted lab-to-lab work sessions to resolve the program.

President Donald Trump will be a direct negotiator with President Vladimir Putin because they already have a distance admiration for each other. President Putin respects strength and that is what President Trump projects. President Trump will also appoint a strong Secretary of State to work with him in putting some stability in the relationship of the two countries, as well as our allies, especially Israel.

The death cult agenda of the anti-advocates


As The Washington Post reports, 107 Nobel laureates have signed a letter blasting Greenpeace for opposing the deployment of a GMO rice which would help fix a dreaded condition, vitamin A deficiency (VAD). As the letter states:

“The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 — 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.”

Sounds pretty serious! So what does Greenpeace have against “Golden Rice,” the GMO strain that is proposed to deal with this preventable catastrophe? The same letter also states:

“Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.”

The simple fact of the matter is that humans have been modifying their environment — animal and vegetal — for millennia. There’s no such thing as a wild cow, or a wild pig, or a wild shih-tzu. Wheat and corn, as we know them, bear almost no resemblance to their wild and distant ancestors.

There’s nothing new, unusual, or dangerous about GMOs and all the science confirms it (just like global warming). And yet a strong and vocal fringe in some advanced countries, are opposed to GMOs. In the U.S. it’s still relatively a fringe phenomenon, but in Europe, particularly France, it is very much part of the mainstream discussion.

But the extreme environmentalists have a long history of damaging hostility to evidence, a hostility which has cost many, many lives over the decades. Here is an example. In the infamous case of DDT, this miraculous insect-killer eliminated malaria, as well as many other insect-borne diseases, from the Southern United States, Southern Europe, and parts of South Asia, and was poised to do the same thing to Africa until it was banned by the US in 1972 on unscientific grounds as stated by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Academy stated: “To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than [a period of] two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.”

In 1962, Rachel Carson‘s book Silent Spring was published. It cataloged the environmental impacts of widespread DDT spraying in the United States and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals into the environment without understanding their effects on the environment or human health. One book set off an anti-DDT frenzy to ban DDT in the US within 10 ten years and globally a few years later. The ban has been credited for the recovery of the American Bald Eagle and the reemerging of virus carrying mosquitoes. Now we are killing the bold eagle again, this time with huge wind turbines. Catch-22.

Another example of Greenpeace damaging hostility is my favorite topic; nuclear energy, which has almost no carbon emissions and works safely. Opposition to nuclear power is mostly motivated by superstition or the perception of fear created by the environmentalist based on pre-historic data that has never been updated.

Environmentalism sometimes has a little trace of a death cult and they look at the world with those ridiculously insane predictions of Armageddon that scientists made in the 1970s, warning that we would all be dead, or something like it, by the year 2000, if we didn’t shut down nuclear power plants and oil wells right this minute. Well, what happened?

The radical environmentalists like Greenpeace actually have an anti-human worldview, one that views the Earth goddess as the only valuable “life-form” and humans as parasites. DDT was fine and Nuclear power is fine and Golden Rice will be fine. What is not fine is how a few people in the right places can turn the whole world society completely up side down.

However, some of the disorder is actually creating new order. Now there are pro-nuclear climate scientists and environmentalists that are expressing their concerns for climate change solutions through nuclear energy. Their open letter to all environmentalist [especially you Greenpeace] states:

“As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.”

I personally advocate nuclear energy for the sake of efficient and sustainable electric power. Hey, and it’s environmentally clean too. If there were ever an advance nuclear addendum on a climate change bill in Congress (not likely though), I am okay with that too. I would consider myself a pro-nuclear environmentalist if that is what it would take to move forward with nuclear energy.